"S-s-s-secrets and lies! Everything is this fucking world, boils down to secrets and lies! Like the Easter Bunny, Mall Santa's or whether or not Mcdonalds actually has a secret menu. A-a-and then you got the real big shit! A world hidden in plain sight, that everyone knows about. Boogeymen? Real. Monsters under the bridge? Real. Eldritch abominations, fucking vampires and werewolves, zombies, gods and devils?! All of it, fucking. Real. I found out the hard way. Guess you did too." "Those in the know call it the "Hidden World." Real imaginative right? Basically, every story, every myth, every thing you might have heard? Its real. And they all living in plain sight. Your neighbor, your classmate, the fucking hippie performing in the park or the stripper you waste your paycheck on? They might be a part of it! They got people everywhere, which helps em thankfully keep things under wraps. Because if they'res one thing they all agree on, its that humans and them combining? Bad idea! Very bad idea!" "I-I-I mean, besides the fact a lot of proud factions look at em as food, people in general tend to react badly, knowing there exists a powerful shadow society beneath our own. And when certain parties look at people as fodder or chattel? Things go bad. World War One! World War Two? Involvement from them. Real end-of-the-world, post apocalyptic sort of deal. We're not ready to know the truth! Maybe we never will. Which is something they know full well, so they'll keep on hiding. But now and then? Something leaks out. People start asking questions and snooping. People like Richard Croft." "A student of Doctor Henry Jones Jr. at Marshall College, Richard was fascinated by archaeology and the occult. L-l-like student, like teacher right? Ah-hehehehehe. So anyway, he grows up. Uses his fortune to travel the world alongside his best bro, Conrad Roth and marries. Has a daughter named Lara who follows in his footsteps. Normally, depending on who a particular Mundane-Non magical folk for you guys, discovers his entry into the world beneath can be good or bad. Unfortunately, Richard and his wife were of the noble variety. The people they discovered? They made fucking Jack the Ripper look like Mother Teresa! Both vanish and they assume that's the end of it. But Richard left a legacy! His daughter grows up and she finds out about the Hidden World! She discovers magic and maybe, something about herself as well? Daddy left his notes behind and if shes anything like the old man? She ain't gonna stop till she finds out more." "Thing is though, stories like this? Happens all the time. People get curious, if there was a big, red button in a cave that said "Do not push" which would cause the end of the world? Someone would push it before the paint had time to dry! We're like that! Reckless, suicidal and constantly pushing our limits. That's what it means to live in the Hidden World, with our eyes open. Otherwise, we see things that we WANT to see. Like the old man said. "Forever must the few remain Hidden, to live among the many." Or some shit like that. Whatever, all I can say is "good luck." "You're going to need it." ------------------------------------------- The Nitty-Gritty ---------------------------------------------------- Welcome to the Hidden World. For most people, New York City is New York City, America is America, and Earth is Earth—but there’s more to the world than that. Beneath the “normal” surface of the world are things and people which most humans don’t know about, don’t want to know about, and will do their best to forget about if they ever come anywhere near them. That dead body with the odd toothmarks? Attacked by stray dogs. The traces of thirty different infectious diseases on this corpse? Statistical anomaly. The Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton from the museum scattered in a thousand pieces on the college lawn? Student prank. People won’t see things they don’t want to see. Most of the citizens of the world would laugh at the idea of magic, even though some wizards and witches have their number and occupation right in the phone book. It’s always possible for everyone, from heroes to bystanders, to turn away and not get involved. It’s often the easiest thing in the world to do. You can choose between good and evil, light and darkness, possibility and necessity, taking action and going home to curl up with a good book. The world is weirder, more wonderful, and more deadly than it seems. Some people know this. There are people who know that magic exists and know who to call when they run into it. There are humans who have been divinely blessed or diabolically cursed. There are faeries—small, big, hugely ancient and terrifying. There are dragons, although these days it’s said they consider bearer bonds as well as gold for their hoards. The Shadowlands—the world of fae and ghosts—is just on the other side of a veil from normal life; courts of vampires divide the night among them; the White Council of wizards tries to protect the innocent and stop the misuse of magic. All of this is going on, right under our noses. So the question really, is how exactly do any of these factions get along, much less keep things such an intense secret? Well....The answer is simple and has to do with the following, the closest to absolute law among all the factions. The body of work known as the Unseelie Accords. The Unseelie Accords are a set of agreements (like the Geneva Conventions) that govern behavior between its signatories, who are the major powers of the magical world. The Accords include protocols for etiquette, hospitality, formal duels, and neutral ground, among other things. They were instigated by Queen Mab. You heard right. The Mab. The mother of Lord Oberon and one of the Ladies of Winter itself. The following are known portions of the Accords. There is no spirit of the law, only its letter. Beings have license to deliver and receive messages, and to have safe passage granted them so long as they do not instigate violence. Part of a pledge of safe passage or conduct is the promise not to drug any directly offered food or drink. If it is targeted at a group, rather than a specific individual, however, then it is acceptable. If a member of the Accords is killed by another member of the Accords, one who has close relations to the deceased can demand a weregild in compensation for their death. Should a member of one faction wrong another faction, the aggrieved party has the right to challenge their enemy to single combat: The organisations that represent the duelers pick an emissary from the list of neutral emissaries. The chosen emissary decides on a list of available weapons, such as magic or will. The challenged picks the weapons, and the challenger picks the time and location. The available weapons are not necessarily restricted to those usable by both parties. If the challenger can't use the weapon the challenged chose, they can force the challenged to take their second choice. Each party must have a second. The seconds collaborate with the emissary to work out the terms of the duel. Certain places can be signed on as Accorded Neutral Territory. This means that signatories of the Accords do not start any conflict on the premises, and are bound by their honor to take any fights outside. New York City for example, has several. The Fighting Irish Pub: Owned by a Leprechaun and as old world as can be. Generally a place to relax and gain information on local gossip. The Brooklyn Bridge Troll Market: Its entrance set beneath it, the market serves as a place all can go glamour-less(without the disguise that makes them look human) and trade in items too fantastic or dangerous for the upper mundane world. There are more, but suffice it to say they differ according to the nature of the city. An individual can sign onto the Accords as a freeholding lord. The signatory is entitled to rights under the Accords, such as right of challenge. To be signed on, the potential signatory must have three current members of the Accords vouch for them. All supernatural factions observe the rules of interaction laid out in the Unseelie Accords. Devised by Queen Mab of the Winter Court of Faerie, the Accords are a cross between the Magna Carta and the Geneva Conventions for the various supernatural factions. The Accords recognize major magical factions as independent political entities (or “nations”) with the right to defend, protect, and avenge their members. “Freeholding Lords” are also recognized: entities of power that do not necessarily represent an entire kind, just themselves and their supporters. The Accords lay out an important concept: magical nations are responsible for policing their own. If they don’t do this, and let their people run willy-nilly, these activities can become a lawful grievance to another nation—even up to a justification for war. The Accords also lay out other rules concerning such topics as the treatment of prisoners (though the rules do little if anything to protect them), setting prices on ransoms or prisoner exchanges, laying out procedures for negotiations between hostile supernatural nations, the establishment of neutral ground, rules of engagement and territory, a basis for diplomacy, and so on. Most importantly, the Accords establish several hard and fast rules that provide ancient (Old World) customs of hospitality and honor with the force of law. If any two things are regarded as concrete by the supernatural nations, they are: 1) the binding power of sworn oaths; and 2) the obligation of a host to offer aid, comfort, and protection to his guests. The Accords recognize that it is mutually profitable for the supernatural nations to avoid overt or large-scale conflicts; indeed, they provide a means of settling disputes between rival nations by means of a trial of champions— based on the Code Duello—presided over by a “neutral" mediator. Any member of any nation can be asked to be a mediator, but the choice must be mutually accepted. All in all, the Accords are extremely complex, and applying them generally leads to a lot of arguing rather than actually solving any problems (it is likely that this is what Mab intended). They do work, however—conflicts are often defused by the lengthy legal discussions. The Accords are supported by all sides, mainly in order to keep things from getting worse than they already are. For an idea of some of the powers-that-be who signed the Accords, they are as follows. Wolfram and Hart Law Firm: A diabolical trio of demons who manifest in the darkest form of evil imaginable...Lawyers. Mr. Tugarin: Full name Tugarin Zmeyevich. A Russian tycoon and retired general to the public. An immensely powerful and particularly sinister dragon in reality. Coyote: Trickster God and protector of the Native American nations. Appears in the form of a dapper gambler in white. The Khan: In Communist China, the Hidden World societies are actively hunted down and imprisoned or killed. The official explanation is that such things are an affront to the government. The reality is different. Using the Communist as a shield, the mysterious Khan removes all rivals that might be able to be of any danger to him, as well as increasing his own through seizure of others power and artifacts. ----- GM NOTE: So Co-GM'ing this with the help of @Michale CS If you have an idea for a character, feel free to post them here. We're looking for Urban Fantasy types. Though no half-angel, half-demon, part dragon Mary/Gary Stu types. I've seen far too much of those and am not interested in seeing them here. Canon's from various are allowed, but it depends on who. Think the Dresden Files, Supernatural, Lost Girl and the X-Files. That's the sort of feel we're looking for and this is a world where all of them exist. Its a shared world, an amalgamation of all these stories. Its a world where the White Council of Wizards, the Ministry of Magic and the Clocktower are world powers in the magical world. Its a world where the Royal Order of Protestant Knights and the Burial Agency work together and at odds even, in their quest to keep nightmares at bay. Its a world where Bill Cipher exists alongside the Cthulhu Mythos, where the Laughing Man reigns and the Lycan's and Death Dealers wage their war in Europe. Think of every fairy-tale villainess and monster you've ever heard of. Think of the wicked witches, the evil queens, the mad enchantresses. Think of the alluring sirens, the hungry ogres, the savage beasts. Think of them and remember that somewhere, sometime, they've all been real. They still are. In the absence of light, darkness prevails. There are things that go bump in the night. Maybe you'll be among those who bump back. World Politics To be filled out later.