They walk amongst us. When you look at a stranger on the street, what looks back at you? Do you look to the stars to see your fortune... or your fate?
In some worlds, it's often hard to know who your friends are. In this Cosm, it's very nearly impossible, as the act of searching for the truth often brings to light far more questions than answers. In this world, only the shadows hold any relief from prying eyes and what you are told is not necessarily what is so.
Recorded history in the Roswell cosm is roughly similar to the history which we ourselves mark on Core Earth; but sadly for those who prize facts over fancy, much of the world's most influential events happened where no one would ever record them.
Manitou and wendigo once ruled the plains and wastes of North America, stalking and killing any too foolish to venture into their haunts. The natives of America kept on the move, following the herds that brought them life, as life was abhorrent to those things which lurked in the dark places. Some natives finally settled and claimed patches of land in the name of said life; these few people gradually learned charms and dances which could ward away the Things of Lifelessness and keep safe the tribes of America.
Flash forward, hundreds of years. Settlers from another land came across the sea, bearing hopes and dreams of wealth and prosperity in a New World. These settlers came from a land which was ruled by a superstition not of the Native Americans'... the settlers brought with them fears of witches and devils, both of which were positively genteel compared to what awaited them in the steppes and crags of the New World. Slowly two cultures met; and because of the greed which needed no wendigo to flourish in the hearts of men, the two cultures clashed, ultimately leaving the land in the hands of the settlers.
The things of unlife watched, unafraid, as a brash race began to claim the land which once belonged to the Natives who knew a proper respect for the Lurkers of Dark. These things chuckled and began to slip into settlements which knew nothing of how to protect themselves from darkness, sewing unrest and strife where they went, leaving behind the suffering on which they supped. Gradually these Things began to transform themselves, learning to take new shapes and new ways which could all the better terrify both displaced native and brash settler alike.
But all things must eventually come to an end; and so did the reign of the Manitou as they gradually found their powers weakening. Though they opposed life, they also were a natural part of the order of things, and the settlers were not content to leave things as they were. Trees were chopped, buildings raised and smoke filled up the skies. Settlers began to destroy the delicate circle of life which kept the creatures of unlife sustained and strong. Soon, they found themselves slipping more desperately into hiding, emerging only periodically to feed and attempt to stir up the strife which was no longer simply a banquet, but a needful part of remaining extant. The creatures of the dark places soon found that there were many dark places indeed in Mankind's cities, and so they took up a pernicious residence there, determined to survive as long as did humanity.
Over time, however, a dedicated few have risen up to oppose the things that prey upon mankind. These people, generally P-rateds who find that they simply cannot remain silent when the world beyond is opened up to their eyes, often sacrifice everything in the pursuit of the truth behind it all. But the creatures of darkness have not remained still either; they know that the darkest and most abiding place in all the world is the human heart and they have begun to make alliances and deals with those who have the darkest hearts of all, so that they may nurture themselves within.
This cosm has become a dark place, twisted by the influence of the Manitous who pervade the North American part of it. Some have made their ways to other parts of the world and begun to influence them, but nowhere is the world so corrupt as in the Americas where all of the trouble began. The creatures have changed so much from their original state that they are hardly recognizable at all... instead, they prey upon modern fears and stir up strange terrors indeed. Now humanity fears the enigmatic and terrifyingly random Greys, who stalk the world pursuing their experiments in the dark of night, performing hideous experiments upon those unlucky enough to be their targets. It is whispered that alliances between the aliens and the governments exist, sanctioning the slow cull of humanity as the powers that be mortgages away its soul.
What is this cosm like? If you've watched the X-Files, or Freakylinks, Psi-Factor or any of the other media that takes place in this milieu, then you know the answer to that. It's a world of terrible things which mankind is not yet ready to know about and the corrupt powers of the world who have allied with them. The sad thing is that all of these forces don't come from the stars, but from our own world...
|Magic||9||Enough magic exists to sustain the Manitou in their new forms, though they are creatures which once survived under favourable Magic, Social and Spiritual axioms. Though Spirit hasn't dropped yet, the religions and faiths brought across the ocean have not been kind to the Manitou; further, Society has wrought the change of balance which has forced the creatures of darkness to seek solace in new guises rather than their old.|
|Social||23||The world is much as the modern day Core Earth, or at least appears to be so on the outside. Society's sharp rise has driven the creatures of darkness inward, seeking to save themselves from extinction by wrapping tightly in that which would terrify a new society rather than the old|
|Spiritual||13||Communities of the spirit exist and can at times provide aid against the dark things, though this is never sure bet. Those trained in the Old Ways can offer far better protection than those who follow newer faiths. The Manitou are able to use another sort of spiritual/social crossover in the form of common terrors to gain their power and remain alive.|
|Technological||23||This is a world much like ours... perhaps in some ways a little more advanced, as much of the cutting edge technology is in the hands of those who little wish it to fall to the common market.|
The dark places tend to be refuges from any who are trying to escape from the light of truth. As such, any clandestine meeting which takes place at a secluded, dark, out-of-the-way area will automatically impose a -3 to anyone's PER when seekers are attempting to ferret out the location of the meeting, or spy upon it, or plant a mole within it. This is why so many agents meet in dark alleys or abandoned parking garages when they wish to pass on information to one another.
Over the years the Manitou have conditioned humanity against wanting to know what exists within the shadows. They reason that they can spread more terror by being random and distant than by being a clear and identifiable threat. Further, the people will not be able to band together to strike down the Manitou if only a few here and there seek the truth. Ergo, they have influenced the Cosm to develop the LoDisinformation. In essence, any attempts to persuade a non P-rated human who does not know the truth already (while within this cosm) that anything outside of the ordinary is going on will suffer a -6 to their Persuasion, Trick or the like rolls (which means that people transformed to this Cosm will tend not to even know that there's a possibility war going on around them!). Any attempts to cover up evidence of supernatural activity will receive a +4 to the roll. Note that this makes planting Story Seeds very difficult while within this cosm...
People in this cosm have hazy allegiances; and who you think is on your side will occasionally not be. Every seeker of truth in the cosm will have three contacts upon whom they can call for aid (and sometimes more, with the GM's permission). Randomly, however, one of the contacts will begin to seem erratic or behaving strangely; if the PCs do not investigate this, then the Contact's loyalties will possibly switch to another group, faction or clique. Note that investigation of a contact will often lead to an adventure in of its own right, as the PCs become embroiled in the war for that person's loyalty... and further, note that investigating a contact will often derail a current mission, making investigating a contact a trade-off. Do you go to see if you can keep your friend loyal and thus miss out on blowing open a big lead... or do you ignore him and risk his switching sides?
The Smoking Man is perhaps the oldest collaborators in existence; he is rumoured to have come across the ocean on the first wave of exploration and was immediately fascinated by the legends of the native people. Seeking more power than his religion suggested humans were allowed, the Smoking Man ventured into forgotten hills and dark valleys, protected by charms which he'd purchased from local native chiefs. Death should have awaited him there... but instead, he found Shaitan, a slumbering Darkness Device which had been long attuned to this cosm. Shaitan saw in the Smoking Man a deep lust for power and the ability to deceive even his own kind... and so offered to him the change of a lifetime: to become the High Lord of the Cosm. Being no fool, the Smoking Man agreed and was raised up to a position of which he had till now only dreamed.
Today, the Smoking Man still reigns, creating alliances between humanity and the Manitou where he can and feeding the possibility energy of the cosm through the fear which results in the interaction. He is a master of deception and playing both sides off against one another; he fools the unwary now as a matter of course. The Smoking Man can be identified only by the cigarette which he perpetually carries -- he is almost never seen outside of the shadows. Some say that this high lord has no physical form outside of the shadows. The truth of this remains to be seen.
Note that if this cosm is approached to participate in a Possibility War, whomsoever approaches will not encounter the Smoking Man, but rather the Head Grey -- a sham and deception which both Shaitan and the Smoking Man have built over the years to stand in the place of the Smoking Man. He will appear to be the lord of all the Manitou, cold and logical; horribly alien in appearance and reasoning. He claims to be the lord of the Roswell Cosm, though in truth he's little more than a convincing puppet through which the Smoking Man speaks...Dexterity 16
Manitou DEX 7 STR 7 TOU 10 PER 5 MIN 10 CHA 4 SPI 8
Skills Trick 25 Test 25 Willpower 27
Natural PowersShapeshift: the Manitou will take the form of some common terror of mankind. Once, this was the wolfman or the vampire of the Gothic movement; these days it's often the grey or the urban mutant which we fear lurks within the shadows. Will Drain: The Manitou exist through the lasting terror which they spread. Should they become known or exposed, the fear which they are causing will become lessened and broken, leaving them to wither and die.
Possibility Potential: Some (60)
Most of the miracles of the Roswell Cosm can only be performed by those of the Native American faith and who have had the knowledge passed down to them from the times when the Manitou roamed more freely.Know Thyself
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