Baramins are considered as opposite counterparts to the Peerage's Foundations, today five of them stand, each one wrapped in their own bubble of solipsistic logic as well as representing a "flaw" in humanity. They all have grown fixated on a "divergence point" where they feel everything went wrong and they generally don't realize their inventions only work because they avoid reality. As such with the rest of Lemuria, every baramin member is an Unmada, and it is an actual requirement to be one for membership. Though at least seven baramins have fallen by today, these five central Baramins still exist:
Atomists - Obsessed with atomic power, Atomists believe atomic power can better humanity and power the technology people from the 50's were promised like jetpacks and a worldwide technological utopia.
Etherites - Those who refuse to accept the Ether theory as false, the Etherites believe in a grand unified theory of science, one that neatly explains all phenomena and anomalies that ignore current information. They are prone to instability and have a lack of interest in the dangerous consequences of their experiments.
Mechanists - Trying to make sense of existance, Mechanists believe in a "clockwork universe", one that is not greater than the sum of its parts and can be reduced to a few simple natural laws. They take fatalism to its logical conclusion by blaming everything on what fate dealt them with.
Oracles - The Oldest baramin in Lemuria's existance, their understandings and ideas are unrecognizeable to the modern world, as they resemble the ways of the old world. Their baramin is slowly disappearing, being replaced by different ideas brought on by Atomists.
Phenomenologists - Consumate liars and fundementally irrational, they study philosophy linked completely with political and social agendas that change constantly. Because of this, they believe that reality is very subjective.
A "sixth" Baramin, the Numericals, comes and goes with the time within the Internet, and as of yet do not have their own Favored Axioms or even a Grant, they are made up of uncategorized Unmada disgruntled members from other baramins. Another baramin, called the Dharmists, are remnants of the old rulers of Lemuria and the closest to the secret masters; they are said to be masters of thought and mind control.
Moochava on the Baramins Edit
The Lemurians are a mix of two things: 1) my dissatisfaction with *Mage: The Ascension*'s occasional philosophical stupidity and 2) the varieties of net.kooks found on Usenet in the 90s, when I first got online.
The Atomists resemble the Technocracy, but with an explanation for why they're rotten that, I hope, makes sense outside of Berkeley in 1995. They're also modeled on the Rand/Heinlein/Niven enthusiasts who still clutter up forums with their militaristic libertarian cults of strength.
The Etherites are obviously the Sons of Ether, with all the racism, sexism, and imperialism of the actual Victorian Age--which Ascension occasionally nodded to--and all that "Science isn't about facts! It's about zap-zap-zoom!" given the laughing-at it deserves. They also gobble up a lot of the "pyramid power/UFO healing/*X-Files*" conspiracy stuff that used to be much bigger than it is now. They sit in the epicenter of the "They all laughed but I'll show them!" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppFVmnmpGz8>vibe that runs through *Genius*.
The Mechanists have no overriding ideology, nor do they serve as a riff on something in another game. They are merely cool, because giant clockwork lions that spit shurikens are cool.
The Oracles are, in Alan Moore's words, "a brutal cripple-kicking attack on ideas too old and enfeebled to put up a struggle." They're a mix of Hermetics, Choirists, and a few others, but mostly it's an excuse to laugh at people who can say "baraminology" with a straight face.
The Phenomenologists are an attack on postmodernism so unsubtle and unfair it would make Terry Goodkind gag a little and shake his head. I'd say they're aimed at the Ecstatics, but none of my players ever touched the Cult of Ecstasy. It might've been the shaky rules for the Time Sphere, but I think most of them read the description and remembered every drunk party girl in high school who thought she could play the tambourine, every hacky-sack kicking, bongo-thumping white rastaman with a dirty brown dog on a rope leash begging for bus fare, and decided to play something, you know, actually cool instead. (What the designers saw in those guys I'll never know.)
The Third Race is a reference to Blavatsky's "Races of Man," kooky racist nonsense at the center of Theosophy and tucked away in the corners of several modern occult movements where people hope no one will notice it. * Genius* is littered with Easter eggs referencing the nutty racism people got up to the Nazis ruined everyone's favorite pseudoscience<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YV5ynRFzrIM>.
The Numericals are Virtual Adepts, but "running through cyberspace" is *so*irrelevant today that I couldn't justify making them a full baramin. Maybe the new Tron movie will change that. The Dharmists are a cluttered mix of Indian and Eastern traditions (mostly the Euthanatoi and Akashics with a heavy layer of Victorian "Atlantis" beliefs) but again, they don't show up much.
The Atomists are a mixed bag. There are some old-school technocratic socialists (like HG Wells) in there along with the militaristic libertarians, and the Navigators are, of course, filled with fascists and other sorts of authoritarians, making the Atomist/Etherite/Navigator borders occasionally hazy. Other Atomists are more sympathetic; they're just sad that people and politics fucked up a perfectly serviceable techno-utopia.I'm a little sad about that too; I believe people are generally better than their religions but often unworthy of their science. So I sympathize with that kind of "We should've reached Mars by now!" starry-eyed idealism, but I also recognize that it's mixed up with at least two distinct and equally ugly strains of political thought.
I could rant your ear off about that Singh lawsuit, but one thing I've noticed, following skepticism and popular science since about 1990, is that nowadays we have less spoon bending, pyramid power, and Roswell stuff; creationism has held steady with its transformation into ID; but anti-vax stuff has really taken off. However, I wanted the Etherites to be a little antiquated in their weird beliefs, still yelling about the cloaked spaceship on the grassy knoll that killed Kennedy and other stuff that's passed its sell-by-date. Newer forms of pseudoscience (Stuart Pivar's "balloon animal" evolution, anti-vax...are there mad scientist Birthers?) are probably unaligned echo doctors that are gradually trickling into the Etherites.
I don't know anyone who's run Lemurians before, but I can try to give you some general advice. The early 60s are an ideologically tumultuous time for the Lemurians, for a number of reasons.
First, one of their modern baramins--the Atomists--is just in the process of forming. Most of the Buddy Holly glasses and pocket protectors-wearing, atomic physics-studying, technocratic-utopia-planning, we-will-have-robot-servants-prognosticating nerds are peers at this time, and it's only the most prescient peers who realize that the "atomic car" future is a walking abortion, doomed to failure. So at this time you've still got a lot of frantic optimism among the peerage, with "atomists" as a non-militaristic subset of the Navigators mixed in with New World style Artificers. Those "atomists" tipping toward Lemurianism are either 1) techno-socialist utopians who saw fascism and Stalinism destroy their visions, a la HG Wells and Aldous Huxley, and 2) low-key technocratic "libertarian" authoritarians, some of them ex-fascists, who see a rising tide of "pinko sissy liberalism" rising up to destroy their visions. The former group forms the initial core of disaffected "the masses have rejected our genius" Atomists shortly after the Bay of Pigs scandal, coming together to create a baramin independent of both the Etherites and Mechanists after the Bay of Pigs scandal, while the rest of them show up around 1970 after Earth Day, to create a military-industrial base for the new baramin. From 1957 to 1970 the baramin is in violent flux.
Second, the Lemurians have no head. Peer extermination squads are in full effect, hunting down and executing any remnants of the Secret Masters. It isn't until the early 80s--around the time the hippies start selling out and turning into yuppies--that the Lemurians start rebuilding their bureaucracy. After the Last Invisible War it's a very, very ugly time, with kill-teams, reeducation camps, and the remnants of old war machines running all over the place. The Peerage still retains influence in North Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and parts of the United States, but they're basically gone from Europe and Japan, and even in the US, where they still retain certain areas of control, harboring a Secret Master or an important political officer from the old order will get kill squads called down on you. It's a terrifying, chaotic time.
Third, watch Mad Men. This is good advice for anyone at any time, but if you're looking to set things just in the aftermath of the last battles (which occurred in '57 with a few ending in '58), it behooves you to see what changes start to occur once Lemuria no longer holds the mundane world in its claws.
So, a bit of advice. Use what's useful.
Focus on equations for Phenomenologists. Mind-control equations that activate when translated into music, equations to predict the future, equations that allow the Phenomenologist to make the best use of probability, mathematical formulae that cause brain damage, etc. These don't have to be literal "equations"--they can be techniques, methods, or systems--but many of their wonders will be internalized, and most will have some sort of linguistic or mathematical philosophy behind it. When deploying a Phenomenologist, you want to make them dangerous even to TALK TO. Etherites will come at you with plasma guns and vibro-knives if they want to kill you, Mechanists will send clockwork knights, Oracles have their fire-breathing dinosaurs and toxic alchemy, but their violence is all predicated on them thinking "Hey, I need to kill that asshole over there." Most Phenomenologists won't acknowledge the difference between talking, arguing, and blasting people's psyches with Epikrato, and won't care if they can understand the difference.