“We are part fire, and part dream.”
– Firedog, Cheyenne
When the Storm came outsiders assumed the Dreamspeakers would be consumed by it, but the members of this Tradition have survived for the last century under worse threats. The Conflagration, the pogroms, and finally, the Storm were the surprising but not entirely unexpected. Now that the Storm is over, the Dreamspeakers must balance the preservation of the cultures they serve, and finding ways to advance their own notions of Ascension within an Awakened society that hasn’t always valued them.
While the Storm was an unprecedented spiritual catastrophe, that merely means that nothing similar has happened for several millennia. The most ancient legends tell of disasters that were at least as bad, and the Dreamspeakers have always found ways to cope with the new conditions. Most mages belonging to other Traditions assumed that the Storm would greatly reduce the power and effectiveness of the Dreamspeakers. Within days of its occurrence, however, Dreamspeakers began finding ways to safely travel to and from the Umbra. Word of these useful techniques quickly spread, and suddenly Dreamspeakers were in demand. The Tradition generously acted as guides and created Shallowings that other Traditions could use to enter the Umbra. As younger mages began to meet Dreamspeakers networks began to form, and the old rivalries just seemed out of date. A lot has changed in Sleeper culture concerning indigenous people (who make up the majority of the Tradition), and the work the Dreamspeakers have done is finally being recognized.
Baruti leader and Tasygan was chosen to represent the Tradition. During the Storm, she gained something of a cult following first among the Dreamspeakers, and then later, among Awakened society writ large. Those seeking hope among the hard times of the Storm found comfort in the stories she told about how the world could be. There are rumors that a small delegation of Technocrats heard one of her stories. Tasygan is the eldest primus on the New Horizon Council, and she has considerable respect for her age and wisdom.
- Baruti – Almost all Baruti believe that destruction caused by the Age of Reason are the harbinger of a comming catastrophe, and that the start of the Storm marks a big change that is imminent. They took it as a sign that they were cut off from their Dream Libraries, and found ways to store and transmit their sacred stories. During the Storm, the Baruti were at the forefront of those attempting to maintain any connection to the Umbra. Rather than succumb to sorrow at their losses, the faction pulled itself up by its bootstraps and got to work. Where they were once solitary they now gather in collectives to produce a work or a series of works. These are often short-lived, but some have generated long-term relationships that go beyond the mentor-apprentice bond. Older Baruti still maintain the traditional ways, but younger members have transformed the faction into something more technomantic. Now that the Dream Libraries are once again accessible, the Baruti can be found in academia and mass media infusing the 21st century with ancient stories. More traditional Baruti stick to their old ways, but can be found visiting chantries asking for stories of the Storm and cultivating a record of Council history. Over the last 20 years, the hunger for storytelling in all forms, from novels to blogs to comic books, has only grown. The Baruti have easily doubled their numbers. All of this is a means to an end, however. When the changes come, and the Baruti believe they will, then they be ready as guides, chroniclers, and teachers of both Sleepers and the Awakened. The Baruti think they see what they Sphinx is up to. Various literary theories abound, but mostly they seen the Sphinx as a form of flash fiction designed to reinvigorate a flagging Council. Some buy into it, other’s don’t, but to the Baruti it is just another story.
- Common Focus
- Paradigms: Creation Is Innately Divine & Alive, Everything is Data (well Stories), All the World’s a Stage, Ancient Wisdom is the Key, Embrace the Threshold
- Practices: Craftwork, Reality Hacking, Shamanism, Bardism
- Artwork, Computers, Crossroads and Crossing Days/Moments, Dances, Gestures, Postures, and Other Movement Practices, Food and Drink, Eye Contact, Fashion, Group Rites, Languages, Mass Media, Meditation, Music, Social Domination, Thought-Forms, Voice and Vocalizations, Writings, Inscriptions, and Runes, Internet Activity, Computers
- Common Focus
- Independents – The Storm hit the Independents hard. Totems vanished or were hard to reach, and many of their numbers remain missing or presumed dead. Independents began seeking each out online, and what was once a catch-all category of disparate mages is now organized and unified faction. The Independents are forming cabals and chantries with each other in order to take stock of the Storm’s wake, and search for their missing members. Technoshamans lead mixed technomantic cabals in the Digital Web, and maintain lines of communication. A new day has dawned for the Independents. Independents remain independent when it comes to the Sphinx. As a faction they leave it up to the individual members to decide whether to follow it or not. There has been talk online about considering the matter formally, but so far it remains something to discuss in its own threads.
- Common Focus
- Paradigms: Creation Is Innately Divine & Alive, Tech Holds All Answers, It’s All Good – Have Faith, Ancient Wisdom is the Key, The Ancestors Watch Over Us, but Independents don’t have any agreed upon Paradigms. You make it up as you go along.
- Practices: Crazy Wisdom, Shamanism, Medicine Work, Ancestor Worship, Animalism, Invigoration, Bardism, Elementalism
- Instruments: Anything from computers to transgression to Tricks & Illusions. Independents are taught by spirits so the instruments they use are strange and personal.
- Common Focus
- Ghost Wheel Society – The coming of the Storm has been a mixed blessing for this group. As always, the Ghost Wheel members are now adapting and regrouping. This catastrophe killed off and exiled a number the leaders of this faction, but now that the Storm is over, man displaced spirits are interested in making deals with skilled willworkers. This allowed the Wheelers to collect favors and prestige among other Dreamspeakers and the Traditions at-large who were badly in need of spirit contacts.Like the Independents, the Wheelers have organized themselves on the Internet, and lines of communication are far more open than they were previously. This has allowed the faction to replenish its numbers, and thier practicular brand of magic is appealing to the Sleepers. Still, the faction remains as disorganized. Attempts at unification or structure as the Independents have have meet with jeers and laughter. If Wheelers won’t give up their autonomy for a Totem, why would they do so for some shaman in Oregon who thinks they know what’s best?
- Common Focus
- Paradigms: Creation Is Innately Divine & Alive, Tech Holds All Answers, All Power Comes from God(s), Turning the Keys to Reality, Tech Holds All The Answers
- Practices: The Art of Desire/Hypereconomics, Shamanism, Gutter Magick, Medicine Work, Animalism, Bardism, Elementalism, Crazy Wisdom,
- Instruments: Weapons, Armor, Computers, Labs & Gear, Brews, Potions, Powders, and Other Concoctions, Crossroads and Crossing Days/Moments, Devices and Machines, Artwork, Elements, Fashion, Gadgets and Inventions, Offerings and Sacrifices, Symbols, Voice and Vocalizations
- Common Focus
- Keepers of the Sacred Flame – Many Keepers were already on the brink of extinction, and Storm and Pogroms did them no favors. Keepers now face a crisis point where they must find new ways to keep the flame of their venerable traditions alive. As legacies threaten to vanish, the practice of magically selected, suitably-souled outsiders being artificially grafted to waning traditions has increased, and these cultural tensions threaten to fracture the Keepers. There is a high rate of failure with students being passed on to other members of the Tradition. Still, the few successful apprentices ride in on a wave of broader cultural enthusiasm for de-colonization and delving into history. Apprentices, outsiders or not, have been tasked with finding ways to preserve languages and cultural legacies. The Baruti have been actively involved in helping the faction in preservation and access to technology. Arguments continue over conservation versus cultural evolution with no clear answers in sight. The Sphinx further divides the faction with many shamans wanting to strike back at the Technocracy for past wrongs. These come from both the elders and younger members, but for different reasons. Elders often witnessed first hand the excesses of Technocracy pogroms or the impact their Consensus has had on their cultures. Younger members are discovering their history (or at least a history) for the first time, and hear their outrage echoed in the transmissions of the Sphinx. Others see the Sphinx as just a distraction from the important work of preservation, the climate crisis, and moving forward.
- Common Focus
- Paradigms: Bring Back the Golden Age, Creation Is Innately Divine & Alive, All Power Comes from God(s) (or spirits), Ancient Wisdom is the Key, The Ancestors Watch Over Us
- Practices: Craftwork, Shamanism, High Ritual Magick, Medicine Work, Ancestor Worship, Animalism, Elementalism, God-Bonding, Invigoration
- Instruments: Artwork, Blessings or Curses, Blood and Other Fluids, Bones, Skin, Organs, and Other Remains, Bodywork, Brews etc., Crossroads and Crossing Days/Moments, Dances, Gestures, Postures, and Other Movement Practices, Music, Elements:, Fashion, Food and Drink, Gems, Stones, and Minerals, Languages, Offerings and Sacrifices, Ordeals and Exertion, Prayers and Invocations, Symbols, Social Domination, Transgression, Thought-Forms
- Common Focus
- Read Spear Society – When the Council called it quits the Red Spear Society called them cowards. They broke away from the Traditions, and began preparing for the fight the other Traditions did not have the heart for. The Storm changed everything. The Grandfathers were immolated in the Storm’s winds or impotently locked into Horizon Realms. This gave the Spears the opportunity they needed to rethink their failing strategies and regroup. Gendered nomenclature was updated as dislocated Spirit Smiths, Wheelers, and Independents flocked to the Red Spear Society when the Sphinx’s transmissions began. The Red Spears have spent the last 20 years updating their methodologies to the modern age while retaining the spirit of the past. The pogroms were the last straw for the Red Spear, and they say never again. When Technocracy threats appear the Red Spears are prepared to assemble, and are determined to make their anger hurt. They are rivaled only by the Akashayana as being the militant members of the Traditions.
- Common Focus
- Paradigms: Might Is Right, A World of Gods and Monsters, Creation Is Innately Divine & Alive, One-Way Trip to Oblivion, All Power Comes from God(s), Ancient Wisdom is the Key, The Ancestors Watch Over Us, Tech Holds All The Answers (an emerging trend)
- Practices: Martial Arts, Craftwork, Shamanism, Ancestor Worship, Animalism, God-Bonding, Elementalism
- Instruments: Weapons & Armor, Blessings or Curses, Bones, Skin, Organs, and Other Remains, Crossroads and Crossing Days/Moments, Dances, Gestures, Postures, and Other Movement Practices, Elements, Fashion, Eye Contact, Gadgets and Inventions, Management & Human Resources, Offerings and Sacrifices, Ordeals and Exertion, Prayers & Invocations, Body Modification, Internet Activity, Transgression, Social Domination
- Common Focus
- Spirit Smiths – The coming of the Storm was less of a disruption for the Spirit Smiths than for many, as few Makers spent large amounts of time in the Umbra. Still, some of their oldest and most skilled shaman-crafterswere killed or exiled beyond the Gauntlet for the period. As a result of these changes, the younger and more innovative Spirit Smiths were free to experiment with new technologies. Today, the Spirit Smiths are the largest faction of Dreamspeakers, and they are more active than ever. As they see it, if you can’t beat them, join them. While they have no love for the Technocracy they are far more pragmatic than their elders. They lead mixed cabals of technomystic or technomantic Traditions with an agenda to hack the Consensus, and give it a soul once more. Spirit Smiths haven’t taken a stance on the Sphinx, but are happy to provide Wonders to other members of the Tradition who have.
- Common Focus
- Paradigms: A World of Gods and Monsters, Creation Is Innately Divine & Alive, Tech Holds All Answers, All Power Comes from God(s) (Spirits really), Ancient Wisdom is the Key, Transcend Your Limits, Embrace The Threshold, Turning the Keys to Reality
- Practices: The Art of Desire/Hypereconomics, Craftwork, Shamanism, Hypertech, Weird Science, Elementalism, Crazy Wisdom, Reality Hacking
- Common Focus
- Solitaries – Angry or discouraged shamans sometimes choose to remove themselves rather than cause others more pain. The numbers of Solitaries have increased since the Storm, and the faction has developed sanctuaries for shamans to heal from Quiets, injuries, or stress. Many of the Tradition’s elders entered the ranks of Solitaries upon returning to the world after the Storm.
Kha’vadi in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is a city with a thousand stories, and the Dreamspeakers of LA are trying to tell them. LA is one of, if not the most important media capitol in North America, or even the world. Its reputation for superficiality and glamour would appear to present a barrier to the Kha’vadi, but nothing could be father from the truth. Shamans, medicine people, and spirit-talkers and walkers from all over the globe make Los Angeles their home. The Dreamspeakers could be siad to commune most deeply with the city herself having discovered a dream version of it in the 1950s. It is within this dream that the Kha’vadi pursue their own surreal version of Ascension.
The Kha’vadi have never had much in the way of collective organization. There was never any will to knit the diverse Tradition together under one chantry. Kha’vadi pursue their own agendas, following the call of the spirits in their own way, but they work shoulder to shoulder with the other Traditions in LA. The spiritual reflection of LA is a rich tapestry of tales told and untold, something the Tradition have attempted to make use of, but only the Kha’vadi have mastered. Baruti can be found in the universities, in the writer’s rooms, and on the streets spinning tales and creating futures. Ghost Wheelers can be found making deals with spirits of automobiles, fame, money, or even fog. Members of the Red Spear Society are an increasingly martial presence at chantries. The Keepers of the Sacred Flame pursue indigenous rites and support their people.
Members of the Traditions gather at George’s 50s Diner. Powerful spirits dwell there for unknown reasons, and members looking to contact the Kha’vadi need only to make contact with them to be lead to their fellows.
- Spirit Deals and Chiminage
- Dreamspeaker players may take Spirit Deals & Chiminage as an Esoterica specialty.
- Making spirit deals otherwise functions as described in How Do I Do That? starting on page 90.