Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Patreon Special: Space Ghosts Revisited

Ghost Cvlt by Ramsesmelendez

When I first dove into Communion itself, I wanted to break up the simplistic duality of “good and evil” that Star Wars offered. I don’t necessarily object to “good and evil,” I just find that it can sharply limit the sort of stories GMs might want to tell or what sorts of characters people want to play. I conceived of Broken Communion as the crux of that change, as it introduced something that both “Good” and “Evil” could face off against, (the “Ugly” of “the Good, the Bad and the Ugly”), or something that could redefine “evil.” What’s worse, someone who is selfish but mostly hurts themselves, or a broken person who hurts others without meaning to? I wanted Broken Communion to offer both a terrible evil to fight, and a terrible pain to heal, creating a tension that was neither really evil, nor really good, but still a potential problem.

The core of that “problem” would be in its effects on the psionic characters who interacted with it the most. Those who wielded it would find themselves corrupted by it, and those who entered areas sacred to Broken Communion would find their psychic powers twisted by it. I also suggested that Broken Communion, unlike other forms of Communion, might “create miracles on its own.” In principle, any form of Communion might do this (Miracles “just happen” all the time), but Broken Communion seemed especially prone to doing that.

I left the details up to the GM, but the theme of “haunting” definitely arose from the ideas in Broken Communion and the nature of its miracles. Where True Communion had themes of the holy and sacred and Dark Communion had themes of fantasy-esque “cool evil,” with raging orcs and demonic seductresses and dark wizards, Broken Communion had distinctly horrific imagery. The haunted spaceship, the mass grave, or the terrifying jungle full of stalking, squamous things might all be places steeped in Broken Communion. But I left the details of this up to the GM.

I have found, though, from the feedback of my fans, that many of you don’t really like this “leave the details up to the GM” mentality. It’s rife through GURPS, especially in books that don’t really succeed, while books that make those details much more explicit, including catalog books like GURPS Magic, or campaign frameworks like GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, tend to do really well. In retrospect, this makes sense: if you knew how to do it, you would, and you could ignore any details I give you that you dislike. If you can’t, a vague suggestion is of no help, but a highly detailed discussion of how it might work helps a great deal. Thus, it’s better to favor too much detail over not enough (provided that detail doesn’t become mandatory).

Thus, I came upon the handle of ghosts.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Scoping the Competition: Star Warsiors

Clearly, I'm not the first person to think about filing the serial numbers off of Star Wars and building my own thing. I wonder, though, if Psi-Wars can ever reach the dizzying heights of Star Warsiors, with its heroic Karate Farmer, his master, Wise Puppet, and the villainous Door Ladder.  You can check out the story here (and here)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Transcendent Principles: The Truths of the Cult of the Mystical Tyrant

The Path of the Mystic Tyrant is a path of transcendence. Those who walk that path violate the norms of the world and show that new things, never thought possible before, can be made to be true through the will of the Tyrant. This allows those who follow the path of the Mystic Tyrant to achieve unparalleled power, but at a cost.

Transcendent Powers are a new power-set available only to followers of the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant. Characters with Transcendent Master or Illuminated may freely learn or create them; other characters may use a Communion Oath to learn a transcendent power, provided a master is willing to teach it to him.

Transcendent Powers consist of the principle and the powers. The principle represents the world-view that the Tyrannical Master has imposed upon the world and represents a “category” or “container” of individual abilities, similar to how a psionic power contains numerous abilities associated with it. To gain access to a principle, a character needs an appropriate Transcendent Principle perk, after which he may gain any associated Transcendent Powers. Characters may only gain the Transcendent Principle perk if they have the Transcendent Master or Illuminated trait, or learn it from someone who does.

Transcendent Powers represent the effects of internalizing the Transcendent Principle. The character so completely believes the vision and so thoroughly changes the world with it that he is fundamentally changed. Thus, characters do not use Transcendent Powers, they have Transcendent Powers. Transcendent Principles can also grant access to new miracles, typically the miracles of Broken Communion paths, or entirely new miracles that the character may invoke.

While beyond the scope of most Psi-Wars games, the GM can allow characters with Transcendent Master or Illuminated to invent new principles and powers, using the Philosophy skill. A new principle is an Amazing invention, while a new power associated with a principle the character already knows is an Average invention.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Tinker Titan Rebel Spy Session 2: After Action Report

Talk. All they ever do is talk
As usual, I've had a busy month, but it's time to get back to the Imperial Psi-Wars playtest, so let's prep by talking about what happened last time.

If you haven't already seen them, two players have written their own reports:

They have more focus on what actually happened.  As usual, I will focus more on what was going on from the GM chair.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Transcendent Paths of the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant

The Cult of the Mystic Tyrant excels at enforcing its will upon an entire population and upon the very physics of the world. Thus, it should come as no surprise that they can force Communion itself into the shape that they wish, and that they regularly do so to create new paths.

The Cult of the Mystic Tyrant generally creates paths to serve its own purposes: to expand its power, to shape people’s destiny in such a way that suits them, or to grant themselves desired power. However, their mastery is imperfect, and they unintentionally create a backlash of destiny that can trap them down unwanted paths, or send someone’s destiny spiraling out of their control.

A Transcendent Path works exactly as a normal path and often mix and mingle elements of other paths to create a new cohesive whole. They have prerequisites, symbols, milestones and miracles, just as any path would. The drawback of a transcendent path can be found in its symbols and its milestones.

Most Transcendent paths have not one, but two opposing paths; this reflects the superiority of “natural” paths to “artificial” paths created by the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant. Transcendent Paths also have “corrupted” milestones, which reflect unintentional milestones creeping into their design as fate is exceptionally difficult to pin down. Transcendent Paths have normal milestones, which reflect the will of its creator, and one or more “Corrupted” milestones, which reflect how Destiny sees the true fate of the path; other than the themes involved, they are identical, and either can improve the Legendary Reptutation of the path-walker, and characters who fail to fulfill the milestone they face will find themselves ejected from the path.

Some transcendent paths have more of these problems than other. The Cult of Anthara’s ill-fated experiment with the “True King” path, which was meant to weld the best of the Exiled Master with the Mystic Tyrant to create a king that was truly beloved by all and always right, failed so spectacularly that nobody studies it to this day. Nonetheless, two of the more successful paths are listed below.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Psionic Disciplines of the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant

The Cult of the Mystic Tyrant concerns itself with more than just warfare. Beyond its mastery of Dark Communion, It requires the subtlety and majesty of Telepathy to enforce its dominion and secrecy and thus teaches many of its members in the arts of hiding their own thoughts, in controlling the thoughts of others and in ferreting out traitors and destroying them.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Martial Arts of the Mystical Tyrant

The Cult of the Mystic Tyrant has long made use of the Force Sword and the Psi Sword before it.  They readily adapt forceswordsmanship techniques from outside the Cult, especially the Fury Form of Domen Sonostrum and the Destructive Form of humanity.  In addition, they have two styles unique to their order.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Patreon Poll: The Cult of the Emperor

It's here!  For all of my $5+ patrons (Companions and better) I have the poll on the Cult of the Emperor.  In it, you'll get to decide on the origins of the Emperor, where he first encountered the Cult of the Mystical Tyrant, how he put his personal stamp on it, who serves him (and whom he serves), and what his name and ultimate agenda really are.  There's also additional questions about the Imperial Hand and the War Hero, the Emperor's Mentor.

If you're a Patron, check it out!  The poll will be running for one week.  I'd love to get your feedback.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Mystical Tyrant Schisms Part 3: The Cult of Revalis White

Revalis White, a human whose original name has been lost to history, served as a Knight of Communion shortly before the fall of that illustrious order. He believed in the teachings of True Communion, but found their pacifism intolerable when confronted with the evils he found throughout the Galaxy, especially the evils committed by Lucius Alexis and the atrocities committed daily in the far reaches of the Galaxy. His elders cautioned him to practice patience and to understand what Communion had in store for him, but he and his closest companion lost patience with the Order and left. He and his companion found something on the edges of the Galaxy, and returned, calling himself Revalis White and he had clearly learned teachings of the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant. He returned as the Prodigal Knight, and helped trigger the war against the Alexian Emperor, and then betrayed the Order, though he was unable to ensure their total destruction.

Revalis White, or “Thamet Revalis” had become a transcendant master during his journeys and happily taught his new path to those who would follow him. Unlike the other Cults of the Mystic Tyrant, he held none in his thrall as a slave. In his view, all could be and should be masters. He also did not reject morality; while he rejected the strict dogma of True Communion, he still wished practice virtue as he saw fit, righting injustices when he saw them, rather than when someone allowed him to. He believed strongly in personal responsibility, even if that takes one down dark paths. He argued that the mistake of True Communion was the same as the mistake of the Mystic Tyrant in only embracing one aspect of Communion. Instead, he tried to show his followers all facets of Communion, that the whole of that experience must be embraced and understood before one could truly become a Master of all Communion.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Patreon Special: The Cult of the Mystic Tyrant Preview 2 and the Emperor Thus Far

I have a twofer for you today.  First, I've finished the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant, and put this up as a preview for all my fellow travelers ($3+ patrons).  This fills out the more character-focused parts of the cult, offering three psychic disciplines, two martial arts (including the Maelstrom form, a new force swordsmanship form), two new Paths unique to the Cult, and Transcendent Principles and Powers, the ways i which transcendent masters reshape Communion and the world to their whim.

Patrons ($3+) can check it out here.

Second, this Friday we'll look at the fourth schism of the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant: the Imperial Schism.  The Emperor is not just a member of the Cult but a Transcendent Master and one of its more formative philosophers on par with Satra Temos (or is he?). His presence has created a new vision of the philosophy, and exactly what that vision will be will depend on you, dear reader. This vote will be open to all Companions ($5+ patrons), but in preparation for this vote, I've released the results of the previous imperial poll as a reminder. This is available to everyone.  Patron and reader alike.

You can check it out here.

As always, Patrons, I deeply thank you for your support.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Mystical Tyrant Schisms part 2: The Cult of Satra Temos

The Cult of Satra Temos

In the age after the Ranathim Empire died, the Ranathim philosopher Satra Temos revitalized and re-imagined the Imperial Cult as a brutally cynical philosophy and stripped it down to its core of mastery over Dark Communion. He cast aside the religious trappings of the Divine Mask and preached a doctrine of secret dominion. He opened his philosophy to all races, bringing the Ranathim together with the other denizens of the Dark Arm, such as the slavers, the Gaunt and even humanity, eventually, and united them all under a banner of Dark Communion. The Cult of Satra Temos could not restore the Ranathim Empire, but it did rule the Dark Arm of the Galaxy in secret, through its puppet conspiracies, for centuries until a shadow war with the Knights of Communion shattered its grip on power.

It may still lurk in shadows today, slowly regathering the reigns to power in the Dark Arm of the Galaxy, or tainting the intelligentsia of the Empire.

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