As with all other areas of The Rising of Chaos: What is known, what is true and what is propoganda are three very different things. If you have chosen to follow Psionic Magic in the Royal Basin what follows is a brief overview of how it is perceived, what it is for and how it is used depending on where you were trained.
Tranquillity, Resurgance, Power
There are legends amongst the enlightened that tell us that Psionic power manifested before the comet arrived, heralding the coming of the power that would shape the world and that it was a time of terror for those that possessed it: There are many theories regarding the awakening of the mind some speak of an intermingling with a race from another world leading to a strange heritage whilst others point to warping effect of the comet itself on part of the population. Whichever reality is true it lead to a power born of cognitive thought, drawing from the imagination, psionic potential unleashes an awakened individuals power at even the smallest inclination of will. So as the age of Magic dawned so did an age of persecution towards those few who were able to utilise such power. Early psionicists could little control their talent, whether they sought to use it for good or ill in the world. Discharges of power, specifically from those who were more susceptible to their own emotional outbursts, were frequent and led to accidental injuries, deaths and damage to property.
With no understanding of the power that was being used those unfortunate enough to possess it were accused of a wide range of evils; daemonic possession, witchcraft and necromancy were mooted to name but a few. Eventually we would come to know this as the White, residual of emotion left behind in the Astral corrupting the Psionicicst. Innocent people were rounded up in droves and tortured and eventually put to death by superstitious peasant folk and easily guided Lordlings. Recorded histories of such occurrences are well documented in Basanic archives. It was not until the discovery of the mineral known as Variscite and the less pure stones that were found with it; Axinite and Goshenite. Through luck and eventually through experimentation it was discovered that these crystals, when refined were able to allow the control of the power that flowed from the minds of the awakened. The first true Psionicist was born and a new understanding of the talents and Disciplines of the mind was founded.
Everything in the Royal Basin begins in the Academy and grows out into the Guilds and from there into the Tables of Governance but this was not consistently the way for generations. For ages past the very outlawed nature of the magic forced the Haruspexes into hiding where they passed on the knowledge and experiences that they gathered. Many of these meetings were destroyed by the Ministry for Murder which led to individual training which broke up the idea of circles, vital for the proper control and administration of their power which led to specific theories of how the power cam down through the ages.
How were so many individuals being born with the Astral Gifts that led them to being born with such powerful and usable Talents. Some believed that the survivors imprinted their knoweldge onto their family members so that they subconciously passed on their abilities with a accesway to the Astral already prepared. This eventually led to the concept of the Institute of Contemplation under its powerful leaders but they have never managed to come out from under the Shadow of the larger guilds of power remaining insular and under the purveiw of the Crimson Table.
Beyond the Institute there is training for Psionicists, usually for those that find that their interests or motives lie elsewhere.
The Oath: A Guild for those that fight that which cannot be fought, stop that which cannot be stopped.
The University of Great Strabain: A Guild for Doctors, Professors and all interested in Academia
The Astral is a difficult subject and one that most of the Institute can only guess at whilst the remainder are able to gather a handful of threads and tie them together to create only the most rudimentary of theories. A long time ago many scholars that understood the Sourcererous arts were keen to tell us that the multiverse was made up of a number of planes of existence that all sit upon each other in layers. These, they would tell us, are in constant rotation allowing a caster, specifically a Sourcerer, to step beyond on realm to another. Specifically only a skilled planes walker could touch down in the same place twice due, as mentioned to the constant movement. These theories were disproved however not long after the discovery of the Vorokian worlds; we now realise that they are planets much like Vaklam. Equally we have come to realise that the Shadowed lands, like Eidelos are a reflection or shadow of our own and that the points on those “planes” are concordant with our own at all times which indicates a oneness with Vaklam.
As time moved forward we came to understand that there was something older, something that we had forgotten in the world and that during the age of ignorance we had come to believe that the Sourcerous arts were the Source of magic. We were wrong. Creatures from the initial moments of our worlds creation existed outside of our peripherals; these beings were called the Gillieabad, the Spirits that were worshipped, primitively, by our ancestors long ago. These beings could not or cannot exist in the same space or time that we do, they cannot be in this world and so they created a place for themselves to exist, or so we assume. This other place is called the Spirit Realm by our people and has many different names across, presumably, this world. It is known that there are powerful rites that allow the Tao Ritualists to step into this worlds and that it has intensities in its magical strength. References to the Deep or Far Wyld mirror our own distinctions of the Astral realm beyond, a point that we will deal with shortly.
The next stake in the idea of worlds beyond comes with the birth of the Gods and the conceptual ideas of Soul Anchor and the Heavens. How does this even fit in to the groupings that we have discussed so far? One selection are actual worlds, actual planets, physical tangible things that fit into the frame that Vaklam provides whilst another is the home of creatures that exist beyond our comprehension and have the power to create such paradoxical things as the Spirit World. The heavens were made by the will of mortals or so we should believe, alongside the power of dreams from the Fae. The heavens seem to be an entirely different place; a place built from faith, something that we made real simply through belief and the channelling of magic. I am not even sure that a priest could give you a satisfactory description of its existence and yet it exists. I firmly believe that when I die I will pass on to the side of Bethylak and spend my afterlife in some form of happy existentialism. This is, in itself, a nonsense and yet I believe it. So where are the Heavens and Soul Anchor? How does one reach them except via the belief in Kortanagry? Is it a fiction? Who can really say that journeys there are not some shared dream bourn of the magic that faith brings?
Well that might well get me shot for heresy but it underlines the point I am about to make when I ask the question: What is the Astral? In many ways, the closest comparison, comes from the Spirit World. It is possible that the Psionic potential that exists in the Astral was formed by a creature or creatures similar in nature to the Gillieabad. It could perceivably be a habitat for specific beings that had a hand in creating our world and worlds like ours. We may yet to have come to an understanding as to what their hand in the creation of this Astral was or indeed what impact they have made upon Vaklam. It is definite that the Astral extends to other worlds, appearing in the legends of the Vorokian Worlds and having been encountered as a phenomena in the Spirit World. Recent indications with the wars against the Ministers would lead us towards theories that the Astral is little more than a shattered remnant of the original habitat of either the Ministers or their creators.
What does this mean for us? It is a strong theory and may well have an unfortunate end for us if we prove it to be true but that would also mean that the Variscite is most likely fragments of their world that have been destroyed by some unforeseen or perhaps induced catastrophe. The fact that the Variscite is predominant in our world is unusual, how it came to be here and why it remains we don't know but there are many who believe that it is the Variscite that gives we Haruspex, Adepts and Ironminds our link to the “Astral”. It is likely that the crystals are responsible for the forming of a link between this world and the next and provide us with direct access/gateways to that other place. It's a danger; or at least we believe it is a danger and at the same time it is the only thing that allows us to train in that world and equally to defend ourselves from any enemies that lurk without.
The real threat appears to be from the fact that the crystals are tainted in some way which many refer to the destruction of the homelands of the Ministers or whatever else was destroyed. The clouded matter within the Variscite is most likely the corrupting effect that caused its destruction; when we use the Variscite it is entirely possible that we are exposing ourselves to something that is harming the validity of our minds. The Astral seems to present the probability that we are supposed to call on the power of the mind through group communication and not alone. Everything there speaks of circles as the shape that will guide us, as though the Astral itself is linked in that way. I am soon going to speaking of the concept of Disciplines and how they vary from the various scoping aspects but I'll leave you with this thought: If the Astral is an environment that was once the habitat of something that is now presumed dead but it allows our minds to live there as if that was their natural habitat. Are we the original inhabitants? And if so what are the Ministers?
From a lecture by Horizimous Zan Zan Hodorous Zan Horizimous
Now that you either have an in depth understanding or a shallow understanding of what The Astral is and what it does you have some choices to make that will direct which words you start with as a caster. These will need to be relayed to the system after character creation and will be how you cast from now on.
Were you trained with the Institute?
Were you trained with The Oath or the Univesity?
Once you have this choice you may follow the next few choices specifically along the path of Either Institute or Independant as follows:
Choose one of the following Schools of Training that has been the mainstay of your upbringing in the Institute.
Dealing with the fundamental principles of the Astral realm and the basic methods of one psionic aura mingling with another. If you choose to have trained with the Universal you gain the following words:
Transcendental: Communication and Amalgamation
Dealing with the personal mastery over the minds control over the body that it perceives from and the enhancement of the physical aspects of said body. If you choose to have trained with the Corporeal you gain the following words:
Transcendental: Stamina and Health
Dealing with what many would call the power of the Supernatural Senses, such as sixth sense and extended them out beyond the physical body. If you choose to have trained with the Perception you gain the following words:
Transcendental: Veracity and Projection of Sense.
Dealing with the bolstering of the protections of one’s psyche and the extrapolation of the potential for harnessing mental powers. If you choose to have trained with the Conception you gain the following words:
Transcendental: Comprehension and Awareness
Choose one of the following Four Ways of The Institute to define your specific training inside the Institute.
The Universal Way – If you choose this path you gain the following words to add to your casting Portfolios:
Transcendental: Emotional Control, Recollection, Suppression, Ability and Lore, Sensing, Teleportation, Insight, Artifice and Haruspexation (Mind Reading)
The Corporeal Way – If you choose this path you gain the following words to add to your casting Portfolios:
Transcendental: Emotional Control, Regeneration, Physical Control of Body, Fitness and Strength, Intangibility, Obfuscation of form, Immovability, Density and Mass and Enhancement of the senses.
The Conceptual Way – If you choose this path you gain the following words to add to your casting Portfolios:
Transcendental: Emotional Control, The Future, Willpower and Mental Stamina, The Past, Astral Travel, The Aura, Purification, Cerebral Healing and Backlash.
The Perceptive Way – If you choose this path you gain the following words to add to your casting Portfolios:
Transcendental: Emotional Control, Remote Sensing, Psychometry, Mediumship, Materialisation, Bilocation and Projection, Extra Sensory Perception, Sensory Alteration and Mental Domination
Choose your natural talent, something that you have mastered as one of the four natural skills of the Psionic world. You will gain one of the following Transcendental Words:
If you are from the University the following training is afforded as a Professor of Studying Psionic Magics.
Transcendental: Emotional Control, Recollection, Sensing, Physical Control of Body, Immovability, The Aura, Purification, Mediumship and Extra Sensory Perception.
Combat: Debilitation and Armouring
If you are from the University the following training is afforded as a Mind Mage.
Transcendental: Emotional Control, Ability and Lore, Sensing, Obfuscation of form, Fitness and Strength, Purification, The Future, Remote Sensing and Psychometry.
Combat: Mimicry and Tacticus.
A form of personally generated magic that requires an emotionless state to resist powers that dwell in the Astral from possessing your mind and physical form. Concentrated on purity of mind and the focus of thoughts to prevent corruption. A magic of indertiminable age that came after the world was created but most likely before the Nexus. The Nexus is believed to have agitated the beings from the White. Personal Magic mainly but one that is capable of being shared through awakened minds called circles that can enhance the power of their talents.
For most of its career the practioners of psionics were branded monsters and were murdered, many of their secrets have been lost.
The sources of psionic tutelage have proven to be unreliable and most Psionicists are relearning their skills and developing new ones.
There are many sources for the persecution of the Psionic Community and a growing number there would seek their revenge in the long term. This is a dark path.
Everyone’s a Jedi
Psionics finds its core in Sci Fi but it has been adapted to fantasy well and doesn’t need Futuristic talk.
No words are required but it is phys rep heavy and needs obvious casting to make it work.
What are the Goals of Basanic Psionicists?
All of the other powers have their own Political Tables with power on the Golden Table, the Psionic Orders have nothing but Chapter houses and a voice on the Crimson Table. Fair representation is called for.
To understand why they were persecuted and bring any that still survive responsible for that persecution to justice.
To discover and eradicate the corruption that is in the Astral which is damaging the use of Psionic Magic.
To recover lost Disciplines and spread them through the community
To reignite forgotten circles and bring lost and terrified users of power home.
Protection and maintenance of the Royal Basin and its traditions
There is a lot of anger in a community which struggles to remain in a calm emotional state.
The community pursues its goals for recognition and justice relentlessly.
Throughout the centuries thousands of their kind have been murdered and thousands more have fought and died for the people that have ignored those killings. They remember those people and they feel their loss keenly.
There are many growing minds and ideas and they are all things that are embraced by the Institute that represents Psionic Magic and their ilk.