Secret Societies Reboot

Discussion with Rob and Steve have led to the following (flexible) consensus.

The Illuminati
More or less the same as before; a conspiracy of politicians, civil servants and other powerful people. Agenda: a unified world government devoted to reason, order and enlightenment. Their primary projects are the United Nations and European Union and their greatest concern is preventing a war between any of the world's major powers.

The Brotherhood
Human supremacists devoted to the idea of wiping out all non-humans (and maybe magick-users to, as yet undecided). They want humanity to be united, but believe in strength-through-struggle. As such, they foster nationalism across the world, intending to see the strongest nationality and ideology emerge triumphant. Their primary projects are MJ-12 and Bureau 13, who are, fitting with the Brotherhood's philosophy, in competition with each other. Their greatest concern is killing vampires, werewolves and xenoforms.

Again, more or less the same as before. Scientists and technology-enthusiasts who believe in science, above and beyond any and all ethical considerations or national, corporate or religious agenda. Interest-9 members exist in various organizations, working to guide those organizations towards advancement of science. Their primary projects are the development of AI and working out how to induce psychic powers in non-psychic humans. Their greatest concern is preventing any kind of governmental restrictions on scientific research (such as bans on human cloning).

I've had an idea for a fourth secret society, not yet discussed with either Rob or Steve. Just putting it up here as an idea.

The Knights Templar
A secret religious order who seek to find and safeguard three of the world's most powerful artifacts, believing that if they find and unite them, a mythical god-figure will awaken to cure all the ills of the world. Their primary projects are the safekeeping of the Crown of Thorns and the Spear of Destiny and their continuing search for the Holy Grail. Their greatest concern is preventing anyone else finding the Grail and squandering its power.

Additional notes of explanation:

  • The Spear, the Crown and the Grail are not commonly known to be real, even by occultists, and the Templars stay in the shadows in order to keep it that way.
  • While the Sleeping King being Christ and the Spear, Crown and Cup being the Lance of Longinus, the Crown of Thorns and the Holy Grail is the majority view among the Templars, there are some Templars who think the Sleeping King is Mithras, Osiris and even King Arthur and who think that the Relics are pre-Christian artifacts who myth became entangled with that of Christ.

Thought I'd link this for reference; the last discussion.

I also hashed out four secret societies outlines based on our earlier conv. They're a bit abstract and are really just meant as food for thought.

The Illuminati - Resolution
We are resolved. We shall build our utopia. Cohesion, integration, unity; these shall forge the utopia and the children of the utopia. The perfect collective under the perfect leadership shall make for perfect citizens and a perfect world. The ends justify the means. There is a plan. There is a resolution.

The Brotherhood - Ideal
The strong shall overcome, it is their fate and their right. Anything but full commitment to the cause of strength is to fall prey to weakness. A perfect order can only be built on the backs of perfect specimens. Struggle and conflict affirm strength and erode weakness. This is the engine of our destiny. There is a method. There is an ideal.

Interest-9 - The Higher Station
There is a higher station. Truth, reasoning, understanding; these are the pillars of transcendence. All mortal fears, frailties and limitations can be overcome by the irresistible force of science and technology. The understanding of the laws of the universe, and the useful machines this understanding yields dissolves the distinction between the inner world of desires and intentions and the outer world of action and consequence. To become one with the universe by externalising desires through a mastery of technology is to achieve stationhood.

The Order of the Unspeakable Words* - The Mysteries
There are mysteries. There are unspeakable words. While knowledge is a useful tool greatness is only achieved by a subsumption into a mystery, a cause of awesome depth and profundity that is far beyond ones limitations. To live, to feel, to dedicate absolutely; the ultimate powers and moral causes of our universe are beyond our understanding but we can embrace and engage the mysteries and hear the unspeakable words.

* Just a place holder name.

The Knights Templar
An order started around the time of the crusades upon the discovery of a small number of artifacts by a knightly order invading the holy land. Among these is the ark of the covenant, which is said to contain many more instructions than just the ten commandments. Apparently acting upon these instructions, the knights began to hoard religious artifacts and lore, magick items and lore, and crucially money. The Knights Templar hold many of the fabled icons of worship such as nearly all of the true cross, the crown, the spear, the true black stone, and so on. Even xenoform religions are not exempt - they hold the jewels of Lysse and the Kan'Fa'Loe Maskus, bought in by xenoforms who have come to earth to join the order. These days the templars are the richest organisation on earth by a long way, and almost seized control of the world by orchestrating the recent financial crisis, if it weren't for the machinations of the illuminati who discovered their plan before it reached critical mass. Do we want another take-over-the-world society?

Hmm. Co-operation Vs. Competition and Inquiry Vs. Faith? Seems a decent-ish basis to work from.
Don't forget that those not on opposite axis will/must have a want to oppose each other, ie Unity vs. Decentralisation, Social Darwinism vs Transcendence etc
That is a good point. Are we clear on what the arenas of conflict are, i.e. how/where they fight/oppose each other?

The Illuminati and the Brotherhood are in conflict over: The Illuminati want to unify humanity, the Brotherhood believe competition keeps us strong. Both want to unify humanity, one wants to do it through strongarming, conquest and strife and put in place an autocratic leader. The other wants to do it by consolidating governments and preserving humanity's diversity, capability and richness. Beyond the ideological differences they are discrete power-bases, they are competing to accrue power and influence [and wealth] under their own heirarchy. They are fighting over the same territory and institutions and for one to gain it probably means the other loses. I don't see it so much as a fight for the sake of ideology but more a race to gather a critical amount of power and they keep clashing for position.
Interest-9 and the Brotherhood are in conflict over: Interest-9 wants to exchange technology with xenoforms and some are even experimenting with splicing xenoform and human DNA. The Brotherhood can imagine nothing more disgusting. Some in Interest 9 consider magick a legitimate science, along with the study of xenotech and xenobiology, and even hybridizing human and xeno technology for further advancement. Obviously the brotherhood do not approve. I9 also generally prefer to disrupt, seperate and decentralise established governments and big organisations in order to generate profit. I9 consider the Brotherhood to have petty and sentimental ambitions; natural selection is for animals, there is no purity but truth (or at least practical knowledge), the world could burn if it made good fuel for the machinery of technological progress.
Interest-9 and the Illuminati are in conflict over: The Illuminati aim to have technological advancement begin plateauing; too much technological advancement will destabilize the current order and a rampant AI could pose an existential threat to humanity. Interest-9 despise this cowardly attitude toward Progress. Interest 9 are a rogue element group who do a lot to destabilise governments they disagree with, partly because they get in the way of profits or research, which are the kinds of government the Illuminati typically back. Idealogically, I9 are a disgusting group who carry out twisted experiments and cause many a disaster with their 'advances' and the illuminati will try and ruin these for the good of mankind. I9 don't want in on the plan, there's no real limit to their ambition, they'll put untold power into the hands of individuals or groups, there is no oversight and no one is going to stop their progress.
(The Templars/OotUW) and the Brotherhood are in conflict over: The Brotherhood strongly desires the Spear of Destiny; the Third Reich seemed to be invincible while Hitler controlled it and crumbled after the Templars took it from him. Powerful voices within the Brotherhood think that if humanity is to be led to victory over the freaks, it will be by a leader wielding the Spear. Mysteries and the 'power of mystery' are to be protected, even hidden, and used with wisdom, they connect us to the high(er) powers/purposes in the universe where the ultimate destiny of humanity lies. Those that put the supremacy of humanity as the ultimate cause would try to defile and/or consume mysteries for their own ends.
(The Templars/OotUW) and the Illuminati are in conflict over: The Illuminati don't know if the Templars will wake something if they unite the relics, but are not willing to bet on it being benevolent. As such, they have a vested interest in sabotaging the Templar's endeavors to find the Grail. Mysteries can be employed/deployed to stir an advancement of righteousness or nobility in a population else explored in secret to beckon forth a higher power and, hopefully, elicit a noble/holy mission for humanity to fulfill. The Illuminati isn't going to do mysteries, or at least none that aren't its own, and it isn't going to have humanity committed/submitted to a cause beyond that of humanity's interests.
(The Templars/OotUW) and Interest-9 are in conflict over: There is a movement within Interest-9 that has its own beliefs concerning the Grail. They believe it to be a technological artifact capable of reshaping the structure of organic life, unlocking complete mastery of human and xenoform biology. These members of I9 seek the Grail as mercilessly as do the Templars. I9 loathe anything that would weaken the role of science in society but more importantly they wish to feast upon the mysteries like delicious eggs; cracked open, the insides sucked out and then discarded. Anything well guarded must be worth a look. Knowledge, especially powerful knowledge, is not to be denied to I9. Furthermore, perhaps, I9 might have a hand in dissecting/hidding new mysteries that emerge in the world.

Add your own ideas in your own colour

Might be worth looking at Theta Factions, get a feel for how they fit in with these remodelled secret societies. Side note, just for reference, when I conceived Theta Factions, though then it was nothing to do with the Hughniverse, I thought of them as the 'ultra secret societies' of some new age where time travel gave them the secrecy and power to operate on a level above the Four Secret Societies and so manipulate them.

Chrono Force Elite - I B : The American Utopia; the American way is the only way. A nation to stand the test of time, an empire to govern it, The populace at large is hallowed, but in truth they are little more than worker drones made complacent by forceful media, plentiful food and peace for the many, yet unwittingly they are robots building the dreams of the few,
Industrial O'm - 9 B : The Program; swallow some pride, and perhaps some bile, and get with the Program. Humanity must assert dominance. Using magic, psychic powers, faith, xenotech and friendly xenoforms are all things beneath humans and would spoil our purity, our greatness as the ultimate species. We first created fire, the wheel, printing, electricity, robots, bionics, and now we create ever greater machines. Humanity has conquered the Earth eons ago and with no goal it yet grows stagnant. We must venture out into worlds beyond ours and conquer infinity.
Alpha Machine - 9 I : The Necessary State; a utopia cannot be built with such flawed creatures. Unity is the key to our transcendence, and transcendence is the key to our unity. Where mankind has failed in the past, trying to preserve some hidden sanctity or ignorant ideas of selfishness, the alpha machine creates an elegant next step for man, at the cost of their humanity.
Time Nazis - T B : The Fourth Reich; because Hitler. This
TF5 - T I : The Kingdom; building a world fit for the Holy One. This world is one that is rapidly descending into depravity. Why should God return to Earth to lead us to heaven if all mankind will do is dirty it with sin? A crusade has been started to sweep away sin from this world and restore piety and 'good' to the world. So far we are making good headway, but are blocked to the east by the soulless metal armies of Asia and to the west by the profane forces of the fourth reich. The crusade must redouble its zeal and push back these forces.
TF6 - T 9 : The Crucible; build a Grail? Think bigger, steve. Build a god.

Something to decide and then proceed from. Are the philosophies of Theta Faction a synthesis of the opposing philosophies of the societies they manipulate? Or are the societies simply in control of something in which the Theta Faction has an interest in? The two approaches will yield quite different results.
The Latter. I'd like to think they are intertwined, but the result would ultimately be the factions shaping the future via the influence of the secret societies.