eyebeams: (Default)
Let's drop the Traditions.

Well, not really, but push them to the background. The Traditions are shadow organizations that control terrible occult forces, but you don't actually see them much. The leaders are more like Theosophist Mahatmas than busybody politicians.

PCs belong to factions within their Tradition. Spiritualism and Theosophy (as well as Scientific Romance) have brought occult thought into the mainstream, so these splinter groups with their
semipublic faces rule the day. Mages play influence games through their various lodges and promote their odd beliefs, and are only occasionally reminded that the great, overarching power of the Nine may send them
off to war, or that they may be called to some sort of accounting in those invisible strongholds.

So it's a game about factions. In this setting, we call them Lodges.
The main ones are:

The Hellfire Lodges: These societies offend the morality of the day
and cater to wealthy deviants. They are neither good nor evil, though
they do promote excess.

The Acharne (Cult of Ecstacy)
The Order of the Black Willow (Euthanatos)

The Aeonic Lodges: The guardians of Western ritual magic have a
larger public face than ever before, but they still cleave to deep
secrets at the highest levels of initiation.

House Shaea (OoH)
House Tharsis (OoH)
The Gardeners of the Tree (Verbena, and yes, they are grouped with
Hermetics, being ritualists in an age where many rituals are being
synthesized into a revitalized Western tradition. This is alo my private occult history geekism, considering the ties between the Golden dawn and early Wicca)

The Oriental Lodges: From the tumultuous East, brought by England's encroachment on their homes. Some of them wage war -- but others see profit for the taking. Though they have little in common, the categories imposed by imperial powers have pushed them into a common corner.

The Thirty-Six Banners of the Ebon Dragon (Akashics)
The Paradise Garden (Ahl-i-Batin)
The Wu Lung

The Lodges of Faith: Religious mystics enforcing the morality and
compassion of a secular, steam-powered age.

The Messianic Voices (Craft)
The Templars (Faction; heavily tied to Freemasonry in this period)
The Lions of Zion (Craft)

The Scientific Lodges: Over-ardent defenders of Empire, Reason and
decency. Where the other lodges have bawdy houses and quasi-Masonic temples, they have drawing rooms and sedate gentleman's clubs.

The Skeleton Keys
The Artificers
The Hippocratic Circle (may have the name for the era wrong)
The Electrodyne Engineers
The Void Seekers
The Invisible Exchequer

Outsiders: These groups don't care about the invisible wars that tarnish London and other cities.

Dreamspeakers (very loose, but important and somewhat dreadful, because they contact others through the Council. Thus, high diplomacy rules the day when other mages deal with them.)
Hollow Children (urchins and the underclass; not very snobby at all, not Romantic and somewhat underhanded, like a group of Awakened Artful Dodgers)
Bata'a (because you have to have them, that's why)
Hem Ka Sobk (same here)

Lodge versus lodge conflict is at the center of the game, but the
Ascension war, with its archmagi and subtle movements, is always in
the background like a bogeyman, ready to reach out with the bloody
hand if conflict spirals out of control. Places like Doissetep are
true "invisible colleges," where mages desperate for power go to
receive strange counsel. These journeys seem like dreams, but their
infrequent effects are real and powerful.

In this age, the Sphere system has been adapted by the lodges into a
thousand different, unique magical styles. When the Ascension War
strikes again they will return to cooperation and the larger model of
the Nine keys of reality, but for now every Lodge has Minor Spheres
as listed in the Mage Storytellers Handbook. It's an age that loves
progress but respects superstition, so spirit-summoning and ghostly
phenomena are often coincidental, but so are steam-powered metal men,
smaller repeating guns and powered gliders.

Finally, Awakened magic and sorcery have almost spiraled out of hand. An "overpopulation problem" may seem unlikely, but almost every Node in the great outposts of the British Empire has been snapped up. There may be others in the wilderness, but ill-informed attitudes and the technology of the day make finding them -- much less keeping them -- haphazard prospects. Lodge wars flare up over control of Quintessence in many major cities, while unchecked industry breeds lower class resentment, upper class corruption and well stocked pantries for the Nephandi. But the greatest game is for control of the Empire itself. Ministers and members of the Royal Family have cultivated many elaborate (and at times, contradictory) ties to the lodges.
eyebeams: (Default)
Let's drop the Traditions.

Well, not really, but push them to the background. The Traditions are shadow organizations that control terrible occult forces, but you don't actually see them much. The leaders are more like Theosophist Mahatmas than busybody politicians.

PCs belong to factions within their Tradition. Spiritualism and Theosophy (as well as Scientific Romance) have brought occult thought into the mainstream, so these splinter groups with their
semipublic faces rule the day. Mages play influence games through their various lodges and promote their odd beliefs, and are only occasionally reminded that the great, overarching power of the Nine may send them
off to war, or that they may be called to some sort of accounting in those invisible strongholds.

So it's a game about factions. In this setting, we call them Lodges.
The main ones are:

The Hellfire Lodges: These societies offend the morality of the day
and cater to wealthy deviants. They are neither good nor evil, though
they do promote excess.

The Acharne (Cult of Ecstacy)
The Order of the Black Willow (Euthanatos)

The Aeonic Lodges: The guardians of Western ritual magic have a
larger public face than ever before, but they still cleave to deep
secrets at the highest levels of initiation.

House Shaea (OoH)
House Tharsis (OoH)
The Gardeners of the Tree (Verbena, and yes, they are grouped with
Hermetics, being ritualists in an age where many rituals are being
synthesized into a revitalized Western tradition. This is alo my private occult history geekism, considering the ties between the Golden dawn and early Wicca)

The Oriental Lodges: From the tumultuous East, brought by England's encroachment on their homes. Some of them wage war -- but others see profit for the taking. Though they have little in common, the categories imposed by imperial powers have pushed them into a common corner.

The Thirty-Six Banners of the Ebon Dragon (Akashics)
The Paradise Garden (Ahl-i-Batin)
The Wu Lung

The Lodges of Faith: Religious mystics enforcing the morality and
compassion of a secular, steam-powered age.

The Messianic Voices (Craft)
The Templars (Faction; heavily tied to Freemasonry in this period)
The Lions of Zion (Craft)

The Scientific Lodges: Over-ardent defenders of Empire, Reason and
decency. Where the other lodges have bawdy houses and quasi-Masonic temples, they have drawing rooms and sedate gentleman's clubs.

The Skeleton Keys
The Artificers
The Hippocratic Circle (may have the name for the era wrong)
The Electrodyne Engineers
The Void Seekers
The Invisible Exchequer

Outsiders: These groups don't care about the invisible wars that tarnish London and other cities.

Dreamspeakers (very loose, but important and somewhat dreadful, because they contact others through the Council. Thus, high diplomacy rules the day when other mages deal with them.)
Hollow Children (urchins and the underclass; not very snobby at all, not Romantic and somewhat underhanded, like a group of Awakened Artful Dodgers)
Bata'a (because you have to have them, that's why)
Hem Ka Sobk (same here)

Lodge versus lodge conflict is at the center of the game, but the
Ascension war, with its archmagi and subtle movements, is always in
the background like a bogeyman, ready to reach out with the bloody
hand if conflict spirals out of control. Places like Doissetep are
true "invisible colleges," where mages desperate for power go to
receive strange counsel. These journeys seem like dreams, but their
infrequent effects are real and powerful.

In this age, the Sphere system has been adapted by the lodges into a
thousand different, unique magical styles. When the Ascension War
strikes again they will return to cooperation and the larger model of
the Nine keys of reality, but for now every Lodge has Minor Spheres
as listed in the Mage Storytellers Handbook. It's an age that loves
progress but respects superstition, so spirit-summoning and ghostly
phenomena are often coincidental, but so are steam-powered metal men,
smaller repeating guns and powered gliders.

Finally, Awakened magic and sorcery have almost spiraled out of hand. An "overpopulation problem" may seem unlikely, but almost every Node in the great outposts of the British Empire has been snapped up. There may be others in the wilderness, but ill-informed attitudes and the technology of the day make finding them -- much less keeping them -- haphazard prospects. Lodge wars flare up over control of Quintessence in many major cities, while unchecked industry breeds lower class resentment, upper class corruption and well stocked pantries for the Nephandi. But the greatest game is for control of the Empire itself. Ministers and members of the Royal Family have cultivated many elaborate (and at times, contradictory) ties to the lodges.

October 2011

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