A long list of groups who want to get control over some aspect of the world, if not the whole thing... or maybe just transform or destroy it utterly.

One idea I want to reinforce is the notion of an occult underground. Sure, there are Innerwalkers wandering the Netherworld and duking it out across time... but most occult bookstores have a handful of customers who know something useful, and who might be Up To Something themselves. When even the big, organized movers and shakers are caught up in turbulence, actions of the little guys can butterfly-effect their way up into making a real difference. The fate of that oak grove out near Hollister owned by a techno-druid who made it rich on stock options in Silicon Valley could very well be important to keeping the Technocracy and the Architects in check. Of course, figuring that out requires a talent for picking out the threads of synchronicity... just what postmodern magick is good at.

The kinds of symbolic power that fuel the Unknown Armies-style magic are themselves superb plot hooks. Check out the Schools of Magick for inspiration: an anarchomancer attempting to generate a Significant Charge is a serious threat to society and could provoke whole cascades of trouble with secondary effects as different people and groups attempt to take advantage of the chaos. A duel between an urbanomancer and an anarchomancer could set the stage for all kinds of occult trouble coming out of the woodwork.

I also want to downplay the really big organizations from the World of Darkness and Feng Shui a bit. You don’t need to have transformed animals on the board of every Fortune 500 company for the Order of the Wheel to be an impressive force, nor does the Syndicate of the Technocracy need to be secretly behind all major organized crime blocks. The really big players are currently coping with the problem that they have to hold the territory they have, and they can’t afford to reallocate enough forces to any one location. They can’t even follow the “crunch all you want, we’ll make more“ philosophy without risking waking the sleeping tiger of mundane fear.

The Good

Even the good guys have their problems. The enemy of your enemy may not be your friend...

The Dragons

(Feng Shui.) Defenders of freedom; they get along fairly well with the Garou and the Traditions.

The Experts of Justice

(Giant Robo.) A team of superpowered Interpol agents from the Shizuma juncture.

The Garou

(Werewolf: the Apocalypse.) Werewolf eco-warriors. They get along fairly well with the Dragons; the Traditions enjoy raiding Garou power sites entirely too much for there to be any overall alliance with them.

The Traditions

(Mage: the Ascension.) Wizards who are trying to survive amidst the other factions. Mages with this level of power are one in a million in the modern world: that means there are probably six thousand, world-wide, and a major metropolis is likely to have a handful. A convention for every single member of a given Tradition— assuming you could get that many together in one place— is likely to only be five or six hundred people. The Akashic Brotherhood are mystic martial artists who have carried the practice all the way up to a sorcerous level. Celestial Chorus are theurgists, and the Euthanatos are an Eastern death-cult with a mission of karmic recycling. The Cult of Ecstasy are esoteric mystics seeking to trascend reality in ecstatic states, giving them a reputation for really intense parties. The Dreamspeakers are classic shamans, and the Verbena old-style witches. The Order of Hermes are classic Western qabalists and alchemists. Sons of Ether are experts in technomagick for whom bubbling brightly colored fluids, arrays of blinking lights, and arcing Jacob’s Ladders function as spinning prayer wheels. Virtual Adepts perform sympathetic magic using virtual reality.

The Eden Cabal

(Cybergeneration.) In the 2027 cyberpunk juncture, a cabal of retired edgerunners called the Eden Cabal coordinates thousands of CyberEvolved youths to overthrow the tyranny of the multinational megacorporations in a CyberRevolution. Do they understand that their hidden ecological J-Parks are nascent Feng Shui sites, and that their assault on global media is a struggle for command of the collective unconscious? Even experienced Innerwalkers may have difficulty introducing such notions to people who grew up in Virtuality...

The Bad

A crew of people who think they have the world’s best interests in mind. Really.

The Architects of the New Flesh

(Feng Shui.) The oppressive bureaucracy that wants to rule the world through arcanowave technology and control over Feng Shui sites. They tend not to get along with the Technocracy because their methods are too magical, but many of the things they do aid the Technocracy due to their similarities.

The Ascended

(Feng Shui.) Transformed animal defenders of the status quo; they want magic to be rare and will fight to keep it that way. They can get along— nervously— with the Camarilla. Their conspiratorial organization is known as the Lodge from without, and the Lodge serves as patron to the Order of the Wheel and the Jade Wheel Society, which are respectable business organizations, as well as to the Pledged, the human operatives of the transformed animals. (The Lodge seems to be a reference to the Freemasons— check out a Masonic page on Anti-Masonry Points of View for inspiration— who are related to the Shriners, Knights Templar, International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, Eastern Star, Job’s Daughters, DeMolay International, etc., and the Order of the Wheel to the Rotary Club. The Elks and Lions Club and Fraternal Order of Eagles fit in all too well...)

Big Fire

(Giant Robo.) An international conspiracy dedicated to taking over the world, from the Shizuma juncture. They have an impressive collection of giant robots, but the Magnificent Ten, their leaders, are extremely dangerous; their diversity is like that of player characters. As such, they use too many different techniques to get along well with groups like the Technocracy or the Architects.

The Camarilla

(Vampire: the Masquerade.) Vampires who hide behind a Masquerade to avoid waking the sleeping tiger of mundane fear. With the Ascended, champions of the status quo. They work to keep their numbers at about one vampire per 100,000 populace.

The Guiding Hand

(Feng Shui.) The batch of neo-Confucians who want their turn at being an oppressive bureaucracy. They don’t get along with the Akashic Brotherhood for a variety of reasons, including the fact that the Akashics like magic and that the Hand are too concerned with worldly matters for the Akashic mystics.

The Lotus

(Feng Shui.) Evil sorcerers seeking to rule the world through command of feng shui sites. The Traditions think they’re nuts and the Technocracy wants them stamped out.

The New Inquisition

(Unknown Armies.) Alex Abel is a charismatic billionaire who wants to make the world a better place according to his own scheme. He has good intentions, but he’s been letting his end justify his means and is slowly becoming corrupt. The members of his New Inquisition all get their backgrounds erased, a new identity with good benefits, and a crash course in the occult. He would get along with the Camarilla if his minions didn’t tend to stake vampires, and the Ascended and the Technoracy if he weren’t so eager to employ hedge mages, and the Traditions and Dragons if he weren’t a megalomaniac. He’s a new loose cannon in a world full of entrenched supernatural special interests, and carving quite a swath as his agents learn about the supernatural lay of the land.

The Technocracy

(Mage: the Ascension.) The oppressive bureaucracy of technomancers that wants to change reality itself to a dull, mechanistic cosmos. At moderate levels, they are natural allies of the Ascended, but as they advance their goals they have trouble doing so without aiding the Architects. The Technocracy are not fully aware of the nature of the Ascended, but the Lodge and the Order of the Wheel share membership with the New World Order and the Syndicate.

The Ugly

They just don’t care; they want to tear everything up and start over. Or maybe just tear everything up...

The Black Spiral Dancers

(Werewolf: the Apocalypse.) Hideous mutant werewolf slaves to the Wyrm, the force of Entropy.

The Jammers

(Feng Shui.) Rebels from the Architects’ future who want to destroy all feng shui sites to free humanity from the dominion of chi. (This might have unpleasant side effects, or merely be impossible.) They sometimes ally with Garou eco-terrorists and Marauders, and tend to regard Wyrm-corrupted people as a bit too deranged even for them.

The Marauders

(Mage: the Ascension.) Insane wizards who want to undermine reality itself, granting ultimate freedom to those who can survive in such an environment at the expense of the billions who could not. Individual Marauders have been known to ally with Jammers and Garou. They usually attempt to promote the power of the Wyld.

The Nephandi

(Mage: the Ascension.) Insane wizards who want to destroy reality, possibly taking some time to corrupt it first. Some who can scrape together enough sanity pose as Jammers or Sabbat. They are natural allies of the Black Spiral Dancers in promoting the Wyrm.

The Sabbat

(Vampire: the Masquerade.) Vampires who believe their rightful place is out in the open and on top of the food chain. They act mostly at an unconscious level advancing the goals of the Wyrm and terrorizing the Collective Unconscious.

The Ambivalent

Factions with their own missions who might or might not want to rule the world, but are a bit more tolerable without necessarily being pleasant.

The Four Monarchs

(Feng Shui.) Former rulers of the Earth, in exile in the Netherworld. They shift between different factions as they perceive advantage. Their power bases are largely lost to past critical shifts, but they still have many minions in the Netherworld and incredibly powerful Shaping abilities.

The House of Renunciation

(Unknown Armies.) The House is a magical place (not necessarily correlated with any part of our familiar three-dimensional universe, nor the Netherworld) in which people change, renouncing their past and turning around to follow a new path diametrically opposed to their old one. The House simply inverts the most important aspect of your self-identity, and your return to the mortal world a changed being. Archetypes who have been replaced exit via the House of Renunciation, wearing their old bodies but with heads filled with a jumble of information about the modern era, a shadow of their former omniscient understanding of the universe. They follow the opposite of their former archetype as passionately as they did the archetype before they ascended. Its agents occasionally lure people through the House for their own reasons...

Mak Attax

(Unknown Armies.) Grass-roots Marauders with a much better strategy: rather than inflicting magic on people externally, they’re inflicting it on them by giving it to random customers of fast-food restaurants, working more through the Collective Unconscious than by directly promoting the Wyld.

The Sect of the Naked Goddess

(Unknown Armies.) The Naked Goddess is a porn star who Ascended to the Invisible Clergy in the middle of a sex act performed before live cameras in the late 1980’s. The Sect is a group of obsessive followers of this Goddess, led by Daphnee Lee, a camerawoman who was on the set when the Naked Goddess Ascended. who are desperately trying to track down as much information about her as possible in order to emulate her. They have quickly developed a form of hedge magic called pornomancy. In the process, they’re attempting to accumulate occult power, and are quite good at following patterns in synchronicity. Thus far they don’t seem to have a larger agenda than seeking power for its own sake, but they may develop one as they become aware of the other players in the game.