Paradigm Summary: Sons of Ether

Paradigm Basics: The Sons of Ether paradigm is the power of Science! According to the Etherites, the science of the Technocracy is banal, boring, and limited. Instead, a Scientist should understand that personal inspiration and creativity is important when creating new discoveries, and that the universe is vast enough to support numerous theories that can explain the same circumstances.

From the point of view of the Technocrats, and most mundane scientists, the Etherite method is completely backwards, and casts the scientific method to the winds. A mundane or technocratic scientist who wants to create or discover something will look for precedents, evolve theories, do testing, and finally release a prototype to undergo further testing and, eventually, be declared functional or a "law." Conversely, a True Scientist who wants to create or discover something will intuitively invent the device or detail the findings and then work backwards to understand what exactly supports the Science and how to replicate the data.

For example, a scientist who wanted to fly would likely examine other objects and creatures that could fly, develop a theory of how this could be improved on, test possible designs, and eventually work out something that flies adequately and can eventually be refined. Meanwhile, a True Scientist with the same goal would decide how she wanted to fly (rocket pack, lighter-than air gel, airship, etc.), retreat to a laboratory full of equipment and parts, and then assemble the device. After the device started working she could trace back its components and decide whether it is powered by antigravity, fusion, ether-propulsion, etc. Eventually, once she had fully understood how the invention was created, she could make further flying devices and worry less about causing a paradox that would cause her device to explode.

What is important to the Etherites is that Science is inspired and fueled by passion and creativity, not that it follow any specific model or integrate well with other understandings of the universe. Many of a single Scientist's devices do tend to become more similar in their theoretical basis, but this may be because she develops her own unified theories, because she keeps more of such materials in her lab, or simply because her further designs goals specify that future creations will be compatible with former devices.

Etherites have a hard time really incorporating "Hedge Mages" into their paradigms. Many individuals can be taught the basic ideas of the tradition, and can eventually be taught to help as lab assistants, to test and refine inventions, and even to re-create time-tested devices. However, it requires the spark of true Genius to really practice Science, because this intuitive grasp of reality is necessary for the creation of Etherite inventions. Thus, unenlightened individuals rarely progress far in the tradition hierarchy.

Since they have been members of the Traditions, the Sons of Ether have begun to accept the idea that Will is somehow involved in their creations, at least in the ability to protect a device from the ravages of the Technocratic consensus. However, each Scientist has a different theory as to how this works, from sub-quantum observation effects, to ether-propagated psi particles, to pure, misunderstood devotion to the craft. Science will soon find the real answer!

Paradigm Casting: For most Etherite castings, the generation of the effect is as simple as "press the button." Any effect that the Etherite can manifest through a device can be pulled off in the minimum time, since their spontaneous castings are not exactly spontaneous. An invention that is perfected and optimized (made into a Rote) can work even faster. If the Etherite has a device that wasn't exactly intended to perform a specific effect, but performs a similar effect, it can usually be modified in a few minutes. If the Etherite does not have a device that performs anything similar, materials on hand must be used to create a new device, which may take quite a while if not in a fully stocked lab. For this reason, Etherites should make certain to keep careful note of exactly what they are carrying with them.

Etherite "rituals" involve taking an invention or theory into the lab and expanding it greatly over several hours of tinkering and modification. Normal inventions cannot provide the power of a ritualized casting without this kind of modification, as there is so much more that can go wrong in such a fashion.

Adventurous Etherites that use psionics or special physics knowledge to accomplish their effects can generally pull off a wide variety of spontaneous effects quickly, but are unable to ritualize their effects. Speed and versatility are gained in exchange for power.

Paradigm Benefits: The primary benefit of the Etheric paradigm is the use of inventions. Many of their effects do not count onlookers as "with witnesses" if they can at all explain how their invention could possibly do something, or it seems to be doing something normal in a different way (e.g. an ether-powered quantum flame-thrower that looks like a normal flame-thrower would not invoke "with witnesses" unless the onlookers knew it was not a normal flame-thrower). Some effects are even coincidental, if the science of the device is compatible with commonly accepted principles. As has been noted above, using pre-made items means the casting of anticipated effects is very quick. Lastly, paradox backlash tends to target an Etherite's inventions before punishing the Etherite herself, since it is seemingly the device violating reality.

In addition, Etherites can be given a +2 bonus to all rolls to invent something new with Technology or Science.

Paradigm Limits: The limit of the paradigm is also its advantage. Etherites are very dependent on tools, usually easily broken and bulky tools. An Etherite's player must specify exactly what the character is carrying and has easily on hand, and what effects it can produce. If an item can do multiple things, especially unrelated things, it is more prone to breaking, exploding, or just plain being too cumbersome to carry. Making a Roted item alleviates this problem somewhat, allowing it to accomplish several closely related things without serious penalty.

An Etherite without spare parts or devices is basically incapable of working magick. Storytellers can be generous, and allow MacGuyver-esque creations from ordinary household devices, but the more common and unbelievable the concoction is, the more likely it is to invoke paradox and the more difficulty should be added to the creation of the effect. An Etherite without the proper tools is not really an Etherite.