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The Nightmare Network [Mythbreakers, Project O-X, IV]

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  • The Nightmare Network [Mythbreakers, Project O-X, IV]

    The Virtual Adepts

    [a two dimensional black square with a white lock above it]

    "Fear you own secrets"

    Everyone is hiding something.

    Some are small secrets, like how you watched how a cat preyed upon an helpless pigeon without doing anything just out of pure interest. Others are bigger, like how spreading that awful rumor that eventually made that girl take her own life. People hide things from strangers for they want to be liked. They hide things from their loved one because they don't want them to flee and leave them alone. They hide things from themselves so they could sleep at night. However, sleep is exactly what they should fear the most- for during that time, their fear takes life of its own, and their own secrets become monsters. Secrets are scary, more than anything else in this world.

    Control the secrets, control the fears.

    In order to fight fear, you must render it null and void- try to conquer it, and it would devour you from the inside. Surrender to it, and you are nothing more than an hollow husk. Accept your fear, however, and it can not touch you. Know your own secrets, and the secrets of others, take those fears into yourself- and fear just goes away. Whisper the right secrets, and people would fall before you on their knees. Tell fear its own secrets, and it would vanish like a mist before the sun.

    The Nightmare Network is pretty recent organization, but its roots are far more older. They come from ancient tradition, a lineage of shamans and mystics who tried to protect their people from the horrors which are found in their own dreams. Each person has his own "true secret", an ultimate fear which could destroy his all personality. By finding that hidden "totem beast" before it manage to awake and revealing it to its owner, the secret would vanish, leaving a big hole in their place. That dark pit in the depth of their soul is the gate for the biggest secret of all- the fear which haunts humanity since the day it was born- and by controlling those gates through dream journeys and meditation one could make his fear into a weapon against those who were lost in their own dread. They would find the secrets of other people and use them for their own protections. They would hunt for secrets and turn them into power.

    Modernity was a great change for that old group- at first, it has almost destroyed it. With rationality and harsh dogma at one side and the sudden rise in hope and freedom on the other, many has felt the group was no longer necessary- you didn't had to hide who you are. Everyone could be accepted- there is nothing to be ashamed of your own fears and dirty secrets. Yet, this was not the end of fear- instead, modernity just gave birth to many new horrors, and the advancement of technology didn't helped everyone "be one"- it only showed them how exposed they were. Once, your secrets were only your own. Now, everyone were watching, judging, dreading. Fear has changed its face, and the Nightmare Network changed with it.

    The modern Network does not travel in their own dreams searching for the monsters their own secrets gave birth to. Instead, they use a much more efficient tool- the world wide web. With so many computers and smartphones and god knows what else, everyone were constantly connected together, creating a some sort of "alternative reality"- a place were some parts of their own true self would spill into the darkness of the void, becoming no more than a bunch of numbers and electromagnetic waves. That digital blackness was surprisingly compatible with the hole found in the soul of each of those hunters. They switched complicated ceremonies with high tech equipment and occult rituals with programming interfaces. And best of all, no longer they had to search the dreams and subconscious of others for their deepest secrets- instead, they could just check their Facebook profile.

    While recruiting hackers and programmers has helped them achieve great power over people in key places and get a foothold in many important places, the modern adepts don't forget their ancient obligation- to fight fear with fear. They hunt down after those who become living nightmares and use their own secrets against them. They open gates into the Virtual Void and fight those monsters head on. They find out what those monsters fear of- those few self proclaimed heroes- and make sure to tell them the necessary secret meant to defeat the beast. Fear is meant to ruled with, not ruled by.

    And the Nightmare Network would make sure you'll never forget it.

    0- you have joined the Network and had your inner "true secret" turned into an Avatar with full access to the Virtual Void. You may buy dots in the IDE Endowment.
    000- you have been integrated into the Network and learned many hidden secrets which helped you to vanquish your fears. You get Contacts at 3 dots
    00000- You are a prominent information broker, and one whisper from you can bring both success and ruin. You get a special version of Encyclopedic Knowledge focused around Secrets, which allows you to instinctively find out someone's secrets even if you have never met her before.

    Endowment: Integrated Development Environment/ IDE (0-00000)
    If humanity's collective mind is a computer, its subconscious is the raw information hidden beyond the hands of the common man. This is the dark place were mankind's deepest fears and secrets lie, hidden out of reach- yet with the right application, anyone can access that level of reality and shape it to her will. All she need to have is an Integrated Development Environment, some knowledge about programming and a lot of willpower- and bang! You're in.

    IDE is a single, 1-5 merit which has a number of functions. First, it represent the number of Access Points the hunter may have. For each dot in the Endowment plus one, choose a single electronic device with access to the internet, which is modified through a special program developed through the hands of the dedicated programmers of the Network. As long as the device is connected to the internet and the hunter is in contact with it, she may expand a single Willpower Point and instantly teleport to another such "gate" as long as the other gate is also connected to the web. The hunter may also allow to a number of people equal to [IDE]^2 to access her gates in such a way, which requires reprogramming of the device.

    The second function is interaction with the Virtual Void itself- instead of teleporting, the hunter may decide to enter into the alternative reality and travel the black void of fear. While in there, she may travel to the specific lairs of Beasts by searching for them through an Intelligence + Computers + IDE roll, with Dramatic Failure meaning you are forcefully expelled into reality and suffer one level of bashing damage. Exceptional Success would also allow you to "tag" that lair, so next time you search for it you won't have to make the roll. Other than visiting the void between worlds or the horror realms of the incarnated fears, the hunter may also have access to a number of Programs formed by the technology of the device. Mechanically, those programs work as Spirits, which may only manifest in the Virtual Void and Beast's Lairs, which regain Essence by being "charged" from the hunter's Willpower on 1-1 bases. The total Rank of all Programs is equal to the hunter's Status [Nightmare Network], and their number equal to their dots in the Endowment. The hunter may freely re-design her programs by expanding Willpower, although it makes all invested WP to go to waste.

    Finally, the Network's biggest weapon is not actually theirs- but of the beast's own enemies. By discovering an Anathema forced upon a Beast by an Hero- no matter how much time passed since the event or even if the hero is still alive- she may roll [IDE]+Manipulation against the target's Lair. If she wins, the Anathema is active for anyone who knows it. If it is an Exceptional Success, the hunter also gains a Willpower point out of satisfaction of discovering such a deep secret in such a quick and efficient way. If it is a Dramatic Failure, however, the Anathema is forever broken- the fear was too strong to be bound.

    Loyalists of Thule: "they know the power of secrets, and they know how to fend against them. Act carefully near them"
    Network-0: "spreading the truth? Creating a world with no more secrets? Don't make me laugh"
    Les Mysteres: "yes, we know them- they walk the old ways, choosing the madness of the spirit world over advancing to the future. They are a dying breed"
    Yuri's Group: "They claim to fight fear by offering support and mutual help. All I can see is a bunch of terrified brats who whine to each other. They are slaves to their own past- and those who know it, like me"
    MourningStar Developments: "I can't understand them, I can't see them. They are more like water or mists than real people- and that scares me"

    "I know what you did last summer"
    Last edited by LostLight; 02-16-2017, 01:22 PM.

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