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Illuminated Earth is a twisted reflection of the modern world where the advent of smartphones and the internet confirmed the existence of the supernatural instead of disproving it. Here, witch hunts have merit. Billionaires and Senators employ paranormal advisors and bodyguards, and everyone knows. Charlatans become pop culture icons, and each revelation inspires a new cult. The world is changing. The secret societies that pull humanity's strings scramble to adapt.
Now's a good time to move up.
They named that time The Illumination, and it was by the flash of a camera phone.
The year was 2004. Until that point the Earth was as we had always known her. We filled her cruel vastness with legends, superstitions, and rumors. Warlocks, monsters, and gods lurked on the edge of the collective consciousness, always a possibility but never more. We lacked evidence. That evidence came as humanity filled its pockets with technology equipped to capture and transmit.
An iPhone found on High School senior Nate Klienman’s mangled corpse held a video of his girlfriend’s bone-snapping transformation into a monstrous wolf creature. A Brazilian widow documented a series of conversations with the misty figure of her late husband. A Chinese fishing boat caught a mermaid in a net and put it on display in the Beijing aquarium.
Each week brought a new revelation that we were not alone. Superstitions reversed their slow death overnight. Salem held their first witch trial in a century. The jury rendered a verdict of “guilty on all charges” and sentenced Maxibelle Horux to death. A week after her lethal injection, half the jury died from a tainted batch of flu vaccine. A fearful, populist movement arose to rid humanity of the creatures lurking in its ranks. Suspects are forcibly subjected to bizarre tests of their humanity, and the results are often open to interpretation. A mob’s justice is swift.
Yet the paranormal is not merely relegated to a persecuted class. Where some see monsters, some see sentience, and others see opportunity. If a vampire can sustain themselves on cloned blood and work the graveyard shift, why not legalize and tax? Politicians and Aristocrats employ odd-looking individuals as "advisors" or "protection." Entertainment magazines publish revelations every week about which celebrities shed their human skins at home. Charlatans of all stripes, from palmistry mediums to televangelists, have flourished despite the risks. The treatment of the paranormal varies from place to place, person to person.
Long have cabals, cults, and secret societies thrived in the shadows. Their roots run deeply through humanity’s oldest systems of power. Machinations are challenged, and sleeping dangers awaken. The world is changing, forcing long-dormant powers into desperate action. And it is in the midst of this great period of change that The Powers That Be have once again turned their attention to the blue marble. For the first time in two hundred years, Harbingers approach worthy individuals with an offer they won't refuse.
The Games have returned, and a new generation of Contractors are being forged.