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[Aberrant] Society engineering, memetics and developing a philosophy.

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  • [Aberrant] Society engineering, memetics and developing a philosophy.

    What stats and skills would be necessary to create a new philosophy or system of government? For example, what would you need to have in order to come up with a rival philosophy to Teras? And it was noted in Aeon that the Chinese government runs so well despite its size and representing so many different cultures in part because of it being tinkered with by a Nova. Presumably another Nova could come up with a system of government that would function very well. What would a PC need to replicate that? It's not just being charismatic, it's actually building a system that can be run by Baselines that will create what the person who designs the government would consider ideal. Is mega-intelligence enough, or would you also need mega-manipulation or perhaps just mega-manipulation?

    And if someone Erupts and takes one look at the philosophy of Teras and goes, "Man, screw that! I'm going to make my own philosophy about how best to apply being a Nova to an individual's personal growth! With blackjack! And hookers!" how would they go about it? Without, of course, the blackjack and hookers. That was just a funny Futurama reference. Unless...?

    Something that surprised me was that nobody in universe made some kind of philosophical counterpoint to the Teras philosophy. Like, an actual codified way to reconcile being a godling and being human rather than just discarding humanity and human considerations to focus on your own growth. And not just going, "nuh uh" to Teras. It seems like Novas who aren't Terats are just spiritually and philosophically adrift. Like you either have Teras, which despite its flaws as a philosophy and being very Randian (something I consider a flaw because I'm not a fan of the works of Ayn Rand), actually has verifiable benefits for Novas in dealing with Transcendence, and then you have non-Terats who don't have anything. There is Grounding, but that seems like a very unstructured process when Teras has Chrysalis that has an entire philosophical underpinning for how it works. In the same way that Chrysalis is associated with the philosophy of Teras couldn't Grounding be associated with some kind of structured philosophy with actual benefits? Like making Grounding easier, reducing difficulty in dealing with Baselines and perhaps allowing you to choose your Transformations? Choosing Transformations might specifically be a Teras thing, but I figure if someone developed a "Paragon" philosophy about being a hero and embracing the idea of Great Power coming with Great Responsibility then they might be able to guide how their Transcendence manifests by embracing a heroic ideal.

  • #2
    As I've started elsewhere, I wouldn't allow Grounding to mitigate the effects of Transcendence; I'd just allow it to mitigate Transcendence itself.

    My initial reaction to your suggestion was “why?” If you're going to provide a means to use Grounding to fight Transcendence, why present it as a secret that only those who buy into a specific philosophy have access to? Why not just make it something that anyone who engaged in Grounding gets to do?

    But then I thought about it a bit more, and a possibility occurred to me: this could be story fodder, with the inventors of this philosophy and its secret technique for fighting Transcendence working hard to evangelize, spreading the secret as far and wide as they can until it isn't a secret anymore, and where the philosophy is so ubiquitous that anyone who wants to stay human despite high Quantum levels can do so without needing to join a secret society first.

    That is, take the standard setup four TC:Ab as your starting point; introduce this humanitarian philosophy as a new element; and run the chronicle with the the overall goal being to bring about the ubiquity of this new element. In the long term, it might even be an effective way to change the timeline so that the Aberrant War never happens; although that might be a bit too much to hope for.

    I'm pretty sure the Super-Science rules could be adapted for this purpose. Maybe treat the new philosophy kind of like inventing and spreading a virus, except this “virus” is psychological in its nature, not biological. Look up the original concept of the meme (before it became shorthand for “pictures on the internet”) for more on the analogy between the transmission of ideas and the transmission of biological agents.

    And given that nature, it probably has more to do with the Social Attributes than the Mental ones: it's all about how people relate to each other, after all.


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    • #3
      Oh, the point isn't to make it secret. The point is to make it at all. Like some bright individual working for Utopia, or just someone who can see the problem of Nova's growing in power and Transcendence related issues adding to the problem of Nova-Baseline relations takes a look at Teras and thinks, "Yeah, but how about something like that but not abandoning your humanity and claiming yourself as a sovereign nation, exempt from all rules?" The idea is that anybody who has the motivation to create such a philosophy would spread it as far as he or she could. Because, like Teras, presumably it would be the philosophy itself that allows someone to deal with the downsides to being a Nova.

      My main motivation with this idea was that if I was thrust into the Trinity Continuum in the Aberrant section of the timeline, and I had the ability to choose my Nova abilities, my path towards stopping the War would be with coming up with a counterpoint to Teras. The fact that the only workable means of actually dealing with the Nova condition was worked created by Misanthrope Supreme and people who idolize him is pretty Not Good. What if there was a philosophy that helped Novas really deal with the issues that come up with being a Nova and it exemplified self-sacrifice, unity and hope?

      I do like the idea of jury rigging the Super-Science rules to work with making, I don't know what you would call them, memetic creations? Maybe using humanities as the main crafting skill? Not sure about using the social attributes for the rolls, though. Creating a philosophy or system of government is dealing with people, yes, but it isn't really socializing. You're creating systems. Seems methodical enough for intelligence to apply.

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      • #4
        I would say use the Super science rules for this. There is an example in The Adventure! Manuscript of a super science examples on page 146 is "The Equation to Determine the Root of Power" a One time use item that's an equation to control a social situation. Creating your own societal structure sounds like just a much more advanced application of that.

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        • #5
          I don't inherently view teras as the bad guys especially in the new edition (first edition in my view they had a more antagonistic role). There are some novas that follow teras but are still nice guys plus I don't think you need to strictly adhere to teras to use chrysalis. This is only my opinion and how I view teras, it's like a lot of beliefs or philosophies there will always be extremists or people willing to use them as excuses to do all sorts of unethical or immoral acts.

          You could do quite a few stories exploring novas that are for and against teras. Regardless of whether novas and baselines believe novas to be human or not they have to accept they are different from baselines. Novas aren't subject to the same limitations as baselines and with training and effort wield godlike power. However you see it having basically no limits and wielding that kind of power will change a person, especially over time and with potential lifespan of a nova. They way I view the setting is that the mindset that novas were just humans with superpowers was dangerously naive and contributed to the aberrant war because novas didn't learn to accept and control their own potential, many novas just treated their powers as a shiny new toy and made no effort to actually understand their new state of being.

          But I am curious as to what sort of humanitarian philosophy you come up with to counter teras. It would be interesting to see how it would run in a story.

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          • #6
            The fact that Novas are demonstrably different the Baseline humanity is why I'm surprised no one in universe made a counterpoint to Teras rather then just stubbornly point to the Zurich Accords rather then deal with the fact that Novas wield powerful energies that increasingly alienate them from the rest of humanity.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Planguy View Post
              The fact that Novas are demonstrably different the Baseline humanity is why I'm surprised no one in universe made a counterpoint to Teras rather then just stubbornly point to the Zurich Accords rather then deal with the fact that Novas wield powerful energies that increasingly alienate them from the rest of humanity.

              I think that the reason is that the Teras philosophy has been developed for more than 50 years before the Nova age.
              Maybe, with time, other groups could develop their own methods.

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