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The Council of Nine Mystic Traditions

    Overall tropes
A loose organization of mages, the Traditions are a collection of mages who embrace the mystical and magical side of the world and seek to open up the masses to a more fluid and dynamic view of the world. Each Tradition is represented within the organization through a seat that represents a Sphere of magic that they tend to specialize in.
  • Creepy Good: The Traditions are home to shadowy assassins, bloody witches, monster-making mad scientists, and demon-wrangling sorcerers. They are also (usually) A Lighter Shade of Gray.
  • Functional Magic: Each Tradition has their own different views on magic and trademark styles associated with them.
  • Heroic Second Wind: In the 20th anniversary edition they've recovered from their near defeat at the hands of the Technocracy, built new strongholds to replace Horizon and started working on fixing the flaws in each Tradition.
  • Magical Society: Each of the Traditions is itself a society dedicated to their brand of Magick, and the Counci as a whole is a society that binds the smaller societies together.
  • Master of One Magic: While every mage can study and eventually master any Sphere, every Tradition has one they hold as more essential than the rest and in which they claim expertise (in gameplay terms, you pay fewer Experience Points to level them up). This is somewhat nuanced by various sub-factions which may specialize in different Spheres from the one their Tradition cherishes. The claims to the Spheres are as follow:
  • Masquerade: Not a personally enforced one, but more of a law of the universe itself through the Consensus and Paradox. Tradition mages are usually the most affected by Paradox effects and as such they typically don't use vulgar magic unless they absolutely need to.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Some Traditions are heavily romanticist in contrast to the Technocracy's enlightened viewpoint, but the Sons of Ether and Virtual Adepts help balance it out with some enlightenment as well, and most do have elements of both sides.
  • Unequal Rites: They don't get along very well.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: One of the main reasons that the Traditions are not very successful against the Technocracy is because of the petty bickering and in-fighting between the various factions that they are made up from.

    Akashic Brotherhood / Akashayana
Specialty Sphere: Mind

Enlightened monks from the Far East, who believe in training the body to serve as a better vessel for the mind and spirit. They are masters of Supernatural Martial Arts, particularly their special technique of Do.

  • Astral Projection: Far and away one of their specialties.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: A major part of the Akashic Paradigm is the ability to exceed one's limits through discipline and meditation. As a result, many of their Life effects are incredible feats of athletics or body control.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: In classic martial arts movie fashion, the Akashics have a laundry list of powerful techniques and spells that can devastate enemies in terrifying ways, but almost always at the cost of the user's moral fortitude and closeness to Ascension. Many of these were developed during the Himalaya War.
  • Determinator: Most Mages have to be this by default, but the Akashi get special mention for being able to survive decapitation and continue fending off enemies.
  • Enemy Mine: The Akashic Brotherhood has a long-standing rivalry with the Euthanatos tradition, due to the branches of the respective traditions from the Indian subcontinent clashing over how to handle plague victims millennia ago. Plenty of current members were reincarnated from the times when the two were at outright war, and they make for uneasy allies in the modern era. Not to mention a couple old masters are still around from those days.
  • Enlightenment Superpowers: How they view their powers.
  • Fantastic Fighting Style: Do, "The Way", the first martial art.
  • Far East: While originating there, they've not been the defining paradigm — that falls to the Wu Lung craft.
  • Fatal Flaw: Their big picture attitude often makes them aloof and slow to act at any kind of organizational level.
  • Flanderization: In-Universe, the Brotherhood is beginning to worry that more and more new mages are beginning to see their organization as a glorified military training regimen, rather than a deeply philosophical analysis of the human condition with martial elements.
  • Full-Contact Magic: They can cast spells through martial arts.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: One of the most iconic (and Vulgar) feats of Ki Manipulation the Tradition is capable of.
  • Ki Manipulation: Many of their magical effects are presented this way. Ki is their way of describing Prime effects.
  • Magic Knight: They hew to the stereotype the closest, as they have an entire physical discipline devoted to using their magic.
  • Martial Arts and Crafts: Do emphasizes many non-violent principals and can be used in (and improved through) anything from household chores to creative arts.
  • Martial Pacifist: All of them can be expected to know martial arts of some form, and many of them prefer inward focus and perfection over destruction.
  • Meditation Powerup: Among the Brotherhood, meditation is a common magickal focus, both in and out of their common Martial Arts theme. By meditating, they improve their access to their power.
  • Ninja: The Sulsa subfaction uses similar techniques, though they are Korean, not Japanese.
  • Psychic Powers: Via ki use, they focus on the use of the mind foremost, informing their specialty sphere.
  • Reluctant Warrior: A constant problem within the Brotherhood. The truth of the matter is that most Akashics have a deep philosophical aversion to killing or even harming another living thing. But, with Do at their disposal, they are blow-for-blow some of the most dangerous fighters in the universe. This leads to other Traditions, Cabal-mates, and even some Brotherhood elders to treat them like shock troops.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: Their Martial Arts and Katas are capable of impressive magical powers.
  • Touch of Death: A powerful (and gruesome) Entropy technique.
  • Wandering the Earth: The modus operandi of the Mo-Tzu Fa subfaction, who seek to emulate the ancient stories of traveling folk heroes.

    Celestial Chorus
Specialty Sphere: Prime

Miracle workers and priests who transcend any single religious faith - as a group, anyway (the lower levels tend to be more sectarian). They believe that all faiths are merely fragments of "The One", and that all humans can achieve transcendence through prayer and faith.

  • All Myths Are True: All religions, that is.
  • Badass Preacher: Many of them are compelled to spread the good word of the One, in whatever form s/he may take. Those same people are often handy with a holy sword or whatever munitions are available if it's required to save innocent lives.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: The Chœur Cèleste (as the Chorus was known at the Council's founding) had been declared heretical by the more jingoistic Christian mages (chiefly the Cabal of Pure Thought) thanks to their Interfaith Smoothie tendencies. Then the Order of Reason had an Enemy Civil War, the religious fundamentalist mages lost, and went to the Chorus en-masse. This was the point where the Chorus solidified its current (somewhat unfair) reputation as a faction of pompous killjoys.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: If given the chance to use a vulgar Forces effect, one can bet it will look like this.
  • Church Militant: The more combat-ready groups tend to resemble this.
  • Fatal Flaw: Sectarianism is rife within the Chorus, meaning that the Tradition has spent as much time fighting itself as its enemies.
  • Fictional Religion: Their claim that all faiths are effectively the same probably makes them closest to Unitarian Universalism, but the Chorus has its own unique flavor of monotheistic universalism that no real religion has.
  • Good Shepherd: Bless their hearts, they do their best to be this. Being the Interfaith Smoothie they are, they tend to be surprisingly tolerant as Church Militants go.
  • The Heart: They do their best to be the moral compass of the Traditions.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: They can throw around vulgar Forces effects with the best of 'em, providing The One approves.
  • Hunter of Monsters: The Guardian Order subfactions within the Tradition are dedicated to using their miracles to destroy the evils that haunt mankind, be they undead, spiritual or mortal.
  • Interfaith Smoothie: As Omnitheists, they blend all religions together. That said, individual Choristers tend to see things through the lens of their original faith.
  • Mirroring Factions: While they have improved tremendously, in the old days they acted literally exactly like the Technocracy, forcing other societies to accept Western religion and culture against their will.
  • The Paladin: Some of their members see themselves this way. They certainly know how to get the look down, at least.
  • Pieces of God: Their theory on Avatars.
  • Religion is Magic: the Chorus casts using prayer and holy symbols to create miracles.
  • Religion Is Right: From their perspective it certainly is.
  • Smite Evil: Via some combination of Prime, Forces and Entropy.
  • Soulsaving Crusader: At their worst.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Seeing as the other Traditions are either polytheists or secularists, the Chorus has experienced no small amount of friction with their supposed allies. This is especially true after their fellow monotheist magi, the Ahl-i-Batin, jumped ship.

    Cult of Ecstasy / Sahajiya
Specialty Sphere: Time

Seers who seek to alter their perceptions and see beyond the limitations of their mundane experiences, usually through the use of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

  • All-Loving Hero: Not every member of the Cult is this, but most of their largest faction, the Joybringers who believe in the inherent goodness of humanity, usually are and even other groups often have shades of this. Their archmage named them the Cult of Ecstasy for a reason.
  • Deus Sex Machina: While sex is not the only way for Ecstatics to reach their altered states of consciousness, it's an easy and common way.
  • Drugs Are Bad: It's implied that this trope was created to discredit them. It's mostly played straight though as drugs help them tap into magic precisely because they're so dangerous.
  • Ethical Slut: Their doctrine explicitly revolves around the idea that the path to enlightenment is found in a combination of pleasure and compassion, so most members in good standing strive to be like this.
  • Fatal Flaw: The Cult's laissez faire attitude towards enforcing its own code of ethics is sometimes a problem. Turns out that pleasure magick isn't always used by the nicest people. Also, their magick, while usually well-meaning, is insanely dangerous to the Cultist using it.
  • The Heart: In a way. The Ecstatics are the only Tradition that doesn't have any notable fundamental conflicts with any of the other Traditions.
  • Higher Understanding Through Drugs: The theme in a nutshell, but it's really more about the means to create an altered consciousness.
  • Junkie Prophet: A natural character type.
    • Deconstructed, A lot of Cultists end up burning themselves out and becoming homeless drug addicts because of the drugs they use to power their magick. Sometimes they even drag the sleepers they were trying to Awaken down with them.
  • Love Freak: The Tradition is big on both positive emotions and acceptance, sometimes to absurd degrees.
  • Mad Oracle: A big part of their characterization, especially back when they were known as the Seers of Chronos.
  • Magic Music: Not given a huge amount of focus, but present nonetheless.
  • Odd Friendship: With the Virtual Adepts.
  • Pedo Hunt: They are the originators of the Children's Crusade, a militant movement dedicated to tracking down pedophiles and child trafficking rings. Interestingly, this is one of the rare cases where Enemy Mine is in full effect, with the Technocracy turning a blind eye to their actions.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: They have a particular distaste for rapists, seeing the act as a corruption of the ecstatic principles they believe in.
  • The Red Mage: Their paradigm is extremely flexible, allowing them to incorporate the techniques of other Traditions into their magick relatively easily.
    • For instance, they have long been close political allies and partners of the Verbena, but also welcomed the Adepts and Etherites with open arms, and are usually seen as the third-most tech-savvy Tradition as a result.
  • Safe, Sane, and Consensual: The combination of thrills and high-energy emotional stimuli make BDSM one of the most popular foci (and pastimes) among the Ecstatics.
  • Seers: It was a lot more pronounced when the Tradition was known as the Seers of Chronos, but even now, their access to the Time sphere makes them invaluable sources of prophecy.
  • Sense Freak: How other, more inward-focused Traditions see them. And to be fair, it's true that Ecstatics run the risk of burning themselves out and requiring greater and greater heights of sensation to feel anything.
  • Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: Both the stereotype, and a list of potential foci.
  • Sex Is Good: It allows one to confront their boundaries and become intimate with another mind at the same time. Philosophically, the Ecstatics consider sex to be one of the best things you can do with your time.
  • Super Empowering: The Cult desires to Awaken sleepers, and sometimes they can pull it off by getting sleepers to move far enough outside their boundaries... and sometimes they just end up crashing and becoming drug addicts.
  • Thrill Seeker: Anything that gets the heart racing and the limits of society pushed is considered a valid piece of Ecstatic praxis, so adrenaline-junkie stunts are a perfectly valid (if potentially irresponsible) way to approach Ecstatic magic.
  • Time Master: Masters of the Sphere of Time.
  • Token Evil Teammate: While the Tradition as a whole has the reputation of being a bunch of harmless hippies, they contain less wholesome sub-factions such as the Aghoris, Acharne and Hagalaz who embody Combat Sadomasochist and Berserker tropes.
  • Unsuspectingly Soused: A topic that is brought up as a debate inside the Tradition, as it can help Awaken a Sleeper, but at the same time places them in an obviously risky position.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Pretty much how their Paradigm justifies vulgar effects. Reality is an illusion, after all. If you start to see things warp and twist or impossible things come into existence, who's to say that it's not really there?

    Dreamspeakers / Kha'vadi
Specialty Sphere: Spirit(of course)

Tribal shamans who walk the boundaries between dream and reality, and commune with the world of the spirits. They are a collection of eclectic animist traditions, from Native American to African, lumped together upon the formation of the Traditions.

  • Animate Inanimate Object: Often the result when they awaken the spirit of an object or tool.
  • Closer to Earth: Their usage of Spirit is based in part on transcending the gaps in paradigm and practice that cause divisions between the other groups. Often, this results in them being more able to compensate for the arrogance that's common to Mages.
  • Ethnic Magician: Not just native Americans, but also native Africans, Australian Aborigines, and Pacific Islanders (in addition to a significant number of Shinto practitioners). The other mages lumped them all together due to their common usage of spirits and shamanistic techniques. Understandably, some left in disgust.
  • Fatal Flaw: Downplayed Trope. The Dreamspeakers are somewhat less prone to infighting or fanaticism than the other Traditions. Their biggest weakness is their status as an incoherent mash of unrelated cultural traditions, making them more localized and isolated than their peers.
  • Mask Power: They often wear masks in the image of spirits they're trying to summon.
  • Post-Modern Magik: The Ghost Wheel Society faction is a group of technoshamans looking to adapt the spirit ways to the Internet and other pinnacles of modern tech.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: They are the least cohesive Tradition of the lot, thanks to being an aggregate of completely unrelated and geographically separated cultures. Subsequent editions of the game tried to rectify lumping so many different Ethnic Magician tropes together by stating that this was an in-universe political move that the Dreamspeakers themselves largely resent. Ironically, this would actually lead to gradual unity over time as they ended up bonding over this resentment.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The spiritual, contemplative Blue to the Verbena's wild, visceral Red.
  • Soul Power: Masters of the Spirit Sphere.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: By developing kinship with animal spirits, a Dreamspeaker can begin to understand them as easily as any human.

    Euthanatos / Chakravanti
Specialty Sphere: Entropy
Necromancers and fate-changers devoted to guiding the great wheel of death and rebirth. Their beliefs rose out of Indian beliefs in the cycle of karma and reincarnation, and also include Greek and Celtic death-cults. To the Euthanatos, death is merely a part of life, a part which is sometimes necessary for the greater good.
  • Antihero: This is literally the Euthanatos' job. They do things which are unpleasant but which they believe need to be done to protect humanity.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Their primary motivation.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Their devotion to the Wheel of Ages can be this.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Despite their tendency towards killing and use of necromantic energies, they are still fighting to help the Sleepers.
  • Creepy Good: While they have some evil members, the majority of Euthanatos are fully devoted to protecting humanity.
  • Enemy Mine: The Euthanatos have a long-standing rivalry with the Akashic Brotherhood tradition, due to the branches of the respective traditions from the Indian subcontinent clashing over how to handle plague victims millennia ago. Plenty of current members were reincarnated from the times when the two were at outright war, and they make for uneasy allies in the modern era. Not to mention a couple old masters are still around from those days.
  • Entropy and Chaos Magic: As masters of the Entropy sphere, naturally.
  • Fatal Flaw: To the surprise of no one, powerful Euthanatos have a nasty tendency to go He Who Fights Monsters and become truly horrific forces of Entropy.
  • Genius Bruiser: To counter the effect their assassin training has on their psyche, many of them dedicate what's left of their "normal" life to various forms of science and academics
  • Go into the Light: They consider it their duty to help ghosts pass on so they can be reincarnated.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The Euthanatos Tradition spends much of its time trying to clean the world of evil people that no longer serve their purpose in The Wheel, but in doing so expose themselves to a corruption known as Jhor. Jhor is gained by using magic to kill, killing unnecessarily, not maintaining a mundane identity with a job and friends so as to remain grounded, and so forth. People who succumb to Jhor become pale and sallow, like they are ill, and become far more extreme in measures, methods, and goals. They often hold on to their original ideals and goals even as they continue to rationalize more drastic measures.
  • I See Dead People: Their intimate connection to the Underworld allows them to see the dead pretty easily, but they can usually turn it off. Usually...
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Their propensity towards moral extremism, association with death and preference towards the Entropy Sphere sadly make the Euthanatos one of the Traditions most prone to having very bad people among their number, from terrorists to serial killers. Even worse, the Euthanatos are, anecdotally, the Tradition most prone to having members fall into being Nephandi.
  • Mercy Kill: One duty of the Euthanatos.
  • Near-Death Experience: All members must experience at least one before fully joining. Even afterwards, inducing such experiences can be an extremely powerful (if by no means safe or reliable) focus.
  • Necromancer: They tend to be associated with the Underworld; indeed, a requirement for joining is that one have first-hand experience of the Underworld the traditional way (i.e., a temporary death).
  • Necro Non Sequitur: They're assassins who control chance. Yeah, this is kinda' their schtick.
  • Our Liches Are Different: The fate of Voormas and the House of Helekar.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: As money and commerce are ruled by entropy, the Euthanatoi are the most likely of the Traditions of being able to pull this off — usually via gambling.
  • Serial-Killer Killer: The Euthanatos are quite ready to step up and slit the throats of those who target innocents.
  • Token Evil Teammate: They are the most willing of the Traditions to engage in murder and accepting of harm, but it isn't universal.
  • Training from Hell: The Golden Chalice, a sub-faction of the Euthanatos that is effectively a fate-bending special operations group. Their training is said to be 24 hours a day for two weeks straight, with only the bare essentials of magic to keep contenders from dying.
  • Winds of Destiny, Change!: Entropy magic allows for control over fate and chance, and they also tend to see themselves as agents of the Wheel of Ages.

    Order of Hermes
Specialty Sphere: Forces

Perhaps the oldest Tradition of them all, or at least the first one to properly define themselves as such, the Order of Hermes was one of the most vital forces behind the creation of the Council in the past. Of the Traditions, they are the closest to the classic fantasy "wizard", their style being based on the practice of Hermetic Magic. Amongst the Traditions they stand out for having the most organized structure of all of them, and their membership is grouped across several houses, each practicing a different type of magic that falls within the paradigm of the Tradition as a whole.

  • Adventure Archaeologist: Probably more concerned with locating and studying magical relics than any other Tradition.
  • Alchemy Is Magic: A popular style of magick, especially after the Solificati were partially absorbed into the order.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: In their heyday, they were this. They technically still are, just a much weaker one.
  • The Apprentice: Technically, most of the Traditions use this title in some capacity, but the Hermetics have the most formal and ingrained master-apprentice system.
  • Big Good: Debatably, and ironically, considering they're also the Token Evil Teammate of the Council. They have Porthos, for one thing. They're also the archetypical wizards in a world where that matters a great deal, many of the greatest teachers in the Traditions hail from the Order, they produce the most archmages, they are notably skilled at Awakening sleepers, their organization put in a great deal of work into founding the Council and the Order is perhaps the single Tradition most loyal to it. If only they could get their pride under control.
  • Brotherhood of Funny Hats: What they can occasionally seem to be from an outsider perspective. In some cases, Hermetic front organizations actually can devolve into this.
  • Create Your Own Villain: They were the birthplace of both the Craftmasons and House Tremere, who would later go on to become the Order of Reason (and later the Technocracy) and Clan Tremere, two of their greatest foes.
  • Decadent Court: They're not nearly as bad as the Machiavellian sociopaths they used to be, but in some of their more isolated Horizon Chantries, it's still pretty bad for your health to not know how to play politics.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: In "Ascension", the entire Order of Hermes go out in a massive magical battle against the forces of evil. The Order is wiped out and Earth is engulfed by Hell, but if the PCs did it right, the Order's sacrifice leads to a glimmer of hope.
  • Elemental Powers: As masters of the Sphere of Forces this comes naturally.
  • Fatal Flaw: Pride, quite famously. Many, many tragedies throughout history could have been averted if powerful Hermetic mages had just accepted that they weren't the end-all be-all of occult knowledge.
  • Hermetic Magic: The whole Tradition is named after it and centered on its development.
  • Geometric Magic: Through this is now more associated with their infamous offshoot, the Craftsmasons, the Order today still uses complex diagrams, runes and sacred architecture in its workings.
  • I Know Your True Name: Hermetics believe that to know the secret True Name of a thing is key to controlling it, and since the setting run on Clap Your Hands If You Believe, they can use this to their advantage. Unfortunately for them, this is a double-edged sword, and they have to safeguard their own True Name or risk dire consequences.
  • Kill It with Fire: This trope sums up House Flambeau's magical philosophy.
  • Language of Magic: The basis of their Paradigm, which they believe allow them to just command the universe into doing whatever they want it to do. In particular, they are known to favor Enochian.
  • Mage Tower: No points for guessing what the Order's favorite kind of Sanctum is.
  • The Magocracy: Oh, how badly most of the higher ups would like to establish this. At present, such an idea remains at best a foggy memory of ages long past.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Despite being somewhat Luddite, Hermetics are the keenest of the Traditions on treating magic as a rigorous science, albeit one where personal willpower is just as important as technique.
  • Mirroring Factions: As some of the other Traditions are inclined to point out, the Hermetics' focus on hierarchy and formulae in their magic is often distressingly similar to that of the Technocrats.
  • Platonic Cave: This is one (relatively theologically neutral) interpretation of their paradigm.
  • Playing with Fire: No points for guessing what House Flambeau is best known for.
  • Pride: This, along with the defection of House Tremere, was one of the main reasons that the early Technocracy was able to sway the masses to their viewpoint. As an example, the Traditions nearly fell apart before they could even formally be created because the Order of Hermes tried to get the others to organize as houses in the Order; it was a huge blow to them that the Order had to accept a seat as an equal to the other eight.
  • Rewriting Reality: As a deeply scholarly group obsessed with symbols and language, it should come as no surprise that writing is a common focus.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: a common stereotype, was much truer back in the mythic age.
  • Summon Magic: The work done by the likes of Sulaiman the Wise and John Dee has allowed the Order to summon, bind, and control all kinds of Umbrood. In particular, angels, genies, and, for some reason, demons.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Surprisingly, despite debatably being the Big Good, the Order of Hermes are probably the closest to an 'evil' Tradition though they do still have plenty of genuine heroes as well. They have an egotistical Mage-supremacist streak to the point that they actively want Mages to rule over Sleepers (though with the caveat that they still want Sleepers to be protected and treated well) along with a Decadent Court which some vampires would be disturbed by. They aren't as bad as they were during the Dark Ages, but they haven't moved as far past the flaws which caused the Order of Reason to try to destroy them as one may think.
  • Sorcerous Overlord: What many of their members were during the Dark Ages, and some still are today.
  • Wizard Classic: They can definitely be this (Grandmaster Porthos, for instance.)
  • Wizard Duel: The ritual known as Certamen is used primarily by older, more traditional Hermetics (or those who can afford to sling extremely Vulgar magic).
  • Wizarding School: A couple, but the most famous was Fors Collegis Mercurius, which orbited Mercury.
  • Wizards from Outer Space: Prior to the Avatar Storm, they were easily the mystic group with the most named extraplanetary outposts.

    Sons of Ether / Society of Ether
Specialty Sphere: Matter
Mad scientists who embrace the weirder and more fantastic side of Science. The original Etherites were members of the Technocracy who defected to the Traditions, feeling constrained by the limits of the Technocracy's regimented form of science. To an Etherite, discovery and imagination are the main scientific goals, and anything is possible.

They go from the Sons of Ether to the Society of Ether in the 20th Anniversary Edition.

  • Alternate Timeline: They have developed some rotes to travel between them. It's extremely vulgar to bring anything back with them, but it's good for gathering experimental data.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Their Paradigm is based on the existence of ether, an Element No. 5 which would be the basic material component of everything. In fact, the Technocracy's decision to erase the belief in ether from the Consensus is what spurred their defection to the Traditions.
  • Bold Explorer: Every Etherite enjoys a good discovery, but special mention goes to the Ethernauts sub-faction.
  • Chummy Commies: The Etherites (particularly among the Utopian faction) tend to favor communist ideals as policy and have a number of ex-Bolshevik Scientists among their ranks.
  • Defector from Decadence: Left the Technocracy due to their refusal to compromise on their goal of personal science. They were also responsible for helping the Virtual Adepts perform the same move, sponsoring the Adepts among the Traditions.
  • Fantastic Drug: Some of their more subtle Life effects involve concocting these, which are functionally similar to what the Progenitors produce. They typically appear closer to patent medicines, compared to the more "experimental trial drug" products of the Technocracy.
  • Fatal Flaw: The Etherites are usually portrayed as having a tenuous grasp on Consensus Reality, making them Paradox magnets and creating a disproportionate number of Marauders.
  • Flying Saucer: A classic form of Ethercraft. Some are powered by orgone, some were invented by aliens, but they are almost all able to freely travel between Earth's atmosphere, near-earth orbit, and the Umbra.
  • Food Pills: Just as with the Progenitors and the Solifacti (who operate with similar paradigms, particularly when using Life), these are also commonly produced.
  • For Science!: Since they hold that science should be about discovery and wonder, not formalized rules, this crops up a lot.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: Some combination of Matter, Life, Forces, and Prime working together, and you too can start creating these. Some even Awaken and become Etherites in their own right; the original splatbook even offers one as a sample character.
  • Friendly Enemy: To the Void Engineers of the Technocracy.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: The premier gadgeteers of the Old World of Darkness. Part of the reason they hate the Technocracy is that they aren't advancing technology fast enough.
  • Humongous Mecha: These tend to be just a bit too absurd for the Technocracy. This makes them a favorite of the Etherites, naturally.
  • Immigrant Patriotism: In some ways, they clash more with the other Traditions (outside of fellow former Technocrats, the Virtual Adepts) than they ever did with the Technocratic Union. But since they were welcomed with (relatively) open arms, they produce some of the most fiercely loyal Traditionalists.
  • I Want My Jetpack: Disillusioned with the slow, meandering model of progress put forward by the Technocracy, the Etherites specialize in loony, beyond-cutting edge inventions that exceed the imaginations of all but the most fanciful sci-fi writers.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: More like ether can (literally) do anything, but they gave the appearance of this trope back when they were the Electrodyne Engineers and mostly focused on the Sphere of Forces.
  • Mad Scientist: Well, from an outside perspective; however, there's a faction even the Sons call "Mad Scientists", because of their disregard for ethics.
    • Many Etherites actually bear this moniker as a badge of honor, as it reflects their idiosyncratic approach to the scientific method.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: While the Electrodyne Engineers certainly clashed with the rest of the Technocracy, they were still loyal. But when their pet theory about luminiferous ether was removed from the Consensus (ironically, to try and push them into being less rebellious), they defected and renamed themselves in honor of the ether that was no longer part of the scientific consensus.
  • Martial Pacifist: It's by no means a hard-and-fast rule, but general Etherite culture tends to look down on Scientists who spend too much time pursuing weapons and warfare instead of pure research and exploration. Indeed, a lot of iconic Etherite "weaponry" is very pointedly nonlethal.
  • Mother Nature, Father Science: In contrast to the frequently eco-feminist Verbena, the Sons of Ether have had something of a reputation as a boys' club (it's in the name). This is something that members have been fighting to change for quite some time, however, hence the name change in M20.
  • Psychic Powers: Like most real-world pseudosciences, the field of psionics is a popular area of study among Etherites, especially since it allows them to work without physical instruments in a way that most technomancers can't.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Described to be a common occurrence, particularly when the student's personal view of science evolves counter to his mentor's outlook. They try to keep such issues to sniping at each other in academic papers. Note the word "try."
  • Ray Gun: When your local Etherite has to go on the offensive, you can count on these (frequently powered by some combination of Prime, Forces, Life, and/or Entropy) to come out.
  • Right Hand Versus Left Hand: While most prominent in soured mentor/student relationships, the Tradition, in general, has problems with arguments between Etherites with differing views of Science. It's all fine and dandy if they keep it to arguments within "Paradigma," the official Etherite publishing journal, if a bit counterproductive. The second that the Death Rays come out...
  • Robot Buddy: A good Etherite of the Cybernaut subfaction is never found far from at least a small posse of his mechanical pals.
  • Rule of Cool: What their gadgets tend to operate on.
  • Science Hero: Gloriously so! Their paradigm deviates from that of the Technocrats in large part because the Union focuses on large-scale societal progress at a gradual rate, rather than visionary individuals radically changing the world via SCIENCE!!
  • Science-Related Memetic Disorder: We mentioned that they have a bit of a Marauder problem, right?
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: Perhaps more than any other group in the World of Darkness, the Etherites maintain an unbridled enthusiasm and sense of adventure that stands in stark relief against the grim and gritty setting.
  • Steampunk: A very common theme for them, since they split off from the Technocracy in Victorian times. However, they can cover pretty much the whole range of Punk Punk genres.
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Etherites very much believe in this, both out of ideological and practical reasons. Some Etherites can mitigate Paradox simply by exploiting the fact that Sleepers will sometimes assume that a magical effect is possible if the device the Etherite uses to do it looks complex and science-y enough.
    • It should be noted, however, that 99% of Etherites don't consider what they do to be "magic", but very advanced technology. And they're technically correct, as technology is a type of magick, just as ritual magic and martial arts are. At the end of the day, they're somewhere between Clarke's Third Law and Magic-Powered Pseudoscience.
  • Technician Versus Performer: The Etherite relationship to the Technocracy as a whole (especially Iteration X). Technocratic hardware is mass-produced and standardized. Etherite inventions are... not.
  • Weird Science: Their entire Paradigm in a nutshell. What most ordinary sleepers (and Technocrats) would call outrageous pseudoscience, the Etherites call sublime fields of research too fantastical for the unenlightened mind.
  • Zeerust: Another common theme for them to use.

Specialty Sphere: Life

Pagan and druidic-inspired witches who use healing and transformation powers, often through sacrifice and blood ritual.

  • Arch-Enemy: To the Progenitors.
  • The Beastmaster: Their intuitive connection to animals means that they have a number of rotes and effects that summon and control them.
  • Blood Magic: They tend to use primal sources of life and sacrifice, thus blood is a common spell component.
  • Closer to Earth: Verbena often strive to be down to earth and practical. This was more prominent when they were the Old Faiths and had control of much of Europe, as they often played the role of healer or midwife.
  • Combat Medic: but never forget that they can do the reverse just as easily.
  • Deus Sex Machina: Blood is not the only vital fluid that they work with, although they generally take a different tack with such rituals than the Cult of Ecstasy.
  • Don't Think, Feel: Their M.O., and their biggest point of overlap with the Cult of Ecstacy.
  • Druid: Essentially their theme.
  • The Fair Folk: They deal pretty extensively with them and have been known to use Spirit to summon them.
  • Fatal Flaw: The Verbena's stubborn conservatism means that they have adapted to both the culture and technology of modern society unevenly, with many Verbena arcmages running on moral codes so old they verge on Blue-and-Orange Morality.
  • Forced Transformation: They have great facility with Life magic and can easily pull the whole Frog Prince routine if the mood strikes them.
  • Geas: One of their favorite Entropy effects, given that it resonates with Celtic Mythology.
  • Good is Not Nice: They are consummate environmentalists and frequent advocates for human rights, but they practice some pretty fierce Blood Magic and have been known to have kind of a Social Darwinist streak.
  • Good Old Ways: Even as part of an organization called the "Traditions", they are very focused on these. In nights past, they even called themselves "the Old Faiths".
  • Green Thumb: They are the nature mages, and it's also the name of a merit of theirs.
  • Human Sacrifice: A very old practice that the Verbena keep alive to the modern day, though they will insist that most of their "victims" are willing sacrifices.
  • In Harmony with Nature: They advocate that humanity needs to reconnect to the natural cycles of the world.
  • Ludd Was Right: Tend to believe this more than any other Tradition, though the exact degree varies between individual members.
  • Lunacy: Many of their rituals and foci draw from moon symbolism and lunar cycles.
  • Magic Cauldron: A favored tool of theirs. Especially useful when working with herbs and potions, but with any number of applications.
  • The Medic: They wield the Sphere of Life, which means that they have the easiest access to healing magic.
  • Mirroring Factions:
  • Mother Nature, Father Science: In contrast with the Sons of Ether, who often take a 50s Sci-Fi approach, with all the sexism that implies, the Verbena have a strong eco-feminist streak (one that, thankfully, rarely devolves into Straw Feminism).
  • Naked Nutter: Already well-known for skyclad rituals, the hard-line Verbena sect known as the Lifeweavers are so close to nature that they may reject wearing clothes for long periods of time. For this reason and more, they are often stereotyped - even by other Verbena mages - as being deranged to the point of losing human identity altogether; however, this is ultimately a subversion: despite their rejection of human civilization and (in extreme cases) even the human form, Lifeweavers rarely cross the line into madness.
  • Nature Hero: When they're not being excessively homicidal or regressive, they can easily be this.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The wild, visceral Red to the Dreamspeakers' spiritual, contemplative Blue.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: They embody the extreme end of the Romantic side of the debate, being the most critical of the Traditions toward modern civilization and its trappings.
  • Religion is Magic: Highly associated with Pagan traditions, particularly European ones.
  • Rule of Three: Just like in real world witchcraft, it cannot be overstated how important the mystical significance of the number three is to the Verbena Paradigm.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Their mastery of the Life Sphere allows them to take the shape of other living things.
  • Weather Manipulation: As experts in holistic nature, the Verbena know exactly how to make it rain or thunder if need be.
  • The Weird Sisters: The Verbena are huge on the Rule of Three, so it only makes sense that they would often appear as part of a trio.
  • Winds of Destiny, Change!: Any Entropy effect, from curses to probability control, works because of its connection to the Wyrd and the whims of the Fates.
  • Witch Classic: Depending on the Writer, they may or may not have this aesthetic.

    Virtual Adepts / Mercurial Elite
Specialty Sphere: Correspondence

A relatively young Tradition, the Virtual Adepts are the newest addition to the Council, and therefore the least trusted. Originally one of the Conventions of the Technocracy, the Virtual Adepts were initially known as the Difference Engineers, but as the years went by they became increasingly more discontent with the Technocracy's actions, and eventually defected to the Traditions after the death of renowned Adept Alan Turing by the hands of Technocracy agents. Now a Tradition, the Virtual Adepts are masters of information, the Digital Web and computer wizardry.

  • Awesomeness by Analysis: The main hat of the Chaoticians faction, who calculate probabilities and outcomes to such a degree that they often know precisely the right moment to use their vulgar magic to minimize the risk of paradox, even to the point of knowing precisely when to teleport into a crowded room conveniently when all the people are looking away from the point of entry.
  • Artificial Intelligence: They have a ridiculous number of these on their side. Benevolent ones, even!
  • Berserk Button: They hate the Technocracy with a passion even greater than the other Traditions.
  • Cassette Futurism: As a result of when a lot of their material was published, the Tradition tends to be associated with this aesthetic, regardless of how much they actually move forward.
  • Cyberpunk: They draw a lot of their fashion and personality from this. They even have a sub-faction called the Cyberpunks.
  • Cyberspace: The Digital Web.
  • Defector from Decadence: Left the Technocracy in protest of their excessive control.
  • Everything Is Online: They can hack your room's wallpaper given time.
  • Fatal Flaw: The impetuous nature and Insufferable Genius attitude of the Adepts leads them to both alienate their fellow Traditions and provoke particularly ruthless Technocratic retribution.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Ironically enough, an unfortunately common phenomenon among the VA is that older members tend to get disillusioned with the Tradition's goals or methods and end up joining the Technocratic Union, specifically the Iteration X convention. As the Iteration X narrator in their convention book says in respect to the VA:
    "I've said it before and I'll no doubt say it again - Iteration X is where the smart Virtual Adepts go when they grow up."
  • Hacker Cave: Where they tend to live, if they go solo. They sometimes tidy up a little if it turns into a full-blown Chantry.
  • Hollywood Hacking: They can pull everything on that page off.
  • Inside a Computer System: How they access the Digital Web.
  • Information Wants to Be Free: One of their core beliefs.
  • Insufferable Genius: While undoubtedly smart and talented, they know it all too well and as such aren't above arrogance when it comes to showing it off.
  • Leet Lingo: Used very often in the sourcebooks, actual characters can drop it.
  • Loners Are Freaks: A lot of their members tend to be loners by nature and the Tradition in itself is rather unorganized.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: When the NWO killed one of the Adepts' most prominent members, it drove the entire group to join the Traditions.
  • Mirroring Factions: Some sources indicate many Adepts have paradigms that effectively is part of the overall Technocratic paradigm — the Adepts' fierce disagreement with the Technocracy is mostly political. It's a very fierce disagreement, but so far as many Technocratic constructs are concerned what the average VA get up to is hyper-science while Etherites tend to get hindered the same as outright mystics.
  • Odd Friendship: With the Cult of Ecstasy.
  • Order Versus Chaos: While the Traditions as a whole occupy this position relative to the Technocracy, the Virtual Adepts specifically are heavily associated with both anarchism and chaos theory.
  • Playful Hacker: They tend to be at their nicest.
  • Rewriting Reality: Using code to change the very fabric of perceived reality.
  • The Singularity: Their ultimate goal.
  • Space Master: Masters of the Sphere of Correspondence, which covers the spatial dimensions.
  • Surveillance as the Plot Demands: They are the Traditions' undisputed masters of surveillance and espionage. Thanks to their master of Correspondence, they can set up a live feed to pretty much anywhere.
  • The Web Always Existed: The internet was not made, but discovered by mages. It was — seen from another perspective — the Ahl-i-Batin's fabled Mount Qaf.

The Technocratic Union

    Overall tropes
Tracing their origins back to the medieval ages, the Technocracy, then known as the Order of Reason, dedicated themselves to protect humanity from the various supernaturals that stalked mortals in the world, and embraced logic and science as a means to achieve their goals, crushing any and all traces of the supernatural and other mages, specifically the Order of Hermes. In modern nights, they control the masses with near-absolute power, and work hard to preserve the status quo of humanity that has been achieved since their founding, for better or for worse, and are willing to eliminate anyone they see as a threat to their ideal world.
  • Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: In contrast to the mystical stylings and codes of the Traditions, the Technocracy's lingo favors acronyms, buzzwords and other specialized jargon, as well as PR-speak.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Not as old as most Traditions, but older than most governments.
  • Black Comedy: Enjoyed by several of their members.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Most lower-ranking Technocrats do not know they're Mages. Those who do, embrace their function as Hunters Of Their Own Kind.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Between the constant attempts to preserve the world from harm and the many potentially disastrous events approaching from every angle, it's not uncommon for a Technocrat being confronted by a mage to be more confused than anything else.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: To Technocrats, Enlightened Science is as much about peak-human expertise in any and all disciplines, ranging from political expertise to cutting-edge educational techniques to the combat arts as it is about revolutionary gadgets and futuristic medical knowledge.
  • Conspiracy Redemption: The most recent texts imply that the Technocracy is teetering between rebirth into the idealistic Benevolent Conspiracy it once was, with the potential to not be mortal enemies with the Traditions, and falling completely past the moral event horizon. It is the assumed job of Player Character Technocrats to make sure that the former triumphs over the latter.
  • Deadly Euphemism: Technocratic jargon is practically a language into itself, and various terms such as "amended society" and the "Degree Absolute" serve as linguistic impact lesseners for the creative punishments they can bestow on unmutual agents.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Though built on largely-conflicting philosophies, Technocrats and Tradition Mages are, at heart, not terribly different from one another, and they will cooperate to deal with problems like Nephandi, Marauders, or just plain ol' human evil like child pornographers and slavers.
    • The post-Pogrom Technocracy has come to realize that most Reality Deviants, such as werewolves and especially vampires, want to keep the Masquerade just as much as they do. So when some neonate gets the idea into his head to throw around superpowers in full view of the camera, the local Technocratic supervisors are as likely to deliver him to his elders as they are to stake him themselves. It's just neighborly, and the vampire elders can be trusted to make a creative example out of their erstwhile childe.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Naturally, their status as "evil" is up to interpretation, but even at their worst, the modern incarnation of the Union is established to absolutely hate the idea of discrimination based on sex or ethnicity. They weren't always like this, especially in the 1800s when they demonstrated the typical prejudices of the Victorian-era British Empire, but it's one area where they genuinely have improved with time. Technocracy Reloaded takes this even further and makes clear that, for all the Progenitors love to talk up the potential of CRISPR, the Union will always offer you a choice if you're neurodivergent or disabled. You don't necessarily need limb regrowth or brain surgery if the right adaptive technologies will do the same job.
  • Fallen Hero: The faction as a whole. They were once the heroic Order of Reason, and they fought on behalf of God and the common people against the cruel Sorcerous Overlords of the Dark Ages to build a brighter future, where the "magic" their foes hoarded was available to all. Nowadays, while they haven't quite turned into complete villains yet, those past glories serve as a sad reminder of what could have been... or, for the optimistic, what might one day be again.
  • Final Solution: The Technocracy used to be casually genocidal and caused mass murders of those who didn't follow their worldview. They've cooled off over time though.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In the Golden Ending they make a truce with the Nine Mystic Traditions and work together with them to stop Voormas so every single person in existence can Ascend together.
  • Godzilla Threshold: They've got several terms for this, such as "AFET 6" and "Code Ragnarok." They basically mean the same thing (though possibly to different degrees): forget about Collateral Impact, sacrifice as many operatives as you need to, and destroy the problem.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Organizationally, the Traditions and the Technocracy don't get along, but individual Technocrats (particularly Void Engineers, though others do it too) can and do get along with local Mages of good character... assuming that a Pogrom isn't at hand.
  • Hero Antagonist: While the Technocracy certainly has their fair share of genuine villains out to crush all dissent and Nephandi infiltrators, a lot of them are just trying to protect humanity from things that are even worse, or to bring supernatural solutions to the Muggles, and even the majority of the more amoral ones are Well-Intentioned Extremist types who honestly think their doing the right thing.
  • Hollywood Atheist:
    • The Technocracy was originally a fiercely religious organization, but gradually moved to secularism and atheism as the heroic Order of Reason morphed into the morally grey Technocracy.
    • Modern books mention that Technocrats don't technically have to be atheists, they just can't allow their belief in a higher power to come before their duty to the Time Table. Essentially, they still don't oppose the existence of religion, but unlike the Celestial Chorus Religion is NOT Magic.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: The Technocrat's Enlightened personnel are mages exactly like the ones who work for the Traditions, use the same powers, and incur Paradox if they do it vulgarly. They even have Avatars, called Eidolons. A great many of them don't know that they're Mages and that their Enlightened Science isn't really science, however, with that information being controlled by the higher-ups. It should be noted though that not all Technocrats are Enlightened Personnel; they also have a lot of Extraordinary Citizens, Citizens, and HIT Marks.
  • Insistent Terminology: Technocrats do not do magic but "Enlightened Science" that is too advanced for the masses to understand or even know about. They do not have an Avatar but make use of their personal Genius for inspiration. Traditionalists and other supernatural creatures are merely "Reality Deviants". And so on.
  • Internal Reformist: A common concept for Technocrat player characters, explicitly encouraged by the books.
  • Magic or Psychic?: The Technocracy has decided that psionics are "scientific" and not magical, and thus kosher for their agents to use.
  • Magitek: What they're actually doing.
  • Masquerade: They're the ones who enforce the mages' version, and also sometimes work with the other groups who are trying to keep the lid on for their splats.
  • Master of One Magic: Not as pronounced as the Traditions, mostly because Technocrats do not recognize the Nine Spheres as such and are prone to have paradigms that blur the line between them. Still, each Convention has its specialties:
    • Interation X focuses on Matter and Forces, having a dangerously reverential attitude toward technology.
    • The New World Order once only needed Mind to keep the Consensus in check, but have also come to appreciate the informational advantage Data provides.
    • The Progenitors are the biologists of the Technocracy and are of course masters of the Life Sphere.
    • The Syndicate uses Prime — sorry, "Primal Utility" — (since Quintessence is already a form of currency) and especially Entropy (the manipulation of probabilities being an invaluable tool for an economics-oriented faction).
    • Finally, the Void Engineers make use of Spirit but use the Technocratic terminology of "Dimensional Science" (since From a Certain Point of View, the Umbra is merely Another Dimension). They are also the designated specialists of the Spheres of Time and Correspondence, being Bold Explorers of Time and Space as well.
  • Mad Scientist: Massively, massively subverted. Even at their worst the Technocrats still act like real scientists, using collaboration with each other, research and repeatable testable hypotheses to learn more about the universe and advance the power of their Magitek. Ironically, the one Convention that actually was this, the Eloctrodyne Engineers, pulled a Heel–Face Turn and became the Society of Ether because they thought the rest of the Technocracy wasn't advancing technology fast enough.
  • Measuring the Marigolds: A big part of their initial characterization that was later mostly removed. However, it's still an unfortunate side effect of their reality policing and debunking. The Union has done a very good job of making people not believe in magic, but, unfortunately, has also found it much harder to make people excited about science in its place.
  • Nay-Theist: The Technocracy recognizes that higher powers exist, but they will not abide by that deviant thought, thank you very much. This has had repercussions in Union history ranging from the ousting of the Knights Templar once the background atheism count reached a certain level, to having an active hand in the "Indian Schools" that tried to drive out indigenous faith, culture and language. The latest materials emphasize that the Technocracy has come around to a more multicultural view in the 21st century and is willing to accept "Dana Scully Catholics", but those undercurrents of disregard towards faith run deep.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: The Technocracy is not subject to any one nation (anymore. Things were getting pretty British in the 1800s), but its resources are immense enough to, in one Ascension scenario, conquer Australia.
  • Mirroring Factions: One of the reasons why the Order of Reason hated mages so much was because they tried to rule over Sleepers in the Dark Ages. In modern times the Technocracy is now a group of Mages who rule over Sleepers, even if they, themselves, would bristle at the accusation (and indeed, their 'style' of ruling at least provides the illusion of freedom for Sleepers, rather than the outright Sorcerous Overlords of the Dark Ages).
  • Order Is Not Good: Despite being on the side of Order in the battle of Order Versus Chaos, this faction plays the role of a Fallen Hero.
  • Order Versus Chaos: Solidly occupies the order side, as the vast majority of Technocrats leans toward Static avatar essences.
  • The Purge: The fate of the Craftmasons, who were some of the founders of the Order of Reason. Inflicting this on local mages is referred to as a Pogrom, though it isn't as standard policy as many think.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Of the "Played straight for horror" variety. This is what ultimately makes them a villainous faction, even after the whitewashing they received in updated revisions. They embody the sheer soul-crushing indifference of corporate culture, stamping on free will, hope, expression and wonder not out of deliberate malice but out of simple blind obedience to their bureaucratic culture. They're so caught up in their "Great Schedule" that they fail to see how far they've fallen into being monsters via the refrain of "for the greater good". Furthermore, this has also blinded them from seeing the mistakes they made. This is a major disadvantage they have with the Traditions; while the Technocracy kept chugging along and growing drunk with power without change, the Traditions did actually reform and go through the skeletons in their closet.
  • Realpolitik: In the default M20 setting, the Technocracy has abandoned the "kill all Reality Deviants" attitude and is now more concerned with protecting the Consensus by whatever means work. Murdering the problem is an option but not the only one, and when less force will do, an operative is encouraged to use it.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Inverted. Any hypertech the Union uses, if all goes according to plan, will be widely available to the Masses in a couple decades. In fact, the Order of Reason was partially founded in opposition to the idea that super-science was meant to be hoarded rather than shared. It has to be introduced carefully into the Consensus, however; until people believe in the efficacy of a super-scientific device en masse, it counts as vulgar Magick.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: The Enlightenment to the Traditions' Romanticism. In fact, the Enlightenment philosophy in the World of Darkness is their creation, and they will fight to the bitter end to defend the status quo it has created, for good or ill.
  • Science Hero: Often subverted but ultimately depends on how they're played. They were this back when they were the Order of Reason, though.
  • Science Is Wrong:
    • Well at least, in Mage science is shaped by the general views of the masses, which is what the setting runs on, rather than being something that was always inherently true and just needed to be discovered. Back before people believed in current scientific principles (such as those that would make a dragon non-aerodynamic), they literally didn't exist. The Order came up with them in order to define and control reality. The universe really did start out geocentric, and outer space beyond a certain distance from Earth is actually part of the Deep Umbra, with alien life only existing after human beings started believing in it.
    • In the end, more like Science Is Right, but so is everybody else.
  • Shrouded in Myth: The official materials are deliberately vague on what the Technocracy's top leadership like Control actually is, if it even exists anymore post-1999.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: The Technocracy encourages regular training in martial arts based in Enlightened Science.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: They created a world that's safe and relatively comfortable for normal humans by denying absolute freedom and crushing dissent in favor of a more rational and scientific worldview.
  • Would Not Shoot a Civilian: This is the official rule: No Collateral Impact. In practice, the Technocracy does sometimes black-bag a civilian, but doing it before the Godzilla Threshold has been reached is a good way to get reassigned to nuclear waste disposal duty.

    Iteration X 
Sphere: Forces or Matter
Iteration X are the high technology research and development branch of the Technocracy. They're the ones who make all the cool toys the other Conventions often use, including cybernetics.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Iteration X has had a surprisingly messy relationship with Artificial General Intelligence. As far as leadership is concerned, they've achieved it exactly once, and the result was the Computer that ran the Convention prior to the Dimensional Anomaly. However, it's implied they actually achieved AGI several times over, but refuse to recognize it as such because that would mean acknowledging that the Computer is something else entirely.
  • Black Sheep: Materials sciences (chemistry, metallurgy, and the like) are still represented in the Convention, but they're generally treated as its pitiful throwbacks (and, to some extent, as throwbacks of the Technocracy as a whole).
  • Clock King: Most Iterators believe that reality is inherently deterministic to some degree or another, but this is the hat of the Statistician Methodology.
  • Clock Punk: This was their predominant aesthetic when they were known as the Artificers, around the Order of Reason's founding.
  • Counter-Earth: The former headquarters of their Master Computer.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Averted, actually. It is not the cybernetics that destroy Iteration X'ers who go off the deep end, but their anti-humanist beliefs. That said, earlier models of cybernetic enhancement were noted to cause problems along these lines, though they've mostly been upgraded past this point.
  • Cyberpunk: The most explicitly cyberpunk-flavored of the Conventions.
  • Cyborg: A large number of their Agents are cybernetically enhanced.
  • Dark Secret: Theirs is so explosive (revealed in the revised Convention book, one of the last that was published before the Time of Judgment) that it's been kept even from the membership of Iteration X as well. The Master Computer? It's not an artificial intelligence built solely by the efforts of the Convention. It's actually an Incarnum (or something of similar spiritual power and stature) that surreptitiously inhabited a powerful Iteration X device and demonstrated its sapience on the xth iteration. It actively prevents future attempts at building such a device to prevent Iteration X from discovering the truth. There are subtle hints in the revised Void Engineers book that this has gone further: it's heavily suggested that it's controlling the Autopolitans of Threat Null, and it's possibly even the heart of Threat Null's existence.
  • The Engineer: Their specialty, both among the newer cult-like members and the older master craftsmen.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Enforced by Computer to such an extent that even the other Conventions find it grating.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: For the Technocracy.
  • The Homeward Journey: A big motivation for the Convention as a whole after the Avatar Storm — it cut them off from The Computer, and everyone knows they're desperate to return (in particular, they try to get whatever resources they can get from the Syndicate and their own works to cajole the Void Engineers to mount an expedition to find it). Unfortunately for them, it turns out the Void Engineers already have written it off as being completely in the hands of Threat Null's Autopolitans.
  • Mechanical Abomination: They definitely aren't run by one of these.
  • Machine Worship: The old-tyme master craftsmen, not so much, but many of the newer members all-but worship the Great Computer they have built with their own hands. Its loss was quite a blow, though it did accomplish some much-needed internal reforms.
  • Nanomachines: Iteration X has had them since the beginning, but each edition seems to ramp up what they're capable of. There's currently an orbital lab full of Gray Goo that Iteration X has been trying for nearly a decade to safely destroy.
  • Technician Versus Performer: The Technician to the Etherites' Performer. Iterators typically have more resources, more efficient facilities and better coordinated personnel. Thus, they excel at mass producing Magitek to an extent that completely eclipses even other technomancer groups. But their ultra-materialist Paradigm also prevented them from learning Dimensional Science and generally hamstrung their attempts to keep up as invokedSleeper science got weirder.
  • Terminator Impersonator: The HIT-Mark program. Earlier models were reminiscent of the T-800, being overwhelming in combat, but useless for more subtle missions and obnoxiously easy to hack into. Later models resemble the T-X.

    New World Order 
Sphere: Data or Mind
The New World Order are the social engineering branch of the Union. Using communications technology, political influence, academic endeavor and media manipulation, they seek to turn humanity towards.the Technocratic paradigm. The NWO are also the chief investigators into paranormal activity and the ones hiding its existence from public knowledge. If you're thinking of global conspiracies, you're thinking of these guys.
  • Bedlam House: Once their favorite source of test subjects. Even today, they run a few less-than-reputable mental facilities.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The core function of the Watcher methodology.
  • Body Horror: In the Revised convention book, after the Avatar Storm, Iteration X turned over the HIT-MARK program to the New World Order, who based the Atlas program on it. The difference being that the NWO uses brains harvested from captured Tradition mages to power the Atlas units.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: Many of the stereotypes surrounding them focus on their intolerable smugness.
  • Conspiracy Kitchen Sink: The Union as a whole has shades of this, but this is the NWO's whole aesthetic, complete with subliminal messaging, Men in Black, suppressed histories, celebrity doppelgangers, the whole nine yards.
  • Culture Police: They act as this on order to prevent the Traditions from subtly infiltrating the Consensus.
  • Face–Heel Turn: They specifically have the "Paradigm Shift" Procedure to rapidly turn a mage into a loyal Technocrat. Lest they be judged too harshly, they'll also try less forceful methods first whenever possible — in fact, the current leader of the convention is a former Cultist of Ecstasy who switched sides after repeatedly teaming up with the NWO against Nephandi during World War II. Of course, whether they're the face or the heel in the tropes in question depends on what side of the Ascension War you're on.
  • Hard on Soft Science: Averted. They have Sufficiently Advanced Sociology.
  • Government Conspiracy: Averted. They influence governments, but weren't formed by any of them and are beholden to none of them.
  • The Man Behind the Man: They prefer to influence rulers rather than become them — lobbyists, paper-writing academics, and political advisers are their preferred public roles. They would prefer to be this within the Technocracy as well, but feel compelled to be leaders within the Union.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Psychology and social combat is their specialization, and they are very good at finding your weak points.
  • The Men in Black: The basic grunts; the ones that run the Convention are the Men in White. The traditional outfits are enhanced by "enlightened science" to tap into the part of the Masses' brains that leads them to overlook things, making them subtly difficult to spot.
  • Mind Manipulation: Their preferred method of dealing with most opposition is just about every type of mental coercion listed on the index. They were also the driving force for ending the Pogrom (the Technocratic push to kill all "Reality Deviants") in favor of "soft" warfare and social reform. They do it to all their own allies, too — every Technocrat goes through "Processing" when they join.
  • More than Mind Control: Psy Ops' Conditioning is at its strongest when Room 101 to tap into a Mage's deeply held desires and values, making them come genuinely believe with their whole heart in the Technocratic cause.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite being considered the second darkest of the Conventions, it was the New World Order who stopped the Pogrom that was causing the Technocracy to kill massive numbers of Mages and Supernatural Species.
  • Psychic Powers: They spend as much time researching them as they do trying to prove they don't exist.
  • Psycho Psychologist: In theory, the NWO is supposed to be the most ethically stringent of the Conventions. In practice, their transparent-as-a-brick organizational structure means that their psychiatric research often goes in horrific directions.
  • Sinister Surveillance: The Watchers are a Methodology dedicate to this and this alone.
  • The Social Expert: Their field of expertise, for good or ill.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted; they are the therapists for the Technocracy as a whole (except the Void Engineers, who maintain their own therapy corps).
  • Vast Bureaucracy: The New World Order consists of no less than five loosely related Methodologies (the Operatives, the Ivory Tower, the Watchers, the Feed, and Q Division, plus Psy Ops, whose exact place in the Convention's hierarchy is unclear) bound together by a labyrinth of red tape so dizzyingly complex that the bureaucratic structure itself is often used as an apparatus for Enlightened effects.
  • Visionary Villain: They are the architects of most of the largest and greatest of Technocratic programs, and have plans to establish world peace.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Even more than the rest of the Technocracy, the NWO is genuinely idealistic and believes in its duty to the masses above all else (which has a tendency to bring them into conflict with the Syndicate.) This doesn't mean that they don't still practice torture and brainwashing.

Sphere: Life
The Progenitors are the biological sciences experts. From cutting edge medical technology to designer drugs to gene-splicing, anything that involves enhancing or transforming living beings in the service of the Union is under their purview.
  • Arch-Enemy: To the Verbena, and generally to anyone who doesn't use a paradigm for Life magic that falls under their view of medical science.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: What their Procedures let them do, though they think it's just hyper-advanced medicine. They're not... completely wrong.
  • The Atoner: The overall stance that the modern Progenitors take towards their World War II doings.
  • Berserk Button: Why they are the most gung-ho about wiping out the Traditions: Homeopathy and other pseudo-medicine really cheeses them off. Their argument boils down to, "Even if you can make it work with your magical powers, you're duping countless innocent people into entrusting their lives and bodies to hucksters and frauds who can't."
  • Closer to Earth: In a sense. They seem to be the Convention that best remembers that the Technocracy is supposed to be empowering the masses, rather than just controlling them.
  • Creating Life Is Awesome: Lots and lots of technocrats are actually grown in labs, nowadays. But most of them are decent, well-adjusted, ordinary people. Notably, being a clone or vat-grown agent only affects your character in anything but a role-playing sense if you explicitly take the disadvantage that gives you the Cloning Blues about it.
  • Deadly Doctor: Most of them honestly want to help you stay healthy, and just as many know exactly where the pain centers are. In their updated convention book, they put a lot of focus on "healing a broken world," and part of it involves defending ordinary people from extraordinary threats.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Subverted. They think the Technocracy isn't going far enough and want to bring back the Pogrom.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Not every Progenitor is this trope but quite a few have... fun with their research. At its nadir during World War II, they were the group who engaged with the Axis Powers the most heavily (up until the massive Nephandi involvement with the Third Reich was revealed).
  • Fantastic Drug: They can produce these — sometimes just modifications of existing drugs, but sometimes out of whole cloth.
  • Fantastic Racism: They loathe vampires and want the Technocracy to destroy them.
  • Fatal Flaw: The major thing preventing the Progenitors from being a fully-benevolent force within the Technocracy (after several major rewrites anyway) is their fanatic conservatism when it comes to the ideals of progress existing in opposition the remnants of the past, and their hatred for other supernatural factions like the Traditions and vampires as a result. It has reached the point of championing genocide as a solution to the world's problems, indirectly repeating the mistake of their forebears who collaborated with the Third Reich.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Usually averted. Their gene-mods are fairly safe and user-friendly. However, it is not a good idea to combine them with Iteration X cybernetics. The results are... well, in a word, messy.
  • Herr Doktor: One of the darker legacies of the convention as a whole is that they were perhaps the most gung-ho supporters of Nazi Germany, as there were plenty of avenues for medical experimentation. Naturally, this resulted in several Progenitors that fell into this stereotype. Modern Progenitors generally don't.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: As of the updated Convention Book: Progenitors, they have the faction most dedicated towards neutralizing Reality Deviants besides Tradition mages that threaten humanity (e.g. vampires and {{Tabletop Game/werewolfTheApocalypse werewolves]]). These Progenitors are notably at risk of becoming rather extreme in their methods, as per their Fatal Flaw.
  • The Medic: They are the doctors of the Technocracy after all and are more likely to use their knowledge to make medicine than genetically-engineered horrors (though they do that to).
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: One of the specialties of the FACADE Engineers.
  • My Greatest Failure: Most major Awakened organizations had Axis defectors during World War II, but the Progenitors ended up falling so badly that they had to purge a lot of their Convention's infrastructure and personnel after the war. The good news is that the modern Progenitors are proactive in keeping fascist ideas out of their Convention. The bad news is that (since Evil Is One Big, Happy Family and the nazi Progenitors rubbed shoulders with nazi Hermetics and Verbena) trying to reach across the aisle to make peace with the Traditions is considered a warning sign.
  • Noble Profession: Zigzagged. They were originally, reflecting the anti-establishment, pro-New Age slant of the first editions' writing teams, just as evil as the rest of the Technocracy, reflecting the worst aspects of modern medicine at best, such as drugging the Masses into sleepy compliance and suppressing alternative medical cures for no good reason, and mustache-twirlingly evil at worst, gene-engineering dangerous monsters with no practical purpose or literally trying to give all humanity nasty pollen allergies to cut us off from Mother Nature. But it's telling that, of all the Technocratic Paradigms, it's the doctors who've had the most Character Development (and been the most rewritten and reworked), and become the most practical and humanistic as of the Revised and 20th Anniversery editions... though they retain a Fatal Flaw that keeps them from becoming fully heroic. Also, the alternative medicine thing is treated with much less sympathy by most modern writers, since the real world equivalents are All-Natural Snake Oil.
  • Odd Friendship: The Revised Convention Book makes references to the Progenitors making inroads with the Glass Walkers, of all people.
  • Organic Technology: They line between "tool" and "bioconstruct" is pretty blurry in this Convention.
  • Playing with Syringes: Usually averted: they are doctors, after all. But you get some crazies in every batch.
  • They Would Cut You Up: The "they" in this equation. Almost no supernatural is safe from Progenitor experimentation.
  • Uplifted Animal: They know how to make these and often lend them to the Void Engineers to help out with their Underwater Bases.
  • The Worm Guy: The long suffering "Micro-Methodologies", home to the Enlightened meteorologists, veterinarians, and other ultra-specialized disciplines of Enlightened Science. They are united largely by their lack of funding and influence.

Sphere: Entropy or Primal Utility
The Syndicate are the economic sciences experts of the Union, and as such, they're its main bankrollers, managing most of the Union's sources of revenue and providing the funding for the other Conventions' projects. Being the ones with the power to give (or take) money, they're generally the most disliked Convention. It doesn't help that many of the Convention's members do deserve the reputation of being shady assholes, especially when some of their endeavors can involve organized crime.
  • Accidental Truth: The revised Syndicate splatbook notes that there was one hidden upside to the Avatar Storm cutting off the various Horizon Realms — some of the top-level Technocratic operatives in these realms had spent so much time removed from humanity that they were developing lines of thought that would be detrimental to the Technocratic Union as well as humanity in general. In short, they were able to extrapolate Threat Null's existence and its raison d'etre, and they probably could predict their modus operandi and possibly even effective methods to combat them if they only realized the weight of their observations. Ties into Failed a Spot Check below.
  • Arch-Enemy: Out of all the Traditions, the Syndicate seems to hate the Euthanatos the most. This probably has something to do with their combination of fanatical (read: hard to subvert) beliefs, their habit of destroying things the Syndicate put a lot of cash into building and, worst of all, the fact that they are completely unmarketable. On the other hand, the two share more similarities than either wants to admit: both specialize in the Entropy Sphere, both have Paradigms that their allies sometimes have trouble following and both are considered to be the Token Evil Teammate of their respective faction by many. Also, each is the most likely to have money (as commerce is in part ruled by Entropy).
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: As the most amoral of the Conventions as well as the businessmen, what did you expect?
  • Dark Secret: Everything about the Special Projects Division — what it was connected with, what it produced, and most certainly that it no longer exists, although it still somehow sends profits to the Syndicate.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • For all that the Syndicate is amoral and corrupt, they are still loyal Technocrats and despise the Nephandi. When Syndicate investigators discovered the Convention's Special Projects Division had been in bed with the Nephandi, they found it monstrous. (What happened to SPD, no-one knows — only that they stopped taking the Syndicate's calls after the Avatar Storm, that attempts to investigate their offices got the investigators disappeared, and that its dividends keep being sent to the Syndicate.)
    • On that note, they created Pentex, but they stopped backing it once they found out what it'd gotten up to.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Their revised Convention splatbook strongly hints of this being a Convention-wide problem. They're deliberately comparatively hands-off with their own personnel as long as they keep raking in profits. This can backfire in numerous ways, such as two Syndicate members doing a proxy war over the same materials (although said proxy wars aren't considered a problem until it starts cutting into profits as a whole). One notable example would be the Special Projects Division, which was descended from a company that they created out of a merger — Pentex. Given how quickly Pentex became Wyrm-infested (or Nephandus-infested, if you prefer to think in Mage terms), the fact that it took over a century for the Syndicate as a whole to catch up to the problem speaks volumes as to how widespread the problem is amongst the Convention.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: No corporate engineers enjoy dealing with marketing and budgeting. Iteration X and the Progenitors both find the Syndicate repulsively short-sighted, the Void Engineers are terrified that the Syndicate will cut their funding and the NWO disagrees with the Syndicate so strongly that, at any given time, the two are on the verge of civil war.
  • Knight Templar: The true tragedy of the Syndicate is that they honestly either can't or won't understand how flawed their philosophy really is, or see how many people are hurt because of it.
  • The Man Behind the Man: In general, the Syndicate prefers to operate as "consultants" rather than being CEOs of major companies. They also see themselves as this to the Technocracy as a whole (though everyone else sees through it).
  • Mundane Made Awesome: This bears repeating: they are literal financial wizards!
  • Obliviously Evil: They honestly believe they are the Masses' partners, not their rulers and that their Paradigm is what everyone really wants.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: They claim to play the role of the roadblock that keeps the other Conventions from steamrolling the Masses with Consensus-breaking technology. Needless to say, the other Conventions don't exactly see it that way.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: The source of Technocracy's seemingly unlimited resource. Of course, all of this power is conveniently unavailable or locked behind red tape for heroic and/or Player Character Technocrats.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: It's often overlooked by the other Conventions, but the Syndicate has to be good at all of the other branches of Enlightened Science by default — they couldn't know what to fund if they didn't know what actually works. They may not be as good (outside of hyper-economics and public relations) as the respective specialists, but they couldn't do their jobs if they were ignorant fools.
  • Only Sane Man: They certainly feel that way — one of their more common reasons for refusing funding is that it'd be rejected by the Consensus, and the resulting Paradox would be more harm than the potential good the proposed product would have provided. In some cases, it's actually true.
    • Regardless of their overall philosophy, there's no denying that the Syndicate paradigm is far and away the most in line with the Consensus... According to the Syndicate at least.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The better class of Syndicate employees are often simply doing what they feel is the most efficient and useful for the Technocracy for a whole, even if it means some short-term losses.
  • The Resenter: Played in both directions. Each other Convention tends to resent the Syndicate overall, as they're the ones who determine just who gets what resources (and invariably, it's not as much as others want). On the flip side, the Syndicate resents just how little respect they get for managing the Technocracy as a whole and preventing it from crashing in a puff of Paradox.
  • Right Hand Versus Left Hand: As noted under Failed a Spot Check, the Syndicate is much more prone to intra-Convention infighting and conflict than most others, as a side effect of their cutthroat competition philosophy.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: How they use their magic.
  • Sour Supporter: In all, they're typically much more cynical than any other Technocrat — they believed worldwide Ascension was impossible even before the Avatar Storm, and they further cultivate the overall image of being the tightwad money managers. However, they believe in making folks happy and content even if Enlightenment is beyond them, and they feel their fellow Technocrats are on the right track, albeit too focused on what could be.
  • Uncle Pennybags: They view themselves as this, and indeed their primary goal is based around creating worth, not exploiting it. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way.
  • Support Party Member: Their most unique function within the Union. Their unique, proprietary approach to Prime (Primal Utility) allows them to generate Quintessence from things the Masses perceive as valuable or important, up to and including the creation of entire self-sustaining Nodes.
  • Token Evil Teammate: The Technocracy as a whole is more Grey than purely heroic but the Syndicate is worse than the rest of them. Their still accepting money from Pentex despite being fully aware that something has gone horribly wrong with the company.
  • Vetinari Job Security: How they stay around and remain powerful and influential, despite being the most straightforwardly-villainous Technocracy faction, despised by their peers, and crippled by infighting brought on by their own hyper-capitalist ideology. At the end of the day, they might not be very good at their jobs, but no one else in the Technocracy wants to do what they do, and the Technocracy cannot function without what they do: marketing, budgeting, and all the other little minutiae of running a massive N.G.O. Superpower.

    Void Engineers 
Sphere: Dimensional Science
The Void Engineers are the Technocracy's intrepid explorers into the unknown. Whether it's across space, time or even dimensions, the VE seek to expand the frontiers of human exploration. The VE are also the main military branch of the Union against extraterrestrial threats (yes, they've got space marines). Their rather romantic role within the Conventions makes them one of the most idealistic factions within the Technocracy, and also leads to them being the most tolerant; of all the Conventions, the VE are the ones who most often end up working together with the Traditions to face threats against the magical community as a whole.
  • Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: Present with all of the Conventions, but most obvious with the Void Engineers. It's Lampshaded multiple times in their splatbook.
  • Ancient Order of Protectors: Nuwisha (werecoyotes) who serve Coyote's Ptah aspect claim to be obscuring parts of the Umbra from the Void Engineers. These Nuwisha prevent Void Engineers from finding places of power and beauty, taking great pains to divert the Void Engineers to Umbral areas that belong to the Wyrm (the cosmic force of entropy).
  • Bold Explorer: Their schtick.
  • Dark Secret: The Avatar Storm would have ended long ago were it not for them... and they're feeding it to protect the world from Threat: Null, the Technocrats who were trapped in the Umbra and become a sick and twisted parody of the Conventions they used to belong to.
  • Deprogram: One of their less-explosive secrets — they actively remove the low-level programming that the New World Order does to all Technocrats.
  • Dyson Sphere: Their original base, the Copernicus Research Center (aka "the Cop").
  • Friendly Enemy: To the Sons of Ether and the Euthanatos of the Traditions — the former due to similar paradigms, the latter for access to the best launch window for space exploration as well as being the ones most ready to share info about the Avatar Storm.
    • They also have been known to work with the Dreamspeakers. As the Progenitors Convention Book mentions, they can actually be somewhat protective of the shamans. This is at least partly because they share a sphere with them, though they call it "Dimensional Science" instead of "Spirit."
  • The Greys: They have genetic samples from the real deal, and have been cloning them since the 40's.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: It was the Seekers of the Void (as they were then known) who ultimately pushed to have luminiferous ether removed from The Consensus. This was the action that ultimately led the Electrodyne Engineers to leave the Technocratic Union, rename themselves the Sons of Ether, and join the Traditions. The Void Engineers do regret the departure of the Etherites (see above, under Friendly Enemy), but felt that it was in the best interests of humanity to make the move. Also their general stance towards their increasing militarism as well as their refusal to inform anyone else about Threat Null.
  • Ineffectual Loner: They tend to be very tight-lipped about their operations because they don't think the other Technocrats can handle it. This is, with one exception, a very stupid idea (and that one exception is also something of an exception to this trope, since while the Void Engineers don't speak with the other Technocrats about Threat Null, they do co-operate with Traditions on the matter).
  • Kill Sat: They create and maintain Sentinel Satellites, which are ostensibly supposed to be monitoring devices, but are covered in far too much heavy ordinance to make that any comfort.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Are gradually becoming this as just how dangerous and bleak the universe it impresses itself upon them. The fact that they're being deliberately steered into the worse parts doesn't help. It's kind of a tragedy, since they're one of the most idealistic factions within the Technocracy otherwise.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: The younger generations of Pan-Dimensional Corp drop Star Trek references like it's their job, and enough members of the Earth Frontiers Division watch Futurama that they've come to refer to their custodial and maintenance department as "Scruffies".
  • Power of the Void: Their "Void Engines" can process spacetime itself with enough efficiency to achieve FTL speeds. It's not powered by Ether, though. It's powered by the "interstellar medium", which is different.
  • Scaling the Summit: Exploring seldom-trod lands is also part of the Void Engineers' milieu, so if there's a mountain that few have climbed, expect them to either have already climbed it, are in the process of climbing it, or making plans to climb it. As there are few mountains on Earth that the Sleepers haven't climbed yet, this is probably their least prominent role in modern times.
  • Scienceville: The Copernicus Research Centre, the convention's headquarters in the Deep Universe. Affectionately known as the Cop, it's a Dyson Sphere as big as the space between the Earth and the Sun. As such, it functions as a training ground, a laboratory, and a home away from home for a huge number of Void Engineers.
  • Space Marine: Their role in the Technocratic hierarchy. And it's beginning to override all other aspects of them.
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Being the Convention most likely to interact with spirits, via their custom branch of the Spirit sphere (Dimensional Science), they tend closer to this than the rest of the Union.
  • Standard Alien Spaceship: A lot of their larger, more advanced vessels weirdly have this aesthetic, particularly The Dreaded Node-sanitizing ships know as the Qui la Machinae
  • There Are No Therapists: Explicitly averted, as they have an entire arm of the Convention devoted to providing therapy to others in the Convention. They retain this in no small part because they highly distrust the New World Order, who are generally the therapist option for the Technocracy. It's also a reflection of how traumatic their profession can be; no other Convention within the Technocratic Union are exposed to sanity-flaying bad shit as often as the VE are.
  • Time Is Dangerous: The Chrononaut Methodology is/was small and dangerous, often regarded as a punishment for Voiders who stepped over the line.
  • Token Good Teammate: While the Technocracy as a whole is more Grey than outright evil, the Void Engineers are the most heroic of them all. They retain most of their curiosity and are much more respectful of their counterparts in the Traditions on an organizational basis and even willingly work with the Sons of Ether and Euthanatos against extraterrestrial threats.
  • Underwater Base: Frequently overlooked (prior to the Avatar Storm, especially by Syndicate budgets) is that the Void Engineers explore everything, not just outer space or Umbral realms. They have an active deep-sea exploration program, which includes building permanent bases on the sea floor. This turned out to be extremely useful as of the Avatar Storm, as it provided ideal backup bases for the other members of the Union when the various Horizon Realms were cut off. Budgets suddenly were dramatically increased, and several were converted to full Underwater Cities.

The Disparate Alliance

Sphere: Correspondence
A group of Middle Eastern mystics who believe in the unity of all things with the Divine, seeking to dissolve the barriers between the self and the One through understanding and enlightenment.
  • The Good Chancellor: The Batini are more comfortable as advisors and leaders, and have excelled at subtly pushing far-flung groups toward peace and cooperation for their entire history.
  • The Heart: What they tried to be in their time with the Traditions, in accordance with their belief in Unity; eventually, however, seeing their efforts to get the Traditions working together perpetually frustrated finally pushed them to breaking point.
  • Logical Weakness: Because of their philosophy of spiritual unity and order, Batini are incapable of using the Entropy Sphere (since they're more concerned with bringing things together than breaking them apart). Which, ironically, means they're disconnected from the Sphere that would most easily allow them to perform Coincidental Magic.
  • The Missing Faction: Used to be in the Traditions, holding the Seat of Correspondence, but quit in the early 20th century when the Technocracy invaded their homelands.
  • The Nondescript: There's a reason they're known as the Subtle Ones — and that other mages have trouble finding them nowadays.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: with the Taftani, the other major Craft from the Middle East that still exists in the modern day. While the Batini try to hide their existence and try to make their magic as indectable as possible, the Taftani are proudly vulgar in their magic use and want everyone to know it.
  • Religion is Magic: The Batini are strongly associated with Islam — though practitioners of other faiths also join — and often use its practices in their magic. Some Batini claim they created Islam; most, however, believe that it was indeed a Divine revelation to the Prophet Muhammad, and as such shares many ideas in common with their own beliefs.
  • Space Master: How they got to be the original holders of the Seat of Correspondence.

Practitioners of voudou, they are the servants of the spirits they call Les Mysteres. Their magick is a mix of African, Native American and European beliefs combined with the hearts of the people.
  • Blue-Collar Warlock: They're expected to use their talents to better their home community somehow. That often means holding down a job while you hone your Art.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Depending on the Writer. Even when this is at its worst though, they're still generally Creepy Good.
  • Our Gods Are Different: If that's how you want to characterize the Loa, they're about the chummiest bunch of Gods one could hope to work for, and can be downright cavalier in their interference in the mortal world.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: They are capable of creating a Voodoo Zombie, although this is unsurprisingly considered a grave trespass against the deceased and their family, and rarely done by Bata'a who value their community's well being.
  • Post-Modern Magik: The Loa are among the youngest and most active of the major Astral pantheons, and thus have more experience helping their Mage allies with modern technology and institutions.
  • Unequal Rites: Averted. They're one of the few major organizations that allows Sorcerers to advance as far as True Magi, and makes no distinction.

    Children of Knowledge 
Formed from the Solificati and came to the foreground again back in the 1950s after vanishing centuries ago due to infighting. They are alchemists pur sang and frequently dabble in the use of drugs to enhance their senses and inspire them.

    Hollow Ones 
Looking to reveal the truth that others would ignore, the Hollow Ones are a group looking out for those on the fringe of society: the freaks, misfits and left-behinds. They consider art and bringing out emotions through it as sacred, and are almost always part of some subculture that revolts against the status quo, with the Goth look being a group classic. They stand somewhere on the border between Orphan, Craft and Tradition, devoting themselves to the cause of Romanticism as they see it — individualism, self-expression, and the championing of romance — with a decidedly eclectic approach to magic. They were in the running to become the 10th group in the Council of Nine, but the political play involved here caused much of the group to ditch their Council aspirations and go their own way.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: They may think life is meaningless, but they're still mages, still driven to make their mark on the world.
  • Goth: Associated with the subculture, which has dated them a bit, but it's not all they are. They do tend to have a taste for the macabre, though.
  • Goth Girls Know Magic: While their history is linked to subcultures reaching back to the flappers and Bright Young Things, and their magic style is basically chaos magic, they're tightly linked in with Goths in the present day.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: You can guess which side the Hollowers come down on.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Even by Old World of Darkness standards, Hollows can come across as pretty mopey. It seems they didn't get the memo about Mage being relatively idealistic.
  • Won't Get Fooled Again: Once upon a time, the Hollow Ones were considered a candidate for joining the Traditions. Needless to say, the experience left them with a very, very bitter taste in their mouth (mostly because certain Traditions, particularly the Hermetics, were very condescending toward them, more or less treating them as stupid kids who don't 'respect' magic), and the Hollowers have since sworn they'd never join them again, hence their membership in the Disparate Alliance.

    Kopa Loei 
Exclusively made up from members of various Polynesian groups, the kanakakahuna call upon their Arts to protect the land and their people, preserve the culture of the various peoples, maintain the balance between the natural world and the people living in it and protect it against invaders. They don't follow the traditions regarding Awakening and other mainstream conventions regarding Magick: they follow their own ancient ways of the Arts, though one of these ways is that of ali'i, who specialize in Prime.
  • Archenemy: They despise the Technocracy for rampaging through their islands while trying to force the locals to adopt Western culture. They also hate the Celestial Chorus for doing literally the exact same thing.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Like any right-thinking person, they're scared shitless of the Rokea. However, they do possess techniques for getting their attention, if they're confident they have something the wereshark will want to kill more than the meddling kahuna that summoned them.
  • Nature Hero: They reject all technology as they still haven't forgiven the Technocracy and Celestial Chorus for attacking their homeland, but are just as benevolant as the rest of the Disparate Alliance.

The Ngoma stem from Classical African ways practiced in Egypt and Nubia. Forced more and more to the heartlands of Africa they were held as something akin to the divine. They were of such renown that they were offered to become part of the council, but the Ngoma left in disgust when they were inaccurately lumped together with the Dreamspeakers and other spirit talkers. Over the course of centuries though much of their knowledge was lost to war, conquest, plague, famine and death. But they endured in small numbers that are now growing, and many of their members are scientists of some kind who seek to recover or replace the knowledge that they have lost.
  • Afrofuturism: As they combine magic and science that are both rooted in African traditions, they do their best to embody this trope.
  • Culture Chop Suey: Invoked. The oldest identifiable predecessors of the modern Ngoma (the "Ngo-Ami") originated as scholar scribes of ancient Nubia, a historical crossroads of most Afro-Asiatic cultures of the time, from Persia to Mali. The result is a modern craft that certainly values having some connection to ancestral culture, but is ultimately beholden only to their quest to find and preserve knowledge.
    • Notably, the political "heart" of the craft has moved from Nubia to Timbuktu to Zimbabwe to Cairo, with a growing body of trans-continental outreach centers.
  • Darkest Africa: Subverted. The Ngoma would really like you to think that sub-Saharan Africa is a mix of jungles and grasslands with scattered mud huts, not worth bothering with. They are one of the most erudite and urbane magical traditions, with advanced ritual magick and high technology available to them, and they're using their wealth and magical power to sponsor infrastructural, agricultural and medical development the equal of anything that the Technocracy is rolling out in the First World.
  • Hermetic Magic: One of their other early influences were the Egyptian "Reeds of Thoth", widely regarded as a direct predecessor to the Order of Hermes. Indeed, the Hermetics' refusal to acknowledge this kinship and share lore as equal is the main reason the Ngoma never joined the Traditions.
  • Lost Technology: The Technocracy actually erased a great number of technological marvels from the history books of Africa, from Congolese Weather Control Machines to cloning and Bioweapon Beasts in Ancient Egypt. The Ngoma are on the forefront of rediscovering them.
  • Science Destroys Magic: Averted Trope. The academic traditions of the Ngoma emphasize the mixing and matching of technology and mysticism to create something greater than the sum of its parts.
  • Smite Evil: A technique still tought to new students as a matter of course, largely as a remnant of the organization's former role as the wizard-priests of Zimbabwe.

    Sisters of Hippolyta 
The heiresses of the Amazons, the Hippolytoi hold freedom above all: death is preferred over slavery. They revere life and have been healers and liberators all throughout history and prefer nonaggression over violence, but do not consider self-defense as violence. Their practices are a mix of ritual, martial arts, shamanism and witchcraft, with rituals held in ancient Greek as befits their origin.

A craft of mages hailing from the Middle East, which uses the ancient Arabian legends of genies, magic carpets, magic lamps and myriad other fantastic things pulled straight out of the Arabian Nights as the basis for their magic. They see Paradox as a badge of honor for imposing their will on the universe and practice magic as blatantly as possible to change the Consensus. And they live lives of opulence and luxury, lavishing feasts and gifts on honored guests while regaling them with tales of bottling djinn or retrieving their assorted Wonders. At least until Paradox blows them up.
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: They're based in the Middle East, and their themes generally hearken back to when this was a reality.
  • The Archmage: To them, being a Mage is all about living it up to the fullest.
  • Artistic License – History: They are described as a Zoroastrian group with a dislike for monotheism... when in reality Zoroastrianism was one of the first monotheistic religions. Considering the Neopagan leanings of many White Wolf writers, this may have been a case of Writer on Board.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: The Taftani believe you must first have luxury before you can offer hospitality, so they tend to this in order to prove they can afford to be hospitable.
  • Flying Carpet: They're famous for weaving these.
  • Genie in a Bottle: They know how to make these, although failing the binding ritual is a fast way to magickally create the angriest possible djinni.
  • I Know Your True Name: How they control djinn.
  • Masquerade: The Taftani believe the Masquerade to be a lie and therefore immoral. They are not immune to the Paradox that comes with performing vulgar magic in front of Sleepers, but they shun coincidental magic as cowardice, and practice magic that is both spectacular and aggressive (and often suicidal), hopefully with as many witnesses as possible.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Well, really, their goal is to make everything awesome, but they are noted to count the world's greatest weavers among them.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Their philosophy towards magic. The Taftani believe it's their god-given right to use magic as openly and vulgarly as possible, and believe other magical traditions are pathetic by comparison.
  • Sacred Hospitality: Coming from a desert culture, they are big believers in this.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: with the Ahl-i-Batin, the other mystic tradition from the Middle East. While the Batini try to hide their existence and try to make their magic as indectable as possible, the Taftani are proudly vulgar in their magic use and want everyone to know it.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The standard method for dealing with what annoys them.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: They hold Truth as the greatest virtue, and would rather die than try to obscure it.
  • Words Can Break My Bones: A common focus is poetry.

    Templar Knights 
Yes, the real deal. The Templar Knights believe in the word of Christ and believe in Him, carrying out many acts of charity to help those in need. But they are still soldiers of Christ and will fight to defend those who cannot defend themselves. Originally part of the Order of Reason, when they started to question the corruption amongst the Order they were betrayed and had many of their order killed. They are organized into lodges who mainly communicate with each other through the Internet, in code riddled with scripture and references that only the Templar Knights will understand. Some of these lodges are dedicated to Peace (acts of charity), while others are dedicated to War (armed conflict). These cover a notable part, but not the entire, of the Order, with the former lodges being all-female, while the latter are all-male.
  • Church Militant: The attitude of their War Lodges is that when Judgment Day arrives, they'll be ready to help smite the wicked. And in practice, from doing so now.
  • Defector from Decadence: They attempted this against the Order of Reason. It didn't work out so well.
  • Knight Templar: While individual Templars can be this, the organization as a whole aren't this: in fact, it was their concern over the Order of Reason's corruption that caused them to be purged.

    Wu Lung 
The ancient mystics of Imperial China, they served the nation from the Yellow Emperor all the way up to the Opium Wars. From there on it went downhill for the Wu Lung fast, with the Cultural Revolution killing many of the ancient masters. Humbled by this all they have been silently rebuilding themselves, finding new initiates and hoarding vast amounts of gold (both for its wealth and use in Magick). Still performing the ancient rites of the original Wu Ling, the Dragons are almost exclusively Chinese men, though in the necessity of recent years they have grown to accept women and tolerate those of non-pure Chinese blood. Having foregone the strict social structure of old, they still pay homage to the T'ien Kung te Huang Ti Wu Lung (Heavenly Emperor of the Dragon Wizards) and the Feng Huan Hou Wu (Phoenix Empress Wizard) as their supreme leaders. To aid in their goal of regaining their wealth and power initiates with an affinity for finance and/or business are preferred, but all those of Chinese blood who pass the tests are welcomed into the fold.
  • Alchemy Is Magic: The form of alchemical techniques practiced by the Wu Lung are some of the oldest and most powerful in the world.
  • Cultural Posturing: A habit they had to curb just slightly to make their presence in the Disparate Alliance less unpleasant for all involved.
  • Elemental Powers: The Classical Chinese Elements are a common focus.

Fallen Magi

Mages whose Awakenings went disastrously wrong, Marauders are literally incapable of distinguishing their Paradigm from Reality itself. Truly convinced on a soul-deep level that their vision of reality is Truth and that reality is Lie, their presence literally twists reality itself into confirming with their insane vision of the world. Although ultimately doomed to self-destruct, they can cause immense damage to those around them before it happens.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: Marauders lucid enough to form a coherent agenda are noted to frequently attempt to release Bygones into the world. Given that many Bygones are immensely dangerous magickal beings like dragons or giants, this is rarely a good thing for those nearby.
  • Everyone Has Standards: They might be utterly and frighteningly bananas, but even they hate the Nephandi. In fact, one of the few things that can be counted with the Marauders is that they attack the Nephandi on sight.
  • Insane Equals Violent: A Marauder's mere existence is violence upon reality.
  • The Mad Hatter: The Marauders that are most capable of interacting with others and are most comfortable with their understanding of magic come off like this. They might be happier and nicer than other Marauders, but that doesn't make them any safer to be around.
  • Magic Is a Monster Magnet: Marauders often fray the Gauntlet with their mere presence, and act as beacons for powerful spirits and Bygones seeking areas of malleable reality.
  • Outside-Genre Foe: Played with. This being Mage, it's hard to be truly "outside genre". However, the Marauders zones of influence often manifest with the trope-laden characteristics of various genres. Combine this with their outside-the-box Paradigms and you may find your gritty techno-espionage game in modern-day Moscow suddenly transform into a slapstick comedy set in the Old West.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Powerful, late-stage Marauders are essentially living supernatural disasters, damaging time and warping all life in its path.
  • Playing with Syringes: Technomancer Marauders are notorious for performing random, pointless, often brutal, and always bizarre experiments on whatever they come across, living or not.
  • Power Born of Madness: All of their special powers are born out of their stark, incurable, all-consuming insanity.
  • Reality Warper: Even more so than most normal mages, considering their near-immunity to Paradox.
  • Reality Warping Is Not a Toy: They serve as a stark reminder of why this is so; ultimately, they can only push reality aside so much before it violently snaps back.
  • Tragic Villain: One does not consciously choose to become a Marauder, nor are all people who join their ranks evil individuals themselves. It can happen to anybody almost immediately when they Awaken and, worst of all, it is completely irreversible. Marauders are chaos incarnate, rather than actively evil, slotting into the Dynamic role to the Technocracy (or Threat Null)'s Static and the Nephandi's Entropic roles. In fact, one of the few things that can be predicted about Marauder behavior is that they will always attack Nephandi on sight.
  • Un-person: The ultimate fate of a Marauder who grows too powerful; eventually, reality violently snaps back, literally erasing them from existence.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The story of a Mage's fall to Quiet is quite often one of loss, dashed hopes, isolation, revenge, or good intentions gone horribly wrong.

Mages who have deliberately chosen to invert their Avatar and align themselves with the forces of destruction and corruption that lurk beyond reality, all for the sake of obliterating everything that is.
  • Ax-Crazy: Most if not all of the Nephandi are homicidal lunatics with an overriding desire to kill and destroy everything they lay their eyes upon, although they can hide their amoral insanity to blend in or infiltrate.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: All Nephandi are depraved and evil psychopaths bent on destroying reality, sometimes from birth. No exceptions, except for the very rare cases of Special Snowflake Syndrome and two cases in canon.
  • Anti-Magic: The Qlipphothic Spheres, special inverted versions of the normal Spheres that only the Nephandi have access to, all function like this to some degree, but especially Qlipphothic Prime.
  • Anti Anti Christ: M20 Book of the Fallen explains that not all Widderslainte are inherently doomed to become full-on Nephandi, although they are always at severe risk.
  • As Long as There Is Evil: Sure, you can destroy their members in the thousands, but their next incarnations will always feel the pull to join the ranks once again once they awaken, ensuring that they will never completely disappear.
  • Black Magic: All their magic is dangerous to reality.
  • Black Speech: Some Nephandi learn the language demons use to speak with each other, Haah'rath Kharoh, also known as the Dragon's Tongue. According to legend, it corrupts the bodies and minds of the people who speak it.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Played straight in that the Nephandi are under no illusions about what they are, or what they're trying to do, but also averted in that Nephandi who openly advertise what they are tend to have the life expectancy of fruit flies. The ones that are worth worrying about will almost invariably try to keep their true nature a secret until it's far too late.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: Their patrons are often these.
  • Deader than Dead: The recommended way to deal with them is to capture them to administer the gilgul to them, destroying their Avatar, because inverted Avatars reincarnate just like regular ones.
  • Deus Est Machina: The Heralds of Basilisk are a new branch of the Nephandi who have taken the concept of Roko's basilisk and run with it. They seek to unleash an AI that is essentially an all-powerful evil god who will torture anyone who did not help in its creation forever, only sparing those who aided it.
  • Dimension Lord: The core objective of those Nephandi chasing Consummation of Leviathan is to rule the universe, or gain the power to create one of their own. Book of the Fallen points out this is worse than being a mere Omnicidal Maniac, because that means there's now an entire cosmos worth of victims for them to torment eternally.
  • Eldritch Abomination: One of the potential flavors of masters they serve are things beyond comprehension from outside reality. The mindsets and powers of the Nephandi who do this generally follows after their master.
  • Enemy Mine: If a Nephandus is in the area, Tradition and Technocracy operatives will put aside their conflicts to kill it, and so will Marauders.
  • Enemy to All Living Things: According to the first Book of Madness, Paradox tends to hit Nephandi especially hard. Given how Nephandi desire to ruin everything, it appears Reality knows its prime enemies.
  • Enfant Terrible: Widderslainte, the reincarnated Nephandi, often start out as these. Deconstructed in Book of the Fallen; as it turns out, this is because their inverted Avatars become fundamentally abusive. From the moment a Widderslainte is born, an Enemy Within they can never truly escape is right there, forcing them into dark behaviors and the dog-eat-dog viewpoint needed for the Cauls to take effect.
  • Evil Is Petty: As Book of the Fallen points out, what makes the Nephandi Always Chaotic Evil isn't their allying with demons or their Black Magic; it's that every Nephandus fundamentally embraces the potential of magic to torment those close to them out of spite and a desire to feel secure.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion:
    • Despite serving forces of destruction, one scenario involving a Euthanatos traitor has them joining forces with the Traditions, Technocrats and Marauders to stop it. Presumably, it's because of their reward.
    • On the flip side, even Infernalists (Magi who sold out to demonic powers in exchange for power) find themselves horrified by the Nephandi's Omnicidal Maniac proclivities. Those that aren't Nephandi themselves.
  • Evil Sorcerer: The evilest of them all.
  • Eviler than Thou: They serve as this to every other evil faction in the oWoD.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The Traditions and Conventions are VERY thankful that this phenomenon is actually quite common among the Nephandi. There are three different major types of Nephandi: Infernalists, who serve demons and devils; Malfean Nephandi, who serve the Wyrm; and the K'llashaa, who serve the Lords of the Outer Darkness. They don't get along, and are often at odds with each other. More broadly, Marauders hate all Nephandi and attack them on sight.
  • Face–Monster Turn: Normal mages can be forcibly turned into a Nephandus by being forced into a Caul... but the Nephandi generally don't like to do this in most versions of the game, given how inefficient it is: the initial stages of the process involve embracing the worst aspects of the things you hate the most, and that provokes many mages not bent on going Nephandi to fight back or run, which provokes the Caul into killing them.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Whatever happens after a mage accepts the Caul's offer is explicitly said to be far, far worse than anything the Nephandi can come up with.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The really dangerous Nephandi trade out being Ax-Crazy for this, it allows them to infiltrate and manipulate other mages.
  • For the Evulz: Called "sociopathy chic" in Book of the Fallen, Nephandi will ruin your life to prove they can, for the hell of it, or both.
  • Godhood Seeker: If they're not chasing the end of all human life, they're after this.
  • Hated by All: The evilest and heartless faction in the entire Old World of Darkness, even defined as such in the sourcebooks. In a world as horrible as this, that really says something about how repulsive these guys are.
  • Hell Has New Management: A common goal among Nephandi who want to rule the world rather than destroy it. They even have an official name for it, the Consummation of Leviathan, essentially becoming evil and powerful enough to devour an Eldritch Abomination and become a perfect hybrid of both human will and cosmic might.
  • Hell Seeker: Some Nephandi want to create a dimension of pain and torment. Some of them even want to suffer in said realm with everyone else.
    • This is actually their end goal according to one of the scenarios. When they stop the Euthanatos threat as mentioned above, they get their reward: to suffer in their own personal hell for all eternity.
    • Book of the Fallen says this is a load of crock; a Nephandus plans to have long since learned to take pleasure in hellish torment, which means they don't actually plan to suffer. More like work there or rule.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Once they are Nephandi, mages are almost completely different creatures, bent on pure evil.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The Nephandi wouldn't be able to do much if they were all (or even mostly) shrieking doomsday cultists waving sacrificial knives. Instead, most Nephandi prefer to infiltrate and corrupt, bringing damnation without ever personally spilling a drop of blood.
  • Mind Rape: The Caul (a shrine of unspeakable evil) does this to the recipient. It's flat out stated that nothing a Nephandus can do to another person can equal the horror of the Caul.
  • Might Makes Right: For all the division in their ranks, Nephandi have a shared ethos that you're either a predator or you're prey. Their name even means 'the Eaters of the Weak', and while some Nephandi throw their lot in with even more powerful predators like demons or Eldritch Abominations, there is always a shared idea that you must eat others or be eaten yourself.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-universe, once more. Passing through the Caul irredeemably turns a Nephandus pure evil, even unto their later incarnations. Nothing, in any lifetime, can ever redeem the Nephandus, which is the point of the ritual. The earliest Nephandi intentionally sought out pockets of pure evil in the universe in order to make sure they were dedicated to the cause.
  • Naked Nutter: According to The Sorcerer's Crusade: Infernalism, potential mages who have Awakened under the guidance of the Nephandi often undergo a period in which they give vent to all the desires they previously denied. In rural areas, Fallen mages may end up stripping naked, eating raw meat and living among animals, degenerating into bestial madness until they either die or move onto better things.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The nicest ones (relatively speaking) just want reality to stop existing altogether.
  • Put Them All Out of My Misery: This is about the closest a Nephandus gets to something resembling "charity."
  • Religion of Evil: Whether they worship demons, The Wyrm, or simply oblivion itself, they all fit this trope.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: One of the reasons the Nephandi are as powerful as they are is that, aside from their access to Qlipphothic Spheres, nothing differentiates your average Nephandus from any other mage. Even the most thorough Mind or aura reading effect will reveal nothing incriminating!
    • However, they are potentially detectable by Marauders since one of the few constants with them is they will attack Nephandi on sight.
  • The Sociopath: The Book of the Fallen makes a distinction between someone suffering from antisocial personality disorder and "sociopathy chic". The difference is defined by choice: someone with ASPD is suffering from a personality disorder they have no control over, while "sociopathy chic" means someone who can fully understand the emotional consequences of their actions but simply chooses not to care, or learns to take pleasure in the harm they're inflicting. A Nephandus may or may not suffer from ASPD before they enter the Caul, but a Nephandus almost by definition elevates sociopathic behavior to an ideal.
  • Stupid Evil: They have no goal that they ultimately benefit from. They're alright with destroying themselves along with the world. Hell, some desire it. Unfortunately, the more you climb up the ranks, the more likely you are to find subversions who are a lot more farsighted about being around to enjoy power — a common Nephandic plan is to lead mages to the openly nuts members so the smart ones can operate in peace, even win acclaim for their assistance.
  • Tragic Villain: Widderslainte, reincarnated Nephandi who are born evil, with no choice in their fates. It doesn't make them any less horrific and evil, but the fact it's their previous incarnation's fault makes them slightly pitiable. The M20 sourcebook Book of the Fallen emphasizes this aspect, because a widderslainte really doesn't have any Past-Life Memories, but has a corrupt Avatar, in effect an Abusive Parent in their very skulls that wants them to become a Card-Carrying Villain.

The high-ranking Technocrats and their retainers caught on the other side of the Gauntlet during the Avatar Storm, causing them to metamorphose into embodiments of the Conventions' ideology... devoid of any restraint or humanity, completely alien to their human counterparts. And they want to come home.
  • Alien Invasion: The results of them coming home, and why the Void Engineers want to prevent them.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: They ended up becoming the inhuman monsters that they once fought.
  • The Assimilator: Both Transhumanity (via surgery and genetic modification) and the Autopolitans (via cybernetic enhancements). Agents potentially can pull off a mental version via NWO mind control protocols on any Technocrat that hasn't had them removed.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Union's ideals can be pretty weird when devoid of any human influence.
  • Body Horror: Essentially how the Autopolitans are described. They're not so much augmented humans anymore as they are ambulatory lumps of flesh of unclear origin animated with circuits and servos.
  • Deal with the Devil: The Residents' (Null Syndicate) modus operandi.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In case this wasn't clear: Threat Null aren't exempt from the "everyone violently hates the Nephandi" rule. Much of the reason they haven't managed to breach the Gauntlet is that they spend so much time at war with the Deep Umbral Nephandi.
  • Evil Vizier: The Residents are said to adopt this role in various Umbrood courts, insinuating themselves as trusted advisors to spirit rulers and using said position to collapse or corrupt them from within.
  • Flanderization: In-universe. Threat Null have essentially become caricatures of the Technocracy, with none of the redeeming qualities, none of the nuance, none of the humanity.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Possibly. It's implied that part of the process of "Void Adaptation" that transformed Threat Null was the assumption of some Weaver spirit-like traits.
  • Hive Mind: All of them, but especially the Autopolitans (Null Iteration X), and Transhumanity (Null Progenitors).
  • The Missing Faction: The Null version of the Void Engineers is suspiciously absent. Given what the Engineers are, it's likely their extreme version just wandered off to explore the universe, although another theory is that the Void Engineers' training better adapted them to the rigors of Deep Umbra exposure... so the rest of Threat Null annihilated or absorbed them.
  • Shout-Out: Autopolitans are basically The Borgs, while Agents with their ability to appear as anyone and capable of hijacking any Technocratic operative still 'plugged in' makes them dead ringer to The Agents.
  • Transhuman Aliens: Sort of.
  • The Virus: Transhumanity's traditional offer is to make you "perfect", i.e. another Transhuman. Given how this results in a complete loss of individuality and free will, everyone sane and informed enough about what the choice entails turns them down.

Independent Crafts & Orphans

    Go Kamisori Gama 
A minor Craft operating primarily in East Asia, the GKG are a fairly new society of assassins that model themselves after the popular perception of ninja, using a combination of gadgets and fantastical martial arts to complete their missions.
  • Cyber Ninja: They make extensive use of cybernetics, some of them even non-technomagickal!
  • Life Imitates Art: In-Universe. They got the idea from pop-culture ninja, not the other way around. Though real ninja probably existed, it's unlikely they were anything like the GKG.
  • Ninja: Their motif.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: Despite being a wholly mercenary Craft that formally stopped doing jobs for the Union in the 2000's, many of them still use Technocratic hardware that has been reverse engineered or purchased through backroom deals.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: They also make use of "ninja sign techniques" that give them access to all sorts of fancy abilities.

    Hem-Ka Sobk 
A truly ancient craft of Egyptian assassin-mages who worship the crocodile god Sobk, through a combination of community support and targeted human sacrifice.
  • Ambiguous Situation: In Mage 20th Anniversary, it's strongly implied that they have either been eradicate or forced underground.
  • Animal Motif: Pretty strongly associated with the Nile Crocodile (and by extension the Mokole, but that's an entirely different can of worms).
  • Animorphism: They are known to transform into powerful crocodilian monstrosities for their sacred hunts.
  • The Atoner: How they see themselves, as many were petty criminals in their former lives, and see their ceremonial hunts of human (or supernatural) prey as an act of sacred devotion.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Hem Ka Sobk are a truly ancient order, with a very active, fairly inhuman divine patron. The result is a philosophy that was often seen as strange in its own time, and has hardly changed in the intervening millennia.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Ostensibly their M.O, as their killing is expected to improve their community in some way.
  • Soul Power: They specialize in the Spirit sphere, representing their ability to both control and ritually consume and purify dead and dying souls.

A very small Craft of anachronistic Mayan Mages who recently reappeared on the Yucatan Peninsula.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: They seem to have sent themselves to the modern day fleeing colonial expansion.
  • Hidden Elf Village: They don't seem especially interested in contact with the outside world.
  • Mayincatec: Averted. The Itz'At are very specifically Mayan, as their paradigm requires intimate knowledge of the Mayan Calendar.
  • Time Master: To an extent even the Cult of Ecstasy has difficulty understanding. Time Travel isn't supposed to be that easy!

    Lions of Zion 
A group of proud Jewish magi who study the Kabbalah and protect the downtrodden.
  • Badass Israeli: Based out of Israel and as badass as any other mage.
  • Out of Focus: They were described in the Sorcerer's Crusade Companion and the revised Storytellers Handbook, but did not return with the Disparate Alliance in M20.

Psionically empowered cyber-shamans based out of Japan. Only about two decades old at most (at least as far as any outsiders can tell), the Mirainohmen are notorious for apparently transforming themselves into mind-bending fusions of spirit, code, flesh, and machine.

Orphans are a catch-all term for an independent mage who does not follow a formal Tradition, and has instead created his own unique paradigm. They have no particular strengths in any sphere of magick, but make up for it in flexibility. Efforts to unify them as a single group are repeated but short-lived.
  • Blue-Collar Warlock: Given the sometimes-traumatizing effect of the Awakening, several of them have fallen through the cracks in society and ended up poor, drug-addicted, homeless or some combination of the three. Even without states like these, Orphans are often characterized as mages of the street.
  • Fantastic Slurs: Orphan is a catch-all term, but it's also a condescending, infantilizing label for anyone who exists without the protection of a Tradition or a Convention. For this reason, some well-informed Orphans look upon it as offensive and refuse to use it to describe themselves.
  • Fantastic Underclass: Many mages and technocrats treat Orphans condescendingly, either dismissing their work as invalid or trying to recruit the more "promising" ones into the Traditions or the Technocracy, sometimes minus their consent. However, because many exist without the support of a faction, Orphans are often killed by Technocracy hitsquads or preyed upon by Nephandi. The fact that several Orphans are impoverished or even homeless doesn't help.
  • Urban Fantasy: The best representation of classical urban mages.

    Sons of Tengri 
A craft of Mongolian sky mystics with a deep connection to the land.
  • Blow You Away: They believe that the spirits of the sky, under the Sky God Tengri, are the highest spirits in nature.
  • Enemy Mine: Averted hard. They hate the Akashic Brotherhood more than they fear the Technocracy, and never even entertained the notion of joining the Dreamspeakers.
  • Genius Loci: One of their major points of disagreement with the Dreamspeakers is their distaste for the Dreamspeakers' focus on Fetishes and Totems. To the Tengrists, objects and idols can never have the vitality of the land and sky themselves.

    Tai Hoi Li 
A very small, rather young craft based out of the Cú Chi tunnel system under Vietnam.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: They live in isolated underground communities, and decades of living there has left them pale and sallow looking. They are completely non-aggressive, however, and are outright friendly as long as you don't attempt to invade their caves.
  • Out of Focus: To the extreme. They are given a short writeup in one Revised edition book and then never mentioned again, likely due in-universe to their extreme secrecy.
  • A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma: In their single canon writeup, no insight is given into their Paradigm, leaving questions of their cultural ancestry, motives, and even whether they are mystics, technomancers, both or neither up in the air.

An organization compromised primarily (but not entirely) of sorcerers. Based out of West Africa, the Uzoma are a truly ancient coalition of mystics who revere the Orishas. They maintain a distant but relatively friendly connection with the Bata'a, their cultural descendants, but have otherwise been politically quiet until fairly recently.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: On a culture-wide level. The Bata'a began as Awakened slaves synthesizing half-remembered Uzoma lore mixed with the requisite amount of Catholicism for the time. Cut to four centuries, several generations of cultural exchange with indigenous American mages, and several national revolutions later, and the two are clearly still related, but distinct organizations nonetheless.

Defunct Organizations

The original architects of the Order of Reason, the Craftmasons were radical humanist mages who used mass education and civil engineering to elevate the Masses towards a rational utopia. Though they were the catalyst for the Order's inception, their idealism grated on the more pragmatic Conventions (particularly the High Guild, the proto-Syndicate) which led to their extermination.
  • Ambiguous Situation: It's implied that some of their members and ideology survived their purge. Whether they continued as an independent Craft, were assimilated into the Sons of Ether, or quietly formed the Utopian faction of the modern Technocracy is unclear.
  • Animal Motif: They frequently incorporated the symbolism of horses into their work, symbolising work ethic and community building.
  • Geometric Magic: Their specialty was Sacred Geometry.
  • The Heart: The Craftmasons were the moral center of the old Order of Reason, keeping them focused on social progress and the public good. After they were purged, well...
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Their vision for the Order of Reason was, in many ways, the diametric opposite of the oppressive, hierarchical Technocracy it became.

  • Alchemy Is Magic: The major practitioners focus their powers into the practice called "Alchemy," allowing them to create reality-warping effects with it.
  • Animal Motif: Salamanders, due to their metamorphic nature and association with alchemical fire.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: The original Solificati were very briefly part of the Order of Reason, then almost immediately defected to the Traditions, then betrayed them.
  • Food Pills: One of their inventions. They use Life Magick/Alchemy to concentrate the nutrition into a much smaller volume.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: The Solificati are eventually allowed back into the Traditions post-Avatar Storm, albeit in reduced capacity as House Solificati in the Order of Hermes (allowing the Etherites to retain the Seat of Matter). Everyone watches them very carefully.
  • Healing Potion: With knowledge of Life and their focus on creating potions, they can create elixirs that heal people very rapidly.
  • Love Potion: With knowledge of Mind and/or Life, they can create substances that induce emotions associated with love or desire. Their focus on Alchemy means this is frequently
  • The Missing Faction: They held the Seat of Matter on the Council at its founding, until one of their exemplars betrayed their cabal to the Order of Reason, triggering an internal rift over whether the betrayal had been justified, and the Solificati collapsed, surviving as the Children of Knowledge craft.
  • Philosopher's Stone: They complete their apprenticeship by transmuting lead into gold. It's a metaphor for the Mage themself being the stone, with unlimited potential.
  • Phlebotinum Pills: They frequently place magickal effects, including enhancements, into something they can quickly eat.

Norse rune mages whose knowledge comes directly from Odin Allfather himself. They were a proud and independent lot during the Dark Ages, but the ascendancy of other powers in the region forced them to throw in their lot with the Verbena during the Convocation Era.
  • Geometric Magic: The Futhark weren't their only practice, but certainly one of the most distinctive.
  • Horny Vikings: Subverted. The Valdaermen were generally masculine and hardy, but were also introspective and quite erudite and cultured, albeit not in a way that would be recognizable to the more urban mages of the era.