Thursday, March 15, 2018

Templar Martial Arts

New Weapons

The Psionic Force Sword (the Resonance Sword)

When the Templars first came to the Temple Worlds of the Keleni, they brought with them the force-screen based technology of the force sword, which have a sleek, glass-like look to their blades, as they are formed from finely sharp and destructive force screens. This technology worked nothing like the Psi-Blades and Psi-Swords native to the Dark Arm of the Galaxy, with their intense light and diffuse blades. Over time, the Templars learned to combine both technologies, creating their signature blades which with a jewel-like appearance burning with an inner energy.

Treat a Resonance Sword as a Force Sword with half their normal damage, plus one die per 10 points of psionics abilities from the best single power the character has. The character may add his Talent for that power to damage, and may apply the special effect appropriate for the power currently energizing the blade from page 39 of Pyramid #3/51. A Resonance Sword has an armor divisor of 5 or the armor divisor listed in his special effect whichever is better.

A Resonance Sword must be constructed with an Eloi Fragment or a Psuedo Fragment. A Resonance Sword is double the cost of a Force Sword (that is, CF +1). Fine or Very Fine Resonance Blades do not improve damage, but instead improve the character’s Talent for the power currently empowering the blade (which also effectively increases the damage of the blade); +1 for Fine Resonance Blades, +2 for Very Fine Resonance Blades.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Psionic Arts of Communion

Traditional Keleni Healing Arts (Jalteran) 5 points

King Kashekim Nedakh by DrMistyTang
Jalteran refers to a specific guild of healers within the Keleni culture, thus referring to their preferred style of healing would be like calling Western medicine “Doctoring,” but nonetheless the word has stuck around. Jalteran is the unique practice of “folk healing” that the Keleni have been practicing for centuries and has become virtually synonymous with True Communion, to the point that those who practice the art might even call the location of practice a “temple,” and those who regularly attend for treatments might refer to themselves as “Followers of Communion.” Some healers embrace this, and also hold religious services on the side or act as mentors, while genuine Communion temples will also learn Jalteran to fulfill the dual expectations of those who come to their temple.

The Keleni healing arts derive their premise from the core principle that the physical is just a manifestation of the mental; this means that the health of the body is ultimately a reflection of the health of the mind. To purge someone of an illness requires that person to at least calm their mind and find harmony between their conscious mind and the subconscious id that rules their physical manifestation.

The most common forms of treatment are meditative. The healer first diagnosis the illness and what might be causing it; such diagnoses are often abstract, but some Keleni healers are astute psychologists and can find genuine psychological issues that the patient currently suffers from. Next, the healer guides the patient through meditative exercises, teaching them to turn their eye inward and calm whatever inner turmoil they have to better improve their physical state. To facilitate this, some healers learn the art of massage and interior decoration (creating a calm space will help create a calm mind). What effects this has tends to be questionable and ultimately depend on what the GM will allow Esoteric Medicine to do: it will certainly helps heal psychic issues (such as psychic crippling) and curing diseases that are psychic in origin as well as physician would cure the physical equivalent; for physical ailments, it generally does little more than provide a +1 to HT rolls to naturally recover.

While not required to learn the Keleni healing arts, most Keleni who practice them also study the Psychic Healing power, something Keleni naturally excel at. By putting the patient in a meditative state, they have a far easier time practicing their craft and their study of esoteric, psychic principles prevent them from ruining their target’s psyche or body during delicate procedures. Their near miraculous ability to heal nearly any problem via psychic healing contributes to the belief that anyone who engages in the trappings of the Jalteran will be as effective, which has led to a reputation of quackery. Rumors also persist of Jalteran sages who can cure aging and are thus both immortal and capable of granting that immortality to others. At the GM’s discretion, this can be true! But even if it is not, the perception of its truth drives many a wealthy or powerful man to seek out the finest Jalteran physician.

Keleni practitioners of Jalteran often have the honorific suffix -alta added to their name.

Required Skills: Diagnosis, Esoteric Medicine, Meditation, Philosophy (True Communion).

Additional Psionic Skills: Aura Reading, Cure, Disease Shield

Cinematic Skills: Mental Strength, Pressure Points

Secret Psionic Skills: Life Extension

Techniques: Introspective Ceremony

Perks: Auric Squint, Healing Bond, Healing Massage, Healthy Decoration, Meditative Massage, Secret Power (Life Extension, up to level 2), Sacred Healing, Soothing Touch, Stabilizing Skill (Psychic Healing, Esoteric Medicine), Wishful Medicine,

Optional Advantages: Psychic Healing Talent, Sensitive or Empathy

Optional Disadvantages: Charitable, Disciplines of Faith (Asceticism or Mysticism), Delusion (“Holistic medicine can cure anything”), Reputation (Quack)

Optional Skills: Artist (Interior Decorating), Exorcism, Expert Skill (Psionic), Teaching, Professional Skill (Massage), Psychology

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Traditional Keleni Martial Arts

New Weapons

The Resonance Staff

Jarael by Artpox
Ancient Keleni had long ago mastered many of the arts of psionic resonance, which allowed the wielder of a weapon or item to “attune” his psychic powers to the item. This might allow him to power the item or imbue it with an element of his own power. They called this technology “resonance,” and a resonant item has an aura, invisible to mundane senses, flowing around it.

A resonance staff is the most common application of this technology. It seems a standard staff, though it tends to be made either of a nano-tube cellulose that is “grown” for the purpose of forming a resonance staff, or made of a metallic nanocomposite. All forms have an embedded eloi fragment or a pseudo-fragment that can attune the weapon with the user. Once so attuned, the staff acts as an extension of the wielder: what the staff touches (or strikes) counts as “touched” by the user for the purpose of psionic powers. This has numerous combat applications: see the Resonance Charge ability below. Second, the aura around the weapon can be “hardened” to dissipate destructive forces. This means that energy weapons, such as force swords, can be parried without damaging the weapon, similar to the effect a neurolash-field can have on a force sword. See Resonance-Field Parry below.

Treat a Resonance Staff as a Quarterstaff, with a CF of +9 and an additional flat cost of $500 (thus a resonance quarterstaff costs $600). Add bonus damage to all strikes equal to the wielder’s best psionic talent.

The Psi-Blade

Where Keleni resonant weaponry had originally been for self-defense, with the Eldothic invasion of their homeworld, some Keleni repurposed the technology for greater lethality, so that they could murder their enemies. They created the first “psi-blades,” a technology described on page 39 of Pyramid #3/51 “Tech and Toys,” that allowed them to manifest their psychic energy as a purely destructive force.

Treat a Psi-Sword as described in the article above (with the same weight, cost, reach and other traits as a force sword) except that its damage is equal to +1d for every 10 points of appropriate psionic ability, with bonus damage equal the wielder’s talent, and with an armor divisor of 5 or the armor divisor noted in the appropriate psychic ability whichever is better.

Keleni traditionally created smaller weapons, such as the Psi-Blade, which is more comparable to a long knife than a sword. Treat Psi-Blades as using the same rules as Psi-Swords (but with the same weight, cost, reach and other traits as a force blade, from UT page 166), but its damage is +1d for every 12.5 points of appropriate psionic ability (or +2d for every 25 points) and bonus damage equal to the wielder’s talent.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Heterodox Virtues of True Communion

No! My heresy is just beginning!
Comprehending the fullness of True Communion lies beyond the reach of any single individual. While the three orthodox virtues capture perfectly the three paths of True Communion some among the practitioners of True Communion argue that they do not capture the totality of the virtues of True Communion or, perhaps, that they are but lesser virtues or distractions from the true virtues of Communion. The practitioners of Traditional Communion naturally have a low opinion of such attitudes and note that such heresy became rampant in the Knights of Communion shortly before their demise, but those who adhere to these heterodox Virtues seem to achieve genuine connection with True Communion in new and innovative ways!

Treat Heterodox virtues as identical to Orthodox virtues except for social attitudes. They may present a risk to the saint who adheres to them, but orthodox virtues have a similar risk in dogmatic devotion to ancient ideals. Importantly, following a Heterodox Virtue is not a violation of True Communion, nor a one-way ticket to a fallen state and becoming bound by Dark or Broken Communion.

The Knights of Communion have lost much since their fall, and the lingering chapters often only have a fragment of the original truths of Communion, and may have picked up new and innovative (or “heretical”) ideas about what true unity with Communion involves! Most such chapters have access to one or two Heterodox virtues!

Heterodox Virtues are not “invented” but “discovered,” usually through intense philosophical study and deep, meditative introspection. A GM who wishes to allow players to explore new heterodox virtues might use the invention system, with the governing skill being Philosophy; any such virtue is an Amazing “invention.”

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Orthodox Virtues of True Communion

A true master of Communion seems nigh divine in power, but this unstoppable power comes not from their command of Communion, but their unity with it. Its will is their will, and they are a living manifestation of Communion itself.

To achieve this level of oneness requires a deep mastery of the very nature of Communion, called virtues by the True Communion philosophy. After a student has learned to Commune with the infinite cosmic, their master begins to teach them one of the virtues of True Communion. At first, such a virtue seems limiting, requiring the student to strictly control their behavior, but eventually, as their behavior perfectly aligns with a virtue, they find that their facility with Communion grows and expands and they begin to manifest miraculous abilities within themselves. This is the source of the true power of all the great masters of Communion.

The True Communion faith has splintered under the weight of oppression. Without a singular guiding figure or doctrine, most followers of Communion turn to a local temple and a local abbot for spiritual guidance. However, each temple emphasizes its preferred facet of True Communion. Mastery of a virtue is the internal, spiritual equivalent to mastering a martial art or a powerful psionic skill: no living master of Communion has mastered every Virtue, and indeed, temples disagree as to which virtues should be mastered! As such, while all True Communion faithful accept the same basic precepts, the specifics and the depth of their devotion to particular values vary greatly. This can create conflict between temples, thus far little more than hurled accusations of heresy or dogmatic literalism, but on the other hand, some devotees to True Communion believe wisdom comes from a multitude of perspectives. Modern masters often take to wandering from temple to temple, learning the unique principles found in the scattered remnants of the faith and try to weave together a better understanding of the totality of Communion through the experience.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The State of the Patreon: March 2018

I find myself in a weird week, in that it's neither really February nor really March, so I think I'm going to just slink through it in confusion.  I'm also prepping to transition from one job to another, and this new job is quite demanding, so I'll have a little less time than before (I know, I already don't have much time, but we'll make this work!)

In any case, let's talk how the month went, and how I see the next month playing out.

February Retrospective

This month was all about True Communion, and it did very well.  I was on track for the best month in a long time, though readership dropped off quite a bit last week (Patreon week usually has less viewers, because a lot of readers aren't patrons and because quite a few patrons don't bother to hit this site first to log a view, because why would they?).  Still, viewer-wise, it was a very good month.  True Communion itself has been very popular; I doubt it's a surprise to learn it looks to be the most popular philosophy, but it's a not-Jedi philosophy that circles around Communion, which is a very popular concept for Psi-Wars.

The most popular posts (after the Psi-Wars primer, which always wins) were:
  1. The Beliefs of True Communion
  2. The Symbolism of True Communion
  3. True Communion: an Introduction
  4. True Communion as Esoteric Skill
  5. The Cultural Context of True Communion
I find the views very interesting, as the introduction usually tops out the views and the After Action Reports tend to be popular, but people mostly looked at the Beliefs.  What does that say? Are people into the philosophy of True Communion? Are they using it in their games?  Are there Space Templars running around that I don't know about? Interesting to speculate.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Patreon Post: More Transcendent Principles

At the culmination of the Cult of the Mystical Tyrant, I released three "transcendent principles," visions that followers of the path of the Mystical Tyrant could attempt to enforce upon the world to grant themselves unique powers.  Since then, I've had discussions with Patrons and fans alike about additional possible Transcendent Principles, and I wanted to share a preview of two more: Acausality (which allows the manipulation of time) and Inhumanity (which allows the manipulation of the mystic himself).

This post is available to all $3+ patrons. If you're a patron, check it out!  If not, as always, I'd love to have you!
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