Houston by Night: 1995 to the End of Days
The Hollow Ones (who draw their name from the T.S Eliot quote ’ We are the Hollow Men. We have always been there.’) are a group of mages who have either been orphaned or rejected the more traditional of the Traditions, but refused to join forces with the Technocracy. Instead, they are a subculture of ragtags and antiestablishmentarists 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.
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 18 and 1900s, and the seance tables of Victorian 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” didn’t 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 afore mentioned 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 isn’t 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 resulted 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’s at hand only lends credence to their beliefs. If the world’s spiraling into destruction, they’ll 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 don’t 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 can’t agree on their foundations; instead, they’re 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’ve survived similar experiences and taken up the same candlestick. There’s no hierarchy. There are young Goths and dead Goths, but old Goths are just pretenders.
Hollowers form are the only real families they know, and they’re 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.