The first section is included for background purposes (I would have probably done things a little differently myself).
##### This section originally written by Zerebus #####
Reposted from Project Underworld PBP game ( http://swankytownwars.yuku.com/forums/13 ) with permission.
There are currently five primary Wizard Covens in the world, each of which oversees the sorcerers guilds within their given areas of influence. They are:
1. The Jade Court, a society of mostly Chinese magic wielders that owns a number of large shrines hidden within the Himalayan Mountains. They have representatives in nearly every China Town in the world, as well as Shanghai and Hong Kong. Officially, the Chinese Government does not recognize their existence. Unofficially, the Jade Courts membership includes a number of Communist Party officials and both the Court and the Party follow a policy of mutual noninterference. The leadership of the Jade Court is composed largely of individuals who have been alive for over 100 years, some of whom are whispered to be true immortals! Membership is limited to sorcerers of Asian descent with the strict restrictions forbidding the membership of individuals of Japanese heritage (offenders are boiled alive). Yes, there is an undeniable element of racism within the Court. The Jade Court is considered to be the oldest of existing covens, predating recorded history.
2. The Druidic Order of Enlightened Reason They have existed by a number of different names for over three thousand years and their members have been amongst the most famous wizards in European history. They have branches throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the Americas and regularly practice astrological ceremonies in plain view of the public under the guise of a number of religions (not to discount the followers of said religions in their entirety, its just that the wizards of this guild may not be entirely genuine in their religious asserts). Of all the covens, the Druidic Order spends the most time sending diplomatic envoys to consult with and offer assistance to independent but powerful shamanic orders amongst the downtrodden peoples (a.k.a. those mystically inclined peoples who have historically suffered because of the Age of Imperialism, such as Native Americans and the Aborigines of Australia).
3. The True Masonic Guild of the Illuminati The youngest of the great wizard covens, the Illuminati, based primarily in North America, are often blamed for things beyond their ability because its members were too flamboyant with their plans and powers during the Guilds formative stages in Colonial America and post-Napoleonic Europe. Note: Although many of the early members of the guild were indeed members of the Freemasons, the Illuminati have been careful not to involve the Freemasonry organization in their activities. The Illuminati is the only major coven that actively campaigns for the spread of freedom and knowledge amongst all peoples in the world. That being the case, the Illuminati have a stake in protecting the mystic interests of nations like the United States of America. The Illuminati has played a major role in the establishment of the Department of Arcane Literature within the Library of Congress.
4. The Order of the Phoenix An ancient coven of understated power that is concentrated in Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, and parts of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia, though individual members may be periodically found anywhere in the world, including even in China (the Jade Court keeps all the other covens out). They usually don’t associate with the affairs of other covens except when matters of world breaking proportions are at hand. The Order of the Phoenix has existed since the dawn of recorded history and has its roots in societies of magic users in ancient Egypt. The Order is primarily interested in two things: the secrecy of their order and the barring of the way, meaning the protection of such defensive structures as the Mirror Wall that prevent interdimensional evils from entering our world. Members of the Order of the Phoenix often pretend to be free agents with no real connection to any of the great covens.
5. The Brotherhood of the Hammer and Sickle The Brotherhood is a relatively young and increasingly powerful incarnation of an older Gnostic order of wizards transformed by the rise of Marxism and Bolshevism in Eastern Europe and Russia, proof positive that the great mystic guilds are not immune to the politics of the real world. The Brotherhood serves as the mystic defenders of Russia and defacto mystic authorities in Eastern Europe. They have a foothold everywhere the Soviet ideal has ever flourished, including nations such as Poland, North Korea, and Venezuela (the latter of which is ruled by this reality’s version of the Villains Unlimited Usurper). They played a direct role in the destruction of the Thule Society in the aftermath of World War II, but since that time have done little but place themselves in world hot spots to ensure that other covens do not interfere in the peoples affairs. The Illuminati and the Brotherhood share an understandable enmity, given their diametrically opposed political viewpoints. The Brotherhood has not been weakened in the slightest from the fall of the Soviet Union.
6. For the past two thousand years, there have always been five covens, each representing a point in the pentagram. But not all of the current five covens always held such status. The Illuminati in particular were not elevated to the status of Coven until the early 1950s, displacing an older, disgraced order of sorcerers. The displaced coven in question is that of the Germanenorden, the Germanic Order of the Teutonic Knights. The Knighthood, which had roots extending back over a thousand years, was utterly usurped by the Thule Society in the decades leading up to World War II. As a result of numerous atrocities and manipulations of the mystic balance of the world, this Nazi infested coven was formally dissolved (re: its members slaughtered and/or driven into hiding) by the other great covens after the close of the war. In no small part the continued hunt of Nazi war criminals into the present day is a reflection of continued efforts to eradicate the remnants of the Thule Society.
In addition to the five great covens, there are innumerable minor covens that do not submit to the rules of outsiders. The following is a list of known NPC covens. They are not appropriate for Player Characters largely because of the non-standard magic classes associated with them.
##### My contribution to the idea #####
This disjointed collection of Mabarn, Dreamtime Sorcerers, is found primarily in Australia, Tasmania, and parts of New Zealand. The Dreamtime Congress came about at the behest of the Druidic Order despite several violent misunderstandings, during the 19th century.
Angkok Association of the Arctic
While the shamans of this coven have existed as tribally-aligned groups for thousands of years, they didn’t begin associating with shamans of other tribes until the early 17th century. Currently, the "Arctic" part of the coven’s title is somewhat misleading, as the shamans forming this group are found in Alaska, Northern Canada, Siberia, the Kamchatka Peninsula, Sakhalin, the Kurile Islands, and, more recently (the late 19th century), the Ainu of Hokkaido.
Cabal of Bomoh & Dukun
One of the oldest of the minor covens is this group of loosely allied sorcerers and shamans, found primarily in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. While tribal and island-based animosities still exist between members of this group, they are generally united against the influence of The Jade Court, particularly in those areas of mainland Asia such as Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Taiwan has long been considered a loss for this group, one which the more militant members are bitterly regretting for thousands of years.
Caribbean League of Obeahists & Myal Men
This combination of Congo magic workers and native shamans arose from the European conquest of the Caribbean during the 15th century. Their main areas of influence are the Bahamas, Barbados Belize, the Grenadies, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Vincent, Suriname, Tobago, Trindidad, the Virgin Islands and many other Caribbean countries. Currently they are involved in both improving local living conditions, and stopping the spread of the Service of Lwa, to which end they are working primarily with the Druidic Order to stop the majority of violence that coven commits.
One of the newer covens, this small group arose during the post-Civil War era of the United States when the remnants of native shamanism, immigrant cunning folk, and former slave African witch doctors joined forces to counteract the damage done by the war. While the Hoodoo Conjurers have had much success, at least locally, the many competing covens have prevented them from spreading much beyond the states of Alabama, the Carolinas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Dark Sect of Thugee
This evil death-cult has existed since the 11th century, practicing arcane forms of blood magic and necromancy in India and the Middle East. While they have believed to have been defeated on several occasions, they somehow manage to come back. Currently they are licking their wounds from their recent battles for retaining control in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan against several other covens. The more commonly known assassin groups such as the Hashshashin and Thugs were really controlled by members of this group.
Despite the influence of Algonquin shamans on this group, it is primarily composed of cunning folk immigrants, as well as Dutch and German Kabbalist, fleeing persecution of the Druidic Order and Germanenorden, as well as clashes with the Order of the Phoenix. Found primarily in the rural areas of Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. They are loosely allied to the Illuminati.
House of Voodoo
Despite their early origins in the 17th century as a combination of Vodoun and French wizardry, this coven, which was based primarily in New Orleans and Louisiana has all but been dissolved, following the huge magical work which culminated in Hurricane Katrina, as a bid for power by the House of Voodoo against several other covens, notably the Illuminati and Service of Lwa.
Kirkko Vki Tyskennell (Temple of Magic Workers)
Little remains of this coven, primarily found in northern Norway and Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and parts of Russia (mostly those areas of North-West Russia, near Finland). They have battled other covens for thousands of years, losing ground and influence for much of their history. Despite being the oldest of the minor covens, they are the smallest known coven still in existence. They primarily vie with agents of the Druidic Order and the Brotherood of the Hammer and Sickle to keep what little existence they have left.
Loyal Diviners of Quimbanda
Yet another coven which springs from the alliance between local shamans and African magic workers, this group of diviners, necromancers, and shamans is primarily found in Brazil and the Amazon region. Despite occasional bad press among the magical community, this group does it’s best to maintain local native traditions. It is rumored that magical battles between this coven and remnants of the Thule Society take place deep within the darkest reaches of the Amazon Jungle.
The shamans of this coven hail from one of the oldest magical traditions on the planet, believed to date to the destruction of Mu. Despite this, they haven’t actually been a formal group until the 17th century, when sea travel became practical enough for them to unite. This minor coven also has one of the biggest areas of control, in terms of raw area at least, the thousands of islands of Hawaii, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Poylnesia stretch across most of the Southern Pacific Ocean. However, the vast distances between the majority of these islands makes it difficult for this group to have much of a concerted effect in the world-wide magic community.
North American Shaman Conclave
This coven came about during the 18th century, making it one of the many newer minor covens. However, despite the alliance of shamans from tribes stretching from Canada to Mexico, the influence of other covens in the region, particularly the Illuminati, make it difficult for the shamans to have much influence in the magic tradition. However, assistance from the Druidic Order has allowed this group to expand its influence into the Yucatan recently, with the rest of Central America to follow, as the shamans of this coven seek to restore the ancient magics practiced by the Aztecs, Mayans, Olmecs, and Toltecs. If they can manage to restore these magical traditions, they will begin moving south to consolidate the rest of the Americas, primarily the ancient Incan traditions of South America. The Druidic Order is concerned that this will bring them into conflict with other covens in the region, primarily the Caribbean League and Loyal Diviners, if not the remnants of the ancient Nazcan Line Masters.
Order of the Scorpion
Despite the influence of the Order of the Phoenix, these ancient Egyptian Necromancers and Sorcerers still control many regions of Egypt, as well as Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Chad. They are one of the darker covens, seeking to restore the glory of the Ancient Egyptian Empire for their dark gods.
Organization for African Traditional Medicine
Despite claiming to be the oldest magical tradition in the world, this coven’s formation is recent, dating to the late 18th century in response to European Colonialism. Prior to this, inter-tribal warfare prevented any sort of unification of the witch doctors and shamans of Africa from being possible. Still wracked with internal dissention, this coven has low influence in the magical community. Attempts for aid from the Druidic Order has been firmly rebuffed and their only known allies come from the recent approach by the Service of Lwa, which some members of the coven believe will aid their struggle and others feel will be a hindrance in their fight to restore power to the African people. Due to the spread of Islam, and European Colonialism, this coven only influences the central portions of Africa; Angola, Benin, Brukina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambi, and Zimbabwe.
Seid Sirkel (‘Seid Circle’)
This ancient coven dates to the 7th century and was spread over much of Europe by the Vikings. Consisting of volva (shamanesses) and seidhedr (sorcerers), it’s power waned with the rise of such groups as the Druidic Order, Germanenorden, and the Brotherhood of the Hammer and Sickle. In fact, it was the Germanenorden who originally cast the Seid Sirkel from it’s early preeminence, and the near destruction at the hands of the Thule Society which removed much of the Seid Sirkel’s influence. Currently, despite lingering tensions with the Finnish coven and Druidic Order, this group can be found in Iceland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.
Service of Lwa
Despite the 15th or 16th century introduction of Western African Magic (Voudon) to the Caribbean, the internal divisions within this group prevented a unification, with the addition of local Arawak and Taino shamans, until the end of the 18th century. However, once united, this group was the controlling party involved in the breaking of European power in the Caribbean, with their first victory in the Haitian Revolution. Currently found divided among Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Florida in the United States, each local Houngan (warlock) or Mambo (witch) is given autonomy to control all magical activity within their region of dominance, called parishes. Due to their history, they maintain strong ties with the Organization of African Traditional Medicine, and new prospective Houngan or Mambo is expected to establish their own parish in new territory, which brings them into conflict with the Caribbean League, and, commonly, each other as some decide it is easier to defeat an existing parish’s controller.
Sisterhood of Kaminchu
A small coven, this group can be found primarily in the Ryukyu Archipelago between China and Japan. Established as a coven early on, the only reason that they have survived is their alliance with the Jade Court. Even the Japanese conquest of the archipelago in the 17th century was not enough to wipe out this coven, despite the legal bans on local groups by the Japanese. Notably among the magical community, this is one of the few covens primarily consisting of female Yuta (shamanesses), Sajinsou & Monoshiri (diviners), Kaminchu & Kamigutu (mediums), Noro (mystics), and Kamigakariya (summoners). There are also many members of this coven who exhibit psionic powers and abilities, despite attempts by the Jade Court to stamp out such powers in this coven.
The Guild of Fakirs
Despite the ancient influence of magic in India, this coven wasn’t formed until the 15th century. Consisting of Gurus (wizards), Sadhus (warlocks), Swamis (conjurers), and Yogis (mystics), this group has widely disparate magical abilities. Additionally, psionics are accepted and welcome in this coven. The constant low-level conflict between this coven and the Thuggee has prevented them from becoming more influential in the magical community, although their recent victory in Pakistan has improved their overall standing.
Worshipful Company of Cunning Folk
Despite the age of the Druidic Order, the magical conflicts of Europe has resulted in the waxing and waning of many smaller covens. One of these is the result of conflicts between the Druidic Order and Seid Sirkel, prior to the rise of the Germanenorden. The influence of other magical traditions on the people of the British Isles resulted in a factional split, the result deciding to form it’s own coven with different rules and ideas than the Druidic Order. Despite the factionalism, only minor technicalities truly differentiate between this coven and the Druidic Order. Cunning Folk can be found primarily in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and Great Britain, as they have little ambition to spread beyond the British Isles.
Despite the apparently limited subject that this coven’s name suggests, this ancient coven, dating back to the 6th century B.C. has united most of the magical traditions of the Japanese Islands. Of course, ancient prejudices against the Ainu and Ryukyuans has prevented those covens from uniting with the Yamabushi, and the Jade Court considers them to be "insufferably arrogant upstarts," but that hasn’t stopped this coven from becoming the most powerful and influential of the minor covens. On the downside, their racial disharmony with the Jade Court, and lack of allies, means that the Jade Court is able to easily limit their influence from spreading much beyond Japan.