Saturday, 26 October 2013

Sathra

I was very fortunate to have many long conversations with both Bill Bridges and Andrew Greenberg about the true nature of Sathra, little of which is actually revealed here. But I considered those conversations to be 'research' for the proposed "SathraNet" RPG set during the time of the Sathra Insurrection, sadly that project is now not likely to see the light of day.


Sathraism

Sathraism is very hard to quantify and define, even to those who practice it. On the surface it appears to be a secretive and heretical religion carrying notions of atheism and transhuman evolutionism. The personal nature of the Sathra experience ensures that no two covens hold the same beliefs. Some see Sathra as a religion, and refer to the Sathra experience as looking upon the face of god; others however scoff at such descriptions instead stating that they commune with infinite of the cosmos and go so far as to deny the existence of Pancreator.

Depending on the particular philosophical point of view of a brotherhood of Sathrists, they may or may not practice certain ceremonies with religious trappings; these sacraments are, much like those who practice them, highly stylized and individual. Sathraists are deemed by the Universal Church to be at best heretics, or more often apostates and hell raisers. Sathraists stand accused of partaking in a dark philosophy and consorting with unholy realms, while simultaneously denying the existence and or providence of the Pancreator. Even vile Antinomists acknowledge the existence of the Pancreator, even as they willingly turn away from his divine light.

Prolonged experience of the Sathra communion is known to bring about fundamental changes within the Sathrists very beings. Indeed there is an abnormally high frequency of psychic awakening and misfit evolution amongst Sathraists, which may be linked to the experience of the infinite.

Sathraism was born at the moment of jump ecstasy experienced by the first pilot to ever travel through the Jumpgate at Holy Terra. The world on the far side was named Sathra’s Boon in honor of that transcendental experience. Since its very beginnings, Sathraism and those who seek the experience and practice its philosophy have been viewed with suspicion and have ultimately vilified, persecuted, and doomed by excommunication and cleansing fires.

Sathrists have been persecuted since the time of the First Republic. The ruling zaibatsu grew to fear the unity brought by the shared Sathra experience and sought to protect their interests, commercial properties, and secrets. Pilots showed more loyalty to each other than to their zaibatsu superiors and many workers sent to labor on distant worlds deserted their positions to travel the Jumpweb. What began as fearful rumors and scaremongering was quickly followed by arrests, interrogation, and torture. When it became apparent that there was a correlation between the Sathra experience and incidence of psychic powers, the zaibatsu struck swiftly to protect themselves and their interests. The result was the Sathra Insurrection.

The zaibatsu developed their greatest weapon against the Sathra revolutionaries, their scientist’s perfected the Sathra Damper to protect the occupants of a ship from the warping communion of the jump, effectively preventing their subjects from experiencing the Sathra communion, cutting off the flow of converts seeking to join the Sathra brotherhood. The end result of the war was inevitable, the Sathrists, despite all their advantages (fierce loyalty to each other, exceptional frequency of occult powers, liberalism, mobility and nomadic nature, and so on), were too few and the might of the zaibatsu too great. The Sathrists were scattered across the stars, fleeing down a hundred different jumproads. Their philosophy became a dead religion and as the centuries passed they were almost forgotten, consigned to myth as bogie men, revolutionaries and ancient anarchists.

By the time human expansion caught up with the descendants of those initial Sathra pilots, the Second Republic was beginning to crumble. Worse yet, when several leading figures within the failing Republic revealed themselves as adherents of the Sathra cult the reaction was swift and bloody. The Universal Church was outraged and did its part in vilifying and condemning Sathraists as agents of anarchy and demons who worked within the system to bring it to its knees. Although now mostly forgotten, at the time of the Fall, Sathraitsts were at the top of the list of culprits blamed for the crash of the Second Republic. As the Fall began and the nobles rose to take control, the Sathra worlds were converted by the sword and the blaster. The Brother Battle sect gained much of its fame crushing the last enclaves of openly practicing Sathraists.

After its brief resurgence, Sathraism was again a dead philosophy, but one that threatened to rear up at any time, for to the authorities of the New Dark Ages it seemed that all it took was a single ship with faulty Sathra Damper, and the cult would blossomed anew. A journey aboard an unbuffered ship could turn any man who was not resolute in his faith, away from the Pancreator’s grace to the hazy no-space of Sathra.

In the New Dark Ages, Sathra was believed to be a form of demonic worship, and this perception has carried into the age of the Phoenix Empire. Draconian laws from the times of the First Republic, have been revived at the behest of the Universal Church making Sathraism an offence punishable by torture, excommunication, and death by the most horrific means.

It is a hazard of their profession that most present day sathraists are found amongst the ranks of the Charioteers Guild and others who frequently travel the Jumpweb. The Charioteers own integral security force, the Killroys, rigorously investigates allegations of Sathra practice. The Inquisition too, takes a great deal of interest in any starship that makes frequent or repeated jumps without sufficient downtime in port or a legitimate (in the eyes of the Universal Church) reason to travel. Jump drives must be regularly serviced and maintained to keep them operational and any sign of tampering with Sathra Damper will bring Universal Church and Guild scrutiny down upon the captain and crew.

Sathraism Philosophy and Organization

Sathraists firmly believe the rapture they experience in the instant eternity of the jump to be available to all sentients, and even near-sentients. They see it as both the source to and the ultimate expression of sentient evolution, a potential for a transcendental state of being available to anyone willing to embrace it. Those who stay planet-bound all miss the opportunity to experience sentient evolution, and many Sathraists see it as their duty to show others the light of Sathra, forcefully if need be.

By necessity Sathraists are a secretive lot, their traditions and doctrines handed down orally within a brotherhood to prevent them being used as evidence in the event of discovery. Most ascribe the rapture with transformative powers, during the instant eternity of the jump the human and spirit is thought to be perfected, without flaw. Not only is the spirit immaculate, cleansed of all ground-based defects, it becomes something new and superhuman. It is as though the caterpillar could get a glimpse of itself as the butterfly.

Indeed, Sathra congregations believe that humanity was on the verge of a great evolutionary leap before the zaibatsu shut them down. They see the simultaneous rise of Sathraism, psychic powers and naturally occurring Misfits as proof of this, and feel a kinship with all these groups. Some Sathraists even view non-Sathraist psychics as traitors. While psychic phenomenon seems to have preceded humanity’s first jump, Sathraists believe it has always been the jumpgates that awakened large numbers of people to their otherwise untapped psychic potential.

Among the Sathraists, pilots hold a special place as they are the ones making communion with the gate—programming the codes to heavenly bliss. As a result, they are usually looked to as leaders, sometimes titled “blessed ones”, and all aspire to their position. Collectively, Sathraists tend to speak of themselves as brotherhoods or star family, with individual members referred to as brother/sister or star sibling. A pilot flying an unbuffered ship is regarded as something akin to a priest with the crew and passengers being the congregation (willing or not). Some Sathraists prefer to travel alone and have developed small starships in order to make the jump as personal (and strong) as possible.

Sacraments of Sathra

“Brothers, prepare for the abundance of the void. Give thanks for the blessings of infinity.”
- Common Sathraist liturgy

Adherents to Sathraism often form groups of transcendentalists who come together on a regular basis to celebrate the Sathra phenomenon and effects, and the congregation of Sathraists. Unlike other faiths, Sathraism has no theurgy or other form of miracle working and Sathra sacraments have no occult meaning or significance. Their sacraments do, however, cement group affiliation and offer psychological assurance and peace just as with more recognizable religions. That said; there is no formalized list of sacraments in the Sathra philosophy, no canonical work on theology, philosophy, ceremony or everyday conduct. Presented below are few sacraments known to be have been practiced by Sathraists, although no Sathraist community or individual practice them all and some groups reject sacraments altogether because of the religious overtones it lends to another wise atheistic world view.

Baptism of the Star Children: The forced (attempted) conversion of unsuspecting spacefarers to the Sathra philosophy is sometimes regarded as a sacrament dispensed by the enlightened pilot to the under-evolved recipients who’s inner potential to blossom (the “star child”) is awoken. The victims of the unbuffered Jump are typically intoxicated or drugged beforehand, just to make them complacent enough to receive the enlightening gift of Sathra. 

Transcendental Commune: The only universal Sathraism sacrament is the shared Sathra Effect experience by a congregation making a Jump in an unbuffered starship. The pilot-guru prepares the congregation before the Jump by placing them in a receptive state through meditation and sometimes drug consumption. It is said that master pilots are able to enhance the Sathra experience in this way, causing the congregation to feel connected with each other and every living thing – a realization that all is one and that one is the individual Sathraist.

Void Meditation: Cold space is the source of all things, the sea of potential on which everything drifts. Guided contemplation and meditation in this dark void, undistracted by sensory impulses and the concerns of everyday life, can, some Sathraists hold, give insights into the very structure of the universe, the moment of its self-construction (autogenesis) and nature of the Sathra bliss. This sacrament is usually practiced on the long journeys between planet and Jumpgate, with the congregation gathering before a large space-view window, staring into the deep dark while the pilot-guru leads them in mantra recitation and yoga techniques. Sensory deprivation combined with intense concentration and body-control techniques (frequently combined with drug consumption), often produce flashes of light before the eyes of a Sathraist, sometimes appearing as blurred shapes or even full blown hallucinations. Traditionally, Sathraists are not supposed to share their experience with their fellows, for only they themselves can hope to make sense of their personal message and insight from the universe both manifest and unseen. Some visions leave the Sathraist reassured and confidant, while at other times visions reduce the recipient to nervous wreaks and episodes of insanity.

Adoration of the Gate-Intelligence: Many Sathraists believe that the Jumpgates are homes, or prisons for some race of incorporeal alien intelligences. Some claim they are gods or demons, while others insist they are the ghosts of the lesser Anunnaki – mighty servitor beings incomprehensible to unenlightened minds. For some Sathraist groups, these “Gate Intelligences” take the form of deities to be worshipped, and some even praise them with sacrificial offerings. The maddest groups are full-fledged suicide cults, groups who prepare for years before journeying to the Jumpgate of their choice to “shed the corporal vessel” in bizarre acts of mass suicide. Many Sathraists, however, deny the existence of divine beings in the Sathra philosophy, for the universe itself is the only reality worth worshipping, and “pagan Sathraists” are sometimes persecuted by their non-theist brethren.

Gate Entombment: In some Sathraist communities and tradition’s dead brothers and sisters are brought to the surface of a Jumpgate where the body is laid to rest between antediluvian symbols and underneath incomprehensible pieces of machinery and decoration. Typically the body is first left naked in space for a few hours as all the body’s liquids are boiled away by cosmic radiation and lack of atmospheric pressure. The dry mummified remains is then brought back onboard the ship and dressed in fine clothes, before a funeral is conducted on the Jumpgate surface or inside its very structure. Other Sathraists however, see touching the Sathra inducing gates with gross material fresh as blasphemy. 

Using a Jumpgate without a Jumpkey

Although the Jumpkey became the preeminent technology for the swift exchange of jump coordinates during the Second Republic they were only one of a number of jump coordinate storage and transfer methods employed during the late Diaspora Era onwards. Prior to the jumpkey, jump coordinates required to be recalculated at every jump, which could take many hours to complete even with a sophisticated think machine.

This can still be done, but for the most part is a lost art, occasionally used by explorers and Sathraists. This is considered a black art to the Charioteers Guild who will seek to punish anyone they discover to be violating their monopoly in such a way.

Manually calculating a jump coordinate requires a couple of things to have a chance of working. The pilot must be aware of the existence of the jumproute he is trying to open. She then must make two jump calculations (one of the position of the sending gate and one of the receiving gate), each requiring a successful Wits + Lore (Jumpgates) goal roll. Each calculation can take hours with a good think machine or days without one, Subtract the VPs for the goal roll from 20 to find out how long each coordinate takes to calculate.

The Sathra Effect

The passengers and crew aboard an unbuffered starship may experience the Sathra Effect: the jump-ecstasy that Sathraists call communion. This rapture is usually most intense for the pilot of the ship, but other crew and passengers will typically experience it as well. Communion has a mysterious effect; most experience an enlightening bliss, while a few also receive visions, instructions, psychic awakening or other side effects. The rapture is addictive, and like an euphoria-inducing drug it calls to be experienced again and again. Each time the Sathraist feels as though they are just on the edge of some great insight into the universe, some revelation just beyond their grasp and all it will take is just one more jump…

When a character experiences the Sathra Effect, she must make an Intuition+Calling goal roll to determine the nature of her experience. (For Calling, see the end of this chapter). The following effects should be used as guidelines only, and the gamesmaster should modify them in whatever way s/he sees fit.

0 VP – Rapture: The character experiences the sublime bliss of the communion, an ecstasy that washes over him in an instant that seems to last an eternity. The rapture always leaves the word “Sathra” on the lips of those who experience it.
1-11 VPs – Visions: Those who experience the communion remember few specifics. They speak of experiencing infinity and communication with ancient intelligences, but can say little more. This is a profound revelation. As with many mystical experiences, the content of the vision quickly fades, but the character is left with a deep feeling of oneness with… something. Many try to recreate the experienced by relating it to forms important to them—the sayings of the Prophet, the writings of Emperor Vladimir—in a desperate attempt to grasp the ephemeral mystery they have touched. But most Sathra mystics feel that the deep, wordless questions raised by their experience can only be answered by repeated communion. With each journey, the Sathraist feels he is getting closer to the answers to the unspoken questions his soul utters. It is said that the most experienced Sathraists can enlighten masses with but a word, so great is their connection to the infinite.
The Sathra Effect is one of the greatest mysteries in the universe; no one knows what it is really about. It ignites fear in the hearts and minds of many, but to others it is a siren call from beyond.
12+ VPs – Life Altering: The experiences of the character are so profound that they change something fundamental in his make-up. He might develop psychic powers, manifest a Misfits mutation, or gain or lose benefits and afflictions.
While the Sathra Effect usually gives one a vision of a perfect universe, some who have experienced it have seen a glimpse of great evil behind the perfection—perfect malevolence, some have said. This can be the result of a Mishap on the Intuition+Calling goal roll, though that character will also experience the Rapture as well. No Sathraist has ever been able to explain this feeling, though the most accepted belief is that it comes from humanity’s corruption within the universal order, as represented by the zaibatsu and others who would suppress the movement.

Sathra Disciplines

Sathra disciplines are a form of psychic ability specifically linked to the Jumpgates, their function and on rare occasions other Anunnaki artifacts. Interestingly, Sathra disciplines, unlike other psychic powers, never occur naturally – they manifest only in certain people who have experienced the Sathra communion (often repeatedly), and Sathra disciplines are therefore very rare even in comparison to other psychic powers and occur only within Sathra congregations. 
Sathra disciplines usually act on the Jumpgates themselves or through the connecting Jumpweb. In all cases these abilities must be used in the void of space and all effects immediately cease if the psychic enters the gravity well of a celestial body. In many cases the psychic must also be able to perceive the Jumpgate his abilities are targeting, unaided a Jumpgate should be visible (if only as a bright star) from the distance of about 1AU. Ships sensors can greatly extend the use of the psychics capabilities.

Gate Keeper

Who are you to judge me? Because I do with psyche and will what you can barely accomplish with the relic tools of your forefathers, you fear me. Would you but embrace the majesty of Sathra instead of having your technicians and scientists beating the Jumpgates to into submission, the vastness of space would open up before you like a flower. 
- The last words of Sathraist pilot Shabako Sesame, executed on Istakhr in 4921

Gate Keeper is the power to communicate with a Jumpgate through a psychic link. Through this link the Gate Keeper is able to control the functions of the Jumpgate without the need for Jumpkeys or computation of jump coordinates. This discipline can be used to communicate with a jumpgate that is within sensory range (in space a jumpgate can be visible from as far as 1AU with the naked eye and much further using a ships sensors).

Latent Gate Keeper
Jumpgates almost speak to the latent Gate Keeper, granting a +1 bonus to any Lore (Jumpgates) goal roll.

Operant Gate Keeper
Latch/Unlatch: [Wits + Gate Keeper] The Sathraist can increase or decrease a Jumpgate’s reset time by one level per 2VPs scored. A reset time of zero means the Jumpgate can be opened immediately while every level beyond “1 week” adds or subtracts another week to the reset time. Passive jumps can still come through as normal though. A Gate Keeper may only attempt to modify a specific reset time once per Scene. 
Gate Scan: [Intuition + Gate Keeper] Reaching out telepathically to the Jumpgate, the Gate Keeper is able to search the memory of the arcane machine to learn which Jumproute(s) connect with it. Every 2 VPs scored reveals one Jumproad (which systems it connects too), starting with the most frequently travelled. The name by which the connecting systems (primary worlds) are most commonly called is revealed. For instance, “beyond this Jumpgate lays the Sutek-Pandora Jumproad”. 
Signpost: [Will + Gate Keeper] The Gate Keeper is able to imprint a short telepathic message in to the Jumpgate that will be received by the next Sathrist to use a Gate Keeper discipline will receive. These messages by necessity are very short, only a single word plus one additional word per VP scored.

Prime Gate Keeper
Barricade: [Will + Gate Keeper] The Sathraist immediately closes a Jumpgate, preventing both active and passive jumps. The system served by the Jumpgate becomes a Lost World. A Gate Keeper can also use this power to un-barricade a Jumpgate by scoring more VPs than the barricading Gate Keeper. The Jumpgate will eventually reopen on its own, but this could take centuries. 

Jump Master

Of the claimed powers of Sathraist gurus little can be said for certain. One Sathraist, interrogated by Sutek Systems Security Lieutenant Matti Rosenkrans, insisted she could travel the Jumpweb in person and coerce a Jumpgate to open its Jumproads to her without the use of an astrogation computation device. However, these claims cannot be verified, and are likely to be greatly exaggerated or even entirely fanciful.
  • - An Introduction to the Psi Phenomenon, 3786,
by Dr. Darius Phavian

Jump Master is the discipline concerned with travel through and study of, the Jumpweb using only the powers of the psychic mind. The jump Master must be within sensory range (in space a jumpgate can be visible from as far as 1AU with the naked eye and much further using a ships sensors) of the Jumpgate to use this discipline.

Latent Jump Master
The latent Jump Master has an instinctive understanding of the Jumpweb, receiving a +1 bonus to all Lore (Jumpweb) goal rolls.

Operant Jump Master
Trailing: [Intuition + Jump Master] The Sathraist determines the destination/origin of the latest Jump through the Jumpgate (passive or active). Similarly, the Sathraist may divine the destination/origin of an active or passive Jump taking place at the time through a currently activated Jumpgate. 
Instinctive Astrogation: [Wits + Jump Master] With this power the Sathraist can open a known Jumproad without the use of a Jumpkey. Accessing a known Jumproad that the Sathrist has travelled before is fairly simple, requiring only a successful goal roll. Travelling a known but previously untraveled jumproad requires 6VPs.

Prime Jump Master
Jump Harmony: [Will + Jump Master] Usually a starship needs a Jump Drive to activate a gate once a course is plotted (or it may attach to another Jump-capable starship), but with this power the Sathraist is able to launch her starship (or even just herself) into an activated Jumpgate without such machinery. There is no actual “engine” involved in a jump, as the Jump Drive doesn’t offer actual propulsion, instead working to “harmonize” a ship (and any attached vessels) to the Jumpgate allowing it to pass onto the Jumpweb and beyond to its destination. 

Kinship

And beware; the most prominent Sathraists become dark prophets of the Sathra demon, holding in their grip all passengers and crew, as jump commences. Even women and men of the cloth have been forced into the Sathra Deviltry when accompanying a Sathra crew in their forbidden communion. Finally, these nefarious agents of the Darkness Between the Stars are always expert pilots, for they bond with their ship is as a lover, and their powers of mental communication seems to have no limits.
- Enemies of Light, 4986, lecture before the Inquisitorial Synod by Sister Sue Vandél of the Holy Flame

A Sathraist with this power has become so harmonized with Sathra that she has become a shepherd of starships and spacefarers in Sathra. This power is communal; affecting communication with other spacefarers and the starship the Sathraist is on. It does not involve Jumpgates or Jumpweb travel directly.

Latent Kinship
The latent Void Being feels starship speak to her, and she receives a +1 bonus to all Tech Redemption goal rolls involving starships on which she currently travels.

Operant Kinship
Shipfriend: [Intuition + Kinship] The Sathraist can sense the starship she is on, and the space around it, as if the ship was her body. The ship responds to her touch, becoming more cooperative as the Sathraist is able to coax the ship to out-perform its normal limitations for the reminder of the Scene. The VPs scored on the Kinship goal roll can be used to purchase temporary performance increases. Only one use of Shipfriend can be attempted on a single ship at a time, but a group of Kinship psychics can cooperate using the rules for Group Actions (Fading Suns Player’s Guide p.XX).

VPs Effect
1 +/- 1 to the ships Signature
2 +1 to Helm related goal rolls
4 +/- 1 step to the ships acceleration 

Example: Maribelle the Sathraist has just scored 7 VPs on her Kinship discipline. She is aware that the Universal Church Fleet has blockaded the Jumpgate and that she little chance of bluffing her way through. Instead she prepares herself and her ship to run the blockade. She spends 4 points to improve her Helm goals by +2 and uses the remaining 3 VPs to reduce her ships Signature. 

Communion: [Will + Kinship] It is the pilot of an unbuffered craft who experiences the greatest effect of the Sathra experience, but those experienced in the Kinship discipline are able to share that experience with their congregation. The psychic must be the pilot of the vessel and activate the communion as they enter the Jumpgate. The full experience of the pilot may then be shared with up a number of passengers equal to the VPs on the goal roll. The psychic may choose who to include in the shared communion (willing or not).

Prime Kinship
Far Speech: [Presence + Kinship] The Sathraist is able to project a one-word message through the Jumpgate and across the Jumpweb to a single designated Sathraist target. The psychic must know the target. For each VP scored the psychic may add an additional word to the message or an additional jump to the effective range.

Calling

The Calling is the dark side of the Sathra experience, the accumulating need for a greater level of communion with Sathra-space. The notion that some great truth will be revealed if the Sathra experience can be prolonged for just a moment longer bring Sathraists to seek to relive it time and again, often while trying out meditation techniques or new drugs. One persistent myth holds that true enlightenment will be achieved once enough unbuffered jumps have been experienced, or when one has made unbuffered jumps through a certain number of different Jumpgates.

Calling is gained through roleplaying. Certain acts undertaken by a character can cause her Calling to grow. The Sathra experience often promotes various forms transformation, be it psychic, evolutionary or transhuman, which means that most senior Sathra practitioners have access to psychic, misfit or advanced cybernetic capabilities. When a Sathraist psychic, misfit or cyborg gains a point of temporary point in one of their occult or exotic pools, they may instead apply these points to their Calling pool. Note however that occult pools related to magic (Hubris and Thralldom for example) may not be transferred in this way.

Here follows a general guideline for what may cause Sathrists to gain or lose Calling.

Acts that may increase Calling Temporary Obsession Gained
Disabling a ship’s Sathra Dampers 1-2
Experiencing a psychedelic drug trip 1-2
Experiencing the Sathra Effect 1-3 (doubled for the pilot)
Experiencing other types of intense bliss 1
Introducing another to the Sathra Effect 1 (in addition to experiencing it personally)
Mystical or religious experience 0-2
Preaching or defending Sathraism 1
Reading Sathraist poetry or literature 1
Travelling a new Jumproad 2 (in addition to any Sathra Effect experience)
Using a Sathra Discipline 1

Acts that may decrease Obsession Temporary Obsession Lost
Abstaining from space travel for a year 1-2
Church mercy (becoming Penitent) 1
Completing non-Sathra pilgrimage 1
Exposure to a Soul Shard 1
Exposure to a Philosopher’s Stone 1-2
Performing a Church mission 1
Practicing solitary asceticism for a year 1-3
Receiving non-Sathra Sacraments (per sacrament) 1
Recovering from drug addiction 0-1
Strict adherence to Penitent Code for a year 1

Calling Pool and Calling Effects
As the Sathrist gains permanent Calling he manifests the corresponding level of Calling Effect. Calling effects are either “permanent” or “temporary”. The “permanent” are always in effect and will disappear only if the Sathrist’s permanent Calling level drops, while the “temporary” effects can be activated at the gamemasters whim. Activating a “temporary” Calling effect sates the Sathrist by using up a temporary point of Calling, these effects last for one Scene. If the Sathrist has no checks in the temporary Calling track, he is fortunate enough to be able to convert one permanent Calling check into 10 temporary Calling checks, minus the number of temporary Calling lost in the sating experience.

Anxiety (Calling 1, permanent) The Sathraist has become psychologically addicted to the Sathra ecstasy. If she is unable to experience the instant eternity bliss of an unbuffered jump every 4 weeks she becomes anxious and irritable, suffering a -2 penalty on all social goal rolls and is unable to use skill synergies in social situations.

Freedom (Calling 2, permanent) The Sathraist begins to understand that the Sathra effect is allowing her to experience her ultimate evolutionary state. She becomes dissatisfied with the present and stifling limitations of the dominant social order, craving freedom from such base structures that place lesser-evolved beings in positions of power. The Sathraist suffers a -2 on all social goal rolls when she feels restricted by social norms. She is likely to be angered by established hierarchies include those of the nobility, Universal Church and the Merchant League.

Insomnia (Calling 3, temporary) The Sathraist devotes all her time and energy to contemplating the mysteries of Sathra space. She withdraws from non-Sathraists to recall her experiences, and dream / plan for the next jump. She often forgets to sleep and fatigue can become crippling. The character is unable to rest and may not regain Fatigue through rest this scene, in addition she suffers -2 penalty to all non-life threatening goal rolls.

Wanderlust (Calling 4, temporary) The Sathraist begins to feel restricted by her physical location. This can manifest as a form of claustrophobia or a restless desire to see new horizons. If the character is unable to sate her desire to be somewhere else / new, she must immediately expend a permanent point from her Faith pool, to control her urges.

Obsession (Calling 5, permanent) The Sathraist’s interests in transcendental progression become an obsession. She becomes so focused on her pursuit of this elusive enlightened state that she forsakes all else as of little importance. The character may no longer use Faith points or skill synergies except where it relates directly to obtaining her next jump experience.

Dark Glimpse (Calling 6, temporary) The Sathraist begins to suffer episodes, flashbacks to the moment of the jump ecstasy and the visions it brings. But these are not the sublime rapture she remembers but instead a dark vision of some unimaginable evil. The character begins to suffer frequent night terrors and may be over-come by hysteria even while awake, flailing her arms and legs wildly and screaming incoherently.

Voidborn (Calling 7, permanent) The Sathraist becomes uncomfortable when within the gravitational field of a celestial body. Preferring life aboard a starship (often with the artificial gravity turned low). She becomes increasingly uneasy while planet-bound, frequently resulting in depression. The Sathraist finds planet-bound existence exhausting and is unable to restore Fatigue or Injury while in such a heavy material plane.

Dark Presence (Calling 8, temporary) The Sathraist becomes convinced that something followed her back to the material realm after the last unbuffered jump. She comes to believe that some malevolent force is stalking her or whispering dark tidings into her ear. Even worse, if nearby people remain silent; they might just be able to hear a faint buzzing noise or distant whisper, although no attempt to record the ‘sound’ will succeed. The Sathraist begins to suffer from paranoia and schizophrenic episodes.

Disturbing Revelation (Calling 9, permanent) The Sathraist comes to believe that she has be duped by the Sathra Effect, but like a moth to a flame she cannot look away. She receives visions of her ‘perfected’ fate, but it is corrupted. Her need to achieve spiritual perfection before she has earned it is the source of her imperfections.  She understands too late that Sathra is an evolutionary potential, not a road to be followed. Her congregation begins to experience her corrupted vision of Sathra and will be psychologically scared as a result.

Dark Crossing (Calling 10, permanent) The Sathraist vanishes into shadows that seem to come from nowhere, or if this level of Calling is experienced while making an unbuffered jump the Sathraist enters the jumpgate on one side and simply does not emerge again on the other. She is simply gone, never to be heard from again.

Disabling a Sathra Damper 

Shutting down the Sathra Damper on a starship is not an easy task. Besides being a crime, it is a highly specialized affair: only a trained starship engineer can hope to accomplish it. The Sathra Dampers were designed to resist tampering and there are many traps and buffers to work through.
In game terms, a character must attain 20VPs on an extended Wits + Tech Redemption roll to disable a ship’s Sathra Damper, possibly drawing Synergy from such skills as Lore (Sathra) and Lore (Starship Design). A mishap result is likely to cause damage to the ship or make the tampering obvious. While it is hard to shut a damper off, it is much easier to turn it on again: only 5 VPs are required (unless it has been damaged).

There are rumors of ships installed with dampers carrying easy shut-off switches, but this would require tampering during the construction process, under the nose of the construction crew and Universal Church monitors.

Sinners and Saints

Symon Kepplar
Symon was born a native of Pandemonium, his father a stevedore who handled the loading and unloading of cargos in the Afil Spaceport. Even at only a few years old, Symon realized that life on Pandemonium was going to be hard. More and more people, displaced by the cataclysms of 4981, were pouring into the city and life was growing harder by the moment. At the first opportunity Symon, only 7 years old, stowed away on a starship to escape from the growing horror of Pandemonium.

At that age he knew nothing of spaceflight or the Sathra Effect, but while hidden aboard that ship Symon experienced his first communion. Instantly addicted to the wonders of space travel he stayed aboard the ship rather than leave when they made planetfall. His small cache of supplies dwindled and he was eventually caught trying to steal from the ships stores. Symon was brought before the captain and he begged for his life and for the privilege to experience just one more Jump. The Sathraists recognized his desire for communion and took him onto the crew as ‘cabin boy’

Symon served his apprenticeship aboard the unbuffered ship Majesty; never again setting foot on a planet, and with each communion his desire for further Sathra experiences grew. His psychic talents developed early on and the coven encouraged his development, grooming him for his eventual ascension to a position of leadership.

Symon’s talents led to his growing reputation as an explorer and an expert on jumpgates, ultimately receiving patronage from a young Hazat, Gaspar Antonio de Hira. The young noble had a wild theory that the Jumpweb was globular in shape, and was on, as a matter of honor, a quest to prove that the Jumpweb could be circumnavigated. Kepplar and his explorer crew seized upon the opportunity for both great adventure and excuses for making evermore frequent Jumps.

Quote: “I can feel it. Every time we cross a gate the instant of transition is longer, infinitesimally longer. Imperceptible to most, but not to me, each Jump is a step closer to a full transfiguration.”
Description: A young man with deep and ancient blue eyes. Sandy blond hair and hawkish features add the illusion of youth. He speaks little and prefers to live under low gravity, often adjusting the standard gravity aboard his ship to suit his mood.

Dex: 8 Vig: 4 Vitality 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Wit: 6 Wil: 3 Fatigue 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Int: 6 Pre: 4 Reputation 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10
Faith: 2 Calling: 4
Skills: Athletics 3, Culture (Pandemonium) 3, Culture (Hira) 2, Culture (Leminkainen) 2, Culture (Sutek) 2, Culture (Byzantium Secundus) 3, Culture (Hazat) 3, Culture (Hawkwood) 2, Culture (Decados) 2, Culture (Phoenix Empire) 4, Culture (Kurga Caliphate) 1, Culture (Vuldrok Star Nation) 2, Deception 5, Dodge 3, Fight 4, Influence 5, Lore (Jumpweb) 8, Lore (Sathra) 3, Observe 5, Helm 9, Shoot 5, Sneak 3, Streetwise 4, Think Machine 4, Throw 3
Benefits & Afflictions: Wealth (Poor), Well-Travelled, Coven, 
Psi: Farhand 3, Gate Keeper 6, Kinship 2
Gear: Travel clothing, Pearl earring, several doses of Obun Yoghurt, wrist band Squawker and Timepiece, Dreskel Boomer shotgun (regular and slapper shells).