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What does a Scientific Mystic Virtual Adept look like?

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  • What does a Scientific Mystic Virtual Adept look like?

    What makes them different from a Scientific Mystic Etherite and a Technognostic Hermetic or Choruster?

  • #2
    What does their Ascension endgame look like and how do they get there?
    Last edited by Dwight; 02-20-2021, 09:02 AM.

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    • #3
      VAs are keen on numerology, and their views about the Hypersphere* have something vaguely gnostic about it: the Digital Web is a manifestation of a deeper level of reality where information is real — something that you can “physically” interact with.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
        VAs are keen on numerology, and their views about the Hypersphere* have something vaguely gnostic about it: the Digital Web is a manifestation of a deeper level of reality where information is real — something that you can “physically” interact with.
        How would you compare and contrast these four character types. I have a fairly CLEAR idea of what an Etherite mystic looks like: They start with Science or at least their personal echletic view of science as a first principle. There's is a world of "Energy beings" instead of gods. Where there's a rational and scientific explanation for the world ...its just a world that includes Ghosts and prayer healing and numerology.

        The Hermetic comes at it from the otherside they are the magician first applying technology to their already expansive set of symbolism magical theory.

        While the Choruster is full on religious view finding god in the machine.

        Between those three I don't really see what would make someone recognizinably VA once you start trying to peal off the cyberpunk asethetic....

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Lian View Post
          Between those three I don't really see what would make someone recognizinably VA once you start trying to peal off the cyberpunk asethetic....
          Isn't that the problem VA Always have?

          In general I see VA are more engineers than scientists. They did and do a lot of research on the IT and maths side, but their mojo it's usually diferentiated from other IT/math wizards by how they take all this technology to a practical end.

          Like how they tend to be described as Anarchists - note that Etherites have no such generalizations about HOW they use the science. For VA this "how" it's very important (in a sense that makes them akin to the Euthanatos, that could easily be Verbena if it wasn't for a different approach on how the magick should be used).

          Or how they're described as Hackers - a term that refers to breaking or taking something apart (Like breaking informatic systems, perhaps to rebuild or repurpose them)
          How does a mystical Hacker look like? Probably very post-modern. Gods or magic could be understood as "the code" for Reality hacking.

          Perhaps Gods are "users with privileges", that your hacker can Impersonate as with any User.

          I could see some Jungian-like theories about Archetypes, and how they build literal reality. This could jam with the Info-sphere thingie because ultimately an universal subconscious formed by symbols it's mostly code/data by another name. In a sense, its meme magick but with older memes

          Not many VA look into the past to do their thing, but repurposing the bogus age old symbols that made the source code of this flawed reality, into a new shinier reality - that sounds legit.

          You're the VA that suggested the name change to Mercurial Elite :P
          Last edited by Aleph; 02-22-2021, 10:39 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Lian View Post
            Between those three I don't really see what would make someone recognizinably VA once you start trying to peal off the cyberpunk asethetic....
            My own take is that the Virtual Adepts are, at their core, built on the idea that:
            • Information is Power because Information is Reality, ergo
            • If you can understand and manipulate one, you can understand and manipulate the other, ergo
            • Only the free and open exchange of Information will enable advancement and enlightenment.
            This is why they focus on Correspondence (and I really prefer the M:SC name of Connection as a more accurate descriptor of that Sphere), as it allows them better access to the Information which makes up Reality.
            Their will-working and foci have always revolved around processes and equipment which facilitate or improve the finding, processing, storage or manipulation of Information. While this includes such things as computers, surveillance systems, and telecommunications, it also covers advanced mathematics, social engineering, mnemonic techniques, bio-hacks, and psychic studies.
            One could, in theory, have a Virtual Adept whose entire style is built around the use of memory palaces, psychotropic drugs, neuroscience, lucid dreaming, and personal magnetism/charisma to enhance her already high level intellect, influence others (a modernist take on Ars Cupida) and eventually unlock psychic abilities.

            Among the VA sub-factions I've used in my own games (some more mystical than others):
            • The Memory Palace - A collection of linguists, psychologists and other researchers studying the unfettered power of the human mind. They use mnemonics, hypnosis, advanced mathematics and psychotropic drugs to investigate meme development, genius intellects, past life incarnations, and psychic abilities.
            • The Chaosticians - Esoteric mathematicians focused on complex and chaotic systems, trying to understand the cracks and flaws in data and in Reality. They work with fractals, chaos theory and social engineering, famous for their ability to create large scale reactions through minute alterations.
            • The Firebringers - Educators and activists of a radical and sometimes revolutionary bent, preaching that Information is Power. Masters of high-tech social magic, they work as community organizers, cultural historians, legal advocates, and professional trouble makers.
            • The Reality Hackers - Quantum philosophers and techno-gnostics playing with the very building blocks of reality, trying to unravel and directly recode the Tapestry itself. Considered either brilliant or insane (or both), they focus heavily on investigating quantum theory, superfluids, gluons, quarks, dark matter, DNA, and neuroscience.
            • The Dream Theater - Investigators into the human subconscious, "hacking" into the sleeping minds of others to experiment with dream constructs and subconscious programing. Most do this out of benevolent motivations or simple curiosity, but the entire group is viewed with suspicion and fear by almost everyone else.
            • Generation Omega - Originally escapees from Technocratic experiments in breeding and genetically engineering psychic abilities. They use the power of their hyper-evolved minds to maintain telepathic contact, perform remote viewing, control the minds of others, maintain their own bodies, and warp Reality itself.
            • Electric Voodoo - A cult centered in the Digital Web based around the temporary melding with a collection of various artificial intelligences, digital spirits and online elementals known as the Electric Loa. Practitioners expand their understanding of the Web and of Reality while channeling the power of modern concepts such as Credit, Nuclear Energy and Plastic Surgery.



            What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
            Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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            • #7
              I could see the Memory Palace treating human mindscapes in a manner similar to Digital Web sites; a bit like Inception. When another person appears in the mind that's being visited, the VA could use Correspondence to skip over to that person's mindscape, with the Correspondence Range being set by how accurate the representation is — thus, it would be easier to “mind-run” between people who know each other intimately than between people who are merely passing acquaintances, or complete strangers.

              I could also see that faction positing that sapient minds are connected to some portion of the Information Hypersphere in a manner similar to how computers are connected to the Digital Web; and a pioneering VA with enough dots in Mind and this understanding might use it to “step outside” the mindscapes into the Collective Unconscious of humanity. This could be played in a manner similar to the Astral Realms of Mage: the Awakening, and may or may not have something to do with the Astral Umbra and the Maya from Book of Worlds and Infinite Tapestry: just as the Digital Web is described as a Zone that intersects the Umbrae but is distinct from them, it may also be that this Informational Realm of human cognition might also be distinct. In fact, if the theory holds, it would in fact be part of the same Zone as the Digital Web; just far removed from it, save for brain-computer interfaces.


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              • #8
                The thing about the VAs is that they're practically Techgnosi/Scientific Mystics as written: their view about the nature of Information is borderline mystical as is. All that's needed to make them full-on hybrids is to go with different Instruments: say, an Abacus or slide-rule as a computational assist rather than a calculator or computer; or meditating on a book as a repository of information.

                In my games, I allow Correspondence to be used to alter the information content of a book, in a manner similar to how Mind can be used to alter a person's memories. Part of that is me borrowing from Mage: the Awakening 2e's Space Arcanum; but more generally, is because I view Correspondence (at least as the VAs see it) as being about meaning, making the Sphere relate to Mind in a manner similar to how Matter relates to Life. Correspondence isn't just the Sphere of connections; it's the Sphere of the formal disciplines: mathematics, statistics, computer science, information science, systems science; and on the more mystical side of things, numerology and Sacred Geometry.

                And that in turn gives another way to inject more mysticism into a VA: have her indulge in numerology and/or sacred geometry. This would tend to involve Prime, especially where sacred geometry is concerned. Sacred Geometry traditionally deals with Nodes and with the ley lines connecting them; I could see a Reality Hacker treating these as terminals networked together (with the Nodes as terminals and the ley lines as the network) which can be hacked into to cause changes to the surrounding reality, with Correspondence being used to access the ley lines and thus remote sites.

                Another possibility is rune magic — or, more generally, symbol magic. Again, Information: in this case, magical information, with each rune having a meaning that the VA can combine in various ways into a language of sorts that she can invoke to communicate with the source code of reality.


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                  The thing about the VAs is that they're practically Techgnosi/Scientific Mystics as written: their view about the nature of Information is borderline mystical as is. All that's needed to make them full-on hybrids is to go with different Instruments: say, an Abacus or slide-rule as a computational assist rather than a calculator or computer; or meditating on a book as a repository of information.
                  .
                  That's where I'm having trouble. I can see a core but it feels like once I start moving into incorporating older technology I've basically made an Etherite. IF I move too deep into Numerology I've made a Hermetic and so on. That making a Technognostic is much easier from the othersides....


                  Maybe if we walked through building a character?
                  Last edited by Lian; 02-23-2021, 12:14 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lian View Post

                    That's where I'm having trouble. I can see a core but it feels like once I start moving into incorporating older technology I've basically made an Etherite. IF I move too deep into Numerology I've made a Hermetic and so on. That making a Technognostic is much easier from the othersides....


                    Maybe if we walked through building a character?

                    One theme that I would use in building a mystic VA is that he is not dressing up magic as science or translating magical principles into science, or even doing magic with science. Instead he is someone who has discovered deeper magical truths within scientific principles and information. Even if some of what he is seeing bears similarity to elements of older traditions he's not going to abandon his current approach. Instead he will take it further and see what more modern principles reveal. Seven dimensional sacred geometry, numerology with Imaginary numbers,* etc.

                    *I know just enough to know that's ridiculous, but whatever.

                    To that end I don't see the VAs moving into older technology so much as moving beyond physical technology. If a mystical VA is using a slide rule instead of a computer, it might be less because there is something special about the slide rule and more because it is the mathematics that is the important bit.


                    Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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                    • #11
                      Exactly. Where Iteration X deals with material science, the Progenitors deal with biology, the NWO deals with social sciences, and the Syndicate deals with economics, the Virtual Adepts deal with the formal sciences. And when push comes to shove, all of the formal sciences can be reduced to mathematics.

                      As such, Virtual Adepts aren't engineers; they're mathematicians. And when they go full-on mystical, they get into weird math — thus my earlier references to numerology and Sacred Geometry. But as Ramnesis just said, they're not likely to go to Hermetic numerology or Sacred Geometry, except as a reference point. They're going to imbue their numerology with modern mathematical concepts and/or incorporate numerological concepts into their programming (more on this later); and their Sacred Geometry is going to feature and expand on the Poincaré Group of spacetime symmetries and their corresponding Noether's Theorem energies (e.g.: as momentum is to space and energy is to time, so too Quintessence is to the Hypersphere). This unifies Correspondence, Time, Forces, and Prime into a single mathematical model of reality, with a fairly easy extension from there to include Mind and Entropy as well: you could think of Correspondence, Mind, and Entropy as the Static, Dynamic, and Entropic expressions of Information.

                      Their preferred “rune language” is more likely to resemble Matrix's glyphs and coding than Futhark runes, the result of incorporating numerological concepts into their coding and vice versa; and while their preferred medium for working with their code is digital, it could also be written in a book or (with sufficient Arete) in their mind. All that truly matters is that once the code is written, it gets compiled and uploaded to the ultimate CPU, the Correspondence Point, by way of their personal connection to it, their Avatar.

                      And while I mentioned the slide rule, chances are that a VA interested in such things would be more inclined to branch out from there to all sorts of analog computers, of which the slide rule is just one example; others involve charts and graphs that map out mathematical correspondences. As Ramnesis said, it's the computing that matters; the analog devices are merely tools for carrying them out.

                      That said, you want to use the right tool for the job: a VA is unlikely to use an abacus (except as a last resort) because a pocket calculator can do everything that an abacus can, and then some. Analog computers are more likely to see use as there are things that they can do more easily than digital devices (although Trinary computers, not to be confused with their mundane namesakes, arguably cover that ground, too). That said, the big breakthrough that lead to digital dominating over analog is that digital devices can be programmable, whereas each analog devices needs to be purpose-built. A useful Device for an analog-inclined VA would be a programmable analog computer, such as a correspondence chart that changes in response to controls. But again, it's possible that Trinary computers render that moot.

                      Speaking of Trinary computers: one application of incorporating numerological concepts into coding can be seen here: while binary can be thought of as 0/1, yes/no, true/false, etc., it can also be thought of as Source/Sink — or, in mystical terms, Prime/Entropy. Which is incomplete, because we know that the Metaphysics of Magick are based around a trinity of Dynamism, Stasis, and Entropy. Thus, Trinary computing.

                      (I think I've mentioned before that if I were a mage, I'd almost certainly be a Virtual Adept.)


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                      • #12
                        I've had an Epiphany on what makes things different and I hope you can back me up on this Dataweaver. An Etherite Does Math To Build Something. A Hermetic Does Math to Magic. A Virtual Adept Does Science to Math. So the Mystic VA would do MAGIC to MATH. Pure Math is not a means to an end but an end in and of itself. There's is not about trying to use math to simulate reality it is something purer something above something transcendent. They have more in common as an end goal with the Akashics than anyone else..(thus the Matrix)

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                        • #13
                          In other words: it's not just that Everything is Data; it's also that Data is Everything. Yes. The Digital Web isn't a reflection of the Internet; the Internet is a reflection of the Digital Web. And the Digital Web is just the shallow end of Virtual Space.

                          In fact, you might think of Virtual Space as a bit (or trit?*) like the Supernal World from Mage: the Awakening second edition, with the Supernal Symbols being the Reality Code. The Mage Translation Guide even called this out: “Some aspects of the Adepts' paradigm are very close to Awakening's objective Supernal Realms.” This is even more true with Awakening 2e's take on the Supernal, where it isn't a world apart from normal reality, but in fact permeates normal reality.


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                            I could see the Memory Palace treating human mindscapes in a manner similar to Digital Web sites; a bit like Inception. When another person appears in the mind that's being visited, the VA could use Correspondence to skip over to that person's mindscape, with the Correspondence Range being set by how accurate the representation is — thus, it would be easier to “mind-run” between people who know each other intimately than between people who are merely passing acquaintances, or complete strangers.

                            I could also see that faction positing that sapient minds are connected to some portion of the Information Hypersphere in a manner similar to how computers are connected to the Digital Web; and a pioneering VA with enough dots in Mind and this understanding might use it to “step outside” the mindscapes into the Collective Unconscious of humanity. This could be played in a manner similar to the Astral Realms of Mage: the Awakening, and may or may not have something to do with the Astral Umbra and the Maya from Book of Worlds and Infinite Tapestry: just as the Digital Web is described as a Zone that intersects the Umbrae but is distinct from them, it may also be that this Informational Realm of human cognition might also be distinct. In fact, if the theory holds, it would in fact be part of the same Zone as the Digital Web; just far removed from it, save for brain-computer interfaces.

                            Memory Palace is giving me strong Persona vibes

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