The Enlightenment

Those who walk the path of enlightenment believe that true power comes only from true understanding. The varied members of the Enlightenment have helped to overthrow tyranny and oppression in peaceful methods if possible, although in extreme situations, they have been known to take up arms.

Base of Operations: Because the calling to spread enlightenment is not isolated to a specific region, there is no single base of operations for the members of the Enlightenment. The more prominent members may have houses or keeps as needed for the cause, but there is no singular location.

Alignment: Neutral Good.

Size: Several hundred direct members, with tens of thousands of associate members and field agents.

Members: Full members of the Enlightenment are either enlightened exemplars or enlightened protectors. Associate members are those who are seeking to become enlightened exemplars or protectors, or those non-manifesters working on their own to spread understanding based upon the tenets of the organization.

Motto: “By following along the path toward enlightenment, you set yourself free.”

Description: The name the Enlightenment does not truly capture what this organization is. It is merely what most members and outsiders choose to call it, not being able to truly communicate the abstract thought that is enlightened consciousness. When the organization is referred to through telepathic speech, it carries a different name which cannot be expressed in words.

The Enlightenment embodies using logic and reason to examine the doctrines of the world and, through peaceful measures, change any doctrines that are harmful to society. The organization also promotes the spread of knowledge, in particular knowledge of psionics and its uses. By removing the mystery of psionics, it helps to eliminate much of the fear and hatred that the ignorant possess.

Joining: Becoming a member of the Enlightenment entails proving to the association that you are dedicated to the cause of peacefully expanding the minds of others. Members of the organization travel openly; locating an individual member for initial tutoring and contact with the Enlightenment leadership should not be a difficult task. Ironically, they are easiest to find in places where oppression or psionic persecution run rampant, attempting to peacefully educate the population.

New applicants must understand that the use of mind-affecting abilities on the unwilling is not acceptable, as it does not enlighten another, but instead stunts their mental development. A full member of the Enlightenment swears an oath to never affect an unwilling subject with any mind-affecting ability, from any source under their control (including psionic items). Deception of others about the nature of such an ability (such as wrongfully convincing a target that an ability is harmless) or using such abilities on targets while they sleep goes against this oath, as does promoting the use of such abilities in others. Although a member of the Enlightenment may find the behavior of some telepaths horrid, he is under no special restriction in choosing his associates. This oath has a supernatural component to it, in the form of willingly accepting a minor telepathic effect, similar in nature to a latent programmed domination although significantly less malicious. Any member who breaks this oath has the effect trigger, which immediately and unquestionably blocks the violator from gaining any benefit from class features gained in either of the Enlightenment’s prestige classes, locking those areas of his training away from him. This block cannot truly be removed: those who oppress the wills of others must face the reality of what they have done by living with it forever.

If the oath was broken without the member’s control, such as from that member being under the control of another, they may seek to rectify their actions: the Enlightenment’s leaders typically assign a task of the ex-member, and upon successful completion of the task, render the block latent once again. If such activities are taken willingly, that individual is ejected from the Enlightenment for violating one of the core principles of the organization. The nature of the telepathic block records the state of mind of the bearer when triggered; it is impossible to hide intent at the time of triggering from the leaders of the Enlightenment. Thus, it is impossible to ‘cheat the system’ through false appeals of intent – those who willingly violate the oath and are not repentant are automatically ejected.

Duties: It is the duty of every member of the Enlightenment to spread knowledge and to re-evaluate current knowledge. Only by questioning assumptions can mistakes be caught and corrected. Knowledge is a powerful tool and by distributing it to others, it empowers them to have a positive impact on their own lives. Similarly, it is the duty of all members of the Enlightenment to oppose tyranny that oppresses the minds of its subjects. If this can be done in a peaceful fashion, the preferred method, that would be the appropriate path for a member of the Enlightenment, although the militant arm of the organization, the enlightened protectors, exist to handle the situation if a peaceful end is not possible.

**Benefits: Members of the Enlightenment freely trade knowledge with each other. For techniques such as item creation or psychic chirurgery, given enough time, a member of the Enlightenment is nearly guaranteed to find a member that knows any given power.

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