So, sorry for taking such a long break- those were few busy weeks. I’ve had to submit my Master Proposal to my university, learn how to use a new program for my research, design a D&D adventure for my players, deal with some personal crises in my family, catch up with Critical Role, catch up with A Certain Scientific Railgun, etc, etc. But I’m free now, and I hope I’ll still have some freedom in the future to write in this blog. However, as far as homebrew is concerned, it is going to come more or less to an halt- but that’s good news. The reason is that I’m going to keep my homebrew to the upcoming Storyteller’s Vault, as it soon going to include the CofD! As such, my Fantasy Shard and Dark Eras Open Developments will no longer be updated- but that means I’ll focus more around Conjurer, my interviews and (finally) finish my cosmology post. What I’ll do afterward? We’ll see- but for now, those are my future plans.
Now, I’ve been thinking a lot about which post I should make after such a long break- the cosmology post would take too much time right now, and I don’t feel inspired to make any new interview. But after giving it much thought, it came to me- a post which I wanted to make for long, long time- the truth behind my compacts and conspiracies.
Now, it is not a secret that Hunter is the most dominant homebrew material I wrote. However, I always made sure to never fully define most of my organization’s true nature, goals and powers. Mystery is good thing, and it would give those who would like to use them some freedom in adapting them to their settings. However, I’ve always had in my mind what the truth behind the mystery would be. I hinted it from time to time, and directly spelled it out on others, but I’ve never made an extensive “truth” post for those groups. Now, I do not plan in any way that you are forced to use those “truths” to your games- if you like my organization but not the hidden agenda behind it, feel free to change and adapt it to your setting, as I would probably won’t refer to it outside of this post. But still, I think it would be a nice thing to share, and may give a new dimension to the old groups I wrote.
Anyway, here we go!
Pythian Oracles– well, I believe that in their case, I more or less spelled out everything behind the Oracles. Pythia is a body thief who use her connection to the Astral in order to see the future, and use a number of human captives as computers meant to maintain and calculate the “brightest future” while working toward it. They also hunt for slashers and other prophets simply in order to eliminate the competition. Los Angeles starts to become a modern Delphi, and as such the organization tries to take control over it and use the vast connections and media as a part of the calculations to the future. In fact, Pythia starts to evolve beyond her humanity, as she moves toward taking control over the Serpent/Astral/the world of Souls, existing in a number of bodies in the same time and plans on using her connection to it in order to imprint her “perfect future” upon the soul of every human being, making her a rising competition to both the God Machine and the Dark Mother. In a way, Pythia starts to become the representation of the Vigil as whole- a god of humanity for humanity, taking the challenge into the Pax Arcana and fight for the Candle on a 4th tier combat. Sure, the way to there would be soaked with blood- but why considering that her future is truly the best one available, how you can not support it?
Raziel Ltd– Talking about competition to the God Machine, her is another obvious one. Ronen Sukenik, the CEO of Raziel, is an Exile. In fact, he is the first Exile- Raziel, God’s Secret, an angel whose existence is so terrifying to the God Machine that it had to hide it from itself inside Dosiel (the “Inversion of God’s Secret”). The secret is that Raziel knows what the God Machine was meant to do, but he also knows that this goal is impossible. So, Raziel’s mission is to act outside of the God Machine and actively make the God Machine’s goal impossible. In fact, what Raziel was meant to do was to make the God Machine to Fall, and as such become free from its mission and do whatever it wants to do (which is, right now, more or less in the style of “destroy all of those damn humans and move on”). For that reason, Raziel has granted humanity the Book of Raziel the Angel, which was created as a manual meant to hack into the God Machine and free it from its servitude. However, the thing is that without the connection to the Machine, Raziel has started to lose its focus. Instead of helping the machine at becoming free and destroy mankind, it decided to change its basic parameters by allowing humanity to take over it and give it a more possible mission. The God Machine isn’t aware of it, of course, as there is no connection between the two- but Raziel truly believes that by allowing humanity to take over the Machine, it would save both mankind and God. Raziel, however, is not Fallen, and as such must follow its own parameters in order to maintain stability. The reason it made Raziel Ltd was as both an experiment in creating a new God Machine and in order to protect mankind to which it grew attached. Ronen’s history is mostly a fake, Genesis is a way for Raziel to spread its conscious through its agents and become a God Machine by itself- and by finally unifying with its creator, it would finally give humanity the hack they need in order to take over their own god.
Silent Imperative– Ah, one of my “semi canon” groups (that is, one based around a canon group which was never written). As they are lead and born from the Lucifuge, I wrote them as a “neutral” faction between the Lucifuge and the L’Enfant Diabolique- one which does not immediately hunts monsters, but also doesn’t spread evil. I assume that you could claim them to be a Cancer Conspiracy as they actively act to save certain monsters from hunters, and in a way, they are. Now, while they do have members of the Seventh Generation operating inside of them, their Salem Era version (and probably their modern one- I should write a post concerning their modern state sometime) also includes regular humans. The Skeleton Key is in fact a collection of Castigations which Mirellie developed and managed to tech to regular humans through certain occult rituals which imprint a bit of Hell upon the soul of a human. Currently, she is the only one to hold such knowledge- as well as the price one has to pay in order to activate those Endowments- and she constantly guards it from the Lady and the Chaldean who would kill to get it.
Apollonian Priesthood– So the question you must ask yourself “‘who the hell is Apollo?”. The question would be that Apollo is a Royal Avatar of Helios, the literal god of the Sun. Jacob indeed preformed the Rite of Moloch upon himself, in exchange for being immortalized as the leader of the cult- a wish which was granted. The mark of the Black Sun damns the soul to Helios’s ages long enemy- Apep, the idigam born from his shadow. Those slashers are actually marked as sacrifices, meant to fuel Helios’s power in the War of Fate and the race for the Black Sun. The rivalry between the Priesthood and the Oracles reach beyond the War of Fate initiated by Pythia, being a symbol of the war between Apollo and Python upon the fate of humanity. Helios, while being distant and mad like any great spirit, has certain aspects which act in order to spread his light to the world- and Apollo is that aspect which cares about the Vigil.
ZMEI– So, as another “semi canon” group, the main question about them is what the Zmey actually is. The answer is that it is a Leviathan, trapped and mutated beyond recognition as the agents of the God Machine tried to manipulate its psychic nature and combine it with the biomechanic transformation of Hellspawn. However, that was only the original- the group has now learned how to drain every type of psychic creature, and now hold a number of vampires, Beasts, Silvers, mages and even a mummy or two. The Superiors are in fact the angel which was sent to supervise ZMEI, even though the communication between it and the Machine has grew so thin along the years that it is on the verge of becoming an Exile. It is, however, aware of its state, and instead of entering into panic, it starts to make preparations into its finale detachment from the Machine, either as an Exile or a Demon.
Tartarus Enterprise– inspired by the Pandemonium Club from Shadowhunters, Tartarus actually don’t have many secrets. The Maester is a regular human, who use scientific methods in order to develop occult technologies. However, the Maester does have a purpose, coming from one Maester to another since the club’s foundation- which is, true to their name, bring an “hell” upon earth (as inspired by the demons who are a part of their group). They want to either built a mechanism which would allow them to control/direct supernatural powers to their benefits, or take over the God Machine and use it to achieve their endgame.
Los Inocentes– So here is the thing: they are still around. While the majority of them was destroyed, and whatever leftovers the MM managed to absorbed did turned into the minor Order of the Holy Innocents, there is still a considerate amount of hunters which survived the Cabal’s purge, and now dedicate their lives in order to supervise other hunters and make sure the Inquisition would not repeat itself. As for their Endowment- the easy answer is that it is the God Machine which powers their dark magics, or maybe the devil, but the truth is that it is God- just another, darker side of Him. Now, God doesn’t directly invoke theurgy- it is His hierarchy of dark angels, just as the MM’s Benedictions are powered by the Saints instead of the Almighty directly.
Silentium– Now, that was a fun one, as most of the information about them is [redacted]. Now, as you can guess from their writeup, their background involve two hunters, one of which betrayed the other, becoming a slasher and eventually was hunted down by their former friend. However, the truth was that both of the founding members became Slashers, simply that while one of them turned upon innocent humans, the other dedicated themselves to hunt and kill hunters which they deemed as “unworthy”. Other slashers joined their cause, until eventually a certain psychic accident (engineered by the Gate through a failed Awakening of one of the Scourge Slashers, which opened the Abyss and allowed Her to reach out) restored somewhat of the sanity of the members- by allowing them to “seal” their deranged personality. Their ability to “seal” memories of others is an extension of that power, but in truth, each of the members is a slasher which got their mind sealed by a powerful, psychic power.
Tartaruchi– So, the Furies are, as canon, infernal beings which live from the punishment of others (which is why they are so close to the Lucifuge). Also, the “unification plan” which goes between the two conspiracies is, of course, an attempt of the Tartaruchi to ambush the Lady and kill both her and most of her conspiracy. As a strain of the Cursed Blood, they take a part of the “War in Hell”, where many demonic beings turn their children against each other in order to overtake the Thousand Hells (which are also known as the “Lower Depths”). Also, it wasn’t the Lady who killed the two Sisters of the group’s three leaders- it is the last surviving Sister. One of the others in fact made a deal with the Lady to kill her Sisters in order to get her mercy, and she managed to severely injure one of them and scar the other before the surviving one killed her in return. Through an unholy ceremony, the dying Sister gave her life and soul to the last one, increasing her power by her own death. The last Sister never forgave the Lady for that.
Domus Sanctus– Nothing, actually. Sure, their world view is mostly wrong (tainted places don’t create monsters, usually), but they are simply an honest group which discovered certain rituals which allow one to abjure places instead of beings. Happens.
Cage of Shadows– So, I don’t think that I need to spell it out, but Lilith is, indeed, a Strix. More than that, she is the actual “Mother of Owls”, the primordial darkness, the Drinker of Souls and Eater of the Unborn. Her line of Cursed Blood is birthed from her avatars, and the group does indeed serve one of the darkest beings which ever walked the earth. Happens.
Scharlach Spinnwebe– So, the question you must ask yourself is “how did regular humans learned to enchant their own blood and give it Vinculum like properties?”. The answer is that they got help- the group have learned a number of ceremonies from the Phanariot (and the center of the Bloody Spider is in fact made from a number of those twisted ghouls). What deal the Chancellor made with the Ones Outside to gain their favor in enslaving the dead is unknown, but the existence of the Bloody Spider in the middle of the conspiracy is important for its function. Destroy the council, and the Web would fall apart.
Al Rih Al Asuad– So, Pazuzu is indeed the power behind the Edimmu, a wind demon from the darkest pit from in which Lilith lives and which fight against her for centuries. Yeah, nothing too weird in here 😛
Tecuanimeh– yeah, so that Cabal is actually controlled by an high ranking Sutina. Perhaps the Smoking Mirror always was one of those bloody artifact. Perhaps not. But at any case, the Sutina called Tezcatlipoca does try to reestablish the Cabal as a conspiracy of some sort, as the relic learned that Cabals would draw too much of attention. The Sutina does also have the ability to predict the future to some degree, and it known that soon it would have to take part in the War of Fates and wish to have a solid base before the Oracles would make their move. The jaguars it sends come from the dark world of the Strix, to which the mirror serves as a portal. Those “eaten” by the Sutina rise as vampires bound to it, probably of the same Lost Clan from Half Damned. The Ocelomeh are not skinchangers, but have levels in Protean granted to them by Tezcatlipoca, while the Ancient Ones are three Arisen bound through a powerful Blood Magic which increase the Mirror’s future sight abilities.
Aki Ten– as revealed in their Dark Era section, the Aki Ten were a product of the Onmyodo, as hedge magicians were bound together under the efforts of the Awakened, united by the Proximi Tsuchimikado line. They did not bring the Dawn of Heroes, however, even though they did learned the secrets of binding Beasts from the Archetype which represents the Hero (the parallel to the Dark Mother which symbolize the Monster). The Spirit Beloved are one of the bloodlines which got mixed with the Tsuchimikado during Edo’s Era, and when the Proximi sided with the Awakened, they sided with the hunters. Becoming Spirit Beloved, however. requires the recognition of a powerful Spirit Noble, which is why they are in alliance with the Ume House- as the one to patron the Zaibatsu is the same spirit noble which guards the conspiracy.
E.V.E– So yeah, the group extract the Shards of the Hosts and transplant them into humans. Wondered why do they have such an unstable personality? That’s why. Using the Moon Essence of shapeshifters, they are able to stabilize their conditions, something which requires a powerful occult science. The one behind the conspiracy, a woman named Eve, is in fact one of the Old Ones- but instead of being a scaled horror, she is an extinct form of long extinct plant life. She has been reincarnated countless times, and is one of the most powerful members of the Dead Breeds, and she sees herself as an avatar of Nature herself. Using a serum formed from her own Essence, she allowed Lucas to gain certain Plant based mutations, ones which allow him, among others, to create clones of itself by cutting himself into pieces and “plant” them in the ground- something which forms an actual greenhouse of plants. His scientists are also equipped with powerful, Old One based serums. When William would attack, he is going to discover a very, very unpleasant surprise. Eve, of course, also supports William- in order to see how powerful would be the Old Ones Serums she granted to the scientists of the conspiracy. For her, it is nothing but an experiment to see how well she could evolve the next generation of Changing Breeds into the world.
Nibiru– Their Dark Eras section more or less revealed all the cards: they are the descendants of the Nine Daughters blessed by Father Wolf back in the ages of Pangaea. Gilgamesh from their story was in fact a mage corrupted by the idigam Apep, and their strange powers and authority is a result of the recognition of them by Wolf ages ago, which gifted them as the guardians of mankind and carriers of the Vigil.
Silver Syndicate– Another group without too many secrets. Concrete Beast is a local Spirit Noble which granted Donnie its gift and blessing. It truly feels kinship toward him, at least as much as a spirit could feel toward a human, and fully support that he should “join their ranks” and become a Purified. It also discovered that Werewolf Blood could enhance the process and increase the chances of a successful transformation. The problem is that they need a lot of blood- but they have plans for it. Donnie becoming a Purified may very well be the worst thing that could happen to New York’s Uratha. Donnie himself also has a certain interest in Kalinda (from “Trophy Made From My enemies” by Chris Allen)- he managed to discover her existence, and he is aware of the destruction she brings wherever she walks. He still considers if she could be an asset or a threat- but if they will meet, Kalinda may, for the first time in her life, discover a true challenge in the form of not one of the Uratha, but a human as cunning and intelligent as her, with the help of an entire spirit choir. She has long waited to be torn apart with the claws of an Uratha and laugh in their face with her dying breath. Death by Donnie, if she were to fall to him, would be something she can’t even imagine.
Well, that looks like it would be enough for now! I’ll tru to finish the second part for next week. Hope you’ll like it!