The Esoterrorists are not a conspiracy, per se. There’s no head of Esoterrorism, no command structure. It’s not that each cell is completely independent – you can make connections, follow the money, tap the phones, build up the webs and hierarchies used by counterterrorist researchers and investigators, but it’s not a conspiracy. Don’t think cell as in conspiracy, think cell as in cancer. Esoterrorism is a movement, or a disease of the mind. It can sprout almost anywhere.
There are warning signs. Genetic predispositions towards Esoterrorism. Ego, a lust for power, a fascination with the bizarre and the transgressive, a feeling of superiority towards those you see as ‘lesser’, and a willingness to inflict suffering – they all contribute towards potential Esoterrorism. Sometimes, all it takes is a tiny spark, a glimpse of the Outer Dark or even just the intuition that all this can be torn down and remade, and that’s the start of a new cell.
This series of articles presents four different ready-to-play Esoterrorist cells. Each cell’s described in the same format.
Ideology: The group’s animating philosophy, organisational purpose, or interpretation of Esoterrorism. Some cells are clueless – they’ve stumbled across the supernatural, but don’t understand it. Some are deluded, puppets of an Esoterrorist mastermind. And some are committed to the destruction of the Membrane.
Threat Assessment: The Ordo Veritas’ assessment of the degree of danger currently posed by the cell, and how likely it is to grow and spread.
History: A brief history of the cell.
Key Members: The leaders and important members of the cell.
Structure & Assets: How the group functions and what it has easy access to in terms of weapons, shelter, funding, or other notable assets.
Supernatural Threats: Any summoned Outer Dark Entities, magical devices or rituals associated with the group.
Nature of Cell: Fascist conspiracy
Leader: Dan Keole
Leader Psychographic Profile: Exofetishist.
An offshoot of the Rugged cell (Esoterrorists 2nd Edition, p. 51), the New Men is primarily an online movement, recruiting vulnerable young men and teaching them that they are evolving into a post-human species, beyond human needs and morality.
High – politically connected, well-established, and with considerable supernatural power.
The founder of the New Men, Dan Keole (dank_hole online), experienced a spiritual epiphany during his time on the Rugged retreat. He glimpsed the Outer Dark, and saw that through suppression of his human personality and morality, he could open himself to ‘higher powers’ – in effect, offering himself for possession by Outer Dark Entities. For some time, Keole worked with the Rugged cult leader, Sandy Hester, but the two became rivals and now loathe each other.
Keole moved away from Hester’s methodology on gruelling physical hardship to achieve spiritual transcendence, and instead focussed on psychological techniques to break down a subject’s sense of self and purpose. These techniques translated very well to the darker corners of the Internet, given they revolved around ironic nihilism, performative amorality and angry grievance at the state of the world. Keole’s become a minor guru, hawking brain pills and correspondence courses in advanced ‘spiritual techniques’.
Dan Keole: The cell’s founder and ostensible leader; Keole’s become immensely egotistical and paranoid in the last few years. He divides his time between arguing on the internet in text, streaming his arguments online, and experimenting with methods of psychological abuse and de-realisation. While the other key members of the cell now find Keole to be a liability, he still has the strongest grip on their supporters.
He has a secret fetish for sex with Outer Dark Entities; he picks promising young acolytes and has his followers bombard them with images and abuse until they suffer mental collapse and become open to Outer Dark possession. Their remains are dissolved in acid after use, to ensure they do not reanimate.
Glenda Keole: Keole’s wife; she has political ambitions and believes that she can leverage her husband’s online following into a supporter base. She’s aware of his Esoterrorist powers, but is convinced that if she finds the right replacement for Keole, she can cut him out while preserving the conspiracy he’s built.
Mark Latto: Ex-Special-Forces bodyguard hired to protect Keole and later initiated into Esoterrorism; Latto’s instrumental in keeping the cell secure.
CodeMonkey147: One of thousands of online followers of Dan Keole, CodeMonkey147 was targeted by Keole’s Esoterrorist cell for conditioning months ago, and he’s nearly ripe. His sense of self and normality has been so smashed by constant messaging from Keole’s acolytes that he’s started to see dark shapes with teeth everywhere he goes (on the rare occasions he leaves his computer). Soon, the Outer Dark will claim him.
Structure & Assets
Structurally, it’s a three-layer conspiracy. At the core is Keole and his immediate aides and cultists, all members of the full-on Esoterrorist movement.
Next, there are several hundred online acolytes who have been trained and groomed by Keole in his psychological techniques. When Keole designates a target, these acolytes bombard the target with abusive messages, disturbing images and subliminal signals. They’re adept at hacking and doxing, digging up everything possible about the target, and numerous enough that there are usually some within geographical reach of the target.
Note that the acolytes believe that they’re doing this for the good of the target, or at least for the greater good of humanity. They believe that this abuse strips away the weaknesses and outdated morality of the ‘husk’ of humanity, so that the target can fully evolve into a New Man. Some of the acolytes believe themselves to be New Men themselves; others see the whole conditioning process as a cruel game.
The outermost layer is Keogh’s online following of tens of thousands. It is from these that he selects targets for his conditioning process.
Keogh has a considerable income from his following, although the expensive lifestyle preferred by Keogh and his wife means the cell has little in the way of financial reserves. His New Men acolytes have plenty of personal firearms and other weapons, and are more than willing to use them in defense of their guru.
A small percentage of Keogh’s New Men become ciphers, vulnerable to possession by Outer Dark Entities. As Keogh’s followers are spread across the United States and beyond, and Keogh’s technique means he can pick any of his followers for conditioning by his acolytes, Keogh can effectively summon a Creature of Unremitting Horror anywhere he wishes. He has no control over what sort of entity claims the vulnerable New Man, although invocations of Brutalizers and Hosts (Esoterrorists 2nd edition) are most common.
The Esoterrorists are occult terrorists intent on tearing the fabric of the world – and you play elite investigators out to stop them. This is the game that revolutionized investigative RPGs by ensuring that players are never deprived of the crucial clues they need to move the story forward. Purchase The Esoterrorists in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.