Shadow History

Below is a timeline of the alternate history of the world used for this game. It is largely adapted from Shadowforce Archer from Alderaac Entertainment Group. Up to the 1950s, it’s essentially identical. From the 1950s on, it’s adapted to create a more confrontational environment as opposed to the one presented in SFA where the whole Conspiracy (with a capital C) is on the same team and has the same goals.

This is far from everything that’s happened in the world, but rather provides some highlights of major world events, how they affected the shadow agencies, and the affect the shadow agencies had on them. Some events didn’t change at all, and are included simply because they are notable enough to warrant inclusion in this timeline.

Note from the GM: This is mostly intended for reference, and I don’t expect anyone to actually read this. Instead, you should read the other articles and then use this one to remind yourself how everything fits together.

  • 1900s
    • Avery Schillingsfield discovers the pre-minoan temple and the translation key for Linear Script A on Crete, with which he becomes obsessed. Evelyn Schillingsfield takes more of an interest in the other writings and mystic artifacts recovered from the site.
    • Based on translated portions of Linear Script A, Avery Schillingsfield, Evelyn Schillingsfield, and Avery’s long time friend Conrad Archer mount an expedition to mainland Greece, where Conrad accidentally absorbs the Adept Serum, becoming a Physical Adept. His talents will not manifest for several years.
    • In 1908, Raymond Archer is born.
  • 1910s
    • Conrad Archer narrowly escapes death in a border skirmish in the Andes mountains thanks to the first manifestation of his psionic powers. After a second manifestation, Conrad Archer comes to the attention of Room 39, and then the Guardians of the Whispering Knife who send a representative named Umbra to assist Archer in understanding his new situation.
    • Avery Schillingsfield discovers the location of the Mentalist Serum in the tomb of Akeneten (Amenhotep IV) in Egypt and recovers it before anyone else realises anything had even happened.
    • Conrad Archer and a team of Guardians and agents from Room 39 set out on an expedition to mount Killamanjaro where the Telepath Serum is believed to be hidden. Upon reaching the site, they discover it has already been explored and the serum is missing. Room 39 continues the search, and eventually discovers it in the private collection of a wealthy american, and they begin making arrangements to acquire it for further study and safe keeping.
    • In 1913 Crete becomes a province (or “periphery”) of Greece. One year later, in 1914, World War I begins.
    • In 1915, the Telepath Serum is being transported to a Room 39 facility on board the Lusitania, when it is sunk by a German submarine. Unkown at the time, Evelyn Schillingsfield was commanding the submarine, and retrieves the serum for her own purposes.
    • In 1916 [??] the Central Powers invade Crete, and soon after the Allied Powers stage a joint operation to recover it. During this operation, a separate pre-minoan temple is uncovered and disturbed, releasing an ancient and evil power. Evelyn Schillingsfield and a small group of allies travel to the island and defeat the menace. In the process, there is a blinding flash of light, and Evelyn and all of her surviving allies disappear and are presumed dead until she reappears in the 1930s.
    • The Bolshevik revolution transforms Russia’s political and social landscape.
    • In 1919 the Treaty of Versailles is signed. During the event Conrad Archer presents himself to the attending representatives of the allied nations over the strong objections of Room 39. He holds them to secrecy and a tight restriction on the sharing of what they learn from him, and threatens to withhold further samples of his blood if they fail to honor these terms. Germany is notably not included.
  • 1920s
    • Raymond Archer (the son of Conrad Archer) manifests physical adept powers, and is taken into protective care by Room 39 for observation.
    • Mussolini comes to power in Italy.
    • The National Socialist (Nazi) party is formed in Germany.
    • Stalin comes to power in the Soviet Union.
    • Avery Schillingsfield captures Raymond Archer, but he is quickly rescued by Conrad and a team from Room 39. Conrad Archer who had long given his friend the benefit of the doubt in their conflicts, now vows to see him dead for his actions.
    • Sidney Reilly, a physical adept and agent of Room 39 is lured across in the Soviet-Finnish border, and then captured and executed. In many ways, this is the first casualty of the brewing Cold War.
  • 1930s
    • As Adolf Hitler continues his rise to power, his mistress Eva Kraus is identified as actually being Evelyn Schillingsfield. Eva directs Hitler’s global search for objects and knowledge of mystical power.
    • Hitler is appointed as the Chancellor of the Nazi party. Eva gives him the Telepath Serum which she recovered from the Lusitania when it sunk.
      Espionage and other intelligence gathering agencies flourish and multiply throughout Europe, Japan, and the USA.
    • Eva Kraus sends a team of hunters to apprehend her husband, Avery Schillingsfield, but almost before their search begins, Avery kills them by incinerating the Hindenburg, upon which they were traveling.
    • In disguise and thus unknown to anyone else at the time, Avery Schillingsfield invents DDT, and then goes on to join the Manhattan Project.
    • In 1939, Germany invades Poland, beginning World War II
  • 1940s
    • Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, triggering America’s entry into the war.
    • British code breakers, with the help of Room 39 agents, break the ENIGMA code.
    • Germany defeats the allied forces at Athens who retreat to Crete. Soon after, Eva Kraus leads a paratrooper assault on Crete, capturing it from the Allies and holding it for the rest of the war. A few years later Room 39 and the Guardians of the Whispering Knife launch a covert assault on the island to wrest control of it from Eva Kraus. They suffer heavy casualties, but succeed in forcing her to flee the island. This can be considered the first major operation of the Archer Conspiracy.
    • Germany surrenders shortly after Hitler commits suicide. Russia and the other allies begin dividing up the spoils, setting the stage for the cold war to come. A short time later, the US uses the atomic bomb on Japan in a successful bid to force a surrender from them. Despite their best efforts, Archer, the Guardians, and Room 39 are unable to acquire the Telepath Serum due to the chaos of the final invasion and occupation of Berlin.
    • Avery Schillingsfield lures Conrad Archer to a private meeting with the threat of using a nuclear weapon on a major population center. Conrad realizes it is a trap but sees no alternative considering what is at stake. He is never seen again [??].
  • 1950s
    • Raymond Archer assembles his most powerful friends and allies from around the globe and proposes to them his grand Conspiracy. These people will form a coalition with the goal of secretly protecting mankind from itself. The coalition will consist of several different groups.
      • The Archer Foundation will be established and overseen by Raymond Archer himself. It will be located in Australia and assume responsibility for Australia and Oceana.
      • Room 39 will continue on as it has, focused on the United Kingdom and its various colonies and territories.
      • The Guardians of the Whispering Knife were also included in this coalition, and continued in their own mysterious way in the Middle East.
      • The new members of this group would be the Company and the Gemeinschaft Consortium.
      • The Company would shape the growing US intelligence agencies to look after North and South America.
      • The Gemeinschaft Consortium was the big unknown quantity at this meeting. It is an ancient society that had-throughout several incarnations-influenced events in Europe since the Italian Renaissance, and it would continue in this role in mainland Europe. Unknown to Archer and his allies at the time, the representative from the Consortium was not there with the approval of his faction, and would stage a coup of sorts within the group upon his return. The resulting turmoil would leave Europe paralyzed in the face of Soviet expansion for years to come.
    • In addition to these main factions of the conspiracy, they established three commissions to keep an eye on the remaining parts of the world and step in and take the reigns when circumstances were right. None of these efforts would ultimately prove to be successful.
      • At the time, Africa existed all but completely as colonies of Britain and France, and it was believed that situation would persist for decades to come. The African Commission would monitor the situation in Africa and make recommendations to Room 39 and Gemeinschaft.
      • Archer and his allies genuinely did not understand East and South Asia, and didn’t know how else to approach them. The Pan-Asian Commission would observe and study the region with the goal of identifying and grooming a local agency to be brought into the fold at some later date.
      • In Russia, the Iron Curtain was rapidly descending and Stalin had killed, imprisoned, or compromised every ally the group had. As a result the Russian Commission was created to slip into soviet territory and do their best to keep the rest of the conspiracy informed and work to be in a position of influence when the situation eventually, hopefully, improved.
    • The Korean War is the first major conflict of the growing Cold War.
    • General Nasser overthrows the Egyptian government and establishes himself as President (For Life).
    • Russia rapidly and aggressively expands its Soviet Union, eventually claiming half of Europe and most of Asia, including China.
    • The Company has many early successes in South America, essentially winning every battle but still losing the war as the region will eventually slide into chaos.
    • In 1957 Russia launches Sputnik I, igniting the space race and accelerating the Cold War.
    • In 1959 Maxwell Archer is born.
    • Fidel Castro leads the Cuban Revolution and takes over as the leader of the now communist Cuba.
  • 1960s
    • The US begins large scale military commitments to the Vietnam War.
    • The Company suffers a devastating defeat in Cuba with the Bay of Pigs invasion. Much of its leadership is removed from power by the furious President Kennedy and the rest do everything they can to lay low and ride out the storm. Without The Company to guide things, the Vietnam war runs wildly out of control and the tenuous social and political situation in South America collapses on itself.
    • The Cuban Missile Crisis brings the world to the edge of a nuclear war between the United States and Russia.
    • The Guardians arrange for Egyptian air defences to be disabled in advance of an Israeli preemptive air strike against the Egyptian air force. The goal was to defuse mounting tensions by allaying Israeli fears of Arab bombings of their cities. Unfortunately, the Guardians were unable to dissuade Egypt from retaliating, and this incident sparked the Six Days War which changed the face of politics in the region for decades to come.
    • President John F. Kennedy is assassinated.
    • The Troubles begin in Northern Ireland, which is initially discounted by Room 39 and the rest of England’s intelligence community as another of the passing protest movements of the era. This failure to adequately respond to the situation in its infancy will keep Room 39 occupied with persistent internal conflict until the late 90s.
    • Occupied by problems at home, the colonial powers of Europe give in to pressure to rapidly accelerate the decolonization of Africa. The African Commission works to ease the transition, but barely accomplishes anything in that regard.
    • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr is assassinated.
    • The United States lands people on the moon with the Apollo 11 mission, clearly winning the space race despite numerous early losses to the soviets.
  • 1970s
    • The Soviet Union launches Salyut-1, the first in a series of short duration space stations throughout the decade. The program will eventually lead to Mir and then the ISS.
    • The Gemeinschaft Consortium stages an unsuccessful financial takeover of global oil production and processing that triggers a massive destabilization of global oil prices, leading to the 1973 Oil Crisis.
    • In 1973 the Yom Kippur War breaks out. This is the second time in less than 10 years that Egypt has led a coalition of Arab nations in an invasion of Israel. The Guardians of the Whispering Knife once again failed to prevent the fighting, but worked feverishly to facilitate the following peace talks and was instrumental in orchestrating the resulting Camp David Accords.
    • The US launches Skylab.
    • In 1974 India conducts its first nuclear weapon test. Pakistan responds by moving aggressively to acquire their own nuclear weapons, elevating their long burning regional conflict to the level of global concern. This sharpens the focus of the Pan-Asian Commission, and they abandon their watch and wait approach and begin to take an active role in guiding events in the region.
    • Also in 1974 Richard Nixon resigns as President of the United States in the midst of the Watergate scandal. This again causes problems for The Company which must face increased public scrutiny of the government as a result of the scandal. This further damages Company operations in China and Vietnam, where Nixon’s involvement had been a major factor.
    • In 1975 Avery Schillingsfield resurfaces in a tiny African island Northeast of Madagascar, now going by the codename of Helix. One of his lieutenants named Elias Graham contacted the African Commission and alerted them to the presence of Helix and offered his help in taking down the organization. Graham told the Commission of ongoing experiments with latent and awakened psions and the mentalist serum which Helix still possessed. After some initial bungling, the African Commission passes this information on to the Archer Foundation, which immediately organizes a massive strike against the facility. Although it does not go smoothly, at the end of the day Helix is dead, his facility has been captured, and the Foundation has recovered samples of both the Telepath and Mentalist serums. Afterwards Graham takes over the facility and establishes his own agency in The Lodge.
    • The Foundation establishes the Advanced Research Commission to govern the distribution of Serum samples recovered from Helix and organize research into Psionic and Fringe topics.
    • In 1978 the Pan-Asian Commission sends a message to the Archer Foundation informing them they have formed a full fledged covert agency they are calling Nine Tigers. They are based in Nepal and have begun infiltrating India and Pakistan and several East Asian nations with the goal of promoting regional stability and prosperity.
  • 1980s
    • The Soviet Union begins committing major forces to the war in Afghanistan.
    • ARC begins testing the first generation of Somnacin, a compound derived from the Telepath Serum which allows even non-psions to engage in shared dreaming.
    • The Archer Foundation sabotages the “Star Wars Laser” program, believing it to be too dangerous to exist. This has a profound chilling effect on their relationship with the Company.
    • Mount St. Helens in Washington errupts.
    • The Space Shuttle Challenger explodes.
    • The first components of the Mir space station are launched.
    • The Chernobyl nuclear reactor melts down resulting in the worst nuclear accident in history. 385,000 people are forced to relocate and cleanup costs devastate the economy of the USSR.
    • The Berlin wall comes down, breaching the iron curtain. The western world finally discovers the extent of the problems in the soviet bloc countries, and the Conspiracy discovers the fate of the Russian Commission.
    • Russia ceases military support of the communist government of Afghanistan, which falls to the Muhajideen a short time later.
    • The Company begins field testing Somnacin as an interrogation aide and for training purposes with great success. This practice is uncomfortably reminiscent of MKULTRA, but Somnacin is extremely effective and its use continues and spreads to other agencies.
    • In 1989, at the age of 81, Raymond Archer retires as the head of the Archer Foundation. He leaves his son Maxwell to take over the position.
    • In 1989, after several years of positive results in the region, Nine Tigers suffers its first major set back with the massacre at the Tiananmen Square protests. They reconsider their strategy for China, and switch from primarily political to economic action.
  • 1990s
    • U.N. coalition forces repel the Iraqi military from Kuwait in the first Gulf war.
    • In 1991 Randall Archer is born.
    • A group calling itself Fagin’s Umbrella begins interfering with Gemeinschaft operations throughout Europe. The group’s members are all very well trained and disciplined despite seeming to operate without any structure or leadership. The Consortium tasks a team led by Julian Chambers to investigate and disrupt the group.
    • ARC establishes “Darknet”, a secret and secure computer network for the use of the members of the Conspiracy. It exists parallel to, but distinct from, the fledgling internet. It uses Fringe techniques reverse engineered and adapted from Helix’s facility to transmit data from point to point without using electromagnetic signals of any kind. Access nodes are built at the headquarters of the Foundation, Room 39, the Lodge, Gemeinschaft, and Nine Tigers, as well as numerous satellite offices and secure facilities of all of the Conspiracy agencies, including the Company.
    • In 1994 the twins Jeremy and Jessica Archer are born.
    • The Taliban displaces the interim government of Afghanistan and seizes control of the country, which will become a safe harbor for terrorist groups for the next decade.
    • In 1998 Evelyn Schillingsfield, or Eva Kraus as she’s been known since the 30s, is finally defeated. In a two pronged attack between the Company at Black Falls, Oklahoma and the Foundation at the Ronne Ice Shelf in Antarctica, Eva along with most of the rest of her Hand of Glory organization is captured or killed, effectively ending the longest running threat the Conspiracy has ever faced. Foundation and Guardian mystics construct a series of wards in the uppermost level of the Labyrinth under the Lodge and seal her in. There is a certain poetic justice in the choice as it was constructed by her late husband, Avery, who had likewise been a severe threat to the Conspiracy.
    • In 1998, after his investigation takes a surprising turn, Julian Chambers is blacklisted and hunted by the Gemeinschaft Consortium before successfully disappearing. Then about 6 months later, he resurfaces in Canada at the head of a group called Morpheus Security and begins aggressively cultivating friendships with the Company, the Lodge, and a variety of national agencies.
    • On new year’s eve, 1999, ARC uses apprehension about the Y2K bug as a distraction to initiate a rebellion against the rest of the Conspiracy. They sabotage equipment, compromise computer systems, interfere with active missions, and generally wreak havoc before breaking away to form their own agency, now working against the Conspiracy according to their Plan. Most harmfully, they take with them their entire stock of all three of the Psion Serums. The Foundation makes the elimination of ARC its only priority, and the conflict will occupy nearly all of the Foundation’s attention for years to come.
  • 2000s
    • The “Dot-com” bubble bursts.
    • September 11, 2001. Al Qaeda agents hijack 4 commercial airliners in the US and use them to attack the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and a failed fourth attack likely targeting Congress. An investigation into how this could have been allowed to occur officially blames limited information sharing between US intelligence agencies. A parallel investigation by the Company reveals the operation had been concealed by mystics linked with the Taliban. It becomes apparent that the Guardians are floundering in their conflict with the group, and have been for some time.
    • The Company takes matters into their own hands, invading Afghanistan and bringing the full might of the US military to bear against the Taliban. However, as more details about the September 11 attacks become public knowledge, the Company is forced to redirect its efforts against the closely related Al Qaeda group in Iraq.
    • Guided by Gemeinschaft, the European Union establishes the Euro as its official currency. Through various bank and government manipulations, this allows the Consortium previously unimagined influence in economic matters.
    • Efforts by the Nine Tigers have resulted in dramatically increased social and political stability throughout most of Southeast Asia. Major western corporations begin taking advantage of the rapidly developing area by outsourcing much of their service and manufacturing industry to the region.
    • The space shuttle Columbia is destroyed during re-entry into the atmosphere.
    • The Human Genome Project completes the sequencing of the human genome.
    • The Mars rovers arrive at Mars. They both wildly exceed their 90 day expected duration and continue operating beyond the end of the decade.
    • Rising capability and falling cost of computers and internet access give rise to “social media” and “social networking”.
    • In 2006 North Korea conducts a successful nuclear weapon test. They will conduct a second test in 2009.
    • The Nepalese civil war ends, resulting in compromises that destabilize the national government. Nine Tigers takes advantage of the ever shifting political landscape to steadily increase its power and influence.
    • The iPhone popularizes “smart phones” in the West.
    • Construction is completed on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.
    • The global property bubble bursts, setting off the largest financial crisis since the Great Depression.
    • In 2009 ARC begins building the Dubai Sub-Orbital Space Platform. It reaches its operational height of 100km in December. The platform conducts almost daily rocket launches for 12 weeks. After that time ARC begins flights using their Space Ferry vehicle which is designed to launch from and return to the SOSP.

Shadow History

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