Akashic Brotherhood, AKA Akashayana
Affinity Spheres: Life or Mind
Focus: "Magick" is actually self-perfection and cosmic harmony. To master such Arts in the proper Way (Do), a person must expand awareness in all things, clarify thoughts, focus the body, and subdue emotional confusion. Asian alchemy, craftwork, faith, yoga, social dominion, and martial arts training allow a Brother to channel life energy (chi) toward astounding feats of physical, mental, and energetic achievement. As a result, common paradigms include Bring Back the Golden Age, Everything’s an Illusion, It’s All Good, and occasionally Might is Right.
Tradition Bonus: Following the Practice of Do, Akashics may learn (and teach, if they are so inclined) Do as a Fighting Style. They also gain the meditative mind merit, and pay new dots x2 on brawl and melee.
Affinity Spheres: Prime, Forces, or Spirit
Focus: The Arts flow not from personal achievement or intent but from faith, unity, and harmony with the Divine Will. Singing – especially many voices joined in harmony - provides this Tradition’s oldest and most important instrument. Chorister magick tends to manifest in light, fire, warmth, harmonic vibrations, and sublime music. Faith and High Ritual form the core of Celestial Chorus practices, so the group’s paradigms include Creation is Divine and Alive, Divine Order and Earthly Chaos, and, of course, It’s All Good - Have Faith.
Tradition Bonus: Choristers, due to their relationship with the One, enjoy a +2 social bonus with astral entities. Additionally, entities which are considered "Cursed" by god or otherwise oppose the "One" feel uneasy around the chorister, granting the chorister a +2 to intimidation rolls when dealing with such entities. They also gain the Higher Calling merit for free.
Cult of Ecstasy, AKA the Sahajiya
Affinity Spheres: Time, Life or Mind.
Focus: "Get out of your own way" sums up the Ecstatic paradigm. To touch the Lakashim ("Divine Pulse"), a person must blow open the doors of inhibition and fear. Magick is the communion between a focused mind and the Lakashim - a dance of possibilities directed by crazy wisdom. To perform it, an Ecstatic guides Ojas (life force) energy with conscious but flexible intentions. Ideally, a mage operates in a flux state in which neither time nor inhibitions block the life force – aware of what she’s doing and yet open enough to do anything.
The Cult’s infamous substances and stimulations are meant to blow open mental doors and blast away obstacles to Enlightenment. That’s the theory, anyway. In reality, those same tools can become obstacles in their own right. Smart Ecstatics, then, keep shifting their tools around to avoid stagnation and dependence on "the same old shit." Crazy wisdom is the core of this group’s many practices, which include everything from gutter magick, yoga, and martial arts to cybernetic hypertech. And so, paradigms include Creation's Divine and Alive, Everything is Chaos, It’s All Good, and quite often Everything’s an Illusion.
Tradition Bonus: The Cult of Escasy is widely known as the drug cult, but they are more than a bunch of drug riddled mages - the tools they use are all tools designed to help open the mind, and connect to their own personal spirituality. They automatically gain the Entheogenic Synesthesia and Toxic Resistance merits. Additionally, because of their focus on extending their senses and opening themselves up to the world aroumd them, they gain a discount on the dream merit (which is usually focused through - you guessed it - recreational drug use)
Dreamspeaker, AKA the Kha'Vadi
Affinity Spheres: Spirit; Force, Life, or Matter.
Focus: Medicine, not magick, is the essence of Dreamspeaker Arts. An avatar is Howahkan: the mysterious voice that speaks to those who are ready to hear it. Sorcery is an egotistical and ultimately destructive Path that leads people away from the Good Road of harmony with the World Spirit. To reach past the illusions of mortal life, one must listen to Creation’s heartbeat, face death, and remain open to the voice through which all life speaks. Practice-wise, ’Speakers favor medicine-work, craftwork, shamanism, crazy wisdom, and faith. A few pursue cybernetics, yoga, Voudoun, and witchcraft, but their companions often shun them. Common paradigms include A World of Gods and Monsters, Creation's Divine and Alive, Bring Back the Golden Age, and sometimes Might is Right
Tradition Bonus: As may not surprise most, Dreamspeakers pay half cost for the Totem Merit. Additionally, by petitioning the appopriate spirits the Dreamspeaker utilizes augmentation, allowing them to undergo a transactionary payment between themselves and the spirit to create effects beyond the realm of their normal capabilities, to a limit of 2 ranks higher than their current sphere rating.
Euthanatoi, AKA The Chakravanti:
Affinity Spheres: Entropy; Life or Spirit.
Focus: As masters of life, death, Fate, and Fortune, the Euthanatoi view magick as an extension of the Cycle. By turning the Wheel, these mages control probability as well as the forces of mortality. That turning focuses on the cyclical nature of existence, and so a Chakravat uses practices and instruments like crazy wisdom, faith, High Ritual, medicine-work, reality hacking, martial arts, shamanism, and occasionally Voudoun to direct those energies toward the desired end. Yoga has an essential place in this Tradition’s Arts. Divine Order and Earthly Chaos might be the group’s most common paradigm; others include Everything’s an Illusion, Creation's Divine and Alive, and even, believe it or not, It’s All Good - Have Faith.
Tradition Bonus: Thanatoics are often well versed in the art of both the good and the little death. As such, they gain the Tolerance for Biology merit for free, and pay new dots x2 for Firearms, Weaponry, and Intimidation. They also gain 2 dots in fighting styles of the Euthanatoi's choice.
Order of Hermes
Affinity Sphere: Forces provides the core of Hermetic training. Certain Houses favor Life, Matter, Mind, and Spirit as secondary pursuits, but Forces is always essential.
Focus: A Hermetic mage commands nothing less than the keys to the universe. And so, these consummate scholars master ancient and arcane rituals through constant study and intense practice. Tapping elemental currents through incantations, signs, seals, paraphernalia, and secret languages, the Hermetics are – by necessity – secretive and suspicious. They command tremendous power, after all, and their rivals lurk everywhere.
Alchemy, dominion, and High Ritual form core practices within the Order’s ranks. No Hermetic mage lacks such training. Certain Hermetics add chaos magick, the Art of Desire, hypertech, craftwork, weird science, yoga, and occasional malficia to that core, pursuing such paradigms as A Mechanistic Cosmos, Divine Order and Earthly Chaos, Might is Right, Tech Holds All Answers and, naturally, Bring Back the Golden Age.
Tradition Bonus: Order of Hermes benefit from the power of True Names - any mage who does not know their True name trets the mage, regardless of distance and other factors, as "no connection" on the correspondence table. Further, she subtracts her Arete from successes rolled to penetrate her Ward Effects. Discerning a Hermetic's True Name requires at least Mind 4 (And an understanding, as well as some degree of acceptance of the power of True Names) with no less than one success per level of the target's Arete - and that's before dealing with whatever defenses the Hermetic May have. Hermetics also benefit from.
Sons of Ether, AKA The Society of Ether
Affinity Spheres: Matter; Forces or Prime.
Focus: Science! Or, more accurately, an imaginative grasp of natural principles channeled through established physical and energetic technologies. Earthier than their Virtual Adept colleagues, these technomancers prefer to employ Science that can be seen, held, demonstrated, and confirmed even by the eyes of fools. To that end, Etherite Science is showy, romantic, and gracefully futuristic, even if that future looks more like classic science fiction than like mundane science fact. As a practice, an Etherite may use anything that seems to work. Most Scientists, however, favor gloriously esoteric variations on alchemy, craftwork, cybernetics, hypertech, reality hacking, and, of course, weird science. Paradigms focus largely around concepts like A Mechanistic Cosmos, Everything is Data, Might is Right, and Everything’s an Illusion, but they usually boil down to Tech Holds All the Answers.
Tradition Bonus: Etherites pay new dots x 2 for crafts and science, and pay half cost for the purchase of Devices that they themselves do not make (requisitioned for favors from the Ethernautical Society). They gain +2 dice to any roll designed to create their own Devices (technomagical, specifically).
Affinity Spheres: Life; Forces.
Focus: Verbena Arts concentrate on doing a lot with very little. Their tools are practical as well as symbolic, with uses that reach back to antiquity. “Pagan” in every sense of that word, these magicks hold deep ties to Nature. Shape-changing, transformation, healing and injury, divination, purification, growth and withering, natural cycles, and the tricky ways of Fate are witch-folk specialties.
To all Verbenae, Creation's Divine and Alive. Because Creation, life, and divinity aren’t particularly nice, other common Verbena paradigms include A World of Gods and Monsters, Might is Right, Bring Back the Golden Age, and Everything is Chaos. Witchcraft is the group’s core practice, with certain individuals favoring Voudoun, dominion, weird science, chaos magick, yoga, martial arts, High Ritual, cybernetics, the Art of Desire, craftwork, medicine-work, and even organic hypertech.
Tradition Bonus: Verbena pay only new dots x2 for Medicine and Survival. Additionally, they gain the Holistic Awareness and Tolerance for Biology merits for free. Verbena pay half cost for familiars. Finally, Verbena gain the ability to use and teach others (trusted individuals, ONLY those of the Old Ways) the Paths of the Wyck, provided they have the required Spheres.
Virtual Adepts, AKA the Mercurial Elite
Affinity Spheres: Correspondence/ Data; Forces.
Focus: Everything is Data. Thus, in this Mechanistic Cosmos, every tool or practice an Adept employs focuses on shaping, altering, manipulating, gathering, storing, collating, influencing, or destroying information. Such tools range from the obvious computer gear (generations ahead of conventionally available tech), clouds, holograms, implants, nanotech, energy drinks, and sense-altering stimuli to the understated chic of dark hoodies, manga-influenced haircuts, fashionable androgyny, and provocative masks. All Adepts, however, keep the implements of their technomagick handy. For many Adepts, computers are a more important part of one’s identity than any attire or accessory. An Adept’s personal devices are almost always the most heavily customized and stylized elements of that Adept’s ensemble.
Perhaps the most accomplished reality hackers alive, this Mercurial Elite also employs various forms of cybernetics, hypertech, weird science, martial arts, chaos magick, gutter magick, and sometimes shamanism, Voudoun, crazy wisdom, or witchcraft with a technological flair.
Tradition Bonus: Virtual Adepts use the Data Sphere rather than the correspondence sphere, which grants them special advantages when dealing with matters of the digital web. Adepts pay new dots x 2 towards computers, and half cost for contacts. Due to their natural tendency to erase their digital footprint, Virtual Adepts gain 2 dots in the Anonymity merit for free.