The Secret World: Season 2
The Brotherhood of Phoenician Sailors
Tyre, Carthage, the Purple People, the Brothers and the Sisters, the Sailors, the Mariners, the Sons of Hannibal, the Elephant, the Children of the Sea, Lazarus, the Phoenicians, the Risen, the Phoenix. By any name, the Brotherhood of Phoenician Sailors is a dangerous adversary, one which the rest of the Secret World cannot ignore.
The Brotherhood of Phoenician Sailors rivals the Templar in age; legend has it that the Tower of Babel once existed and had two rulers, who fell into warring with one another and shattered the tower. One of these rulers founded the Templar, and the other founded the Phoenicians. The Templar ruled Babylon; the Phoenicians ruled Tyre and traveled abroad, trading and collecting everything from mundane goods such as a certain purple dye to the most arcane of secrets. That has always been the crux of the disagreement between the Templar and the Phoenicians. The Sailors viewed the supernatural as part of the world. The Templar viewed it as something outside of it, something to be fended off and warred against, aside from carefully sanctified portions that they would have absolute control over.
They fought for a long time; the Illuminati arose in Egypt and allied with the Phoenicians, an alliance that held until the Sailors lost ground and were pushed into Africa by the Templars, founding Carthage. The Punic Wars were real world proxies for the deadly duel between these secret factions, and it ended with the near annihilation of the Purple People.
For centuries there was silence from the Phoenicians, and most assumed they had died out. But as the Age of Exploration proceeded, and then the Industrial Revolution picked up speed, they were found again lurking in the Pacific, gaining strength. Today the Phoenicians are a weird compromise between Illuminati and Templar ideologies. Steeped in ancient traditions that they have carefully preserved, yet mercantile and avaricious, and united by a powerful sense of family and fellowship. They maneuver all over the world, showing both a willingness to spy and manipulate secretly as well as to strike with mercenaries and private armies. They can project over the seas like no other power, having infiltrated the merchant marines and navies of nearly every nation on earth. Somali pirates keep their signs and follow their orders.
The center of Phoenician power is the mysterious New Carthage, which none outside the Brotherhood has ever seen. Some say it is a ship, others an entire fleet, hidden by wards and spells, wandering the world; there are whispers that it is a sunken city at the bottom of the sea, the ruins of Atlantis uncovered and restored by the will of the Tyrians.
Resurgent and splendid, rising from the ashes of defeat, the Brotherhood of Phoenician Sailors are true rivals to Templar, Illuminati, and Dragon alike. In comparison to the other secret societies, the Brotherhood offers a flexible program of magical discovery, intrigue, economical enterprise, and direct conflict. They employ all methods, being rivaled in their mobility and flexibility only by the mysterious Dragon, with whom they war over for control of Southeast Asia and the Pacific. They offer a rich history and heritage mixed with practicality and modern sensibility. Sometimes one or the other wins out to fair or foul effect, but usually they are quite moderate. They are more flexible and less idealistic than the Templars without the sometimes crushing amorality and cutthroat brutality of the Illuminati. Moreover, there is a real sense of family among the Sailors. Templar agents can call for reinforcements and hope that command deems them worthy of them, and the Illuminati can call in assistance at the cost of profit or favors, but the Phoenicians answer the call for help selflessly, dedicated to protecting their own (which Dragons, often left absolutely on their own, look on with envy). They are spread thin across the globe, but if there is a brother or sister Sailor nearby, any Phoenician can count on their aid.
On the other side, however, the Phoenicians have a long memory, and bear grudges against all the other major conspiracies. It isn’t impossible for them to work with the other factions, but for most of TSW, an alliance with the clannish Phoenicians can be seen as only the most tenuous and temporary of truces. Strength among themselves comes at the cost of strength with outsiders.