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- For the characters from Vampire: The Masquerade, see Les Orphelins.
Typically, an orphan either practices by himself or belongs to a small group. Again, there's no common thread between such groups. One might be a rock band, another a church choir, a third could be a witch family, and a fourth might read Tarot cards in a graveyard each Saturday night. As usual, elders tend to dominate the group; in this case, though, the word "elder" is defined more by mystic accomplishment or personal charisma than by age or an appointed title.
Leaders within an orphan sect can be brilliant, brutal, seductive, or persuasive. One could dominate his tribe through sex, drugs, and occult babble, and another might have a knack for scamming free meals at the homeless shelter. With few exceptions, the group's rules depend upon a leader's whims and his ability to enforce them within that group.
Sometimes Orphans can be Hollow Ones, though not always. Orphans are a product of the modern world, with all the angst and Gothic ritualism these unfortunate souls can muster. The event of Awakening with no guidance or warning of the hidden world around them is perilous and nerve wracking for the strongest, maddening for those who don't come to grips with what they are experiencing. Keeping body and soul together on the street are hard enough, doing so while fighting for a tenuous grip on reality, is damn hard.
Many find shelter among the street kids and blood dolls, finding their method of magick by trial and error, rather than by the guidance of a tradition. Some cities have a strong group of Hollow Ones that find those seeing reality for the first time, the unlucky ones fall to HIT-Marks or Nephandi.
Speaking of: "Orphan" is a pejorative, coined by the Council to define magi who had not received 'proper' training and/or fellowship. To the wiggy wizards of the Nine, these loose cannons present a threat to themselves, other magi, and the people around them. In proper usage, an orphan is someone who has Awakened and learned to practice magick without a formal tutor, sect or apprenticeship. Applied to members of the Hollow Ones, the term is actually incorrect — the Darklings do have an established tradition and society, although not one as formal or respected as practices of the nine Council groups.
To the self-Awakened, "Orphan" is an insult. They rarely use the term, and almost never apply it to themselves. An orphan will usually refer to themselves as "talented" or by some other euphemism.