Illithicar

The Reality of True Conspiracies

This cosm was authored by John Walter Biles, and I am posting it without his explicit permission. He should feel free to tell me stop if he disapproves. His email address isn't good anymore. However, I think it's really cool, so I wanted to include it (very slightly edited, mainly for style).

John's Comments

Here comes the first of three long posts about three cosms I have developed for my Torg campaign. Illithicar and Seido are mentioned as the site of failed Tharkold reconnaissances, while everyone knows Kadandra(or do they). Comments are welcome.
The Red Ghost

johnbil@wam.umd.edu

Inspirations

Inspired by the ILLUMINATUS trilogy, The Prisoner, The Janus Directive, tons of cheesy conspiracy movies, The Bavarian Illuminati in New England, Holy Blood, Holy Grail (Long live the Merovingian dynasty!), and the Illuminati game and GURPS supplement from Steve Jackson Games.

History

Illithicar followed a similar history to Core Earth up until 5000 BC. That's when the Andromedans arrived. They were renegades from the Andromedan Hiearchy who escaped through a star gate and crashed on Illithicar. They used their superior scientific knowledge to make themselves the hidden masters of the world. Unfortunately, Illithicar only had a Tech Axiom of 7 at the time, so a lot of it didn't work. They began working behind the scenes to try to advance the pathetic humans to the point where things would start working again (the Andromedan Hiearchy had some knowledge of the concept of Axioms, picked up from Star gate explorations and disasters, but no Darkness Device to play with).

However, the aliens were unable to stay unified forever (with a social axiom of 7 in the cosm, they were doomed). One group went renegade around 3000 BC and founded the secret society that would one day briefly go public as the Bavarian Illuminati. A group of religious Andromedans fled to South America and founded the Cult of Eris (goddess of Chaos and Strife). By 2000 BC, they had fragmented beyond repair, but still remained hidden. Their plots and conspiracies could not be entirely hidden, and the world laws began to change...

Conspiracies are rife in Illithicar. The Bavarian and Swiss Illuminati, the Andromedan Society (and its front, the Masons!), the agents of Fu Manchu, Templars, the Priory of Zion, SPECTRE, and many others are all out to control the world. Further adding to the disorder is the fact that about fifty years ago, there was a shadow war between Tharkold agents and Marketplace agents. Now, several of the groups have been able to utilize technology/eternity shards captured from the warring groups and create Dimthread Machines (a la the machine created by Dr. Hachi Mara-Two in Kadandra). Perhaps these other worlds contain the secret to WORLD DOMINATION!!!!

Axioms and World Laws

Tech 23/26
Illithicar appears to be a tech 23 world, but the secret societies control access to the higher levels of technology. Robots, lasers, Mind Control Devices(the insidious Orbital Mind Control Lasers!) teleport tubes, Super Computers, Virtual Reality, cyberware, etc. This is carefully hidden from the public at large.
Magic 7/15
Magic is also controlled by the secret societies. The tabloids are trying to reveal the truth, but "real newspapers" would never admit that a vampire really went on a rampage in Chicago yesterday, or that the Ambassador to Latveria was fireballed by a mad cultist. Most magic emphasizes invisible effects, like charm, persuasion, stealth augmentation, mind control, etc. Flashy spells work, but few people use them.
Social 21/22
World-girdling conspiracies are possible. If world politics wern't being manipulated, Illithicar would have continent-wide governments by now.
Spiritual 9/15
The religious scene appears similar to Core Earth, but the Religous conspiracies(The Cult of Eris, the Templars, the Priory of Zion, the Assassins) have access to miraculous power at a high level.

World Laws

The Law of Intrigue
This is identical to the World Law of Nippon Tech.
The Law of Coincidences
There are none. All facts are connected, if you can figure out how. If the regional bureau chief of the CIA visits Guatemala, and there is an earthquake after he leaves, obviously he was directing the planting of an earthquake inducing device. Since this is beyond the CIA's Tech capabilities, obviously he is a pawn of one of the High Tech Conspiracies (probably the Andromedan Society or the Bavarian Illuminati). This is a guide to the style of adventures in Illithicar. If players steal a car, the people they are trying to escape from probably planted the car in their path and bugged it too. Or maybe a rival conspiracy planted it, and put a tape with hints in the tape player. Also, this law has the corollary that if enough people believe in a theory strung together from coincidences, it may come true. This can not alter or break the actual laws of this universe, however (no, you can't convince people the earth is flat and change its shape). Treat this as a Reality skill check with a difficulty of 30. Ords can contribute to this: Take the Torg value of the number of believing ords, and treat this as a reality skill that can support the "effort" to make it real. People who strongly disbelieve this will subtract from the effective number of believers. (Note: Any thing believed by at least 250,000,000 people can become real automatically if no one strongly disbelieves it (they have an effective 42 reality skill and thus could never fail to make it real).) However, it can be hard to convince people of things...
The Law of Skepticism
This is the only thing that keeps the law of Coincidences from making the world exceptionally wacko (like 250,000,000 conclude the CIA is in league with the devil and suddenly Satan is head of the CIA). People are hard to convince of anything relating to conspiracies or violations of the apparent axioms(like powerful magic). Anyone who has not directly experienced anything "unusual" has +8 to willpower to resist any effort to persuade them of the truth of unusual events.
People tend to ignore anything that violates their notion of how the world should be. Those who have had their skepticism pierced with regard to one kind of wierdness, still retain it towards other kinds ("OK, the Matrix really does have control of AT&T, but I still can't buy that your new neighbors are actually reading your mind every night."). Any action that violates the "accepted" view of reality has a +3 to difficulty (namely-Magic of Axioms 8-15, Miracles of Axioms 10-15, and Tech of Axioms 24-26, any Psionics) if witnessed by nonbelievers.

New Skills

Conspiracy Theory (Mind)

This skill enables you to guess at the connections between events and the many conspiracies of the world. The difficulty number is equal to the degree of secrecy and subtlety that a group has. Examples:

A Fraternity: 6
The Masons: 7
Corporate Espionage: 10
Intelligence Agencies: 12
Lesser global conspiracies (Templars, Matrix- a group of Hackers and robots, controlled by a super computer, Fu Manchu): 14
Fairly Subtle (Swiss Illuminati- World Finance conspiracy, Andromedan Society, Society of Eris): 16
Masters of Stealth (Bavarian Illuminati, Priory of Zion): 18

Minimal Success: Yes, there is a connection.
Average Success: The connection between event and front group is established. Good Success: Motive for the event can be intuited. Other sources of information are known by the skill user.
Superior Success: Links to other events are established. The motivating group is revealed. Spectacular Success: You know who did it, how they did it, and why. You can also intuit a future event which may result from this.

Example: Father Aloysius thinks that someone has been robbing the parish treasury. He has a Mind of 9 and 2 adds in conspiracy theory, giving him an 11. Unbeknownst to him, the CIA has been robbing the till to fund their aid to the contras. They have infilitrated the local Kiwanis and recruited one of its members on the Parish Council of Aloysius's parish to steal money from parish funds by blackmailing him. They have a secrecy factor of 12. Father Aloysius gets lucky and rolls a 17. That gives him a 15-12=3, a good success. He realizes that Bob has been looking guilty ever since he joined Kiwanis. Someone in Kiwanis must be blackmailing him to steal from the Parish treasury. Luckily, Aloysius knows someone in the Kiwanis he can trust to ask if this is true. A superior Success would have allowed Aloysius to intuit that someone is using Bob to get the money. A Spectacular Success means that Aloysius knows that the CIA is using Bob and can guess where the money is going. Possibly the thefts may get worse if the CIA thinks Bob is still undetected.

Equipment

Most equipment is similar to Core Earth. However, several groups have access to Tharkold style Cyberware (use Tharkold Tables) duplicated from captured Tharkoldu (from their incursion 50 years ago). The Bakemono Corporation, founded by Marketplace agents who betrayed Kanawa due to the Law of Intrigue, has tech 24 equipment similar to that in the Nippon Tech book. The Matrix has access to self-aware robots, Tech 26 Cyberdecks and VX (virtual experience). The Andromedan Society has Teleport Tubes, Lasers, and Power Armor. Essentially, no society has all of the Tech available at a given level above 23, but has what is most appropriate to its nature. No PC should have more than one or two items above the "public" axiom levels. Magic items are even rarer than Hi-Tech.

The Major Players

The Andromedans: These are the only group that uses Illithicar's Tech Axiom to its fullest. They have Tech 27-30 equipment too, but most of it is broken and they don't know how to fix it anymore. They have infilitrated human society using plastic surgery, hi-tech, and psi-simulation devices to hide their presence. Many conspiracies were founded by Andromedan Renegades. They seek to push the technological development of Earth so they can leave and go home.

The Bakemono Corporation: These are renegades from Marketplace who betrayed a Kanawa invasion of this cosm. They have Tech 24 equipment at their command. They are mostly interested in making money and gaining power. However, the Swiss Illuminati have the same goals and are at war with them. Only the inability of the Swiss Illuminati to find enough allies in Japanese society has prevented them from crushing the Bakemono Corporation. That and the fact that the Bakemono are the only people in this cosm who understand what eternity shards are. They have collected quite a few.

The Bavarian Illuminati: The Bavarian Illuminati seek two goals: personal immortality and world domination. They infilitrate governments and social organizations with the goal of gaining total control of the planet. However, their highest ranks also dabble in Magic. They seek to become immortal. Too bad that isn't possible at Illithicar's current axioms. Their biggest flaw is their tendency to underestimate the power of computer technology and finance. They have Tech 24 equipment, and Magic 15 spells at the highest levels (lower ranks have no magic, Middle ranks have Magic 10 spells).

The Cult of Eris: This was an Andromedan cult that wants to overthrow all governments, organized religion, and all other bonds on personal freedom. "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." They are loosely organized and often ineffective, but they wield spiritual might (miracles up to Axiom 15).

The Priory of Zion: This secret society is dedicated to returning the Merovingian kings to the throne of France, and then all of Europe. Their leaders believe themselves to possess the Blood of Meroving in their veins, which confers vast magical and spiritual power. They have created many groups over the years to use as fronts, with the Templars being the most famous. They are incredibly secretive. They have access to both magic and miracles of Axiom 15, but no hi tech.

The Swiss Illuminati: A financial cartel that manipulates the world economy. Power is to be gained through money, not control of governments. They split off from the Illuminati hundreds of years ago. They use psionic agents and have a special prison: the City. The City is a prison that looks like a town on an Island. Everyone is referred to by number, not name. They test techniques of psychological warfare, new psionic techniques, and new scientific developments on the inmates. No one knows where the City is. (This is modelled after the Village, of course, from the Classic British TV series, The Prisoner). The City newspaper is called "Over the Top"

The Matrix: The Matrix is a network of hackers, supercomputers, and robots working towards world domination through control of Illithicar's computers. They have Tech 26 computers/robots/cybertechnology. No one is sure who or what controls this group.

Templates

Angry Ex-Cultist
Dex:10 Str:8 Tou:9 Per:11 Min:12 Cha:8 Spi:8
Tag Skill: Apportation Magic
Possibilities:10
Recommended Skills
Dodge, Martial Arts, Melee Weapons, Alteration Magic, Divination Magic, Scholar, Conjuration Magic, Conspiracy Theory, Meditation, Science, Taunt, Faith, Reality Stuff: Robes, Grimoire, $50, Ceremonial Sword(Dam 15, Tech 15), Wallet, Stolen Papers, phony holy texts, I Ching.
Background
You thought you had finally found the way of enlightenment. Amazing powers were offered at the price of unquestioning obedience. You bit the bait, but then you changed your mind. Some group is using the cult you joined as a goon squad. You intend to learn who.
Quote
"I sought Enlightenment, but found only man's greed."
Conspiracy Theorist
Dex:9 Str:8 Tou:8 Per:12 Min:10 Cha:9 Spi:10
Tag Skill: Conspiracy Theory
Possibilities:10
Recommended Skills
Dodge, Fire Combat, Stealth, Evidence Analysis, Find, Forgery, Language, Scholar(History), Track, Psychology, Science, Willpower, Charm, Persuade, Taunt, Intimidate, Reality.
Stuff
Conspiracy Books, 500 dollars, Walther P.38(Tech 22, Val 15, 3-10/25/40), Library cards, Pen, Notepads, Mason Ring(authentic, but stolen/borrowed/bought at a pawnshop), UFO photo, this week's Weekly World News.
Background
You know their secrets. You know who really killed Kennedy and why. You know where Jimmy Hoffa and Judge Slater really are. You know who Number One really is. You know the are on to you. Only you can break the Veil of Silence.
Quote
"Of course the Masons control the gypsies. The Masons started the gypsies as a front for their criminal activities in ancient Egypt. Everyone knows that."
Escaped Prisoner
Dex:9 Str:8 Tou:9 Per:8 Min:12 Cha:8 Spi:12
Tag Skill: Reality or Willpower
Possibilities:10
Recommended Skills
Dodge, Fire Combat, Lockpicking, Stealth, Disguise, Evidence Analysis, Find, Scholar, Trick, Artist, Business, Psychology, Science, Survival, Test, Willpower, Taunt, Fiath, Intimidate, Reality.
Stuff
Map of the City, Stolen Coded Documents, Lockpicks, Glock 17(Tech 22, 3-10/25/40, Dam. 15), Lockpicks, City Monitor outfit, Disguise Kit, $300, Copy of the "Over the Top"(the City newspaper).
Background
They couldn't break you. They took away your job, your name, and your freedom. They locked you in "The City"--a prison that looked like a typical American City on a island--and threw away the key. But they couldn't break you. You escaped-again. They always seem to recapture you, but maybe this time you will be free at last.
Quote
"I will not be stamped, filed, numbered, briefed, or debriefed. I am a man, not a number!"(TM-whoever holds the copyright on The Prisoner TV series. I strongly recommend it and the GURPS The Prisoner Sourcebook for anyone running adventures in Illithicar, especially if the Swiss Illuminati get their grubby little fingers on the PCs).
Hacker:
Dex:9 Str:9 Tou:9 Per:10 Min:12 Cha:8 Spi:9
Tag Skill: Science(Computers)
Possibilities:10
Recommended Skills: Dodge, Running, Unarmed Combat, Evidence Analysis, Find, Language, Trick, Science, Willpower, Taunt, Reality.
Stuff
Swiss Army Knife, Electronics Kit, Home Computer, Modem, Miscellaneous Programs, Disks, and Reference Books, Computer Manuals, Electronics parts, $100.
Background
You love hacking your way into places you shouldn't be in. Unfortunately, you hacked your way into the Swiss Illuminati database. Now they are looking for you. Plus, there's this Network group. How did they find your system and wipe it clean, after you disconnected your modem? Hmmm....
Quote
"The CIA has remarkably bad electronic security. I have a harder time finding my car keys most days than breaking into their files."
Intelligence Analyst
Dex:9 Str:7 Tou:9 Per:13 Min:11 Cha:8 Spi:9
Tag Skill: Evidence Analysis
Possibilities:10
Recommended Skills
Dodge, Fire combat, Stealth, Disguise, Forgery, Language, Scholar(Cryptography), Scholar(Intelligence Agencies), Trick, Science(Computers), Test, Willpower, Charm, Persuasion, Reality.
Stuff
IBM laptop with Satellite UpLink and Modem(Tech 24 uplink/23 laptop), Disks stuffed with classified information(Treat as a device with Conspiracy Theory 10, Scholar (Intelligence Agencies)15 that can be consulted if player fails a skill check or used to support a skill check), Microportable photocopier/scanner(tech 24), Defender Pistol(Tech 24, Dam:18, 3-15/40/60), Shades, APAC(Advanced Polymer Armored Clothing, Tou+3, Val 12), The Briefcase(Tou 20 with Electronic Lock, Diff:17 Tech 24), Code Books.
Background
You were an ordinary intelligence analyzer until you discovered one of your fellow agents was calling up an enemy agency on a secure agency line on a regular basis. When you tried to expose him, they tried to liquidate you. You grabbed all the data you could and took off running. Now you are trying to make sense of a world that is stranger than you thought.
Quote
"I wouldn't trust his story. It sounds like he's feeding us false data."
Intelligence Operative
Dex:11 Str:9 Tou:9 Per:9 Min:8 Cha:11 Spi:9
Tag Skill: Stealth
Possibilities:10
Recommended Skills
Acrobatics, Fire Combat, Lockpicking, Long Jumping, Manuever, Martial Arts, Prestidigitation, Climbing, Disguise, Find, Forgery, Language, Trick, Science, Test, Willpower, Charm, Persuasion, Taunt, Reality.
Stuff
Miniature Walkie-Talkie(100 mile Range-Tech 24), Pen Gun(Tech 24, Damage 15, 1-2/5/8), Flechette Pistol(Tech 24, Dam 17, 2-10/30/45), APAC(Advanced Polymer Armored Clothing--Tech 24, Tou+3, Val:12, looks like real clothing, feels like real clothing), Shades, Grapple Gun, disguise kit, microcamera.
Background
You worked for an intelligence agency that you thought was dedicated to saving the world from evil conspiracies. then you found out that some of its members were actually working for those conspiracies. Now you don't know who to trust. You have gone independant, because you think you can still trust yourself.
Quote
"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."
Renegade Andromedan
Dex:9 Str:9 Tou:10 Per:10 Min:9 Cha:10 Spi:9
Tag Skill: Disguise
Possibilities:10
Recommended
Skills: Dodge, Energy Weapons, Fire Combat, Lockpicking, Language, Psionic Manipulation, Scholar, Trick, Psionic Resistance, Science, Willpower, Charm, Persuade, Intimidate, Reality.
Stuff
Andromedan Laser Mark IV(looks like a .357 magnum, Dam:24, Tech:26, 3-15/50/100), Gauss Pistol Mark II(looks like a .357 magnum, Fires seemingly normal bullets, Dam:20, Tech:26, 3-25/100/300), Long Range Communicator(50000 Km range, looks like a Cellular Phone, Tech 26), APAC/II(Advanced Polymer Armored Clothing/ Mark II: Tou +4--Val 14--Tech 24), $1000, Disguise Kit.
Background
You were raised in a hidden Andromedan enclave to infilitrate and control human society. You would be able to blend right in due to your training and surgery. It worked a little too well. You decided you liked having a normal life and betrayed the Andromedan cause. Now they are out to get you before you can expose them.
Renegade Conspiracy Enforcer
Dex:11 Str:11 Tou:11 Per:9 Min:8 Cha:7 Spi:8
Tag Skill: Intimidation
Possibilities:10
Recommended Skills
Dodge, Fire Combat, Lock Picking, Melee Combat, Running, Stealth, Unarmed Combat, Disguise, Find, Evidence Analysis, Survival, Willpower, Taunt, Reality Stuff: Suit, Hat, and Sunglasses, 1000 dollars, Bakemono 13MM Special Pistol (Tech 24, Value 19, 3-10/30/50), Fake Law Enforcement IDs, Kevlar(Val:16, Tech 23), Black Sedan(tech 23)
Background
You used to work for the conspiracies as a gun for hire. After being betrayed one two many times, you have decided to turn the tables on them. Now you are going to expose their dirty deeds.
Quote
"I've found that the sight of a 20 story drop clears the mind wonderfully."
Sixty Million Dollar Man
Dex:10 Str:9(13) Tou:10 Per:10 Min:9 Cha:9 Spi:9
Tag Skill: Air Vehicles or Space Vehicles
Possibilities:10
Cyber Value:15
Recommended Skills
Acrobatics, Dodge, Fire Combat, Long Jumping, Running, Stealth, Unarmed Combat, Climbing, Lifting, Land Vehicles, Tracking, Survival, Willpower, Reality Stuff: $500, HK4(Tech 22, Val 15, 3-10/25/40), Government ID, Short-wave Radio, Jumpsuit, Pilot License.
Cyberware
Neuracal(3), Eye Package(2): Cybercam, HeatHunter, SoundCatcher(ear)(2), BodyMax(4), Twin Cyberlegs(+3 STR).
Background
You were a pilot for the government. After a crash, you volunteered to become the subject for tests with experimental cyberware. Now you work for Taskforce X. Something is rotten there, though, and you intend to find out what.
Quote
"No Ma'am. I can't tell you how I jumped onto your roof. It's classified."
Tabloid Journalist
Dex:8 Str:9 Tou:9 Per:10 Min:8 Cha:11 Spi:11
Tag Skill: Persuade
Possibilities:10
Recommended Skills
Dodge, Unarmed Combat, Conspiracy Theory, Evidence Analysis, Find, Land Vehicles, Scholar, Trick, Artist(Photography), Willpower, Charm, Persuade, Taunt, Intimidate, Reality Stuff: Camera and Film, Tape Recorder, Pen and Notepad, Calling Card(bill paid by your employers), Business Cards, Hat and Suit, 500 dollars, photo of Bigfoot meeting with JFK in 1962 at the White House.
Background
When you were in school, you sneered at the tabloids. Only our desperate need for a job drove you to work for one when you graduated. That's when you discovered that it was all true! Bigfoot was real. Ross Perot really was meeting with aliens. Elvis is alive! Now you are out to shatter the complacency of the masses with the truth behind the lies.
Quote
"So this is the cemetary where the vampire cat attacked you?"