We're back! In the previous installment, I went and featured bunch of items and monsters for use in Esoteric Enterprises. Here I'll be running through the various groups of interest - what they want, how they operate, and how players would generally interact with them.
I'll be writing with the presumption that EE players are all on the fringes of the supernatural world and don't belong to any particular faction. Several of the groups listed would be very easy to play as, though, so adjust to taste.
As with anything on the SCP wiki, most of these groups have a downright ludicrous amount of material written for them, and everyone interprets them differently.
Emmy's "Law Enforcement in Esoteric Enterprises" post is necessary reading and will need only minor adjustments when it is applicable.
Gorich from the Discord server was a great help organizing this and providing feedback
Major OrganizationsHigh organization, wide scope.
These are the big players. Their reach is global, their members number in the thousands, they have deep pockets, politicians and CEOs by the short and curlies, and enough skeletons in the closet for a necromancy convention. They're recurring features of the world and players can expect to deal with them regularly. These are the guys who show up to fuck you up.
Using it in play: The arrival of the Foundation on the scene is an instant complication. Sure, they might be able to help you out of a pickle, but they'll also confiscate all of your cool magical shit (and any Spooks in the party) and put you on a watch list. Escaping the scene without getting caught easily becomes the order of the day. The announcement that the Foundation is on the way should be a call for grabbing whatever you can and getting the hell out of dodge, and there's no guarantee the players will ever be able to go back to the location after it's been secured.
- Field Agents will be as plain clothes officer.
- Mobile Task Force operatives will be as riot cop, fire team officer, and police marksman.
- Field Agent Specialists are as MIB field agent.
Using it in play: The GOC functions similarly to the Foundation: sweep in, make sure that everything is either under control or dead. Spooks in the party will be targeted, and any occultists or mystics they can find in short order behind them. Parties that have accumulated significant paranormal resources will not be given a chance to explain themselves.
- Assessment Team - As plain clothes officer, possess advanced reconnaissance and surveillance equipment.
- Strike Team - As riot cop, fire team officer, police marksman, MIB Field Agent, MIB paladin, with accompanying support from occultists and mystics. Equipped with the best equipment the modern world can provide. Drop in a helicopter APC if they really want to break stuff. A tank is not out of the question if things get really bad.
Using it in Play: As the Initiative has a more focused aim, their interactions with players will generally happen when the players are mucking around with relics and cults. If they haven't made a threat of themselves, they probably have nothing to worry about.
- Scribes - Tend to be buried in their work. Most neutral faction. Noncombatants, but may possess grimoires and a few spells.
- Shepherds - Mostly normal folks out in the field. Lean more liberal. As plain clothes officer or mystic of Judas Thaddeus. 1d4 minor magical items per team. 50% chance of blessed weapon.
- Wolves - The militant arm. Ultraconservative zealots on a short leash. As MIB paladin, can cast Dispel Magic, Protection from Weapons, Magic Blade, and two other spells. All attacks count as holy and magical.
- The Broken Church - The oldest branch, from which the other two are derived. Headed by Robert Bumaro, the man responsible for revitalizing the Church in the 20th century.
- Cogwork Orthodoxy - Remake themselves according to "Standardization". Deliberately invoke outmoded technology: steam, clockwork, so on. Tend to make loud ticking noises. Hate electric and digital devices. Call their god MEKHANE.
- Maxwellianism - The modern reform branch, embracing computation and networking as part of their worship. Call their god WAN, seek to rebuild it through mass networking of transhuman digital minds.
Using it in Play: The CotBG will generally ignore players, unless they were to come in contact with a piece of MEKHANE or have been dabbling in Sarkism. Otherwise, they will evangelize (mostly Maxwellists through social media) and leave minor players alone. Recovering a piece of the god and returning it to the church
- Proto-Sarkicism - Remnants of ancient cults, practiced now only in isolated Eurasian communities. Secretive, anti-modernity, ruled by superstition and taboo.
- Neo-Sarkicism - Modern variants that have shed many of the ethical strictures of their older counterparts and embraced the technologies and cosmopolitan customs of the modern world to further their own power.
Using it in Play: The Flesh does not play nicely. We're talking "airborne cancer", here. A major emergence will be enough to make other organizations set aside their differences to wipe them out. From the players' perspective, the Sarkists provide all manner of horrible monsters to fight, horrific realizations when a new cult is stumbled across, and a looming threat.
Minor OrganizationsHigh organization, small scope.
These groups are either small, defunct, background, or otherwise limited in scope. They generally won't recur unless one actively seeks them out, or players are remaining in the same neighborhood.
Using it in Play: Players are unlikely to interact with Alexylva University unless they mistakenly get a package from the Department of Natural Philosophy.
Using it in Play: Local branches of Ambrose Restaurants can serve as meeting grounds for those who have gotten deep into the paranormal. A good way to keep up with appearances and meet with contacts.
Using it in Play: Direct interaction with Anderson Robotics is unlikely. Players will more likely than not run into their products in the hands of other parties, or perhaps seek them out when the team doctor decides that cybernetic enhancements are in order.
Using it in Play: The Chicago Spectre would be equivalent to higher-level EE players, and so can be brought in as a rival party competing for the same treasures.
Using it in Play: The Orthothan Church would be the party's primary means of contacting any extraterrestrial beings, though the first difficulty would be finding the group and gaining their trust.
Using it in Play: Wondertainment toys can be stuck wherever one wants, and the Little Misters series can be used as random encounters. Otherwise, players might stumble across Isabel Wondertainment and her assistant Emma (and Jeremy the corgi) in the midst of their own adventure.
Using it in Play: The Factory exists primarily in the background. Items bearing its stamp are generally dangerous (but not immediately so) to the consumer.
Using it in Play: Fifthism is infectious. Those who start studying it will need to make regular saves to resist its influence. If too much of it builds up in a person there's no going back, it's all gibberish and starshine from hereon.
Using it in Play: Ex-GRU-P members are always good leads to find hidden artifacts. Likewise, a GRU-P project dug up by some other underworld party is always a cause for concern.
Using it in Play: Random encounter. There wasn't a circus here yesterday, now there is. There was a circus here, it's gone now.
Using it in Play: While geographically limited, IJAMEA cells can serve as friendlies for players avoiding the Foundation or GOC.
Using it in Play: Manna Charitable is always hot on the heels of disaster, and has an unfortunate tendency to make things worse. If the players themselves are responsible for the disaster, all the better.
Using it in Play: MC&D representatives will always be willing to purchase artifacts from and extend lines of credit to the players. Their auction houses are also perfect opportunities to do a black-tie heist job.
Using it in Play: ORIA fills the role of the Foundation within its territory, though has fewer resources above the level of normal field agents.
Using it in Play: Players will most likely interact with Prometheus Labs through discovering lost projects or through old personnel who managed to avoid death or recruitment.
Using it in Play: Random encounter. Is there a shark around? Can be real, could be a toy, a painting, could be something that vaguely looks like a shark. Some absolute lunatic comes in from nowhere (bursting through walls as needed) beats the shit out of it, and runs off. Crafty players might weaponize this, or attempt to stall and get information. If they do, take them down the rabbit hole.
Using it in Play: UIU only ever handles small incidents and so its field agents can serve as antagonists or friendlies for low-level groups new to the paranormal world.
Using it in Play: WWS can be treated as part of the Foundation for purposes of player interaction, though they'll generally be friendlier towards players than their mainline compatriots.
Clandestine GroupsThese hardly count as an organization. No obvious leadership, no coherent motives, more of a collection of ideologically-aligned individuals. Players will rarely encounter more than one or two individuals at a time, but they. Low organization, wide scope.
Using it in Play: Rogue art installations can serve as encounters or items, and the anartists themselves are good contacts and go-betweens for players. There are plenty of non-AWCY artists in the underworld, too.
Using it in Play: CI operatives are a treasure trove of paranormal treasure and excessively dangerous. If they bring the players into an operation, it will be to be disposable. If players get into a fight with them, someone or someones aren't coming home: if no one dies, you are running it wrong.
Using it in Play: Players who know their way about the memeosphere might be able to forge connections worth some information among members of GAW.
Using it in Play: Physical manifestations may be used as rare random encounters.
Using it in Play: The Hand are natural allies to a party that has gone deep into the paranormal and embraced the wily ways of magic. Fostering good relations with the Hand might allow access to the Ways, or even the Wanderer's Library itself.
IndividualsSometimes a single person is enough to be classified as an entire group.
Using it in Play: A random encounter within the Wanderer's Library, who might task players with assisting her in a raid on the Foundation.
Using it in Play: Random encounter. A moment of help, a warning, a portent of things to come.