Prologue: A Seed Within a Dream
"There is nothing to be alarmed about, Agent Davis, this is only a dream."
Constantine looked around nervously. Everything seemed safe and dreamlike enough, what with the impossible well-groomed carpet of grass below him and the Hubble-quality view of the night sky above, but something didn't feel right.
The booming, deific voice continued, "You are a very lucky man, Agent Davis. The Reality Deviants discovered your cover identity. If our sweep 'n' sack team hadn't come along when it did, you would have been gone for good."
Now he understood the source of his uneasiness. He wasn't "Davis", whoever that was, he was a Hermetic mage, Constantine Ororegius bani Tytalus. He remembered with painful clarity the beatings his master gave him during his fifteen year apprenticeship. There's no mistaking memories like that.
"I think you must be mistaken. My name is Constantine, and it has been ever since I was initiated into House Tytalus. Before that it was Miles Patterson, and not, to my recollection, Davis."
The voice responded in its typical dry, authoritarian tone, "Your confusion is entirely understandable. The identity of Constantine Ororegius was a carefully crafted fabrication, implanted through deep hypnosis in order to foil detection by the Traditions. The Reality Deviants discovered this deception and attempted to eliminate Davis, making Ororegius the dominant personality. Our psychoengineers are attempting to reconstruct Davis, but the damage is extensive."
"That's a very interesting story, but how do I know you're telling the truth? Maybe you're just trying to trick me into letting you do whatever you want to my mind."
"Whether you believe us or not is irrelevant. We do not require Ororegius' consent to operate on Davis. We merely wished to reassure you that you would come to no harm."
"You haven't answered my question."
"Very well. To answer your question, there is no way we could convince you we're telling the truth. You've been conditioned to believe completely in the reality of Ororegius. Any evidence contradicting this belief would cause you extreme mental anguish before it ever came close to convincing you."
"That's a pretty glib answer, but if that's the case, why did you call me Davis instead of Ororegius?"
"A certain amount of mental anguish is necessary for the recovery process."
"That's pretty cute. So what you're saying is that if I resist, I'm only serving to hasten the 'recovery process,' so I might as well not do anything?"
"That is true. Though we doubt very much you could do anything to oppose us."
Constantine's Tytalan training went into overdrive. He'd show these Greyfaces who was incapable of resisting. Then he remembered where he was. In all directions, as far as the eye could see, the dreamscape was nonthing but a flat, featureless plain, with nothing to attack and destroy.
"You bastards think you're so clever, but you've obviously never dealt with House Tytalus before. I'll just invoke Endymion's blessing and tear this dream to tatters."
"That's not going to work. You're not really a hermetic mage. You can't do magic."
"Of course I can. I've done it hundreds of times. I've spent years studying Ars Mentis."
"Those are merely implanted memories. Do you remember using any magic after July 28, 1997?"
". . ."
"Let us refresh your memory. It was the day you moved from Seattle to San Francisco. About a week before you joined the Bayside chantry."
Constantine suffered a long moment of self-doubt, but what the voice suggested was too ridiculous, and the moment passed.
"You're trying to confuse me, but it's not going to work. Just because I didn't use magic in that time doesn't mean I couldn't. I simply didn't have a need."
"Do you honestly believe that? Do you truly think a person would willingly go six months in the viper's nest of Hermetic politics all the while denying himself the advantage of magic?"
"I'm a member of House Tytalus. I have too much pride . . ."
". . . to waste my powers on trivialities. Those rationalizations are part of your programming. You are conditioned to find every possible excuse to avoid using magic."
"Well, isn't that convenient for you. Maybe I'll just cast a spell right now and disprove your little theory."
"You won't do that."
"Because subconsciously you realize you'll fail. If you attempt your magic and don't succeed, you'll prove the truth of our position. Your mind will be unable to handle the stress, and you'll lapse into a catatonic state of denial."
"That's just a risk I'll have to take."
"Then consider this, even if you do escape this dream, you'll be in the center of a Technocratic Construct, strapped to a bed and surrounded by armed guards."
". . ."
"You're starting to understand, Ororegius. Your Davis memories know the Technocracy's power, and fear it. A real Tytalan would have never submitted so easily."
Part of him wanted to fight, to shove those infuriatingly smug words right down the Technocrat's throat, but something stopped him. It was a feeling uncomfortably like fear.
"Very good, Davis. Your brainwave pattern has crossed into the optimal zone for reintegration. We are preparing to remove the first hypnotic block."
Constantine felt a pounding in his head, as unfamiliar memories hammered their way into his consciousness. He remembered spying on the Order; taking pictures of the chantry's secret tomes, planting bugs in sancta. He focused his Will, trying to keep the alien memories from overwhelming his mind.
"You. You . . . made me . . . betray the chantry."
"Incorrect. You are Davis. It is Davis' duty to spy on the Traditions."
"I am not Davis. I am Constantine Ororegius bani Tytalus."
"Davis, what is the last thing you remember before emerging into this mindscape."
A crowded chantry diningroom. An angry accusation. Denials and friends defending his honor. An uttered spell. Ely bani Fortunae clutching his head in agony.
"I can't say. I don't remember."
"You do remember. You must say."
Even though every ounce of his Hermetic training screamed against it, he felt compelled to answer, "Someone tried to read my mind. He got hurt."
"That was a standard anti-telepathy measure, implanted to insure the success of your mission."
"I never knew the Technocracy had that capability."
"You didn't know because the Traditions do not know. There is no denying the Technocratic origins of that procedure."
". . ."
"Good, your mental patterns have passed the L-K threshold. We are preparing to remove the final hypnotic block."
For a moment, he was two. Davis superimposed over Ororegius. Two minds, bitter enemies on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, yet somehow alike, as reflections in a smoky mirror. For a moment the Constantine/Davis amalgam wavered, hovering in flux between two powerful souls. Then Constantine was gone and Davis remained.
Davis awoke, feeling the familiar, confusing aftereffects of coming out of deep hypnotic immersion. The last six months were an undifferentiated blur across his consciousness, but he felt comforted by the gentle pressure of the bed's restraint straps and the cool, clinical white of the construct's walls.
He was finally home.
The New World Order. The name alone strikes fear into the heart of Traditionalist magi and sleeper conspiracy theorists alike. More feared than the cyborgs of Iteration X; more despised than the billionaire industrialists of the Syndicate. If they capture you they can destroy not only your body, but your mind, and perhaps even your soul. And they will stop at nothing to rule humanity from the shadows, imposing their static, crushing order on free minds everywhere.
Sadly, things are rarely that simple. While every rumor has a grain of truth, truth is often not the entire story; as the scholars, diplomats, and spies of the New World Order know only too well. In many ways truth is the dominating idea behind their organization.
The Order's relationship with the truth is complex and often paradoxical. Truth can be liberating, and an individual with a well-developed mind and accurate worldview has few limits to what he can accomplish, but that's only half the story. Truth can also be oppressive. If people knew the full extent of the dangers facing them, they'd be unable to live normal lives. Concern for themselves and their loved ones would force them to act in certain way, depriving them of the freedom to live as they choose.
The NWO are the gardeners of truth. They prune away knowledge that would be harmful to humanity to give liberating knowledge the room it needs to grow. They strive to pull deviant belief out by the roots, and replace it with the seeds of science and reason, and thereby guide humanity to a brighter future.
Arrogant? Definitely. Dangerous? Probably. Necessary? Absolutely. The NWO doesn't expect to be loved for what it does. It doesn't even expect to be respected, however grudgingly. In fact, they expect that if the full extent of their manipulations ever got out, an angry humanity would rise up and destroy them. So, why do they do it? Because it needs to be done.
Theme: Sacrifice for the greater good
Since its very inception, the New World Order has balanced very precariously on the edge of an abyss. On the one side: enlightenment, knowledge, freedom, salvation, sanity. On the other: paranoia, ignorance, control, corruption, madness. There have been times in their history where they've had both feet planted very firmly on the side of reason. There have been other times when they've come dangerously close to tumbling over the edge.
The members of the NWO imperil their very souls for the sake of humanity. After all, how many murders can you commit; how many lies can you tell; how many minds can you destroy before you become something less than human? It's a question that haunts every agent, propagandist, and revisionist scholar in the Order. Yet, they must take the risk. Humanity's enemies do not confine themselves to safe places or moral tactics. Is it right for them to be allowed free reign just because one person wants to preserve his conscience?
The New World Order offers itself as a sacrifice. It treads the darkness and the shadows and the places on the edge of sanity so others don't have to. It operates in secret so humanity as whole need not be burdened with responsibility for its actions. It expects neither reward nor gratitude; it simply does what needs to be done.
Mood: A World Out of Control
The orderly minds of the NWO seek nothing more (and nothing less) than a world that is safe and understandable, and for many years it's looked as if their goal were right on track. Unfortunately, in recent years things have gotten a little crazy. With the activation of Ragnarok, and the Union as a whole cut off from its leaders by the spatial static, the safe, orderly world that once seemed so attainable is getting farther and farther away.
Now, with their leadership in disarray, the front-line agents and earth-side scholars of the NWO are doing their best to keep the whole kit-n-caboodle from flying apart at the seams. Some resent that their previous active stance as been reduced to a mere holding action, but resources are scarce, and it would be pointless to win a few battles at the cost of the entire Earth.
Ultimately, the dissenters are probably right (nothing's 100% certain with this group). The Order needs stronger direction, otherwise rival groups with more vision and less responsibility will exploit its weakness to destroy it.
Chapter One: History Explores not only the (relatively short) history of the New World Order, but also the historical antecedents that gave rise to its motivating philosophy. Also covered are the Order's current operations and the status of the organization in various parts of the world.
Chapter Two: Sociology Covers the Order's organizational structure, including recruitment and the interactions between its three methodologies.
Chapter Three: Philosophy Covers the foundation of the Order's practices, its justification for doing some of the things it does, and its views on other organizations.
Chapter Four: Psychology Goes in depth on the NWO's Enlightened science, covering its relationship to the nine spheres and a few standard procedures and devices.
Chapter Five: Political Science is the Storytelling chapter, offering advice on running NWO - exclusive games, and dealing with touchy subjects like torture and brainwashing.
Appendix: Personnel includes write-ups of the Order's most famous (and infamous) members, as well as template characters suitable for starting players.
Chapter 1: History
Excerpt from the Internal Technocratic Message Board: discussion.techun.nwo.history
The True Origins of the NWO
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 00:05
Most Technocrats will tell you the NWO got its start at the same time as the rest of the Technocracy, in the late 19th century, when the nascent Technocratic Union needed a branch devoted to the social sciences. This is a lie, or at best a distortion. The NWO is actually heir to the oldest intellectual tradition in the world.
Consider the Pyramids. How were they built? Even if you could gather the requisite materials and technology, you'd still need thousands of laborers. How do you feed all those people? How do you keep them from interfering with each other's work? How do you keep them from rebelling against your government when they vastly outnumber your own loyal soldiers? Iteration X likes to go on about the almost anachronistic technical and engineering accomplishments of the ancients, but even more impressive are the social and organizational aspects of the construction. We are the heirs to those accomplishments.
But it goes even deeper than that. It is my belief that the earliest forerunners to the NWO are the tribal shamans of indigenous cultures. I know there's a group among the Traditions, the Dreamspeakers, makes the same claim, but I think we better fit that role. What did the shamans do? They were the keepers of the tribe's knowledge. They helped preserve the integrity of the social order by indoctrinating the tribe with the moral theories of the tribal elders. In many ways, this is exactly what the NWO does today.
Re: The True Origins of the NWO
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 01:12
What HistoFist just said is emblematic of what's wrong with historical scholarship in the NWO today. I'm sick and tired of everyone saying that humanity would've never crawled out of the caves if it weren't for enlightened scientists. It not only cheapens humanity's accomplishments, it cheapens our own. Enlightened Science is not responsible for every invention ever made. Rather, it is a special and unique order of knowledge that could only emerge after humanity has reached a certain level of intellectual development.
Re: The True Origins of the NWO
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 01:20
Look, I agree that the notion that the NWO started with tribal shamans is ridiculous, but I wouldn't discount the role Enlightened Science played throughout history. HistoFist makes a good point about the pyramids, and the conspiracy theorists among us can certainly find other examples. Stonehenge, or Hammurabi's code, for instance. My personal favorite theory is that the progenitors of the NWO were behind both sides of the Sparta / Athens conflict in ancient Greece.
Looked at from a certain perspective, it makes a kind of twisted sense. After all, both city-states developed unique political and social theories at a time when "political theory" was barely even a glimmer of a shadow of a notion. Athens is famous for being the world's first democracy, and has been a major source of inspiration for modern social theorists.
While Athens was the more influential city in the long run, in some ways Sparta was the more interesting. It certainly was the bolder social experiment. The Lacedaemonian constitution was history's first attempt at conscious social engineering. Every aspect of Spartan life was geared towards increasing the state's military power.
Even from a young age, both boys and girls were thoroughly indoctrinated with Lycurgus' ideology - trained to be not only formidable warriors inoculated against physical hardship, but also to be crafty tacticians whose loyalty to the state superceded any other interest they might have had. By today's standards, the audacity and scope of such a scheme was positively breathtaking.
Like I said, it's an intriguing theory, but it's really not anything but a intellectual game.
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 01:24
What did the Lycurgus do to indoctrinate the Spartans? Does the Technocracy still use any of his techniques?
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 03:41
Lycurgus' techniques were mostly varying forms of physical deprivation. You know, not letting the children wear shoes, so their feet would be tough and serving them bland, tasteless food so they'd have a healthy contempt for the luxuries of other cities. This was combined with social ostracism of those who didn't tow the line. These two factors, applied since birth, made the Spartans incredibly loyal. The basics of human behavior haven't changed much in two and a half thousand years, so the modern Technocracy still uses versions of the old Spartan techniques, though of course our applications are more sophisticated and effective.
If you want to know more about the Spartans, I suggest you check out The Constitution of the Lacedaemonians, by the Greek scholar Xenophon.
Aristotle vs Plato
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 05:55
So anyway, speaking of ancient Greece, what about these two guys, the two most influential men in Western thought? Which one is most relevant to the Technocracy in general, and the NWO in particular (and who would win in a fight)?
Re: Aristotle: vs Plato
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 06:08
It's an interesting question. Aristotle was the father of philosophical logic and scientific thought, but Plato was given to creating the sort of grand theoretical structures that certain members of the Ivory Tower absolutely adore. Plato had a vision of a social utopia created by reason, but Aristotle had a practical ethic that celebrated individual excellence. I'd have to say in the final analysis, both men contributed greatly to the Technocracy's thought, but Aristotle was the greater thinker overall (Plato was just too darned mystical).
PS: Aristotle would definitely win in a fight.
Re: Aristotle vs Plato
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 06:12
That's so typical of you Jacob, when asked a simple question you try and give two different answers. Sure, Plato's theory of forms was essentially mystical BS, but he pioneered the dialectic method that proved so critical in the development of philosophical thought. Without him, there wouldn't have been an Aristotle, or a Technocracy. (Though, I agree Aristotle would totally kick Plato's ass).
Re: Aristotle vs Plato
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 06:26
I think you're both missing a critical factor. Aside from all the philosophy, Aristotle was more influential than Plato on account of his student: Alexander the Great. Alexander's campaigns in Greece, Egypt, and Asia were more than just brutish conquest. They were an attempt at the political unification of the known world. Alexander didn't just take over the places he visited, he instigated an exchange of cultures and ideas that laid the groundwork for an exciting intellectual dialogue that would last for generations to come.
Of course, one minor, irritating side-effect of the new connections between India and Greece was the meeting of the mystics responsible for the Euthanatos. These deviants would later become a real thorn in our sides, but I think the knowledge, philosophy, and art of the vibrant Hellenistic culture was more beneficial to our cause in the long run.
Re: Aristotle vs Plato
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 06:44
You Europeans are all the same. You think just because something happened in Greece or Rome, it affects the entire world. I'd say Confucius and Sun Tzu were much more important than Aristotle and Plato.
Re: Aristotle vs Plato
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 06:51
You have a point about Confucius, though I whole-heartedly disagree with the notion that Sun Tzu was more important than Aristotle.
Confucian Legalism definitely has relevance to the modern Technocracy. Under its influence, the Chinese created a society where the powerful were morally accountable to those they ruled, and the common man could feel he was part of a greater whole. Confucianism also inspired the world's first civil service exam, whereby talented peasants could rise in the ranks off the basis of merit. This in turn led to an efficient bureaucracy that was a wonder of its age.
The influence of Confucius continues to be felt even today. Many Technocrats, Chinese or otherwise, still follow the precepts of his philosophy.
Re: Sun Tzu
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 06:53
Don't underestimate Sun Tzu. The Art of War is required reading for all NWO front line operatives. He pioneered the philosophy that the best way to fight is to avoid conflict. That's probably the closest thing the NWO ever had to a motto. It's the reason we spy rather than fight, and why we try to get our enemies to work for us, instead of just killing them.
Re: Sun Tzu
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 06:58
In a way, Sun Tzu was the world's first psychologist. The Art of War is more about how people interact than it is about fighting and killing. Such dictums as "never back your enemies into a corner," "know your enemies and know yourself," and "the complexity of the world can be understood as a composite of simple elements" form the basis of many of our most potent Mind Procedures.
The Templar Connection
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 07:22
Has anyone heard the theory that the Knights Templar are the true forebearers of the NWO? It seems a little unlikely to me.
Re: The Templar Connection
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 07:25
The reason it seems unlikely, is that the theory is utter crap. There's no way we are the modern incarnation of those sword-swinging superstitionalist bankers.
Re: The Templar Connection
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 07:27
There's more to the Knights Templar than history reports. They were more than just bankers or Christian thugs. They were an enlightened Order, dedicated to the pursuit of esoteric spiritual knowledge. Certain new research suggests that they worked closely with certain Muslim and Jewish sects to try and unify the three great monotheistic religions. Their ultimate goal was to achieve greater understanding of their God, and to bring a more perfect order into the world. Because they didn't want to run afoul of the ignorant peasants or the doctrinaire fundamentalists priests of the Catholic church.
Re: The Templar Connection
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 07:32
"Esoteric spiritual knowledge?" That sounds a little fourth degree if you ask me.
Re: The Templar Connection
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 07:36
Don't be a jackass, Jacob. Everyone, and I mean everyone believed in some sort of God back then. Hell, the old Order of Reason was a Christian organization. They simply believed in the Stoics' concept of Logos, the divine order and essential rightness of the universe. Times have changed, and the goal of secular utopia has replaced the religious crusades of previous eras, but the spirit is the same - making sense of the world and trying to leave it in a better state than when you entered it. You have some sort of problem with that?
Re: The Templar Connection
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 07:39
First things first, fuck you Kyle. While the role of Christianity in the Order of Reason is undeniable, there's a reason we abandoned that superstitionalist crap when we became the Technocracy. It may be that we both wanted to indoctrinate the masses with our vision of a perfect society, but that's like saying the Union is the same as the Traditions because we both have a theory about reality.
The difference between the NWO and the Templars is fundamental. Our order is based on a reasoned appeal to what is best in humanity; our intellects, our ambitions, and our desire to serve the greater good. The Templars' order was based on some craven fear of an angry creator God. Our way glorifies humanity. Theirs trivialized it. It's as simple as that.
Re: The Templar Connection
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 08:45
Hey, weren't the Templars involved in some freaky occult stuff? Like witchcraft or sorcery or demon summoning?
Re: The Templar Connection
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 08:47
Opinions are divided on this. Some believe the witchcraft accusations were nothing more than a ploy by King Philip of Spain to get his hands on the Templars' fortunes. I'd say they were definitely involved in some things not exactly compatible with Christian orthodoxy, but nothing nearly as bad as they were accused of
Even if the accusations were true, I'd say it wasn't that big a deal. It's simply another example of our common practice of studying the tools of our enemies to discover their weaknesses. After all, it wouldn't do to be blind-sided by some deviant trick that we didn't know existed because we were ideologically forbidden from studying the phenomenon.
Re: The Templar Connection
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 08:50
Yeah, and the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The Templars were nothing more than a haven for deviant scum. I have incontrovertible evidence that Guillaume de Nogaret, the advisor that convinced Philip IV to purge the Templars, was a member of the High Guild.
That's right, one of the first acts of the nascent Order of Reason was the elimination of the Knights Templar.
Re: The Templar Connection
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 08:54
All right Jacob, if the Templars weren't the progenitors of the NWO, who was?
Re: The Templar Connection
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 09:12
The New World Order had no precedent before the official formation of the Technocracy. Ours is a thoroughly modern Convention. Even if you wanted to generously interpret what we do, we couldn't have possibly existed any earlier than the 1640's when Renee Descartes applied reason to the processes of the human mind and practically created modern philosophy single-handedly.
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 09:21
I remember Descartes from high school algebra. He was the guy who invented the coordinate system. What else did he do that was so important?
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 09:24
Oh nothing really, besides formulate the essential problem of modern philosophy - the notion of the mind/body split. Descartes thought he was proving the existence of God by doubting everything he could and then examining what remained. His argument was pretty spurious, and would be nothing more than an historical footnote, except that in the process of his "proof" he inadvertently raised the possibility that all of a person's sensory data could be false, the result of some outside deception designed to trick one into believing in a fraudulent reality. This is the so-called "Brain in a Vat" problem.
The entirety of modern philosophy, up until the beginning of the twentieth century, has been dominated by the problem of resolving everyday, intuitive experience with the possibility that it could all be a lie. This focus on the operation of the mind also led, some 200 years later, to the formation of psychology as a separate discipline. So, as you can see, the NWO owes a lot to Descartes.
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 09:31
There was one other way in which Descartes influenced the Technocracy as a whole: he put forth the proposition that the study of the natural world should be independent of religious dogma. A Discourse on Method was written in response to the Catholic church's persecution of Galileo. In it, he divided the world into two parts: the physical matter, which ran according to predictable rules which could be studied scientifically; and the spiritual realm of God and the soul that could only be understood through religion and self-examination.
Of course, his idea that the operations of the mind are beyond the sphere of reason runs counter to everything we stand for, but we do owe him for getting the church off our backs.
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 09:46
Indeed, Descartes marked a real turning point in the history of the world. With his philosophy of separate spheres of knowledge, the world made the full transition from the medieval era to the modern one. The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries saw a dramatic rise in the number of philosopher-scientists (called natural philosophers back then) who tried to make sense of the world through reason and logic.
This period was known as the Enlightenment, and it also saw the first significant political theory since the days of Plato and Aristotle. While Technologia may disagree, I think this is where you start to see the modern NWO emerge. Alongside the likes of Locke and Hobbes, Enlightened scientists of the old Order of Reason began applying logic and reason to society itself. I must say, the results were pretty explosive.
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 10:02
You're telling me. Right around the time of Descartes death, there was a little row known popularly as the English civil war that was, in a way, a major victory for the Order of Reason. Basically, what happened is that English went and executed their King, Charles I, for trying to take too much power away from Parliament.
What most people don't know is that this was also a major conflict between the Order of Reason and the Council of Nine Traditions. They supported the Royalists, and we supported the Revolutionaries, though the politics of the situation were of secondary importance to the deep-seated philosophical differences between our organizations. Needless to say, we defeated them handily, and from that point on the old, medieval relationships between our groups were reversed. We were on the ascending, growing more and more powerful with each passing year, and they were on the descending, taking ever more to the shadows for fear of persecution.
It also saw a group of people deal a fatal blow to the divine right of kings theory of governance that had been a thorn in the Order's side for hundreds of years. Within 200 years, democracy would emerge to become the developed world's dominant form of government, and it was all thanks to us.
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 10:13
Don't be an asshole, Kyle. The revolutions of the following centuries would have happened with or without our intervention. There's a certain historical inertia at work that is like a boulder rolling down a hill. The Order of Reason was smart enough to step out of its way, the Traditions weren't. It's as simple as that.
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 10:35
The English civil war also saw the beginnings of the end for the Cabal of Pure thought, the Order of Reason's answer to the NWO (notice I did not say, "our counterparts within the Order of Reason"). The Cabal never forgave the rest of the order for supporting the Protestant revolutionaries, who the Cabal hated with an absolute passion. Though nothing came of it (and indeed, shortly thereafter the Cabal pursued its witch-hunting duties with a renewed vigor), it became increasingly clear to the leaders of the Order that the Cabal's philosophy was gradually diverging from the philosophy of the Order as a whole.
Luckily for us, the thrill of the (apparent) victory for democracy and reasoned government inspired Enlightened Scientists from all over the Order to get together and discuss social ideas. This 'organization' was extremely informal, and existed primarily in the correspondence of a handful of individuals, but it would lead inexorably to the formation of the NWO.
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 10:46
Okay, so the Order of Reason intervened in the English civil war, but what about the other revolutions that happened at around the same time, the ones in America and France
The American Revolution
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 10:52
This was a heady time for the Order of Reason. For perhaps the first time since the days of Athens and Sparta, people made a conscious choice about the sort of government they wanted instead of just accepting blindly whatever came along. It is impossible to underestimate the importance of this event. Even today, the American Revolution continues to inspire oppressed peoples all around the world. Hell, the Declaration of Independence may well be history's most emulated document.
Unfortunately, there is a frustrating lack of decisive evidence about the Order of Reason's involvement. There are surviving letters between members of the Social Philosopher's Guild that LeninLives mentioned in his post, and they all enthusiastically supported the revolution, but they were a small group, hardly representative of the Order as a whole. Still, I can't imagine the old Order actually opposing such a positive development, so they must have given at least token support to the Americans.
Re: The American Revolution
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 10:58
Don't be so sure, HistoFist. Other documents suggest that many within the Order, particularly within the High Guild, had grave misgivings about the American economy's over-reliance on slave labor. Furthermore, Brittan was hardly the tyranny some Americans made it out to be. Many within the Order were Loyalists who believed that America should have stayed a part of Brittan and lobbied for greater representation in Parliament.
Now, as far as the French Revolution goes, I can say that the Order supported the revolutionaries at first, but they withdrew their support later on. The reason was more practical than ideological. We had committed too many resources to fighting Reality Deviants in the western United States, and couldn't spare the personnel necessary to monitor and direct the activities in France.
In retrospect, this was an obvious mistake. Without the guidance of the Enlightened Order, the Revolution quickly degenerated into violence and political terror.
Re: The American Revolution
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 11:15
So, what you're saying is that there's no way the poor, ignorant masses could possibly succeed without the Enlightened to lead them around by the nose? I've come to expect this sort of thing from Kyle, but I thought you were more sensible.
Re: The American Revolution
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 11:17
Just because the Enlightened aren't responsible for every event in history doesn't mean we're not capable of influencing events. It would have been a simple application of Mind procedures to convince Robespierre and his Committee of Public Safety to go easy on the executions.
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 11:21
There's one slight problem with such a plan; the necessary techniques wouldn't be invented for another hundred years. Unlike other Conventions, who had technology in their fields ahead years of anything possessed by the masses, we were organized in response to the development of our main academic disciplines.
The New World Order was created when the Order of Reason was reorganized into the Technocratic Union. It had three main mandates.
1)Study the emerging social sciences to develop useful techniques for the Technocracy as a whole.
2)Promote and spread the Technocracy's ideology among the masses.
3)Prevent a repeat of the Electrodyne Engineer debacle.
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 11:24
What's that third mandate all about?
Re: Electrodyne Engineer
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 11:36
The Electrodyne Engineers were a group of Technocrats who studied electrical phenomena. They defected to the Traditions when one of their pet theories was disproved. They brought with them a lot of confidential information about are techniques and plans. You probably know them better as the Sons of Ether.
The nascent Technocracy certainly had their work cut out for them. Aided by the traitorous Etherites, the Traditions redoubled their efforts at undermine the fabric of reality. The late nineteenth saw a revival in superstitious beliefs among the masses, and we were created specifically to counter it.
The early conflicts between the Technocracy and the Council of Nine were mostly low-key. We assaulted key deviant holdings under the cover of the colonial expansion that was the fashion of the European nations of the day.
One misconception many in the Traditions have is that we supported colonialism. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many in the NWO, particularly the Russian Bolsheviks, were some of colonialism's most vociferous critics. We merely used the ongoing colonial actions to gain access to areas of the world that contained high levels of superstitionalist activity.
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 11:45
Do you mean to say that the New World Order supported the Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution?
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 11:53
Actually, the truth is a little more complicated than that. The Czar was one of those incompetent divine right monarchs the Technocracy has always despised, so when the movement to depose him came along, we were naturally on board with the idea, but we didn't support any one faction. Part of this was ideological, there were almost as many varieties of revolutionaries as there were people, and not even the Technocracy was immune to the sectarian infighting of the day.
The other reason was practical. There was no telling back then which side would win out, so we needed to have agents working in as many different parties as possible. I was relatively lucky, assigned to one of the liberal democratic factions so I was merely exiled near the beginning of Lenin's rule. The same went for the majority of the Menshiviks, anarchists, conservatives, etc. We had enough experience in the French Revolution to know they wouldn't be safe, so we recalled them as soon as possible.
The Bolsheviks weren't so lucky. After Stalin took power, he first purged his political rivals, then turned on his own party. Almost to a man our agents were slaughtered. How'd this happen? Nobody really knows. Some say it was just coincidence. You know, you cast a wide enough net, you're bound to catch something. Others say the Traditions used the purges the way we used colonialism, killing off our agents in the guise of Stalinist troops.
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 12:02
So you were stationed in Revolutionary Russia, huh? I've got to ask a question I'm sure is on everyone's mind. Was Lenin a member of the New World Order?
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 12:15
I know you're trying to be cute, HistoFist, but Lenin was Enlightened; he just wasn't one of ours. He was a member of one of the other Conventions, a group called the Analytical Reckoners. That's right, the very same that would later become the Virtual Adepts.
I met him a couple of times. He had a mind like a steel trap, was an absolutely brutal political infighter, and could work a crowd like nobody I've ever met. He would have made a great agent if it weren't for his serious problems with authority.
I also happen to know that his "stroke" was no accident. Nobody knows who did it, but theories include everyone from Tradition mages to vampires to an ambitious Stalin to our own Convention. The truth will probably never be known, unless Lenin himself knows and is somehow revived.
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 12:18
Revived? Lenin? What the fuck?
Date: Dec 3, 2003: 12:19
Lenin's not dead. After his third stroke, he was put into suspended animation until the Progenitors could find a cure for his illness. I'm not sure if they're still working on it or have forgotten about him entirely, but theoretically someone with the proper Life procedures could cure his illness and wake him up. Wild, huh?
World War II
Date: Dec 5, 2003: 14:53
My amalgam recently captured an Adept "chantry." On one of the servers, we found some files that looked like internal Technocracy communications. The files appeared to imply that the New World Order supported the Nazis in World War two as a attempt to create a single world government. Is this true? Does anyone have any evidence that contradicts this theory?
Re: World War II
Date: Dec 5, 2003: 15:02
The suggestion that the NWO would have backed the Nazis as a means of creating a world government is absurd. First, it would be difficult to imagine an ideology less likely to unify the world than Nazism. After all, there are billions of people in the world, very few of whom are Aryans.
Second, if we were going to make a bid for a single world government, we would've acted through the Americans. It was clear after the end of WWI that the twentieth century would be dominated by Anglo-American hegemony. Just the war debts alone catapulted America from second-rate power to major player in the international scene.
Re: World War II
Date: Dec 5, 2003: 15:11
We did make a bid for world government under the Americans. It was called the League of Nations, and it would have worked had it not been for America's increased isolationism after the war.
Re: World War II
Date: Dec 5, 2003: 15:21
That's true as far as it goes. Talking problems through instead of trampling all over our enemies has been our style from the very beginning, but that doesn't mean the Nazi files aren't genuine. They are, they just don't mean what the Adepts think they mean.
We supported Hitler in his early career, but the aim wasn't the conquest of Europe, it was the elimination of the treaty of Versailles. The impoverishment wrought upon the German people by that treaty was extreme, and our analysts projected that the economic and social conditions would lead inevitably to war between Germany and France.
You youngsters don't remember what world war one was like. LeninLives can back me up on this. Europe was devastated; nearly twenty million people died; an entire generation of young people succumbed to madness and despair. After that disaster Control decided that no price was too high to avoid another industrialized war.
Ivory Tower experts projected that the Rhineland War would have cost three to four million lives, and as many as ten million if Brittan got involved. To avert this war, we decided to support a ruler that would get Germany out of the treaty, then eliminate him before he got too powerful. Hitler was chosen because we recognized that his antisemitic, nationalist message would resonate with the German people. We predicted increased violence against Jews, but the 500 or so deaths were nothing against the potential slaughter of another war.
The plan worked perfectly too. Real events conformed almost exactly to our scenario. The only hitch came when the time came to eliminate the patsy. Something or someone protected him from our assassination attempts, probably Reality Deviants.
At first it didn't seem like such a big deal, but then he annexed Austria with nary a complaint from the civilized world, and we knew we were in trouble. The analysts went absolutely berserk, predicting a war that would sweep across Europe and make the first world war look like a cake walk. That's when we came up with our new plan.
We were going to provoke Germany into attacking Poland. The theory went that the Soviets would never stand for having a hostile foreign military practically in their back yard, and would intervene. The Germans would get bogged down in a pointless war, and the German people would be so disaffected they would surrender and eliminate Hitler themselves. At most one or two million dead. Needless to say, this didn't happen. A week before the projected invasion, the Nazis announced a non-aggression pact with the Soviets. The Germans quickly conquered Poland, and the second World War began in earnest.
This began a dark time for the Technocracy. Some believed that we were already committed to supporting the Nazis and that we had no choice but to follow through. Others believed we had an obligation to undo our mistake and support the allies. Entire constructs split apart, and the Union as a whole mirrored events in Europe. Most of you don't realize how close the Technocracy came to collapsing entirely. The only thing that kept us from destruction was the fact that our enemies did not know of our vulnerability - they were too busy dealing with similar problems.
After the war, the NWO concocted the "one world government" theory to hide the scope of its fallibility both from the Traditions and the other Conventions. The Reckoners bought into the story completely, and since they supported the allies (in general, there were axis Adepts), they defected from the Technocracy en masse, throwing their lot in with the Reality Deviants of the Traditions.
The Ascension Conflict
Date: Dec 5, 2003: 15:32
The defection of the Adepts marked the beginning of the Pogrom, our renewed attack against reality deviants. What the Traditions fail to realize is that the Pogrom was internal politics, pure and simple. After the Union nearly split apart in the War, we needed some cause to unify us. Control was also worried about the possibility that if we ever became that vulnerable again, our enemies might not be so distracted.
Ultimately, I think the recent discontinuation of the Pogrom in light of the events in Bangladesh is a wise move. It was never really necessary to kill the deviant mages in order to neutralize them. They are so afraid of the inquisitions of previous ages that they voluntarily disguise their magic in the form of coincidence. Since the Traditions seem willing to do our work for us, it would've been better to spend our resources on recruitment and social engineering.
Date: Dec 5, 2003: 15:45
So the scale-back in front line operations was related to something that happened in Bangladesh. I have to say, this is the first I've heard of it. Is the information classified? If not, what happened?
Date: Dec 5, 2003: 15:51
Some aspects of the operation are still classified, but I can say this: it was bad enough that Control activated Ragnarok. The operatives weren't informed (need to know and all that), but every media analyst we had was involved in the cover up. We're still dealing with the fallout, which includes, but is not limited to, the spatial static and the increased activity of certain extradimensional entities.
If you want to know more about what happened, I can hook you up with some related field work. E-mail me if you're interested.
Date: Dec 5, 2003: 15:58
Holy shit, they activated Ragnarok? Well, you'll forgive me if my curiosity is suddenly less enthusiastic than usual. Whatever it was, I assume it's dead now, and that's good enough for me.
The NWO Today
The New World Order is charged with an epic task. They are the ever vigilant eye that watches over the gates of reality, giving humanity's defenders the forewarning necessary to do their jobs effectively. So, what does the NWO do? Where do they recruit new agents? How do they exercise their immense power and influence?
This is the big one, of course. The government agent dressed all in black who casually takes charge of a crime scene is an American archetype. While this fame can cause problems, especially with gun-toting survivalists who've heard all the wrong conspiracy theories (which contain just enough truth to be dangerous), in the balance the almost superstitious dread most people have for the men in black is more of a benefit than a hindrance.
There is no level of government in the United States or Canada that does not feel some level of NWO influence. The New World Order takes active interest in areas that most other supernatural group consider below their concern. The Ivory Tower puts personnel on local school boards and in the Environmental protection agency. An entire amalgam is assigned to the United Nations headquarters alone.
One would conclude that with all this NWO influence, North America would have an iron-clad Technocratic paradigm. To an extent it does, but the dominance of liberalism in North America allows reality deviants to spread their poison among the populace unhindered. So, while the majority of North America is firmly in Technocratic hands, the Traditions have great strength within certain subcultures.
The Enlightenment Group
A high powered think tank that focuses primarily on domestic educational policy, the Enlightenment Group advises members of both political parties on the pressing issues of the day. The Group also works closely with educators at all levels to develop new and better techniques at turning young minds into the technocrats of tomorrow.
Europe is the home of a variety of supernatural groups, from vampires and werewolves to numerous sects of deviant mages. Nevertheless, the New World Order is very powerful here. Most Europeans believe in and support the international organizations that the NWO favors as means of Enlightened social engineering.
Members of the NWO in Europe tend to be more low key than those in America. They're more likely to have high rank in government and less likely to be members of regular law enforcement. One reason is geographical. Many European countries are the size of American states, so being a cop gives less mobility for the effort. Another reason is social. The average age of European technocrats is higher than their American counterparts, and many of the Union's people are simply too old to run through sewers after stray deviants.
The Skeleton Keys
This venerable organization of gentlemen turned investigators is partly responsible for the development of the New World Order as a whole. Today they continue to do many of the same things that made them famous - investigating supernatural crimes and bringing their perpetrators to justice.
The Middle East
After World War II, the NWO had high hopes for this region, but those hopes were quickly dashed as the newly independent middle east almost uniformly succumbed to dictatorship and religious fanaticism. The Order has pretty much written the area off, but their presence is still required by the Union as a whole, as they are the most adept at countering the Al-i-Batan's operations against Technocrats stationed there to harvest the region's rich sources of petroleum and quintessence.
The Association of Middle Eastern Atheists
The Association, comprised mostly of Ivory Tower academics, is an ideological organization committed to spreading atheism as a cure for the region's ills. Needless to say, they haven't made much progress so far, but they have managed to do some good. Their main activities consist of giving shelter to homosexuals, fellow atheists, and other people who might run afoul of the region's religious zealots.
New World Order presence in Africa is virtually nil. With some countries undergoing revolutions as often as once a year, the governments in Africa are simply not stable enough to warrant an investment of Technocracy resources. Those few agents in the region are mostly assigned to the UN and other non-governmental organizations that handle much of Africa's social services.
The Black Technocracy
Many well-to-do Africans send their children to be educated in Europe and the United States. A few of those children have what it takes to join the Technocracy. The Black Technocracy is a group of western-educated Africans who believe the Union should do more to aid backward, third world nations, especially (not surprisingly) in Africa. They regularly meet to discuss social engineering strategies, and ways to quiet the bloody ethnic conflicts that have plagued the continent since the end of the colonial era.
The Asian Technocracy, also known as the Five Metal Dragons, operates under a separate chain of command at every level below Control. That doesn't mean the New World Order is totally in the dark about the situation in Asia, it just means that an agent has to go through another lair of paperwork to get things done.
South America is the NWO's next big experiment. Within the last twenty years, democracy has spread throughout the region, and with the growth of civilian governments comes the opportunity for agents to infiltrate them and thereby influence the populace.
The New World Order's other main concern in the region is the culture and commerce built around illegal drugs. While the NWO isn't above using chemicals for social engineering, the increasing use of drugs in the United States and Europe is hampering their efforts to build an enlightened society.
Many Reality Deviants are drawn to the struggle between developers and environmentalists over the Amazon rain forest. They see the struggle as symbolic of their struggle against the Technocracy. While many Technocrats agree with that the forest should be preserved (after all ecology is a branch of science), they are nevertheless obligated to oppose Reality Deviants wherever they appear.
Publically, Humanity First is a quasi-terrorist group dedicated to opposing radical eco-activists. It's true mission, however, is to specifically target Reality Deviants who hide behind environmentalist groups. The truth behind the organization is known only to a few, most of its members are unenlightened individuals with an unreasonable hatred of trees.
Chapter Two: Sociology
To outsiders, the bureaucracy of The New World Order is a labyrinthine mess of arcane job descriptions, multiple chains of command, and apparently endless numbers of committees. This is an intentional misdirection. Like so many other aspects of the NWO, the bureaucracy leads a double life. On paper, it looks hideously (and needlessly) complicated, but in actual practice it runs quite smoothly.
The reason for this is that the organization has many "undocumented features." For instance, there has never been a Vice President in Charge of Delivering Block Grants to Organizing Committees. The position is merely a red herring. Anyone who actually tries to meet with him will find him "in a meeting" or "on vacation." The real Technocrat will often be an innocuous person, like the Vice President's secretary, who uses the anonymity of his apparently lowly position as an opportunity to spy on people who want to deal with the NWO.
The same goes for a wide variety of positions throughout the Convention. If someone ever obtained a copy of the NWO's master organizational flow chart (which is, perversely enough, "a closely guarded secret") they'd surely overestimate the Order's membership by at least 50%.
The large number of empty positions serves another function as well. They allow sufficiently high ranking members of the Convention to hold authority in a wide variety of areas, as the situation merits. For example, if a Man in Grey needed to deal with the Syndicate's Special Projects Division, he might become the Assistant to the Undersecretary in Charge of the Distribution of Internal Resources (a feat no more difficult than requisitioning an uncommon piece of equipment). Later, if he wanted to oversee an operation against a Tradition chantry, he might become an Administrator of Field Operations.
Since job title is so fluid in the NWO, the Order uses another system to determine relative rank; security ratings. Ratings range from 1 to 10, with 10 being the lowest.
S1 is Control, the ultimate leaders of the Convention. Nobody really knows how many Technocrats have attained this rank. It's assumed that when an S2 agent mysteriously disappears, she has probably been promoted, but almost as likely is that she was eliminated by a jealous rival.
S2 is the highest rank most Technocrats will ever have to deal with, and people with this level of security clearance play a significant role in charting the destiny of the NWO as a whole. The Men in White and the Gatekeepers have this clearance, as do a few elder members of the Ivory Tower.
Ranks S3-S5 include the bulk of the Order's experienced personnel. Most of the Ivory Tower's "mentors" fall in this range, as do the Operative's Intelligence Analysts. Especially trusted Men in Grey, Regional Supervisors, and Reporters might also have clearance this high.
S6 Is the average rank of a Regional Supervisor. At this level, the agent has authority over a significant chunk of the Union's resources, but is not truly involved in any form of long-term planning.
S7 is the standard starting security clearance for Men in Grey and Reporters, who often must know at least a little about the Union's long range goals and secret operations in order to do their jobs effectively. Especially trusted Men in Black, Field Observers, and Lensmen can also reach this level of clearance.
S8-S9 The average rank for inexperienced Enlightened personnel, including Ivory Tower "apprentices" Men in Black and Lensmen (Field Observers usually advance to a higher rank relatively quickly - they see too much not to). Agents at this level know a little about what's going on, but aren't trusted with more important secrets. The unenlightened can sometimes rise to this level of clearance if they have a sensitive, but otherwise simple job.
S10 is the standard rank for unenlightened sympathizers. People at this rank mainly handle mundane tasks that would serve only as a distraction for one of the Enlightened. Filing classified paperwork, breaking simple codes, answering phones in a high-ranking Technocrat's office. Jobs at this level of clearance involve the Technocracy's secrets at some level, but only in the most casual or cursory way. Almost every person at this rank is indoctrinated into the Technocracy's paradigm, meaning they can use hypertech devices and don't count as witnesses to vulgar procedures.
Below S10 are those among the unenlightened that do not realize they're working for the Technocracy. They usually believe they're working for a government agency or private think tank, and are entrusted with no task more sensitive than filing the Union's mundane paperwork.
Recruiting New Agents
The New World Order is perhaps the most aggressive of the Conventions when it comes to recruiting. The Union needs all the members it can get, even if some of them are little more than warm bodies. With this philosophy as motivation, it's no surprise the NWO recruits from places other Conventions would find counter-productive. Major sources of new agents include:
Government and Law Enforcement
In many ways, these people are the ideal recruits. They have experience working within the confines of an organization and know how to follow seemingly senseless bureaucratic procedures. Many of them already have the skills the NWO values: the ability to deal with people, knowledge of surveillance techniques, good written communication, the ability to use a firearm, and experience dealing with the socioeconomic class from which the Traditions draw many of their members. If Enlightenment were common enough, the NWO would probably not bother recruiting from anywhere else.
It is mostly the Ivory Tower that recruits directly from colleges, though the Operatives sometimes snag a particularly promising law student. Most students (and a few professors who got their jobs right after graduate school) have little real-world experience, and often require a great deal of supplementary training to make it in the cutthroat world of the Technocracy, but the NWO feels this drawback is worth it for the historical, social, and psychological insights they bring into the fold.
More than any other Convention, the NWO recruits from the Reality Deviants of the Traditions. As far as most agents are concerned, this is a double victory. The Union is made stronger at the same time its enemies are weakened. The Men in Grey, as the representatives of the Technocracy most likely to come into nonviolent contact with deviants, are at the forefront of these recruiting operations. Their main technique is to identify dissatisfied or abused Traditionalists, or potential Enlightened Scientists who allied with the Traditions solely because they're who they first met, and introduce them gradually to the Technocratic alternative.
The NWO also has another, more direct way of converting members of the Traditions: extensive brainwashing. In general, this is viewed as a method inferior to genuine persuasion, but it is considered more humane than killing captured foes (which is really the only other alternative when your prisoner is capable of bending reality at a whim).
The Ivory Tower - haven for free speech and peerless censor. Ordered, rational bureaucracy and chaotic morass of intrigue and politics. It represents the best and worst in the Union, and the best and worst in humanity. It is the quest for empowerment and the desire for control.
The Ivory Tower handles the vast majority of the Union's bureaucratic workload, making them objects of awe, fear, and pity. Technocrats don't like bureaucracy any more than anyone else. Nevertheless, the Ivory Tower's work is indispensable and they know it.
The other of side of the Ivory tower is its academic wing. Most Technocrats disdain the humanities and social sciences. Even the Syndicate focuses more on the practical than the theoretical. The Ivory Tower guards this critical backdoor through which deviant belief can enter reality.
Like the rest of the New World Order, the Ivory Tower's official history dates back to the reorganization of the Order of Reason into the Technocracy. Unofficially, they are the inheritors of the bulk of the Order's political, social, and ideological thought. The Ivory Tower, especially the Collegium of History, is also the most likely to suggest alternate histories for the NWO. The theory of the Templar Conspiracy was born in one of their discussion groups, and the "ancient legacies" of the other Conventions may well have been discovered by Ivory Tower intellectuals.
The twentieth century saw a dramatic rise in the power and influence of the Ivory Tower. Rapid industrialization and the pressures of an escalating Ascension War have created an ever greater demand for organization and leadership - a demand the Ivory Tower has been all to willing to meet.
The Ivory Tower has the most efficient organization Enlightened Science can devise. Of course, it may not seem that way to outsiders - there are advantages to having a structure no one can understand, and one of the Ivory Tower's key tools of control is the fact that nobody wants to deal with the hassle of administrating the apparently complicated Technocratic bureaucracy.
While there are a multitude of official titles in the Ivory Tower, there are basically only two ranks - mentor and apprentice. Thus all the Supervisors, Administrators, Coordinators, and Professors are more or less equivalent in power and authority. The Ivory Tower prefers very short chains of command, and the equal ranks help promote an academic atmosphere. In the rare event that the authority of two or more Mentor-rank Technocrats overlap, decisions are reached through democratic consensus. In emergency situations, the Technocrat with the greatest seniority is in charge.
Apprentices are Technocrats who have recently joined up and are still on a probationary status. They might alternatively be called Assistants, Secretaries, or Students, but they all wind up answering directly to a Technocrat of mentor rank. This mentor-pupil relationship allows the Ivory Tower to monitor new members of the methodology, as well as giving the newcomers the opportunity to benefit from the experience and guidance of older Technocrats.
The Ivory Tower's academic wing is divided into collegia, each devoted to a different academic speciality. Membership in the collegia are not exclusive, but it is rare for a person to belong to more than two or three. Organization is extremely informal, with the only real distinction between members lying in academic expertise. A PhD is not technically required for membership, though people with lesser degrees have trouble making their voices heard.
The main purpose of the collegia is to develop the Union's social and political theories. Each one holds monthly discussion groups, sponsors pro-Union Sleeper intellectuals, and publishes a quarterly journal on its subject. The major collegia are:
History - Well known for harboring subversive elements, the CoH is the most intellectually diverse group within the Technocracy. Peer review in The Union Historical Review is particularly lax. The journal has been known to publish everything ranging from serious, careful scholarship to barely supported conspiracy theories. Part of the reason this laxity is accepted is that the Union as a whole benefits from having a wide variety of propaganda tools at their disposal.
Literature - One of the least respected groups in the Technocracy, the Collegium of Literature has nonetheless developed some surprisingly useful techniques. The Journal of Advanced Literary Theory covers all aspects of critical and craft analysis, and often contains practical tips on how to structure written works for propaganda, as well as artistic, purposes.
Philosophy - Science is based on a philosophy of rationalism and empiricism. The quarterly journal, Technocratic Philosophy, publishes essays updating the Union's philosophical underpinnings to fall in line with the contemporary dialogue. They also work on denouncing subjectivist ethics and supporting the Union's utilitarian and meritocractic ideology.
Politics - "The Collegium of Politics" is something of a misnomer. They also study political economy, and often work closely with those members of the Syndicate interested in abstract economics. Second only to the Collegium of History in academic diversity, the Collegium of politics acts something like a microcosm of the Ivory Tower as a whole, with publication in Political Analysis Quarterly a key step in jockeying for informal position within the Methodology.
Psychology - Far more conservative than the Collegium of History, the Collegium of Psychology more closely resembles a traditional scientific research group. In addition to the regular discussions, they also gather to do laboratory work. Most of the NWO's Enlightened psychological techniques come from the Collegium's workshops. The Journal of Enlightened Psychology is the Collegium's publication, and is widely regarded for its rigorous methodological standards.
Sociology - Studying the behavior of people in groups, the Collegium of Sociology provides important techniques for the Union's macropsycological engineering projects. They are also the group within the Union with the best understanding of the Traditions' group dynamics, making the Journal of Enlightened Sociology a must-read for any operative in the field.
There are a number of Collegia besides the major six, but they tend to focus on more esoteric and narrower subjects that require a more specific academic specialization. Examples include the Collegium of Mythology, the Collegium of Technopsychology (studying the mental processes of artificial intelligence), the Collegium of Archeology, and the Collegium of Anthropology.
The Ivory Tower is mostly responsible for running the Technocracy. While the other Conventions have their own chains of command, they look to the NWO for leadership, especially for inter-Conventional operations. The Ivory Tower is also responsible for hiring all the various secretaries, janitors, accountants, and other unenlightened personnel for the entire Technocratic Union, giving them an immense amount of subtle control and influence over the whole Technocracy.
The academic wing of the Ivory Tower continues as it always has, educating new Technocrats from every Convention in the norms and values of the Technocracy, and combating deviant belief in the halls of academia. They also push the boundaries of the Union's social sciences, and create internal propaganda. In addition to maintaining the Technocracy's computer system, they publish magazines, produce movies, and write books for consumption by Union members living entirely within constructs. Because of this, Technocrats living in constructs are unusually loyal.
The Ivory Tower's relationship to the NWO is much like their relationship to the Technocracy as a whole - they influence, direct, and plan. This suits the other methodologies just fine, as few Watchers or Operatives enjoy working behind a desk. Another reason the other methodologies accept the Ivory Tower's leadership is that all members of the NWO start their careers working in the office. This serves several purposes. It allows the NWO leadership to evaluate a new agent's psychological profile. It creates a unified organizational culture for the entire convention. It allows agents to make personal connections with other Technocrats. It helps new Technocrats to adapt to the stress of Enlightenment. And finally, it convinces future field agents that they don't want to work behind a desk.
Members of other methodologies also occasionally join Ivory Tower collegia, and there is no special distinction made on the basis of background. This is rare, however, as members of other methodologies tend to be less theoretically minded, and more geared towards application.
NWO Operatives are perhaps the most feared group in the entire Technocracy, and for good reason. A Syndicate enforcer might break your legs, an Iteration X cyborg might kill you, but a Man in Black could very well destroy your mind. And those are just the most obvious representatives of the Methodology. The Men in Grey could be anyone, anywhere.
Infiltrating the Traditions is only the tip of the iceberg. There are NWO Operatives involved in every level of the political process, from the surprisingly well-educated member of a local school board to the night janitor for the congressional offices that's an amazingly good listener. As far as the Technocracy's concerned, the battle for reality is too important to let any possible advantage go unexploited, no matter how small.
Like the rest of the NWO, the Operative Methodology was created by bureaucratic fiat. However, unlike the Watchers or the Ivory Tower, the Operatives had precursors in other Enlightened organizations. The first was the Cabal of Pure Thought, a group that wished to unite the world under a single vision of Christianity. When the religious Order of Reason gave way to the secular Technocracy, the Cabal was disbanded. Many of its members defected to the Traditions, and many more were executed for deviance, but those that changed their ways and remained loyal became NWO Operatives.
The other Enlightened organization that contributed to the Operatives were the Skeleton Keys, a sort of English gentlemen's club dedicated to the investigation and destruction of the supernatural. In fact, the political connections of its leader, Rathbone, might have been responsible for the creation of the NWO as a whole.
While the Ivory Tower is the origin of most alternate histories of the NWO, such theories often find their greatest support among the Operatives. Many field agents consider themselves modern versions of the knights of old, protecting humanity from its enemies, both internal and external.
The Operatives are organized along geographical lines. Each construct has several Men in Black (who may or may not be Enlightened) who all answer to a single Supervisor. The Supervisors in turn answer to a regional Intelligence Analyst. The Intelligence Analysts answer to the Men in White, who report directly to Control. The Men in Gray are somewhat outside this formal hierarchy. They report directly to the Intelligence Analysts, regardless of what construct they might be associated with.
Jockeying for position in the ranks is not uncommon, but is usually confined to the Supervisor level and above. Many agents in the field wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
Men in Black: The Black Suits are what most people think of when they think "NWO." They're the ones who get sent to investigate and cover-up supernatural activity. Because of this, they're the ones most likely to encounter Tradition mages. Men in Black need to be smart, good with people, and loyal. They also need to be tough, both mentally and physically - they must routinely encounter and neutralize creatures whose very existence defies reason and sanity. Though not as physically formidable as other Conventions' shock troops, Men in Black make up for it by being highly trained in a wide variety of other skills (very few HIT marks can drive a car, for instance).
Men in Black almost invariably pose as government agents of one sort or another (and often, they actually are government agents of one sort or another).
Men in Gray: Being a Gray Man has the dubious distinction of being the Technocracy's most dangerous earth-side job (Space Marines do have a slightly higher mortality rate). Responsible for infiltrating the Traditions, they are in constant danger of being discovered and killed. Needless to say, they attract an interesting sort of person. Men in Gray need to be completely loyal, but completely independent. They need to love taking risks, but not be too crazy. They need to be consummate liars, but trustworthy in their reports. Very few people have what it takes, meaning those that make the cut are extraordinarily valuable. Most Men in Gray are savvy enough to know this.
Men in White: The Men in White are the Technocracy's secret police. They monitor the members of every Convention, searching for deviant belief, and making sure the Union remains ideologically pure. In addition to hunting infernalists and rooting out possible defectors, they enforce the Technocracy's code of conduct, investigating things like sexual harassment, unauthorized use of Union facilities, and all manner of crimes. Because of their nigh-unquestionable authority, the Men in White are feared throughout the Technocracy, but no one has yet suggested an alternative way of providing the valuable service they perform.
Q Division: Practically a methodology of its own, Q Division has its own chain of command that answers directly to the Men in White. Q Division works closely with other Conventions, developing a variety of useful devices for operatives in the field. As such as they're the methodology least likely to study Mind and most likely to study other spheres. Most Operatives try to cultivate a good relationship with Q Division, as their devices prove invaluable in the field.
The Operatives perform the bulk of the NWO's field work. They infiltrate mortal governments and the council of nine Traditions. They investigate UFO crash sites and deal with vampire princes. With the coming of the spatial static, front-line operatives have an unprecedented degree of autonomy and freedom, and many are putting it to good use. Instead of pursuing the Pogrom, younger agents are advancing their own causes, combating drug use, improving underfunded schools, even working with the Traditions in the Children's Crusade (Guide to the Traditions, page 143).
The upper ranks of the methodology are the leaders of the NWO as a whole, and as such are widely respected and more than a little feared. The lower ranks, however, are often viewed as little more than uneducated grunts. Of course, there's no telling if the Man in Black of today will be the Man in White of tomorrow, so most members of the NWO treat them with kid gloves.
They are the unblinking eye. The watchers in the darkness who peer into every shadow and witness secrets that would boggle the mind. The Watchers are the Technocracy's ear to the ground, setting up surveillance anywhere there might be a need. Unlike the Operatives, the Watchers don't usually gather information about specific individuals, they monitor trends and watch places. In general, the Operatives know what they're looking for, and the Watchers don't. The Watchers also act as the NWO's eyes in the realm of popular culture and media, working closely with the Syndicate's Media Control to prepare humanity for the Technocracy's Utopia.
More so then any other methodology, the Watchers are a twentieth century phenomenon. While the Technocracy has had access to primitive bugging and surveillance devices since the late eighteenth century, the technology that really powers their operations, the computer, is of relatively recent invention. Before their defection, the Watchers worked closely with the Analytical Reckoners to develop the sophisticated expert systems necessary to sort and analyze the massive amounts of data they collect. When the Reckoners left to become the Virtual Adepts, they took many of the techniques with them. Not surprisingly, their sense of betrayal made them especially strong proponents of the Pogrom. At the height of the Ascension War, the shadow conflict between the Adepts and the Watchers claimed few lives, but cost both the Traditions and the Technocracy resources disproportionate to their numbers, as important secrets were revealed on an almost daily basis.
The Watchers have a twin mandate to observe and influence Sleeper society. This makes their organization a little more complex than the NWO usually prefers. The bottom ranks consist of Lensmen, Reporters, and Field Observers. The Lensmen manage the technical aspects of the methodologies operations, maintaining vast networks of surveillance cameras. Lensmen are often skilled with Correspondence, and rarely work outside their Constructs. Reporters work in data analysis, collating and summarizing the methodology's findings for distribution to other Technocrats, particularly the Ivory Tower, the Syndicate's Media Control, and Iteration X's Statisticians. They also do some media planning, though the Gatekeepers handle more advanced work. Field Observers work closely with the Operative division and are often mistaken for Men in Grey. The distinction is subtle, but definite. The Grey Men infiltrate groups that interest the Technocracy, the Field Observers merely watch them. They also provide ad hoc surveillance and security overwatch for Technocratic operations in areas they don't normally control.
Above these three groups are the Gatekeepers, the methodologies "vision men," whose main responsibility is to put the gathered information to use. Some of it gets distributed to other Methodologies, Conventions, Sleeper organizations, and occasionally even the Traditions. The process of deciding who gets what is shrouded in secrecy, and the results are often surprising. The only sure thing is that, whether obliquely or overtly, the information furthers the Technocracy's goals. Some of the information is recorded and archived, in the hopes it will one day prove useful. Finally, some of the information is destroyed, as there are things even the Technocracy doesn't need to know. In cases like this, the Gatekeepers often move to destroy the information itself, but all conceivable sources of the information as well. This option isn't exercised too often, as few things are so damaging enough to the Technocracy's goals to warrant depriving agents a potential advantage in the field. The other main responsibility of the Gatekeepers is to plan the NWO's media strategy. Using the files assembled by the Reporters as a guide, the Gatekeepers try to innoculate the masses against deviant belief by controlling what they see and here. Sometimes this is as simple as writing a supernatural-themed sitcom that portrays wizards as harmless (and pitiable) buffoons. Other times it's as complicated as instituting a decade-long plan to subtly bias prime time television advertising. Often, the actual plans themselves are drawn up by Ivory Tower think tanks, and the Gatekeepers are tasked with making sure the elegant plans concocted by the professional eggheads survive contact with the real world.
The Watchers continue to do what they've always done - watch things. The only thing that's changed recently is what normally gets targeted. Before the Reckoning, the Watchers primarily kept tabs on the Traditions and other reality deviants. Now, it is more common for the Watchers to pursue their own personal agendas, some of which are only tangentially related to the Technocracy's goals. It is also increasingly common for Lensmen and Field Observers to take on the responsibilities of Gatekeepers, deciding for themselves what to do with the information they gather.
The rivalry between the Watchers and the Virtual Adepts is still going strong, despite the recent downgrading of the Ascension Conflict. As always, the conflict is more intellectual than physical, with both sides seeking to execute elegant data manipulations that damage their enemies with minimum risk to themselves. Aside from that traditional enmity, conflict between the Watchers is at an all time low, though the Watchers don't hesitate to screw over a reality deviant if they get the chance.
Recently, the Watchers have taken a particular interest in the Imbued. Given their extensive surveillance networks, it would be surprising if the hunters' self-declared crusade against the supernatural went unnoticed. Since the desk-bound Watchers run little risk of running afoul of an angry group of hunters, many take it upon themselves to help the Imbued covertly. More than one hunter has received surprisingly useful surveillance photos from an "anonymous source."
The Gatekeepers are about the same rank as Men in White, which makes the Watchers influential in the NWO as a whole. Lower ranking Watchers possess a variety of technical skills that make them extremely useful to the other methodologies, and most NWO amalgams will contain at least one Lensman or Field Observer.
Chapter Three: Philosophy
The Role of History
Why is the NWO so obsessed with history? Why do they spend so much time altering records, debating theories and discrediting their rivals in the Traditions? The obvious answer is that rewriting history is simply an adjunct to their greater work of shielding the masses from the truth about the supernatural. After all, it's difficult to claim magic doesn't exist if there are documented records of historical wizards. Most people, Traditionalist and Technocrat alike, are satisfied with this explanation, viewing the NWO's historical project as merely a sort of intellectual housekeeping, tidying up the loose ends of the Technocracy's cultural hegemony.
Unfortunately for them, the truth is far more complex. To use a mystical analogy (an act more acceptable in the NWO than in other parts of the Union), a people's history is like the true name of an entire culture. Understand it and you understand everything there is to know about a society, and to know a thing is to have power over it. This isn't merely a powerful tool for Enlightened Science, but the path to Ascension itself. All that's needed to set humanity on the road to continual and unlimited progress is to craft a history that recognizes it as a possibility. This is the true goal of the NWO and the reason they take their academic pursuits so seriously.
So, how does the NWO craft history? Again, this is a process that is mostly mis-understood outside the halls of the Ivory Tower. To the NWO, history is more than a dry collection of facts; it is also the theory that binds those facts together into a coherent story of the culture's life. Merely changing or eliminating a fact from the general consensus does little to change the common perception of history.
Consider two competing theories about the American Revolution. On the one hand, it is possible to view it as the birth of the first democracy, and the herald of a new age in which rule by the people would become the norm. On the other hand, it is possible to view it as nothing more than the transfer of power between colonial authorities and the local landed aristocracy. Now, consider the (indisputable) fact that one of the principle architects of the revolution, Thomas Jefferson, owned slaves both before and after American independence. While at first glance this fact would seem to seem to support the second theory, it becomes apparent that it has at best neutral impact on the first. After all, slavery was a common practice of the day, and supported by the majority of the country's citizens.
This example, while a tad bit contrived, serves to illustrate the difficulty inherent in trying to manipulate history merely by toying around with the facts. That's why, by and large, the NWO avoids doing so. Instead, they concentrate on trying to shape how those facts are perceived. This serves two purposes. One, it focuses concentration on a culture's values, which is really the whole point of the operation. Two, it makes the constructed history much more resistant to the accidental revelation of incompatible facts (indeed, if Tradition archeologists ever succeed at 'proving' the existence of historical magic, they're likely to receive a very rude and sudden education in the realities of historical engineering).
Very few members of the NWO are pragmatic in the conventional sense of the word (even front-line operatives are often more concerned with theory than application). In a philosophical context, the meaning of "pragmatism" is slightly different. It refers to the theory that if the consequences of believing something to be true are the same as the consequences of the thing itself being true, then that thing is effectively true.
A trivial example would be the statement "I believe I'm in love," which is true because of the belief. A more complex example would be would be William James' famous "proof" of the existence of God. James said that as far as most people are concerned all God's existence means is that they attend church and live a moral life. Since such would be the case even if these people were wrong about God, it's pointless to deny God's existence.
The NWO likes philosophical pragmatism because it very conveniently serves to justify their social engineering experiments. Under pragmatism, the lies they're so often accused of spreading actually become a form of truth.
The term "emergent properties" refers to the notion, first posited in mathematics, that systems of simple rules could spontaneously give rise to complicated behavior. The idea quickly found applications in the NWO's core disciplines of psychology and sociology. After the Ivory Tower's theoreticians worked out the initial details, it became apparent that much of human history and culture were emergent properties of the simple and basic interactions between individuals. This in itself would be nothing more than a theoretical curiosity were it not for another aspect of emergent properties: their essential unpredictability. Simple interactions can cause complex behavior, but they can't determine it - the implication being that the development of human society is completely up to chance. To the brilliant minds at the head of the NWO, this is absolutely unacceptable, and hence the origin of the idea of Control.
Control is shorthand for the NWO's belief that society can be, well, controlled. That rather than suffering from the vagaries of chance, human beings have the ability to chart their own destinies. It is not, as some among the Traditions believe, about totalitarianism, nor is it about the elimination of personal freedom. Rather, it is about choosing the society one lives in rather than merely accepting the society that emerges naturally. If this seems excessively oppressive, consider that feudalism emerged without any planning whatsoever, but democracy was the result of an intentional act.
From the Union Weekly article, "Perspectives on the NWO"
Union Weekly: I'm Viktor Klausky, and I'm here with field operative Paul Kramer and social theoretician Selene Argent. I have here a list of questions that individuals from all over the Technocracy have about the New World Order. Paul and Selene have graciously consented to answer as many as they can. I'm sure we're all eager to start with what we came here to do, so let's get to it. The first question is, "Why is the NWO necessary?"
Paul Kramer: I once knew an agent . . . I call him an agent, but really he wasn't much more than a kid; Enlightened young and trained fast. Anyway, this kid , he was fresh-faced and eager, and he lived for the Technocracy. I was assigned to mentor him. Together we worked containment down in Florida.
Back in '96, we received a report from the voiders; a breach near the south coast. The NSC scrubbed the creature, but the kid and I followed its trail, doing routine clean-up. I'll never forget the first site, a seaside apartment complex. It was one of those perfect days that seemed plucked straight out of a tourist brochure. The sun glittered off the ocean, and tanned and barely dressed women jiggled their way down this absolutely gorgeous white sand beach. The whole thing was so beautiful you just wanted to cry.
The hallway where the thing had passed was as quiet as a tomb. The lights, the elevators, every electronic device on the floor was shorted out. You know, SBS, standard bullshit; the kind of stuff deviants always pull. Wait, I take it back, there was one machine that was still running - the air conditioner. So, the kid and I were standing outside this door, in the middle of this near dark hallway, the only sound was the blowing of that damn air conditioner.
The creature was a variety of extra-dimensional waveform. It generated some sort of emotional static that it used to feed. When I kicked in the door, the place was a charnel house. An entire family of sleepers were trussed up like pigs at a butcher's shop, but the worst part wasn't the blood and gore, it was the psycho-dimensional echoes. We could feel how the creature tortured the family and fed off their fear and pain.
Luckily, I could call on my mind control training, but the kid wasn't so fortunate. Long story short, the entire building had to be burned to the ground and the kid wound up in the HIT Mark program. When people ask me why I do what I do, I think back to that kid, and the billions of sleepers just like him, who can't do what I do, and I think back to the kid's vacant eyes when they wheeled him out of there, and I just know. Human beings shouldn't have to deal with that sort of thing. So, I labor to fix this messed up world of ours, and I labor to ensure that when it finally is fixed that all those beautiful, ungrateful innocents out there will never know it was broken.
UW: Okay, Selene, same question.
Selene Argent: Human history has been a series of conflicts and challenges. Some philosophers call this the merging of thesis and antithesis - the synthesis of the two creating a greater truth. In a way, the Technocracy emerged from just such a synthesis. The thesis of humanity's respect for power with the antithesis of humanity's desire for liberation. The result is an organization capable of empowering the masses, and of wielding power on their behalf.
Similarly, the NWO emerged in a similar fashion. Human beings crave knowledge, but they fear its power. As an organization, we can act as a safety valve for certain types of knowledge - holding it back, and keeping it from overwhelming an unprepared world, but that is not our primary function. We exist to prepare the masses for the future, to help them develop the capacity to stand on their own. Until such time as they're ready, we act as the guardians of the gates, preserving and expanding humanity's birthright in order to deliver it unspoiled and whole when the time finally comes.
UW: All right, second question. "How should the NWO accomplish its goals? What should or shouldn't they do to succeed?" Paul?
PK: This is kind of a stupid question. There's nothing I wouldn't do for the Technocracy. Killing, torture, radical reprogramming. All the worst things we get accused of doing are nothing compared to some of the stuff I've seen reality deviants do. Some people don't understand that this is not a game; that ultimately the war we fight is for the safety and future of the human race. About the only thing I won't do is show my most advanced techniques to the Sleepers. Sure, it's all training, but the unenlightened can sometimes freak out when they see it. Since the idea is to protect the masses from exactly that sort of thing, I really don't see any point in sabotaging my work with my own best intentions.
UW: Selene? Your reply?
SA: Perhaps I'm unaware of the realities of the field, but the extreme measures of some of our agents seem unnecessary. Even if our enemies use torture and murder, why should we? The idea behind our organization is to create a better world. How can we do so if we recapitulate the sins of the old one?
PK: Don't make me gag. "Recapitulate the sins of the old world." Idealists like you are part of the problem. Unwilling to get your hands dirty, you leave the real work to people like us. The world is not going to get better without some people getting down in the gutter . . .
UW: Paul, don't interrupt. You'll get your chance to talk later. Selene, continue.
SA: As Enlightened scientists, we have more effective tools. Teaching, arranging partnerships, influencing politics; we can change the way people think without even touching them. As the leaders of the human race, we can create the future, but only if we're mindful of the present.
UW: Next question. "What is the NWO's role within the Technocracy?"
PK: The NWO is humanity's last line of defense. It's our job to root out corruption wherever it occurs, even in the Technocracy. We watch the watchers and police the police, because the only thing more dangerous than a deviant mage is a rogue Technocrat.
SA: The NWO is the heart of the Technocracy. We're the engine that drives the Union forward. The other Conventions practice different types of science, but we practice the science of management. Without us, they would have split apart long ago.
UW: Speaking of the other Conventions, let's run over them one by one. What do you think of Iteration X?
PK: They're useful allies. I remember this one Leech that was giving us a hell of a time. Fragged three of our associates and one Enlightened operative, so we pulled back into surveillance mode and called some Iterator backup. Cleanup and containment were a real bitch, but there's no denying they got the job done.
SA: Iteration X views the entire world as a giant machine. While that belief leads to an admirable spirit of inquiry, and an unparalleled understanding of physics and chemistry, it fails when applied to human consciousness. If the mind can be compared to a machine at all, it is one whose gears are rounded and loose.
Intuition, emotion, and prejudice are among the fundamental building blocks of thought. Granted, if they are left alone, they can create something ugly and dangerous, but eliminating them, as some in the Convention suggest, would eliminate humanity itself.
Rather, like the branches of a tree, they must be pruned and shaped. Too little care, and the mind collapses, borne down by the weight of riotous growth. Too much care, and the mind withers and dies, unable to enrich itself or deal with the world around it. It's the give and take between observer and observed that is most missing from our comrades' world view.
UW: All right, how about talking a bit about the Progenitors?
PK: We have a saying back at the construct, "A good Progenitor should be seen and not heard." Sure, their toys are useful in the field, but as often as not we're called in to clean up their mistakes. It's not as bad as it was in the old days, but we've got enough trouble with reality deviants without having to watch our own people as well.
SA: The Progenitors strike me as the Technocracy's greatest hope. Not the docs themselves, by and large they're too factitious and insular, but the technology they research. Fear is the single greatest impediment to mass Enlightenment. It causes ordinarily rational people to embrace superstition and ignorance. Some of humanity's greatest and most enduring fears are about their health and appearance. "Will I suffer from disease or injury?"; "Will I have enough to eat?" Even trivial things like: "Am I too fat?" or "Are my ears too big?"
By solving these problems and eliminating that fear, Progenitor technology can free the masses, and enable them to focus their energies on building better societies and becoming better people.
UW: Of course, it doesn't hurt that they'll respect and love the ideology that made it possible. Anyway, how about the Syndicate?
PK: Sometimes I think these guys joined the Union because they heard conspiracies were good for business. They have their uses though - in the field we need all the money we can get, and the Syndicate certainly has a way with paying the bills. I just wish they wouldn't waste so much cash on useless crap.
SA: The Syndicate is a necessary adjunct to what we do. The NWO prides itself on its ability to influence contemporary culture, but compared to the Syndicate, we're amateurs. Money is the language of the modern world, and it's a language the Syndicate understands perfectly.
Unfortunately for the Technocracy as a whole, the Syndicate's pragmatism can be as much a hindrance as a benefit. While their techniques make them experts on how to manipulate society, they lack the theoretical background necessary to understand why they should do it. Left to their own devices, the Syndicate would probably devote all of their considerable talents to making a profit. While it is true that, as my colleague said, the Technocracy needs all the money it can get, the narrow focus of the Syndicate ultimately represents a missed opportunity to educate the masses.
Luckily, most members of the Syndicate prove amenable to accepting our guidance and insight.
UW: Last, but not least are the Void Engineers. Why don't you give us a quick impression of the Convention.
PK: I love the voiders. They make my job one hell of a lot easier. They guard the back door to reality, and every extradimensional freak that doesn't make it through is an extradimensional freak we don't have to suppress. If the high-ups in the Union were smart, they'd double the Convention's funding. The spatial static won't stop the Traditions forever.
SA: Yes, they perform a vital function for the Union, and for humanity, but they nevertheless worry me. I've heard too many reports of the Void Engineers joining forces with reality deviants. Their discipline is sloppy, their Procedures are highly experimental, and their incidence of defection is 12% higher than any other Convention. The worst part, though, is that every Enlightened agent exploring deep space is a potential asset lost to Earthbound operations. I think the spatial static is a perfect excuse to scale back their activities.
UW: Finally, we get to what everyone's been waiting for, a discussion of the "Traditions," the Technocracy's customary enemy. Before we go into detail about the individual cults, why don't you each give us an overview of your opinion on them as a whole.
PK: A Void Engineer explained "magic" to me once. He said there were multiple universes, each with its own physical laws. The so-called "mages" are able to open a conduit to these other universe, contaminating our own with alien physical laws. Each of these alien laws undermines our physical laws slightly. After a certain threshold is reached, the system can't maintain its integrity and, and reality collapses. The only way to stop this is to strengthen our universe, and eliminate the source of contamination. Lucky for us, human belief can strengthen reality, so stopping the mages is as easy as covering up their handiwork.
SA: The thing that strikes me as most interesting about the Traditions is that they're nothing of the sort. Anthropological studies reveal that traditions change with time, adapting and evolving to meet the needs of society. "Traditionalism," as an ideology, is actually a radical response to rapid progress. Their beliefs, divorced from the cultural and environmental pressures that created them, are increasingly irrelevant to the modern world. As a consequence, the Traditions' beliefs are increasingly a perversion of the adaptive faith structures on which they are based.
What the Traditions fail to realize is that the Technocracy works with our culture instead of against it, thereby allowing our members to develop their potential to the utmost. Our rivals include many talented individuals among them. Unfortunately for them, much of that talent is wasted in the struggle to maintain their impractical beliefs. The fate of humanity is likely to be similar if the Traditions succeed in displacing us. They claim to offer the masses the "freedom" to choose their beliefs, but in reality, they would condemn humanity to an anarchistic hell, where a person's achievement is limited by the sphere of influence he is able to carve for himself.
We reject the ability to believe any ridiculous thing, and gain instead the ability to build off the work of the past, and the ability to work constructively with our colleagues. In short, we lose the freedom to choose, but gain the freedom to advance. That is why we won the Ascension War.
UW: The first Tradition alphabetically is the Akashic Brotherhood. It seems as good a place to start as any.
PK: The Akashics are some of the nastiest fighters I've ever come across, but that's not what makes them dangerous. Usually, I can fast-talk my way out of any sort of trouble, but the Akashics are unusually centered emotionally. All of the usual hooks and angles fail to work on them. You best bet in dealing with this lot is to back 'em into a corner and seal all the exits. After a couple of days without food or water they're usually easier to deal with.
SA: There's a superficial similarity between the Akashic Brotherhood's philosophy and our own. The Brotherhood repudiates the physical, regarding the world as a sort of illusion. We focus on the mental, regarding the material as a matter of secondary importance. While these views may seem similar, that similarity is an illusion. Our differences run deep. The most fundamental difference between us and them is that we regard our discipline as a means to an end, namely the perfection of the world. The Brotherhood views the world as an impediment to their personal goals. We exist to improve humanity. They exist apart from humanity. Nominally, this makes us enemies, but practically, it's of little importance. The Akashics keep to themselves.
UW: Okay, moving on. The next on the list is the Celestial Chorus. Paul?
PK: As far as reality deviants go, they're not half bad. They're generally well-behaved. They help out in their communities, and most people are willing to believe in their God without believing in their miracles. This makes it easy to co-opt their initiatives to suit our needs. The best part about 'em is that they hate violent reality deviants almost as much as we do.
The smart thing to do when the Chorus moves into town is to aid them covertly. Donate money to their churches, encourage people to volunteer for their charities, and drop them the occasional anonymous tip about "demons" or "necromancers". It doesn't take long to get them working for us.
SA: The chorus is dangerous, because many people find their philosophy appealing, and they aren't shy about recruiting. The chorus' philosophy is ultimately regressive and counterproductive, despite its message of peace, unity and kindness. It is dangerous because it is a philosophy of dependence. Human beings cannot achieve happiness on their own, they must wait for some divine being to give it to them. This is against the core of what the NWO stands for, and absolutely cannot be tolerated.
Luckily, while it seems that religious membership remains constant, people are less inclined to follow the advice of religious leaders. So though the Celestial Chorus is too potent to be ignored, it can be neutralized with the strengthening of existing trends.
UW: All right, what about the Cult of Ecstacy?
PK: SOP is to capture any confirmed member of this cult alive. There are two reasons for this. The first is that they're dangerous. It's Control's official policy that drug use is to be eliminated, and it's a policy that I happen to agree with. It pisses me off that I bust my ass protecting Sleepers from every tentacled freak and reality deviant ever to be dredged from human nightmares just to have them poison themselves for the sake of a quick thrill.
The second reason to capture the cult alive is that, with a little brain-busting, they make excellent converts. They're usually good with people. They know the streets. And they often have all sorts of juicy info about the Traditions.
Of course, even brainwashing doesn't cure them of their appetites completely, but that too can be a useful hook. Lace their drugs with a Progenitor engineered retrotoxin, and if they jump ship, they probably won't live long enough to do any damage.
SA: The Cult of Ecstacy represents the epitome of what's wrong with the Traditions. They lack responsibility. Their philosophy is incoherent. They constitute a drain on humanity's resources. They waste their abilities on nothing more than personal gratification. The only bright spot is the fact that these degenerates are too scatter-brained to cause much damage.
UW: Okay, let's move on to the Dreamspeakers.
PK: I hear they're trying to weaken the barrier between dimensions. I know they're responsible for summoning more than their share of extradimensional entities. If you ask me, they're nothing more than a pack of anarchists and deviants. Still, they tend to stick to places where the Union is pretty weak, so it's usually not worth the trouble of hunting them down.
SA: It's difficult to get a handle on the Dreamspeakers. Their beliefs seem more like insanity than anything else.
It's rare to lose one of our agents to this Tradition, and their philosophy has limited appeal, so really, they're not much of a threat to the Union's goals. For awhile, it looked as if they were going to die out, but it seems their numbers have stabilized. I think we should continue our current course with regards to the Dreamspeakers: publicly denigrate their views and modernize the cultures from which they draw their members.
UW: Ah, now we come to one of the big three on Control's hit list: the Euthanatos. Paul, how do agents in the field feel about this group?
PK: The Euthanatos are a bunch of scary pieces of work. The best way to track one is to follow the trail of bodies. Of course, if they know you're following them, they'll likely as not add your body to the trail.
Besides the Nephandi, the Euthanatos are the hardest deviants to neutralize. They're unpredictable as hell, and as likely to team up with any deviant you throw 'em at as they are to try and kill it.
The good news is that the Traditions don't like 'em any more than we do, so they usually work alone. If one of them happens to disappear, it's probable that no one will notice.
SA: The intriguing and disturbing thing is not that our beliefs are similar, because they're not, but that we tend to attract the same sort of people and focus on the same sort of skills. Of all the Traditions, we get the most recruits from the Euthanatos.
This raises an interesting question. Do the Euthanatos believe, in their own twisted way, that they're doing good? Interrogation of Euthanatos captives suggest that they're attempting some sort of crude social engineering with their assassinations, but to what end? Needless to say, the Euthanatos worry me.
UW: Okay, the Hollow ones aren't technically a Tradition, but they are superstitionalists whose organization name come alphabetically between "Euthanatos" and "Order of Hermes," so why don't we talk about them.
PK: The Hollow Ones are more annoying than dangerous. They like to interfere with our operations, but lack the power of some of the more hard-core deviants. Most of 'em are pretty young, though, so they're relatively easy to push around. Get the library to ban a couple of erotic novels or the city council to pass a teen curfew, and they usually go into hysterics trying to block it. That'll keep them out of your hair for a couple of weeks, though it's usually not worth the trouble. A primium bullet solves the problem much more decisively.
SA: The hollow ones are an interesting case. They consider the Traditions too authoritarian. That's right, they think the Traditions exercise too much control over their members. That sort of empty-headed nihilism is more counterproductive than anything, so there's very little chance of the Hollow Ones gaining widespread social influence.
It's more or less useless trying to counter their philosophy, because they haven't got one. If you do get in a debate with one, the most you're likely to get is "Fuck you, Grayface, the world's going to shit and there's nothing you can do about it." It's not a very satisfying way to spend your time.
UW: Okay, now we come to the second of the big three, the Order of Hermes. Paul?
PK: The Hermetics are bad news. The wizards are smart, dedicated, and powerful. They tend to resist brainwashing better than most, so it's usually not worth the trouble. Other methods are required to deal with them. Most of the Hermetics are bookworm types, so they're pretty susceptible to seductions. They also have a lot of pride, and don't like to admit that there's something they cannot do. That character flaw can be exploited, though I'd beware of the backfire. You give 'em an impossible task and as often as not they'll pull it off.
SA: The Order of Hermes is the keystone of the Traditions, much as we are the keystone of the Technocracy. They created the theoretical and bureaucratic core of the Council, and it was their influence that kept the Traditions from flying apart on several occasions. This makes them a prime target for our operations, but direct action is often ineffectual.
The war with the Hermetics must be fought primarily on the academic battlefield. Over the past few years, they've been trying to insinuate their beliefs into mainstream thought. So far, they've stuck to relatively innocuous subjects like philology, but their ambitions are clear. Vigilant academic skepticism is the key to victory. We must be sure to counter every paper they publish and undermine every professor they underwrite. I think victory is inevitable, but it won't be easy.
UW: All right, let's discuss the Sons of Ether.
PK: Aside from the fact that they like to cast us as villains in their demented little melodramas, they aren't so bad. A lot of their "magic" looks like science, so it's easy to pass them off as nothing more than terrorists. Etherites love to conduct experiments with dangerous substances, so it's also easy to sic Sleeper law enforcement agencies on 'em. The only problem with that plan is that your average swat team isn't equipped to deal with a destruct-o-ray.
SA: Their commitment to obsolete theories is more sad than anything. They claim to do it for the sake of "wonder," but that rings false to me. There's plenty of wonder in the normal course of scientific discovery, and creativity means more if it overcomes real challenges. The Sons of Ether strike me as lazy more than anything else. They lack the discipline to master real science, so they hide behind their ridiculous theories. Like the Hermetics, the Etherites are another Tradition we have to watch for in academic circles, though the Progenitors and Iteration X are usually better at refuting their theories.
UW: Okay, we're almost done with the Traditions. Any thoughts about the Verbena?
PK: They hate to talk, so don't bother trying to reason with them. All you need to do to get rid of them is gather some surveillance on their rituals and drop them to the right people. Their rites are so brutal and disgusting that anybody with a right mind will hate them with a passion. By exposing them for what they are, you can hinder their activities and disrupt their future recruitment.
SA: The Verbena represent an atavistic urge within human consciousness. They are sadists who revel in suffering, pain, and death. They claim that the Technocracy is disrupting the natural cycle by repressing mankind's primal urges. They never stop to consider that those urges are repressed for a reason. Human beings crave comfort. Human beings like the security of knowing their neighbor won't kill them over a disagreement. Civilization is built on the suppression of the uncomfortable, and I don't know a single rational person who has a problem with that. Then again, the Verbena aren't known for being particularly rational.
UW: Finally, we're at the last Tradition and the last of the Technocracy's big three targets; the Virtual Adepts.
PK: We've really scaled back from our policy in the old days. Some of the high-ups were really obsessed with the idea of punishing the "traitors," but most of the kids in the Adepts were born after they switched sides. There's really no point in trying to kill them. They're more useful as converts. A lot of them can be sold on the Union's ideas, and the Tradition's internal politics are so obnoxious that many of them would join us just for a break.
SA: Information has to be free. The paradox of this statement is not at all obvious at first glance. The more information is loosed from structure and control, the less it means. We derive meaning from the barriers we draw around categories of data. For instance, what do we mean when we say the word "dog." The word represents a wide variety of animals, some of which look nothing alike, yet somehow we know a dog when we see one. These disparate phenomena are unified by the linguistic barrier we erect around them. If it weren't for that barrier, we'd have to take each dog as a separate entity, and we wouldn't be able to make sense of the world at all.
If the Virtual Adepts succeed in liberating information, they'll succeed in destroying information. People will be inundated with data that they won't be able to sort out, and their minds will shut down, rejecting the public sphere, leaving those who know how to manipulate information as the defacto rulers of society. Perhaps that's what the Adepts intend, but if so, we must oppose such a scheme with all our power.
Chapter Four: Psychology
The Reckoning proved that there are things in the shadows worse than even the Technocracy suspected. With Earth cut off from the deep space colonies, the need for self-sufficient, forward thinking agents is at an all-time high. Luckily, NWO agents have the training, tools, and techniques to succeed. All they need is the wit to use them.
A Word of Caution
Your agent shouldn't rely entirely on her Enlightened Procedures. Technocrats go through intense and thorough training in order to reach peak physical and mental condition. Your Ivory Tower Academician may be a master of Time Procedures, but without a background in Academics, no one is going to take him seriously as a historian. Likewise, your front-line agent might use a Forces Procedure to enhance her aim, but she should have the skill in Firearms to make such a feat possible. The NWO likes to keep their procedures as subtle as possible, and every member of the convention should be formidable even without Enlightened Science to back them up.
The Nine Spheres
This sphere is almost as important as Mind, and probably the second most studied in the Convention. No, you won't see teleporting Technocrats, at least not outside of Void Engineer Deep Space Laboratories. NWO correspondence effects tend to use surveillance cameras, digital telepresence, and virtual reality. Field agents also like to upgrade their vehicles. While even the most renegade agent would never use anything as vulgar as a flying car, a sedan with a 300mph cruising speed is well within the accepted limits of reality. Speaking of 300mph cars, Correspondence also finds a use in enhancing driving and piloting skills to the point where an agent actually has a chance of surviving high speed chases through rush-hour traffic. Other correspondence effects include retinal-scanning locks, frequency jammers, and communicators of various types, especially small and easily concealable ones.
To spare inter-departmental rivalry with the Void Engineers' Neutralization Specialist Corps, the NWO doesn't pursue this area too deeply. Nevertheless, many smart agents (and no one's ever accused your average NWO field agent of being stupid) master at least the basics of Dimensional Science, allowing them to recognize the tale-tell signs of your more esoteric reality deviants. Additionally, Q Division supplies many agents with devices that report the local strength of the gauntlet and the location and proximity of any nearby breaches thereof.
A good agent needs luck to survive, that much is obvious, but the Entropy sphere can do so much more. Entropy 3 is good for missions involving sabotage, or in preventing the enemy from doing it to you. The Entropy 1 effect "Ring of Truth" (M:tA rev pg 162) is indispensable in interrogations. High-up Ivory Tower scholars can use advanced Entropy effects to subtly shift and alter the opinions of entire communities.
Iteration X uses Forces to make better weapons, and the NWO is happy to let them keep doing it. That's not to say that agents can't make use of this sphere - it simply isn't as common as some of the others. Like all NWO procedures, Forces effects tend to be less flashy, and more geared towards stealth and espionage. NWO agents are experts at moving without making a sound, picking the deepest shadows to conceal themselves, and firing guns to kill in one shot. Q Division practices some forces effects of its own, providing the convention with night-vision glasses that are years ahead of anything the sleepers have, silencers that dissipate the noise of a gunshot with 100% efficiency, and miniature weapons that pack all the punch of their larger cousins.
The primary use of this Sphere is in disguises of various kinds, but field agents sometimes utilize Life Procedures in combat and other extreme situations. Autohypnosis is common - agents don't improve their abilities, they simply utilize abilities their conscious minds did not know existed. Martial Arts are also popular. A weapon that can't be discovered, can't be taken away - and that suits the NWO's methodology just fine.
Outside Q division, this sphere is rarely used by members of the convention. Miniaturization of every tool under the sun is the primary use of this sphere, with multipurpose gadgets like pen/cameras and cigarette lighter/grenades being especially popular. The matter sphere is also used to make X-ray cameras, and other surveillance devices capable of penetrating solid material.
This is the big one, of course. Aside from telepathy and astral projection, there is no use of this sphere that goes unexploited by the NWO. Field agents use self-control training to protect themselves from deviant mind control tricks, and psychological analysis to help them judge the mental state of the people and creatures they interact with. Back at the construct, they can change allegiances, confound memories, alter deeply held beliefs, or extract any sort of information. If that proves insufficient, they can hook the subject up to the big machines and simulate an entire artificial reality inside her head.
The scholarly arm of the convention uses less dramatic, but more impressive mind effects in their projects. Education is the big one, and installing proper technocratic beliefs in the masses without arousing suspicion is a major task. In addition, the Ivory Tower maintains numerous off-world colonies devoted to sociological experiments of varying types.
The administrative arm of the Convention also makes extensive use of the sphere in organizing bureaucracies, evaluating people for promotion, and designing the ergonomic layout of technocratic offices for peak productivity. NWO project managers and supervisors, assigned to oversee the projects of other conventions, use slick diplomacy and sharp psychological insight to keep the groups they manage working harmoniously and effectively. More than that though, the Order can use group dynamic theory and psychological profiling to set up especially productive (if seemingly unlikely) partnerships that allow all involved to accomplish more than they could individually.
Node tagging has a prominent place in NWO procedures, allowing the Watchers to keep track of all the deviants who make use of a given node. Q Division, like the rest of the Technocracy, makes extensive use of primal energy in powering Enlightened devices. Other than that, the prime sphere doesn't see much use. Sure, an agent might drink the occasional Erg Cola, and someone surrounded by reality deviants could use every boost he can get, but for the most part, primal energy is a subject of hard science, and outside the purview of the NWO.
The time sphere, at least up to its second rank, sees heavy use among historians of the order. Intelligence analysts can also use it to make projections about future events, using data modeling and computer simulation, though this task is also done by Iteration X's Statistician methodology. Field agents who utilize Time procedures tend to use training, rather than devices, as foci. It's only natural that someone with the best training in the world can manage to move just a little bit faster, or squeeze off that one extra round just when it counts. Overall though, use of this sphere in the field tends to be less dramatic (and less powerful) than similar effects from superstitionalists.
Surveillance Detector [Correspondence 1]
This procedure has a variety of forms. Sometimes a device is used, which flashes a light when the agent is being watched. Other times, the agent's years of advanced training allow him to notice the subtle signs of surveillance. Occasionally, this effect even manifests as intuitive flashes of insight - nothing mystical, of course, but the agent's subconscious mind reacting to stimuli too subtle to notice.
System: Roll Awareness + Perception. Each success detects one type of surveillance, whether electronic, magical, or physical. If the person working the surveillance has Arcane, or uses Correspondence to hide what they're doing, the roll is opposed.
Petition Drive [Entropy 5]
Public opinion can be extremely complex and unpredictable. Sometimes the chaotic, shifting mass of sleeper belief can go in a direction the Technocracy doesn't like. When this happens, the best minds of the NWO are called into action. This Procedure involves carefully writing and wording a petition, circulating it in precise locations and among carefully chosen audiences, and submitting it to just the right authorities. The end result is a political idea being created or destroyed.
System Essentially this procedure is a Technocratic version of the mutate ephemera (M:tA rev pg 164) rote. Its effect is confined primarily to political thought and public opinion, but within that sphere, it is extremely effective.
Expert Evasion [Forces 2 or Mind 3]
NWO field agents are masters of misdirection. If they need to evade pursuit, their opponents often find themselves chasing shadows or losing the sound of their quarry to the noise of a nearby crowd. This is not coincidence, but the effect of the best training in the world: a good agent simply uses the environment around him, often without giving it a second thought.
System: The agent doesn't actually alter the shadows or create illusions, but it can seem that way to someone following him. Each success on an Enlightenment roll subtracts one success from any attempt to track or trail the agent. The Forces and Mind versions of this procedure are functionally identical.
That Lasting Feeling [Mind 2]
This subtle and insidious procedure has been the downfall of more than one enemy of the Technocracy, and the downfall of more than one Technocrat. The procedure does not actually create emotion in and of itself, but it does render the victim extremely suggestible emotionally, and insures that feelings generated while under its influence are much more intense and deep-rooted. Combined with an agent's mundane seduction techniques, it can turn a passing attraction into a dangerous obsession or a minor infatuation into a serious love.
This is almost always used as an extended Enlightenment roll. The agent begins a highly mysterious and engaging conversation about feelings and memories. This can be supplemented with special mind controlling drugs slipped into a drink or food, but a truly skilled agent can induce the proper hypnotic state through words alone. After the subject is prepared, any emotional stimulus is likely to be amplified, which is why a smart agent insures privacy. If, for instance, someone were to accidentally bump the victim, the hapless fellow might well earn the victim's undying enmity for what might otherwise be a minor annoyance.
System: The Technocrat rolls Enlightenment, opposed by the subject's willpower. Any successes rolled in excess of the subject's are spent on duration. That duration applies to the subject's next emotion. The intensity of said emotion changes to reflect how long it lasts. Events in that time can extend the duration and intensity even further.
Group Dynamics [Mind 2, Entropy 1]
Technocrats in charge of administering projects strive for the Gestalt, a grouping of dissimilar minds that maximizes the creative potential of everyone involved. By studying personality profiles and applying the tenets of Enlightened psychology, the technocrat can create partnerships that produce unexpected and exciting results.
System: The Technocrat can give a difficulty break on a specific ability to a group of people. So long as every member of the group is present and working with that ability, they get that bonus. The player must roll one Enlightenment success for every member of the group and every point of the difficulty break. This procedure works best for creative and academic abilities like Crafts, Expression, Research or Knowledges - using it in any other context requires double the successes.
Ergonomics [Mind 2, Prime 3]
The effect of workplace environment on productivity has been known for quite some time, and NWO administrators are masters at using this knowledge to great effect. By arranging furniture, adjusting the brightness of lights, and painting the walls in optimum colors, the administrator can create an ideal work environment, greatly enhancing the quantity and quality of the work done within.
System: In effect, the technocrat makes a room into a large Enlightened device, providing a difficulty break to one or more abilities, so long as they performed in the room, and the environmental modifications remain unaltered. In general 5 successes are required to give a -3 difficulty to one skill, and six are required to make the procedure permanent. In addition, one point of primal energy must be spent per success.
This procedure needs to be performed only once. If the environment is later disturbed, any Enlightened agent or Extraordinary Citizen can restore the original modifications to restore the effect.
Subliminal Messaging [Mind 2 or 3, possibly with Correspondence 2 or 3]
This procedure is so coincidental as to be almost a cliche. By placing images and messages between the frames of a television show or movie, the Technocrat can affect the minds of those who watch it. It works through the subconscious mind's ability to react to stimuli the conscious mind cannot perceive. Emotions are easy to influence - the Syndicate uses a variant of the procedure to sell popcorn at the movies - with training, an agent can target beliefs and opinions. Of course, Control frowns on over-reliance on this procedure; it's been so successfully integrated into the consensus that sleeper authorities have a chance of detecting and neutralizing it.
System: Changing someone's emotions is a difficult feat (M:tA rev pg 208). Changing someone's opinions is an impressive feat. Since people are individuals, and react to stimuli in different ways, additional successes are required to make the effect more general. The effect also relies on precise control of frame rates, screen brightness, and room lighting, often meaning the Technocrat must supervise the showing directly. Transmitting it is possible, but difficult (requiring Correspondence). Creating a general, wide-reaching effect that can be transmitted on a medium like local televison is extremely difficult, requiring the concerted effort of a team of Technocrats.
Deep Interrogation [Mind 4]
Sometime it's vital to get information from a captured enemy. Sometimes that information concerns matters of life or death that absolutely cannot wait. It's for times like those that the NWO reserves it's most effective interrogation techniques. These techniques can include torture, sensory deprivation, mind drugs, intimidation, hostages, and bribery. Often, it's not strictly necessary to resort to extreme measures - most people break right before torture begins, especially when the NWO are the ones doing the questioning.
System: Roll Enlightenment against the subject's Willpower. If the agent succeeds, she can get any sort of information from the subject, even suppressed memories or subconscious desires - things of which the subject has no conscious knowledge.
Mindscaping [Mind 4]
One of the NWO's few vulgar procedures, mindscaping is rarely, if ever, performed outside a technocratic construct. Mindscaping involves creating a false world for the subject, one which seems utterly real. This is done by putting the subject in a mindscape chamber - a large device that looks a lot like an MRI machine.
Mindscaping is done for a variety of purposes. The most common is to get information from a recalcitrant superstitionalist. The procedure can also be used to create an environment for someone who suffers serious injuries, giving them the appearance of being healthy and whole. It can be used as a torture device, subjecting the victim to things no human could survive. Finally, it can be used for simple knowledge, aiding the NWO in understanding the human mind.
System: Mindscaping is a Mighty feat (M:tA rev pg 208), requiring at least 5 successes beyond the subject's successes on a willpower roll. Extra success increase the realism and details of world. A technocrat can enter the mindscape as a difficult Mind 4 effect. If the technocrat or subject takes damage in the mindscape, that damage is bashing.
Personality Simulation and Emulation (PSE) [Mind 5]
Traditionalists can be difficult to understand. The twisted minds of reality deviants can be unimaginably strange. Even when they're comprehensible, it can be useful to have an inside perspective on their thoughts and tactics. These situations call for the complicated technology of personality emulation. Using cutting edge programming, months of observation, and high-power mainframe computers, the technocrats can create an artificial intelligence with the personality of a human being.
System This procedure requires one success for every dot of the subject's mental and social attributes as well as one success for every point of willpower. If the subject had an Arete or Enlightenment rating, two successes are require for every point of that rating. Such programs often quickly diverge from the original subject, a defect that can be allayed with careful programming (extra successes spent on duration).
Profiling [Time 2]
Different types of people tend to leave distinctive traces of themselves at the scene of a crime. Different cultures and different sexes have different ways of approaching everything. Even height and weight can affect how a person approaches crime. By looking for these distinctive, characteristic traces at a crime scene, the Technocrat can learn a great deal about the perpetrator.
System: Roll Enlightenment, each success reveals one piece of information about the perpetrator of a crime. The broadest details are always revealed first, so a player who rolled three successes would learn that the perpetrator is a Caucasian male between the ages of 18 and 30. If the technocrat can determine these broad details through some other method (like eyewitness accounts), more specific details are revealed through this procedure. In other words, it never tells you something you already know.
Quick Draw [Time 2]
The agent who can't anticipate danger doesn't stay an agent very long. Recognizing when a reality deviant is about to attack can save an agent's life, and allow her to take action to neutralize the threat. This procedure reflects the Technocrat's training and expertise in knowing the precise moment to act.
System: Roll Enlightenment, each success adds +2 to the agent's next initiative roll. This procedure can only be used at the beginning of combat, but if one success is devoted to the purpose, its use can be delayed until any time before the end of the scene.
Resisting Mental Intrusion
With all manner of deviants out there with the ability to twist an agent's mind into incoherence, it's not surprising that the New World Order devotes a large portion of its psychological research into ways to counter deviant mental techniques. Many of the following Procedures are common throughout the entire order, though a few of the upper level ones are pretty esoteric. The following techniques generally work against most forms of supernatural telepathy, mind control, and possession, regardless of whether or not the perpetrator is a mage.
This is perhaps the most broadly useful and widely applied sphere in the entire NWO. Basic training in this sphere takes the form of intimate self knowledge. By understanding one's own thoughts and motivations, it becomes possible to recognize alien influences on those same processes, and as psychoanalytic theory teaches, recognizing a problem is often the most critical step in overcoming it.
At this stage, it becomes possible for the agent to actively fight back against intrusion, instead of merely resisting within his own mind. While direct mind-to-mind contact is paradigmatically impossible for the NWO, it is perfectly reasonable for them to use their own thought processes as a weapon to combat an enemy that has somehow transcended the possible. The most common way to do this is for the agent to focus intensely on a single emotion. Since initiating telepathic contact naturally involves transferring information from one mind to another, the would-be intruder receives the emotion instead of (or in addition to, depending on her skill level) the desired information.
This is also the level in which the agent gains sufficient self-control to master his own surface thoughts. Ordinarily, there's no surer way to fixate one's mind on a given topic than to try and avoid thinking about it. NWO agents don't have that problem, and are able to think or not think about any topic they choose. Experienced agents can even throw up a shield of false thoughts that can foil supernatural detection while simultaneously thinking about something entirely different. An incidental benefit to this training is that it becomes effectively impossible to tell if the agent is lying - their thoughts and words match up perfectly. Only hypertech or magic have a chance, and even then it's not a sure thing.
It is at this level that the agent masters the art of mimicking another person's internal monologue; the distinctive "voice" of an individual's thoughts. For the most part, this is a useless skill, but when subjected to a deviant's telepathy, it can become a deadly weapon. By disguising her own thoughts as belonging to the intruder, the agent can get him to do things he wouldn't ordinarily do. A particularly skilled agent can create a repetitious humming in her thoughts capable of inducing a hypnotic trance, implanting commands in the intruder's subconscious that won't take effect until weeks or months later.
An agent with access to Mind 3 can also create false memories capable of fooling most casual mind scans.
At this level, an agent can, with careful self-hypnosis, create an alternate personality in his own subconscious. It is then a simple matter to deflect an intruder into this personality. The deviant then plunders the false Technocrat's memories, never suspecting that they're specially crafted misdirections, designed to lead her into danger.
Having reached the ultimate mastery of Enlightened psychology, the Technocrat can now craft an alternate personality totally independent of his own subconscious. In most cases, this is little different from the previous level, but occasionally, the agent can send the personality along the data stream opened by the deviant's telepathy. If the mage's mind is not currently in his body (for whatever reason), the alternate personality takes possession, otherwise the two minds struggle for control, with the deviant winning more often than not. The NWO employs this technique primarily because on the few occasions it's actually successful, it is often spectacularly so.
Enlightened Psychology and Backgrounds
As masters of Enlightened Psychology, members of the NWO can use their spheres to enhance their Contacts, Followers, or Influence backgrounds. All it takes is careful study of a given area. The agent then applies the insights from that study to learn the cultural and political tricks necessary to ingratiate himself to the locals. Gaining Contacts requires Mind 2 and Correspondence 2, with two successes per dot in the background. Each Enlightenment roll represents twelve hours of legwork (buying drinks at a local bar, dropping the right names to a few select people, etc). Gaining Influence or Followers requires Correspondence 3 and Mind 3, again with two successes per dot, but in this case each Enlightenment roll represents 72 hours of work.
Sometimes, the best training in the world just isn't enough. Maybe the reality deviant just doesn't feel like listening to reason, and the agent needs some heavy weaponry to make his case. Or perhaps the agent runs afoul of a creature so bizarre, her normal psychological techniques simply do not work. Whatever the reason, even great agents need help from time to time. That's why Q Division has come up with a wide array of Enlightened Devices to make pursuing the Technocracy's goals even easier (or at least possible).
Perfect Chronometer (1 pt device)
It's not flashy, and it's not glamorous, but it's absolutely indispensable. In the field, knowing the correct time can spell the difference between life and death, and this watch, available in a variety of styles and materials, insures that if the agent gets killed, at least it won't be because of the time. Using a miniature atomic clock and a primal energy battery that's guaranteed for at least a thousand years, the Perfect Chronometer is accurate down to a tenth of a millisecond. Also included is a miniature GPS system that runs off the Technocracy's dedicated satellites, so the agent always knows her exact location as well.
The NWO also favors this device because it's the perfect platform for storing other types of micro-sensors like poison gas detectors, health monitors, or voice stress analyzers. What's best is that, given the wide array of functions performed by current high-end watches, the device is almost totally coincidental.
Molecular Wire (5 pt device)
Made from a revolutionary type of carbon molecule, molecular wire is at the cutting edge of the consensus, no pun intended. The wire itself is the thickness of a human hair and has 400 times the tensile strength of a similar thickness of steel. Molecular wire is rarely made in lengths longer than three feet, and it always includes handles at each end. If it didn't, it would be more dangerous to the agent than to the enemy.
Aside from it's obvious use as a garotte, molecular wire also sees heavy use as a cutting tool. It easily makes short work of anything softer than steel, and can cut through a pair of handcuffs or a doorknob in less than a minute. For larger jobs, a laser torch is more effective, but NWO agents rarely need to saw logs or slice girders.
System: Molecular Wire lacks the rigidity to be effective as a normal melee weapon. If used as a sort of whip, it causes superficial wounds at best. If it can be looped around a portion of the victim's body (melee + dexterity difficulty 9 in a combat situation, difficulty 7 in a sneak attack situation), it becomes extremely deadly, doing Str + 2 dice of aggravated damage each turn. The only way to stop the damage is to cause the wielder to drop the wire.
Truth Serum (3 pt device)
Truth drugs are just one of the NWO's myriad of interrogation tools, but a good drug can reveal in minutes information that hours of torture cannot extract. Only a supernatural effort of will can hope to foil the Serum.
System: Roll the Serum's Enlightenment of 6 against the subject's Stamina. If the subject rolls more successes, he successfully resists, otherwise, the relaxing effects of the drug cause him to answer questions truthfully for one hour per net success. Three background points buy 10 doses of Serum
Decorative Fountain (2 pt device)
This relaxing and conventionally tasteful piece of statuary soothes frayed nerves and helps people forget their troubles. Offices with a decorative fountain tend to be more harmonious, and workers who pass by it every day less prone to conflict. Its graceful arcs and the sound of its water trickling through the stones even sways illicit intruders, making their capture or destruction all but a certainty.
System: First and foremost, the fountain relaxes people. This is mostly a roleplaying effect, and works strongest on those who are habitually exposed to it. Nevertheless, the fountain adds a +2 difficulty to all aggressive or violent actions taken in the room where it lies, even for those people who see it for the first time. This penalty applies only to thinking minds inside the room, so while reality deviants in a Technocratic lobby find their combat effectiveness greatly reduced, the same cannot be said for the automated chain gun in the ceiling or the sniper in the building across the street. The fountain has an Enlightenment of 4 for purposes of opposing countermagic.
Chapter Five: Political Science
The New World Order is a complex group. Even their own agents admit that they occasionally stray from the path of ethical behavior, so it's not surprising the Order's enemies categorize it so harshly. Any game in which the NWO plays a major role needs to recognize the paradoxes at the heart of the organization.
Conflict 1: Knowledge vs Censorship
The NWO is a group dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. It actively recruits the best and the brightest from academic and political circles, all for the sake of discovering the truth of the human condition. Not even the Order's spies and surveillance experts are immune to the urge to seek knowledge (in fact, it's kind of a job prerequisite).
Unfortunately this admirable character trait is balanced out by an equally strong desire for secrecy. Their rivals would describe this as mere jealousy; the arrogance of an educated person who can't stand to acknowledge an equal. These accusations aren't entirely false, but they don't tell the entire story.
As mentioned earlier, some types of knowledge are dangerous. If a person understood the full truth of the creatures that dwell in the outer darkness, his mind would snap, utterly destroying him. The NWO has knowledge, wisdom, and power, but these virtues are matched by the vice of great hubris. They believe that they, and they alone, know what's best for humanity, and that their social manipulations can work out only for the best.
Conflict 2: Idealism vs Control
The New World Order is the most idealistic of the Conventions. Whereas Iteration X or the Progenitors focus on building better tools and technology, and the Syndicate focuses on making money, the NWO concentrates on developing new and better theories. Many in the Convention believe that creating a perfect society is merely a matter of finding the right method of organization.
The notion of the perfectability of humanity runs counter to many modern social theories, and occasionally puts them in conflict with members of the more pragmatic Conventions who would rather solve philosophical disputes with brute force than with conversation and compromise.
On the other hand, when their idealism clashes with reality, many members of the Order would rather change the whole world than their personal theories. This is the root of the faction's fascist reputation. They are brilliant visionaries who do not want to see their beautifully crafted theories destroyed by a single uncooperative individual (or an entire uncooperative nation, for that matter). The NWO really does have humanity's best interest in mind, but many of its members exist in such a rarefied academic environment, that they have trouble seeing others' objections to their schemes as willful ignorance.
Conflict 3: Negotiation vs Fanaticism
Consider the following quote from The Art of War:
Taking a state whole is superior.
Destroying it is inferior to this.
Therefore one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the most skillful.
Subduing the other's military without battle is the most skillful.
If there was ever a motto for the NWO, this is it. The New World Order doesn't want to destroy the destroy the Traditions, they want to render them harmless, and, if possible, deflect their energies towards accomplishing the Technocracy's goals.
This philosophy explains the commonplace use of the term "neutralize." It's not just a euphemism for assassination, it describes a whole other approach to conflict. A "neutralized" cabal of Celestial Choristers, for instance, may be regularly supplied with information on local vampires by the Construct's Lensman. The cabal then furthers their own ideological goals by destroying the vampires, strengthening Consensual Reality in the process. The Choristers serve their God, and the NWO advances the Time Table. Everyone's happy (except the vampires, but those blood-sucking bastards deserve everything they get).
If this aspect of the NWO won out, their operations would approach Sun Tzu's ideal of perfect formlessness, leaving all the major players intact, but subtly weaving their actions into a larger unified plan for the advancement of humanity.
Not all members of the Convention subscribe to this idea. Some believe that compromise weakens the ideological purity of the Order. To these individuals, Reality Deviants represent the ultimate evil. To aid those that would sabotage reality for the sake of personal power is tantamount to endorsing their crimes. This faction argues that the momentary convenience of not having to fight is not worth the moral corruption of catering to the Traditions' selfish whims.
The Use of Torture
One of the main impediments to portraying the NWO as sympathetic heros is the issue of their undeniable use of torture. Here are three different approaches to the problem.
Rare as Hen's Teeth
Under this option, the NWO hardly ever tortures anyone. As masters of psychology and interpersonal relations, they know befriending a person is usually more effective than threatening him with mind-numbing pain. The Order recruits new members through slick propaganda and Enlightened psychology-enhanced persuasion, not by destroying and reconstructing their minds.
So, where does the NWO's fearsome reputation originate? Well, part of the answer lies in the brutal days of the late nineteenth century, when the Order's understanding of psychology was in it's infancy, and the idea of "human rights" was expounded mainly by crackpot Marxists and other fringe lunatics.
While the Order would like nothing more than to play good cop to Iteration X's bad cop, the situation is a little like the old joke:
One day a guy named Jones was complaining to his friend in a bar.
He says, "I designed half the houses in this town, but do they call me Jones the architect? No.
"I built the bridge most of them cross twice a day, but do they call me Jones the Engineer? No.
"But I fuck one sheep, just one, and now I'm Jones the sheepfucker."
So it is with the NWO. Even though they've long abandoned the practice, their reputation remains. It doesn't help that many in the Order use this reputation to advantage in their Mind Procedures. Most people break right before torture begins, and under this option, NWO agents milk that fact for all its worth, letting prisoners believe the worst, staging elaborate pre-torture rituals and displaying fiendish-looking instruments (that, if actually used, would probably hurt less than an innocuous looking probe) for maximum intimidation.
Of course, there's always a danger that the agent's bluff (?) will be called. Most agents seek to prevent that by "prepping" the subject before hand, often by placing them in adjoining cells with a "torture victim" (actually an NWO agent) who tells the subject of the horrible fate awaiting him. Combined with the strength of the agent's Enlightenment, these measures rarely fail.
Method of Last Resort
Under this option, the NWO is sure of one fact: torture always works. Always. It doesn't matter how strong-willed a person is, or how enlightened. Eventually even the most willful Hermetic, the most disciplined Akashic, or the most motivated Chorister will succumb. The problem is that though torture always succeeds at changing allegiances or extracting information, it also inevitably destroys the mind in the process.
Even ignoring moral considerations (which are not as unimportant as some in the Traditions would have you believe), this is a waste, pure and simple. An Awakened mage has the potential to become an Enlightened Technocrat, and a normal sleeper has the potential to become an Extraordinary Citizen. Few matters are of such importance that it's worth exchanging a vital human being for a mindless husk.
Under this option, the NWO will use torture only in matters of life and death, and then only if the subject has proven resistant to their standard truth serums and mind control drugs.
Suitable only for games where paranoia and the corruption of the Technocracy are major themes, this option assumes torture is a standard, if distasteful, tool in the NWO's arsenal. Captured mages are subjected to it as a matter of course, and superiors use the threat of Room 101 to keep their subordinates in line.
Even under this option, few Technocrats will see themselves as evil. After all, the consequence of the Union's failure is the destruction of humanity itself. To what depths should a moral person not be willing to sink to insure the Technocracy's survival. Still, if torture is too common in the game, player characters will be fundamentally at odds with their own organization. Maybe that's the intended effect, but it's nevertheless something to think about.
Single Convention Games
The New World Order lends itself to a variety of genres. The characters could be an amalgam of front-line operatives, going toe to toe with Reality Deviants of all stripes for the safety of mankind or they could be bureaucrats, jockeying for political power, and striving to define the ideological future of the Union as a whole.
The espionage genre offers another set of opportunities, though the main problem is that conventionally, most spies work alone. This problem can be circumvented by making each character a specialist in a different skill necessary for successful missions. This requires coordination between the players at character creation, and not every group would be up to it, but the potential rewards are immense.
The Foundation series, by Isaac Asimov. Dr. Seldon's theory of psychohistory would make a good paradigm for any Ivory Tower theoretician, and the Second Foundation, while a little too psionic for a standard Technocracy game, offer good inspiration for a secret conspiracy of advanced social scientists.
Macroscope, by Piers Anthony. One of this author's less absurd titles, it tells the story of what happens when the product of a secret government program to enhance human intelligence escapes and seeks to solve the mystery of an alien transmission that destroys the minds of Earth's greatest scientists.
The Story of Philosophy, by Will Durant. An absolute must for any member of the NWO, this classic book takes the reader on a guided tour through 3000 years of western philosophical thought.
The Art of War, by Sun Tzu. Absolutely essential reading for any Technocrat, the book's philosophy of victory without conflict is especially applicable to the NWO.
The Core Ordinarily, I wouldn't recommend this piece of sci-fi schlock, but the movie can actually be kind of fun if you try to match up the main characters to different Conventions and Traditions (no credit for spotting the Virtual Adept. It's just too easy).
The James Bond movies. This one is almost too easy. Q-Division's gadgets make good inspiration for . . . Q-Division gadgets, and Bond's impossible stunts can easily be explained away as skilled use of Enlightened procedures.
Alexander Dmitrivich Plenov
Background: Alexander Dmitrivich Plenov was born in 1885, the son of Russian agricultural peasants. Despite having no formal education, he taught himself to read and write with the aid of books "borrowed" from his landlord's private library. By the age of six, he was already composing sophisticated poetry, and by the age of ten, he completed his first full length epic.
The young prodigy's talent might well have gone unnoticed had it not been for a chance encounter with his landlord one late autumn day in 1901. Young Alexi, by this time a strapping young agricultural laborer, made a habit of spontaneously composing poems to pass the tedious hours in the field. Your landlord heard those poems and was entranced by their beauty. So convinced was he of the literary value of Alexander's work, that he generously offered to pay for the young peasant's education.
After he got his first taste of university education, Alexander abandoned literature for history and economics, eventually joining the growing revolutionary movement. Like many potential revolutionaries, he ran afoul of the Czar's secret police, and was exiled to Siberia.
It was there that he met a member of the NWO, who recognized his potential Enlightenment and recruited him into the Technocracy.
So began a now legendary career as a front line operative. Alexander rubbed elbows with Lenin and other famous revolutionaries. He canvassed Europe after the first world war, drumming up support for the League of Nations. He spied for the Allies in World War Two.
In the early 70's, Alexander started to feel his age and put in for transfer to the Ivory Tower. Now he teaches a new generation of Operatives with his characteristic mix of scathing wit and homespun peasant wisdom.
Image: Even though Alexander appears to be a man in his early 80's, he is still a physically intimidating specimen. Nearly seven feet tall, in his youth he was rumored to be able to bend steel with his bare hands, and though his strength is but a fraction of what it was, it's still quite formidable.
Alexander has smouldering black eyes that burn with a intense analytical intelligence. Such is his skill in Enlightened psychology, and so fearsome is his appearance that he can often strike fear in an enemy (or unruly student) with nothing more than a well-aimed stare.
Roleplaying Hints: You have little tolerance for foolishness or weakness, and have no compunctions about humiliating someone who earns your ire. Aside from that, you're a pretty easy going guy who loves nothing more than a good joke. It's not your fault if others' interpret your sense of humor as needlessly cruel; they're simply too sensitive about their own foibles.
Background: Originally created as part of a Brave New World - type social experiment in one of the Deep Universe colonies, Elena was intended to be a mindless doxy clone. The experiment didn't work as intended, and in the chaos of the social disintegration, Elena Enlightened.
Despite the Progenitors' pleas that this unusual phenomenon be studied in detail, she was immediately transferred to Earth for training as a member of the NWO. Her training went well, but her genetically enhanced sex-drive caused a great deal of trouble.
It didn't take her long to sleep her way through a significant portion of the compatible Union personnel, her lack of understanding of conventional human relationships earning her quite a few enemies along the way.
Her sexual escapades got so out of control that high-ranking Technocrats had to step in and put a stop to them. She is currently off-limits to all Union members, and must expend all of her considerable energies on seducing and subverting the Technocracy's enemies.
Image: Elena was genetically altered at conception to be superhumanly appealing, and it shows. Her pale, almost albino skin and hair only add to this effect. Often, when she is particularly excited, it's possible to smell the super-pheremones that trail thickly behind her wherever she goes.
Roleplaying Hints: You don't really understand normal humanity, and get really confused about people's extreme reactions regarding sex. You've been trained to exploit these reactions, though, and have no problem using Procedures revolving around sex appeal, even if you don't quite get why they work.
Even though you're an unusually independent and willful construct, you're a construct nonetheless, and are more comfortable following orders than issuing them. Disloyalty to the Technocracy has honestly never crossed your mind.
Knight in Black Glasses
Quote: Listen, freak. If you want to hurt those people, you'll have to go through me first.
Prelude: You always knew you were destined for greatness, even as a child. The knowledge that history was saving you for something special made you something of a social recluse. When the other children were outside playing, you were indoors, reading the heroic myths of bygone ages.
You especially liked the stories of King Arthur and the knights of Camelot. The idea of bringing order out of chaos, of holding yourself to a higher standard than the common man, of risking everything for the sake of a righteous cause resonated with your young heart.
As you grew older, you became more worldly, and the dreams of your childhood faded, but your commitment to serving others did not. Your high grades and excellent verbal skills were enough to guarantee a lucrative career in the private sector, but you decided instead to join the FBI as a special agent.
For the most part, it was decidedly unromantic work. The never-ending memoranda and mountains of paperwork were slowly grinding down your spirit, until one day the Bureau discovered a serial killer with a penchant for Arthurian symbology, and suddenly your minor in medieval literature didn't seem so useless after all.
It took eighteen months to find the bastard, but they were nothing compared to the eighteen minutes after you had him cornered. You found him in front of some podunk library, standing over the body of his latest victim, and holding some sort of weird, glowing sword. What happened next is something of a blur, but after a long ten minutes that stretched to an hour, all your backup was dead.
The killer would point his sword at a car, and its gas tank would explode. He'd point it at a person, and their gun would misfire. Within moments, the two of you were alone, and you were at his mercy. He proceeded to tell you how you were so much better than the "sleepers" and how he was going to take you to meet his "order."
So you shot him.
Soon after that, you were transferred to another division, where your new supervisors introduced you to world much wider than you ever expected.
Concept: You're a bit idealistic, but you're not stupid. As far as you're concerned, the Technocracy's mission is akin to a holy crusade, and you'd sooner die than falter in your duty. Your background in the humanities allows you to understand the Traditions better than most, and your police training helps you deal with deviants that get out of hand.
Roleplaying Tips: Always, always, always, the welfare of the masses comes first. After that comes the welfare of your teammates. You couldn't live with yourself if they got hurt or killed because you didn't pull your weight.
Volunteer for difficult or dangerous assignments. If you don't do it, it'll just get passed onto someone else. Though the realities of the field often interfere, whenever possible follow a strict code of conduct.
Your opponents in the Traditions are mostly barbarians and terrorists, but a few have honor. Treat those with respect, even if it only means a quick and painless death.
Enlightened Science: For Mind and Entropy procedures, you rely on your well honed people skills and astounding luck, though as a college-educated individual, you understand the rudiments of psychology and probability theory
When you first started your new assignment, you undertook a six week training seminar on biofeedback and autohypnosis. The Life procedures you learned there gave you an unprecedented understanding of your own physiological processes, something that allows you to survive wounds that would flatten an untrained individual.
Quote: I can't believe I used to like those people.
Prelude: As a young adult, you wasted the best years of your life in a drug-addled quest for "enlightenment." Your "awakening" at an overcrowded rave was just another step in the wrong direction.
The Cult of Ecstacy welcomed you with open arms (and that's not all), but under their influence, all the worst aspects of your personality were given the freedom to run rampant. For years your life was nothing more than a continual exercise in extreme narcissism and mindless pleasure seeking, punctuated by brief periods of sobriety that lasted just long enough to allow you to sabotage some Technocratic operation.
That state of affairs might well have continued indefinitely, had you not been caught. In retrospect, your capture was inevitable. You never really planned your missions, relying more on prophetic ability and chemical enhanced ballsiness to see you through.
When the cyborg with the Primium skeleton knocked you senseless, you expected the worst. When you awoke, strapped to a bed, in a bright white room, you expected worse than the worst, but it never came.
The room was in a Technocracy hospital, and the straps were to keep you from hurting yourself while in withdrawal. Progenitor tech and NWO psych purged your system of addiction - and you slept through the whole thing.
After that, you had a nice long talk with the NWO agent waiting by your bed, wherein you discovered that most of what you've been told about the Technocracy was complete and utter bullshit.
Now, you work with the Ivory Tower to combat ignorance and drug use, having finally found your place in a faction that offers you meaning and dignity instead of pointless hedonism and self indulgence.
Concept: You're a smart kid who's made some bad choice. Now that you've been given a second chance, you're eager to make up for lost time. The Technocracy doesn't really trust you yet, so you don't have any responsibilities more crucial than maintaining an Ivory Tower digital library, but that suits you just fine. Your post gives you plenty of time and opportunity to pursue the education you neglected in your youth. It's only a matter of time before you take the collegia by storm.
Roleplaying Tips: The Technocracy saved your life. Even today, after all you've seen, it still sounds strange. Nevertheless, your loyalty to the Union is absolute. You've seen first hand the degeneracy of the Traditions, and you don't ever want to go back.
You're more streetwise and savvy than your average Ivory Tower bureaucrat, but not nearly as educated. Hide your insecurity about your own ignorance by putting on a tough front, but ask questions when you think you can get away with it without looking stupid.
As an ex-Traditionalist, you scoff at any of your colleagues that suggest going easy on them. You get especially angry if someone offers you drugs or alcohol. Finally, read anything you can get your hands on - it's almost as if your thirst for knowledge has replaced other, darker addictions.
Enlightened Science: As a former member of the Cult of ecstacy, you still have the occasional prophetic dream or vision, but you now realize there's nothing magical about it. It's merely your subconscious mind reasoning out problems while you sleep. You hope to one day understand this faculty well enough to direct it consciously. Aside from that, you hope to master Enlightened psychology, to better contribute to the Ivory Tower's pursuit of knowledge.
Quote: Getting in was easy, but then again it always is for someone with my unique talents.
Prelude: You were always something of an ubermensch. You managed to be an all-state athlete in three sports while maintaining a 4.2 GPA. You were the president of any organization you cared to join, and you joined them all. You volunteered in the community, held a part time job, and always had a date for Saturday night. More amazingly still is that you managed to accomplish all this without provoking the resentment and disgust of your fellow students.
With a resume like that, it comes as no surprise the Technocracy would try and recruit you, even if you never became Enlightened. At first, when the "government agent" approached you about coming to work for his department, you didn't like the idea. You have to admit though, his negotiation technique was quite persuasive: when you named an outrageous salary for someone just out of high school, he doubled it.
Naturally, you accepted, and it turned out the agent knew you better than you knew yourself. You took to the training like a fish to water, and towards the end, something unexpected happened. You achieved Enlightenment.
This precipitated another round of training where they taught you the really exotic techniques. After that, you went to work for the Union, walking the halls of power, spying on important government officials, and subtly acting to discredit those that stood in the way of the Technocracy's goals.
Now, in the wake of the Reckoning, your chain of command has vanished, and you're place in the uncomfortable position of having to act on the information you collect.
Concept: You are the proverbial jack of all trades. Your wide variety of skills leaves you prepared for nearly any mission contingency, though you're even more effective if you're backed up by the proper specialists. Your real strength is you immense personal charm that allows you to bluff your way through any situation.
Roleplaying Tips: Your entire life, you've had a latent love of danger. Now that you risk your life on a daily basis, your thrill-seeking nature has increasingly come to the surface. You're happiest when dodging an ambush, jumping out of a moving vehicle, or seducing the spouse of a powerful mage.
Life as a spy has accustomed you to weaving elaborate deceptions, a trait that has carried over into your personal life. You lie almost out of habit, and few people know the real you.
You support the Technocracy's goals, of course, but ultimately you give little thought to the ideological consequences of your missions. The most important thing to you is completing your assignments with professionalism and competence.
Enlightened Science: Your skill with Forces procedures makes you deadly with even innocuous objects, and you have an almost instinctual talent for stealth and mimicry. Your use of Mind procedures in social situations almost goes without saying, and you're an expert at seducing enemy agents into betraying their organizations. Basic skill in Enlightened fist aid rounds out your personal abilities. You are also trained in the use of a wide variety of Technocratic devices, enabling you to make effective use of gadgets from different Conventions.
Quote: That may be what happened, but you still haven't told me what it means.
Prelude: You've always enjoyed taking things apart to see how they work. Your parents eventually gave up on buying you anything but Legos and blocks - you always wound up destroying anything else.
Everyone expected you to grow up to be a scientist, and you were inclined to agree, until your first year of college, when the unthinkable happened. You got an F. In freshmen History.
You were livid. You went to go see your history professor, some crazy Russian expatriate, and demanded an explanation. Hadn't you memorized all the names, places, and dates? Hadn't people with less knowledge gotten higher grades?
He explained that while you had an exemplary grasp of the facts, you displayed little understanding of the true nature of history. The reason others were allowed to pass was that they didn't have your potential.
Needless to say, you didn't really care for this explanation. You were about to go complain to the head of the department when the old professor challenged you to take his honors history class. Ordinarily, you would have told him to go fuck himself, but something about the way he spoke to you, simultaneously scornful and admiring, made you want to do as he asked - just to prove to the arrogant bastard that you could handle the challenge.
So, you took the honors history class, and you discovered a whole new passion. History was a puzzle of an entirely different order of complexity than you were used to. Compared to understanding the economics, religion, and culture of millennia-dead societies, the study of subatomic particle physics was child's play.
Now, you're one of the Ivory Tower's up and coming young theoreticians, and with the higher ranks vanished in the spatial static, you have nowhere to go but up.
Concept: You're a little sick and tired of people asking you to fix their computers, but you really can't blame them. You look every inch the stereotypical geek, complete with pocket protector and coke-bottle glasses. The only difference is that the book you carry is more likely to be Herodotus or Pliny than Asimov or Herbert. You tend to bore people with your endless talk of historical minutiae, but of course it's absolutely fascinating to you.
Roleplaying Tips: You're a very intelligent, but not very practical. Your powerful intellect seeks to find a greater order in the seemingly random interplay of events, and when it can't be done, you tend to withdraw, becoming irritable and confused. When you're in your element, however, you become unstoppable.
You enjoy flaunting your knowledge, and nothing makes you happier than getting into a big rollicking argument with your intellectual equals. Despite your skill with Mind Procedures, you tend to be a little clueless when it comes to personal relationships, assuming others are as thick-skinned as yourself and not bothering to consider their feelings.
Enlightened Science: You have a knack for discerning truth out of historical documents, and of using your knowledge of the past to make predictions for the future. You're also skilled in seeing patterns in complex data and noticing the influence of Reality Deviants on the course of human events.
Quote: The war for reality is fought on many fronts. Just because I do most of my work in front of a camera doesn't mean I'm not doing my part.
Prelude: In some ways your good looks and charming personality have been more of a curse than a blessing. Sure, you've always had plenty of people who wanted to be your friend, but few took you seriously as an individual. They all seemed to want you to conform to some abstract idea of how beautiful people behaved, and for years you accommodated them, gladly playing the airhead, all the while allowing your considerable intellect to whither on the vine.
You very likely would have squandered your entire life, unaware of your true potential, had a member of the New World Order not seen you anchoring the local news. Even through the medium of television, she could see your dormant Enlightenment, and resolved to bring you into the Technocratic family.
When you first met her, you thought she was just another fan. Then she started using big words and literary references that seemed aimed at making you feel stupid, and you thought she was just a bitch.
You were about to blow her off when she mentioned offhandedly that she ran a remedial education center for adults and she thought you'd make a prefect student. You should have been insulted, but she spoke to your long-repressed dreams. You agreed to attend her school.
At first it was difficult, but one day something clicked. All those nouns and verbs and participles that seemed so pointless and random suddenly came together into a harmonious whole. This was your Enlightenment, and soon after your teacher initiated you into the truth of the Technocracy. Your mentor has since introduced you to some of her contacts in New York and Hollywood, and with their influence, your career has really taken off.
Concept: You still do what you've always done, but now you're aware and in charge. You wield your good looks as a weapon against humanity's enemies, slicing away deviant belief through the force of superior sex appeal. Many among the masses recognize you on sight, and your face is an almost constant feature of the television landscape.
Roleplaying Tips: Hide your intellect. You find you work best when you're being underestimated. Your ideological commitment to the Technocracy gives you a sense of purpose most people in your position lack, and it shows in the quality of your work.
You have no objection to using your looks to your advantage, though you have nothing but contempt for people who fall for such juvenile tactics. In general, you prefer winning your enemies over to more violent approaches, though you have little problem with ruining a rival socially if they act against the Technocracy's interests.
Enlightened Science: You Mind procedures all rely on you astonishing beauty and well honed stage presence. This deadly combination is capable of influencing others' emotions and even changing their opinions on the issues of the day. Your skill with Correspondence procedures takes the form of your skill in front of and behind the camera. You're trained in the techniques necessary to keep the impact of your performances potent even when transmitted over the airwaves.
Epilogue: Walking the Edge
Paul Kramer stood over the smoking corpse of the recently slaughtered vampire. The thing was so sure of its power, so sure of its ability to move unnoticed among its human herd. In never even saw the attack coming, never suspected that its juvenile mind control tricks failed to work. Those were the most satisfying sorts of neutralizations, the ones where the monster had totally forgotten the danger of a vengeful humanity.
Paul was about to go call a cleanup team when he heard a noise in the alley behind him. Without turning, he angled his mirrorshades to see what it was. A wiry, black-clad young man crept through the darkness towards him. When the knife lashed out at Paul's back, he was already gone.
Deprived of his target, the would-be assassin lost his balance, tumbling forward into empty space. All it took was the click of the hammer on Paul's revolver to keep him on the ground.
"Who are you? What do you wand?" asked Paul, obviously in no mood for a complicated response.
"You're not getting anything from me, Greyface," said the assassin, obviously in no mood to give a complicated response.
"Well, that answers one of my questions. You're a Tradition mage. What's your relationship to the leech I just smoked?"
No response. Paul paused for a length of time that optimally conveyed the threat of imminent death before continuing, "Fine, don't tell me. It's not like I care what Reality Deviants conspire about in dark alleys."
As expected, this got a response from the prisoner. "I'd never conspire with that abomination. I was trying to follow it back to its lair when you interfered and ruined the whole thing."
"I see, and why would you want to do a thing like that? Do vampires have especially interesting interior decorating?"
"Don't patronize me, Greyface. 'There are more things on heaven and earth than dreamt of in your philosophy.' The vampire was part of a larger organization. I was hoping to discover some clue as to that organizations' leaders."
The man was obviously telling the truth; his voice betrayed none of the typical signs of lying under stress. Paul decided to take a chance. "I know where it made its lair. 32nd and Pine. I'm going to go call the cleaners now. You'd better not be here when I get back."
The assassin brushed himself off and headed deeper into the alley, but before he was completely gone, he stopped. "Why are you doing this," he asked.
Paul considered the question carefully before answering, "I do what needs to be done."