Thursday, October 5, 2017

Akashic Ancestor Veneration

I want you to think back to the house you grew up in as a child. And I want you to picture a room in that house that didn’t exist. I want you to pretend it did. The whole time you were growing up, into your adolescence, until you leave home, you’re aware of this room in the house. And the room has faces on the wall. Dead people’s faces. The faces of dead people who are related to you. The faces are made of wax. And they were made immediately upon death of the individual whose face it was. The wax was put on the face and like a modern version of a wax museum, an accurate representation of your dead ancestor was made and was put on your wall, connected by a painted line to his ancestor, your even earlier ancestor, whose wax face, also made after death, was on the wall. And that is connected by another line to his ancestor whose wax mask is there as well. These may have been full color versions of these ancestors of yours. And their names were there. And from your very earliest childhood memory, you’re aware of this room, you’re aware of these people, who they were and what they did. It’s a little freaky, isn’t it? Now you know how Julius Caesar felt while growing up.” --Dan Carlin, Death Throes of the Republic

The Akashic Order focuses to intently on the Maradon families to simplify their work in manipulating the future. Rather than track an entire galaxy worth of lives and variables, they mainly track the handful of lives of the aristocracy, looking to the future to see how their eugenic programs and their political machinations pan out in regards to those specific families. They also look at the various possible futures that where the Coming Storm is solved and see what role the various members play in the resolving of the crisis.

The Akashic Order needs to ensure that the galaxy stays on the necessary path to reach that point where the Coming Storm can be averted, and that the various individuals they have ordained as the solution to the problem act as necessary. To accomplish this, they carefully constrained the choices of the aristocracy through arranged marriage, political appointments and offered prophecy. This both put them on the desired track, and created an increasing resonance across time. Changing the life of an ancestor impacted the descendant like a rippling sine-wave, creating patterns throughout time. To ensure these patterns propagated forwards and backwwards, the Akashic Order promoted Ancestor Veneration.

The Akashic Order chooses particularly noteworthy and iconic ancestors and polish their life story and turn them into icons of how one should behave, or possibly, how one shouldn’t. During the Mystery Play, they give selected descendants the names of noteworthy ancestors and have them act out a symbolic version of their ancestors deeds, driving home particular points on how that specific person, a member of the same bloodline, should behave. This resonance, taken together, creates a destiny that propels the descendant on that particular path.

But some particularly driven members of the aristocracy report something else as well. They begin to attune to the memories of their ancestor and they often repeat the heroic deeds of their former ancestor. Their lives begin to line up with that of their ancestor. Practitioners of True Communion argued that what the Akashic Order had unintentionally done was create paths bound to bloodlines, that their ripples in time was really ripples in Communion, that by creating powerful stories, they reshaped how people perceived the nobility, and how the nobility perceived itself.



The Manifest Destiny of Genetics

Every house has a collection of noteworthy ancestors that every member of the bloodline knows well, likely a dozen or more ancestors, but this document will only detail three per house. The three coincide most closely with the three fates of each house.

The True Fate represents the outcome desired by the Akashic Order. Ancestors that follow this are held up as the heroes of the house. Such destinies tend to be highly constrained, and bound up in serving the Akashic Order and the (now dead) Alexian line.

The resonance set up by the Akashic Order can also go horribly wrong. The Akashic Order invests so much time and power into so few individuals that if they wish to derail their own fates, they can often do so spectacularly, but predictably, and have done so in the past. This is called the Dark Fate of the house, and the Akashic Order selects some ancestors who went abused their power and their fate to achieve their own ends and whose actions threatened to derail the Golden Path, and holds them up as villains.

Finally, some aristocratic ancestors managed to spring themselves from the trap of Akashic Ordr and chart their own path. The escape is typically similar for most members of a House, and this is referred to as the Free Destiny of the house. The Akashic Order notes ancestors who did this, and hold them up as rebels and rogues, but they tend to hold an intriguing allure for more free-thinking members of the House.

Characters who wish to have such a destiny may take the appropriate Destiny trait listed with the appropriate ancestor.

The Path of Ancestry

Members of a House may unwittingly follow a Communion Path specific to an ancestor. Characters attuned to Communion may do this as they would walk any path, provided they can fulfill the prerequisites for the Path. However, few Alliance characters have access to Communion and, instead, follow a path unintentionally, via the Archetype (Ancestor) advantage.

Characters who wish to take an Archetype (Ancestor) advantage must have the proper bloodline perk (that is, to follow the path of Sissi Sabine, one must be a Sabine). Instead of symbolism, those who follow a path gain a bonus to Communion reaction rolls equal to their Bloodline Purity. Players who wish to invoke an Archetype (Ancestor) miracle must spend an impulse buy point, but impulse buy points from the appropriate destiny may always be spent to invoke such a miracle. Finally, all Ancestral paths, unless otherwise noted, require a -10 point Obsession in the Legacy of that ancestor. The character feels driven to fulfill their legacy and complete their work!

Archetype (Ancestor) 15 points

Prerequisite: the appropriate Bloodline perk.

The character’s life so aligns with the legend of a particular ancestor that they may invoke Communion miracles based on that legend. The character never wittingly does so, and characters with this advantage have no conscious connection or control over Communion. Instead, the GM may invoke a miracle at his leisure, and the player may do so for one impulse buy point. After invoking a miracle, roll a Reaction roll as normal, but instead of applying the symbolic modifiers, apply the character’s Bloodline Purity value as a reaction bonus. Treat any value as less than Neutral as Neutral.

Ancestral Path Features

Each ancestral path comes with an associated Destiny trait, a Legacy, Milestones, and Miracles.

Destiny

Each ancestor is strongly associated, by legend, with a particular form of Destiny. This destiny is explicitly compatible with the appropriate Archetype advantage, but is not dependent on it. A character without the Archetype advantage or Communion may purchase it.

Legacy

Characters who follow an Ancestral path must have a -10 point obsession disadvantage to fulfill the legacy of their ancestor. This is in place of the -10 disadvantage for True Communion Paths. Some ancestors do not have a Legacy, in which case they’ll have some alternate modifier worth -10% instead.

Milestones

Ancestral Milestones work similarly to Communion milestones. A character with the right destiny can always attempt to set up such milestones, and violating a milestone violates the Disciplines of Faith (Ritualism) required to maintain the Path, and thus temporarily strips them of their advantage. Milestones tend to reflect major moments in the life of the character.

It should be noted that the Milestones tend to reflect a stylized, legendary version of the events of the ancestor’s life, appropriate for the Akashic Mystery Play. They’re not necessarily accurate representations of the actual ancestor or their life.

Miracles

Each Ancestral Path has Miracles associated with it, either out of a general pool of common miracles, or miracles specific to the path. When the Ancestral Path is invoked for a miracle via the Archetype advantage, the player may never specify what miracle it is. Instead, the GM always chooses what miracle occures. Characters accessing an Ancestral Path via their Communion advantage may specify miracles as normal.

Both characters with the Archetype advantage and the Communion advantage may take Ancestral Miracles as Learned Prayers. Characters with the Archtype advantage do not need to spend a character point to access a learned prayer, but may have miracles worth no more than 15 points (that is, that cost 3 points as alternate abilities).

Common Miracles

All Ancestral Paths share the following Miracles.

Ancestral Confidence
Minimum Reaction: Neutral

Learned Prerequisite: Communion 4 or Archetype.

Learned Prayer Cost: 3 points.

As Confidence (Divine Favors page 8).

Ancestral Focus
Minimum Reaction: Neutral

Learned Prerequisite: Communion 4 or Archetype.

Learned Prayer Cost: 3 points.

The drive ancestors feel to complete some unfinished task can propel the character to new heights of skill! The character gains +3 whenever attempting to complete the Legacy of their ancestral path for the duration of the miracle (which lasts for one hour, or until it has assisted with at least one roll, whichever is longer).

Statistics: Higher Purpose (Legacy; Divine Path: -15%) +3 [13], Optional Rule (Higher Purpose may stack) [1]

Ancestral Skill
Minimum Reaction: Neutral

Learned Prerequisite: Communion 5.

Learned Prayer Cost: 4 points.

The character, for just a moment, begins to move and act as the ancestor once did. If the ancestor knew a skill that the character needs, the memory of that ancestor rises unbidden to bestow that same skill to the character. Sometimes, the descendent even retains a fragment of this knowledge! Once per day, after invoking this miracle, you may use any skill that you don't know at IQ or DX for one roll (or for a series of closely related tasks, at the GM's discretion). If he has any spare character points, he may spend one on this skill, learning it instantly, though for the first month he's at -2 and cannot spend any further points on it.

Statistics: Wild Talent (Focused (Only skills my ancestor had) -20%, Divine Path -15%, Retention +25%) [18]

Ancestral Wisdom
Minimum Reaction: Good

Learned Prerequisite: Communion 7.

Learned Prayer Cost: 7 points.

The character can call upon the memories of their ancestor to learn what they knew. An ancient building might seem familiar, while an old enemy might provoke a sensation of deja vu. Successfully invoking this miracle gives the character the impressions of their ancestors memories, which must be interpreted with an appropriate Philosophy or Theology roll (generally Theology (Akashic). Success means you gain access to the desired information, provided they had it (if they did not, you will know they did not know). Critical success allows one to vividly replay the memory.

Statistics: Racial Memory (Active; Divine Path -15%) [34]

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