The Illumination

This Guidebook is under construction

The Illumination is the Contract's official setting. It's a mystic pre-cyberpunk world where the advent of smartphones and the internet confirmed the existence of the supernatural instead of effectively disproving it.

In other words, The Illumination is a version of modern day earth where unexplainable things happen. 

While genuine supernatural entities and phenomena are rare, they loom large in the zeitgeist. As a result, modern society has twisted into a superstitious and paranoid reflection of itself.

Yet, some witch hunts do have merit. It's an open secret that billionaires and Senators employ paranormal advisors and bodyguards. Charlatans become pop culture icons, and each revelation inspires a new cult.

No grand conspiracies conceal the supernatural from humanity. Once a video is uploaded to a distributed streaming platform like CryptoLeak, no government or supernatural entity can put the cat back in the bag.

The world is changing.

The secret societies that pull humanity's strings are scrambling to adapt.

Now's a good time to move up.

Selecting a Setting Link

The Illumination is the default setting for The Contract. However, the game doesn't depend on this particular setting. The vast majority of the Contract's content (Gifts, Scenarios, rules etc) can be used with most modern settings. 

The Illumination is designed to accommodate a wide variety of Contractor and Scenario concepts, from aliens and science fiction to magic and the divine. It's a world of countless small and unique supernatural phenomena, ensuring each Contractor is unique and each encounter is a mystery. The meat of the setting is based around how a modern society reacts to this reality.  

While we hope that our players find The Illumination intriguing, we encourage each Playgroup to select a setting that interests and excites them. 

Everything in this guidebook is specific to The Illumination. Playgroup Leaders can add, change, or borrow as much as they like when building their own settings without affecting the game's overall balance or Contractor portability. 

Scope and Scale

Regardless of the setting you select, it's a good idea to try to focus the action of The Contract around a relatively small area. This means all Contractors live in the selected town, city, or region, and most Contracts occur in that area. 

This makes the action of the Contracts more relevant to the Contractors and provides more opportunities for Contractors to form meaningful relationships with NPCs and each other. 

The Illumination is particularly well-suited for the California bay area, however selecting an area your players have real-life experience with or even creating a fictional town/city are also excellent choices. 

Illuminations Link

They named that time The Illumination, and it was by the flash of a camera phone.


For the earlier generations, our world was a mystery. We filled her cruel vastness with legends, superstitions, and rumors. Warlocks, monsters, and gods lurked on the edges of the map, never fully believed or disproven. We lacked evidence, but as humanity filled its pockets with technology, that evidence came.

The year was 2004. An iPhone found on the mangled corpse of High School senior Nate Klienman held a video of his girlfriend’s transformation into a monstrous wolf creature. Later that year, 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. Salem convicted a woman of witchcraft for the first time in two centuries, and every member of the jury perished in mysterious circumstances.

They called these revelations ‘illuminations.” 

Each week they came, whether by way of viral video evidence, a scientific study, or a publicized announcement. The slow death of superstitions reversed its course overnight, and the word “supernatural” now describes any phenomenon that science can’t fully explain. 

While some formed movements to rid humanity of the evil creatures lurking in its ranks, others saw opportunity. Politicians and aristocrats employ odd-looking individuals as advisors or protection, tabloids publish revelations about which celebrities shed their human skins when they get home, and charlatans of all stripes, from palmistry mediums to televangelists, have flourished. 

Long have cabals, cults, and secret societies thrived in the shadows, their roots running deep through humanity’s oldest systems of power. Now, the world is changing, forcing long-dormant powers into desperate action.

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 five hundred years, the Harbingers approach worthy individuals with a Contract they won't refuse. . .

Timeline Link


  • The Harbingers, who have been administering Contracts on Earth, mysteriously disappear. Few notice, as the Contracts are unknown to most. 


  • December 16: Oil mogul Noah Avidan and his daughter Naomi perish in tragic murder-suicide in their Alaska home. Noah’s surviving children, Raya and Simon Avidan, inherit his wealth.


  • June 3: Raya and Simon Avidan launch a nonprofit: The Occult Wildlife Landing. The organization’s mission of protecting supernatural wildlife is lambasted by the public.


  • Viral Lycanthropy is officially described and added to the International Classification of Diseases (ICF). An estimate of one in three hundred thousand people are affected. 


  • Concepts of Locus and Source are generally defined and accepted by the scientific community.


  • March 21: Twitter is launched.


  • The Baiji, the Yangtze river dolphin, becomes functionally extinct.
  • Austrian national Jessup Mendax launches Cryptoleak, a distributed media hosting service that allows people to anonymously publish files that cannot be removed or altered once uploaded. 


  • Jan 9: The iPhone is released.
  • The Werewolf of Montgomery High (tap to expand)
  • The obscure yet influential venture capital group Prometheus Ventures is founded.


  • Nov 4: Obama elected president of the USA
  • A global recession rocks the world economy.
  • Pacific tree octopus discovered


  • Jan 3: Bitcoin is launched
  • Gideon Rottenham, aged 17, uses his telekinetic abilities to commit a mass-murder at his high school in Santa Rosa, California. He kills 24 and injures 40 before being shot dead by the local police. 
  • In response to backlash about the Gideon killings, the federal government starts The Casa Project, a program designed to provide safe schooling for children with supernatural abilities. The first boarding school, Casa Verde, is opened in the mountains of Marin, California. 
  • OWL successfully lobbies government to create a conservatory zone for pacific tree octopus.


  • Rory Lynch catches a leprechaun near his home in Lucan, Ireland. The creature granted him a pot of gold worth over $25M USD. Although he gave no details of the encounter (besides the leprechaun "not being what you'd expect"), the resulting wave of gold-rush tourism nearly destroyed the village and the surrounding countryside. 
  • Instagram is launched.
  • At the peak popularity of Stephanie Myer’s Twilight, a doctored video is posted to Cryptoleak showing a vampire– who appears invisible– explaining a bloodletting ritual that would allow anyone to become a vampire. Six people die attempting the hoax ritual. 


  • World population reaches 7 billion people
  • Occupy movement inspires global protests against wealth inequality, with little impact. 
  • Musat Family Comeuppance (tap to expand)
  • Escaped Venezuelan super-soldier Roland Rush granted amnesty by the US government. He forms the Hognose mercenary company. 


  • Online marketplace website Offr launched. It quickly grows in popularity as the home of the gig economy: a website where you can find a buyer for your old couch, and a worker to haul it away.


  • Edward Snowden posts classified documents on Cryptoleak concerning mass surveillance by the NSA.
  • Gen-Wyld, a genetic med-tech company is founded with little fanfare. A vast pool of private equity from unknown sources initially funds its research. 
  • Tainted food infects 57 people with viral lycanthropy at the Atlanta state fair. A domestic terrorist organization called the Sanguine Claw takes credit for the attack.


  • August 9: The shooting of African-American teenager Michael Brown by police leads to violent unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.
  • Confirmed telepath detective Richard Nero draws an incriminating link between the Sanguine Claw and OWL using evidence gathered from mind reading. The case makes it to the SCOTUS, which rules that the testimony of a confirmed telepath is not admissible in court. 
  • Dr Yamazaki conquest (tap to expand)
  • Right-wing blowhard personality Ted Gundy creates The Sons of Salem, a populist movement dedicated to destroying evil supernatural creatures and beings, especially those masquerading as humans.


  • June 26: The Supreme Court of the United States determines that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.
  • Pastor Jim Newman graduates from Casa Verde. After being rejected from the US Government and priesthood for his extremist views, he joins with the Sons of Salem and quickly becomes a prominent member. 
  • Gen-Wyld announces FDA approval for a groundbreaking procedure to enhance a patient’s primary and secondary sexual characteristics using gene therapy. The company becomes an overnight success. 


  • April 3: Panama Papers, a collection of legal documents posted on CryptoLeak, reveals information of 214,888 offshore companies.
  • June 23 – July 13: The people of the United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union.
  • November 4th: Donald trump is elected President of the USA
  • TikTok is launched.
  • June 22: Gen-Wyld, in partnership with OWL, clones the extinct Yangtze river dolphin, successfully reintroducing a breeding population to the wild. 


  • Sons of Salem founder Ted Gundy is sued and must pay millions of dollars in damages after claiming that the victims of a mass shooting were actually spider aliens in human form. 
  • Allegations of sexual abuse against film producer Harvey Weinstein lead to a wave of similar accusations from within Hollywood and other areas of primarily the English-speaking world.
  • In the wake of a series of dangerous scams, Offr passes a policy forbidding supernatural items from being sold on the platform. Rumors begin that an invite-only parallel site “Offr Red” still allows selling validated supernatural items.


  • March 11: Chinese President Xi Jinping abolishes term limits, allowing him, potentially, to remain in office for life.
  • The northern white rhinoceros becomes functionally extinct.
  • Offr surpasses Ebay as largest online marketplace for goods and services.
  • June 24: Saudi Arabia allows women to drive.
  • Gen-Wyld releases publicly-available body modification procedures that allow individuals to splice animal features such as ears, eyes, and tails onto their bodies for aesthetic purposes. 


  • CryptoLeak founder Jessup Mendax is arrested in London. 
  • After extensive OWL lobbying, Washington State passes the SOAR bill (Sapient Ordinance Accounting Rights). Called “the supernatural bill of rights”, SOAR officially extends all human rights and liberties to any sapient beings within the state.


  • March 15: The COVID-19 pandemic officially begins causing lockdowns worldwide. Blame for the pandemic is spread far and wide. A not-insignificant population blames the supernatural to some degree.
  • Two women suspected of being witches are lynched in Chipley, Florida. No suspects are brought to trial.
  • May 25: The murder of George Floyd sparks protests across the United States and the world.
  • Missouri passes MAN (Management Act of Non-humans) clarifying that the rights and liberties extended to humans are reserved for humans only. 
  • Megachurch preacher Benjamin White found liable for $15m of damages after his phony holy water COVID cure causes strokes in several elderly customers. 
  • In a year when 720 million people face food insecurity, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos becomes the first person in history to have a net worth exceeding $200 billion.


  • January 6: Supporters of President Donald Trump, gathered after a rally led by him, attack the United States capitol, leading to five deaths.
  • January 20: Joe Biden is inaugurated as President of the United States.


  • April 14: Elon Musk purchases Twitter.
  • November 30: OpenAI launches ChatGPT, an AI chatbot
  • The Deltagen leak event occurs. 
  • July 8th 2022: a would-be assassin attempts to kill Shinzo Abe with a homemade rifle. He is saved by his supernatural escort, who catches the bullet in her hand and throws it back at the gunman, killing him instantly. 


  • 7 October: Terrorist organization Hamas launches an incursion into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, prompting a military response from the Israel Defense Forces.
  • The Harbingers return to Earth and begin selecting new chosen to become Contractors.

Pillars of The Illumination Link

These pillars define The Illumination. As long as GMs respect them, they can run their own organizations, NPCs, creatures, and events without "destroying" the world. 


A Familiar World

  • Although the supernatural has existed for the whole of human history, the Illumination's recorded history and major events are essentially the same as our own until the year 2004.
  • The supernatural's hand in changing— or even directing— the course of history may be significant. 
  • Plenty of one-off stories and exhibitions of various supernatural phenomena can be found throughout history, however they did not have a significant effect on daily life.

Unnatural, Uncommon

  • People do not pop into their local potion shop to pick up genuine alchemy or wave hello to their local werewolf barista at Starbucks. Unexplainable phenomena happen every day, but the world is a big place. Most alien encounters go unreported. Most people who weild supernatural powers don't make a show of it or aren't powerful enough to truly matter.
  • The presence of countless charlatans makes finding genuine supernatural events even more difficult. 

Humanity Bears Witness

  • There is no grand, unified conspiracy or phenomena that obscures the supernatural from mankind. Any smartphone can livestream high-definition video to the distributed streaming platform CryptoLeak.
  • Even the most powerful world governments can't scrub a video from CryptoLeak, although they can restrict access within their borders.

No "Popular Magic"

  • No one has discovered any magic ritual or alchemical formula that can be mass-distributed via the internet in a functional form. Alien technology has never successfully been mass-produced. While some supernatural phenomena can spread through various means, breaking the barrier of physics always requires a special ability to channel some sort of supernatural energy.
  • You can't scan the Necronomicon, upload it to 4chan, and teach a billion people to raise the dead. 

It's 1984 Somewhere, but not Everywhere

  • While all world governments have harnessed terrifying supernatural assets, this does not mean they will immediately deploy them at the drop of a hat. 
  • In The Illumination, each government wields its supernatural assets in a way similar to how they wield their millitary and covert operatives in real life. 
  • The US government will not "black bag" any new supernatural phenomena or individual they come across. 

Contractors Make a Splash

  • Contractors are no joke. The Gifts they stand to gain by participating in Contracts are significant. Even Novice Contractors can become overnight celebrities by displaying proof of their powers, and more seasoned Contractors have a chance to truly change the status quo.
  • Of course, no one makes a splash without getting some unwanted attention, and no one can change the world without making powerful enemies. . .

Anatomy of an Illumination Link

Mass-distributed evidence of supernatural phenomena are called “illuminations.” These media events often herald gold rushes that make millionaires overnight or they may motivate new legislature, protests, or even terrorist attacks.

However, few people take every video, anecdote, exhibition, or scientific report at face value. 

Assessing Validity Link

How do you decide what's true? Do you trust the scientific community? Do you trust the government's public statement? Do you trust the radio DJ who says that ancient aliens did it? 

Everyone has their own gut feelings and takes their own leaps of faith. No "fact" is universally accepted in a world where people debate the very flatness of the Earth.

Evidence of supernatural phenomena fall into one of three categories: Confirmed, Debated, or Phoney.

Indisputable proof: Confirmed

  • Some phenomena have many witnesses, multiple camera angles, are publicly on-display, or live-streamed and performed on demand repeatedly in various conditions. Phenomena with this amount of evidence are generally considered to be confirmed.
  • Some people will still not believe phenomena with excessive evidence, especially if it makes them feel like they are less in control (big implications, terrible tragedies, things that go against their fundamental world views, etc).
    • Note: for the most part, these people are not good skeptics. They generally distrust second-hand experiences, certain forms of media, and/or certain organizations. They are likely to believe conspiracy theories that make them feel like they are “in the know” of a grand plan. They are also susceptible to hoaxes they experience first-hand.


Questionable evidence: Debated

  • Any illuminations without overwhelming evidence are fercely debated online and in the public conversation.
  • Professional and pop-culture "debunkers" vet videos and news reports for authenticity.
    • For the most part, debunkers are trustworthy, but not always.
    • Debunkers themselves may be charlatans looking to fear-monger and peddle their wares.
    • They can be corrupt and accept bribes from interested parties. 
  • These sorts of Illuminations inspire the imagination, and often lead to new conspiracy theories, fan clubs, cults, and fictional entertainment media. 


Demonstrably a hoax: Phoney

  • Hoaxes occur every day in the real world, and even more often in The Illumination.
  • Hoaxes take many forms, from trick in-camera photography to advanced CGI effects funded by powerful organizations. Various forms of evidence (video and physical) may be planted or faked.
  • Motivations for creating hoaxes range from “because it was fun,” to charlatans vying for credibility, to advanced conspiracies by shadowy supernatural organizations. Sometimes supernatural-looking or occult evidence is planted to obscure a mundane crime. 
  • Some people will believe certain hoaxes even when they are fairly easy to disprove.
    • Most people are likely to believe evidence that aligns with their world view regardless of the quality of the evidence. 
    • Some people are under the impression that admitting evidence of a phenomena has been faked makes that phenomena less likely to be real, or that people are less likely to believe it. 


Factors Complicating the Search for Truth

  • Gen-Wyld is a highly-successful company that offers extreme body mods, transgenic alterations, advanced surgical tattoos, giving odd-looking supernatural entities more plausible deniability if witnessed or recorded. 
  • The COVID-19 epidemic has led to social acceptance of mass mask-wearing, making it difficult to identify individuals caught on film wielding supernatural powers. 
  • Many bystanders and witnesses fear any involvement whatsoever and so run instead of filming the event. Others are stunned, and in many parts of the world, cell phones are not ubiquitous. Some evidence is destroyed or concealed before it is posted. 
  • Censorship by some governments is not uncommon. Despite its many issues, the United States has some of the best freedom-of-speech laws of any country. Totalitarian governments exert much stronger control over the media and their citizens' access to CryptoLeak. 

Impact Link

Any Illumination that is confirmed or debated causes fallout. What happens next depends on many factors, especially the nature of the supernatural phenomena that has been illuminated. 

Dangerous, grand, and terrifying phenomena cause large reactions, but the mere fact that something seems unexplainable is not the lightning rod it would be in the real world. Small, incosiquential phemonena– like being able to light a cigarette without a lighter or a kid's christmas wish bringing their teddy bear to life– are mere curiosities. Maybe if you're lucky, you can put on a show and sell some tickets. 

Gold Rushes

  • In 2010, a man named Rory Lynch caught a leprechaun near a suburb of Dublin. He was awarded a pot of gold worth over $25M USD. Although he gave no details of the encounter (besides the leprechaun "not being what you'd expect"), the resulting wave of gold-rush tourism nearly destroyed the village and the surrounding countryside. 
  • Businesses like Prometheus Ventures and Gen-Wyld often send agents to investigate or capture supernatural phenomena for research and development, often in violation of laws and policy.
  • Any gold rush is sure to draw a host of Charlatans and scam artists, hoping to capitalize on the craze itself. Would-be cult leaders, grandstanding politicians, and a host of sham crowdfunding campaigns are bound to make an appearance. 


  • Governments always show force around Illuminations but, in general, will only take overt action if the phenomena poses a clear and present danger. 
  • However, populist groups like OWL, and militias like the Sons of Salem almost always appear. These groups, driven by idealism and fear, create a deadly powder keg that's often barely contained by the police. 
  • Self-styled “monster hunters” arrive as well, looking to make a quick buck off of those locals who are especially scared. 


  • Destructive or terrifying phenomena often prompt policy changes. These often take the form of security theater like enhanced TSA screening or mandated blood tests for certain official positions. 

Society at Large Link

Glossary Link

These are terms commonly used in by those who speak English in the Illumination.

  • Supernatural: Rare and unexplainable creatures, objects, or phenomena. Often defying the laws of physics as we understand them.
    • Formal: Supernatural, Paranormal (GB)
    • Common: Weird, Magic, Spooky
    • Vulgar: Freaky
  • Illumination: Evidence of the supernatural, usually video or physical. Alternatively, the event of new evidence of the supernatural becoming widely-available. 
    • Confirmed: Illuminations that are widely-accepted as factual.
    • Debated: Illuminations that do not rise to the level of scientific and widespread acceptance. Also referred to as Unconfirmed.
    • Phoney: An Illumination that is confirmed to be-- or widely-believed to be-- a hoax, a mistake, or otherwise misleading and untrue. 
  • Unnaturology: The scientific study of the supernatural. Considered to be a legitimate academic field, though it is starved for subject matter. A scientist who researches in the field is called an Unnaturologist.
    • Vulgar: Fairy-chaser, ghost-hunter
  • Escort: A mysterious individual who often accompanies someone rich and/or powerful. They are assumed to be a paranormal advisor or bodyguard. Some wealthy/powerful individuals keep a quiet, oddly-dressed person around simply for appearances.
    • Formal: Escort
    • Common: Escort, Buddy, Bodyguard
    • Vulgar: Jafar
  • Paranormal Entity: A creature that exhibits supernatural nature or abilities. 
    • Formal: Paranormal/Supernatural Entity
    • Common: Curiosity, Alien, Cryptid
    • Vulgar: Freak, Monstrosity, Abomination
    • (Editor's note: religious terms are often applied to these creatures including "angel", "demon", "asura" etc)
  • Debunker: A pop-culture personality who vets viral supernatural videos and reports.
  • Modder: Someone who partakes in the extreme body modifications offered by companies like Gen-Wyld.

Science Link

Scientists who study the supernatural are called unnaturalologists. The results of their research are all over the map. In most cases, scientists have only successfully quantified the unexplainability of supernatural phenomena. They may be able to tell you how much mass a werewolf gains during their transformation, but not where it comes from.

Yet careful study has been able to determine some patterns.

Locus and Source Link

At a basic level, supernatural phenomena create, destroy, or modify energy in ways inconsistent with our understanding of the laws of nature. These energies are collectively referred to as Source, and the substances, beings, locations, and objects that channel them are said to be the phenomenon’s Locus

Source is not a universal supernatural energy; it is a label applied to a wide variety of supernatural energies. As such, no universal method of detecting it can be developed.

Loci are as various as the Source they channel, but all share some common attributes:

  • Loci can be many things, but they are concrete, physical, and specific: an alien biomedical tube that can transform humans into monsters, a holy relic that protects its holder from harm, a person who channels psychic abilities, or a battlefield haunted by the sins of a bygone era. 
  • Loci cannot be mass-replicated by any known means. Alien technology cannot be reverse engineered and mass-produced in a factory, and there are no magical rituals or alchemical formulae that can be disseminated online and used by anyone. Those gifted individuals who employ such methods to channel Source are themselves the Loci. 
  • Loci may appear, reproduce, and spread, but if they do, it is by their own methods and nature. 
  • Some Loci, given the appropriate research and resources, can be repurposed. They may be made into weapons, drugs, or used by other Sources to produce unique effects. 

Sources have been encountered exponentially more often in recent decades. It’s up for debate whether they are appearing with more frequency or they’ve been here the whole time, and we are just now discovering them.

Charlatans Link

“Unsettling are the days in which everyone is an expert.”
― Criss Jami

Nowadays you can't go a day without some phony prophet trying to peddle their wares to you.

Driven by the increased interest in the supernatural, everything from palm reading to televangelism is more common than ever. And while the vast majority of witches, psychics, magicians, hypnotists, cures, potions, faith healers, and clairvoyants are complete fakes, their business success breeds more and more of their ilk. 

As the saying goes, "it's easier for an actor to make it in alternative medicine than Hollywood." 

Most people scoff at these clearly-phony supernatural services, yet those same people often buy into at least one scam.

The most dangerous charlatans are the self-styled monster hunters who carry a mall-ninja arsenal and guns with silver bullets. Most have never encountered anything supernatural and do absolutely nothing besides burn some sage and patrol the area for a night or two. Even so, those who are superstitious, fearful, or desperate enough will hire them to solve the problems they simply don't understand. In some cases with disastrous results. 

For Contractors, charlatans are red herrings and obstacles. Clumsy fakes that conjure a smokescreen of misinformation and escalate the situations they're in.

Life for the Supernatural Link

Supernatural creatures and individuals who wield supernatural abilities lead many different sorts of lives. Few choose to illuminate their powers, usually those whose abilities could be considered "curiosities." Those with more significant powers tend to keep their abilities private or semi-private, either managing them like a medical condition or trying to capitalize on them without revealing too much.

Going Public Link

Those who choose to go public play a high-stakes game of public opinion. Living openly as a validated supernatural leads to fame, wealth, and power, but a single misstep may see them tied to a burning stake or locked in an underground science facility.

Mob Judgement and the Public Eye

Supernatural individuals are unusual by definition. If they go public, they must battle humanity’s fear of change and the unknown, and its tribal urge to scapegoat and ostracize.

The world’s population is anything but homogenous. There are always those whose opinions go against the grain, those who radicalize while others stay ambivalent, those iconoclasts who lead, and the followers who conform. Even so, the general public does form opinions. They may be united or polarized but are always subject to sudden and extreme change.

Each entity is judged based on the nature of its supernatural element and how it presents itself. In general, the less powerful, less terrifying, and less arcane, the better.

Deadly Traits and Abilities

  • Inhuman.  Inhuman supernatural creatures face great difficulty living publicly. Radical pro-human populist movements and a legal grey area means that any inhuman or demi-human supernatural entity that goes public is often kidnapped or killed.
  • Power. Too much power is scary. Those who can create massive explosions, disguise themselves as anyone, or kill in unusual ways will be distrusted to a degree that makes it impossible to live openly. If adopted and endorsed by a major government’s military, the public may accept them as wielded and controlled weapon.
  • Disturbing. These powers include mind-reading, mind-control, memory manipulation, and the ability to transform or disfigure others. These abilities are disturbing and violating, and those who are known to wield them will never be accepted.
  • Game-changing. Sometimes the implications of a supernatural entity are so damaging to the established status-quo that they are rejected out-of-hand. An alien wants to bring their peaceful people to live amongst humans. A cult whose adherents transform into inhuman beasts wants to go legitimate. Even if seemingly-innocuous, things that are game-changing are terrifying to the public and established power structures.
  • Demanded. If you can cure cancer, your skills will be so sought-after that you will have a never-ending stream of patients to cure. Doing anything else is seen as murdering those you could have saved. The mob will always kill the golden goose.


going public can be dangerous, but it's also a great opportunity to score some lucrative sponsorship deals

Staying Dark Link

Most supernatural creatures choose to live privately, either hiding their abilities or revealing them to a select few.

Private Employment

Some supernatural entities reveal their powers to a select few rich and/or powerful individuals in the hopes of striking a private bargain.

Rich and Powerful people employ supernatural entities as a matter of course, often as advisors or bodyguards.These individuals will avoid displaying any supernatural abilities unless they absolutely have to. Many politicians, businesspeople, and celebrities keep a bizarre character close by. The public assumes (correctly in many cases) that these individuals are supernatural.

Rich and Powerful people who are not approached by supernatural entities, or who cannot afford them, often employ actors and charlatans to fill the role. It is a status symbol.


Security is built under a set of assumptions about the abilities of those who would attempt to circumvent the system. Those who can break the rules can make a good living doing crime. However, the truly aspirational criminals find it difficult to make the connections they need to fence their stolen goods and launder their money. A certain level of success demands an organization, and an organization without police or scrutiny is ripe for internal crime and power struggles.

Cult Leadership

Cults are often formed around one strong personality and often grow by offering members the opportunity to be an “insider” or “chosen one.” Supernatural entities are naturally equipped to gather and maintain a radical following. Even if their aspirations are low, it can be an easy way to live well without creating a large public footprint.

However, most cult leaders do go mad after a while and either radicalize their followers or degenerate into abhorrent megalomaniacs.

The Police Link

Police are individuals. Some cops are good-hearted, others are power-tripping bastards. But every uniformed officer is on the front lines of the policing culture war. 

As an institution, the police endeavor to maintain the status quo. They prefer to arrest troublemakers instead of killing them (usually), and they avoid violent conflict when possible (usually). 

Police in The Illumination do not arrest or confiscate supernatural beings or artifacts just by nature of them being supernatural. Their job is to keep the peace so that capitalism can peacefully take its course.

In the USA, police are well-armed and trained to be paranoid. Anyone could be hiding a gun or a knife, and any encounter could turn deadly at any moment. As such, they’re often trigger-happy. They are trained not to take their eyes off of suspects until they’re cuffed and secured. They have radios, GPS that reports their location, regular check-ins with HQ, and backup is only a call away. 

Contractors often get into conflict with the police. Their objectives are rarely aligned with maintaining the status quo, and even if they are, they’re unlikely to trust the cops to do a suitable job. 

Police aren’t always accessible. The nearest cop car could be hours away in extremely rural areas. Calling 911 in a crowded city could involve waiting on hold for 10 minutes before even talking to a dispatcher. If the police are accessible, they generally take 5-10 minutes to arrive at a high-priority call like a shooting.

Contractors and Harbingers Link

The Contracts have been on pause for the past 500 years.

Indeed, some great myths and legends of yore refer to the trials and acts of the Contractors of the day. Some of those Contractors may still live.

No one knows why the Harbingers have decided now is the time to redraw The Contract. Even among the world's most powerful and influential beings, direct knowledge of Contractors and The Contracts is rare. Only ancient creatures or those with an advanced intelligence network tend to know about them.

Of course, all it would take is a single Contractor interview on TV to change all that. . .

The Agency Link

The Agency is a Habinger-run contracting agency that its founding partner The Talent often describes as "Uber, for badasses." 

Powerful organizations and connected individuals can hire The Agency to solve particularly sticky problems. The client pays The Agency and has no clue how it handles payment to the Contractors. If they did, they’d probably be pretty jealous. 

Of course, this is all a pretense. The Agency’s primary goal is to test the Contractors, find out who is worthy, and forge those into unstoppable super-operatives. Contractors are likely to pick up on the fact that The Agency isn’t what it appears, but they won’t get much further than that. 

GM Tip
Harbingers with The Agency are particularly aloof and mysterious. Contractors get a lot more face-time with the clients, the powerful and influential leaders of the various organizations and social movements who hire The Agency when all other options have failed.

Harbinger: The Talent Link

The Talent in all his. . . glory

Most people avoid speaking to The Talent, and that suits him just fine.

He’s not repulsive. In fact, he’s quite put-together. His slacks are pressed, and his amber button-down, though its oversized collar is a little dated, is freshly cleaned and stain-free. Perhaps it’s the attention to detail that puts people off.  His braided belt matches his leather shoes, and the frames of his aviators match the gold of his watch.

Most of his conversations are with waiters, flight attendants, and hotel staff. When he speaks, it’s with the enthusiasm of a used car salesman. He’s not trustworthy. Better not to get involved. 

Of course, this is all by design. 

The Talent views humans the same way most people view rocks. Mostly, they are uninteresting, sometimes they are useful, and, occasionally, if you wander long and far enough and watch ever-so-carefully, you might just find a gold nugget. 

This is his gift: an eye for value. Not market prices or even sentimental value, but the sort of value that might only show itself in one particular place, in one particular moment. The value of a chance encounter that will change history forever. 

Contractors and potentials have value. Not for the tasks they might accomplish but for the finder’s fee he charges the Powers that Be. He runs The Agency, a small collection of Harbingers that do all the heavy lifting of actually finding tasks for the Contractors. The Talent is just a middle-man who finds individuals with promise and delivers them to the tests. 

He enjoys his work immensely. Long ago, on another world, in another dimension, he signed The Contract. He participated in the Contracts. The horrors he witnessed, the lines he crossed, and the powers he gained transformed him, distanced him. But that look on a new recruit’s face when they hear his offer makes him feel young again. 


Playing The Talent

The Talent is a great Harbinger to use for initial introductions for new Contractors or for quick introductions with extant Contractors. 

He behaves like a cross between a hollywood talent agent, a used car salesperson, and a  coked-out investor. If he lets someone see a glimpse of the smooth operator hiding underneath, it is on purpose. 

He describes himself as a partner at “The Agency.” They connect contract workers with clients who need a group that will always deliver results. “Think of us like Uber for badasses.”  Security? Sometimes. Thieves? On occasion. Assassins? Look, drop the labels, kid; we’re the ones that get shit done. He will never hint that the jobs are merely tests or that he is doing it for kickbacks from The Powers that Be. 

He often bounces back and forth between praising a potential recruit’s talents and negging them. 

Most potential Contractors won’t give him the time of day. When they walk away, he shows a glimpse of power. He might freeze time. The recruit might find that any door they open leads back to his office. He might accomplish whatever task the contractor used as an excuse with the snap of his fingers, or transport them to a remote mountain in Antarctica. 

One he has their attention, he makes the offer. He isn’t offering a full-time position or partnership at The Agency, just some contract work. He is very clear that the jobs will be risky, perhaps even deadly, and that the payment will be an awakening of their supernatural potential, an opportunity to become something more.

He will explain that in order to accept this job and to be considered for others in the future, the recruit must be “Imbued.” This will change how they learn, making a single job worth a year of intense study. It will protect their psyches from any traumatic experiences, to a degree. They can back out at any time, but once you’re out, you’re out. 

When the new Contractor accepts and shakes his hand, they experience a mind-bending expansion of consciousness, awareness, and one-ness with the universe. They are a drop rejoining the ocean of creation. This feeling, and any insights or knowledge that came with it, fade like the memories of a dream upon waking, and they are left knowing only that they experienced something truly remarkable. 

The Talent will also give the Contractor a burner phone (like a motorola brick) so they can be contacted quickly in the future. The phone has no reception and is useless except to receive calls from The Talent. You can add it as a Trophy to the Contractor’s sheet. It will help you run quick introductions for these Contractors in the future. 

With all this out of the way, he will proceed to give the brief and potentially deliver the Contractor to the location of their first Game. 

Contractor Lexicon Link

Anyone using these terms is probably involved somehow, either an Agent, Contractor, or Harbinger. They are divided into the formal parlance used in the actual Contracts, common usage among Contractors and Agents, and vulgar slang.

The Contract: The game itself, expressed with terms and stipulations that dictate how a Gift is to be won.
Formal: Contract
Common: Mission, Game, Grand Guingol, the Gauntlet
Vulgar: Slaughterhouse 5, Totentanz, Finals, Casting Call, Go Time

The Contractors: These are those rare ambitious souls selected to fulfill the Contracts, thereby receiving the Gifts.
Formal: Chosen
Common: Contractor, Specialist, Expendables, Aspirant, Supplicant, Innerwalker
Vulgar: Masochists, Junkies, Fixers, Head Hunters, High Rollers


The Harbingers: Representing the highest Tier of Contractor, the Harbingers gather the Chosen on behalf of The Powers and set up the Contracts. By tradition, Harbingers only give their Title when dealing with Contractors of the lesser tiers.
Formal: Harbinger
Common: The Elite, Seraphim, Heralds, Messengers
Vulgar: Sadists, Handlers, Pimps, The Boss, Director, Foreman, Executive,


The Inner Circle: The mysterious and seemingly omnipotent powers that select the Chosen and see that Gifts are awarded. Not even the Harbingers know the identity of these beings.
Formal: The Inner Circle
Common: Secret Masters, The Powers That Be, The Ascended Masters
Vulgar: The Producers, The Board, Oz, Puppet Masters, Little Green Men

The Gifts: These are the augmentations, arcane knowledge, alien technology or similar that is awarded to a Contractor who fulfill the terms of the Contract, furthering their ambition while never quite quenching it…
Formal: The Path to Ascension
Common: Gifts, Prizes, Powers
Vulgar: The Perfect Drug, The Bait, The Payoff

The Agents: These are other parties involved with Harbingers, usually their servants. While not Contractors, Agents are familiar with the makeup of the Contracts and may be enhanced themselves. They typically do much of the legwork setting up Contracts and arranging invitations.
Formal: Agent
Common: Solicitor, Servant, Bondsman
Vulgar: Lackeys, Minions, Mooks, Slaves, Ciphers

Novice: These are the lowest Tier of the Chosen, defined by an ambition or desire that they are quite willing to risk death (and worse) to achieve. While otherwise mundane, they have the potential to become the most dangerous creatures in existence.
Formal: Supplicant
Common: Beginners, Novice, Amateurs, Kohei
Vulgar: Fresh Fish, Doornails, Dead Meat, Junior

Seasoned: These individuals have survived a number of Contracts  under a variety of conditions. As such, they have begun to accumulate Gifts that truly separate them from common humans.
Formal: Aspirant
Common: Seasoned, Professional, Journeymen, Sempai
Vulgar: Part-Timers, Scabs, Chicken Shit, Dogs of War

Veteran: The rare few that reach this status are formidable indeed. The Veterans have no doubt won many Contracts, faced death countless times, and beaten other Contractors on numerous occasions. They have begun to make a name for themselves in the larger world, and can now engage Contracts by themselves. Even Harbingers are wise to treat the Veterans with due respect.
Formal: Veterans
Common: Solos, Loners, Solitaires, Ronin
Vulgar: Bloody Bastards, Aces, Kamikaze

The following terms are not used in the Contracts, but do see common usage regardless:

Hybrids: A Contractor whose Gifts combine them with an inhuman element are typically referred to as Hybrids. Naturally, there are a wide variety of possible combinations, with some mentioned below.

Cyborgs: Combinations of man and machine.
Vulgar: Borgs, Arnolds, Tin Men, i(insert name here), Junkyard

Chimera: Human/Animal Hybrid
Vulgar: Moreaus, Furries, Sheep Fuckers, Lassie/Benjie

Mutants: Enhanced genetics
Vulgar: Muties, Generation X, Test Tube Babies, Frankenstein


Aliens: An individual that has been modified by non-terrestrial genetics/technology
Vulgar: Ripley, Starman, Illegals, Martians, Xenos


Sorcerers: These Contractors have gained some sort of arcane knowledge as Gifts. The exact method they summon these magics varies, but is always elaborate: A Sorcerer bound, gagged, or deprived of their tools is helpless.
Vulgar: Hufflepuff, Casters, (term)-Mancer, (term)-Mage, Finger Wagglers, Cultists, Copperfields

Psychics: These Specialists have gained powers of mind over matter, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, or telekinesis. When employed, these powers will cause eyerolls, ectoplasm, purple coronas, nosebleeds, or the sharp scent of ozone, sometimes several at once.
Vulgar: Shrinks, Swamis, Madame, Headcase, Mind Melters


Revenant: A very specific set of Gifts resulting in some kind of living death.
Vulgar: Edward/Bella, Zeds, Lugosi, Vryloka,


Possessed: Your Gifts stem from an outside entity that takes partial or total control of you when activated.
Vulgar: Spooks, Faust, Puppets, Geist


Faithful: This is actually a sub-set of Sorcerer, your Gifts descend from ardent faith and practice of your religion.
Vulgar: Holy Rollers, Witch Doctors, Shamans, Zealots, Inquisitors, Reverend

The following terms are general descriptors for a certain type of Contractor that we see often enough for slang terms to come up.

Militant: A former soldier or similar. Notable for the veritable arsenal they are always toting around and the “B & B” approach to Contracts (Bullets & Bombs).

Vulgar: Shooters, Mad Bombers, Gun Bunnies

Maniacs: We always get a few serial killers, mass murderers, and cannibals. Watch your back around suspected Maniacs
Vulgar: J-Kats, Ghouls, Whitechapels

Investigators: Typically highly skilled without much ability to defend themselves. Investigators are essential to the cerebral Contracts.
Vulgar: Squishy, Otaku, Tweeds

Dilettantes: Inevitably we get a few along that provoke a face palm and “what were they thinking” outcry to the Inner Circle. Dilettantes, by ignorance or intent, have no useful skills whatsoever.
Vulgar: Dead Weight, Cannon Fodder, Temp

Organizations Link

A wide variety organizations exist within The Illumination, each with their own resources and motives.

Prometheus Ventures Link

Prometheus Ventures is a Palo Alto-based venture capital firm that obtains, studies, and develops business applications for supernatural artifacts. It is a small organization headed by a small circle of independently-wealthy individuals, all of whom have since become exceedingly rich and powerful due to the firm’s success.

Think of them as venture capital for Bond Villains.


LOSE: Locate Obtain Study Enterprise

LOSE is Prometheus Venture’s business strategy and general modus-operandi.

They Locate supernatural artifacts and phenomena using software, investigative contracting agencies, connections, and other less-well-known means. Once they confirm the existence of a supernatural entity, they Obtain it using a team of mercenaries or capital-c Contractors. They often operate in legally-grey areas and never involve authorities.

The obtained supernatural object is Studied using a small in-house team of brilliant, well-paid scientists. Details of their scientific facility— including its location— are unknown, but it is extraordinarily successful at studying, replicating, and harnessing supernatural phenomena.

Once a market application of the supernatural artifact is found, it is time to Enterprise. They find and approach an existing 3rd-party company— usually a start-up— and offer a deal: they will share their supernatural technology for a controlling share of the company. No company has refused this offer to date, and all have found incredible market success, creating many multi-millionaires.

A handful of Prometheus Ventures partners now sit on the board of several of the fastest-growing and most-influential new companies. They have all become exceedingly wealthy, but their true goals are their own and go beyond obtaining cash.


Public Footprint

Despite their ubiquity, Prometheus Ventures is relatively unknown to the public. They have no public-facing webpage or ad presence. They are not prominently-listed in any company’s webpage.

The only overt mark that a company is Prometheus-funded is the presence of a particular flame in the company’s logo. Confirming their involvement would mean researching the company’s board and cross-referencing its members with other rising tech company board members.

Prometheus NPCs Link

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CryptoLeak Link

CryptoLeak is a video streaming platform with a singular goal: to allow users to upload and share video content, no matter what. Videos uploaded to cryptoleak cannot be removed, doctored, or censored. 

Despite a near-universal condemnation by world leaders, most people greatly appreciate CryptoLeak. It's the go-to platform for posting illuminations, whistleblowing evidence, and data leaks. 

CryptoLeak is a mundane technlogical entity that cannot be controlled or destroyed. It has no backing business or organization. It utilizes a distributed architecture that allows it to host content across the entire world, sharding and mirroring its petabytes of data accross millions of personal devices. Content uploaded to CryptoLeak is immutable and cannot be doctored or redacted by any known means. 

For once, technology has put the power in the hands of the little guys. 

World governments and other powerful organizations can still censor or restrict access to CryptoLeak within their domains, and they sometimes utilize the platform for misinformation and psy-ops campaigns. However, for most people, CryptoLeak represents the freedom to speak and be heard. 

Of course, simply uploading a video does not gaurentee it will be seen or gain traction, nor does it protect you from any consequences that may come along with pulling back the veil. . . 

The Band of Blood Link

Few organizations are as deadly or terrifying to Contractors as The Band of Blood. Its members can be identified by their rings: a simple red band that cannot be removed by any known means.

The Band of Blood is a fraternity of Contractors who have lost sight of their original ambitions but still participate in the Games as a way to give their lives meaning. As free agents without an home to return to, they allow the Harbingers to transport them from dimension to dimension as needed. Many are adrenaline junkies of the worst sort, chasing the thrill of risking their own lives. Each member is a cold and ruthless killer that will do whatever it takes to achieve their current objective.

Taking the Blood Oath offers certain benefits but comes at a horrible price. When The Band of Blood spots a Contractor they may like to recruit, they go to work separating that Contractor from their world. This involves murdering the potential recruit's friends and family, undermining their ambition, and pushing a nihilistic philosophy onto them. Mental and emotional conditioning are not out of the question. Any recruits who still refuse are killed or abandoned.

Offr Link

"What's it worth?"

Most people know as the home of the gig economy: a website where you can find a buyer for your old couch, and a worker to haul it away. It’s the home of everything from marketplace goods and bespoke commissions to task fulfillment and transportation services.

Offr has now officially eclipsed both eBay and Facebook Marketplace as the most active person-to-person e-commerce website on earth. They attribute their success to an excellent interface and a few choice deals to secure key intellectual property rights early on in the company’s growth.

Controversies surrounding the company’s treatment of gig workers have done little to stall their meteoric growth. In certain online circles, people joke and whisper about less-than-legal deals being available on a “dark web” version of The company denies these claims.

One thing is for certain, is here to stay!

Offr Red Link

Most think Offr is merely another gig-economy online marketplace, designed to skirt regulations and separate hardworking people from what little cash they have. That’s all true, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

Those with something truly extraordinary to offer—be it items or skills— are granted an exclusive “Offr Red” membership. Offr Red memberships are invite-only and cannot be purchased. Red members are paired with a personal Offr Red associate who can organize high-caliber trades of supernatural proportions. 

Qualified individuals usually hear about Offr Red from a suspiciously well-targeted ad. Red memberships are not known publicly. 


Offr Red Associates

All associates have red skin and a barbed tail. Some have horns, yellow eyes, and other odd features. They appear as normal humans to cameras and anyone who doesn’t have an Offr Red membership. Associates never reveal any details about what they are or where they’re from. 

In addition to their odd looks, all Associates can examine an item and learn the following three pieces of information:

  • What the object is and roughly what it can be used for.
  • How much the object is worth to an ideal buyer.
  • Whether or not the item is stolen or otherwise aggressively pursued.

When called, they arrive within 24 hours. 

Associate archetypes include:

  • The associate who used to work in the field, but has recently been retired to desk duty
  • The associate is brand new, and you’re their first client!
  • The associate who’s a bro-y sales person
  • The associate who does their job begrudgingly.
  • The associate who is altogether too scary.

Offr Red members have access to three services: Trades, Auctions, and Solutions.

Offr Red Services Link

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Becoming Enemies with Offr Link

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The Sons of Salem Link

We swear to secure our people against the wickedness and evil of the invisible world.

We swear to aid the afflicted.

We swear to stay ever vigilant and seek out the abominable witchcrafts committed in this country.

We humbly pray to be blessed by God to hold all those who consort with the Devil accountable. Amen

—Opening and closing prayer for Sons of Salem meetings.


The Sons of Salem is a loosely-organized conservative populist movement in the United States that preaches violent opposition to anything they perceive as witchcraft, demonic, or monstrous. 

Blowhard podcaster Ted Gundy and former general of the mercenary group “Hognose,” Roland Rush, founded the movement in 2010 after a series of violent werewolf attacks and unexplained, supernatural murders in Tennessee. Memberships grew quickly, stoked by Ted’s fiery doomsday rhetoric on his podcast "Truth Seekers" and the aspiration of the masculine power embodied by Roland.

Although they speak of duty, honor, and maintaining the “natural order” of things, the Sons of Salem are driven by fear. They collect guns and appear at protests en-masse as a way of easing the all-consuming terror of their powerlessness. At the same time, they have conditioned themselves to respond to fear with “strength” (read: violence). 

Sons and the Supernatural Link

The Sons of Salem are not anti-supernatural.

While they oppose monsters, evil magics, and integrating humans and non-humans, they are perfectly fine with miracles, pious magic-users, and anything they believe demonstrates the power of the Judeo-Christian god. 

Members are wary of new technologies that utilize supernatural elements but may be convinced to live and let live or even adopt such “black tech.” Aliens are seen as distant neighbors, and they’d prefer them to stay that way, but they are not actively hostile towards them as they are towards occult-presenting supernatural phenomena.

Sons Operations Link

Despite their pseudo-militaristic presentation, the Sons of Salem rarely performs organized operations. This is a movement driven by philosophy, community, and bravado, not a well-organized militia. The vast majority of members do not have any military training, nor is there a membership application process. 

The Sons of Salem make appearances at protests relating to their issues. Most of the time, they are non-violent, but many are looking for an excuse to “defend themselves” from an “attack” and so transform the protest into a powder keg that could blow at the slightest provocation. 

The vast majority of Sons of Salem violence occurs at the local level, where individuals and small groups self-organize against perceived threats. Depending on the event and who you ask, these confrontations range from successful defenses against genuine supernatural threats to witch hunts and straight-up lynchings. 

That said, Ted and Roland have organized a handful covert operations utilizing Hognose mercenaries. These secretive operations build and maintain Ted and Roland’s power and finances. 

One operation, captured on body-cam footage and circulated on CryptoLeak, shows a team of highly-trained Sons of Salem members raiding a burrow of vampire-like undead creatures, dispatching them with military precision. This was a publicity stunt. 

Most operations organized by the group’s leaders are more akin to traditional organized crime and include threatening politicians, large-scale robberies, and blackmail.

Sons Members Link

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The Occult Wildlife Landing (OWL) Link

The Occult Wildlife Landing (OWL) is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the rights of supernatural creatures to live a life unmolested by humanity’s relentless spread and greed. 

The proper, legal organization of OWL limits itself to conservation efforts such as:

  • Enforcing the endangered animal status for rare, supernatural creatures and protecting them from poachers. 
  • Reducing human-supernatural conflicts by designating wildlife preserves or so-called “lifestyle preserves.”
  • Studying supernatural wildlife in a safe, non-intrusive manner. 
  • Organizing protests.

While OWL has become the de-facto head of the conservationist movement in the United States, many claim it’s not as innocent as it appears. A number of small, seemingly-disconnected terrorist cells wear the OWL insignia with pride. These groups– which tend to contain a disproportionate number of supernatural creatures and beings– commit high-profile acts of public violence with the intent of furthering OWL’s core objectives. In the past, they’ve blown up oil pipelines, stopped development projects, and even infected congregations of people with mutagenic viruses. 

OWL denies any involvement with these so-called “OWL-inspired terrorist organizations” (or OITOs for short). However, many people conflate the two and consider OWL itself to be a terrorist organization. 

One thing is for certain: when OWL sends a blast to its followers urging protest, they’re taken seriously. 

OWL Origins Link

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OWL-Inspired Terrorist Organizations Link

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OWL Contracts Link

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Gen Wyld Link

On March 14, 2018, a little-known company named Gen-Wyld announced FDA approval for a groundbreaking procedure to enhance a patient’s primary and secondary sexual characteristics using gene therapy. The company was an overnight success.

Shortly thereafter, they introduced a suite of gene-altering body modification procedures that allowed patients to make dramatic aesthetic changes to their bodies by gene-splicing “non-human” anatomy. Those daring (and wealthy) enough can now add cuttlefish pigmentation to their skin, sport a pair of fox ears, and even add a functional tail. While rare, these so-called “modders” draw plenty of hate from conservative communities. 

Thanks to their revolutionary procedures, Gen-Wyld is now a household name. Norman Carlson, Gen-Wyld’s chief evangelist, recently announced the company is in the trial phase for a groundbreaking treatment for diabetes. 

Yet despite their success, a shroud of secrecy surrounds Gen-Wyld. Their no-patent policy obscures the secrets of their procedures from the public eye. Financial experts claim that Gen-Wyld is run less like a traditional business and more like an NGO with some specific, unknown objective. 

Some claim that they will not stop until humanity has been reduced to monstrous slaves and that Gen-Wyld’s board of directors will install themselves as inhuman overlords of the new world order. 

However, until the true secrets behind Gen-Wyld are discovered, the genetic biotech firm will continue to grow, develop, and progress its grand designs. 

Gen-Wyld Services Link

Gen Wyld offers the following services to anyone daring and wealthy enough to schedule an appointment.

  • Consumer-grade body modifications. Treatment takes place over 3 appointments, one week apart.
    • $200,000 for a tail.
    • $100,000 for skin pigmentation adjustments, fur, or scales.
    • $80,000 for altered ears, dental, or tongue.
    • $50,000 for horns, aesthetic claws, or other bio-accessories. 
    • $25,000 for altered eye shape, color, or size.
  • Gene sequencing and ancestry analysis
    • $250 for the delux package.
    • Comes free with any body modification!
  • Medical care for a couple of specific diseases
    • At the moment, they are only just starting to offer a treatment for diabetes, however, they can come out with new treatments as your Playgroup matures. 

All procedures that Gen-Wyld offer require the patient to sign a form permitting Gen-Wyld to sequence their DNA and use it for research. 

Gen-Wyld Organization Link


Like the rest of Gen-Wyld, its leadership is shrouded in secrecy. CEO Vera Apuleius founded the company from her own real-estate fortune. She also acts as chairman of the board of directors and is the only known member. 

However, Vera almost never makes a public appearance. Instead, Norman Carlson, Gen-Wyld’s head of marketing and public relations, takes the public stage as the face of the company. 



Gen-Wyld will hire The Agency to help them deal with certain high-priority situations. They always ensure Contractors sign a strict NDA and will insist on the utmost secrecy. Contracts for Gen-Wyld have objectives like:

  • Find and capture a supernatural creature for research
  • Prevent extremists from auditing their facilities or disrupting operations
  • Stop an experiment that has gone horribly wrong
  • Find and capture the researcher who has run off with their latest black-tech breakthrough


Deltagen Link

In 2022, a small quantity of a mysterious substance labeled Deltagen was obtained by an online influencer, EchoZone55. He claimed it was stolen from a Gen-Wyld research facility and held the secret to their incredible advancements. However, before EchoZone55 could sell the Deltagen to a research firm, he reached for his soda without looking, grabbed the Deltagen, and took a sip. Viewers watched in horror as a dramatic, uncontrolled mutation ripped through his body. In less than a minute, the man was reduced to a fleshy mass of random, inhuman limbs, eyeballs, and toothy maws.

Some rumors suggest that Deltagen is harvested from certain shape-shifting creatures, and that hoards of them must be imprisoned somewhere like some sort of twisted livestock. Others claim that Gen-Wyld has lucrative contracts with the US government to develop super-soldiers and Deltagen weapons. 


Deltagen is Gen-Wyld’s secret sauce, a mutagenic compound that powers their groundbreaking plastic surgery and augmentation services. 

Gen-Wyld keeps everything about Deltagen as secretive as possible. Its properties, how it’s obtained, and even evidence of its very existence is fiercely guarded. Raw Deltagen is kept under heavy guard in Gen-Wyld facilities. It is processed into stable purpose-made serums that are shipped to the company’s consumer offices to be used for plastic surgery procedures. 

Direct exposure to raw Deltagen causes uncontrolled, chaotic mutations. Extreme exposure can reduce the victim to a helpless pile of writhing flesh and body parts, or even result in death. 


Exposure to Deltagen

Any target exposed to raw Deltagen must roll Body, Difficulty 6 each Round they are exposed. An Outcome less than 4 results in a new Battle Scar as the target suffers an uncontrolled, chaotic, and disfiguring mutation. For the Scar’s system, use a Major Battle Scar for Outcomes 1-3, a severe Battle Scar for a failure, and an Extreme, full-body Battle Scar for a botch. 

Mutation examples:  sprouting additional arms and legs from unexpected places, a disfigured or creature-like face, hands turning into paws, arms becoming tentacles or useless wings, asymmetric muscular growth, sprouting spines, feathers, fur, extra eyes, changing legs into splayed out lizard legs, having their voice replaced by an animal sound, etc.

Skunkwork Augmentations Link

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Augmented Operatives Link

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Skunkwork Equipment Link

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Exclusive Services Link

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Casa Verde Link

While it may seem like a blessing to some, any rational parent should be terrified to discover that their child possessed psychic or telekinetic powers. Given the uncertain and fearful culture that surrounds the supernatural (not to mention the immaturity and extraordinary power of the child), the most likely outcome is disaster. Luckily, the US Government has established Casa Verde. 

Casa Verde is a compound in the Northern California where children and young adults with psychic powers (and sometimes other supernatural traits) are rasied under the watch of the United States government. Tucked away in a secluded ocean-facing section of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, Casa Verde houses a dozen or so children and has an unknown number of staff. 

For obvious reasons, the compound is under heavy guard. However, primary caregivers may still communicate with and visit their children, and the residents are given opprotunities to socialize with society via covert and carefully-managed field trips. Visitors report pleasantly landscaped grounds and a large, green victorian-era home that acts as the main residential building. 

Unless the child in question has committed violent crimes, residency at Casa Verde is entirely at the will of the parents. 

Some conspiracy theorists speculate that the government is performing experiments on the children or that they are being groomed as covert CIA and FBI agents.

Bestiary Link

Most of the supernatural creatures and beings that have been illuminated bare only a passing resemblance to the myths, folktails, and legends that popularized them. 

Given the plethora of illuminations experienced in the past two decades, few people would summarily dismiss the possibilty of the existence of any particular being or creature. The creatures outlined in this section are only a small selection of the strange and unusual beings that exist in the world. 

GM Tip
The Illumination is designed to make it easy to invent your own creatures, species, subcultures, and phenomena. These are just a small selection of what could exist out there. Invent and borrow freely without worrying about stepping on the setting's toes. Just follow the Pillars of The Illumination.

For stats guidance, use these creatures as inspiration and read the Assigning Stats article in the Scenario-writing guide.

Vampires Link

The modern American conception of a Vampire is largely based on folk tales from 16th century Eastern Europe, but similar archetypes have existed in numerous  cultures worldwide for millennia, such as the Chinese Jiangshi, or the Carribean Soucouyant.  Some belief systems consider vampires to be a type of demon, others consider them to be undead revenants, and it was the European tradition which evolved the vampire into it's own distinct sort of monster.

Whatever the lineage, vampires generally have the following characteristic in common: they drain "life essence" - usually blood - from their victims as a form of sustenance.

Vampires in contemporary pop culture are an amalgamation inspired by several real supernatural creatures along with some fantastical embellishments. Actual vampires are numerous in type, behavior, and capabilities.

Musat Vampires Link

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Jiangshi Link

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Ghosts and Hauntings Link

Ghosts have been illuminated and confirmed several times. However, their nature and the manners in which they manifest are various and ephemeral. Often ghosts are observed only a single time on film and never appear again. However, several convincing videos of poltregeist behavior have been taken, along with apparitions witnessed by many people, voices heard by many people, and other “spooky phenomena.”

While many people claim to converse with ghosts (and there is validated evidence of a ghost communicating with a medium on at least one occasion), there are no “resident” ghosts that can be reliably encountered. The field of “medium” is filled with charlatans.

Although ghosts are generally accepted as “real,” their nature is fiercely debated. The vast majority of videos of ghosts are hoaxes, and they are met with extreme skepticism. Many realtors claim their properties are haunted as a way to drive sales of non-desirable houses.

Ghosts Link

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Haunts Link

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Zombies Link

What is a Zombie?

This is a subject open to a great deal of interpretation. While classical “zombi” were the product of sorcery, pop culture mostly identifies zombies as infectious, mindless, shambling monstrosities. There are countless variations, and you will encounter them several times in your Contracting career.

GMing Zombies Link

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Viral Lycanthropy Link

Viral Lycanthropy is a rare, supernatural disease that scholars believe inspired many of the European tales of werewolves that grew to prominence in the middle-ages. While other types of shapeshifters are confirmed to exist– including several others that resemble the werewolves of pop culture– the were-creature victims of Viral Lycanthropy are the most studied and understood.

Contracting Lycanthropy Link

Viral Lycanthropy is transmitted through direct contact (such as through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth) with the saliva, blood, or other bodily fluids of a transformed were-creature. 

Prepubescent children are immune to contracting viral lycanthropy. 


The Dormant Phase

When someone is infected with Viral Lycanthropy, a small, cyan-colored organ called a “lycanal gland” grows inside their abdomen next to the liver. Its growth takes 24 hours after which, the patient is in the “dormant phase.”

In the dormant phase, the patient is asymptomatic of the disease and is not contagious. The lycanal gland organ can be detected with a targeted ultrasound, but is not routinely checked for– except after suspected were-creature attacks. If the lycanal gland is removed while the disease is dormant, the patient is cured. 

GM Tip
Because Viral Lycanthropy is a known disease in The Illumination, anyone with the abilities Culture or Medicine would probably know that it's a good idea to get checked after a were-creature encounter. Think of it like a less scary version of rabies; if you get bit by a fox foaming at the mouth and don't go to the doctor, you've earned your horrible death.

Viral Lycanthropy often remains dormant and undetected for a patient’s entire life. However, if a substantial amount of foreign animal DNA enters the bloodstream (usually via a bite or exposure to an open wound), the disease will enter its active phase. 


The Active Phase

When a dormant patient’s bloodstream first encounters foreign animal DNA, it triggers a complete metamorphosis of the lycanal gland. The small organ doubles in size, integrates itself with the patient’s bloodstream, and begins producing mysterious hormones and serums that alter the patient’s genes at a fundamental level. 

These poor souls are permanently changed into were-creatures, doomed to live a life split between two forms: their human selves and an animal driven by instincts. Their new secondary species matches the foreign animal DNA that activated the disease. This means that a given were-creature could infect several people who all end up becoming different species of were-creature later in their lives. 

Once a patient enters the active phase, they cannot be cured. The lycanal gland becomes necessary for life, and removing it kills the patient. Active-phase patients also become contagious after their first transformation and spread the disease as normal.  

Soon after activation, patients develop mild symptoms like heightened senses, new instincts, and a change in sleeping schedule. Most do not realize they have become a were-creature until their first monthly transformation.

Symptoms of Lycanthropy Link

Monthly Transformations

The patient’s first transformation occurs about a month after activation and lasts about 18 hours. In the first hour, the patient breaks into a flop sweat, their heart races, and features of their animal form manifest. They may find their ears pointing, fur sprouting up their legs, or new vertebrae forming as their spine grows into a tail. 

About an hour after the transformation begins, it accelerates into a gut-twisting, bone-snapping climax. Over the next minute, the patient transforms fully into their new animal form and remains that way for at least 17 hours, usually quite agitated and acting mostly on instinct. 

When a patient first reverts back from their animal form, they may notice significant physical differences in their human body. All were-creatures’ human forms echo the species of their animal form. While they never retain any overtly inhuman attributes, their build, skin tone, height, hair, and other features may be permanently altered after their first monthly transformation.

Patients in the active phase suffer a transformation into their animal form about once per month, perhaps giving rise to the common myth that their transformations are bound by the cycles of the moon. The longer the disease remains active, the longer these transformations last. Patients who have been active were-creatures for three or more decades spend about half their time in their animal form. 


Liminal Form

In times of extreme stress, were-creatures may involuntarily transform into a so-called “liminal form,” a bipedal monster that blends their human and animal forms. It is believed to be a natural defensive adaptation of the virus to allow its host to fight off any would-be threat. 

Heightened emotions of terror or fury trigger the transformation, often to the great surprise of the patient. While in liminal form, a were-creature acts on impulse, resolving their emotional distress via flight or fight. Anxiety about transforming and losing control can exacerbate the situation, often leading to panic-motivated attacks on humans. 

Various patients exhibit a range of liminal form morphologies and accompanying supernatural capabilities. As the disease progresses, a werecreature’s liminal form becomes more powerful, and the patient’s control over their transformation improves. 


Disease Progression

Once an infection of viral lycanthropy is activated, the disease will continue to worsen for the rest of the patient’s life. 

The duration of monthly transformations increases, increasing an average of 12 hours for each year that the subject has been infected. Furthermore, the patient’s terrifying liminal form grows more dangerous and powerful, increasing the likelihood of deadly encounters with the general populace. 

Yet those patients suffering from more advanced cases of Viral Lycanthropy often learn to exhibit some control over their transformations. After about five years, most can voluntarily trigger transformations into their animal or liminal form. 

Viral Lycanthropy usually shortens the lifespan of its victims. Strain from the full-body transformations can kill older were-creatures. However, some scientists speculate that victims who are bound to long-lived species like tortoises and rockfish may live significantly longer than an average person. 

Contractors are special. Their imbuement from the harbingers dramatically accelerates the progression of the disease, often with unexpected effects. 

Lycanthropy Culture Link

Most victims of viral lycanthropy just want to live a normal life, and that means hiding their disease. 

How to treat patients of viral lycanthropy is a controversial issue. Some hold that they are victims of an unfortunate disease that deserve care and compassion. Others believe they are cursed beasts that should be put out of their misery. Even the most humane positions on the issue involve forced institutionalization or quarantining patients away from the general public. 

Dangerous were-creatures that were captured alive are institutionalized with the criminally insane (due to the possibility of violent outbursts), and highly medicated. 

There is little to gain from going public as a were-creature. Those who have are often murdered, if they don’t disappear mysteriously. Some whisper about secret societies filled with were-creatures who plot against humanity, but most people dismiss such stories as rumors. 

Were-creatures are often new to town, as they tend to cut ties, move, and get a new identity whenever they are discovered.

Lycanthropy for NPCs Link

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Lycanthropy for Contractors Link

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Firebirds Link

Ivan Bilibin's illustration to a Russian fairy tale about the Firebird, 1899.

In Slavic folklore, the firebird is a magical and prophetic glowing or burning bird from a faraway land which is both a blessing and a harbinger of doom to its captor. Various folktales from the region feature these birds as the object of a quest, as the origin of mystical feathers, or as an embodiment of obtainable beauty. 

Firebird is also the name given to a peculiar  and elusive animal that is believed to have inspired these myths. A few videos on CryptoLeak claim to show the animal, but firebirds as a whole are considered Debated, not Confirmed. No evidence of a breeding population has been found.

Yet much of the global elite do believe in the firebird, and many actively pursue them. The oligarchs and political leaders in eastern Europe share a particular interest in capturing a firebird. For some, it has become an obsession.


GMing Firebirds Link

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Chupacabra Link

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