AKA: The Crystal-eyed One, Lady of Clear Water, The Philosopher Queen
Kingdom: The Danann Archipelago
Followers' Epithets: Crystals, Lights, Hope-Engineers
- Contrary to popular belief, people aren’t stupid. It’s just that people don’t think, or they don’t know how to think, or they just didn’t have the right facts. If you don’t think, you miss all the flaws in your plans. If you don’t have all the facts, you make stupid assumptions because you didn’t know any better. If you don’t think and don’t understand the world around you, you’ll put all your efforts into a plan that simply won’t work. And then things go wrong. Sometimes, they go very, very wrong.
- That’s why thinking and knowledge and education are so important. If you know why a problem happens, you’re halfway to solving it. If you think clearly, you can find that solution. And if you educate people, you give them the ability to solve their own problems. By understanding the world, and teaching others to do the same, we can find a way to make it brighter.
- So. Want to help build a better future?
The Queen of Diamonds rules from the Academy, and from there she and her servants seek to illuminate the world. She teaches that the Light of Hope is best accompanied by the twin lights of Knowledge and Reason. The Nobles who follow her believe that with those two lights acting as Hope’s heralds, they can spread the light far and wide.
Tales of DanannEdit
From her seat in The Academy the Queen of Diamonds rules the Danann Archipelago. Upon a throne of whale ivory and pearl sits The Philosopher Queen: Regal as a glacier: Six foot tall and adorned with in the latest sleek future-chic fashions of her court. Here she judges the petitions and arguments of her subjects. Her replies are lengthy and explain the facts, theories and reasoning behind every decision. Every word spoken by The Lady of Clear Water is precise and rehearsed, as calm as a moonlit pond.
Those who know the Queen in private see a very different person. Barely reaching five foot stands a young woman just entering her twenties wearing casual clothes, unkempt mousy hair and a tee shirt adorned with an obscure and highly technical joke. She even wears glasses having never bothered to fix her eyesight. Far from the regal Philosopher Queen she stumbles over her words, gushing like a bubbling brook in her excitement over the latest technical and scientific discoveries. When gifted with some unseen device or research from Earth she squees, yes squees, in delight. Among her many friends and frequent one night consorts she values nothing more than someone with whom she can share her boundless passion for learning.
The Lady of Clear Water tends to assume that the sort of Princess who pledges to the Court of Diamonds is the kind of person she can introduce to her private self; she is usually right. When talking to the Queen in her public persona it is best to speak as she does, clear, precise, with a focus on the facts and an explanation of your reasoning. In private talking to the Queen of Diamonds is like sailing down a river; her excitement leads the conversation and the Princess must choose whether to follow or fight the currents to steer the conversation in more practical directions. Some Princesses become tributaries, their own excitement joining with the Queen's to become greater than either alone; it is these Princesses most likely to win the Queen's friendship and the royal favour.
Wherever the Queen travels Plato, her ever-loyal owl, is sure to follow. To her court, and even her close friends Plato is nothing more than her pet and her idea sounding board. In truth Plato is the Queen's spymaster. Among the Academy’s denizens the wise owl is second only in intellectual might to the Queen herself and among the strongest magical practitioners.
The Queen of Diamonds has taken as her motto, You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Through Understanding, TriumphEdit
Everything has a cause; everything has a purpose; nothing that happens is inexplicable. The servants of the Philosopher Queen take the duty of finding causes, purposes and explanations, and bear it with pride. The Crystals would inquire, as a rule, for the sheer love of knowledge even if no benefit could be expected. Nonetheless there usually is some practical use to the Lights' studies. When they come across a work of the Darkness, the Hope-Engineers analyze it carefully, and reach as complete an understanding of it as they can; then they strike, cut the problem off at the root, and watch it wither away. Analysis is obligatory, since an ill-planned strategy is usually worse than none; when analysis is done, plans must be carried out quickly and thoroughly, for it's intolerable than people be left to suffer a moment longer than they must. The more widely a Crystal has studied, the more swiftly she takes hold of a new problem, to supply its correct solution.
Guide the River’s PathEdit
When the Crystals discover some problem during their studies - a work of the Darkness, or a simple human error - they are of course obliged to do something about it. The proper Hope-Engineer solves the problem for ever: though a temporary fix or stopgap might be all that’s possible, she is not satisfied until the root of the trouble is dug up and killed. Moreover, the full gifts of the Light were always given to few, even in the Kingdom’s day, so any solution that requires a Princess’ powers constantly is inferior. For that reason (among others) the Lights admire and prize the technology of the modern world. A Charm can cure plagues in one person at a time, but no Princess ever managed to eradicate a plague from the whole Earth - the banishing of smallpox was a feat of mortal science. Such triumphs as that are the Philosopher Queen’s model. The elegant solution to any problem is one that sustains itself: design a machine, or an institution, or a code of laws, that anyone can use and everyone will want to use, for that will endure even if magic fails.
Light Shines Through Clear MindsEdit
However unusual a fact is, however much a theory encompasses, it has no power if people know nothing of it, or lack the training to understand it. So, the Hope-Engineers take the further duty of education, and of clear communication. Knowledge and reason are invariably good, lack of either a weakness, withholding of them the worst of crimes. A Crystal pushes everyone she has any influence over to learn, to think, to question, and to test everything, herself first of all; and she will not deceive those who listen to her, or tolerate lies from them. And, while she values the wisdom to be gained from time-honored customs and venerable authorities, a Light doesn't assume such wisdom is complete or final, or follow it blindly. Unless faced with urgent peril, Crystals look for the reasons behind any command given to them, and will flout them if no reasons are given; once in authority, a Hope-Engineer analyzes the traditions of her society as thoroughly as she does any other fact before her, and tests them as carefully as she does her own theories. Only thus does the light of reason truly illuminate the world ...
The Lights' Duty is to use her brain. The Courtiers of Diamonds seek positions where problems can be solved with thought and intelligence alone. Sometimes it falls upon them to personally implement the solutions they conceive. Sometimes society expects them to start at the bottom and “learn the ropes”. Whatever situation she finds herself in, the ideal is to earn a Mandate to use her mind.
What Champions of Diamonds lack in combat power they make up for in strategic ability. As much a general than a fighter the Champions of Diamonds has the mind to plan a grand military campaign and organise the logistics of keeping her army fed and battle ready. When battle is joined her quick wits let her adapt to changing circumstances and match her foes gambit for gambit. If so many Champions of Diamonds are seen with shield and spear in hand against the Darkness, that's because so few of them have an army to lead. While her Nakama will benefit from a well thought out plan to raid a Darkened cult, a group of five can scarcely afford to leave their Champion away from the front line.
The Graces in the Diamond Court might not be the best at managing people but they are the best at managing their kingdoms. The Grace's pen closes loopholes in the tax code, defines laws in clear and understandable terms or just balances the national budget. So long as she can keep her head above the confusing tangle of special interests and the reins of policy away from those who pander to badly thought out populism she should have no trouble running a kingdom.
Seekers of Diamonds are perhaps the purest expression of Diamond's Philosophy. They truly believe that knowledge is inherently good and only application can be evil. Deep within their ivory towers the Seekers of Diamonds study everything, from atomic physics to the Twilight Invocations. The future is built on what they discover.
If a Seeker of Diamonds are scientists, then her Menders are the engineers. A Mender of Diamonds is more likely to be found in a laboratory researching new cures and vaccines than in the hospital, helping patient after patient. Rather than fixing a broken machine, she will design a new machine free of the fault that broke the first model. The Hope Engineers can be found in research and development teams, developing technological policy, contributing to open source and running crisis response centres.
The Troubadours of Diamonds tend to dedicate their talents in a very specific direction. Their duty is simple: make learning fun! Whether they write a sci-fi epics where the plot hinges on an accurate understanding of science or whether they're the cool chemistry teacher who manages to tie every topic into a practical that ends with something blowing up. When Troubadours of Diamonds are teaching, you might not even know you're being educated.
No matter what cultural or geographical background they come from, the Court of Diamonds were always people who appreciated the importance of thinking things through. Access to education is not nearly as important as some might think, but whether she was educated in a first world university or taught in a third world slum, a would be Light tends to make the most of whatever opportunities she had. The Hope-Engineers recruit heavily from the ranks of teacher's pets, library bookworms and self professed nerds. Professors and PhD students are rarer, most Princesses Blossom before graduation.
Despite their Queen's love of science and technology, it is not necessary for a Hope-Engineer to be (or aspire to be) a scientist or work in a technical field. The Court welcomes anyone who believes in the value of thinking things through. Only around half the Court can be said to work directly in an academic or technical profession, which includes a large crop of librarians, teachers and other educators. Regardless of background, most of the Court sincerely believes in the potential for technology to create a better world.
Intelligence and Wits are both highly prized among Crystals. Intelligence is vital for making sense of data, while Wits is valued for spotting patterns and noticing important details. Many also focus on Composure or Resolve, either to keep their heads clear and emotions under control, or to keep one’s mind on the facts no matter how strong their emotions run. If a Light doesn’t have Investigation, he tends to pick it up fairly quickly in their efforts to get the facts of whatever problem he’s facing. Many Crystals have at least a few dots spread across Computer, Crafts, Academics, and Science. Those who seek to understand the strange things of the World of Darkness often take dots in Occult. Persuasion and Expression also are fairly common, Persuasion for convincing other to follow the plan a Light has made, and Expression for explaining and teaching. Larceny and Stealth see use in getting information that can’t be obtained any other way. Of all Nobles, the Crystals are the most likely to learn Firearms.
Socially the Court of Diamonds favors Contacts, for the access to information it provides. Many find themselves joining scientific or engineering projects and a tight community with shared goals can easily lead to both Mandate and Allies. More than any other Court the Hope-Engineers enjoy access to mental Merits. Many have strange abilities such as an eidetic memory or common sense granted to them by their Blossoming; others have studied all their life and have abilities like Encyclopedic Knowledge to prove it.
Heraldry: Lights often have a scientific, technological, or futuristic feel to their Regalia. For some, their regalia calls to mind science fiction; computer readouts built into sleeves or gloves, gadgets such as scanners, energy weapons, or palmtop computers, clothes made from metal, plastic, or some strange material that defies categorization. The “superhero” look is fairly common among the Hope-Engineers, with colors tending towards white or the brighter shades of blue. Many Regalia shed light in some manner. Others have a Regalia that call to mind professions of learning; many Lights wear glasses as part of their Regalia, whether or not they normally need them. Some have long coats reminiscent of a lab coat, while others have vests, boots, and practical looking clothing suitable for explorers, archeologists, or others who look to learn things far from a lab. No matter the style, the Regalia of many Crystals features a distinct lack of anything that would be inconvenient or unwieldy a normal costume, despite the fact Regalia doesn’t have to obey such rules.
The Philosopher Queen exhorts her followers to think and observe at all times. A Crystal may spend 1 Wisp to split her consciousness, allowing her to think about two things at once. She may carry out two extended actions at the same time, provided neither action is physically strenuous. When used this way the Practical Magic expires when both the actions have been resolved.
Alternatively, during a scene she can take one instant Mental action reflexively in a given turn, provided that the action requires no physical exertion or physical tools. (For example, composing a speech, doing calculations, or solving a tactical problem.) In this case the Practical Magic expires at the end of the scene.
High Belief lets the Crystal sustain her doubled consciousness for longer times. At Belief 8 she may make one additional roll when taking extended actions; at Belief 9 she may make two, and at Belief 10 she may make three.
The Philosopher Queen focuses the lights of knowledge and reason into the Invocation of Acqua, and the Crystals gain mastery of that Invocation more swiftly than any other. It is linked with the virtues the Crystal-eyed holds dear, such as clarity of mind, honesty in word and deed, and deep understanding, and to the emotions of curiosity and wonder. It is also tied to the classical element of water, and to liquids in general. The invoked Charms and upgrades based on Acqua relate to these things and to phenomena connected to these.
Acqua applies at no cost when the target of a Noble's Charm is water or ice, or when she has spent at least one turn studying her target during the scene, and nothing significant has happened to it since. It also applies without cost when a Noble intends to teach someone, to master a body of knowledge, to prove or refute a theory, to discover things previously unknown to anyone, and to carry out a strategy she has previously formulated.
The Invocation aids only those who are open and candid in all their dealings. A Noble who deceives another person in any fashion, be it simple falsehood, sophistry, or material omission, cannot apply Acqua for the rest of the scene, unless the deception is necessary to shield an innocent from harm, or to keep a secret given her in confidence. A Noble may reserve what she knows, if it isn’t relevant and no one asks her to inform them, and apply Acqua; she may not, however, cause another to believe what is untrue.
- Clubs: You’ve got some good points, but I have absolutely no idea what you’re trying to accomplish.
- Hearts: We can learn a lot from the Kingdom, but you can’t just imitate its ways blindly and expect them to work today.
- Spades: They're excellent when it comes to making you think ... but are they never serious?
- Swords: When you need a grand, dramatic gesture, call for them. When you need subtlety, call for someone - anyone - else.
- Tears: Look, it's obvious - if you didn't live in that dank hole, you wouldn't need to steal the world's hope. Why don't you move out?
- Storms: The ones who let their hate and anger control them, I can deal with. They ones who are still rational, I understand … and that scares me like nothing else.
- Mirrors: Someone needs to deflate their egos before they get someone killed.
- Vampires: You’re a problem. I solve problems.
- Werewolves: I’ll stay out of your way, try and stay out of mine.
- Mages: They’re dangerous- not because they have fireballs, but because their understanding of reality is fundamentally wrong.
- Prometheans: What are you?
- Changelings: The more I learn, the less sense they make. Thankfully, they don’t seem to be an issue.
- Sin-Eaters: They know a lot about working with the dead, but they don’t seem to understand how death works.
- Mad Scientists: They’re dangerous- not because they have death rays, but because their understanding of reality is fundamentally wrong.
- Leviathans: Find wonders in the deeps, whoever said that can't have known what's really in the deeps.
- Hunters: They do study mysteries, I'll give them that. I wish they weren't so quick to shoot them.
- Mortals: If we can teach them to think, they will make the world perfect.
- Your heart can show you where you need to go, but only your head can get you there.
Next: The Queen of Hearts