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  • [Aberrant] More Teragen factions

    As the title suggest, I would like to create a new thread where we can share our Homebrew factions of the Teragen. I just feel like that there are too few in the manual, maybe they expand them in future supplements, but for the time being I would like to see your ideas and also share mine. Here's mine, let me know your thoughts.

    The disciples of the exalted path

    The greatest irony about this faction is that, although it's considered one of the factions that follows the original philosophy of Teras more closely, it started with someone who Divis Mal would have considered a joke at best and an offensive pest at worst.
    Philippe Allaire was many things to many people: Philosopher, new Age Guru, self-help author, professional counselor, charlatan, con man, cheater...but everything changed when he erupted. Before his eruption, Philippe was a college dropout from the Sorbonne university of Paris, it was his third time failing to graduate after trying with psychology and marketing. The issue wasn't so much a lack of intelligence but the fact that he didn't have the slightest idea of what he wanted to do with his life, something that bothered him but like the kids of many rich people he didn't really need, or wanted to, put the work to find out.
    That said, he was a social butterfly with an uncanny ability at helping people find their calling and improve their lives, or perhaps he just knew what so say to motivate people to go out and find those things. Quite the achievement for someone who (mostly) ironically described himself a professional slacker. In any case, using a combination of charisma, marketing, and a sincere desire to find meaning (while doing as little as possible) he decided to publish a self-help book that looked more like a collection of ramblings than a serious piece of reflection. Despite all odds, the book became a success and Philippe found himself catapulted to fame in record time.
    Soon there were calls for interviews, more book deals, and fans asking for advice or thanking him. His book became the start of a brand and a movement about self-improvement that combined the ideas of many philosophies without sounding like complete nonsense. Although the commercial nature of the movement was obvious, Philippe wasn't a complete cynic. More than anything, he wanted to believe in something and find his way, and he wanted to help others do the same. Then the pressure of the spotlight, the petitions of rabid fans, and a massive dose of impostor syndrome, pushed him to the edge and finally made him erupt.
    Perhaps as a result of his internal struggle, his quantum powers manifested in the form of a superhuman mind, with a level of composure, resolve and intelligence that no human could hope to achieve. At that moment, he gained a new sense of self awareness that finally, FINALLY, gave him the understanding he was looking for. Humanity was trapped, their potential closed within a mortal shell that limited their comprehension and forced them to wander through life without any deep meaning. It was his purpose, his destiny, to free humanity from their slumber and guide them into a new state of existence. Such ideals found a welcome home in the Teragen, which Philippe saw as the salvation of humanity and the stepping stone for novas to achieve their destiny.
    With this new perspective, he created the disciples of the exalted path, a philosophy that combined Teras, Buddhism, yoga, and new age self-improvement with the objective to transcend physical reality. He then used his fortune to create a series of spiritual retreats all over the world (some for humans, some for novas, and some mixed) to help them achieve transcendence. These places look like modern monasteries where through a combination of asceticism, study, meditation, science, and physical training Novas can search for transcendence in peace while humans can find ways to erupt. Nobody is forced to stay, members may join and leave at their leisure, sometimes trascendence has to be found out there in the world. It is also an open secret that Novas from all factions visit these places to relax and explore their powers.
    A simple life of quiet contemplation is not for everyone, especially for young Novas drunk on power and eager to leave their mark in the world. As a result, this is one of the smallest factions, but what they lack in numbers they more than compensate it with other facets. They are one of the most cohesive and organized factions which makes mobilizing that much easier, also although Philippe has mostly retired from public life he still commands a brand that has exploded in popularity since he erupted which brings money, reputation, and new recruits from all over the world. After all, wasn't the fact that he became a Nova proof that his teachings worked?
    This faction is for Novas who want to reflect on what it means to be a Nova by following a monk-like path without the distractions of modern society. This doesn't mean isolating oneself from the world, it's about understanding that, as a Nova, one should be above the "Basic", or "Petty", necessities and activities of baselines and don't waste time in things that don't have any deep meaning. Explore yourself and explore the world till you find your path to transcendence and be free.

    Last edited by IanWatson; 07-18-2021, 05:01 PM.

  • #2
    Personally, I'd be interested in seeing a 'spinoff' of the Teragen who are more truly transhumanist. Baselines are inherently inferior to Novas, sure, that's objectively true, and limits the pool of real peers a Mega-Intellect Nova (for example) can have...but should the goal, then, not be to figure out how to turn Baselines into Novas, eventually solving the problem of a limited peer group in the most direct way possible? This should theoretically be possible for a powerful and dedicated enough Nova scientist...

    This individual (almost certainly a really high Mega-Intellect Nova if it's one guy) or group, would probably get on a bit better with random people than the Teragen, but only a bit (they're still fundamentally saying that Novas are better, and no longer human on some levels) and wind up actually pretty opposed to the Teragen in few ways (anyone who believes in 'destiny' or wants baselines around to serve and worship them...that's a lot of the Teragen), and be a real game changer if they start being able to actually make Novas, but not necessarily in a good way for the world at large in the short term (depending on how careful they were). This is especially true if they can only cause Latent Novas to Erupt (which would almost certainly be the first thing they figured out...turning ordinary humans into Latent Novas would be a lot harder), because then you get people going to them and trying to become Novas and it not working, and that breeds serious resentment and unpleasantness.

    Something like this seems to create a more interesting story seed than new factions that are fully Teragen.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Deadmanwalking View Post
      Personally, I'd be interested in seeing a 'spinoff' of the Teragen who are more truly transhumanist. Baselines are inherently inferior to Novas, sure, that's objectively true, and limits the pool of real peers a Mega-Intellect Nova (for example) can have...but should the goal, then, not be to figure out how to turn Baselines into Novas, eventually solving the problem of a limited peer group in the most direct way possible? This should theoretically be possible for a powerful and dedicated enough Nova scientist...

      This individual (almost certainly a really high Mega-Intellect Nova if it's one guy) or group, would probably get on a bit better with random people than the Teragen, but only a bit (they're still fundamentally saying that Novas are better, and no longer human on some levels) and wind up actually pretty opposed to the Teragen in few ways (anyone who believes in 'destiny' or wants baselines around to serve and worship them...that's a lot of the Teragen), and be a real game changer if they start being able to actually make Novas, but not necessarily in a good way for the world at large in the short term (depending on how careful they were). This is especially true if they can only cause Latent Novas to Erupt (which would almost certainly be the first thing they figured out...turning ordinary humans into Latent Novas would be a lot harder), because then you get people going to them and trying to become Novas and it not working, and that breeds serious resentment and unpleasantness.

      Something like this seems to create a more interesting story seed than new factions that are fully Teragen.
      I agree with you. A transhumanist Teragen faction who saw the eruption of all of humanity as their duty would be interesting, especially when you think about how they would do it. Since they see themselves "above" human morality, their methods could get very dark...

      I get the impression that the Teragen as a whole and the factions in the book all start from the same idea: I'm a Nova, and the inferior baselines have no right to tell me what to do. They're basically a bunch of selfish, bratty teenagers with too much power. That can't be what Divis Mal had in mind when he proclaimed his philosophy.

      When I created the disciples, I wanted to portray a faction of Teras more in line with what I picture Divis wanted: Novas focused on enlightenment and transcendence.

      In any case, I hope we get to see a more in depth exploration of the Teragen in future books.


      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Deadmanwalking View Post
        Personally, I'd be interested in seeing a 'spinoff' of the Teragen who are more truly transhumanist. Baselines are inherently inferior to Novas, sure, that's objectively true, and limits the pool of real peers a Mega-Intellect Nova (for example) can have...but should the goal, then, not be to figure out how to turn Baselines into Novas, eventually solving the problem of a limited peer group in the most direct way possible? This should theoretically be possible for a powerful and dedicated enough Nova scientist...

        This individual (almost certainly a really high Mega-Intellect Nova if it's one guy) or group, would probably get on a bit better with random people than the Teragen, but only a bit (they're still fundamentally saying that Novas are better, and no longer human on some levels) and wind up actually pretty opposed to the Teragen in few ways (anyone who believes in 'destiny' or wants baselines around to serve and worship them...that's a lot of the Teragen), and be a real game changer if they start being able to actually make Novas, but not necessarily in a good way for the world at large in the short term (depending on how careful they were). This is especially true if they can only cause Latent Novas to Erupt (which would almost certainly be the first thing they figured out...turning ordinary humans into Latent Novas would be a lot harder), because then you get people going to them and trying to become Novas and it not working, and that breeds serious resentment and unpleasantness.

        Something like this seems to create a more interesting story seed than new factions that are fully Teragen.
        This is clearly a needed faction. It would have to make sense to some people that Nova powers ought to be the right of any who desire them. Five for Fighting got several things wrong about Superman in the song, but the biggest mistake was having Clark say "men weren't meant to ride with the clouds between their knees." No! "All are meant to ride with the clouds between their knees!"

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        • #5
          I'm liking this idea and want to see if developed more.

          've also started playing with a the idea of sub faction that is not hostile to Humanity, but simply more indifferent to humanity and it's nonsense. Not actively malevolent, but more of "I have better things to do that listen to you whinging on about whatever political or philosophical rubbish you are espousing. Such as self evolution." While not hostile towards baselines or other Novas, they are not friendly either. More of a logical outcome of those who have for one reason or another have grown weary of what they perceive to be needy overly-emotional 'children' who cannot stand up for themselves and are done with interacting with them.

          They do remain aware of potential impediments and user their various abilities to throw up roadblocks, annoyances, and other actions which signal 'back off' to others who intrude on their musings. They do have a fair amount of Novas and followers that exist to target various centers of power (financial, military, political) in ways that cannot be just ignored if the people on the other end are foolish.

          The bulk of the Teragen think they do not go far enough to cause damage, but the more intellectually disposed realize they are following the Teras philosophy just in a different manner.

          Project Utopia is not entirely certain just what they are looking at, but there are some who are starting to recognize that it's a sub-faction all of it's own, and some of it's predilections indicate something alien is starting to form. They just are not sure if it's good or bad. That some of the members donate to Project Utopia on occasion only confuses them more.

          Not come up with a name for it yet, but I've borrowed some ideas from the 'X-threats' book from Eclipse Phase as I intend this lot to be not very human any more. Not really hostile, but their moral compass has veered off in some weird directions.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Firanai View Post
            I agree with you. A transhumanist Teragen faction who saw the eruption of all of humanity as their duty would be interesting, especially when you think about how they would do it. Since they see themselves "above" human morality, their methods could get very dark...


            If it's a whole faction, definitely. Much like the Teragen being more interesting due to Mal being not precisely a villain, I think having the founder and the person furthest down the path of succeeding at their goal be fairly ethically sound makes the transhumanist faction more interesting, but if it's more than a few people in size someone's gonna be an extremist.

            Originally posted by Firanai View Post
            I get the impression that the Teragen as a whole and the factions in the book all start from the same idea: I'm a Nova, and the inferior baselines have no right to tell me what to do. They're basically a bunch of selfish, bratty teenagers with too much power. That can't be what Divis Mal had in mind when he proclaimed his philosophy.

            When I created the disciples, I wanted to portray a faction of Teras more in line with what I picture Divis wanted: Novas focused on enlightenment and transcendence.

            In any case, I hope we get to see a more in depth exploration of the Teragen in future books.


            That's fair. The biggest issue with truly philosophical Teragen who sit in a nice room and meditate is getting them involved in a plot and making players care about them. It's doable, but potentially tricky. They're also, as you say, gonna be rare birds given the appeal of doing things, though, of the official Pantheon, the Apothecary, and Bounty are both fairly close to this philosophy in some ways. Both are set up in isolated areas just...improving.

            Originally posted by Astromancer View Post
            This is clearly a needed faction. It would have to make sense to some people that Nova powers ought to be the right of any who desire them. Five for Fighting got several things wrong about Superman in the song, but the biggest mistake was having Clark say "men weren't meant to ride with the clouds between their knees." No! "All are meant to ride with the clouds between their knees!"
            Yeah. It particularly seems like a really logical position for a Mega-Intellect Nova who actually had baseline peers they really care about. I mean, if your spouse is suddenly no longer capable of carrying on a conversation at your intellectual level sure some people would give up on the relationship, or just suffer in silence...but somebody would also try and fix them so they could.

            More than most supers in other settings, Novas really are objectively superior to ordinary humans in ways that make interacting with them as peers really tricky. That's why the Teragen is such an interesting 'villain' group, they're largely terrible in many ways, but they're also objectively correct that Novas are better, smarter, more worthy on some level.

            Taking that attitude and spinning it away from the selfish ('We're better, let's explore that and ignore those lesser beings.') and toward the selfless ('We're better, let's make everyone else better, too.') creates a faction that's less villainous and philosophically objectionable than the Teragen, while hitting some of the same 'no longer human' thematic notes and being perhaps even more dangerous for the world in the long run. The conflict between such a faction and parts of the Teragen (the Pandaimoinium and Cult of Mal most notably, the latter who will almost certainly view this faction as traitors), is also a pretty ripe ground for plots the PCs can get drawn into, as is Novas (possibly including the PCs themselves) trying to get their own baseline friends and family transformed, how that works logistically (do you need to do favors for the faction, pay ludicrous sums of money, just ask nicely, what are the requirements?) and the potential consequences whether that succeeds or fails.

            Comment


            • #7
              I think one interesting thing to explore is that while a case could be made that someone with a lot of dots in Mental and Social Mega-Attributes (particularly Mega-Intelligence) is arguably in a different class than regular humans, the whole thing is arguably a spectrum rather than a clear-cut “humans are one thing, Novas are another”. On the one hand, you have the Stealth Novas, who are similar enough to baselines that it can be hard to tell them apart; but on the other hand, even a high-Quantum Nova who has developed powerful Quantum Powers like, say, Elemental Mastery is arguably still human in the sense of whether “your human notions of morality don't apply to to me” makes any sense.

              A Teragen faction that acknowledges that there isn't a clear-cut divide between baseline and Nova in the sense that “all Novas are sovereign and not subject to human laws” implies, but still insists that Novas can and often do develop to the point that they are to baselines as humans are to dogs, and which is pushing for cultural and legal changes to accommodate that continuum of states of being, would be something to look into. I could see that pairing up nicely with the “let's figure out how to turn everyone into Novas!” idea that was floated earlier, with terms like “human”, “transhuman”, and “posthuman” being thrown around to describe the gradual shift from baseline to unique godlike entity.


              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post

                A Teragen faction that acknowledges that there isn't a clear-cut divide between baseline and Nova in the sense that “all Novas are sovereign and not subject to human laws” implies, but still insists that Novas can and often do develop to the point that they are to baselines as humans are to dogs, and which is pushing for cultural and legal changes to accommodate that continuum of states of being, would be something to look into. I could see that pairing up nicely with the “let's figure out how to turn everyone into Novas!” idea that was floated earlier, with terms like “human”, “transhuman”, and “posthuman” being thrown around to describe the gradual shift from baseline to unique godlike entity.
                I like these ideas, they sound somewhat like an attempt in one of my older games. It's worth noting that a team of dedicated nova scientists trying to mass-erupt all of baseline humanity are probably going to discover (quickly) that there are 2 other options for them to choose from. This revelation might then be followed with the sentiment "well, ANYTHING is better than mere baseline" and have that faction running around trying to create demi-prometheus chambers to activate psiads or something similar to trigger Daredevils. That could get out of hand pretty quickly as they start "selling" powers to whomever the process sticks to. Even if there's a chance of fatality people would pay any price.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Darksol-aeternium View Post
                  I like these ideas, they sound somewhat like an attempt in one of my older games. It's worth noting that a team of dedicated nova scientists trying to mass-erupt all of baseline humanity are probably going to discover (quickly) that there are 2 other options for them to choose from. This revelation might then be followed with the sentiment "well, ANYTHING is better than mere baseline" and have that faction running around trying to create demi-prometheus chambers to activate psiads or something similar to trigger Daredevils. That could get out of hand pretty quickly as they start "selling" powers to whomever the process sticks to. Even if there's a chance of fatality people would pay any price.

                  I think based on current canon that latents can potentially go in any of the three directions (the 'nova potential' that is detected to make Superiors in Aeon's Nippon sometimes results in Talents when put through their process, for example), or at least many of them can, so whether this is quite how it'd work out is an interesting question. A pseudo-Prometheus chamber to turn such latents into Novas is definitely one of the earlier and more workable stages of the 'transhumanism' plan, though.
                  Last edited by Deadmanwalking; 07-19-2021, 02:27 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Perhaps a few of the Teragen would work on actually being Nova separatists, and try to start building a society consisting only of Novas, instead of Novas living in baseline cities, eating baseline food, using baseline infrastructure, entertaining themselves with Nova-scale versions of baseline politics and games, etc. Presumably they'd start with agriculture and industry and some attempts to influence the Daedalus League.

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                    • #11
                      Bear in mind that at some point before the Aberrant War ends, Eden is founded. I mention it because the social structure of Eden reminds me a lot of what many Teragens would imagine a peaceful relationship between baselines and Novas should look like.

                      Also, I don't think that an “uplift the baselines!” project would discover the existence of Talents. The aforementioned Nakamura Process from the Æon era does occasionally result in Talents; but they're not recognized as such: they're viewed as failures who remained baselines instead of becoming Superiors. I doubt that they're be able to discover psiads, either. But I could see them developing a process that creates an Aberrant-era counterpart of the Æon-era sub-Aberrants: enhanced baselines (specifically, no Quantum trait) who have the equivalent of Mega-Attributes, Mega-Edges, and/or Quantum Powers that were granted to them through Super-Science techniques. I say “the equivalent of” because this can't be done as Q-Tech; the only way to do it is as novatech, which generally starts by creating a Q-Tech version (e.g., a drug that can boost a Nova's Mega-Might) and then reverse-engineering it until he can create a version that will work on anyone.


                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                        I mention it because the social structure of Eden reminds me a lot of what many Teragens would imagine a peaceful relationship between baselines and Novas should look like.
                        I suppose that would hinge on whether you think of the Teragen more as Nova Supremacists okay with living alongside baselines as long as they are in charge or Nova Separatists who think baseline-Nova interactions are a hinderance to the development of Novas.

                        For an example of why I think it might be the latter in most cases, consider the Edenic defense of the Karoo mining colony. I do not see someone of the likes of Geryon, to pick one example, supporting the idea of Novas fighting and perhaps dying to defend baseline humans.

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                        • #13
                          There's room for both.


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                          • #14
                            At the 'current' point in Aberrant there is totally enough space in the Teragen movement for both, and in-between, and around, philosophies. Later on things start to crystalize as paths are chosen and others locked out, but at this time the movement is more a 'lets throw darts on the wall to see what sticks'.

                            By the way you can believe in Novas as something other than baselines and still believe that baselines deserve some care.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Given that Abberant is about a transformed world, why are the religious factions of the Teragen factions only Abrahamic? (Probably lack of detailed info on the religious beliefs in question).

                              Pol Pot was no one's idea of a devout and moral Buddhist but Buddhist ideas of purity were what Pol Pot warped and twisted into his bloodspattered doctrans. One could see both noble and perverse uses of Buddhist, Hindu, Yoraba, Taoist, or other religious paths. Picture a devout Confucian Teragen faction determined as the superior ones to impose social propriety on the USA. The chaos would be awesome.
                              Last edited by Astromancer; 07-19-2021, 08:33 PM.

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