Day 18: Convention Book: Void Engineers

Mage: The Ascension, Sales

Onyx Path’s Month of Nightmares features games, stories, and more to celebrate the spirit of Halloween. Count down the days with us by reading our excerpts, participating in the discussion, or by taking advantage of our special offers leading up to a haunted Halloween.

Void Engineers

We reached out to Convention Book developer Ryan Macklin:

Eddy Webb asked me to write about something I was particularly proud of about the Technocracy Convention Books I developed, and it was hard to pick just one thing. Mapping Correspondence to Data in Convention Book: N.W.O.? Applied Sciences or playing uplifted octopi in Convention Book: Progenitors? Showing in Convention Book: Syndicate how that Convention sees themselves as heroes? Tough to pick a favorite thing, like choosing between your children.

But my wife and cowriter Lillian Cohen-Moore told me there’s one clear stand-out: the big reveal in Convention Book: Void Engineers. I’m talking about Threat Null. My teams started laying the groundwork for that from our first book. I’ve had people come up to me at cons to thank me for creating Threat Null, though I can’t take sole credit. The whole team jammed together on a Google Hangout to figure Threat Null out, and Josh Roby brought his A-game in the writeup.

I think it’s safe to post that spoiler at this point, since it’s been a couple years and Threat Null was mentioned in Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition.

Threat Null

As if dealing with Reality Deviants in the Void wasn’t bad enough, a new threat has emerged, one we’ve codenamed Threat Null.

What We Tell Others

Threat Null is a new breed of Reality Deviant born from the Dimensional Anomaly. Unlike Marauders, Nephandi, and stranger entities, Threat Null isn’t a quantifiable foe. It’s a catchall term for a new enemy to Consensual Reality, a network of powerful EDEs that are adept at working against Enlightened Science.

Put simply, Threat Null has unkind designs on Earth and humanity, and we’re the only ones capable of preventing Threat Null from enacting the total conquest of humankind.

The term “Threat Null” was coined in 2000 when the proto-ETD worked to make sense of three starkly different incidents involving ships beyond the Spatial Horizon. The only similarity was an adaptability against Enlightened Science, so we began collecting data under the auspice of “Emerging Threats Capable of Nullifying Enlightened Procedures.”

And while we Void Engineers love to make things into acronyms, ETCNEP wasn’t as catchy as its unofficial abbreviation, “Threat Null.” The name became its official designation in 2004.

What Threat Null Really Is

With the stakes this high, you might think we’d call in help from our sister Conventions, but we can’t. The rest of the Technocratic Union must remain ignorant of the nature of Threat Null. They don’t understand Dimensional Science. They don’t understand how things work out here. They don’t understand what can happen. In short, they would do something stupid. Not to mention, most of the Union’s terrestrial operatives still have Conditioning straightjacketing their minds to make them loyal to Control, and that would be a liability.

Because Threat Null doesn’t call itself by that name. Threat Null calls itself the Technocratic Union.
Remember the NWO’s Inner Circle? The Progenitors’s Administration? All of our old masters and the greatest of Enlightened minds were lost to the Anomaly, but not all of them were killed. Some found refuge in temporal anomalies, where they lived for months when mere hours passed for us. Others were subjected to raw forces that twisted their Inspired Sciences into something unnatural. The end result is something that is no longer human: they’ve all been twisted and perverted by Void Adaptation. They pursue exaggerated and abhorrent versions of Technocratic Empowerment, and seek to force these terrible visions on the whole of humanity.

veThreat Null consists of four groups that roughly correspond to our sister Conventions. Each group has its own bailiwick, but they all work together to expand their collective power and reach. While their agendas are seemingly incompatible with each other, their Conditioning still allows them — in fact compels them — to cooperate. (The irony isn’t lost on us.)

Michael Chaney did a bang-up job with the graphic treatment in the Threat Null section, making it look like Eyes-Only material. I’m also really proud of a particular piece of art I requested for that book, which turned into an Onyx Path t-shirt.

The PDF of Convention Book: Void Engineers is 50% off for TODAY ONLY!

  4 comments for “Day 18: Convention Book: Void Engineers

  1. UnsilentMajority
    October 18, 2015 at 11:18 am

    ALL of the Convention books are fantastic, Ryan. You did excellent work with them and they’ve seen a lot of use in the games I’ve been in. Not even just Mage games, which is a testament to how great the content was within them.

  2. Phaolan
    October 18, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    The Void Engineers have been very well handled ever since Guide to the Technocracy, and this book delivered more than I could have hoped. When the penny dropped on Threat Null, it was the best sort of reveal… And what I mean by that is how Threat Null’s narrative impact played out here.

    First, it was just a shadowy, ‘mystery that we dare not name’ sort of thing. Then we read that whole ‘what they call themselves,’ which felt like only an incongruity but not too scary. THEN the full impact of what Treat Null represents sets in, and holy s**t! It’s scary on a level that boggles the mind… And I still don’t know what to do with that bombshell. I mean that with the highest respect, of course!

  3. Volesus
    October 18, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    I’m so glad that you did this article, for the Threat Null reveal was just awesome and so very worthy of drawing attention to!

    Reading each Technocracy book, I was so curious, and the wait was well worth the pay-off. Its just one of those cool twists, the sort of thing that keeps me and my friends coming back to roleplay games.

    Serious congrats and sincere thanks to everyone involved in Void Engineers!

  4. crawlkill
    October 19, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    man, the revised Conventionbooks were great. they really solidified the Technocracy as the obvious good guys of the setting. VE wasn’t my favorite–’cause they’re my favorite Convention and it made me sad to see them battered that way–but there was that line at the end with the ItXer who was gonna execute the fallen Etherite and one of the BCDs shouted, “Stop! He’s one of ours!” I teared up a bit.

    I hope if Mage gets a 4th Ed that this is the vision of the Technocracy we get there.

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