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The Nexus Sceptics Society

by Xarak

"It's painfully obvious to anyone with a brain that all these so-called magical phenomena are nothing more than trickery and self-delusion! I ask you, who in their right mind could believe in some mysterious "Essence" which is everywhere, and nowhere, at the same time? And isn't it convenient that it's "invisible" to most of us, and only these so-called "Exalted" can sense it? In other words, if you ask for proof that Essence exists, you're told that you couldn't understand because you're not "spiritual" enough! These people are charlatans and frauds, every last one of them!"
- Jamys Rend, Founder of the NSS

Many people believe weird things. Some of them believe really weird things. So it's no surprise, although it strikes most people as amazing the first time they encounter it, that there are a few hard-core believers who hold, in the face of all the evidence, that there is no such thing as magic or the supernatural at all.

The Nexus Sceptics Society is a small but very vocal group of such fanatics. Quite simply, they refuse to accept the existence of Essence or any Essence-related phenomena. Their rationalizations of this belief are rather creative. Exalts are just humans who are unusually strong, smart, or skilled at conjuring tricks which allow them to create the illusion that they're performing magical feats, when in fact it's all an elaborate ruse. Gods, spirits and ghosts are either lies, humans dressing up in weird costumes to fool people, or entirely natural phenomena which have been misinterpreted. The spectacular pyrotechnics seen around Manses, sorcery and so on are elaborate deceptions created with entirely mundane materials and a lot of cunning.

The group operates out of a run-down building in Firewander, which serves as both their office and living space, and numbers about ten, with around thirty hangers-on who live elsewhere. The leader and founder is Jamys Rend, a highly charismatic but utterly insane old man with a long white beard and wild, staring eyes. He considers it his personal mission to expose the massive fraud that's being played on humanity and usher in a new age of logic, reason and happiness. His followers are only too willing to help.

Most of those who encounter the Sceptics just laugh heartily and write them off as nuts, but a few Nexus residents have come under sustained (although non-violent) attack and have been forced to fight back. For example, Blue Tranquil, a local healer's shop and medicine store, was recently the site of a sit-down protest by the group. The sight of a crazy old man put off many customers, leading the thaumaturge owner to retaliate by laying a hex on Rend which caused his hair to turn green. He and his followers explained it away as "a reaction to substances in the air originating from the sham medicines sold in the shop".

Although his anti-Exalted rhetoric is grand heresy to the Immaculates, and potentially highly subversive to the Realm, so few people are taken in by Rend's ridiculous rantings that he is universally ignored by everyone in power. A few Exalts have even taken to coming to listen to his daily sermons, as they find them highly amusing. The only way he could become a significant threat would be if, say, he Exalted, and developed supernatural powers of persusion. But that would be absurd, wouldn't it?


  • Lytek, God of Exaltation, has a keen sense of irony and a spare Solar Zenith Spark going at the moment. I wonder who he'll pick....
  • Jamys Rend is a massive pervert, often to be seen on the Avenue of Enigmatic Philosophy in disguise (big hat, big black coat, and no beard -- his beard is actually false).


  • Jamys Rend is the long-lost brother of Budi, crazy street prophet.


^_^ People who don't believe in magic are just silly!- Paladinltd

Fortunately, magic doesn't care if you believe in it. Not in this setting, anyway. I wonder how many people are hearing rumours about gods and Solar shards, though? -Okensha

That's probably a rumor among those kooky Sidereals. I like it. -- OhJames

Yes it's silly. But! Consider this passage in the Exalted Core: "Do not believe what the scientists tell you. The natural history we know is a lie, a falsehood sold to us by wicked old men who would make the world a dull, gray prison and protect us from the dangers inherent to freedom... It [the Second Age] was a time before the world was bent, a time before the magic of Creation lessened, a time before the souls of men became the stunted, withered things they are today." (p. 10) Hmm-HNNN! Perhaps the skeptics aren't so harmless after all! -- OhJames

It's silly, but people have believed really silly things in every society in history. I'd be suprised if there were no-one like the NSS anywhere in Creation, and Nexus is the obvious place for them. -- Xarak

Props for the James Randi reference, but I really don't think a sceptic society is all that interesting in Exalted. How hard can it be to show the existance of magic, anyway? It's even easier than showing a flat-earther than the earth isn't flat. Also, magic in Exalted can be very scientific in nature - at least that's how I prefer it. Resplendence

I think it's just about on the same level as proving the earth is round - i.e. trivial, but that doesn't mean there won't be some people who persist in disagreeing. Yes, magic in Exalted is scientific, I like it that way too, but that doesn't mean everyone automatically believes in it. Put it this way - stranger things have happened in real life. Glad you noticed the Randi ref ^_^ -- Xarak

I have this image of the Wyld Hunt cornering a Solar, and then the NSS comes in decrying everything as lies and tricks, and the Solar goes "... yep! That's me. Just a trick. Just... uh, wanted to put on important air and stuff. Yeah." And while the NSS pests the Wyld Hunt, the Solar promptly runs like hell. - Tiffa , who is highly amused.

I think this is great! I had the idea, that Rend actually convinced a God or God-Blooded, that there is nothing special about him and that he is just mad or a great manipulator and trickster. Hmm, maybe I'll develop someone like this...Jiba