The Temple Tonight

Meetings of the Temple take place on an irregular schedule, averaging about once a month. Until the turn of the millenium, it kept to a more regular timetable, largely because it was impractical to contact all its members and arrange a meeting at short notice. In early 2001, Van Lutyens finally lost patience and pointed out that since everyone present was carrying a mobile phone anyway, there was really no problem with becoming more flexible. Tonight, Temple meetings only take place when one or more members has something to discuss, and texts the others to request one.

There is no set agenda or rules of procedure for a gathering of the Temple. Van Lutyens declares a meeting open, the members who called it air the issue that prompted it, and anyone who has anything to say does so. The membership tries to reach a consensus wherever possible, and in fact, a consensus is possible a surprising amount of the time.

Part of the reason for that, perhaps, is that the Temple has no power to enforce its dictates. Wyncham and Van Lutyens are influential and respected elders, and the Heralds are recognized officials of the Consilium's ruling council. But none of them is empowered to make deals on behalf of their respective communities. They know that nothing they agree will actually happen unless they can sell it to their own kinds as a good deal. That means compromising and ensuring that everyone gets something that they can point to as a victory, not playing hardball for maximum advantage at everyone else's expense.

Common Issues

Wyrm's Nests

In the very early days of the Temple, the Mages assumed that "Locus" was simply the Uratha term for "Hallow". They quickly realized, however, that the two were quite distinct phenomena. A Hallow is a pool of magical energy that bleeds through from the Supernal realm, while a Locus is a weak point between the domains of flesh and spirit in this realm. On relatively rare occasions, the two overlap, but for the most part, Mages have no use for Loci and Uratha have no use for Hallows. The Ordo Dracul, however, sometimes has an interest in both. Since they have no desire to harvest Tass or Essence, but merely wish to use the emotional resonances of the sites to help their members learn new Coils of the Dragon, Wyncham managed to negotiate some carefully circumscribed "dual-use" agreements for the Dragons to gain access to a few Loci and Hollows.

The Circle of the Crone is another matter. Its Cruac rituals have the potential to drain a place of power completely, and both Mages and Uratha are united in a desire to keep them out. So far, the Seer hasn't had the political clout to press the issue - the rest of the Kindred Council is perfectly happy to concede the Uratha a small piece of territory or two in exchange for peace. But attempts by the Crones to defy the Council's edicts and use Loci, in particular, for their own ceremonies, still cause trouble from time to time.

Mortal Society

The London Consilium, dominated by the Free Council, wants to influence mortal society to build a better world. The Kindred build networks of wealth, influence and servants for much the same reason that beavers build dams; protection and shelter. Individual Uratha may be interested in wealth and power, but as a group, their main interest in mortal society is how it affects - and is affected by - the shadow.

So it's usually pretty easy to find a solution that everyone's happy with. The Mages want a corrupt or racist local councillor removed from power and replaced with an honest man? The Kindred are past masters at political manipulation. The councillor in question might have been a useful pawn, but it'd be worth sacrificing him to be owed a favor by a Temple member. (Besides, honest men aren't actually any harder to manipulate than corrupt ones. They just have their levers in different places). The Uratha want everyone kept well away from a building that contains a Wound? No problem. A little Matter or Forces magic can arrange a gas leak and a nasty explosion to get the building evacuated, Fate can make sure that nobody gets hurt in the blast, and Mind can convince the police cordon that the Uratha cleanup pack are licenced gas engineers.

Around 90% of the Temple's work consists of these kinds of bread-and-butter issues. It's not glamorous or sexy, but it keeps their services in heavy demand, and mindful of the lessons of the last century, they place a high priority on being relevant and useful.

Common Enemies

Nothing, it is said, unites people like a common enemy. Indeed, the Temple first came together to fight a single common enemy - the great plague - which was worsened by supernatural manipulation.

There's no real depth of trust between the Big Three, though, and each is reluctant to reveal too much about its enemies to the others. Thanks to the stories passed down from the early days of the Temple, the Mages and Kindred both know perfectly well what the Beshilu are, and the Mages and Uratha are likewise aware that a vampire bloodline called the Morbus has an affinity for disease. (They tend to think that the Morbus are more or less synonymous with a heretical Christian sect which preaches that the Kindred are a literal plague on mankind, but that's not so much because Wyncham is deceiving them, as because Wyncham himself thinks of them that way). The Morbus haven't been a factor in London's supernatural life for a long time, but the Beshilu are still around, and still actively hunted by all three factions.

Beyond that, "joint operations" are the exception rather than the rule, but they do happen. A couple of times since the late seventies, for instance, small packs of Fire-Touched have tried to establish themselves in London. The Uratha would have preferred to handle those incursions "internally", but the first Fire-Touched pack managed to get themselves noticed by the Kindred, when they tore apart a couple of prized ghouls in an alley brawl outside a nightclub. Wyncham raised the matter at the next meeting of the Temple, and Van Lutyens decided to make a virtue out of necessity and own up. Rather shrewdly, he played up certain traits of the Fire-Touched (fanatical faith, an affinity for disease), to make them sound like an Uratha analogue of the Sanctified Morbus. Wyncham reacted predictably, and two nights later the Fire-Touched met a couple of Daeva elders with high levels of Celerity and a lot of silver bullets. (Fairly briefly).

Word went out from the Temple - be on the lookout for unhealthy-looking werewolves with a fanatical gleam in their eyes and a lot of burn scars. The second pack of Fire-Touched murdered a Free Council mage, who tried to turn them away from the homeless shelter where he worked. The Herald to the Uratha brought the case to the Temple. Within a week, the Fire-Touched found themselves locked in that same homeless shelter, facing a coterie of Kindred. Normally the Pure would have had the advantage in any encounter, but they needed to breathe, and the Kindred didn't. That became quite significant when all the oxygen in the building unaccountably transmuted itself into nitrogen...

A Mystery to Solve...

London is an old city, with a lot of mysteries and a lot of old evils buried beneath its streets. Not every supernatural or inexplicable event is caused by the actions of the Big Three, and every now and then something happens which none of them can understand. The last really major event of this type happened in 1966, when a group of tourists wandering along the bank of the Thames turned a corner and found themselves walking through a slice of the Tudor city from four hundred years past, which had unaccountably found itself cut-and-pasted into the present. That anomaly persisted erratically for almost a month, and then disappearaed again. To this day, not even the Mages have been able to figure out the cause. But when something really weird happens, the Temple usually takes the lead in investigating it.