WATCH of Darkness

An alternate setting/conversion for use with True20
You see me now a veteran of a thousand psychic wars My energy is spent at last, and my armor is destroyed I have used up all my weapons, and I'm helpless and bereaved Wounds are all I'm made of Did I hear you say that this is victory? You see me now a veteran of a thousand psychic wars I've been living on the edge so long, where the winds of limbo roar And I'm young enough to look at, and far too old to see All the scars are on the inside I'm not sure that there's anything left of me Don't let these shakes go on, it's time we had a break from it Send me to the rear Where the tides of madness swell And men sliding into hell Oh please, don't let these shakes go on

Blue Öyster Cult “Veteran of the Psychic Wars”

The Point of It All
I had originally started writing this all up as “omniscientnarrator” fiction, but soon realized that I didn't have the patience to make it readable and entertaining while at the same time getting across all the information I wanted to. The only part that I ended up keeping from that very rough in-my-head draft was the response of the Day Watch head to a question about the Intrusion. In any event, I decided on the (hopefully) more informative version, with the added bonus that I can throw in more snark if I feel it needs it. Lucky you. So we're all on the same page, I will be making quite a few references to the ideas presented in the “Watch” series by Sergei Lukyanenko, so a passing familiarity with that is paramount. Also, there are more than a few of the setting ideas from Monte Cook's World of Darkness that I plan on keeping, so you would be best served by having a clue of what that's all about (a good review can be found here – I'd just skip down to “The Ideas” heading for a quick rundown).

The Light Others created the Night Watch, the Dark Others the Day Watch, to ensure that neither side would violate the Treaty. The Inquisition, a group composed of both Dark and Light Others, was created to ensure that neither side became too powerful.”1

The Watches exist much the way presented in the novels, with the exception that vampires are generally agents of the Dark and werewolves agents of the Light. Mages can be agents of either, depending on their individual philosophical leanings.
Setting Change of Note: To add a little bit more flavor to the various organizations the Others have developed other than the Watches, the Covenants from Vampire: the Requiem, Paths/Orders from Mage: the Awakening and Tribes from Werewolf: the Forsaken will be used for both players and NPCs.

“The division of Light and Dark had always existed between the Others. Those of the Light believed it was their duty to help the weak and the helpless. Those of the Dark shunned all obligations. They did what they wanted, regardless of morals and consequences.

The Vampire Clans/Covenants, Mage Paths/Orders and Werewolf Auspices/Tribes have existed since time immemorial, and often an agent of the Watch can find him or herself torn between the desires of the leaders of the Clan/Path/Auspice/etc., and those of the Watch. The respective Watch should have the unwavering support of all that are a part of it, but this is not and has not always been the case. Thus, in addition to any friction between the Watches that may develop from the Others, there is also the very real possibility that the various non-Watch organizations trying to influence events by their own methods – which are not sanctioned by the respective Watch (and, if discovered, often result in extraordinarily harsh punishments for those caught).

“For many millennia, the two sides fought a vicious battle. Both were willing to use any means necessary to achieve victory. Eventually they realized that if they continued their battle, neither side would survive. The leaders of both sides forged the Grand Treaty – a set of laws to govern the way the Others used their powers. 1 Night Watch Wikipedia page

During the latter half of the twentieth century various governmental organizations began to realize something was amiss. Reports of strange happenings were investigated, and often there were no satisfactory scientific conclusions to be reached. What the Others had not counted on was humanity developing capabilities that could rival their own, albeit in more focused ways. Reports of psychic phenomena were investigated by the various agencies, in an attempt to make the best use of such powers against any enemies. The organization in the US that was formed to investigate and develop individuals with these capabilities was called the Bureau for the Analysis and Investigation of the Unexplained – the BAIU. During the 1970's the BAIU became more secretive about its investigations and recruitment, and other agencies began to refer to it as “The Bayou,” incorrectly attributing the acronym to be the equivalent of a quagmire – investigations that fell under BAIU jurisdiction became “stuck” there, never to be heard from outside that department again. As they were discovered, exceptional individuals – eventually designated as “Awakened” – were brought into the BAIU and trained to best make use of their particular capabilities. Some of these Awakened could perform great feats by their minds alone, others could construct equipment that seemed to bend the laws of reality and then there were individuals that seemed to simply excel in both physical and combat training . Virtually all of them seemed to be more capable than the average human, easily adapting to any training that might be provided to them. In a fit of pique to the other US intelligence agencies, the BAIU Director created the position of Covert Agents, which was shortened to “CAgens” – pronounced “Cajuns.” These operatives handled cases that would be commonly referred to now as “X-files.”
Conversion of Note: Instead of using the Awakened class from MCWoD, Awakened characters are able to freely multiclass between Warrior, Expert and Adept classes from True20, with Adepts filling the role of psychics. As Mages are technically human, they can also take levels in Warrior or Expert; however, their Mage capabilities are solely based on their levels taken in the Mage class. Thus, a Mage 2 / Expert 3 would only cast Spells as a Mage 2.

As it became apparent that neither human nor Other agencies wanted to alert the rest of their respective societies as to the knowledge that the other existed, there was a tentative détente between the Night Watch and BAIU. Agents from one organization would occasionally be requested by the other to provide capabilities that would not otherwise be feasible, and this usually was worked out in information trade. Then came the Intrusion and Nightmare Wave. Something extradimensional intruded into the fabric of reality – something beyond the comprehension of even the Watches. Creatures formed from pure chaos began to appear and destroy seemingly at random, striking at Watch and BAIU alike. Large portions of the Midwestern US had suddenly become “infected” with what the BAIU researchers were calling Unreality – observances that by no means should be possible under our known Laws of the universe (Undead, Aberrations, the like). In response to this, there was a meeting between the heads of the US based Watches and the BAIU to exchange what little they had determined about the cataclysmic events. When asked bluntly by the head of the BAIU if this was an intrusion of the Dark, the head of the Day Watch responded: “Had the Dark won, we wouldn't be having this fucking conversation.” As it seemed that the targets of the Unreality were more often than not either potential Others or Awakened, the Inquisition came to an unprecedented move in requiring the Watches to work together in helping to rid the world of the Unreality's effects. Thus, with the help of the BAIU, the forces of Awakened and Other wage a war of attrition on what has intruded onto their world. They are the...

WATCH of Darkness

It was during this period of investigations that the existence of the Others became known to the BAIU. As the collection of information began in earnest in cataloging the various types of “Other” beings that existed among humanity, the Watches' notice was in turn brought to bear. The Night Watch felt significantly less threatened than the Day Watch, and initial communication between the Watch and the BAIU started.

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