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THE BLACK DRAGON SOCIETY
(Copyright 2001 by Fantasy Flight Games)
(Courtesy of Robert McLaughlin. Posted for reference only, and will probably not appear in the published edition for copyright reasons. Do not copy or cross-post.)
"Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth."
"There is no spoon."
"There is no spoon?"
"Then you'll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself."
- 'The Matrix'
The Kokuryu-kai, or more popularly the Black Dragon Society, was the unacceptable face of Japanese nationalism back in the days of the Second World War. The Black Dragons schemed and murdered their way across Japan, China, Korea and South East Asia in pursuit of Greater Japan, even infiltrating the United Sates in order to achieve their aims. Today, the term 'Black Dragon' is a lazy journalist's label, like 'Nazi'; applied to elderly or shady individuals with publicly known right-wing opinions or actions. Even though some politicians pray at Shinto shrines dedicated to the war dead, or accept campaign contributions and votes from the Yakuza, the modern consensus is that organized Japanese fascism died at the end of the Second World War.
In 1945, the Dragons shrank back into the shadows, giving up a few hotheaded scapegoats to the Allied War Crimes investigators. Unit 731's chilling medical and biological warfare experiments and researchers were traded to the Americans in return for immunity from investigation and prosecution. The esoteric Unit 831, its archives and collection of wonders plundered from across Asia, was mothballed for future use. Its occult researchers hid themselves among the monastic orders and the underworld network of the Yakuza. The Dragons took their time to regroup and began the implementation of Plan B. Instead of dying out, the Dragons became a subtle, far-flung conspiracy that has transcended Japan and the Far East, spreading world-wide and settling around the pressure points of the modern financial, commercial and political world.
The objectives of the modern Black Dragons are subtler than the crude geo-political ambitions of the 1930s and 40s: a plan not to be achieved by war but by stealth, trade and cultural osmosis. This time the Dragons are setting the stage and positioning themselves to rise as the masters of the Tsan-Chan Empire, the cruel, oriental power prophesied to rule the Earth in millennia to come. The Dragons are certain that the One Emperor and Dai Nippon will lead and guide the Tsan-Chan Empire, as is their rightful destiny.
The Black Dragons are the successors to the Black Ocean Society, a powerful cabal of Japanese nationalists. Throughout the last half of the 19th century, secret societies dedicated to Japanese nationalism manipulated politics and military actions throughout Asia, all to secure the uncontested sovereignty of the Japanese Emperor. With many parallels to the Volkisch movement that catapulted the Nazis into power in Germany, members were fanatically devoted to the cause of nationalism, the Emperor and the ultimate destiny of the Japanese race. Membership in these organizations often overlapped. Some societies such as the Black Ocean and the Black Dragons were not afraid to use force to achieve their political aims.
Following defeat in the Second World War, Japan went through a process of reeducation, though not to the same extent as Western Germany. Organizations such as the Black Dragons became public embarrassments and ceased to spoken about even though they had large memberships spanning Japanese society. At the height of popularity, the Black Dragons' membership numbered 10,000. Nationalism moved onto other forms of expression such as new religions, politics and international trade. The Dragons made sure that the trust funds and fortunes of the Zaibatsu, the pre-war merchant houses, were unaffected by war reparations; and encouraged the Zaibatsu to modernize using American aid so that they developed into the present-day Keiretsu.
Shadowy forces preferring to remain in the background have always guided Japanese nationalism. These forces guided the Black Ocean and other militarist secret societies, just as the Black Ocean later guided the Black Dragons. The ultimate driving force behind these secret societies, the politics and power plays since the nineteenth-century, is the Order of the Green Dragon. A small order of ostensibly Buddhist monks, the Green Dragons arrived in Japan from mainland Asia during the 8th century. The Order's influence and prestige developed during the Ashikaga period of the 13th-16th centuries, maintaining a solitary monastery in the mountains of Kii Hanto. Before Oda Nobunaga's campaign against the Buddhist monks during the late 1500s, the Order abandoned its monastery and retreated to Kyoto, where it hid from the worst of Oda's excesses.
After America forced open Japanese trade and culture to the outside world, the darkness was unleashed. For over 900 years, the monks of the Green Dragons have been in contact with a small group of Agarthan monks of the Left Hand Path, known as the Green Men, located in Tibet. Communicating through dreams and astral projection, the Green Dragons have been cooperating with these Tibetan monks to bring about the Tsan-Chan Empire in 3,000 years time. In 1855, a member of the Green Men arrived in Kyoto to meet personally with the Order of the Green Dragons and detail their plans for the future of Japan.
The Dragons utilized nineteenth-century Japan's growing nationalism and anti-foreign sentiments for their own ends. The secret societies developed networks throughout Korea and China to gather intelligence, recruit allies, cause unrest and strengthen Japan's position across Asia. As Japanese power swelled, annexing Korea and extracting concessions and territory from ailing China, the Green Men's grasp tightened on the increasingly proud and resentful Dragons. The Council of the Green Dragons decided that cooperation with the Agarthan Green Men would only continue as long as it was in Japan's interest to do so.
The Green Men ordered the Dragons to cooperate with the Thulegesellschaft in the 1920s, and the Ahnenerbe and Karotechia during the 1930s and 40s. The Ahnenerbe staged several expeditions into the mountains of Tibet and it remains unclear what relationship the Karotechia established with the Green Men. Substantiated reports place a small group of Tibetan monks in Berlin during the final days of the Third Reich. These monks were found executed, apparently by the SS, to prevent them from being captured by the encroaching Soviet forces. Despite the apparent alliance forged between the Green Men and the Karotechia, the relationship between the Karotechia and the Dragons was forced and uneasy. One of the last contacts Japan had with the Nazi Reich was a submarine infiltration off Kyushu that evacuated several Karotechia personnel and a cargo of artifacts. It's unknown whether the submarine, it's passengers or cargo reached the Dragons and the Karotechia's counterparts in Unit 831.
Delta Green's World War Two operations were focused on the European Theater and their experience with the Black Dragon Society is limited. Operations in Vietnam and Cambodia brought about Delta Green's first encounters with the Dragons, although they are perceived as a cabal of Japanese nationalists and Yakuza clans rather than a true Mythos threat. Recently the presence of the Black Dragon Society has been identified on the West Coast in what appears to be a struggle with South-East Asian drug-lords for the control of narcotics traffic. A resurgence of the long-standing hatred between the Black Dragon Society and the Tchos-Tchos tribes, these skirmishes may erupt into full-scale warfare as Tiger Transit secures the Tchos-Tchos presence in the United States. Considering them subhuman vermin, the Dragons would gladly resume Japan's failed attempt at genocide, but do not wish to jeopardize the long-term goal of Empire.
PISCES battled the Black Dragons extensively through Burma, Thailand and China, coming face to face with the horrors unearthed by Unit 831. Those files are sealed away in the depths of the Vault in Kilmaur Manor. Minor skirmishes continued in Hong Kong for decades, but PISCES interest in the Black Dragon Society has waned dramatically during the past ten to fifteen years. This removed one of the long-standing obstacles to the consolidation of the Dragon's power in the Pacific, an opening the organization has not hesitated to exploit.
Perhaps the greatest threat to the Black Dragon Society is internal, for the Dragons are now at odds with the Green Men. Since 1959 the Green Dragons have pursued an openly pro-Japanese plan for the Tsan-Chan Empire. Contact with the Green Men ceased when Chinese Communists overran the Green Men's monastery in Tibet, allowing the Dragons to precede with their plans more easily. However the seers didn't predict renewed contact with the Green Men in the 1990s. The Green Dragons are split along pro and anti Agarthan lines. The majority of the Dragons are playing a game; cooperating with the Green Men but still trying to advance their own agenda. Both organizations want the Tsan-Chan Empire to come into existence. The Green Dragons' seers suggest that propitious intervention at key points in the development of the Tsan-Chan Empire can influence and shape the future character and foundation of the empire in the image that best suits the Green Dragons and Japan.
Some occult researchers have suggested that the Order of the Green Men are probably related to the Cult of Cthulhu; the Leng Monastics or the Kuen-Yuin. Interestingly, these commentators are deceased or missing.
The Dragons and the Mythos
The Dragons understand their place in the Universe. The Mythos is reality and the true universe. The powers and cycles of the Mythos are perfectly natural; it is the human world-view that is unnatural and disordered. Adepts comprehend themselves as organisms within the Mythos universe, opening conduits for the use of non-Euclidean principles. Legends tell of the most amazing feats accomplished by Dragon adepts. Quite mad by human standards, the adept follows the abilities and constraints of a revenant character in Cthulhu Live.
An adept's world-view is transformed by rigorous training, starting with Zen Buddhist techniques of meditation and martial arts. When considered ready by their sensei, they study elements of rinzai and satori philosophies to expand their awareness and acceptance of the true nature of the universe. Only by accepting his place in the cosmic order can Man master his destiny. This understanding is enhanced by the use of koans, mondos and katsu. Sometimes the katsu takes the form of controlled encounters with Mythos entities. Black Lotus and the Liao Drug are sometimes used to accelerate training or open reluctant minds to infinite possibilities.
The adept is trained to influence his own physical body as well as other organisms around him. The adept can effectively manipulate time and space, or so it appears to an observer stuck in a mechanistic universe's point of view. An adept's graduation comes when he can make a bud blossom into a flower. More talented adepts who rise as Dragon assassins learn to master abilities such as bullet-dodging, moving unseen and walking through walls. Chakra, or aura, perception allows adepts trained as manipulators to suggest, influence, direct or blackmail targets very successfully; literally seeing the target's weaknesses. Adepts are also trained to operate as prophets and influence the minds of mankind. How to create, organize and develop a new cult, or infiltrate and subvert an existing one.
Individuals with appropriate talents are trained to divine the future or see into the past. At higher levels of ability, seers often sacrifice one of their senses in order to amplify those remaining. The Dragon seers consume copious amounts of Liao and Black Lotus, putting them at risk from entities such as the Hounds of Tindalos. Trained adepts who can perceive and combat such threats guard the valuable seers.
Their council, the Inner Circle of the Dragons, rules the Order. Members who accept the green silk mask will never again leave the precincts of the Green Dragons' temple, nor do they show their faces again to anyone other than the Mad Emperor who dwells at the center of the Universe beyond Space and Time. It is not known what happens to the wearers of the masks, since their number is always constant.
Infiltrate the western world and condition global culture through the adoption of eastern philosophy, business practices, technology and commerce. Expel the communist influence in China, Korea and elsewhere in Asia. Establish a network of trade, finance and political power through both legitimate channels and the criminal underworld to enable a Japanese hegemony that will usher in the cruel Tsan-Chan Empire in the next New Age.
FLAWS & STRENGTHS
1. Armed & Extremely Dangerous - The average Black Dragon thug is a competent enough street fighter or soldier, made all the more dangerous by operating in groups. The Green Dragon-trained agents and adepts that occasionally take to the field are extremely dangerous. Green Dragons have access to bleeding edge surveillance, infiltration, biomedical and weapons technology some five to ten years ahead of anything known to the general public or even advanced defense researchers.
2. At One with the Mythos - The Dragons accept the presence of the Mythos and mankind's role in the universe. They may ally with Mythos powers in order to gain what they seek, and may have already have done so on more than one occasion. Knowledge and use of the Mythos makes the Dragons extremely powerful through their visions of the future and minor manipulations of reality through non-Euclidean principles. Revenant Dragon characters loose Facade at one-half the normal cost when dealing with Mythos entities or revelations. The Dragons may know what happened to the occult researchers of Unit 831 at the end of the war, and the arcane relics they looted from across Asia.
3. World Network - The Doho, overseas communities of expatriate Japanese, provide cover for Black Dragon activities. The Keiretsu, powerful trading and manufacturing companies, have offices and manufacturing facilities all over the world. The Yakuza have always had close ties with nationalist secret societies. Spreading overseas, the Yakuza have expanded their power and connections with the Chinese Triads, American Mob, the South American Cartels, the European Mafia and the Russian Gangs.
4. Keeping Face - The Dragons are hampered by appearing compliant to the Green Men, although they now wish to chart their own course to the Tsan-Chan Empire. Unsure of the strength of the revitalized Agarthans, the Dragons are testing the limits of their supposed masters. Splits have already developed within the Dragons. The Aum Shinrikyo cult was led by orders from the Green Men, but such open acts of terrorism endanger Dragon operations by drawing unwanted investigations.
5. Patience and Caution - The aim of founding the Tsan-Chan Empire is a very long-term goal that requires the survival of the organization. Although the aim of the Black Dragon Society is to secure Japanese leadership of that distant Empire, certain tools are better suited for certain jobs. Western Gaijin and other foreigners may number among the ranks of the Black Dragon thugs. Select foreign agents may be trained by the Green Dragons, but only those of true Japanese ancestry may become full adepts and members of the Order. Patience is a virtue. Rash actions may lose the war for the sake of winning a battle. Enemies of the Dragons are not forgotten. Revenge may be slow in coming, but is cold and terrible in its ruthless totality. The Dragons' plan is like a game of chess played via a slow and unreliable postal service.
Black Dragon thugs should have access to firearms, melee and unarmed combat skills. They are often found among the Yakuza and security departments of the Keiretsu. Green Dragon-trained agent provocateurs have such skills as Espionage, Mysticism, Hypnosis and other skills useful for their assigned missions.
Green Dragon adepts have mastered themselves and the space-time flux in which they dwell. Adepts typically have the Cthulhu Mythos, Occult, and Mysticism skills. Other common skills include Dodge, Fleet-Footed, Martial Arts and Meditation.
Green Dragon adepts may have a variety of spells at the discretion of the Keeper.
Tome Mastery: The Seven Cryptical Books of Hsan, The R'Lyeh Text, others Non-Euclidean Theory
Lore Cycle Mastery: Cthulhu, Tchos-Tchos, Chaugnar Faugn, Nyarlathotep (Bloated Woman, Black Emperor aspects), others
The Black Dragon Society offers a new source of NPC foes, combining the Mythos with the Asian underworld. Dragon thugs and agents offer an esoteric new source of villainy, while a Green Dragon adept is a fearsome opponent to challenge the mettle of the strongest team of investigators. If player characters are drawn from the Black Dragon Society, they will be from the ranks of the organization or agents trained at the hands of the Green Dragons. Keepers should be very cautious about adept player characters. If allowed in the game, player adepts will be relative novices into their sinister order and must abide by the limitations of revenant characters.