Outline

The Gallant Age (1800s-1918)

The Society of Gallantry

In the early 1800s, a secret group called 'The Society of Gallantry' (emerging in the wake of the Lunar Society's collapse) discover and document 'enigmas' (phenomenon, people, places, and objects which defied conventional scientific knowledge). Their membership eventually includes 'luminaries' such as Professor Challenger, Mycroft Holmes, Auguste Dupin, James Moriarty, Sexton Blake, Doctor Moreau, and more.

The Anomalous Activity Division

On April 14th, 1865, Abraham Lincoln is assassinated in Ford's Theater; back in his office, legislation ratifying the creation of a 'Secret Service Division' of the Department of Treasury sits on his desk, signed and awaiting ratification. On the surface, this division exists to deal with counterfeit bills — but in actuality, it paves the way for a second, far more arcane and clandestine organization: The Anomalous Activity Division (or just 'Division 12' — on account of its membership initially consisting of just twelve personnel).

During and after the Civil War, reports had emerged of unnatural occurrences: a Confederate ironclad sunk by an enormous submersible vessel — a massive steam-powered humanoid rolling across the prairies — a heavier-than-air vessel that sailed through clouds like water. Though dismissed as poppycock, Lincoln creates Division 12 to investigate these claims in the wake of the South's defeat.

The original Division 12 investigates the lost (and weird) history of the Americas. Its initial membership consists of an elderly masked Texas Ranger, James West, Bass Reeves, and more. They have dealings with a mysterious man in a poncho, the Invisible Empire (Southern aristocratic vampires), and numerous others.

The League of Opposition

In the 1880s, a divide forms between members of the Society of Gallantry over whether enigmas should be documented and understood, or seized and harnessed to 'better improve the world'. This division expands until it becomes a rift. Several members (Moriarty, Nemo, and others) pen a formal 'Declaration of Opposition' against what they describe as 'dangerous colonialism'.

The League of Opposition goes on to resist the Gallant Society well into the early 20th century, and includes members such as Fantomas, Monsieur Zenith, Fu Manchu, and more.

Prometheus Foundation

The Gallants and the Opposition continue to struggle up until the outset of World War 1. During one of their conflicts, an enigma-based sickness is released, resulting in the Spanish Influenza pandemic. It is unclear which side was responsible; both blame the other.

The remnants of the Gallant Society become the Prometheus Foundation. Initially formed as an attempt to respond to the humanitarian crisis of the Spanish Flu, they soon discover a secondary aspect of the disease: A percentage of humans exposed to it exhibit enigmatic traits. Dubbing these people 'Emergents', Prometheus seeks to gather as many of them as they can for study. Meanwhile, what remains of the Opposition goes underground.

The Golden Age (1918 — 1950s)

The Mystery Men

The emergence of two American-based criminal organizations (the Trust and the Outfit, which rely on magic and paratech, respectively) locked in a war during the Prohibition era forces Division 12 to rely on a group of 'Mystery Men' to fight back (called such because not even Division 12 knew their true identities). Near the end of Prohibition, Division 12 discovers the existence of emergents — but decides not to make this knowledge public. The Outfit collapses, and the Trust goes into deep hiding.

In the 40s, emergents appear more and more. The Mystery Men and Division 12 work to cover up their existence where they can. Both groups contribute to fighting the 'Weird War'. During Operation Paperclip, the OSS (a predecessor to the CIA) discovers research into the existence of enigmas, emergents, and paratechnology. This leads to projects like MKUltra.

McCarthyism eventually exposes both Division 12 and the Mystery Men. When Division 12 refuses to turn over the identities of the Mystery Men, the US government dismantles them. The Mystery Men are pressured to reveal their identities and those of their associates; some do, but others disappear or go rogue (such as the Whisper).

In the 1950s, the public becomes aware that people are capable of 'extranormal feats' that defied scientific explanation. The era ends on the release of legal regulation against extranormal persons (leading to the Bureau of Extranormal Affairs).

The Silver Age (1950s — 1970s)

The Bureau of Extranormal Affairs

The Bureau of Extranormal affairs is ratified in the 1950s to act as a more transparent version of Division 12, and is tasked with hunting down 'rogue extranormal agents'. The public is still unaware of emergents; it is widely believed extranormal abilities are the product of outside influences. Numerous veteran Division 12 operatives are swallowed up by the Bureau, which eventually becomes part of the FBI.

VANGUARD

After the initial fervor behind the Mystery Men dies down, the US government establishes the VANGUARD program — intended to replace the Mystery Men. This is a quasi-military unit which trains and deploys 'extranormal persons' against similar extranormal threats (both domestically and abroad). VANGUARD enjoys widespread public popularity (much to Prometheus' chagrin). Many veteran Mystery Men are part of it (along with several Division 12 agents). No one knows what the acronym 'VANGUARD' stands for.

The Prometheus Foundation — now publicly known as a charitable organization responsible for world-wide humanitarian efforts and research — begins programs to identify emergents in prison and negotiate/provide reduced sentences in exchange for testing. CIA programs to investigate emergents and weaponize their abilities continue.

The Kindred

Remnants from the League of Opposition work together with emergents to form a secret network called 'the Kindred'. It consists of 'rogue vigilantes', retired Division 12 operatives, some new members of VANGUARD, emergents, and even a few (rare) original members from the Gallant Society.

Its members know of the existence of emergents and Prometheus' aims to use them (along with paratech) to 'improve' the world. It seeks to investigate Prometheus and ensure their aims are actually charitable.

This era ends with the public exposure of emergents.

The Bronze Age (1970s — 1985)

A scientific study proves the existence of the emergent phenomenon. The CIA's MKUltra program is released; this is followed by an emergent-based disaster involving neurals. Prometheus, already shuttling emergent prisoners from world-wide prison systems, redoubles their efforts.

The Kindred begins a campaign attempting to disrupt Promethean labs — especially after Prometheus stops actually releasing the prisoners they took in. During this period, parts of VANGUARD and Kindred have an uneasy/confusing sort of alliance/relationship.

This era ends when the Kindred bring evidence to the Congress/Senate that exposes the Prometheus Foundation's program — only to discover no one really cares (and some even think it's a good idea). This leads to the Kindred nearly collapsing over what to do next — and a clean break from VANGUARD when its remnants begin engaging in outright attacks against Prometheus sites (both in America and around the world).

The Modern Age (1985+)

Emergents are pariahs. They are required to register their extranormal traits; while this registration was originally private, access to it has expanded to include medical providers, law enforcement personnel, or even specific classes of employers (such as government work). Emergents with flashy or 'useful' traits can join VANGUARD, which oversees several programs meant to deploy them in ways that 'benefit the public good'. Emergents with less useful powers (particularly those who are clearly emergents) are usually out of luck, and are barred from numerous fields of employment. Some emergents turn to crime to support themselves.

The Kindred still exist in the background, resisting Prometheus. VANGUARD — which now includes publicly known emergents among its members — is essentially the Justice League, though a bit less overpowered, and US-centric. They coordinate with a UN super-group, <name here>.

Prometheus's sterilization projects and secret labs are largely consigned to the 'internet conspiracy' bin; worse still, there's signs that public opinion might be in favor of both policies (the initial pproposal for mandatory emergent registration included mandatory sterilization).

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