|This article was created with material from the abandoned Kurotokage sourcebook project. That material is in the public domain since 2003. The unfinished original content is archived.|
An overview of deep background for the Kurotokage.
Sometime between 1000 and 2000 BC, a woman named Ashi (reed) became a shamaness for a tribe of native Japanese living in the Miyazaki, Kyushu region (called Hyuga). She was a skilled Dreamer, and used her skill to help propel her tribe to dominance of the extended region, eliminating/absorbing various other tribes.
While facing a Mythos threat to her people, or perhaps Japan as a whole, she went to a secret underground palace under Mt. Fuji, which was also (maybe?) a gateway to DL. She captured a piece of Azathoth in a "bottle" successfully. She did it because her normal Dreaming power couldn't handle the situation, so she turned to the very forces she hated. She won, but she was changed by the summoning and POW-boost from the Azathoth fragment. This is what allowed her to Dream the RW, for a limited time, defeating a Mythos god, maybe. But when she died, she ended up in the DLs, and was drawn to more Mythos contact, resulting in her insanity, and her desire (obsession) to turn the RW into Dreamlands.
The POW leakage from bottled Azathoth attracted Byakhee to around Mt. Fuji; they became established in Japanese folklore as tengu, and many of them indeed took on various human traits due to massive infusions of human genetic material over the centuries. By present-day times, essentially all of them are gone, because there is no more POW left from the Azathoth bottle.
She died, but continued to survive in DL. She later discovered that she was capable of exchanging information with, controlling and sometimes taking over the bodies of her descendents. She tried this a number of times, always expanding her kingdom's region and power, and in the process establishing her own origins as sacred, creating the Sun Goddess religion. Her descendents had demonstrated power, and were recognized as, in fact, a sacred bloodline.
As her power in both DL and the real world grew, she not only wanted more and more power, but also (1) started to go insane due to contact with the Mythos, and (2) discovered that, on rare occasions, she could control events in the real world from DL - in a sense, dreaming reality. This defined her long-term plan, which was to return to the real world as the Ultimate God, twisting reality there as she could Dream "reality" in the DL. Her tool would be the imperial bloodline, driven by the power of Azathoth.
Amaterasu's plan, which she has been carefully trying to guide to fruition for centuries, is to infuse the Real World with the essence of the Dreamlands. This would allow her to reenter the RW as a powerful god, and use it's new DLs "plasticity" to defeat Cthulhu and other Mythos powers, kicking them out of the Solar System and staking it out as her territory. She would thus be saving Earth from the Great Old Ones - except she'd be one of them herself, and humans (what's left of them after the God War) would be her servitors.
In order to pull this off, she needs a suitable candidate in the RW: one of her descendants, with a powerful Dreaming ability and incredible will. Due to the inbreeding over the centuries, and the way the people surrounding the Emperor have always done their best to stamp out any signs of willfulness in the young Imperial heirs (to make them easier to manipulate), such candidates are hard to find. She has tried and failed several times (witness WW2). At present, she seems not to be trying with the current Emperor or his eldest son. And this son is having no luck in producing an heir, male or female. But that is no guarantee of safety — it might be that she needs a female vessel (which might be why the Imperial line long ago went from placing females on the throne to placing males there). And there is talk lately of putting a woman on the Chrysanthemum Throne if no male heirs are born.
Also, the process of infusing the RW with the essence of the DLs will almost certainly destroy the DLs, or at least change them profoundly (as described in Davide Mana's "Dream Reaper"). This could mean the deaths of millions and the destruction of the repository of humanity's collective unconscious.
The Taira Emperor and the Emperor of Japan
1. At the conclusion of the Gempei Wars (1185), the Emperor Antoku jumped from a ship at Shimonoseki, carrying the Sword (one of the three sacred imperial regalia) with him to his (presumed) death. The Minamoto took power, and Taira were hunted down and killed. In fact, Antoku did not die, and was the founder of the Emperor in Exile bloodline. That bloodline is still alive, in secret. (We refer to this guy as The Taira Emperor.) His goals are to (1) free the imperial family from Mythotic connections, (2) protect the common people, (3) become Emperor, in that order. The Taira Emperor, or The Taira, wields the real anti-Mythos power.
New: Two possibilities here, namely (1) Antoku (or his brain trust) formed an organization to keep an eye on the doings of the Emperor. At some later time (we need to figure out when and why), the group was taken over by the Emperor. (2) The group was created by the Emperor, and later penetrated by The Taira.
2. Go-Daigo was very unhappy with the pro-Mythos leanings of the emperor, and made an effort to wrest control back, with the idea of returning it to the Taira Emperor. He failed, and his line was relegated to poverty forever. That bloodline still exists, in public (reference) Nobody bothers to kill him because he is so obviously unimportant. In Wakeworld he is in fact unaware of his identity as The Taira, and lives a normal life, in fact a bit embarrassed about his ancestors because of the publicity. All activities related to The Taira are handled in Dreamlands, often when The Taira is brought there by the Taininhodo. As a result, there are no communications in Wakeworld to be tapped by conventional police means available to the Kurotokage or Kuromaku.
Organizations and drives
1. Taininhodo monks. In 1185, the Emperor was protected by these guys. These monks are not especially "for" the Invisible pretender and "against" the Mythos, but they are basically The Taira's bodyguards and hands. They are the only continuing support that The Taira has, since most operatives are recruited and wasted. The monastery serves as a kind of base, and the monks providing spiritual help (which can be as mundane as counseling and teaching meditation techniques to help recover lost SAN, or perhaps the monks actually know some magic).
Also, since most other operatives are in Kurotokage and therefore suspect (ie, tainted with the possibility that they belong to the Emperor), the single most important task of the Taininhodo is to protect The Taira. They isolate him from contact with outsiders by the simple but effective means of keeping all matters related to The Taira in Dreamlands, including the fully-aware consciousness of The Taira. They may require some method of being able to detect spies.
These guys are Buddhists. Their goals are for everybody to live in peace. As long as the Mythos nasties keep eating people, they will keep fighting the Mythos. They have no especial gripe against Mythotic creatures who DON'T eat people - this is a crucial difference. They also dislike people who hurt people, remember. They have, on occasion, fed ghouls dead bodies because they felt bad about "living" creatures (ghouls) suffering. If the IP moved to hurt lots of people, they would might well stop supporting him (ordering agents to certain death doesn't count!)
2. Kurotokage, the Emperor's anti-mythos organization. This organization, a semi-secret within the Japanese government, officially fights mythos creatures, drawing on people and resources from JSDF, National Police, etc, etc. It is directed by the Emperor, who is in fact using it to (1) waste potential Mythos opposition, (2) gain Mythotic information that could be of use, and (3) lay the groundwork for making himself a god. The organization itself, obviously, is not supposed to know about (2) and (3). Since this organization has the active backing of the Emperor, it has access to considerable resources. In addition, it enjoys strong ties with both corporate Japan and the yakuza.
Within Kurotokage there are three groups that matter. These are (1) the general gophers, who basically do everything that Kurotokage is supposed to be doing. (2) The Kuromaku, a high-echelon group which knows about his ultimate goals, and is actively working to assist him (these guys are REALLY nasty; see below), and (3) the poor good guys, usually people who have discovered that Kurotokage is bad, and are working to do something about it. This totally secret group is within the government, run by The Taira. They have essentially zero organizational resources other than what they personally can scrape up, or what the Invisible pretender provides (he has plenty of cash, since he had access to imperial funds over the centuries, one way or another…). The good guys have few resources, because while the Invisible pretender does have cash, it is very difficult to spend it on anything without being noticed (remember, the yakuza and corporate Japan belong to the Emperor's organization [However, those same organizations can be counter-controlled by The Taira, as Mark showed in his essay on the virtues of disorganization]). As a result, deniable operations where operatives are lost in action are common, and operatives accept the fact that they are expendable. The group needs all the help it can get, and non-Japanese operatives are not uncommon. It is more a group of people working toward a common goal (or perhaps, away from a common fear…) than an organization. They lack dg's ability to cover things up, because they are mostly individuals or very small groups, and not an organization. And they can never know whether the person next to them is working for the good guys or the bad guys.
The primary goal of the "Good guys" (3) is to prevent the Emperor from becoming a god, their secondary goal to protect the common people, and their least important goal to restore the Invisible pretender to the throne. They have few resources, face an enemy with the official strength of Japan at his fingertips (their fellow Kurotokage operatives and the rest of the government), and recognize that they are probably expendable.
The primary goal of the Kurotokage bad guys, on the other hand, is to protect the common people, but they are being used by the Emperor, and a few of them have realized the truth. This leads to conflict as they try to balance their loyalty for the Emperor with their genuine desire to protect people. They have extensive organizational resources to draw on, but a few of them realize they may be supporting the wrong people. If they are willing to try to do something about it, they become Good guys within Kurotokage.
This "group" is responsible for carrying out Amaterasu's plan, although they usually have their own agendas instead of hers. They are also the ones who fill in a new Emperor on what's happening, in the event that Amaterasu doesn't (which is common; getting straight info from a crazy shamaness who died maybe 4000 years ago and is communicating through dreams, is not an easy task). As a result, individual members of the Kuromaku may know considerably more about what's going on than the Emperor himself. See the Kuromaku section for more info.
Confused explanations of relationships
… between Amaterasu, Emperor, Kurotokage and Kuromaku
Amaterasu sometimes controls the Emperor, sometimes another person in the Imperial bloodline. Sometimes she is missing, and the Emperor does what he wants.
When the Emperor has been filled in by Amaterasu on the situation (infected?), he works to make himself or his descendents a god. Kurotokage is a tool he uses to wipe out Mythotic competition, and collect info and power for his own use. He works with selected groups in the Kuromaku and Kurotokage to do nasty things, too.
He uses and is used by the Kuromaku, who have their own motivations. Some of the Kuromaku are Mythotic (Green Dragons, for example); others are merely after money. Most are neither anti- nor pro-Mythos, but may use it if it suits their needs (remember, the key factor for becoming a member of the Kuromaku is a lack of ethics).
The Emperor that the Green Dragons want is not the same Emperor that Amaterasu wants, because each of them wants to CONTROL the Emperor. And, not surprisingly, the Emperor often wants to control himself, too.