Disparate Plot

  • IMPORTANT: We don’t use the M20 writeup for the Disparates here. It’s partly because it was lazily written: They killed off the Disparates in late Revised (something which angered the Mage developer, Phil Brucato, at the time, because it was an edict from Marketing to make the game’s lore less confusing), yet they preserved them by adding their survivors to the Traditions. So the Celestial Chorus got Templars, the Order of Hermes got House Ngoma and House Solificati. The Kopa Loei and Bata’a went to the Dreamspeakers. The Wu Lung went to the Akashics, etc. Then M20 came along, and it re-introduced the Disparates as sects, but kept their mirror factions in. It’s just a mess, narratively. It’s unfun to write about.
  • Maybe the 20th Edition Traditions book is meant to address this. Although it has been like eight years now since M20 was released, and anything that book, whenever it gets published has to say, will likely not affect the metaplot here. Although, interesting mechanical bits and Merits will certainly be hoovered up.
  • Don’t ICly assume you know anything about the Disparate sects, or what they’re normally about, or what they get up to. They have come surging back in the last twenty years in the post-Reckoning chaos, where they are enormously benefiting from the current global cultural zeitgeist. Big ideas like the Traditions, the Technocracy or say, globalism, by the 2020s, have lost the shine they enjoyed during the 20th century. The average Polynesian Awakened in 2020 finds the Kopa Loei that caters specifically to them on an ethnic, religious and cultural level more appealing than the Traditions or Technocracy with their fixation on ‘big ideas’.
  • They are not remotely as organized as either the Traditions or the Technocracy. You can take everything White Wolf has written about how the Disparates are organized and completely ignore it. There are no current Disparate PCs, so no PCs would know the truth anyways. In fact, they’re not even really the same affiliation. Think of the term ‘Disparates’ as being used towards them with the kind of casual condescension that ‘Third World’ is used in geopolitical circles.
  • They don’t refer to themselves as the ‘Disparates.’ That’s chiefly a Tradition term. Technocrats call them NAMURDs. A somewhat more diplomatic way to describe them is as ‘Crafts’. In fact, the chief utility of ‘Crafts’ is as OOC shorthand to refer to them all… but it does get used by lazy IC scholars.
  • The truth is each sect has its own nuanced terminology that has nothing in common with each other. The Knights Templars and the Kopa Loei have less in common with each other than the Tradition and the Technocracy do. They don’t accept that they have any common identity with each other at all.
  • Again: They should not be considered a capital ‘A’ alliance. It simply doesn’t exist in our universe, which isn’t as constrained by White Wolf’s faction organizing tropes. They simply dislike the Traditions and Technocracy more than each other. They have absolutely zero desire to integrate, or form joint councils, or put some grand poobah in charge. The guys that wanted that? They all joined the Traditions a long time ago.
  • Most areas or cities tend to be the territories of various Crafts, with only a few members of other Crafts showing up. The Batini and Taftani dominate the Middle East. The Bata’a dominate much of the Gulf and Caribbean. The Kopa Loei dominate Polynesia. The Knights Templars thrive in predominant Catholic populations. Hollow Ones are the same peripheral pests they’ve always been. None of the Crafts especially like or trust them. In fact, no one trusts the Hollow Ones much at all in modern nights given the role they played in the Reckoning, which has made them an increasingly bitter and surly lot. By 2020, the Hollow Ones are less their own faction, than they are those who were either rejected by other factions or simply too anti-social to commit to something greater than themselves. There are exceptions, but not many.
  • Los Angeles is a bit more of a melting pot. An exception that proves the rule – but not by much. It is at the crossroads of several Crafts that have been historically interested in it, with a large immigrant (Persians, Armenians, Koreans, etc) and Catholic (Hispanics predominantly) population. It’s also where all the refugees, exiles and nomads from the rest of the country eventually end up, once driven west far enough.
  • Some of the Crafts are surprisingly numerous. They have seized their opportunity to come roaring back in the last twenty years, adapting with surprising alacrity to the opportunities of the 21st Century. They have found themselves better positioned in many areas of the globe to take a better and more nuanced advantage of the many current cultural zeitgeists electrifying the human race from the Arab Spring to the anarchy of Mexico. They enjoyed this opportunity because they had been focusing on their local communities and fixating on their own specific ethnic, religious, cultural and regional interests to the exclusion of the Ascension War for centuries. This is an era where that kind of focus is deeply rewarded vs a higher attachment to more lofty ideals of Ascension.
  • The Crafts don’t particularly like each other. As noted before, some of them are as different from each other as the Traditions and Technocracy are. There are no kumbaya drum circles among these exceedingly strange bedmates. However, It helps to have a common enemy or three. There have been temporary (lower case a) alliances made between various sub-factions of various Crafts in certain geographical areas, which can make them appear to the Traditions and Technocracy to have achieved some superficial, quasi-utopian unity. That is a mirage. All apparent cooperation among the ‘Disparates’ is founded strictly on the logic of “I against my brother. I and my brother against my cousin. I, my brother, and my cousin against the world.”
  • As such, they cooperate to a limited degree, in limited locales, because by and large, most of them dislike you. They hate the global ambitions and pretensions of the Traditions and the Technocracy. They hate what have you done in the past, and they hate what they suspect you want to do in the future. They are repelled by the Tradition’s ecumenicalism and the Technocracy’s secularism. Some Craft sub-factions are ideologically a bit more chill than others. Some are definitely not. Many of them see this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to turn back several hundred years of persecution by kicking both the Traditions and the Technocracy to the curb. If not necessarily violently, then at least in terms of the cultural war.
  • Don’t worry about which aspects of the Crafts remain true in this setting vs how they’ve shown up in others. None of you need to know that OOCly, since your characters are largely, ICly ignorant as to what to expect beyond what you experience in play.
  • TL;DR: They’re not a real alliance and they don’t form multi-Craft cabals. There is no grand conclave of Disparate Alliance leaders sagely conducting affairs and studying a map. They only care about their immediate environs. The Awakened of Mexico who can vaguely trace their origins to possible early medieval traditions of the so-called Knights Templars (now blended with a particularly ruthless, syncretic strain of Santa Muerte) are more likely to murder an old Italian guy who claims descent from the same ancient group than see him as one of their own.
  • Contact Sundance if you think your character should ICly have enough knowledge about these different groups to know something that you haven’t encountered ICly or isn’t in this post. There are some of you who know a lot more about individual groups of them (such as the Celestial Chorus Crusaders and the Knights Templars who view them as heretics.)