|Name:||Hollow One, Hollower|
|Plural:||Hollow Ones, Hollowers|
Disparate Alliance (M20)
Hollow Ones are a group of mages who have either been orphaned or rejected the Traditions, but refused to join forces with the Technocracy. Instead, they are a subculture of ragtags and antiestablishmentarianists who take what they like from every tradition and fuse it together. As a result, they have no dominant Sphere.
Although disparate and lacking one cohesive Paradigm, the Hollowers are largely dedicated to the ideal of Romance. They are careful to stress that this is not the "grocery store novel, picture of Fabio on the cover" type of romance, but the story of gothic horror, tragic romance and mysterious whimsy. Hollow Ones are likely to invoke their magic using "watered down" versions of classic spells, or rote spells borrowed from other Traditions. For instance, while a Hermetic mage might use his properly dedicated Pentacle of Mercury in a ritual, the Hollower might simply draw a star on a quarter with eyeliner and use that.
Hollow Ones refuse to believe in Ascension, or that Ascension can only be achieved when the Council of Nine casts away their prejudices and form a truly united powergroup. As the Order of Reason sought to bring all concepts under its heel, most Hollow Ones decided long ago that every member should learn magic on an individual base.
Hollow Foci Edit
At its core, Hollow magic encourages each mage to invent a unique understanding of magic. Each Hollow One's paradigm is one of a kind, and therefore, each style of magic is going to differ.
A careful and controlled demeanor is the key to leaving impressions with others. All radical forms of makeup and dress are common for subtle Mind Effects such as Empathic Projection and Psychic Impression. These uses are largely coincidental. The ritual of "putting on your face" (subtly activating the No-Mind) is common and acceptable as a form of mentally readying oneself for a situation.
During many Hollowers' early days of facing the supernatural on a day basis, a subconscious reality-check anchor is invested into a trusted garment of self-expression. Leather jackets painted with all manner of saying or symbols or even full leather trench coats are common for males. Cloaks, special "soul-self-symbol" necklaces and even dresses or pairs of magic boots are common for females. These symbolic expressions are actually Prime foci for the Hollower and more than just a mystical focus; many Hollowers treat these essential garments with as much significance as any Hermetic's True Name.
Even more deeply symbolic than symbols on clothes are symbols on the self. The Hollow perspective on tattoos is not unlike Euthanatos or Dreamspeaker primitive ritual. All manner of mystical symbols hide on the skins of Hollow Mages under pop culture inks. The "marking" of a Hollowers' mystical pedigree is written on their skin. Elders can often look at another Hollower's skin and know as much about them as a Hermetic could size up one of their own kind with full name and title.
Depictions of the mage's perceptions of their Avatar are common. As they grow in power, so are symbols of their technique and style. Mind practitioners often have a few Eyes on their body. Entropy users have grim reapers, playing card, dice, or skull illustrations, though females often like ankhs or spiders from Fate's web. Drops of blood or illustrations of muscle and bone can identify Life mages. Time specialists would never do anything as obvious as hourglasses or watches. They prefer images of old time gods or candles. Forces users tend to be obvious as multi-colored flames wrap their arms and chests. Matter mages often have a type of Circle: a pentagram or pentacle, coin or medicine wheel, or maybe an Ouroboros. For practitioners of Correspondence, the key isn't the symbol but its placement... often on the feet, fingertips, or knuckles. Spirit mages have, perhaps, the strangest images. Symbols of the spirits they traffic with can look like logos. Odd, diamond-shaped skull and crossbones motifs often show up on those who practice necromancy. Finally, the Hollow One Prime mage is the one with the ink and the gun.
Jewelry EditJewelry is a particularly common foci for Hollowers. Icons dangling on the ends of black cords are symbols of self-perception. Charm bracelets, earrings, nose rings, etc... all with certain symbolic representations for the mage in question, make subtle but potent foci. In may ways, these techniques have been borrowed and eclectically added to by the Hollow Ones. Prayer beads, hermetic pendants, pentacles around the neck, and other forms of Tradition practices inspire their magical accessorizing.
Symbolic Trinkets Edit
"Whatever works" makes a good Hollower motto regarding the finding of suitable spell components in a pinch. Instead of finding a static spell formula that must be rigidly confirmed to, they just grab metaphors they see in their environment, creating weird, on-the-fly ritual gestures. If they need to do a Samhain-like ritual in March, they decorate the house with Halloween decorations. They might unleash Entropic mayhem using a rubber Kali finger puppet or the healing of Eostre with plastic grass and a pink, marshmallow egg. They aren't completely free to mix and match anytime they feel like, though. Once they have established using coffee in their "silver chalice" they can't just use Erg Cola. Inconsistent methods give inconsistent results.
Pop Occultism Edit
A Hollow One's tarot deck is often an invaluable tool and focus. One can see the future or past (Time). determine what archetypal energies are nearby (Spirit) or even find a sense of self (Prime). Different paradigms can come into play here... doing a reading, pulling a random card. One might take major arcana cards and use them to visualize for Spirit workings. Some Hollowers even claim their Avatars are tarot cards and a simple spread can assess the "who's who" of a situation.
Having multiple spirits has its own challenges and benefits. They tend to have vast amounts of information and resources at their disposal. When one spirit is channeled, the others can be buy elsewhere. The abilities of particular spirits are called on at need. The difficulty can be when the spirits argue amongst themselves over the "time-share." The Hollower must then fight for self-control on multiple fronts. This can cripple their magical abilities.
For those who channel whatever comes by, the world is a strange an unpredictable place. They often claim the phenomenon is due to really being "hollow" in a literal sense. They tend to grow quickly in Spirit Lore. The difficulty is that everyday is a battle for control for mind and body. They find it hard to remain inconspicuous in public and are prime candidates for Quiet as their sense of self is tenuous at best.
And some do it all, eventually narrowing their field. They often have a wide range of spirit lore as the channeled beings could be skin-riding ghosts, natural elementals from the Middle Umbra, an embodied abstraction from the High Umbra, or even the Avatar itself. Plus, such mages often trade information and learn quickly of the different levels of the spirit world and their different rules.
Séances allow Spirt-minded mages to share their abilities with their clique-mates. Tools like Ouija boards or crystal balls are often used.
Arcanology, or metaphysics, is a hot topic of conversation in most Hollow circles. Though they rarely have unified theories of reality, these intellectuals, while keeping an open mind to other possibilities, prudently remember not to see any possibility as absolute. Their constant research keeps them busy exploring all the different possible ways of seeing the universe. Some adopt pet theories and work them into their styles. Often borrowed from other Traditions, they always get a unique spin in Hollow hands. Endless hours of weighing different models of reality against others over coffee is great fun for some. Published philosophical greats, like Jung or Nietzsche, have obviously influenced Hollow paradigms. More than any other magical foci, philosophy shows the eclectivity of the Hollow Ones.
- Spell Books
Playing the mage stereotype up, some Hollowers design and create their own spell books. These "books of shadows" tend to be combinations of notes, poetry, ideas, and all-around journal of their thoughts on magic. They can be as subtle as store-bought diaries written in ball-point pen to dressed-up, personalized grimoires with custom covers, thick paper, and secret codes. Some have passages added in personal secret-ink recipes written in feather quill. Such creations are very important to the mage who creates them. They almost never let anyone look at their pages and some will place magical wards and locks to keep highly personal and sensitive information safe.
- Runes & Sigils
Symbols from dead cultures are always esoteric enough to allow a large number of Hollow uses. Hermetics aren't the only ones who can get ancient symbols, letters, and languages to produce magic. Sometimes a handful of runes are cast for an overall divination (Time & Correspondence), or runes that hold symbolic meaning can be incorporated into elaborate rituals to produce other effects. There are so many pictorial, symbolic letters from almost every ancient culture that the possibilities for rune working are almost limitless.
For some Hollowers, Astrology is more than a focus, it's a paradigm. Arcanologists often learn the language of astrology, both East and West, to provide common vocabulary for describing abstract observations. Natal charts are calculations of the relative "when and where" of stellar bodies corresponding to the time and place of a mage's birth. Some arcanologists see this unique, defining moment as a destiny signature upon the universe. When they figured out these stellar bodies were themselves spirit realms, with mages and custom built realities inside of them, they took astrology much more seriously. Overall, of course, Hollow Ones have no sphere specialty but some will see their astrology chart as showing what spheres toward which they are sympathetic. Astrology, in some form, will always play a role in Elemental cliques who often use the planets' rhythms to dictate the timing of rituals or changing elemental functions.
Familiars EditHollow Ones tend to acquire familiars with Romantic resonances but that can still remain passable pets in the modern world. A cat in your handbag is much easier to keep around than a homunculus on your top-hat.
- Cats: A black cat is the most common Hollow familiar. Not all of them are black... just most of them.
- Rats: Especially for urban Hollowers and good for getting and passing on information, especially with their regular rat contacts.
- Snakes & Lizards: While hard for upkeep, the benefits of having such familiars with their ties to history and dragons are numerous.
- Crows & Ravens: Such a familiar will be loyal and many are seen more as best friends.
- Owls: For the hardcore intellectual. These familiars can often see themselves as mentors or teachers.
- Dogs: Usually large and dark-colored, they aren't the most intelligent of familiars but they are the most vigilant.
Despite the "Gothic Rock" image adorned by many Hollow Ones, their Tradition is actually older than most mages realise, dating back to the times of the classical horror writers such as Shelley and Poe. In this manner the tradition can be traced to the opium lounges of the 1800s and 1900s, and the seance tables of Victorian-era mediumship.
Some claim that its roots can be traced even further back; given the eclectic and scatter-shot approach of Hollow magick, this is partially true. However, most agree that the "Hollow Philosophy" did not truly define itself in its entirety until the 1920s, despite the fact that its leanings can be found in the works of earlier generations – particularly literary works, such as those of the aforementioned writers. Indeed, there are some who claim that Lord Byron was in fact the first to ascribe to the Hollow Tradition, but others say this is complete rubbish.
Early History Edit
Some historians of the Hollow Ones believe that their philosophy has always been around, citing the late period of the Roman Empire, as well as various art-inclined emperors like Nero, as proof that their philosophy must have deeper roots. Most of the more consuetudinary Tradition mages are quick to dismiss this as hogwash of the Hollow Ones to claim a history that is not theirs.
The Hollow Ones in their current form were the result of the rejected and unfit Traditions and Crafts that petitioned to join the Convocation and were not exterminated by the Order of Reason. Going under several names – such as the Abandoned, the Disparate, the Faithless Ones, the Sepulchral or the Doubters – the Hollow Ones occupied a place in the Traditions on the fringes, accepted but not tolerated.
Modern Nights Edit
The current Hollow Ones are the result of the 1920s. Following the prosperity after the First World War, the wealthy people searched for means to spend their money. Serious studies of parapsychology, as well as new trends within society, birthed the Hollow Ones, when the Prohibition hit in and the new life-feeling extended into the social realm and women demanded the same rights as men. Many of the mages who awakened during this time-period refused to bow to the Traditions or the Technocratic Union, instead preferring to explore magic in their own way. During World War II, many of the Hollow Ones fell prey to Nephandi corruption. In the following era, the Hollow Ones again experienced a rush of new mages who joined them, but also were faced with political repercussions from the Sleeper U.S government under McCarthy. In the 1970s, the Council of Nine discussed the possibility of including the disparate Hollow Ones, but could not settle on a deal and instead opted to watch the Hollow Ones. Up to today, there are voices in both parties that ask for a unification of the Hollow Ones with the Traditions, but they never quite managed to made themselves heard.
Still, Hollowers are a product of the modern age, or rather, a rejection of it. The Hollow Ones despise the frenetic pace of modern life, the too-bright yet tacky technology of mass marketing and the banal stratification of society. Instead, they cling to notions of a more elegant age. Hollowers sip at absinthe, play at poetry, indulge in fetishistic fashion, and follow the trends that lead them to death's door. The Reckoning that is at hand only lends credence to their beliefs. If the world's spiraling into destruction, they will be the ones who are ready for its untimely demise.
Since they are not functionally a Tradition, the Hollow Ones do not occupy a seat on the Council of Nine, they have no recognition among the Traditions and other mages generally consider them a pain. They do not have the luxury of an extensive library of history, either. Instead, they point to Romantic poets, Victorian spiritualists, 1920s flapper counterculture, and modern Goth culture as their architects. Hollow Ones themselves cannot agree on their foundations; instead, they are more concerned with what they get out of it. As a hodge-podge subculture, they take what they like and discard the rest; this applies equally to people, philosophies, magic, and belief.
Cliques rule the day among the Hollowers. Instead of forming philosophical factions or Avatar-driven groups, these mages just hang out in small clubs or social groups. Cliques tend to be fiercely competitive and jealous, but they can put aside their differences to work together sometimes. Since Hollow Ones often come from broken homes or dysfunctional families (whether wealthy or poverty-stricken), they indulge in whatever sorts of passive rebellion they can find – and that means hanging out with other people who have survived similar experiences and taken up the same candlestick. There is no hierarchy. There are young Goths and dead Goths, but old Goths are just pretenders.
Hollower cliques are the only real families they know, and they are fiercely protective of them, but without any political vision, they shrug off any attempts at real "organization." About the closest that Hollowers come to any sort of recognition in their ranks is when they choose someone to speak for a clique, or when they compete for pieces of unusual arcane lore or trivia in an attempt to seem spooky or knowledgeable in occult esoterica.
Hollow Ones tend to follow different fads; trying new ways of thinking until they find one or a handful that make sense to them and their own personal story. These fads tend to develop into cliques filling in their own niches in the world.
- Voudoun Gangstas
- Soundwave Masters
- Railroad Riders
- Social Terrorist Punks
- Blood Bags
- Glamour Whores
Hollow Spots Edit
- Le Corbeau Cruel
- Milano Hollow Chantry
- Wookey Hollow Chantry
- Hostel Rio
- Hohe Strasse Halfway House
- Moscow Hollow Chantry
- The Waydown
Famous Hollowers Edit
- Neville Sinclair
- Bryce Grimm
- Penny Dreadful
- Josepha de Espronceda
- Anaïs Chevalier
- Pietri diGenoa
- Bog Asphodel
- The DuVauge Triplets
- Bernardo Veneducci
- Fraulein Kirchin
Version Differences Edit
- The Hollow Ones draw their name from the T. S. Eliot quote "We are the Hollow Men. We have always been there."