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I was recently thinking of creating a reality very similar to the real world but which is under a supernatural "cold war", where scientists, researchers, wizards, techno-wizards, witches, supernatural beings, etc. they fight among themselves for control of some sector of human society (economy, technology, weapons, science, among many others). I will give some examples that I thought a few days ago:

  • An organization seeks to use cryptids as living weapons to assassinate political opponents.
  • A group of scientists seek to create a real consciousness through techno-magical means.
  • An agency gathers mystical objects to destroy a
  • An environmental group seeks to connect with faerie beings to end a mining organization.
  • A group of chefs create food with strange properties, such as tomatoes that regenerate organs, drinks that change color without changing their chemical composition, or an octopus-shaped jelly with its own life.
  • A company that creates a robot that works without the need for any energy or fuel.
  • Some terrorists with telekinetic powers cause chaos in a major city.

Some names for these organizations are:

  • The 20 white minds (20 sages who maintain the balance in human society)

  • Tessa (organization that is in charge of collecting, storing and studying anything supernatural or strange on a global level)

  • Planetary Treaty for Paraphysical Studies (a paranormal NATO)

  • Parasitians (pure body horror)

  • EXODUS Inc. (like Boston Robotics, but with thaumatological stuff)

  • Æther (a set of consciousnesses from another existential plane)

  • Iksha Group (?)

  • Il Silentio (hive mind that exists as an entity that eats away at the mind of its hosts until they lose their individuality)

  • Outalla (spiritual organization that believes that transmuting the physical body from something organic to inorganic is the true spiritual apotheosis. For this they use a strange artifact that will be activated when strange gems join it and a syzygy occurs. Of Greek origin, they have influence in the Balkans and the Caucasus)

  • Tian Jin De (Order of the Qilin) (ancient Chinese order with very powerful magical artifacts and items)

  • Saito (Japanese company focused on software)

  • Seal of Zephyreon - The Librarians - The Cathedral - Fae (a group that serves as a refuge for faerie beings, they compile any scroll or document with magical power, they have anarchist tendencies although they have several leaders. Their main base is in a pocket dimension that only accessed by invitation or by going to a palace protected by elementals in the middle of the Gobi desert without the aid of GPS)

  • Gaia Collective (A hive mind that manifests as a uniform mass of organic matter that merges with the body and mind of the host. Their headquarters is a huge tree in an impenetrable region of the Amazon. They hate technology and transhumanism)

  • Araangalia Academy (?)

  • Blank&Black (global criminal organization. Dedicated to the smuggling of substances, weapons and methods of deception)

  • Northern Winds (neo-fascist organization present in Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon countries)

  • Red Gear (international organization of left tendencies. They seek to implement communism with the help of the paranormal)

  • Purple Dove (decentralized anarchist group. Its actions are very similar to the Anonymous group)

  • Square-Circle-Triangle (S-C-T) (organization that creates art of all kinds with the help of paraphysical media)

  • Otello (strange organization with a chess-like hierarchy)

  • Federal States of New Palasia (a nation from a parallel universe where Italy and Greece merge and manage to dominate most of the western hemisphere as well as find a portal that helps them travel through space-time. They have an imperialistic drive and will not hesitate in using atomic bombs and kaiju monsters to destroy their adversaries)

I think it's obvious that I'm getting inspiration from the SCP universe (from time to time I go there to write some articles), my problem is that I don't know how the status quo is possible in a world like this, in that universe they never explain it (neither in the hubs nor in the individual stories) and I want to avoid that plot-hole. I have thought of a kind of veil that covers all of our reality that filters out anything supernatural, although it often fails (it's like an interdimensional firewall and the reason why any UFO or cryptid photos are blurred or lost). It may also be that they reach an agreement to maintain normality through diplomatic agreements, alliances and non-aggression pacts, although it would be necessary to observe how they develop geopolitically (my world is a little different in some historical aspects, the USSR mutated in an alliance like the European Union, India and Yugoslavia achieve their respective reunifications, and there are islands and micronations that do not exist in our timeline).

What would be better as an explanation?

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    $\begingroup$ Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking. $\endgroup$
    – Community Bot
    Commented Jul 9, 2023 at 7:12
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    $\begingroup$ "My problem is that I don't know how the status quo is possible in a world like this": Status-quo is rarely possible in a complex world. For example, Western Europe has not seen war since 1945; that's almost 80 years of peace. The previous occasion when Western Europe had celebrated 80 continuous years without war was 2,000 years ago, when Trajan was emperor in Rome... Between those two rare extended periods of peace, Western Europe has never been peaceful for more than a few years at a time. (And being at peace is far for being immobile and stable. The only constant is continuous change.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Jul 9, 2023 at 8:46
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    $\begingroup$ Suggest that this question could be edited down significantly to make it more readable, which might make it easier to understand. Reduce the number of examples, especially the ones that are incomplete or add no useful info, eg 3rd dotpoint from the first list and the 2 organisations where nothing is provided but names. It seems like this requires a treatise on how nation-states, corporations, and the equivalent of specialist guilds and magically empowered religions all interact with each other, which would require a multi-book-length answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 4:05

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I think you are over-thinking it.

Think about how large the organizations are - each one maybe a few thousand members, perhaps even tens of thousands?

Now compare that to, say, the USA and every 2A loving Redneck who likes God, Guns and not the Government.

The widespread knowledge of a series of existential threats towards the average citizen would mobilize said average citizens to go out and hunt down these organizations. It's a pure numbers game.

In the shadows, they can exert power and influence, out in the open - they would be hunted to extinction - even with their powers, they would be outnumbered thousands to one.

Every faction knows this, every faction recognizes this - and so despite playing a game of brinksmanship with each other, jockeying for position etc. They all work in an uneasy unison to hide the evidence of their existence.

However... Every once in a while, things don't always go to plan. Alien abduction stories, Big foot sightings, some of the more fun 'classic' conspiracy theories - you could lay the basis that these were all times when things got out of hand between the factions.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is very much my assessment. Having worked for various "alphabet soup" organizations I learned that this sort of thing is always going on all of the time. In most situations the results happen and are left "as is" for someone else to discover and give context to - which sometimes explains random deaths, random disappearances, and so on. It's a lot like the MIB but without any responsibility to the masses - let 'em make up their own stories! $\endgroup$
    – LongFist
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 13:12
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This dynamic situation can be simplified - or made as complex as you like it - by playing a few games of Steve Jackson's Illuminati. After a while you'll find that there are endless stories to be told --- sometimes from the different perspectives of the same game!

From the "been there/done that" side of things, I was once pressured to provide a manuscript of a secret organization's attempt to perform some act that somehow provided an opportunity for another "unseen" organization's success. We were at a convention, time was short, so I ran down to the Dealer Room to buy a deck of cards (thankfully there is almost always an SJG dealer down there!). Four players and an hour later we had the manuscript's outline complete and not a few ideas for several other RPG adventures!

The moral of the story is "Sometimes it helps to Game it Out."

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I think the first big question is what kind of story do you want your world to tell? Or perhaps the more accurate question is how much do you want your mundane and fantastic sides of the world to intermingle? The strength of your "veil" will ultimately be based on that decision.

The interesting thing about your situation is that there seems to be a sort of kitchen sink approach to the supernatural. Each group seems to have a different means to an end, and many of them probably have different approaches to their supernaturalness.

To that end, I propose a two-fold defence of the supernatural:

Ancient but Holding

The first part is a general weaker veil, ancient but holding. It's function is to show the natural world what it expects to see. It uses the appearance of the being itself to determine its disguise.

The catch is that nobody knows what it is fully, just that it does its thing without fear or favour. It's inscrutable but known nature is a point of contention for multiple factions that strive to make use of it for their own ends. There are even theories and whispers of what it actually is -- all wrong likely.

Of course, it's not perfect. Some are born that can see through it, clear-sighted some might call it. Others hold such a fervent belief in the supernatural (or one specific aspect of it) that they can peer through this veil. Others are unlucky enough to find a hole in the veil and see what one is not meant to see. Most are affected by it and are unaware of it unless they are supernatural themselves.

For those that are affected, they will present as something close to themselves but fitting into the mundane world. A kitsune in fox form will be seen as a single-tailed fox to note one example.

Duct Tape and Prayers

While it is entirely possible that there is a global group that dedicates themselves to keeping the mundanes ignorant -- Tessa or the PTPS maybe -- a more interesting approach is that each group devotes its resources to keeping its own secrets. This is not to say there aren't alliances that help each other, or that different groups might work at cross purposes at cover ups, just that it's not one monolithic enforcement agency.

This protection is more active, but inconsistent. It relies on secret societies policing themselves and each other for the benefit of all of them. Or at least not to their detriment. Each groups method of hiding and enforcement can vary almost as much as their powers and abilities.

For a comparison, let's use a Bigfoot example: The Ancient Veil might show the Bigfoot as a particularly tall human. Alternatively, if it's dark, the the veil might enhance the darkness enough to cast doubt on what was seen.

By contrast, the modern groups will ensure that any pictures are lost or blurry. They are the ones that sow a disinformation campaign out there to deny the supernatural forces out there. Alternatively, some groups take refuge in audacity and just state that everything is true -- Stack Exchange it could be called.

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What you have here is a bunch of different organizations, individuals and entities who all have different goals and motivations, hell the goals of some of them are diametrically opposed to each other. I don't see a possibility for any kind of alliance or agreement between all of those groups. Many of them aren't even going to be aware of each other. I can't see one single mechanism that will keep all of those groups secret. They'll all just have to keep a low profile as best they can, in their own way. It's probably an unsatisfying answer but it's the only one that I see as plausible.

Seal of Zephyreon - The Librarians - The Cathedral - Fae (a group that serves as a refuge for faerie beings, they compile any scroll or document with magical power, they have anarchist tendencies although they have several leaders. Their main base is in a pocket dimension that only accessed by invitation or by going to a palace protected by elementals in the middle of the Gobi desert without the aid of GPS)

It's pretty obvious how these guys stay hidden.

Blank&Black (global criminal organization. Dedicated to the smuggling of substances, weapons and methods of deception)

If they're criminals, keeping secret is kind of their whole thing. Unless they're bad at being criminals.

Gaia Collective (A hive mind that manifests as a uniform mass of organic matter that merges with the body and mind of the host. Their headquarters is a huge tree in an impenetrable region of the Amazon. They hate technology and transhumanism)

Anyone who comes close is going to be absorbed into the organic mass and merged with the hive mind, so they aren't going to tell anyone. At least those Brazilian loggers responsible for Amazon deforestation may get a nasty surprise if they run into this thing.

The 20 white minds (20 sages who maintain the balance in human society)

They use their sageness to keep hidden. Incidentally, if they are responsible for maintaining balance in your world, and it's similar to ours, then I don't think they're doing a particularly stellar job. I question the extent of their sageness. But at least they seem to be good at keeping out of the papers.

Federal States of New Palasia (a nation from a parallel universe where Italy and Greece merge and manage to dominate most of the western hemisphere as well as find a portal that helps them travel through space-time. They have an imperialistic drive and will not hesitate in using atomic bombs and kaiju monsters to destroy their adversaries)

They're using their superior technology to shield themselves from anyone in your world, while they decide if they want to conquer this world or just nuke and kaiju it to oblivion.

Northern Winds (neo-fascist organization present in Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon countries) Red Gear (international organization of left tendencies. They seek to implement communism with the help of the paranormal)

These kind of groups hide in plain sight, relying on the fact that anyone who tries to expose them isn't going to be taken seriously.

All these groups can't totally conceal their existence though. There are people who stumble upon their existence and try to tell others about it. Some even take photos and videos. They are dismissed as cranks and hoaxers and the world moves on.

But perhaps some governments do try to discreetly look into these claims. Maybe FBI is one of the agencies which investigates these cases. Maybe a lot of those reports are given to one talented but overenthusiastic agent who investigates them with his attractive but sceptical redhead partner.

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