In Mage: The Ascension, the Technocratic Union (or Technocracy) is a world-wide conspiracy that employs a technological paradigm to pursue an agenda promoting safety over freedom; however, it claims amongst the lower echelons of its membership to pursue an agenda opposed to superstition and faith-based belief systems. Furthermore, it claims to champion science while rejecting any innovation not approved by its own leadership. In this way, its agenda prevents effective criticism as it can always claim its ideological opponents are themselves against the benefits of science, many of which the Technocracy itself opposes while claiming to uphold. It is the primary villainous organization of the game.
In place of mysticism, the Technocracy uses Enlightened Science as its way of describing magical phenomena. Its current tools are the advancement of scientific methods and principles (along with the technology this produces), the spread of capitalist market-forces, and the application of political power. While many Technocrats (being members of the Technocracy rather than pawns controlled by it) use magic, few accept that their actions are anything other than the successful application of a little-known scientific principle.
Not all Technocrats are mages (roughly one in ten can use true Enlightened Science in the form of reality-altering magic, and perhaps as many as half can use simple supernatural abilities such as psychic powers), and what defines a Technocrat is more a matter of the absolute belief in science, commerce, and politics as the foundations of a Utopian worldview. As a scientific meritocracy, however, the Technocracy's highest ranks are occupied entirely by mages. In addition to using Enlightened Science, the Technocracy makes use of hypertech, or technology that is not yet accepted by the Masses and is therefore subject to Paradox. Hypertech, in many respects, is no different from the creation of enchanted items by more traditional mages.
A central aspect of the Technocracy's mission is to define the rules by which reality operates, and their definitions (as a matter of principle) abhors the idea of consensual reality. Individuals who violate the rules laid down by their scientists are labelled Reality Deviants, because they are both exceptions of the rules and defy consenusal reality. Because of its strong stance against reality deviancy, the Technocracy is essentially at war with all supernatural beings in the World of Darkness, including vampires, werewolves, and other mages. In practice, this conflict is a cold war, and the Technocracy has had far more success in proving to the Masses that supernatural beings do not exist rather than eliminating them. Many beings, such as changelings and 'bygones' (mythic beasts such as dragons, manticores, and harpies) will simply cease to exist if the world stops believing in them. However this is perhaps counter productive in certain supernatural creatures such as werewolves and vampires, who are not affected by perception by the masses and in fact, benefit from remaining hidden (a primary concern of World of Darkness vampires being the maintenance of their Masquerade).
The Technocracy was founded on a central philosophy known as the Precepts of Damian. Though interpretation of the Precepts varies considerably, and some Technocrats privately (or secretly) dismiss specific subsections, they nevertheless offer the ideological backbone to the Technocratic Union and are the principles to which Technocracy leadership refer to determine policy.
The Precepts of Damian
- Bring stasis and order to the universe. Predictability brings safety. Once all is discovered and all is known, Unity will be won.
- Convince the Masses of the benevolence of science, commerce and politics, and of the power of rationality. Conflict and suffering will be eliminated in our Utopia.
- Preserve the Gauntlet and the Horizon. Chaotic individuals who open gateways with impunity threaten the stability of our world. Uncontrolled portals also allow outside forces, such as Nephandi, access to our world. This must never happen.
- Define the nature of the universe. Knowledge must be absolute or chaos will envelop all. The elemental forces of the universe must not be left to the caprices of the unknown.
- Destroy Reality Deviants. Their recklessness threatens our security and our progress toward Unity.
- Shepherd the Masses; protect them from themselves and others.
The Technocracy is divided into five Conventions defined by their philosophies toward science and their scientific specializations. Each Convention is further divided into any number of Methodologies, which represent further specializations. Each Convention is an independent hierarchy, and the five branches of the Technocracy are only unified by a central command authority known as the Inner Circle and their broader administrative based, Control. Control is responsible for the formation and direction of mixed teams of Technocrats from multiple Conventions called amalgams. Amalgams are the primary operational unit of Technocratic agents. In addition to the amalgams, each Convention maintains its own staff, scientists, and operatives who are beholden to Control but do not receive their orders from its offices. The ideological differences among Conventions, in addition to this compartmentalization, has led to some degree of behind-the-scenes conflict within the Technocracy, and several secret societies have resulted from these conflicts.
Conventions & Methodologies
- Iteration X: Dedicated to the adoption of the precision, speed, and unity that Machines offer over Flesh.
- BioMechanics: Focus on using cybernetic implants to achieve a man-machine interface
- Macrotechnicians: Focus on the construction of optimal equipment for other Iterators.
- Statisticians: Focus on the use of predictive models and simulations to anticipate future events.
- Time-Motion Managers: Focus on the maximization of efficiency and the design of information technology.
- The New World Order: Dedicated to covert concealment of the supernatural and the Technocracy from the eyes of the Masses.
- The Ivory Tower: Performs the bulk of Control's administrative tasks and directs the Union's policies.
- Operatives: Focus on using covert operations and counter-intelligence within the Technocracy.
- Q Division: Design and create the equipment used by the New World Order.
- Watchers: Focus on surveillance and media control to monitor the masses.
- The Progenitors: Dedicated to mastery of human control over biological processes.
- Genegineers: Focus on harnessing the power of applied genetics. Also known as Mutagenic Engineers before the 1950s.
- Damage Control: Cross-Methodological group operating under Genegineer jurisdiction, continues the previous work of the FACADE Engineers in crafting and engineering genetic monsters, tailored viruses and other biological warfare.
- FACADE Engineers: Focus on biological implants, grafts, and other alterations. Also known as the Forced Adaptation and Clone Alteration Developmental Eugenicists.
- Pharmacopoeists: Focus on the development and control of drugs and narcotics.
- Syndicate: Dedicated to the total control of currency and commerce as a means of changing reality.
- Disbursements: Responsible for the management and distribution of the Technocracy's finances.
- Enforcers: Responsible for ensuring, through force and guile, that Syndicate interests are protected.
- Financiers: Responsible for control and manipulation of the world economic market.
- Media Control: Responsible for infiltration and control of the commercial media.
- Special Projects Division: Responsible for the Syndicate's equipment and miscellaneous projects (see The Pentex Conspiracy below).
- Void Engineers: Dedicated to the study, colonization, and eventual control of realms beyond Earth.
- Border Corps Division: Responsible for repelling invasions from beyond the reaches of Earth.
- Dimensional Science Evaluation, Administration and Training Committee (or DSEATC): The ruling committee of the Void Engineers, this remote body makes decisions for the rest of the Convention.
- Earth Frontier Division: Responsible for exploring extreme environments on Earth, such as the ocean deep, frozen poles, rain forests and jungles, inaccessible mountain-tops, and underground caverns.
- Aquatic Exploration Teams: Also known as "Aquanauts", or "Squids", dedicated to mapping and exploring the sea-bottom and deep seas.
- Cryogenic Specialists: Also known as "Snowdogs", perform surveys of the arctic and Antarctic regions.
- Hydrothermal Botanical Mosaic Analysts: Also known as "Weedwhackers", explore the deep jungles and rain forests of the world.
- Inaccessible High Elevation Exploration Teams: Map and survey the world's tallest mountain sides.
- Subterranean Exploration Corps: Also known as "Groundhogs", the spelunkers and cave explorers of the EFD.
- Neutralization Specialist Corps: Responsible for identifying and eliminating Reality Deviants.
- Department of Psychological Evaluation and Maintenance: Treats Void Engineers and allies driven mad by the horrors of the Deep Universe.
- Enforcement Training and Conditioning Agency: Implant safety conditioning into spacebound personnel (and deactivates unwanted NWO conditioning).
- Pan-Dimensional Corps: Responsible for the exploration and study of the Deep Universe, the Digital Web and other alternate dimensions, including time itself.
- Research & Execution: Responsible for the development of dimensional science, the Technocratic study of the Umbra.
- Cross Convention Methodologies: A few methodologies are not limited to a single convention.
- Panopticon: Formed in the wake of renewed assaults on Technocracy bases, Control authorized the creation of a cross convention methodology dedicated to internal security.
- The Cassandra Complex: Dedicated to the use of arcane predictive models to foresee and avert crises within the Technocracy.
- The Five Elemental Dragons: Not one but five societies that evolved separately from the Technocracy, but now conceal themselves within it in Asia.
- Miao Guan: Dedicated to direct mental control of the self and of others to maintain peace and order.
- Saensaeng: Dedicated to maintaining art, honor, and cultural purity in the face of globalization.
- Taiping Tianguo: Dedicated to the pursuit of individual freedom and entertainments.
- Zaibatsu: Dedicated to the absolute elimination of all supernatural entities.
- Zi Guang: Dedicated to seeking the perfection of the human form.
- The Friends of Courage: Lone operatives who fight as vigilantes against both corrupt Technocrats and Reality Deviants.
- The Harbingers of Avalon: Dedicated to maintaining the original vision of the Order of Reason
- The Pentex Conspiracy: A broad conspiracy based in the Syndicate's Special Projects Division involving collusion with the Wyrm-controlled corporation, Pentex.
- Project Invictus: Dedicated to destroying the Pentex Conspiracy and its Reality Deviant sponsors without revealing this corruption to the rest of the Technocracy.
Officially founded under the banner of the Order of Reason in the 14th Century, the original Union was very different from the one presented as contemporary in Mage: The Ascension. Also known as Daedalians, its original members at the time of ratification were as follows:
- The Artificers: Pursuers of technological advancement.
- The Cabal of Pure Thought (also called the Gabrielites): Advocates of a unified Christian church.
- The Celestial Masters: Scholars of the heavens.
- The Cosian Circle (also called the Hippocratic Circle): Pursuers of the advancement of medical science.
- The Craftmasons: Pursuers of moral, spiritual, and physical perfection
- The High Guild: Pursuers of a new trade-based system of commerce.
- The Solificati: Pursuers of higher truth through alchemy.
- The Void Seekers: Explorers of unknown places.
The Solificati were almost immediately purged for their over-reliance on alchemy, while the religious beliefs of the Gabrielites and Craftmasons led to their eventual elimination from the Order. In the meantime, a shadow faction called the Ksirafai developed, and worked behind the scenes to aid in these eliminations while shaping the Order of Reason into what would eventually become the Technocratic Union. The Artificers became Iteration X, the Cosians became the Progenitors, the High Guild became the Syndicate, and the Celestial Masters and Void Seekers unified to become the Void Engineers. The Ksirafai shaped policy until they arranged for their own disappearance, leaving the New World Order (a secular descendant of the Cabal of Pure Thought's principles of information-control, said to have been founded in their modern form by Queen Victoria) to take their place as masters of covert operations, espionage, and counter-intelligence. White Wolf Game Studios describes this history in detail in its historical setting for Mage, entitled Mage: The Sorcerer's Crusade.
With the advent of the industrial revolution and the information age, the Technocracy sought to adapt by allowing the formation of the Electrodyne Engineers (experts with electricity and ether) and the Difference Engineers (experts with electronics and information technology). Both, however, eventually rebelled against the Technocracy, becoming the Sons of Ether and the Virtual Adepts. These two groups now belong to the Traditions and are reviled by the Technocracy as Reality Deviants for having embraced technomancy.
It is important to note that the Technocracy's own account of history does not square with history as told by the Traditions. Just as the future is uncertain, the Technocracy's own work at rewriting history brings into question whether the past is equally uncertain.