Monday, September 18, 2017

Neo-Rationalism as Esoteric Style

Students of Neo-Rationalism attempt to re-orient their minds towards “rational thinking.” This tends to create a cold and logical outlook on the world, but masters of the philosophy tend to be genuinely more stoic and mentally focused than non-practitioners.

Neo-Rationalists argue that they have superior moral and philosophical insights to all other philosophies, but even most outside observers agree that their philosophy is exceptionally well-suited to describing “the natural universe.” If someone is able to attain it, Neo-Rational Heuristics, when paired with appropriate optional skills, allows for superior results. The precise determinism of Neo-Rationalism also allows reasonably accurate predictions of the future, giving some followers a spooky, nigh supernatural foresight events, thanks to Foresightful Planning. While not ubiquitous throughout the Empire, many Academy trained individuals are also Neo-Rationalist trained; some of the best admirals or investigators supplement their practice with Neo-Rational heuristics and foresightful planning.

Neo-Rationalism has modest anti-psionic benefits, mainly in the form of skepticism and the tight logic and mental discipline of a practiced Neo-Rationalist. Anti-Psionic characters, like Dawkins Nigh, like to subscribe to Neo-Rationalism, as it makes them feel like their strange powers have a purpose, namely in hunting down the “irrational” psions, and especially in proving their claims wrong.

Neo-Rationalists tend to ascribe inhuman feats of intellect to their founders. There might be a case for “supernatural” powers or some variation of the Illumination advantage, especially if Neo-Rationalism is “true.”

Neo-Rationalism 5 points

Limiting Skills: Philosophy (Neo-Rationalism)

Other Required Skills: Hobby Skill (Scientific Trivia), Literature (Rational), Writing

Cinematic Skills: Mental Strength

Techniques: Moral Insight, Philosophical Argument

Cinematic Techniques: Foresightful Planning, Heuristics

Perks: Brave, Chessmaster, Credentialed, Controllable Disadvantage (Callous), Cutting Edge (Neo-Rational Gadgets), Dabbler (Neo-Rationalist Skills), Instant Heuristics, Rules-Based Ethics, Schtick (Quote the Masters), Foresightful, Secret Knowledge (Heuristics only for Physical Phenomenon), Secret Knowledge (Foresightful Planning for Strategy only), Secret Knowledge (Mental Strength), Skeptic, Special Exercise (IQ may exceed 20).

Optional Advantages: Eidetic Memory or Photographic Memory, Foresight, Lightning Calculator or Intuitive Mathematician, Indomitable, Unfazeable

Optional Disadvantages: Callous [-5], Delusion (Psionic phenomenon are not real) [-5 or -10], Hidebound [-5], Intolerance (Irrational Philosophies) [-5], No Sense of Humor [-10], Odious Personal Habit (Smug or excessively truthful) [-5], Overconfidence [-5*], Truthfulness [-5*],

Removable Disadvantages: Alcoholism, Addiction, Bad Temper, Bloodlust, Compulsive Gambling, Gluttony, Greed, Impulsiveness, Jealousy, Laziness, Lecherousness.

Optional Skills: Administration, Criminology, Detect Lies, Intelligence Analysis, Mathematics (Pure), Meditation, Observation, Psychology, Research, Strategy, Teaching.

New Perks

Credentialed: This is a trivial reputation for how authoritative other Neo-Rationalists see the character. Apply credentialed whenever making a Reaction Modifier to see if another Neo-Rationalist will accept your testimony as valid.

Dabbler (Neo-Rationalist Skills): Covers Administration, Criminology, Detect Lies, Intelligence Analysis, Mathematics (Pure), Psychology, Strategy and Teaching.

Foresightful: The character may purchase one additional level of Foresightful. Normal characters may purchase one level, and Officers may purchase two.

Instant Heuristics: Requires Lightning Calculator. The character may use the heuristics technique instantly without any penalties.

Rules-Based Ethics: A more flavorful name for Technique Mastery: Moral Insight.

Schtick (Quote the Masters): The character always has an interesting quote from the Rationalist Classics, whether or not the player can think of one. The GM should never require the player to come up with something pithy and appropriate, and can assume the character has something appropriate to say.

Secret Knowledge (Heuristics for physical phenomenon only): The character may ignore the requirement for Illumination, however he may only apply Heuristics for learning truths about physical phenomenon, and not about moral truths or truths about psychic phenomenon. This explicitly applies to the skills of Administration, Crimonology, Detect Lies, Intelligence Analysis, Psychology and Strategy.

Skeptic: Found on page 24 of GURPS Psionic Powers.

New Skills

Hobby Skill (Scientific Trivia): The character can impress others with unimportant scientific facts, such as knowing pi out to 40 decimals, or the exact orbital distance of Sovereign from its sun, or the mass of all isotopes of oxygen. Generally used to impress other people interested in science, but might potentially act as a complementary skill for a science, engineering or math skill in circumstances where knowing an obscure bit of trivia is handy.

Closely connected to the philosophy of Neo-Rationalism is the literature of rationalism. Characters may use Literature (Rationalism), an optional specialization of Literature (thus IQ/A) as a complementary roll to generate a +1 reaction with anyone who values the Neo-Rationalist philosophy or to assist with Moral Insight or Philosophical Argument rolls.

New Techniques

Foresightful Planning (Hard)

Prerequisite: One planning skill.

Default: Prerequisite Skill-10; May not exceed Prerequisite skill.

Allows the character to buy off the -10 penalty for gaining one use of Foresight for the mission

Heuristics (Hard)

Prerequisite: Philosophy

Default: Philosophy-6; May not exceed Prerequisite skill.

See GURPS Powers: the Weird page 6.

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