Characters: Genius: The Transgression
You've seen it on the billboards and the trash-strewn alleys, amidst the halls of the powerful and in the tenements of the desperate: the Change. It's coming, and soon everything will be different. Our world will transform itself―in fire, if necessary, in blood, certainly―and be reborn, fresh and new, to gaze out on the universe with innocent and wondering eyes. And I am the herald of that Change. So forgive me if I cannot hear your words or your screams. They are too small. Do you hear the mayflies screaming tonight? Neither do I.
When I was in high school my teacher told me that there are more people alive today than have ever lived. Don't worry: she lied, then got cancer. (Not my fault.) We live atop a mountain of corpses. The Earth is swimming in humans, above and below the ground, so when I see you trying to raise the dead, I'm torn. On the one hand, I recognize your despair. On the other hand, do you really want to spend the rest of the week fending off a zombie apocalypse as the Earth vomits up her dead? AGAIN? Come on, man, think this through: every time you try this, we end up fighting zombies. I hate zombies. Just put the syringe down.note
First let me tell you that human beings without mathematical souls are transparent to God and thus mean nothing to Him. So you ask, why does God (who is the Equation) care about window-souls? He doesn't, but the Devil, whom I define as our negative thoughts, does, and directs window-soul humans at us to destroy us. These humans think they think and feel, but they are without the highest Number and their feelings are only our self-doubt. Destroy your self-doubt, be free of their hatred. Or destroy them, and be free of your self-doubt. Vengeance is time- and space-symmetrical, like any good equation.
Foundations, Baramins and Programms
- Changing of the Guard: All the foundations are undergoing or have recently undergone massive cultural shifts, from an old generation that favored conservationism and large structures to a fast moving, dynamic even radical younger generation. This shift began when the old generation intentionally dismantled the large social structures of the Peerage. They were being corrupted by power and so they destroyed their own power. For all it's faults the Peerage is dedicated to helping Mad Scientists avoid the perils of their own insanity.
- Comes Great Responsibility: Subverted, the Peerage do believe that the Inspiration comes with responsibility. Responsibility to say low, keep quiet, and try not to do anything too crazy.
- Genre Savvy
- I'm Not a Hero, I'm... a Mad Scientist: The Peerage encourages it's members to distance themselves for humanity, in their view a mad scientist trying to help is just a disaster waiting to happen.
- Mad Hatter
- Will Not Tell a Lie: For older (or old-fashioned) Peers being truthful is Serious Business. The Scholastics do this the most note .
The International Union of Artifice
Originally quiet reclusive Geniuses who just wanted to be left in peace to build their Wonders. They have since radicalized with younger Artificers emphasize a punk DIY ethos as a way to remain free from, or oppose, The Man
. Artificers give players a chance to play the mad scientist who builds awesome stuff and represent the fear that we will have to adapt for new technology whether or not we want it to.
Good, fast, and cheap: you get all three. And if you talk like that to my people again, you're going to wake up as a collection of spare parts.
- Bungling Inventor:They can slap Wonders together faster than any other Geniuses, but unless they spend an hour testing it out, they won't know what the persistent fault is. This can cause problems.
- Doing It for the Art: Old style artifiers tend to be reclusive humble mad scientists who just want to make stuff. Averted with younger artificers who delight in the communal aspects of creation and are often politicized, angry and demanding.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Artificers come from all walks of life, but the younger ones tend to be, shall we say, "unpolished".
- Weird Trade Union: Some of them take that "union" bit literally.
Fellowship for Manifest Direction
Created as a Fellowship to organise the Peerage in the invisible war, the Directors grew to become the Peerages social and organisational experts. Charismatic, skilled and as brilliant as any other Genius they are nevertheless corrupted by naked ambition. Directors let the players be bond villain style masterminds and represent the fear that "the elite" will step on the little guy for their own benefit.
Like even the strongest iron bar, every man has a weak point, and it can be found.
Center for Circumferential Navigation
The Navigators were formally part of Lemuria, there they faced discrimination for their race and ended doing maintenance, transportation and front line combat for their so called betters. After abandoning Lemuria they eventually joined up with the Peerage, after the invisible war was over. For a while the Navigators were known for being practically a military, but the old generation has given way to rugged independent explorers. The Navigators exist to give players the opportunity to play adventurers and Science Heroes
, to saner individuals they represent the fear of being caught in the crossfire of the powerful.
I've seen things you wouldn't believe. Hell, I've seen things I don't believe.
Reformed Society of Progenitors (formerly Children of Demiurge)
It'll work this time, I promise. It won't hurt anyone.
College of Scholastic Theory
Respectable, neat academics who believe it is important to manage their own insanity with a dedication to logic and truth. Or at least they used to, older members unraveled mysteries to uncover the truth. Younger members create mysteries and delight in bizarre non-linear thought. Playing a Scholastic is an opportunity to be the mad scientist who knows strange secrets, while to everyone else they represent the fear of things man was not meant to know
and the people who publish them.
If it's true, someone wrote it down, even if just to refute it.
- Badass Bookworm: They're the oldest Foundation, and have been fighting Lemuria the longest.
- Non-Action Guy: Older Scholastics are often content to stay inside and theorize.
- Odd Friendship: The ancient, methodical College of Scholastic Theory gets along pretty decently with the modern, revolutionary Free Council. Well, better than Mages and Geniuses usually do, anyway.
- The Smart Guy
- Took a Level in Badass: They started out as a small philosophy cult who really liked truth and objected to Lemuria's historical revisionism. Now they're the most influential organization of Mad Scientists in the world, led a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits to overthrow the Ancient Conspiracy that controlled mankind since the beginning of history, and all Inspired culture (even Lemurian) has been heavily influenced by them.
- Trickster Archetype: A popular persona for younger Scholastics, much to their elders' chargrin. Tropes commonly incorporated into the Scholastic Trickster identity include:
There was so much potential. So much promise. So much that failed us, all those years ago. But not this time.
Atomists represent the idea that technology can solve human, social or political problems. They tend to be utterly dismissive of (if not outright hostile to) the proposition that the human element is important or in any way greater than just another number on their spreadsheet.
- I Want My Jetpack: Or Hovercar/Invisible Zepplin/Robotic Spider/Horde of Gorilla Cyborgs
- Determinators: They are the best at warding off Havoc- it happens sooner or later, but maybe next time...
- Expy: Of the Technocracy. They're also based on some hardcore fans of Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven, and Ayn Rand.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: All they ever wanted was to bring us into the future- not that they ever cared about the people who would have to live in it.
- Zeerust: Not a defining trope, but certainly not uncommon, being formally founded in the 50s at the dawn of the Nuclear age means many of their elders have a pre-apocalypse Fallout style of Mad Science.
Now if you look here, you'll see that this is how things really work. Actually, really, positively work. But ignore that, that part is still being corrected.
Etherites are people who care more about "proving" their pet theories than actual science, mixed in with some of the worse cultural attitudes from the Victorian era.
We're all just cogs in the Great Machine. Whatever we think we choose was actually predestined, part of the process. Part of the Plan.
The Mechanists are fatalists who take no responsibility for their actions. Word of God
says they don't have any overarching theme, they are merely cool
- Clock Punk: Sometimes.
- Face-Heel Turn: Sorta. Geniuses espousing what is now modern Mechanist philosophy have always been around, but the Baramin itself officially formed after a schism in the International Union of Artifice.
- The Fatalist: They reject the idea of free-will and consequentially the idea of responsibility.
- Steam Punk: Other times.
No. No. This is absolutely wrong. Look, just let me fix it. All of it.
The oracles represent moral fundamentalism and often dress and act like priests of obscure or antiquated philosophies.
Hmm. That's an interesting point, but is there really any kind of absolute truth out there? Anything that is immutable?
The Phenomenologists believe that there is no universal reality. Consiquently they choose to live in whatever reality suits them best and act appropriately, even if it's outright harmful to those around them. They are a reference to post modernists and the Science Wars
- Consummate Liar: And how! They can spend a point of Mania to gain a exceptional success on a subterfuge roll. This is because they aren't actually lying, they genuinely believe anything they say.
- I Reject Your Reality: Even more so than other Unmada. Phenomenologists will reject their own reality when it suits them.
- Not all of them do, though. For example, Belinda Czdenk (who is not highly regarded by other Phenomenologists) doesn't so much disbelieve in objective truth as believe that it's irrelevant and/or unknowable. So, while she may reject common reality, she can't substitute it with her own, much to her frustration. Yes, that logic is shot, but remember who we're dealing with.
- Because of this the other Phenomenologists consider Belinda to be a phony.
- Surveillance as the Plot Demands: They're in charge of Lemuria's intelligence operations.
Programs of Note
Formalists (Ten Thousand Fans)
- Appropriated Appellation: "Ten Thousand Fans" was originally a Lemurian catch-all term for any non-Lemurian Program in Asia, as the dissenters fanned the flames of heterodoxy. The independent Geniuses of Asia apparently decided not to let such an unintentionally awesome epithet go to waste.
- Asian and Nerdy
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: For about a minute per point of Mania expended. Mania is kind of like air, right?
- Bollywood Nerd: Fewer, because of the Lemurian presence in India, but they do study ancient Indian mathematics.
- Far East
- Implacable Man: Their Grant and specialization in Exelixi makes this a definite possibility.
- La Résistance: Asia is principally Lemurian territory. These guys are a minority, but they're still fighting.
Thule Society (Revanchists)
Elders of the Third Law
Hermetic Order of the 28 Spheres
Perfected Vision Institute
Malcolm T. Washington Fellowship
Nine Vertex Devil Club
Geniuses of Note
Seattle of Tomorrow
Dr. Vienna/Yancy Wolfgang Borcowitz
Screaming Sam Paluxy
- All Love Is Unrequited: His unceasingly unstable love/hate feelings with Dr. Vienna might not be romantic, but if they are Sam is in for a long wait. Dr. Vienna is mentioned to have previously been in a fifteen year heterosexual relationship and there are no hints that he could be bisexual.
- Instrument of Murder
- Love Switch: One of his Wonders, appropriately called the "Fuck Switch", does this to the user. It's actual purpose is people puppetry.
- Red Oni: To Dr. Vienna's Blue Oni.
- Straight Gay
Captain Joe Calazzi
Melantha C. Dranias
Detective Alice Gotti
- Hollywood Atheist: Subverted; she didn't lose her faith because of her many hardships, she just can't sustain religious convictions as a Beholden.
- The Igor
- Iron Woobie: Let's see... through bad luck, she lost her shot at the Ivy League, and her parents want nothing to do with her. She recovered from that and became a police officer. Then she got pregnant and her husband abandoned her. Then she discovered that her superiors were on the Pacific Gauntlet's payroll. Then she was made into a Beholden by Dr. Vienna. Life has not been kind to Detective Gotti, but she's taken everything it's thrown at her.
Hook-Man/David Islington Whittlesworth
Argentine St. Croix
Prof. Partridge Crown
Dr. Keiko Takamori
Dr. Ilsa Hauser
Walking-Man, Peripatetic Dreamkiller