The Golden Room
The Golden Room is premised on a very simple question. What next?
The ageless Residents of the Golden Room are uniquely positioned to watch the ever-shifting course of society, the ever-accelerating pace of technology, the magnificent evolution of the human race. Consider. The earliest human civilizations emerged in China and Sumer some six thousand years ago. People began to write. They began to make pots. They made wagons, and formed a government of kings. Now, fast forward fifty-eight hundred years. People still do much the same. Books are still the only form of knowledge. People still make their pots by hand. Humanity can still move at no faster than the speed of a horse. The world, with few exceptions, is ruled by kings.
Now look at today.
is what the Residents of the Golden Room see. They see the transformation of humanity, a lightning race into the future. The Golden Room was born out of fear – for how long till humanity pierces the shadows? The Golden Room was born out of power-lust – for he who controls the transformation can guide the world. Most of all though, the Golden Room was born out of curiosity
– what next
: The human initiates of Golden Room – the Visitors
– represent two kinds of people. Half of them are the rich, the beautiful, the influence-mongers and image-peddlers. Minor celebrities, actors, politicians, pop stars and athletes. They are the people that control society, and they are the people that want
to control society. They’ve been promised power and influence, and here’s the thing. They get it. The Visitors are encouraged to help one another out. The unliving Residents needn’t lift a finger.
The others? They’re the ones that the Golden Room cultivates. They’re explorers into the unknown. Scientists. Engineers. Poets. Occultists. They don’t have money or fame or power, but they have something the Golden Room values even more highly. They have curiosity
, an urge to delve beyond the reaches of society. They ask the questions, and every so often, one of them gets an answer.
The higher echelons of the Golden Room, the half-supernatural Guests
. They’re experimenters and mystics, or simply the kind of people who want to know everything
. Except they don’t just stop at the edges of society. The Guests want to twist up reality itself, pull back the curtain and peek at what’s there.
As for the three immortal Residents, the masters of the shadow cult? They’re a curious bunch. Vincent Moon babbles about the God-Machine and space elevators into an alternative reality, and governs all of his actions by mass-market occult trash, partly because he knows it’s no more meaningful than anything else. And partly because he’s completely insane. Sophie Penrose came to replace an elder lost to something beneath London, and she struggles to fill a mighty pair of shoes, and keep two mad Elders in line. But the rewards are worth it.
: The Golden Room seeks transformation. They want to change
the world. Change human society, change human form, change human reality. Visitors and Guests are encouraged to experiment, subverting their very lives in service to some grand, transhumanist vision. They take ever more exotic drugs, create ever more bizarre media plays, alter themselves with transformative surgery. They twist society, and they twist reality, and in the end, they change themselves into something other, or die in the process.
The Golden Room sees the technological Singularity on the horizon, when magic and technology unite to create something that would be by definition unimaginable. But here’s the secret. They have no idea what they’ll do with it. There are some vague thoughts of power, or control, or survival. But in the end, the Golden Room pushes the borders not for any cause or goal. They do it because they can
: The Visitors of the Golden Room meet on the first Monday of every month, in some rented club or the home of a member, and they perform post-modern magic rites with the trappings of pop-culture. They pray over iPhones and sacrifice photographs of the celeb du jour
. They re-enact and re-film a notorious celebrity sex-tape, changing it with each iteration, transforming it gradually into a surreal horror of blood and death. Then at the end of the evening, the Residents and the Guests take them to a second ceremony, where the transformation extends even to the very flesh, and the magic is very, very real.
For all its post-modernist sensibilities, the Golden Room is structured like a mystery cult from the days of Greece and Rome. There are three circles of initiation, and advancement to the higher ones is a question of merit and commitment. The Residents rule personally from their great center in London, with high ranking Guests managing major cult operations in Boston, Kinshasa, Mexico City, and Singapore. Smaller cells (half a dozen Visitors led by a Guest) are scattered through a dozen other cities throughout the world.
The initiation to higher levels are structured with odd spiritual rituals, invoking totems of surveillance and surgery, and involve the spilling of blood upon a photographic fetish. The Residents keep these, and Failing the Golden Room, even in seemingly simple tasks, is never good for a cultist’s health.
• The junior Visitors number some three or four hundred, and few even know the name of the Golden Room. They attend the most basic rituals, mingle with the other Visitors, and learn to watch
. The character gains a Surveillance specialty in the Investigation skill.
•• The senior Visitors have been members of the Golden Room for some time, and they number nearly a hundred. They’ve attended the rituals that the Residents host, and have caught just a glimpse that there may be something more to reality.
••• The Guests of the Golden Room are sorcerers and psychics, cultists of other secretive orders or simply those too curious for their own good. They number just over forty. The Golden Room encourages its members to explore
, to join other occult societies, or to recruit their members for the Golden Room. This cross-pollination allows Guests of the Golden Room to purchase Allies and Friends in suitable occult or supernatural organizations at (new dots x1) experience points.
•••• The dozen or so senior Guests have peeled back the curtain. They know of the God-Machine and the Space Ladder, of the secrets of Egypt and the Aztecs. They’ve met the Residents, and lead cells of their own.
••••• The three immortal Residents of the Golden Room sit at the head of a massive cult of arcane and temporal power. But more than that, the Residents have been doing this for a very long time, and they’re a canny crew. Each Resident gains a limited version of the Common Sense merit, applicable only when dealing with other dimensions or their residents.
Shadow Cult Merits: Allies (The Golden Room) 6, Allies (Biomedical Corporations) 5, Allies (La Sociedad) 5, Allies (Grassic Lewis) 3, Allies (The Sparrowclaw Circle) 3, Contacts (Entertainment Industry, Finance, Government, Police, Medicine) 5, Friend (Jack Scarlet) 5, Friend (The Maestro) 3, Friend (Ermenjart la Charpentière) 3, Herd (Eager Cultists) 4, Resources 7, Retainers (The Men in Grey x8) 4 each
Shadow Cult Haven: One Canada Square; Size 3, Geomantic Nexus (Intelligence; Potency 2, Size 2), Library (Interstitial Terrain, Secret Societies, Transhumanism) 3, Locus 1, Occultation 5, Ritual Area (Dimensional Nexus) 3, Secrecy 4, Security 4, Workshop (Surgery, Surveillance) 2