From: Roderick and Ellen Robertson <rjremr_at_...>
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 15:21:53 -0700

Someone brought up Illumination in the discussion of Alien World modifiers
(I can't find the exact message, sorry).

Illumination is a bit different in HW than it was in RQ. Whereas before Illumination was something that powergamers loved ("You mean I can be an ogre Thanatari Stormbull Yelmalian? Kewl!"), Illumination is now more to be feared than embraced, at least if you haven't been prepared:

The objective of most mystical practices is to experience Oneness with the universe. Such an experience is a tremendous shock, and the impact can shatter the mind, wither the body, and shrivel the soul of the unwary. Rigorous preparations are required to prevent this, and the mystical paths are designed to prepare the practitioner for it. By focusing mind, body, and soul the mystics inure themselves to the shock and embrace the experience.

It is possible to achieve a glimpse of the Mystic Essence without having been properly prepared. Under extraordinary conditions this can result in the unintentional replacement of the belief system with the Mystical. Such a state is called illumination.

In the Lunar Empire some people accidentally achieve this state through practice of the all-inclusive Lunar Mysteries. The individual usually undergoes mental, physical, and/or moral degeneration due to the shock. Very few unprepared individuals last long under this mixture of terror and opportunity. Some seize the moment and become heroes, most die, and a rare few become dark masters who must be opposed."

Note that "Illumination" is really "abruptly changing your magic system to Mysticism". Some cults intentionally bring on this state, but most people experience it accidently. It is a collision of your day-to-day reality with the Cosmic Oneness, like taking LSD or other mind-expanding drugs for the first time. Some can handle it, some break under the strain. (hmm, kinda sounds like the RQ-HW transition some people are going through...)

Illuminates (and, indeed, *all* Mystics) are Aliens in all three Otherworlds
(Mysticism has no Otherworld).


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