The Enlightened Noetic Collective
Come friend, give up the painful illusion of individuality and join us in Unity.
Since the dawn of civilization people have banded together for everything from safety to friendship. Some say that humans are inherently social beings and that actions that have the most moral worth are those done for the greater good of the human community as a whole; that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Communalism, or the creation of intentional communities for social reasons, often drew from such collectivist thinking. During the revival of communalism in America during the early sixties, Nelson Henshaw, a college dropout who had majored in psychology and philosophy decided to establish a commune of his own.
Using the social ideals of Marx, Buddhism's illusion of Self, and the rhetoric of New Age Noetic Sciences, Henshaw cobbled together the Enlightened Noetic Collective, a community built on the principle of connecting with the World Consciousness of humanity. Foundinga community on an isolated mesa in the Southwest Unisted States, Henshaw was lucky enough to attract the right mix of people to make the place survive and even prosper.
Though he didn't truly believe in his own preachings, Henshaw had the charisma to forge true converts, inlcuding his own daughter, Sophia. A by-blow from his dalliance with one of his disciples, Sophia grew up with collectivist thought almost literally with her mother's milk.
The ENC was truly a cult of personality and would have dispersed upon Henshaw's sudden death in the eighties, except that his death also triggered Sophia's Awakening onto the Mastigos Path. Returning from her Astral Journey with visions of a unified humanity, Sophia pulled the shaken community together around her. Using her newfound Mind arts, she even managed to strengthen their beliefs in Unity.
Due to the isolation of the community, Sophia was allowed to grow in power without the influence of other mages, an Apostate. She spent almost a decade strengthening her sympathetic ties to the community, both magical and mundane. When a young Mysterium mage came to the town to investigate what was suspected to be a newly forming Hallow, he was struck by the peacefulness and cooperation of the people in the little community. After staying awhile, he became entranced by the simple and earnest lifestyle of the commune. The Collective earned its first Awakened convert.
The local Consilium is just beginning to worry The Collective and its motives. They had long dismissed it as a small cult of an isolated Apostate and expected it to die out years ago. The apparant signs of prosperity have made some councilors wonder about its longevity. They don't know that The Collective now has a handful of mage converts and that the Sleeper community no longer induces extra Paradox on Collective magic (most Mind arts) because of how ingrained the philosophy has become in their community.
Though cautious about expanding, the Collective's ultimate goal is the unification of all humanity and it has been slowly introducing subtle memes to that effect into the general populace. For the most part, the Collective tries to be persuasive instead of coercive, relying on super-enhanced Social Attributes and Skills to convert newcomers, but when all else fails or violence threatens the community, Sophia doesn't hesitate to bring the mind-numbing onslaught of the mental voices of an entire community to bear on an attacker. The Collective is a pacifist philosophy, believing that all human life is as one.
Parent Path or Order: Mastigos, but any mage that joins the commune can join the Legacy.
Appearance: Members of the Collective dress plainly, realizing that the need to stand out from other is a selfish motive, a left over, painful reminder of solitary existence. For the World Soul, "wearing" different bodies is separation enough.
Background: Members of the collective come from many different backgrounds, though those who profess a belief in New Age concepts find resonance with the philosophy and the dispossessed find comfort in the community. People from neighboring towns who have had an encounter with one of the charismatic Atman come away reeling with ideas of the promise of Unity. Many leave their homes soon after to join the Collective.
Organization: All members of the Collective are valued equally, truly just another expression of the One. Though no one member, even Sophia, is regarded as more important, the Atman are the inner circle of the Collective, a handful of mages who have joined the Legacy and are believed to be closer to reaching the goal of true Unity with the One. When Sophia crafted her Legacy, she took the Shadow Name, Atman, the World Soul and bestows it to all Awakened who follow her soul path. After admitting a few mages into the inner workings of the Collective, Sophia has been forced to become a healer of minds or else the Collective would have disintegrated under the combined weight of multiple mental disorders. This is also on par with Collective philosophy, though, as the pains of individuality have to be shared to be healed.
Suggested Oblations: Communing with another Collective member in meditation. Spreading the philosophy of Unity. Divesting oneself of the illusion of indiviuality.
Concepts: Commune member. Disillusioned materialist.
Attainments: Lessons learned from the Iron Watchtower convinced Sophia that all human consciousness is the expression of the same Universal Consciousness. These attainments came about in an effort to rejoin the scattered pieces of humanity. Mind is the primary Arcanum, but knowledge of Space is required as well, to strengthen sympathetic bonds to the point where masters of this Legacy are magically one person.
1st: One Mind
Prerequisites: Mind 2 (Primary), Space 1, Empathy 2
At this level of Unity, the Collective mage learns to open his mind up to the conscious thoughts of fellow Collective mages. As per the Mind 3 effect, "Telepathy" on pg. 212, an Instant action lets a Collective mage open up a mental line of communication with any other mage that has achieved this Attainment. An "Emotional Urging" effect also fills the mage with feelings of peace and calm whenever he communes with another mage through this Attainment and allows mages to always be aware of the emotions of all other Collective members on the subconscious level. The drawback to this ability is that the mage also opens themselves up to the madnesses of other Collective members. When a mage gains this Attainment, he gains the Derangements of all other members with this Attainment as well as transmitting any Derangements he has along to the others. Joining the Collective can be quite traumatic to the unprepared mage, which is why Sophia and the Atman try to groom potential candidates very thoroughly before admitting them to the ranks of the Atman.
2nd: One Heart
Prerequisites: Mind 3
Achieving this level of Unity allows a mage to tap into deeper levels of her fellow mages' consciousness. Mages with this Attainment can reflexively "borrow" the Virtue or Vice of any mage that has at least attained "One Mind" for the purposes of regaining Willpower. The mage can only use this the same number of times she would normally be allowed, though, once per scene for Vices and once per session for Virtues. The drawback of this Attainment is that anytime a mage that has attained at least "One Mind" makes a degeneration roll, the mage that has attained "One Heart" is also forced to make a degeneration roll. Fortunately, she only has to roll as if she committed a sin equal to her current Wisdom rating, no matter what level of sin the offending mage committed.
Optional Arcanum: Space 3
With Space 3, mages of the Collective can transfer Willpower to each other at will. It takes an Instant action to mentally contact another mage to request the Willpower, and most Collective mages give permission (it is impossible to take the Willpower against the donating mage's will). Successes on a Composure+Empathy+Mind roll gives the maximum amount of Willpower a mage can recieve in a given 24-hour period.
3rd: One Soul
Prerequisites: Mind 4, Prime 1
Mastering the Unity lays bare the very souls of the Collective to the mage. The sympathetic connections between members of the Collective has become so strong at this point that a mage can even make use of another mage's knowledge of the Arcanum. After taking an Instant action to establish a connection with a network of fellow Collective mages, a mage who has Attained "One Soul" can act as the primary caster in a Teamwork spellcasting action. A Composure+Empathy+Mind roll determines how many mages the Master can network in a scene and only mages who have attained "One Mind" can be a part of this gestalt. The benefit is that since the spell relies on the Imago of the primary caster, the contributing mages are allowed to use the dicepool for the Rote, whether or not they know the Rote and the primary caster get's access to the Arcana levels of all contributing mages even if they don't possess them. The drawback is that while a mage's Arcana are being used, she cannot cast any spells herself.
Optional Arcanum: Prime 3
With Prime 3, a Collective mage can transfer Mana as they used to be able to transfer Willpower.