World-spanning in every sense of the term, the Cosmic Echoes is an information network that subtly inﬂuences The communities it is in. Members are observers and scholars, and often teachers, guiding the world toward some unknown goal and serving as a source of education and information for psionic characters.
Base of Operations: The Cosmic Echoes don’t have any singular base of operations. Given their unprecedented communication abilities, they don’t need one.
Alignment: Neutral, though the current leadership is mostly Neutral Good.
Size: A few hundred inner members, and countless associate members.
Members: All inner members of the Cosmic Echoes are society minds of at least 19th level, and most are epic-level. Associate memberships are somewhat looser and ﬂuctuating, and no single trend uniﬁes them.
Motto: “We are all connected.”
Description: The Cosmic Echoes were formed long ago as a result of several powerful society minds led by a single visionary leader dedicating themselves to the preservation of psionic ability and the development of cultures. It is an informal organization, consisting of epic-level society minds and their networks. They exist for three purposes:
- Observe and record the development of cultures and keep in contact.
- Encourage innovative thought, and the free spread of information, both in themselves and in their communities.
- Recognize and cultivate psionic talent, particularly in areas that do not already support it.
The Cosmic Echoes, as a whole, are not leaders, movers, or shakers — they are observers and advisors. Associate
members may come from all walks of life, however. In an unusual twist of fate, the original leader’s identity is a mystery to most members, as he withdrew from active leadership duties after the organization became self-sustaining. The few inner members who had connected with him have, unusually, had their memories of him erased – although they would certainly recognize his mind if they saw it again. They can tell he is still connected to them, and that he’s still alive, but through unknown means he hides himself from their network sense (considered by many to be an impossible task).
Joining: Any creature who learns of the Cosmic Echoes can apply for membership through any other member, who can contact the inner members. If the applicants can dedicate themselves to the three basic purposes of the echoes, they are added to the network of any existing member. Associate society minds can and often do induct members to the organization, although the range of that particular society mind’s network limits activity unless the new members travel with the society mind. Adventurers interested in joining should seek to apply directly to an inner member, who can maintain connections anywhere an adventurer may travel. Inner members are busy and difﬁcult to directly track down, so inexperienced parties or those not willing to do legwork may ﬁnd joining difﬁcult.
It is practically impossible for a society mind to attain epic-level status without being noticed by the Cosmic Echoes, given the sheer size of the networks they maintain. At some point early in their epic career, most epic society minds are approached by a member of this organization, and should they wish to join, they are inducted by mutually joining each other’s networks.
Duties: Beyond the three general goals mentioned above, the Cosmic Echoes do not put any special duties on their members. To do so, they feel, would alter the nature of the networks they form. An individual associate member is under no obligation to behave in any particular way with the group as a whole. It is generally expected that this ambivalence be returned in kind; if a fellow member does something loathsome to a new member, the new member is generally expected to maintain contact nonetheless. (There have been cases where extremely disharmonious behavior has led to expulsion (removal from every inner member’s network), but this has only occurred with the
consensus of every inner member.)
Since members tend to behave normally, they also retain their individual sensibilities. Asking for favors within the organization usually calls upon a commensurate favor in return, although such deals are likely to be out of necessity or formality rather than out of a desire for proﬁt at the expense of another.
Beneﬁts: Joining the Cosmic Echoes has one mechanical beneﬁt: Inner members have access to the Epic Connections feat. This allows for far, far larger networks than usual, particularly if members of the new network are themselves members of other networks.
Associate members, regardless of their background, ﬁnd the Cosmic Echoes an incredible font of information. It can generally be assumed that any member of a Cosmic Echo network can be contacted in a few rounds at worst (although repeated contact can be considered annoying, and some society minds have been known to drop members that abuse this privilege). This is extremely helpful for traveling, as you’d frequently be “expected.” It is also extremely useful for ﬁnding information — Important news from across the multiverse is often broadcast as soon as a single member of one constituent network knows of it (such an effect cannot be controlled, it serves as a plot device). For more discrete information, respected members of the Cosmic Echoes ﬁnd it extremely easy to locate tidbits of information. GMs are free to determine how to express this in their game, although large ad hoc bonuses to Gather Information, or a virtual Bardic Knowledge check, are considered good benchmarks. Disrespected members and ex-members of the network do not gain this beneﬁt (though they retain the Epic Connections feat if they had learned it — using it, however, may be another matter).