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  • The Red Room universe (Esoterrorism, Eldritch Ops, and other books)

    Hey folks,

    Because some people have PMed me about the subject, I've decided to do a thread for the world of my Red Room series as well as the one I've done for The Rules of Supervillainy. As I mentioned for the previous thread, this is one I welcome other people to post in as it's just me sharing my thoughts on how the world is set up but I would love to see people create their own ideas for it and how it's run.

    Thanks.

    The First Novel in the Red Room Series

    I hope you enjoy the setting and its myriad supernatural spy shenanigans. It is a dark setting but not without hope as, in the end, it's entirely possible for the PCs to tip the balance of power and restore freedom to the world.

    Even if my own heroes are struggling.

    Articles


    The House
    Black Magic Terrorists
    Storytelling the Red Room-verse

    Power Levels in the Red Room-verse
    The Astral Plane
    Magitech and the Enhanced
    Red Room
    The Wunderkind by MightyDavidson.
    Blue Room
    Karl Bjornson a.k.a The Wazir
    Last edited by Charles Phipps; 07-15-2015, 04:10 PM.
    [b]The United Federation of Charles[/b]: [url]http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/[/url]
    [b]Twitter[/b]: Charles Phipps@Willowhugger

  • #2
    Re: The Esoterrorism (Red Room) setting

    The House

    The House is the central organization of the Red Room universe and the organization which PCs are expected to belong. It is the focus of the novels, albeit not the only potential source for PCs. It is an organization of infinite grandiosity and immense depravity, great intentions and terrible atrocities, wondrous good, and bad evil.
    It is also your boss.

    The history of the House is shrouded in mystery since it is an organization founded by liars which exists through lies and practices deception on every conceivable level. It is an organization which exists in boxes via boxes. It's agents know the general shape of the Pyramid with in the context of its many agents but all of them have multiple identities and false fronts be they corporations, fake government departments, or cover cover-stories.

    The House has operated within the Knights Templar, Freemasons, Rosicrucians, Project: Blue Book, Soviet GRU, CIA, FBI, and dozens of other legitimate or semi-legitimate groups. It is none of these, however, because it is only itself. It is THE Conspiracy of the world and it is very good at what it does.

    The House's official history claims an origin dating back to ancient Gilgamesh and serving as the priests of the 3/4th God in his attempt to build a new world free from the petty rivalries of the gods as well as the monsters they sent. This is almost certainly hogwash even if the House makes uses of practices of much-much older magician secret societies they claim as their "prior incarnations."

    The organization is PROBABLY only about four-hundred years old with a magical secret society born from an older one called The Court which attempted to control Europe's monarchs and the Church with magic during the Dark Ages (and which failed miserably--often warring with itself than increasing its powers). Whatever the case, they became the juggernaut they did by waging war on the other magic users of Europe and co-opting them before successfully forging an alliance with Middle-Eastern magi called The Pyramid and the Eastern Enlightened Ones.

    All of them hashed out a treaty in 1666 which made one simple directive clear.

    Take the world from the stupid, the supernatural, and the corrupt.

    It has done fairly well with the first two and become the latter.

    The House's primary purpose is to keep a monopoly on supernatural power in the world, which it achieved with humanity's magical resources. They have convinced the world magic, for the most part, doesn't exist and have successfully co-opted most of the world's governments into allowing it to regulate the flow. Most government officials know the supernatural doesn't exist but there are hundreds of bureaucrats which DO and quietly move all such cases to the House's hands. Those that don't agree with this policy are silently "influenced" to do otherwise. With a monopoly on magic, the House has made an immense amount of wealth and power which it uses to enrich itself as well as benefit the world.

    In that order.

    The House is not unchallenged, however, because there are numerous Eso-Nations which wield almost as much power as the House. They, too, have benefited from humanity being blinded to the Hidden World around them. The Vampire Nation, The Djinn Sultanates, The Ravana Order, and The Pact are all groups which have less than fuzzy feelings for the House but are too powerful to destroy outright. The House covertly works against them in centuries-long plans in hopes of eventually defeating them all while also exerting vast amounts of its resources to keeping humanity ignorant.

    And that is going to fail in the next few years.

    And there's nothing they can do about that.

    House Hierarchy

    The House is headed by a Council of Thirteen Archwizards known as The Committee. You do not actually need magic to join and there have been billionaires as well as politicians as members but those without magic frequently find themselves at, well, a disadvantage. They are ruthless, cunning, and absolutely brutal. There is only one way to join the Committee and that is the old way--make an opening and prove strong and wealthy enough the others listen.

    Beneath them are the Departments of the House which handle its various activities. The Red Room handles its military and espionage activities, the White Room handles its investigation of science and magic, the Blue Room handles internal security, the Black Room educates the House's children and its recruits, and the Green Room handles the immense amount of wealth and logistics needed to run the world's greatest conspiracy.

    Beneath these are 112 global Divisions which are spread across the planet and often have centuries long traditions and practices themselves. Getting them to work together is like herding cats and, many times, they are prone to feuding or breaking away to become independent groups. The nastiest of these being during World War 2. Technically, the House itself is a breakaway from the Court which managed to defeat its predecessors.

    Recruitment

    The majority of House personnel are born into the organization with not only you joining but your entire family as well as bloodline in the future. They attempt to exploit family ties so that if you have second thoughts, well, it would mean leaving behind your closest loved ones. Members are encouraged to marry other members and have many kids. It is a generational system which works extremely well for keeping the organization insular and loyal. It also inflicts needless psychological damage on members as those who lose family members to the House's bloody crusades against the supernatural, almost everyone suffers. The exception to this rule are those with useful skills who might benefit the House like spies or investors who discover the supernatural (or are informed) as well as all humans they find with supernatural abilities. The House wishes to possess all human beings with sorcerers potential or psychic abilities as well as "inhuman" powers. It has also disappeared child-prodigies and inventors they think can benefit their work.

    Recruits into the House are still taken in but these individuals frequently find themselves forced to work double-time against the cronyism and neptoism ripe in the group. Despite this, they attempt to co-opt possible enemies whenever possible. The House has found many of the greatest wizards, psychics, and leaders who would challenge the House--are simply better offered a seat at the table than opposed. The only exceptions to this are those who overtly non-human as the House maintains strong aversion to using said beings. Strangely, half-humans or those with supernatural pedigrees are often recruited for their benefits.

    Just watched closely.
    Last edited by Charles Phipps; 07-13-2015, 07:04 PM.
    [b]The United Federation of Charles[/b]: [url]http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/[/url]
    [b]Twitter[/b]: Charles Phipps@Willowhugger

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    • #3
      Re: The Esoterrorism (Red Room) setting

      Black Magic Terrorists

      The suppression of the Truth serves only the powerful.

      The House, Vampire Alliance, Djinn Sultanates, Ravana Order, and a series of nearly forty other Eso-Nations have adapted to a world where they exist in the shadows. Humanity has no defenses agaisnt magic or their supernatural abilities, which allows them to accumulate wealth and power freely. As long as they don't kill TOO many humans, the House and its patronized monster-hunters generally allow them to feed freely (they simply don't have the resources to do otherwise).

      Not everyone is satisfied with this state of affairs.

      For some, this is a matter of religion or morality. Many think they can provide comfort to the masses of humanity by revealing that death is not the end (even if hell and tormented ghosts exist) while others believe the literal existence of their gods in the Astral Plane also provide comfort. The idea they must keep silence to friends, family, or the general public may also offend them--perhaps because they wish to impress the world with their powers rather than toil in obscurity.

      Others still have ambitions to the change the world. They think magic can cure the environment, create new caliphates, Vampire-dominated worlds, or Crystal Spire and Toga Utopias where want is undone. Their ambitions may or may not resemble world-domination but they think the current situation is a profoundly unnatural one which serves no one. Some monsters resent the checks on their feeding and atrocities and want to institute bloodbaths of epic proportions with themselves worshiped by lesser beings as God-Kings.

      The latter, thankfully, are rare.

      But more numerous than anyone suspects.

      The term Black Magic Terrorist is given to any supernatural who actively works to unveil the Truth to the world or actively assault the forces which keep it suppressed. There are multiple organizations devoted to this from the ruthless Emerald Eye to the pacifistic Revelationers. None of which is particularly treated kindly when they are found engaging in their activities. The House eliminates, co-opts, brainwashes, and destroys any which fall into their hands.

      The Eso-Nations tend to do worse.

      Time is on the side of the Black Magic Terrorists side, however, due to the fact technology and media keeps advancing to get more and more information into the public's hands. Even with more and more government officials co-opted every day to assist in the cover-up, it's only a matter of time before the world discovers the truth.

      Then we'll find out whether mankind is ready for the Truth.
      Last edited by Charles Phipps; 07-14-2015, 08:08 AM.
      [b]The United Federation of Charles[/b]: [url]http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/[/url]
      [b]Twitter[/b]: Charles Phipps@Willowhugger

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      • #4
        Re: The Esoterrorism (Red Room) setting

        Storytelling the Red Room-verse

        Players in the game may choose to try to expose the House but the traditional game structure for it is assuming they will either be willing or unwilling servants of the organization. Possibly also supernatural mercenaries in its service.

        Mood

        In superhero terms, the Red Room-verse takes place squarely during the Iron Age at the height of the Nineties age of conspiracies and government skullduggery. While it may be past the War on Terror in terms of timeline, it's a world where paranoia and hidden agendas are prominent. The Cigarette Smoking Man, Fox Mulder, JC Denton, Adam Jensen, Jason Bourne, the Technocracy, the Camarilla, the Illuminati, The Laundry Files Bob Howard, and the Daniel Craig version of James Bond would all be well at home in this universe.

        The heroes are unable to do much in the way of good but must try to continue to keep hold of their humanity to prevent things from getting worse or, against all odds, rise through the ranks enough to save the House's soul from itself.

        Or, simply, survive until retirement.

        Not that anyone ever REALLY retires.

        Themes

        Possible themes for Gamemasters to explore in the world of Esoterrorism are as follows:

        What measure is a monster: The House is an organization which has a humanocentric agenda and ostensibly protects mankind from monsters but may be worse than many of the supernatural. There are dangerous supernaturals who are evil but others are harmless. Agents of the House will often have to choose whether or not to try and show mercy to their quarry only to risk them harming others or their position in the House.

        Freedom or Power: The House isn't stupid and is aware that if you want people to serve loyally, you should reward them for their service. Whenever possible, they award crafty agents with wealth and position. Agents are also allowed to abuse their positions to enrich themselves at the expense of their quary. The power over life and death, average citizens, and wealth can be an amazing temptation but it means being subject to the House's whims. On the other hand, if you gather power, you might be able to change things from the inside.

        The Erosion Of Humanity vs. Maintaining It against Temptation: Much like the White Wolf System, its encouraged for Gamemasters to keep in mind the loss of morality. Unlike Vampire or D&D, there's no Alignments to keep track of. Good and Evil are directions in the House and can easily change on a dime. The most heinous people might have a last minute crisis of conscience and turn against their beliefs while the good may become corrupted by their service. House agents must be ruthless but they do not have to be monsters and those who disobey orders but get the job done for moral reasons can survive--usually. The House can't afford to squander its assets when it's already overwhelmed by its enemies. Those who fail, though, just give more fuel to the belief the strongest are the cruelest.

        One Minute to Midnight: The time is ticking down to when the Truth is unveiled to the world and there's nothing which can prevent this, believe me, the House has tried. When this happens the world might degenerate into civil war, embrace the supernatural with curiosity, become a draconian police state, destroy itself, be conquered by supernaturals, exrterminate the supernatural, or some combination thereof. They might even shrug their shoulders because apathy has been beaten into them. The House and its agents just do not know and try to delay it as long as possible.

        Dirty Martinis, Shaken but Stirred: The adventures of the House's agents should involve explosions, growling monsters, machine guns, jumping out of planes, hidden fortresses, and beautiful femme fatales or Casanovas (because glamour is cheap to come by for those in the know). However, it's also contrasted with the fact the House practices brainwashing, kidnapping, lying, and omnipresent surveilance. It is not overtly evil but that depends a greatly on agents actions.
        [b]The United Federation of Charles[/b]: [url]http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/[/url]
        [b]Twitter[/b]: Charles Phipps@Willowhugger

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        • #5
          Re: The Esoterrorism (Red Room) setting

          Power Level

          Contrary to appearances, this is a superhero setting, it's just a lower-than-normal setting. Imagine, for example, that the world was full of supervillains and powerful beings, only there was no Avengers or Justice League to oppose them--just SHIELD or Torchwood--and you have a rough idea how problematic the situation is for our heroes.

          The typical Agent of the House is PL 6 and this is one of the most capable human beings in the world for the setting. Unfortunately, he is grossly outmatched by most of the kinds of horrors they face in the setting. They are prone to heavy casualties and must rely either on teamwork, sabotage, deception, or heavy-firepower to deal with their problems. Their lives, sadly, more resemble a session of Call of Cthulhu on bad days with the best case scenario being the ice-skating uphill Mulder and Scully dealt with.

          Agent's Mantra

          Mostly tongue in cheek--mostly.

          * Burn the books.
          * When in doubt, burn the House down.
          * Never sleep, ever again.
          * Get as much heavy ordinance as possible or magical backup.
          * If there's a ritual to banish or bind the thing, DO IT over trying to kill it.
          * Take advantage of every weakness or advantage you can.
          * Flamethrowers are only stupid if the enemy has guns.
          * Ditto Grenades.
          * Running away is only cowardly if you're a samurai and there's a reason they're gone.
          * Look for a power up, if possible. Just don't sell your soul.
          * Make friends with the Boys and Girls in the White Room--it helps to get their aid.
          * The paperwork for stealing a tank or blowing up a fuel tanker is less than the funeral experiences.
          * The Ritualist Feat is your friend, so is Combat Min-Maxing.
          * See your therapist regularly.
          Senior Agents, by contrast, are the legends of the House and recommended for PCs who want to play the role of Bond or Nick Fury over lesser men. They have PL 8 to PL 10 starting scores and may go even beyond this to become the kind of individuals who might make a play for the Committee or other higher ranks. Senior Agents frequently have overt magical powers, being wizards or witches or having been pleased with supernatural abilities due to the House's experiments. Others are ridiculously skilled soldiers who have equipped themselves with magitech gadgets or passed beyond the boundaries of "normal" fighting abilities.

          In short, Senior Agents start to look less like Call of Cthulhu and the X-Filles than a combination of Bond with Metal Gear Solid

          Finally, there is the option for becoming a Legend. Legends are those agents of the House who have become transcendent in some way. They are master-magicians, transcendent super-kung fu enlightened masters, magitech mad scientists, and basically people who belong in a different genre than the dirty Spy Fiction the House pretends their world operates on. They have fought Ghost Hitler, shaped history, and done amazing things which almost no one knows about. They are PL 12 to PL 14 beings who have wrestled with gods and might have extradimensional fortresses guarded by dragons. The House can't get rid of them and the Committee is made of people like them but they occupy a place outside of the traditional power structure.

          They're the kind of people who realize, "We could make this world better if we just TRIED." To that, they're as much threat as friend to the House.

          Mercenaries operate outside the chain of command as the House, simply put, knows it sometimes takes a thief to catch a thief. Vampires, werewolves, elemental or demon possessed humans, Nephilim, rogue psychics, unapproved wizards, sidhe knights, shapechanged dragons and so on agree to do missions for the House in exchange for freedom from hassle as well as potentially financial rewards.

          Their PL ranges from 8 to 12 and the House adopts a general policy of, "better at the Devil's side than in their path." Most supernaturals consider them traitors even as they're a substantial reason the House succeeds despite its overwhelmed nature.

          The times the House has been known to betray their allies has been...unfortunate.
          Last edited by Charles Phipps; 07-13-2015, 01:47 AM.
          [b]The United Federation of Charles[/b]: [url]http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/[/url]
          [b]Twitter[/b]: Charles Phipps@Willowhugger

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          • #6
            Re: The Esoterrorism (Red Room) setting

            The Astral Plane

            The Astral Plane is the biggest source of trouble for the world of Earth and, unfortunately, one which is not going to be going away anytime soon. It is the source of immeasurable evils, some small goods, and wonders unimaginable. It is similar, in some ways to Paragons imagination realm but is seen by the House as more comparable to the Warp or Fade on its worse days.

            In short, it is Chaos.

            And thought gives it shape.

            But there are things older than humanity living in it too.

            The furthest reaches of the Astral Plane, known as the Deep Astral are full of omnipotent conceptual beings. God, Abaddon, Lucifer, the Olympians, the Tuatha De Daanan, and others exist in this reality but it is questionable whether they are genuinely the beings of humanity's religions and mythology or simply beings which have taken on the shape of man's myth when dealing with humanity.

            The distinction may be somewhat nebulous, though, as human spirits travel to the Deep Astral and find themselves in various Heavens and Hell's devised for them. Some chose to abandon their connection to Earth entirely and are reborn as spirits. Others believe this was the source of spirits to begin with and all beings inside the Astral were once human. Because reality is shaped by the Astral, there's no easy answers.

            It's Turtles all the way down.

            A journey into the Deep Astral is a psychadelic experience due to the fact reality is entirely subjective and is the perfect excuse for an Alice In Wonderland-like experience. One can never be too sure what is real and what is fantasy or if there's any meaning between the two. A spirit can assume the form of God, the Buddha, relatives, Jimmy Hendrix, or a big white rabbit. They're funny that way.
            The largest Astral Realms which regularly deal with Earth are The Celestial Kingdom, The Silver Heavens, Hell, and Fairlands. Bluntly, these places are inhabited by the kind of spirits you'd expect them to be inhabited by and while their influence on Earth is much reduced, they have many agents and cultists working to undermine the House's hegemony to this day.

            It should be noted Hell is a bit different than commonly portrayed as these demons depend on humanity rather than prey on them. They require humanity to dream of sin, darkness, horrible fantasies, and nightmares to sustain themselves. As such, they have a kind of worshipful unhealthy reverence for mankind's self-destructive qualities.

            Which makes them no less dangerous.
            Much closer to Earth is the Otherworld which is a parallel reflection of Earth that is simultaneously larger and yet linked to the world. It is the animist reflection of Earth where a serial killer's home has horrible Silent Hill-like qualities while a child's beloved room may be unnaturally big and full of living toys. Pocket Dimensions are created by many wizards and physically brought into reality and this is the closest to Earth which "real" spirits can come. It is also the only place humans can physically enter (The Deep Astral only vistable via astral projection).

            The Otherworld is commonly thought of as the origin of all monsters as spirits would bring magically talented humans here in their dreams and possess them before breeding with others to pass on their traits as well as warping their bodies. Most of the monster races of Earth, however, have been part of this planet for thousands of years and acknowledge no kinship with the beings of the Otherworld. One thing is, though, millions of nonhumans fled to the Otherworld with the fall of their Earthly kingdoms and still live there in various Realms, hoping for a return to prominence.

            The House has a standing policy regarding the Otherworld: destroy any and all entrances and pray to God no one spirits come through to make new races to trouble mankind.

            This latter is an exercise in futility as there's always a monster or creature which defies classification every year. Though, admittedly, usually there's a tie to a local myth or legend.

            Hookman, Freddy, Jason, Bloody mary, and so on.
            [b]The United Federation of Charles[/b]: [url]http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/[/url]
            [b]Twitter[/b]: Charles Phipps@Willowhugger

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            • #7
              Re: The Red Room universe (Esoterrorism, Eldritch Ops, and other books)

              I would link to the Ash vs. Evil Dead series trailer here but it is not suitable for a PG board.

              Also, I have a feeling that a Witcher type is something that the House would like its agents to aspire to.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The Red Room universe (Esoterrorism, Eldritch Ops, and other books)

                Originally posted by Phrozen View Post
                I would link to the Ash vs. Evil Dead series trailer here but it is not suitable for a PG board.

                Also, I have a feeling that a Witcher type is something that the House would like its agents to aspire to.
                The House would never-ever experiment on human beings for the purposes of creating super-soldiers!

                Except all the times that it has.

                In addition to the above groups, there's the Hidden Room which is basically consists of all the stuff the House hides from even its own agents. The Hidden Room handles the kind of unjustifiable stuff which will get denied right up until it manages to get results. If it doesn't get results?
                Well, they can just be safely swept under the rug.

                Sometimes permanently, by labeling them a rogue operation.

                The House really sucks sometime.

                I can't help but think this guy would quite at home here.

                [b]The United Federation of Charles[/b]: [url]http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/[/url]
                [b]Twitter[/b]: Charles Phipps@Willowhugger

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                • #9
                  Re: The Red Room universe (Esoterrorism, Eldritch Ops, and other books)

                  Magi-Tech and Enhanced

                  One thing which differentiates the Red Room universe from other settings is that science and magic aren't just sitting idly by one another. A wizard who can make a fireball is already doing something pretty impressive but a wizard who can make a fireball who knows how to harness that energy in a specialized conductor to become extra-crispy is even better. Magic can violate a lot of the traditional laws of thermodynamics. Which can be exploited by enterprising wizards to achieve all manner of supertechnological effects.

                  And none of this ever reaches the public.

                  There's reasons for this, of course, because there's quite a few dangers to magitech as well as difficulties which doesn't translate easily from one discipline to the next. Magic functions more like an art than a science so, really, the level of strength of any creation will vary tremendously from magician to magician.

                  Still, many people consider this sour grapes for not helping the masses. Despite this, the House still carries on its own magical research and scientific research with the White Room regardless of whether any of these factors will ever reach humanity. Discovering the cure for cancer with magic, for example, might lead to reverse engineering a non-magical variant.

                  It's happened with several other conditions and many variations on teach.

                  The chief benefit of magi-tech, is, though, that it provides the House with an insurmountable advantage over most other organizations on the planet. If you have a computer with an information spirit bound to it then it is functionally identical to an A.I. If you have a metal arm that shoots fireballs, then it might as well be a cybernetic enhancement straight from Shadowrun.

                  At least, so the saying goes.

                  In general, the House possesses no small degree of both magical items of a traditional D&D-esque sense and devices which resemble science-fiction straight form cyberpunk. These are strenuously kept from the public for reasons which are probably obvious--but they're simply too useful to keep out of the hands of the House's forces.

                  Amusingly, Retro-Magitech also exists in the House's various closets and storage bins. Robbie the Robot, ray guns, Frankensteinian resurrection tables, steampunk machinery, and so on. The House forbids their use because they draw even MORE attention than straight magic but quite a few agents have been known to raid these as well.

                  After all, what the House doesn't know, won't hurt it--just keep it from the public eye.
                  It should be noted there is a slight risk to the use of magic-tech, especially if a subject possesses latent magical ability. Extensive use can awaken dormant abilities that can make one more attractive to spirits or supernatural events. This can result in mutations, insanity, or alterations in behavior. Most magic-tech is quite harmless but the 1% which is damaged, becomes cursed, imprints on agents, or so on is enough to mean there's a small few who strenuously avoid its usage.

                  A small, and I mean almost unique collection (PCs and villains only), are those agents who become Enhanced with magitech. These are almost universally experiments as magitech of this level is especially risky. Basically, if your DM approves of you being Adam Jensen or Logan then it's up to them--after all, it's only a game.
                  Last edited by Charles Phipps; 07-13-2015, 11:06 PM.
                  [b]The United Federation of Charles[/b]: [url]http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/[/url]
                  [b]Twitter[/b]: Charles Phipps@Willowhugger

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                  • #10
                    Re: The Red Room universe (Esoterrorism, Eldritch Ops, and other books)

                    Oh I'm liking this. I might have to get the books to learn more. I'm already pondering a legend for the setting. XD

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: The Red Room universe (Esoterrorism, Eldritch Ops, and other books)

                      Originally posted by MightyDavidson View Post
                      Oh I'm liking this. I might have to get the books to learn more. I'm already pondering a legend for the setting. XD
                      Only one is out at present but I'm biased to buying it.

                      And I'd love to hear it.

                      I'm torn between doing more setting information or doing some of the NPCs next.
                      [b]The United Federation of Charles[/b]: [url]http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/[/url]
                      [b]Twitter[/b]: Charles Phipps@Willowhugger

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                      • #12
                        Re: The Red Room universe (Esoterrorism, Eldritch Ops, and other books)

                        Red Room

                        "Well, I understand double 0s don't have a very long life-expectancy."

                        -James Bond, Casino Royale (film version).

                        "You have no idea."

                        -Senior Agent Derek Hawthorne watching that scene.

                        The Red Room is the eyes, ears, and swords of the House. This department is a holdover from the Court and even earlier times, originally existing as monster-hunting holy knights and kung-fu masters amongst other individuals. Whereas the oldest and most powerful wizards tended to take a relaxed, hands-off approach to the rest of the world, the Red Room's predecessor organizations attempted to take the fight to evil directly.

                        They failed.

                        The forces of darkness were simply too powerful, too numerous, and too well-entrenched for the millennium of monster-hunters in the world to defeat. When the newly formed house went to the slayers, they tended to find them broke, drunk, maimed, or shattered remnants of their former selves. The neverending battle against evil had left them weak and vulnerable. Those few who were still strong tended to be part of larger institutions like the Catholic Church or secret orders within the Jewish and Muslim faiths.

                        Quite a few of these organizations still exist today. Known as Assets, they are partisans who fight vampires, demons, ghosts, and fairies like it's the 12th century (only with guns and cars instead of crossbows and horses). The Assets, if they know of the House at all, tend to regard it with revulsion and contempt but the Hashishan, Third Knights Templar, Golden Order of Thoth, Zealots of Mesa, Sons of Mars PMC and other groups still receive millions in funding as well as covert political support from the Red Room.

                        It's the least they can do.
                        The deal with the Devil the Red Room's predecessors made is a simple one: in exchange for the resources and protection (and magical support) to fight the supernatural, they would be the House's killers and agents. Once noble witch-hunters added political enemies, bankers, nobility, and those who would expose the supernatural to their targets. They also made a much, much more potent sacrifice.

                        Their children.

                        It is estimated that of Red Room field agents, roughly 1/3 die in the course of their ten year service. Another fraction are maimed, the House's magitech replacements aside, and inflicted with severe mental impairments. Those who survive the ten-year-term tend to be either supremely cold-blooded or passionately self-righteous and full of ideological zeal. These survivors are encouraged to have multiple children either via adoption, informal polygamy, or simply the old fashioned way. These children almost, invariably, become field agents themselves and are prepped from childhood on for their task. They are usually fantastically skilled compared to normal human beings but also deeply "off" in some way.

                        Most home-schooled children don't include field stripping a rifle, multiple foreign languages, and occultism.
                        Agents recruited from the outside tend to be amongst the best of the best but they often find themselves derided due to the incredibly insular culture which has emerged in the Red Room. It is in a way, an idealogical challenge to the House. The black ops agents have a heritage of knights, battle-mages, witch-hunters, ninjas, Shaolin demon hunters, Wudan swordsman, and Cold War assassins.

                        They, much to the chagrin of the Committee, BELIEVE in what they're doing.

                        They have to, because the alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

                        Obviously, the Red Room has large amounts of support staff as well. People with much-much higher survival ratings. They tend to be rather fanatical about their cause as well, also a great deal more dangerous than you'd expect your average secretary or office drone.

                        Don't **** with Moneypenny.
                        Red Room culture tends to be a bit on the laxer side than other Departments as well. The Red Room prioritizes victory over concerns like idealogical purity, the secrecy of the House, or collateral damage. They seek any advantage they can from the reasonable (religiously devoted, lucky charms, and over-equipping themselves) to the not-so-reasonable (magical performance enhancing drugs, vampire blood injections, having their pain centers turned off), and the outright INSANE (binding a demon to their body with tattoos, selling their soul to Hel for 10 years of ass-kicking strength, and making sure your soul is bound to your corpse to continue serving as a Revenant after death).

                        The Red Room also turns a blind eye to corruption as agents are encouraged to enrich themselves, make alliances with useful or less harmful (not necessarily the same thing) supernaturals, and indulge themselves whenever possible.

                        For tomorrow they might die.
                        Last edited by Charles Phipps; 07-14-2015, 06:35 PM.
                        [b]The United Federation of Charles[/b]: [url]http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/[/url]
                        [b]Twitter[/b]: Charles Phipps@Willowhugger

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                        • #13
                          Re: The Red Room universe (Esoterrorism, Eldritch Ops, and other books)

                          WWII was very Return to Castle Wolfenstein wasn't it?

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                          • #14
                            Re: The Red Room universe (Esoterrorism, Eldritch Ops, and other books)

                            Originally posted by Phrozen View Post
                            WWII was very Return to Castle Wolfenstein wasn't it?
                            The greatest failure of the Red Room was the rise of Black Sun which was the Division of Germany and Austria along with sympathizers in England as well as America forming their own branch of Ghostappo-esque Nazis, believing direct domination of the masses was possible through fascism as well as the annihilation of the supernatural. They expected to rule with Hitler as a puppet and might have been if rumors were to be believed (the world was pretty crazy back then). They openly allied with the Light Elves (who are worse than the Dark Elves) and built all manner of crazy crap.

                            The Blue Room, which is a bunch of idealogically pure know-it-alls, uses this to justify why the Red Room needs checks and balances as well as less freedom and authority.

                            The Red Room's rebuttal. "WE were the ones who wiped the Black Sun out. We also destroyed all of the elves too."

                            (Not quite true but World War 2 ended a few months earlier in this timeline in no small part because of epic Nazi slaying by parties unknown--needless to say, the Jewish members of the Red Room did double-duty those years)
                            [b]The United Federation of Charles[/b]: [url]http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/[/url]
                            [b]Twitter[/b]: Charles Phipps@Willowhugger

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                            • #15
                              Re: The Red Room universe (Esoterrorism, Eldritch Ops, and other books)

                              As with many legendary agents of the Red Room, he has many names and many tales regarding his past exploits and origins. There are some who do not believe that he exists at all, or that the stories about him are greatly exaggerated. It is unknown how long he has worked for the Red Room as the records regarding him are incomplete and contradictory, with some putting the blame on the Committee and others claiming it to be the work of the agent himself.

                              To some he is known as The Wunderkind, others claim he is called The Prodigy. The Committee, it is said, when they require his services simply refer to him, often with irritation, simply as The Boy.

                              Though he appears to be in his early teens, mid teens at the most, the agent in question has a mastery of magitech that's almost unparalleled by anybody else in the organization. This is, some say, because he is actually several hundred years old and only looks young due to some sort of magical ceremony, or accident, the details of this story tend to change fairly often depending upon who tells them. Others say he was fathered upon a senior agent by a spirit of information, either by choice or by force, which accounts for his uncalculable intelligence. Yet another story says that he was a normal boy until an encounter with spirits of the astral plane granting him the great intelligence he possesses for reasons unknown, though the more mean spirited agents of the Red Room have been known to suggest it was in exchange for his virginity. Either way, after the event he was recruited by the Red Room.

                              The boy himself isn't actually sure what the truth is, which bothers him from time to time. He knows that he's around fourteen or fifteen physically and is fairly certain he's been that way for far longer then is normal. Yet he's not quite sure how this came to be and since he knows a great many things, he finds that more then a little worrisome. So most of the time he simply doesn't think about it, focusing on the jobs that need doing and the adventures involved in doing them. The world is in danger after all and he's quite sure he's more then smart enough to save it, all he has to do is try. After all that was all he needed to defeat Hitler's Ghost, or the Communist Monster or any number of other threats.

                              What does it matter if he can't recall a few things?

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