The Institute is a large campus, centred about the main buildings, a large complex of medieval-looking brick buildings around a big courtyard. Anybody knowledgeable in the occult studying the layout and decorations will soon notice odd allegories just about everywhere; mermaids holding alchemical symbols, frescoes depicting mans struggle against the five elements and small niches with idols of half-forgotten saints. Before the entrance, on two pillars, stands eight guardian wolves in etruscean style, forming two swastikas quite obviously filled with power. In fact, when the institute was built in the turn of the century, the Technocracy-loyal fraction of the Rosicrucians helped design it.
The Technocracy has given the institute a set of powerful nodes tapped from one of their main ley-lines. In return the mages have expressed their gratitude in decorating the subway station at the institute; along the walls important scientific laws and scientists are presented (especially Copernicus, Newton and Gallileo), and at the four corners they have placed symbolic sculptures corresponding to the conventions: The Progenitors are represented by a Icosahedron and Water, the Syndicate with a cube and Earth, the New World Order with a octahedron and Air and Iteration X with a tetrahedron and Fire. In the centre a big dodecahedron hangs from the ceiling of a cupola representing the Void Engineers (on the floor below is a schematic drawing of the properties of a black hole and its influence on space-time superimposed on a geometric drawing of the dodecahedron, suspiciously like a hermetic circle).
The Institute is for all practical purposes run by the School of Polhem under Technocracy supervision (they control the funding). The mages are members of the Swedish Association for Technological Development, housed in a discrete building on the campus (its logo is a simple cogwheel). The current Chairman is the world-renowned Professor Hannes Alfvén. The Alfven Laboratory is responsible for the Swedish part of the Technocracy program for developing fusion power, and houses a small test reactor. The professor hopes to be able to introduce useful and economic fusion into consensus reality, but has begun to notice that the Technocracy aren't as interested as they once was.
Despite the fact that he has been awarded with a Nobel prize for his research into magnetohydrodynamics, he isn't completely loyal to the Technocracy. He has publicly denounced nuclear power as dangerous, costly and an environmental hazard. He has written a satirical science fiction novel about the dangers of computerisation. And he has developed his own cosmological theory, which goes against all the models of the Void Engineers. Most of his colleagues regard him as a bit eccentric, maybe senile, and quietly wait for his successor. The only thing which keeps him safe is the strong support from the Void Engineers, who apparently still likes him. The Traditions have begun to become interested in him, and may want to try to recruit him.
The School of Polhem and the School of Swedenborg have a kind of
gentleman's agreement about not directly interfering with each
other. In fact, they get along much better than the other Traditions
and the Technocracy thinks. The School of Swedenborg mainly
interfere with the projects of the Technocracy, or invent theories
far outside of static reality, while the School of Polhem create
socially useful inventions and theories, but not always what the
Technocracy might want. Of course, from time to time individual
researchers cannot resist making fun of or subverting their
competitors theories, but this is usually more posturing than actual
attacks. What neither group fully realises is that the Technocracy
always seems to profit, whatever happens.
This is a cabal/virtual chantry of Virtual Adepts centred around
Scandinavian affairs. Its members may be anywhere, but most of
its activities centre around finding bugs and loopholes in the
Swedish system and using them in various ways. It can provide
new identities (most valuable in Sweden since the system of
personal numbers makes it harder to "disappear"), information
from police computers and similar things.
They meet only virtually in a system run on the chantry computers with Haugen as sysop. While they officially aren't involved in the internal politics of the chantry (they are not members, and are formally not allowed to even know of its existence), they know a great deal. Haugen has leaked quite a bit, and the group are watching things. So far they haven't done anything, but will if necessary supply mages they support with help or information.
The group is centred around and founded by Angel, a mysterious figure which so far nobody have evaded all attempts to discover its true identity. Angel never reveals if it is male or female, human, spirit or AI or where it is. Its e-mail address implies that its located at the uninhabited Bouvet Island in the south Atlantic, but that's probably only a red herring. In the web it manifests as a simple white sphere, always talking politely and exactly with people. Its goals and plans are as inscrutable as everything else about it. Several other members have done their best to trace Angel, but none have succeeded.
Like most Virtual Adepts, the group is rather anarchistic and is run
by consensus. Haugen is the Sysop, responsible for the hardware
and most software of the meeting place, but anyone can download
it to their own machines. Everybody listens to Angel, but he
certainly isn't a leader, more a kind of advisor everyone takes with
a big grain of salt. There are no major disagreements, since anyone
not content with how things are run simply leaves for another
team. But the members seldom agree on anything without fierce
debate and detailed simulations before deciding.
The Technocracy runs Sweden from Stockholm. They have done so
for 450 years. They gradually tighten their grip more and more,
slowly transforming the city into a tool for their total domination.
Currently around half of the Quintessence in Sweden are drained by
highways, powerlines and railroads and transported to Stockholm.
The main conduits are the E4 highway (which has replaced the
Brunkeberg-ridge as the main north-south ley-line) and the main
railroads. They all link together in a complex web of infrastructure,
which leads the Quintessence into the core of the city. Here they
have demolished all previous buildings and created a totally
technocratic area, where they have unlimited control.
Downtown, Hötorgs City, is a bleak place. The Technocracy doesn't care that much about appearances, and have let the area decay a bit. Its centrum is the plaza of Sergels Torg, a wasteland of concrete and glass. The plaza is cold and dirty, patterned in regular black and white triangles. Above it is a big fountain containing a big pillar of glass. This pillar is the focus for huge amounts of quintessence which have been patterned by the city, and now are broadcast across the nation again. The result is that the technocratic paradigm are imprinted into the very essence of everything in Sweden, forcing everything to obey the laws planned in Stockholm. Even the small villages in the far north look not too unlike the suburbs of Stockholm.
The Traditions avoid downtown at all costs. Its a monument to the power of their enemies, and under constant surveillance. Myriads of cameras record everything, and the Technocracy probably watches through them. Nils Ulv have theorised that the junkies and criminal elements which gather around the plaza are not always human, but could be camouflaged HIT-marks. Everything has a resonance of grey stability, squashing all thoughts about freedom and creativity. Consumption and conformism abounds.
The Technocracy has several vital installations in the area, mainly underground and linked to the subway, the departments of the government and the main bank buildings. In the empty back streets of Hötorgs City many smaller constructs work, camouflaged as official organisations or corporations. The worst thing is that there is almost no difference between the Technocracy and the sleepers here. This is the centrum of Technocracy power in most of Scandinavia.
There are however some other places the Traditions know are probably Technocracy constructs. One is Wenner-Gren Center at the northern end of Sveavägen avenue (which is the main ley-line of the city, connecting the construct with the pillar at Hötorgs City). Its a single skyscraper placed at an old node, filled with offices of minor corporations, strange foundations and other unknown groups. This is the centrum of the Syndicate. From the bar at the top floor they can look down over the city they run.
On the other side of the city, directly south, is the tax department skyscraper, an imposing building in grey concrete placed by the second largest ley-line, Götgatan avenue. This is probably the headquarters of the New World Order according to the traditions. What they don't realise is that imposing buildings doesn't mean the leaders are there. The real central constructs are anonymous buildings nobody would notice.
The Technocracy in Sweden is so powerful that it has become practically invisible. Its ties to the government and industry are so close, that there is absolutely no difference. When the mages of Convivo Holmiensis discuss the New World Order, they discuss the Government. The Syndicate is the Market. Iteration X is the Industry. The Progenitors are the health-care system. The only group not represented is the Void Engineers, who are mainly active in Kiruna in the far north instead. The technomancers are never seen. They might not even exist...
The conventions, however, are very active. The most powerful convention is the New World Order. However, inside the convention there is a minor schism between one fraction of hard-liners, which wants to turn Sweden into an overt police-state, and the Social Engineers, who has run things the last 60 years. The Engineers prefer a more indirect approach, and wants to create a society so stable and safe that no citizens will ever want anything else, or be able to imagine it. They would be closer to their goal if not the Syndicate had interfered.
The Syndicate is nearly as powerful as the NWO. For a long time it had been slightly subordinated to the NWO political agenda, but now it has begun to act on its own, trying to wrest control over the future of Sweden from the other convention. This is a subtle battle, which in a typical Swedish manner isn't acknowledged by any side (they still cooperate excellently on almost all levels). The Syndicate made great progress after the assassination of prime minister Olof Palme, which severely weakened the Social Engineers But the Engineers managed to regain their control, and now both groups discreetly manipulate events against each other. The only fraction which remains outside the struggle is the hard-liners of the NWO, who covertly support both sides and gain power from it.
Iteration X has been allied with the NWO for a long time, so long in fact that it has become almost a part of it. The convention doesn't care about the struggles between the NWO and Syndicate, except that it complains that its industries get hurt economically by the "fluctuations". Its current main project is the SAAB JAS Gripen fighter plane, which is intended to usher in a new era of computer- assisted fighters. Unfortunately, the project has suffered two dramatic and very visible paradox backlashes, and is now very over budget. However, the NWO supports it, at least for the moment. They don't have any obvious large constructs in Stockholm.
The Progenitors keep a low profile, and mainly deal with pharmaceutical research right now. A sizeable fraction of the convention has left for the NWO, where they run the sizeable Health Care System together with the Social Engineers (despite the attacks from the Syndicate). They have one of their main constructs at the Karolinska Institute, located at another ley-line (Solnavägen).
The Void Engineers have very little presence in Stockholm. Their
main interest in Sweden is Esrange Space Centre in Kiruna in the far
north. Some temporarily arrive in Stockholm to meet with the other
conventions or the School of Polhem, but that's all.
There are few independent mages in Stockholm, neither tied to the
Convivo Holmiensis, Technocracy or the Royal Institute. Few stay
(or survive) long. There are persistent rumours of an Euthanatos
somewhere, who discreetly kills elderly people with no friends or
Sometimes Verbena from the countryside appear, but they usually avoid the city for good reasons. It embodies everything they fight against. They hate the Technocracy, and still remember how the Celestial Chorus forced Christianity onto the Swedish people.
There have been one independent mage in Stockholm of
international note, the author August Strindberg. His attacks on the
establishment interested the Traditions and infuriated the
Technocracy already when he was a sleeper. During a visit to Paris
he experienced his so called Inferno Crisis, and awakened. He began
alchemical and occult experiments. The Alchemists and School of
Swedenborg were very interested in him, and wanted him to join,
but his paranoia made him suspicious of their representatives. He
returned to Sweden, where he apparently calmed down somewhat.
The Traditions didn't dare to come too near him (besides, they were
too busy fighting among themselves), although they tried to
support him in his battles against the establishment. Unfortunately
the Social Engineers managed to partially subvert him in the end,
using him as a symbol for the growing working class movement.
Despite this, many Tradition mages find his play "A Dreamplay" (Ett
Drömspel) one of the most significant magickal plays ever,
containing many deep secrets.
There is another chantry nearby which often gets involved with the
mages of Stockholm, in the old city of Uppsala about 50km north of
Stockholm. In fact, Uppsala has a much longer tradition of mages
than Stockholm, dating back of the days of the great pagan temple.
After the defeat of Asatru, the Celestial Chorus had their main
chantry of Sweden there, until it was destroyed by the reformation.
Afterwards, some mages grouped around the university and
church, and formed a much more modest and discreet organisation
which survives today.
The Consociato Upsaliensis, as they call themselves, is a loose alliance of mages around Uppsala. They lack any central chantry, but usually meet at the university. The organisation is much looser and smaller than the Convivo Holmiensis, and lacks the rigid rules. Members help each other if they wish, but they are not forced to. It has a leader, who is informally elected every tenth year. The leaders duties are mainly to represent the group and coordinate it in times of danger. The current leader, Professor Axel Vikland, is an influential Rosicrucian of the old school, as opposed to the more political modern Rosicrucians like Master Söderberg.
The atmosphere is rather academic, and most members are from the Order of Hermes and School of Swedenborg. However, its the centrum of the remaining Swedish Choristers, who have slowly begun to regain strength (Forcemaster Krook often visits and helps them, although he is a bit worried that they might be too aggressive). The mages of the Stockholm and Uppsala chantries usually get along quite well, and its not uncommon that they visit each other or exchange apprentices. However, the Consociatio Upsaliensis is secretly wary of the Convivo Holmiensis, which they fear one day might attempt to try to incorporate them.
They have some reason to believe this. The countryside around
Uppsala is rich in magickal power, especially linked to the old
pagan sites and runestones. When the Celestial Chorus took power,
they concentrated towards the cathedral, where much of it still
collects (unfortunately the Technocracy now run the Church, and
they gain the Quintessence). Still, there are many nodes and holy
sites in the area, and the Consociatio knows or controls several of
them. Unfortunately the Technocracy isn't their only competitor;
the pagan Children of Odin have laboured for centuries to gain control
over many of their old holy sites, and sometimes mages from
Stockholm seek power in the area.
The mages of the chantry don't know anything about vampires.
Most don't believe they even exist. The older mages of the Guild of
Mercury know the truth, and a search through the old annals might
reveal a thing or two. The few kindred of Stockholm are adept at
hiding, and won't let anybody find them. Most of them have never
heard of mages either, but some of the older vampires know of the
existence of the chantry, although not its location or exactly what
powers the mages have.
The last time a kindred became involved with the mages was
before the turn of the century, when one discreetly approached
Tiberius de Wrang . Although Tiberius have almost forgotten about
the discussion he had with a pale stranger about the animating
essences of life, the being have discreetly watched him through the
years, waiting for its chance.
There are no faeries around Stockholm. The Technocracy long ago
realised that cold iron repels them, so they built the great railroads
across Sweden, imprisoning the faeries and other beings into the
The mages of Convivo Holmiensis have very little contact and
experience of wraiths. There are a few haunted buildings in the old
town, but nothing they have worried about. The only exceptions are
the ghosts sometimes haunting the chantry, but they are quite
benign and seem to only repeat their last actions of desperately
trying to save the chantry from the fire. However, there have been
some rumours among the mages about some kind of "ghost-
Technocracy" running the afterlife. The source of these rumours or
their truth is not known. Most mages ignore them.
Anders Main PageAnders Sandberg / email@example.com