A Note (From Melissa) about Conspiracies
Hunters are mere mortals facing the unknown. They are weak and vulnerable. Banding together with like-minded hunters to form conspiracies is one of the few ways they can survive. Conspiracies are organizations that share knowledge, theories, ideologies, special training and sometimes equipment. Your characters will be able to be new members in a conspiracy if you so chose. If you do not pick one for your character, you will not be eligible for a series of special merits, known as endowments. It is possible to join a conspiracy later in the game and earn endowments then.
Unlike professions, I would prefer if you DO NOT SHARE your conspiracy with your fellow players. If two of you happen to join the same conspiracy, there will be opportunities for you to work together and be aware of each other’s membership status. Conspiracies are secretive organizations that are often paranoid about being discovered by the public.
Many Conspiracies are complicated organizations with a lot of background and history. I have only copied the briefest of introductions to them here in this document. If you find one that you like, please read more about it in the Hunter: The Vigil book.
Caught alone in the dark, back against the wall, pursued by things you barely understand, things that treat humans like cattle or insects or breeding stock, chased by witches who stand above you like cut-price gods…this is the Vigil. It’s what it means to be a hunter. Hunters do it because they feel they have to, or because they want to get revenge for some loss inflicted upon them, or because they’re curious. Ask them. They’ll give you all sorts of reasons. But hardly any of them admit the one thing they all have in common, even to themselves: it’s one of the greatest rushes anyone could ever know.
The members of Ashwood Abbey have never once pretended they’re doing it for anything other than kicks. Since 1855, this cabal of silver-spoon-sucking party animals has got its kicks from killing things no one else ever managed to kill. And having fun with them. Before and after the killing part.
The Long Night
The world is going to end soon. God is going to snatch away all the True Christians, and the unworthy are going to suffer under the rule of the Antichrist until Jesus comes back and ends it all in blood and fire. Because Jesus loves you. Right? Wrong.
Well, some of it is wrong, at least. That part about the Rapture, where God will pluck all his righteous children from the earth and carry them to the cradle of Heaven, well, that’s not going to happen (though some fear this has already happened, and the still-signifi cant population remaining are those too wicked to be allowed entry into the Kingdom). No, this is the Tribulation. This is the war. It’s the battle of righteousness, Armageddon. It’s between the righteous and the wicked, between the forces of God and the armies of Satan. A man cannot rely on the Rapture to come and claim him. He can only rely on his Bible, his voice, his fist and his gun.
Secrets make us who we are. Secrets build us all. The desires, the hopes we hold inside us change the world. Everything runs on secrets, things occulted from the rest of the world. And some occult things are more occult than others.
Some legends have it that once upon a time, a land now lost — Atlantis, Mu, Thule, Pan or whatever its name was — gave the world civilization. A cataclysm took it, but its survivors sailed across the sea in ships with painted sails to the benighted lands of Europe and Asia.
They became, so the theories go, the gods and lawgivers of the peoples. They gave the world art and architecture, and the ability to work bronze. They also gave man the terrible mystical secrets that, over thousands of years, were forgotten by the masses, but hidden by those who knew (and can yet be found if you know where to look).
Every so often, this video appears on some video-sharing site or another, and it’s really creepy — it’s dark and it’s badly pixelated and the sound’s all over the place, but holy shit did you see that the guy just turned into a monster and ran off? Special effects. It’s got to be special effects. You can do some pretty impressive things with a half-decent video editing suite. Still. You’d almost think it was real.
Sometimes it goes viral. Sometimes it ends up on a hundred blogs or more, an embedded video and a comment: Hey! This is really creepy. How’d they do it?
The answer is: they didn’t. You’ve just seen content from Network Zero, the Secret Frequency (as in, the frequency that broadcasts secrets, not a frequency that’s secret). For going on 10 years now, Network Zero has been making forbidden content available on the Internet for anyone who’ll pay attention. Before that, it was public access cable television. And it’s all real.
Everything has a rational explanation: it’s just that scientists haven’t got around to explaining some things yet. The paranormal and the supernatural are just phantoms — all just normal, natural phenomena that haven’t yet been observed enough for anyone to make sense of them.
Agree with that? You’re on the same page as Null Mysteriis. The organization’s been diligently working on explaining anomalies since the day Jean-Pierre Brattel walked out of a Parisian Theosophical Society meeting in 1893. The Theosophists’ original intent had been to apply the most rigorous standards of Victorian science to the claims of religion; Brattel found this fascinating, only to discover that in practice, the Theosophists were really just another new religious movement, one of dozens. After a few meetings full of messianic prophecies, hidden brotherhoods of Ancient Ascended Masters and suspect tales of rather convenient reincarnations,
Brattel decided he had enough. It just wasn’t scientific enough. On the other hand, he felt the rationalists discounted out of hand the possibility that there might be things yet unexplained, and that science had not yet found every law of creation. He saw a need for a group to scientifically examine things that are as yet, beyond science.
In the States, it started with the Labor movement at the turn of the 20th century. Workers in factories and mines began to unionize, coming together to support and protect each other, the weak against the strong, the poor against the rich, the common folk against the powerful forces who would exploit them. A group of mobilized, politicized workers in Chicago discovered that the disease that plagued their children was no natural phenomenon. As they saw it, things other than factory owners exploited the masses, squeezing them dry for fl esh, blood and souls just as much as grasping bosses used them for cheap labor. Alone they were weak.
Together they were strong, and just as industrial action forced the fat cats to take notice, so, too, did organized resistance drive back terrible evils. The Chicago Union stayed together for a few years. When their fight was over, they disbanded.
Across the Western world, the labor movement spawned more than just trade unions. It happened in England in the late 19th century, and in the 1920s. It happened
in Australia in the 1930s and 1970s. Each time, as people banded together to support each other, someone or other discovered the creatures that preyed upon them, and did something about it.
Aegis Kai Doru
They say there’s a room somewhere under the ground, where for well over a thousand years, generations of one family have kept hidden the head of John the Baptist. It still sometimes prophesies disaster, they say. Who guards it?
They tell the story of Berenger le Saunière, a poor village priest who, all of a sudden, became fabulously rich. He left cryptic clues in the fabric of his church. The confessor would not absolve him on his deathbed. What did he find?
The story of Jacques de Molay, burnt for heresy, still does the rounds, ending with a rumor of a treasure and a curse, lost since that day. Who knows where it can be?
Does the tomb treasure of Akhenaten, heretic pharaoh of Egypt, still exist? Or the looted treasure of Troy? Or the golden chains that once bound Zenobia? Or the tomb of Gilgamesh?
The Guardians of the Labyrinth know. They are the Aegis Kai Doru, the Shield and Spear. They believe it has been their business since before history began not only to guard the magical treasures of countless lost worlds, but to use them against creatures of the supernatural realm, against whom they still nurse an ancient grudge.
Every night the sun dies; every morning it rises again, and will do so until the end of the world. In Egypt, the great beetle Khepri rolled the new sun back across the sky; Amon-Re shone with brightness and power and died at the end of the day, to be reborn again. In the same way, the Phoenix, so the legends said, immolated itself at the end of its life only to be reborn from its own ashes, never to die.
It was in Egypt that two sects of soldiers were born, two cults that were charged from a time before memory to fight the forces of the dark. By night, the Cult of Set protected the people; by day the Cult of the Phoenix fought the forces of evil.
The Cheiron Group
Back in 1999, European pharmaceuticals and medical conglomerate the Cheiron Group (TCG) engaged in a highly publicized series of lawsuits directed against a number of individuals and groups — mostly religious in nature, mostly American — who had propagated in the media the story that the company was controlled by Satanic forces. The story had come out of TCG’s logo, the head of a horned, bearded man wearing a laurel wreath and superimposed over a caduceus. Various fundamentalists in the US misinterpreted the logo’s classical pagan imagery as being somehow occult, and further misinterpreted “occult” as straight Devil worship. They gladly propagated the Satanic connection, at times even encouraging people to boycott the conglomerate.
The ironic thing was, the fundamentalists were about half right. There really is something very fishy going on with the Cheiron Group.
God may or may not exist, but the world has ample evidence that there is a Satan, a great Adversary, a deceiver, an accuser. As long as there has been free choice, so the Church says, Satan has sown his seed in humankind. Most Christians, Jews and Muslims understand that as a metaphor. The agents of the Lucifuge know it’s more than that.
Every one of them believes that he or she is a literal descendant of Lucifer or some other Duke of Hell. The Bringer of Light and his companions have always seen fit to take their pleasure with mortals, and about once a century, the Devil has a son or daughter. They are exceptional people, prone to great evil — and great guilt. They have children of their own; the bloodlines swell and bloat. Families move and intermarry. The Devil’s mark seems sometimes to vanish over the generations. But the taint of Lucifer revives itself once every seven generations, almost without fail.
The idea of the Inquisitor, the Catholic witch-hunter of the Middle-Ages, is potent: the grim-faced man with brands and scourges, thumbscrews and chains, who burns, strangles and drowns innocent and guilty alike to find the truth. It might be easy to sigh in relief: these things don’t happen anymore, do they?
Of course they do. There are still witch-hunters, still empowered secretly by the Church. The Inquisition has become the somewhat more benevolent Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The witch-hunters remain, in the form of the Malleus Maleficarum, the Hammer of the Witches, the Shadow Congregation.
Task Force Valkyrie
Fact: in December 1927, the US Army raided a number of coastal towns in Massachusetts. The towns no longer exist. Their inhabitants vanished. Fact: in 1947, an unidentified object crashed near a USAF base in Roswell, New Mexico. Government agents waded in to clear things up. Fact: in November 1963, John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The US Government’s investigation seemed reluctant. Fact: in the 1960s and 1970s, the Zodiac killer stalked northern California. No one ever caught him. Still, the killings ended. Fact: in August 1997, Princess Diana’s car crashed under mysterious circumstances, killing Diana, its driver and the industrialist she was dating at the time. Was the People’s Princess really the intended victim? You could go back further. Who shot Abraham Lincoln?
Conspiracy theorists would have you believe there is a great agency behind all of these events. They don’t know for sure, of course. Task Force: VALKYRIE knows. They know the truth about Diana and the precise location of the Roswell pilot’s grave. They know who didn’t shoot Kennedy. And they know about vampires, werewolves, demons and ghosts.