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Tabletop Game / The Esoterrorists

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The Esoterrorists is a Tabletop RPG written by Robin Laws and published by Pelgrane Press in 2006, using the proprietary GUMSHOE system. A second edition of the game was released in 2013.

The player characters of The Esoterrorists are elite agents of the Ordo Veritatis, a Benevolent Conspiracy who combats the eponymous Esoterrorists, occult terrorists that opposes reality as we know of and seeks to unleash the unremitting horrors of the Outer Dark into our world.


In this setting, the objective world as we know of and the subjective Outer Dark, a place of chaos and madness, are separated by a membrane, which is shaped by belief and perception. In our enlightened society, the laws of physics are strengthened, as we believe that reality is ordered and makes sense. If belief in that fades, the membrane gets thinner. The Esoterrorists' modus operandi is to commit atrocities and fabricate hoaxes in order to make people believe that the world is unstable, weakening the membrane. If the truth of the Outer Dark existing becomes widely known, said knowledge alone will greatly thin the membrane, if not destroying it outright. As such, the Ordo Veritatis has to keep the public ignorant of the struggle conducted behind the scenes. After all investigations, the veil-out process (covering up the supernatural event or entity after its defeat) is crucial to reduce public anxiety on about the possibility of reality not being as stable as we all believe.


The Esoterrorists takes place in the same world as Fear Itself, and the two games share the Outer Dark mythos; tropes related to the Outer Dark apply equally to both games.

This game provides examples of:

  • Achilles' Heel: Some Outer Dark Entities can only be, or are more easily, destroyed by a certain attack, weapon or method known as a special means of dispatch (SMD). Not all ODE types have an SMD; some do not, and others might be vulnerable to undiscovered SMDs. Investigators might be the ones to identify an SMD, in the course of an investigation. If the Ordo knows from the outset that one of these creatures figures in a case, agents are informed of the SMD as part of their briefing and receive any obscure physical items needed, such as plasma bullets.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Outer Dark Entities are not human and lack the capacity for moral choice. They are literal expressions of evil, given flesh and substance, and summoned to a world where they do not belong. They do not warrant equitable treatment or a fair fight. They wish to exterminate you and you should feel the same way about them.
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  • Ambiguously Human: As the ritual magic capabilities of the Esoterrorists still do not extend to the acquisition of abilities as demonstrated by the assassin known as The Mouse, the Ordo Veritatis is forced to entertain the unpleasant possibility that The Mouse is either an Outer Dark Entity, or acts as a human host for one.
  • Ancient Tomb: Ka'atka is a partially collapsed catacomb complex bearing the tombs of the ancient Yultala kings and a natural bridging point between this world and the Outer Dark.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Constructionist summoning involves making a inanimate, harmless host body which only becomes dangerous when a ritual turns it into the host for an Outer Dark Entity. The ODE animates the body, warping reality to make the unliving shell into a living body.
  • Antagonist Title: The eponymous Esoterrorists are a worldwide network of misfits and rejects from various occult traditions who've banded together to enhance their power at the expense of others.
  • Artifact of Doom:
    • Kooky Kreatures is a trading card line that innocuously depicts a series of gross and goofy monsters. Due to Matty Corbo's tortured avarice for the ultra-rare cards, the Outer Dark possessed him via the cards. Now selected cards, when he concentrates on them, shift from cartoony drawings to 3-D writhing depictions of various Outer Dark Entities. If any of his friends have cards on their persons, he can command them like puppets. The first card he bought It tells him he can have the whole set, if some bad people have been taken care of first...
    • Owners of Asumi Yanagi's paintings experience sudden downturns in fortune. Along with a string of broken marriages and financial failures, at least six purchasers of Yanagi pieces have been murdered or gone missing under ominous circumstances. Forensic examinations of three victims displayed telltale signs of injury by Outer Dark entities. So far it seems that the original paintings themselves pose a direct threat that their reproductions do not.
  • Attention Whore: The attention seeker pursues fame or notoriety and signs on with Esoterror as a means of securing it, drawn in by the connections in the entertainment and media industries. When denied positive attention, he revels in destruction, and is all too happy to commit spectacular crimes that terrify the populace and weaken the membrane.
  • Benevolent Conspiracy: The Ordo Veritatis is a secret, worldwide organisation which operates with the tacit approval of the world's major powers and fights the Esoterrorists, who seek personal power by evoking malign paranormal phenomena, in an effort to protect the world from the Unremitting Horrors of the Outer Dark.
  • Big Bad: It's unknown if Esoterrorist cells have a coherent hierarchy or leadership, or work in parallel toward a similar goal. Some believe that the leadership is a council of humans, but no evidence for it has been found, and for such an entity to do business, it would have to leave a paper and money trail that simply can't be hidden. Others explain the absence of evidence by proposing that the leadership is inhuman and resident in the Outer Dark. Three captured Esoterrorists claim to have been guided by an amorphous entity called the Overmouth, also described as the King of the Outer Dark and the Pain Emperor, but after these incidents the Ordo Veritatis was subject to a disinformation blitz suspected to send the Ordo into paranoia at the thought of an all-powerful but fictitious entity. The nature of Esoterrorist leadership, or the existence of the Overmouth, remains unknown.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Outer Dark Entities are mostly abstract in nature and biological only in afterthought.
  • Cannibal Clan: At the top of a forlorn hill near Larzac in a rural area of southwestern France dwells the Caillet family, a close-knit band of incestuous farmers. Police suspect them in a series of disappearances going back to the 1950s but have never gained sufficient evidence to permit a search of the property. People in the nearby communities of La Barde and Ratebout openly refer to them as cannibals, and attribute their legal impunity to a pact with the devil.
  • Captured by Cannibals: The number of disappearances linked to the cannibalistic Caillet family may be as high as seventy. Police suspect them in a series of disappearances going back to the 1950s but have never gained sufficient evidence to permit a search of the property. None of the disappeared have been found. Not a drop of blood has been left behind.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Morten Gislason is unique among Esoterror operatives in that he takes few pains to disguise his allegiances. He reckons, perhaps correctly, that he is so famous and controversial that any action taken against him would do great harm to the membrane. It is also possible that has become arrogantly reckless after exposure to one or more Outer Dark manifestations.
  • Cassandra Gambit: Certain fringe media outlets or personalities are so discredited that any story they carry automatically loses credence by association. The Ordo Veritatis designates them as counter-reliables, and agents are advised to have them run the true story, or a disreputable version thereof.
  • Cavalry Refusal: As many Ordo Veritatis SSF units are active-duty military officers or security contractors, they are relatively difficult to extract from their non-Ordo assignments. They are usually dispatched to handle military-level threats and mop-up missions, are within their rights to decline requests from investigators when they feel that the main team does not fully require their assistance, and investigators can't count on SSF teams to sweep down and take care of standard dangers for them. Only in near-apocalyptic circumstances should one send a request for SSF assistance mid-investigation and expect them to take the risks associated with it.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: In the Outer Dark, physical reality is what its inhabitants collectively declare it to be. Entities are forever changed by the minds of those around them and exert the same influence on others. Those of great will dominate the others, changing the rules at will. They don't come into our world easily; there's a basic set point of sanity that's hard to tamper with. That's why occult manifestations are typically only encountered in certain haunted locations by highly sensitive individuals. But when people begin to doubt the sanity of their everyday world, these breaks in the fabric of reality become easier to create. The Esoterrorists stage hauntings, create Fortean phenomena, and insert false evidence of nonexistent conspiracies into the historical record. These begin as hoaxes but, as they create mass hysteria, become real.
  • Combat Pragmatist: According to the instructions given to Ordo Veritatis agents about fighting Outer Dark Entities:
    Don't fight bravely, fight cleverly.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Conspiracy theorists and other widely discredited or disregarded figures are sometimes encouraged by OV agents to publicise a crazy version of their story, possibly close to the truth. Their association with the story causes mainstream society to dismiss it.
  • Critical Research Failure: In her 1936 novel The Horned God's Cry, Fiona Blackater names the Guardham as the most sinister of England's ley lines, connecting it to a degenerate tradition of Pictish human sacrifice. That the Picts lived in Scotland did not trouble Blackater's sense of historical accuracy.invoked
  • Cut-and-Paste Suburb: Multi-level suburban homes built according to the Caperton 1233 plan can be found throughout the United States and Canada, especially in housing developments constructed between 1982 and 1994. Caperton 1233 homes are so numerous as to be impossible to monitor or patrol. Esoterror assets have begun purchasing and occupying existing homes built from the Caperton 1233, in the belief that the negative psychic energy surrounding them increase the success rate of summoning rites.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Ordo Veritatis are the good guys — albeit chillingly determined ones. They're neither bureaucratic backstabbers nor villainous betrayers.
  • Deal with the Devil: Derek Stokes swore to serve the Outer Dark Entity Spatterglide, sealing a mystic bond he cannot undo. He then proceeded to introduce his gang mates to the creature, who got enslaved as well. Stokes hates Spatterglide, the Esoterror philosophy and anything vaguely occultic, but he's stuck, convinced that the Outer Dark will soon invade the world and sees no percentage in breaking free.
  • Demonic Possession:
    • Impositional summoning uses psychological torture, brainwashing, psychoactive drugs, operant conditioning, surgery and costuming to transform a subject into an ideal host for an Outer Dark Entity. The subject may come to believe that they are the ODE, or the technique virtually annihilates the subject's self, leaving the body an empty shell to be inhabited by the ODE.
    • Outer Dark Entities sometimes burrow into the minds of psychic operatives, driving them mad and/or directing them to betray the group.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Prior to her death, suspected to be murder at the hands of The Mouse, Charmione Cuvilier started experiencing a recurring nightmare, in which a woman with strange clear eyes visited her and calmly warned her to settle her earthly affairs.
  • Dream Land: The Dreaming Realm is a vague and insubstantial plane of existence that connects the dreams of people. Sleeping people always enter it when they enter REM sleep. Every person has their own closed dream plane, and entering others' dreams is dangerous and very difficult.
  • Driven to Suicide: Jane Courtland suffered from what may have been undiagnosed post-partum depression. When she began to report encounters of ethereal, watchful entities, her husband Jonathan dismissed these as hallucinations tied to her fragile mental state. When their daughter Gemma was two, Jane Courtland slit her wrists.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Outer Dark Entities are alien, abstract beings that do not think like we do, communicate like we do, or respond like we do. Their goals and desires are incomprehensible or intolerable to rational humans.
  • The Empire: The Yultala subjected Mesoamerica to a reign of terror between 400 BC and roughly 200 AD. They practiced blood sacrifice, and their ruling class managed to live side by side with the Outer Dark for centuries. Their fertility rituals would chill the blood of any Mayan or Incan priest. Multi-week festivals of torture and self-flagellation climaxed with the arrival of ODEs, who feasted on fields of human flesh.
  • Endangering News Broadcast: Faye Kerns has embarked on a mission to use her journalism skills to expose the appalling reality of the supernatural hidden behind everyday life. Ordo Veritatis assets have on numerous times attempted to explain to her how widespread acceptance of the Outer Dark would weaken the membrane and advance the cause of Esoterror, but have failed to persuade. Kerns is a wily and determined adversary, and a threat to any veil-out procedure.
  • Enfant Terrible: Outer Dark Entities don't limit their exploitation of human desire to adults. They also take advantage of the unformed psyches of children, sometimes creating pint-sized cells of possessed servitors.
  • Evil, Inc.: The investment banking and securities firm Hostetter Marcus has for over a century played a hand in every noteworthy financial scandal and economic meltdown since the Depression. Yet, again and again, regulations to curb its power or punish its excesses have failed. Hostetter Marcus was, in truth, founded as an Esoterror front, and has periodically been led by henchmen of the Outer Dark throughout its history.
  • Evil Overlord: Esoterror operatives exhibiting the dominant personality type are motivated by the desire to exercise power over others. Dominant types seek the top positions in large hierarchies, like nations, multinational corporations, unions or churches. Once installed in these positions, they attempt to enlarge their authority, either by widening the reach of their organisations or removing checks on their power. Some imagine a post-apocalyptic world where they rule over miserable survivors from their thrones of bone.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Each new charismatic psychopath who stumbles onto the tenets of Esoterror convinces himself that he will be the one to finally pierce the membrane, and imbue himself with the might of true sorcery. Though all to date have failed, the failure of previous attempts merely feeds the megalomaniacal dedication of those who come after. Not like those other fools!
  • Evil Teacher: Esoterror agent Annette Foss-Havergal is also Professor of Cultural Studies, Duke University.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Twenty years ago, Adil Chaudhary served as an OV investigator and radiated indignation at the evils of Esoterror. He was subsequently discharged; in 2006 he was discovered offering his services to an Esoterror handler known only by the codename Acorn, and reluctantly supplied Acorn with the descriptions and cover names of various Ordo contacts.
  • Famous for Being Famous: Famous more for his rap sheet and list of ex-paramours than any creative achievements, Hollywood party boy Marco Berdila has come to typify the era's spirit of talent-free celebrity. A frequent object of blogger derision, Berdila has demonstrated a mastery of tabloid manipulation, building name recognition through an ever-escalating series of rakish excesses.
  • Forbidden Fruit: Exofetishists revel in a paradoxical sense of shame regarding their copulation with Outer Dark Entities. The forbidden nature of their sexual activities heightens their obsession with it.
  • Friend or Foe: On several occasions Esoterrorist cells have attacked one another, each apparently assuming that the other was an Ordo Veritatis team sent to destroy them.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: In early 1970, half of Ice Station Onyx's staff was prematurely recalled and replaced after suffering mental breakdowns attributable to extreme isolation. In 1972 the base was closed in the wake of a second wave of mental health crises, culminating in the murder and mutilation of the base commander during a mutiny which likely originated from isolation and cold war paranoia.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: 59% of all losses of Ordo Veritatis agents (not including retirements and reassignments) are the result of psychological trauma and mental illness. Confronting the mind-eating Outer Dark can prove mentally, physically and morally exhausting for even the most hardened agent. For this reason, all investigators are trained to take proactive care of their mental health and that of their teammates, and if they suspect that anyone is suffering from long-term effects of Outer Dark contact, they are to report symptoms and seek treatment. Agents noted to be suffering from warning signs of debilitating mental illness are pulled from field rotation for treatment.
  • Gorn: After Raaghav Kongara, leader of the K-School gang, was shot in the head, six members of two rival gangs were found brutally slain. Four victims' bodies had turned themselves inside out. The fifth victim's brain had been substantially eaten by semi-transparent, unidentifiable worms. The sixth was found cut into precise two-inch cubes, freeze-dried, and stacked in the midst of a sculpture garden. The means of these killings strongly suggest that someone within K-School is able to draw upon the services of Outer Dark Entities.
  • The Gunslinger: Gemma Courtland's twin chrome-plated pistols and specially fortified sacred water have saved Ordo Veritatis agents on more than one occasion.
  • Haunted House: The Serizawa Building is an apartment block where allegedly a young mother drowned her two toddlers in a bathtub during its first year of operation. No records of such an incident can be found, bit sightings of a ghostly faceless woman or pair of dripping, drowned children have been reported here since 1982. The real cause of the membrane damage appears to be a series of unauthorised electrical repairs conducted by the building's superintendent, Ryota Namiki, in the spring of that year, which allowed him to unconsciously transmit his delusional fears and anxieties throughout the complex. The resulting spike of distressed psychic energy weakened the membrane, and since then the Serizawa building has been the site of just under a dozen murders and over thirty inexplicable accidents.
  • Healing Hands: Willa Robison gained healing powers from the Outer Dark, which she had used many times since her recovery and claims to have taught to disciples dispersed throughout the Americas. Her use of these powers has weakened the membrane around Mammoth Lakes.
  • The Hedonist: Hedonists desire luxury and sensual pleasure, and believe that service to Esoterror will gain them the trappings and experiences they crave.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Ordo Veritatis investigators must be ready to lay their lives down for the protection of non-combatants or broader preservation of the membrane, provided that within their potential sacrifices lies a reasonable prospect of success.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Ordo Veritatis support stations are secured primarily by anonymity. Many appear from the outside to be drab office complexes situated in remote industrial parks.
  • Human Sacrifice: Violent premeditated death has a significant impact on the membrane, and a human sacrifice is the linchpin of Invocative Summoning.
  • I Have Your Wife: Ordo Veritatis gents must always keep in mind the purpose of any Esoterror feint against their loved ones so that they may conduct their operations unmolested. They must be prepared to make the awful choice between the safety of family members, and the fate of humanity as a whole.
  • Inbred and Evil: The Esoterror-connected Caillets appear to interbreed, rendering exact family relationships muddy at best.
  • Knowledge Broker: Luciano Gaudio has a worldwide contact list of occultists, deviants, parapsychologists and the middlemen who serve them. He is aware of and works for both the Ordo Veritatis and the Esoterrorists without being a member of either. He advertises his services as a broker and consultant, and refuses to disclose the identities of his clients or nature of his transactions. The Ordo has never acted against him, because he has on occasion proven an invaluable paid asset. His information is reliable but he charges high five figures for them, so Ordo operatives may only use Gaudio as an informant with prior budgetary authorisation from their Mr. Verity, and are advised to do their own legwork instead.
  • Late to the Tragedy: The Ordo Veritatis' top investigative team had been delayed en route to Leonid Iura's encampment and were not present to be caught when he and his celebrants were annihilated by a gate to the Outer Dark. Leading a troop of Czarist forces, they arrived in time to drive a pack of slavering creatures back into the gateway.
  • Life Drinker: Implied with the Eternal Conclave of Secret Chiefs. Since its members learnt the alleged secret of immortality, they've been saying that they're seeking new blood. However, no new member stays around for long, while no existing member, no matter how elderly, has died or even aged.
  • Mad Bomber: Esoterrorist Fabrizio Rulli has travelled the globe conducting bombings designed to cause public confusion and dismay, laying the groundwork for the summoning of an Outer Dark Entity.
  • Magical Society: The occult society Eternal Conclave of Secret Chiefs who supposedly learnt of revised rituals and the alleged secret of immortality; since then, no E.C.S.C. member, no matter how elderly, has died.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident:
    • Supplied with clever and elaborate plans by Outer Dark Entities, the Shepherdstown Cuckoos so far managed to make each murder look like an accident, if always unlikely and chilling.
    • Ariana Beles's death of drug overdose was ruled accidental but autopsy result analysis by Ordo Veritatis forensic anthropologists suggest ingestion of barbiturates may have been involuntary.
  • Masquerade: Widespread public knowledge of the occult can, over the long run, be more damaging to the membrane than the result of any direct enemy action. To nip such beliefs in the bud, Ordo Veritatis teams create mundane cover stories explaining away any paranormal events during the operation.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: In southern England's Somerset National Park exists a breeding population of jaguars, an animal native to South and Central America. News accounts of panther sightings increase supernatural activity throughout the British Isles as they occur. It is possible, though in no way proven, that an Esoterror faction stocks the park with jaguars for precisely this reason.
  • My Beloved Smother: Maria Loehr demonstrated her love for her son by pouring all of her energy into suffocating moment-by-moment supervision. Through this, Maria unwittingly turned herself into his personal embodiment of paranoid menace.
  • Nightmare Fetishist:
    • John Michael Loehr has a desire to sexually gratify himself through mutilation and murder.
    • Sandy Hester has fantasised about sex with grotesque, inhuman creatures since puberty.
  • Occult Detective: The PCs are elite investigators who fight the machinations of the Esoterrorists, a loose affiliation of occult terrorists intent on tearing the fabric of the world and letting the monsters in.
  • Older Than They Look: The members of the Eternal Conclave of Secret Chiefs were born from 1918 to 1933. According to one informant, none of them looks a day over seventy.
  • One-Hit Kill: A few creatures have abilities that can spell instant death for the victim, like the dementia larva's decapitation, or the mortician's bone saw.
  • Poe's Law: The Rugged Esoterror cell targets for recruitment the kind of guy who obsesses over Fight Club while entirely missing its satirical point. Sandy Hester tells them that the modern world infantilises and feminises young men. By perfecting their bodies, by overcoming their limitations, they can triumph over this culture-wide emasculation, recapturing their true, primal selves.
  • Professional Killer: The assassin known as The Mouse is called in on a for-hire basis when Esoterror cell leaders require an assassin's assistance.
  • Psychic Powers: Ordo studies have proven the existence of certain low-order psychic abilities that can arise spontaneously without exposure to the Outer Dark. Psychic abilities weakens the Membrane, regardless of whether users are consciously in contact with the Outer Dark or not. The OV attempts to isolate individuals displaying them, discouraging them from making the public aware of their existence, and use of psychic abilities in the field has proven almost universally disastrous.
  • Public-Domain Character: Ereshkigal, the Night Queen, is an extremely powerful Outer Dark Entity. Its capacity to use a small group of humans to promote its worship worldwide indicates an enemy of fearsome calculation and intellect.
  • Push Polling: Like other high-paid political firms, Pedroso, Bash, and Cibulski is able to change public opinion by measuring it, through a technique known as push-polling. Instead of asking crude questions about the candidates in a race, it poses a series of obscure queries on apparently unrelated subjects, designed through psychographic means as yet unknown (and impossible to divine from reading Dario Pedroso's books on the subject) to elicit surprisingly potent changes in outlook by the listener. The interviewer then concludes with a brief positive mention of the candidate, which appears to create an almost post-hypnotic bond between the politician's name and this alteration in worldview. These polls, conducted immediately prior to elections, swung the vote to Pedroso's clients by as much as 15%, or so he claims. More importantly, independent follow-up polling have found that these interviewees change their self-descriptions in such matters as party affiliation, the acceptability of sexual practices, and even religious beliefs.
  • The Quisling: Quislings are convinced that humanity is doomed, and that the only way to survive is to throw in with the inevitable victors of the coming war between realities.
  • Raised as a Host: 6% of hosts used in Impositional Summoning attempts have been raised from infancy as subjects for an Outer Dark Entity to possess.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: In their civilian lives, Ordo Veritatis cell members pursue such professions as police officer, journalist, doctor, author, intelligence analyst, professor, research scientist, or even professional criminal. Determined foes of Esoterror come from all walks of life.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Avengers believe themselves to have been wronged by all around them, and seek like-minded individuals to spear operations of appalling violence.
  • Roswell That Ends Well: Garrison, TX is the subject of a notable urban legend, a variant of the Roswell New Mexico UFO crash mythology. According to local lore, the decommissioned army base outside town once served as the repository of alien bodies recovered from the Roswell crash, and Area 51 is a cover story to hide the real alien graveyard. Some residents further insist that a night three years after the Roswell incident, in July 1950, small humanoid figures, covered in a green glow, were seen prowling the town.
  • Sadist: The sadist gratifies himself by inflicting emotional or physical suffering on helpless others. He serves Esoterror for a steady supply of fresh victims. The sadist shares impulses with the beings of the Outer Dark and heavily identifies with them.
  • Secret Identity: The PCs lead a double life. When not called for duty, you're an ordinary civilian, paying the rent and leading a normal existence. However, you also belong to a cell of a secret organisation called the Ordo Veritatis. Agents must be able to operate under deep cover, keeping true assignment secret from friends and family.
  • Secret War: The Ordo Veritatis covertly gathers together researchers, intelligence officers, world leaders, psychologists, experts in the occult, and, above all, investigators, in a last-ditch effort to protect the world from the unremitting horrors of the Outer Dark. Agents of the OV must avoid all mention of the true nature of the struggle to those unaware of it, since if knowledge of the Outer Dark spreads out, the membrane will greatly diminish, if not vanishing altogether.
  • Serial Rapist: Jimmy Wayne James is a serial killer who originally preyed on attractive young women, sexually assaulted them post-mortem and dismembered them.
  • Sickly Green Glow: On extremely clear nights with rising barometric pressure, the stones and post of Ervan Primus' Rimrock Bollard sculpture are said to glow faintly green. None of Primus' writings suggest that he was responsible for this effect.
  • Sinister Surveillance: What the Esoterrorists lack in signals intelligence they can sometimes make up for with the aid of Outer Dark Entities. Agents have sometimes heard indistinct, profoundly unnerving background noises while making voice calls on supposedly secure lines; these calls are later revealed to have been subject to a security breach from supernatural listeners named chitterers. For this reason, communications from the field should, whenever possible, be conducted by SMS message.
  • Slave Mooks: Some Esoterrorist cells exhibit no free will and act as earthly puppets for Outer Dark Entities.
  • Sorcerous Overlord: The Esoterrorists seek to become the world's magic-wielding masters and perpetually believe themselves on the verge of a sorcerous breakthrough, which will invest in them the Outer Dark Entities' bizarre abilities.
  • Subliminal Advertising: Julian Landau's ads, allegedly produced under Esoterror guidance, are outwardly softer, friendlier, more welcoming. However, when placed in front of focus groups, they always evoke indefinable disquiet; analysis showed that many of the images were subliminally off and provoked involuntary biological reactions. Sales of their products always went down for many months, then dramatically up, as if viewers were succumbing to the consumer equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome. Beamed at millions of eyes a day, they foster both psychic disturbance and unconscious obedience.
  • Summoning Ritual: Greater invocation summoning requires correct ritual invocations that are recognisable to the desired Outer Dark Entity, and a considerable number of willing believers whose faith in or devotion to the summoner outweigh their belief in a rational world. The purpose of the ceremony is to weaken the local membrane and fuel the manifestation.
  • Supernatural Sensitivity: Outer Dark Entities can sense the presence of psi-capable humans and use this sense as a homing beacon to locate field agents. For this reason, psychics may never enter secure Ordo Veritatis facilities. When the OV must consult them, handlers establish contact from a remove.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: The truth of the Outer Dark's existence will greatly diminish or break the membrane if it becomes widely known. The Ordo Veritatis has keep the public ignorant of the secret struggle.
  • Thin Dimensional Barrier: The membrane is a barrier between the separate realms of objective and subjective reality. Esoterrorist rituals seek to harness the fleeting elements of subjectivity in the objective realm and use it to poke holes in the Membrane. The more porous the membrane becomes, the easier it is to materialise Outer Dark Entities.
  • Timed Mission: The most important consideration against Invocative Summoning is speed. As soon as the field team becomes aware of the attempt, they are working against a ticking clock. Unlike other forms of summoning, there is no clear path to banishing the Outer Dark Entity once it arrives, so the summoning must be stopped before it finishes.
  • Torture Technician: Billing itself as an international security consulting firm, 5C Associates is in fact a torture-for-hire operation. All of its principal officers were highly skilled torturers and interrogators employed by Eastern Bloc internal security services.
  • Un-person: Due to the Ordo's continued veil-out efforts within the anthropological community, the surviving offshoot of the Olmecs known as the Yultalas is treated as a ridiculous fiction of historical revisionists, and is found in no legitimate textbook.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Some Ordo Veritatis informants are dupes and think they're reporting to governments, watchdog groups, or secret societies. Some even believe they're being considered for Esoterror membership but in fact report to fake cells run by OV impostors.
  • Urban Legends: The Esoterrorists are capable of seeding beliefs and rumours that they can later reinforce and exploit. It is likely that many seemingly nonsensical urban legends were seeded by Esoterrorists; the Internet's lack of verifiable authority and trusted sources makes it much easier for them to sow suitable beliefs. By convincing more people of the reality of the urban legend, the Esoterrorists open the way for an Outer Dark Entity to manifesting in the guise of the legend.
  • Villain with Good Publicity:
    • Esoterrorist Nelson Shiles is beloved in the United States and revered in Sri Lanka for his multi-million dollar donations to children's charities and the works of NGOs. He has been exceptionally discreet in his illicit activities, both sexual and supernatural, requiring any investigation into the Esoterror Colombo Cell to proceed with extreme caution.
    • Esoterrorist Annette Foss-Havergal is a tenured professor and popular lecturer and media figure. Attempts to remove Foss-Havergal from her position of authority at the university are ongoing but have yet to yield results. Without direct proof of criminal culpability, her dismissal, given her celebrity in academic circles, would only lead to other institutions bidding for her service.
  • Weirdness Censor: Widespread public knowledge of supernatural events can, over time, be more damaging to the membrane than any direct enemy action. To prevent such beliefs from forming, Ordo Veritatis agents have to create mundane cover stories explaining away any possible paranormal events during operations. Their primary ally in any veil-out is the human capacity for denial. People will believe a surprising amount of nonsense, even that which contradicts the input of their senses, if it conforms to what they want to believe (and what they must believe, in order to survive as a species). Most witnesses of Outer Dark Entities want to forget and deny the upsetting, unbelievable events they witnessed. Hardly anyone really wants to know the truth.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Gemma Courtland is an implacable foe of the Esoterrorists, a scourge to the creatures of the Outer Dark, and saviour of Ordo Veritatis agents on more than one occasion. She takes no precautions to keep herself out of the headlines and likes to murder Esoterror assets, often spectacularly. Worse, her rituals exert genuine magical effects. Even though these are always used against supernatural entities, they weaken the membrane just as surely as these monsters. Repeated attempts to explain this to her and convert her into a good agent of the Ordo, have miserably failed.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: An individual or group interested in the occult sometimes learns enough to conduct a summoning ritual — often unaware of the true nature of Outer Dark Entities. Those deemed useful by the manifesting entity are then commanded to form a cell. The rest are tortured, killed, or devoured, as its predilections dictate.

Example of: