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How to explain technocrats not knowing , some of their effects are obviously magical?

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  • #91
    Guide to the Technocracy was written right at the end of the 2e line; it was, if I remember correctly, the last book that Phil Brucato was involved in, and already showed the influence of the Revised Edition writers: MRev was already in development, so efforts were being made for GttTech to be compatible with it — including, if I recall correctly, some references to what MRev would call the Avatar Storm. So while it's technically a 2e supplement, it's one of three such supplements that could be treated as MRev supplements, too (the other two being Initiates of the Art and Masters of the Art).

    The notion that the Technocracy was infiltrated by the Nephandi is first stated clearly in M20; and even there, a point is made that the degree of infiltration is left entirely up to the Storyteller, with M20's now-famous “three routes” approach. Yes, the original Convention Books were written primarily from the perspective of the Technocracy as antagonists, and included elements that in retrospect could maybe be attributed to Nephandic influence (though honestly, I think it's just as likely that ItX's Computer was Weaver-related and not the sort of thing the Nephandi would have been interested in pushing). But it's just as possible — and to me, more horrific — that the Technocracy did that to themselves.

    As well, the effort to portray Technocrats as potential protagonists started long before MRev: the first hint of it that I recall was way back in the 1e supplement, Book of Shadows, which included a vignette about an NWO agent going up against a Cultist of Ecstasy who was responsible for flooding the streets of the agent's “beat” with drugs; that vignette was paired with text describing how to portray a Technocrat as a good guy. The point is that you don't need an Avatar Storm “severing the head” to reform the Technocracy — although I'll admit it helps. I mention that because M20 likewise leaves the question of whether or not there even was an Avatar Storm up to the Storyteller. You shouldn't be forced to invoke the Avatar Storm to portray the Union as a relatively sympathetic organization.

    Back to the topic at hand: I agree that the notion that “Magick isn't real” isn't a viable position to hold. As I stated early in this thread, a Technocrat who doesn't believe that Magick is real is in a state of Denial; and I'm perfectly fine with the notion that there may be a sizable population of Technocrats who are in Denial, as an unintended consequence of Conditioning (which, incidentally, is still very much a thing even in the Revised Convention Books). That said, I consider “Magick doesn't exist” to be a separate matter from “Enlightened Science isn't Magick”. And I believe it's possible to present the setting in such a way that the Technocracy believes the latter and isn't necessarily wrong. All you have to do is shift your mindset from “the Purple Paradigm is an ironclad truth of the game” to “the Purple Paradigm is what the Traditions believe to be true”. It becomes more of a “Blind Men and the Elephant” scenario, where both the Traditions and the Technocracy can point to evidence supporting their position; but neither side has it precisely right.

    With that approach, you don't need to resort to “the Technocracy was corrupted” as an explanation for why so many of their Enlightened agents don't believe that they're doing magick, which is basically just a variation on the same theme of “they've been brainwashed and deceived”: it just uses a slightly different explanation as to who has been doing the brainwashing. It's still essentially “the Traditions are fundamentally right; and until the Technocracy agrees with them, it will be fundamentally wrong”.
    Last edited by Dataweaver; 07-13-2019, 04:27 PM.


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    • #92
      Originally posted by mark View Post


      We clever Mage players know that what the Technocracy
      does is functionally magic. A trained Technocrat's
      Procedures are just magical workings using a scientific
      focus. Enlightenment is just a fancy word for Arete.
      However, 90 percent of the Technocrats don't know
      that! To the average agent on the street, it's all about
      science and training. ..i
      Remember, the whole idea of "influencing reality"
      and "willworking" is really only understood by the upper
      echelons of the Union, and they aren't talking.

      guide to the technocracy page 44
      90% of the Technocracy is not made up of mages.

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      • #93
        I'm a big fan of Psychic Technocrats because it lets me play someone who does crazy science stuff but also lets me blow up heads.

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        • #94
          Originally posted by Enginseer-42 View Post

          90% of the Technocracy is not made up of mages.
          I can see that. And while I still say that there's more of a difference between the Traditions and the Technocracy than just a matter of ideology (I don't think even the Enlightened Scientists in their ranks buy into the notion that they're imposing their will in reality), I can definitely get behind the notion that 90% of the Union consists of Extraordinary Citizens or even just ordinary people.


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          • #95
            I don't remember how numbery the Guide to Technocracy book gets but seeing as the Progenitors can just oven make agents, there's a lot of enlightened scientists.

            I know it says a majority of Men in Black are Clones and/or Enlighten Citizens just using Wonders/Perhaps doing Sorcery.

            Edit:
            Someone did these stats "http://i.imgur.com/eRVAoY5.png"

            It lists that sorcerers are super low in population compared to Mages, but the Technocracy seem to have a shit ton. Perhaps it doesn't include Enlightened Citizens under Sorcery even though the Sorcery book kinda/basically does.
            Last edited by Jihelu; 08-10-2019, 01:50 AM.

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            • #96
              Originally posted by Jihelu View Post
              Edit:
              Someone did these stats "http://i.imgur.com/eRVAoY5.png"

              It lists that sorcerers are super low in population compared to Mages, but the Technocracy seem to have a shit ton. Perhaps it doesn't include Enlightened Citizens under Sorcery even though the Sorcery book kinda/basically does.
              Ah, careful
              Those are stats done by our resident loomer who did a lot of demographics for oWoD in general, as well as Mage specifically in this thread: http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...aphics-of-mage
              He has a Database of a lot of book contents and builds up Statistics of characters, mentions etc.

              So if I recall right, what you see there regarding sorcerors are the *named* Sorcerors vs. *named* Mages. Best to check that thread.
              if in doubt, maybe we can get Loomer's attention.
              Last edited by Ambrosia; 08-12-2019, 05:16 AM.


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              • #97
                I'm a little late here but in that case, it's not named but known and doesn't include the biggest single hit of Technocratic enlightened citizens as, per the intent of the book's author, the 12,000 of them on the New Cop are mostly mundane humans and not sorcerors at all. There are actually very few named sorcerors and most of the high figures are just 'pop figures' - references in books (usually the ones introducing the craft) to 200 total or whatever. It specifically doesn't include 'ratioed' populations (e.g., if we know that there are five sorcerors to every mage, the added population of <x> sorcerors is a 'ratioed' population - one with no other information available other than that it must exist to meet the description of the setting, which came up most prominently in the Changeling demographics due to the Concordian parliament and the massive overrepresentation of Sidhe in the source material).

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                • #98
                  Huh, the demographics will be interesting to look at.

                  Anyhow relating to the original discussion.... anyone ever spend any length of time amongst 'hard' science fiction fans*? If you have, you'll note that they often argue (violently) over what qualifies as real and 'magical'. And the notions of what is 'realistic' have changed over the decades as the fandoms have changed and you have all these little camps that have their own views about what is or isn't right.

                  When you have a 'consensual reality' setting like WoD's MtA, it doesn't become hard to think that people's 'reality' of science might also differ.

                  case in point being FTL neutrinos or the EM Drive over the last few years. I've seen TONS of argument over whether those are realistic or not. Or things like wormholes, or alcubierre drives, or so on and so forth.

                  I've also seen some explanations of the underlying physics of a laser that are insanely realistic and quite plausibly near-future (given certain assumptions) as well.

                  A variation of that would also be (from the mage perspective) how sorcerers, vampires, Werewolves and the like can all have 'static' magic that doesn't invoke paradox. Or psychic powers invoking paradox. They represent a specialized sort of 'consensual reality' in the same vein as UFO believers, ghost chasers, believers in psychic phenomena and fortunetellers, and the like (some of which were examples given in books like Sorcerer, IIRC.) Some sort of near-future hard-scifi nerd explanation for a pulse laser rifle would probably be the Technocratic Union equivalent of static magic.

                  *I'll note I'm speaking as probably one of those math obsessed, technophillic nerd types, so this is somewhat self-referential. lol

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                  • #99
                    I think saying 'All Technocrats should feel stupid they actually do magick ha!' is in the same realm of silly as people going "Heh, my atheist friend said 'thanks' when I said 'bless you' when he sneezed, I knew he was a Christian in denial!"

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                    • Originally posted by Jihelu View Post
                      I think saying 'All Technocrats should feel stupid they actually do magick ha!' is in the same realm of silly as people going "Heh, my atheist friend said 'thanks' when I said 'bless you' when he sneezed, I knew he was a Christian in denial!"

                      I think it's the other way arround.

                      The atheist friend says thanks w/o accepting the implications (thanking the intention or because it's tradition, not because there's an actual blessing). No problem there, right?...

                      ...well, what if there was an actual, undeniable, physical blessing that the atheist it's actively and consciously trying to gain by saying 'thanks' (and therefore beliveves in it) while at the same time he denies any value to those Christian words?.

                      In that case I think everyone would think the atheist it's being stupid or blind...unless he can give another, scientific (or at least not religious), explanation of why those words and only those words produce the "blessing effect".

                      That's where you need to step on to understand Technocrats. It's not that they're silly to call science what they do, Traditions are silly to call it magick (from their PoV, of course)

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                      • Exactly. This thread is at the heart of my interpretation of Mage's metaphysics, and why I cannot accept the idea that the Purple Paradigm (that reality is fundamentally subjective, and that magick is enlightened will altering reality) is there absolute, incontrovertible Truth.

                        It can and should be what the Traditions believe, and there should be enough supporting evidence for it that they're not being foolish when they accept it as true. But by the same token, the Technocracy needs to have an alternative to the Purple Paradigm with its own supporting evidence so that their worldview also isn't obviously foolish for ignoring a blatant Truth about reality. This wasn't so much of a concern in the early days of the game when the Traditions were the game's protagonists and the Technocracy existed solely as a monolithic oppressor for them to fight against; but the more the game has evolved, the more it has tried to make the Technocrats viable alternatives for the game's protagonists. And in that role, they can't be, as I tend to phrase it, all liars or dupes.

                        So how do you set up a world in which two seemingly opposed views about the fundamental nature of reality can both potentially be true? Very carefully; you have to thread the needle. And the first thing that you have to do is to remove the notion that either of their views is absolutely true. In order for there to be the possibility that the Technocrats might be right, there must also be the possibility that the Traditions might be wrong. And vice versa. So there ultimate Truth of the nature of reality can't be known; it must still be up for debate, as much as both the Traditions and the Technocracy might think otherwise.

                        Then you need to construct a worldview for the Technocracy that, while being opposed to the worldview of the Traditions, isn't brittle and overly simplistic and thus easily disproven. In particular, it shouldn't deny that what the Traditions do is possible; just that it's not what the Technocrats do, and that there are good reasons why not. To deny the evidence in front of your eyes would be insane.

                        Which is where the innovation of dividing Quiet up into multiple types factors in: like it or not, there are Technocrats who hold a belief system that's incompatible with reality — the aforementioned liars and dupes from earlier editions. My take on them is first, that they're wearing metaphysical blinders — what MRev called Clarity and what M20 calls Denial — and second, that they're in the minority. A loud minority that gives the entire Union a bad reputation; but still a minority.

                        This not only explains the earliest takes on the Technocracy's perspective, it also lets you use the Union in that way even in the modern, more enlightened interpretation: if you want a cabal of Traditionists to throw down against a construct of Unionists who unironically refer to them as superstitionists and don't believe that magick is real, just say that they've succumbed to Denial. Maybe even throw in a Negative Man or two into the mix just to make them a bit more dangerous.

                        But again, that should be a minority view in the modern take on the Technocracy. The modern Technocrat should allow that magick is real, but it's not what Technocrats do. And if magick has benefits that Enlightened Science lacks, then the opposite should also be true. Fortunately, even by the rules as written, it is. Where Traditionalists can surpass their instruments, Technocrats can mass-produce Wonders. I like to supplement that with them also having an easier time instructing Extraordinary Citizens to use procedures, both because Extraordinary Citizens with a Technocratic mindset are more common then adepts with a Traditionalist mindset and because the Union has superior teaching techniques. This gives a practical reason, not just an idiological one, for the Union to prefer Enlightened Science. It also serves as a challenge to the Traditionalist notion that We Are All Gods In Disguise, reinforcing the notion that they might be wrong. On the other hand, the fact that a Technocrat can become a Traditionalist and vice versa challenges this notion that Enlightened Science and Awakened Magick are two different things. Both sides have ways of resolving the dilemmas posed to them; so the debate continues.

                        So, what is this worldview that the Technocracy holds? At it's heart, it's that the key to what they do isn't Willpower; it's Enlightenment. There are objective laws that reality obeys; but they're complex, and have many edge cases. Enlightened Science involves identifying those edge cases and using their instruments to exploit them. To the extent that Willpower matters, it's only in the sense that Science requires self-discipline.


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                        • That there is the metaphysical cornerstone of this thread and how it relates to the concept of Paradigm in general. Every single Paradigm has to account for the possibility of every other, with caveats to validate itself. Even if a craft remains in complete isolation, they would still have to adapt their reality model if and when they encounter other crafts.
                          That's why 1ed Technocracy lacked coherence with the setting, while revised and 20th are trying to correct that

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                          • Originally posted by El Barto View Post
                            That there is the metaphysical cornerstone of this thread and how it relates to the concept of Paradigm in general. Every single Paradigm has to account for the possibility of every other, with caveats to validate itself. Even if a craft remains in complete isolation, they would still have to adapt their reality model if and when they encounter other crafts.
                            That's why 1ed Technocracy lacked coherence with the setting, while revised and 20th are trying to correct that
                            Yeah so an example I like is the Psychic Technocrat who has a very convenient explanation for RDs they encounter.

                            "Oh so you hocus and you pocus and suddenly the tree is on fire. You're just activating latent psychic abilities using a ridiculous and archaic crutch."

                            I mean it explains everything. It's all latent psionic powers being channeled through methods which make sense to the deviants.

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