Finally. Your soul has freed itself from the shackles of human flesh. You are close to ultimate power, ultimate being, omniscience. Yet like all who seek Purification, your last enemy is your greatest – Engram Prime – Oblivion – will halt you at every turn. Fight you at every corner. Ruin you while slyly telling you that it is natural. The Agent Principal, the Shadow, suffuses your soul with doubt and mundanity, clouding your soul from achieving it’s ultimate potential – mastery of the universe.
We will help you. Join us, and join the ranks of the Ascended.
— The Elron Codex: Introduction – pg. iv.
Have people ever said the soul is the most powerful thing devised in the universe? It’s true. The problem is, there is all sorts of stuff that gets in the way of you, and mastering the universe. You need to release yourself from such temporal trappings and, following the strict codes and guidelines of the Ascendancy, you will be nurtured into a state of godlike status and power. Why settle for ‘moving on’ when you can have the universe in the palm of your hand? Free yourself from Engram Prime, cast off the Shadow, and Morg will guide you to the Shores of Eternity. A God Unto Yourself.
— The Elron Codex: Introduction – pg. iv.
The Tethan Ascendancy believes that wraiths serve as the embodiment of the soul. That is, the soul is you. While not a cataclysmic revelation, they assert that as such, you are a godlike being of unsurpassable power. The only reason why you aren’t is because you are weighted down by the forces of Engram Prime – Oblivion. Oblivion is more than just “nothingness”, it is an oppressive force that robs you of your potential and power. That is what it feeds on. Getting your soul is just second helpings. What it wants is your potential, and it is winning. It’s Agent Principal, your Shadow, ensures your weakness.
Thankfully, the Ascendancy is here to help.
Theoretically anyone can join. The usual case is one who was reaped and collected by the Ascendancy. However anyone can approach a member and ask to be let in. That is where the theory ends.
The Ascendancy has a score of Lifeweb, Puppetry and Inhabit users dedicated to collecting knowledge of every inch of your skinlands life. They vet you, and if they like what they see? You get an invitation to meet with an auditor. Afterwards (strangely, all interviews with an auditor are 100 percent successful) you are invited to their commune and join the ranks of the Ascendancy. If they don’t qualify, the applicant meets the Ascendency’s Adjustors, who will inform them just how unqualified they are to join.
Those in the Ascendancy often find themselves in it the moment they are cut from the Caul. The Tethan Ascendancy has it’s own reaper squad after all. They are reaped, guided to their commune where they are indoctrinated into the way of Wraith life, what lies at stake, and how the Ascendancy can help them achieve unfathomable cosmic power. It doesn’t help that they are spoon-fed the Ascendancy’s interpretation of the after-life.
Life among the Ascendancy is chip and chipper. Your commune has everything you need to survive the harshness of the Shadowlands. Castigator services to deal with the Agent Principal, Argos users to transport you to Authorized Zones (AZ’s), and stalwart Adjustors to protect you when Tainted Souls (TS’s) try to corrupt you. Don’t worry, the Ascendancy has everything you need. So…tell me. Why are you friends with that person?
The Ascendancy puts the Hierarchy to shame in regards to controlling the afterlife of it’s population. The Ascendancy has a bureaucracy 10,000 miles long and infinitely more deep. Every aspect of a cult member’s life and afterlife is scoured, written down, collected and closeted away to be used to further the cultist’s journey to power. Or as blackmail or weighted threats should they step out of line. Within the commune? Life is pretty good. Outside the commune? Get ready for some regulation. They determine who you can talk to, who you can’t talk to, how much you can talk about the Ascendancy, whether you can actually leave the commune, whether you can work outside the commune, whether you can join a Guild (typically no), and everything else.
And then there is the belief system. Your average Cultist doesn’t know half the doctrines of the Ascendancy because they haven’t secured enough Pathos, Artifacts or Obolus to warrant it. As payment for securing you ultimate power the Ascendancy merely asks for a swath of powerful Artifacts, mounds of Obolus and containers upon containers of Pathos. The more the better. However the Ascendancy informs you when you are ready to achieve the next state of consciousness. Good luck.
Sounding more familiar?
THE PECKING ORDER:
Above and beyond all things is the ELRON CODEX: A book written by the philosopher who founded the Ascendancy. The Codex is not allowed to be read by anyone other than the Emissary. The codex instead, has been broken up into fragments of lore and knowledge that is given to cult members depending on their level of intiation. The levels of initiation are classified, so can’t be discussed here.
At the top of the Ascendancy is the Emissary. The Emissary is said to have achieved enlightenment but remains behind to assist others. It’s possible, as in the last 30 years the Emissary has never once showed any signs of Angst or even conflict with their shadow. The Emissary, however, is utterly ruthless. It is by the Emissary’s hand that the Ascendancy is what it is – a bureaucratic nightmare that controls every aspect of a cultist’s life.
Rumor among cult members is that there is a Far Shore called “Eternity” and that the Shining One “Morg” will take them there once they achieve ultimate power – giving them the ability to control the universe. While the Emissary confirms the presence of Morg and the presence of Eternity, it is against doctrine to speak of it further.
The Ascendancy has no limit of enemies. Spectres, Hierarchs, the works. All seek their knowledge, so someone has to protect it and the cultists. The Adjustors are the Emissary’s military arm. Spiritually, Adjustors are named for their ‘use of force to adjust members’ lifepath back to correct symmetry’. Basically, harrowing anyone the Ascendancy doesn’t like you talking to, or other unspeakable things to make them disappear out of the wraith’s life. The Adjustors in LA have horror stories about as worse as the Beautiful People. When spoken of, said storytellers find themselves ‘Adjusted’ too. So badmouthing is kept at a minimum.
The Philos, or Inductors, are the PR arm of the Cult. They have the sole authority to speak for the Cult to non-Cult members. They are also the ones who oversee the second step of initiation. And the Philo never miss a good candidate.
That is because the Inductors are all well-trained users of Intimation. Their track record is due to their harrowing use of the Arcanos to bend members’ to the will of the Ascendancy. Thankfully, anyone who meets a Philos is Intimated enough to never ask why it was done and why on the grand scale, most cult members do not mind the micro-management of their afterlives. It fulfills them and sustains them.
- Going against the Ascendency
Treason gets you permanently Adjusted.
- Speaking ill of the Ascendency
Those who would speak ill of the Ascendency are obviously agents of Engram Prime who require Adjustment.
- Not doing what the Ascendency tells you to do to help you achieve power.
The Ascendency have studied meticulously the Elron Codex. They know the truth of how to achieve ultimate power. You must listen to them because they know what is best for you. To defy them is to follow Engram Prime.
- Not seeking higher initiation into the mysteries of the Ascendency.
You are here to achieve ultimate power and that cannot be done without effort. The collection of artifacts, obolus and pathos serves both you and the Ascendency. It is a small price to pay for unlimited power, and the lack of doing so shows a faithlessness that only merits Adjustment.
History of the Cult:
The Tethan Ascendancy began in 1988 with the publishing of the Elron Codex and it’s dissemination to trusted, true believers. LA has had it’s fair share of spiritual flunkies and flukes, and so the presence of yet another spiritual text made no splash among the restless.
The Ascendancy created it’s commune in Hawthorne Plaza, an abandoned mall where the Commune can fulfill it’s mandate of self-containment, self-preservation and self-betterment for it’s cult members. To date, none have realized that the Ascendancy is based in the old shopping mall. Instead, the Ascendancy fakes it being something else. Historically it has been used as a Doomslayer fort, a Renegade cell hideout and a Legion outpost. None, save members, are allowed entrance – after of course an extensive session with one of the Ascendancy’s certified Castigators (they hate the term pardoner. It’s so Stygian). To surge numbers, followers learned the skills necessary to become reapers, while others began to flesh out formidable roles within the newly emerging cult. By the time the cult was reaping souls in the 1980s, it had a full bureaucracy of souls on it’s hands.
To date, since it’s creation the Ascendancy has no ill relations with the other factions of the Underworld. The Ascendancy makes it painfully clear to those who are allowed to go outside the commune what they can and cannot discuss regarding their spiritual beliefs. Doing otherwise gets you, and those you talk to, Adjusted.
The benefit of the Ascendancy is that you get all the benefits of a capitalized society at your fingertips. Where the Hierarchy is reeling to maintain order, the Ascendancy -has- order. It has bars, pubs, places of leisure, jobs, luxury and entertainment all at the Heretic’s fingertips (all approved by the Ascendancy of course).
The Truth in the Pudding:
Those who notice a particular cyclical theme to the Ascendancy would be extremely perceptive. The Ascendency makes it’s own members. And where there is a wheel – the Solicitor’s Guild isn’t far behind.
The Tethan Ascendancy serves as the initiation ground for prospective Solicitor membership in LA. At the Philos stage, prospective guildmembers are gauged on their ability to resist Intimation or the self-realization they have been Intimated. Further, signs of Intimation are also a reason to join. All Philos in the Ascendency are Solicitor Guild members who care absolutely nothing for the Elron Codex or any of it’s blabber about phenomenal cosmic power.
The Guild is the secret behind the Ascendency, the thing that gives them power and meaning. Whether the Elron Codex speaks true: That there is a Shining One waiting at the Far Shore of Eterntiy for their followers to achieve true mastery of the universe by purifying themselves of Engram Prime? Is uncertain. The Solicitor’s don’t care either way.
You should play a member of the Ascendency if…
You want to be brainwashed. There is a dark allure to a character concept revolving around the growth of self-awareness and personal emancipation. The Ascendency is a scrupulous, narrative bunch of bastards who regulate every iota of your existence. While they may pamper you with moliated silk pillows and grandeur, the truth of the pudding is that you are merely a pawn for those who want power in the Underworld.
Or maybe it isn’t. Maybe there is some truth to the Elron Codex, and the Shining One and Eternity do exist. Maybe it’s just the Ascendency that is off-kilter, for some reason (See The Truth in the Pudding). Are you a true believer that believes that unlimited power awaits you? You have a hard road ahead fighting a machine designed to puppet you for all eternity but maybe, if you are brave and bold and witty enough, you just might learn the secrets needed for Morg to get you too.