Ecclesial Charities is a widely recognized church based support that receives some public money - something that creates some awkward situations. One of the key functions they perform is helping international refugees from all over the world to resettle in the city and find education, work, and safe neighborhoods to live. However, one such specialized ministry, the Lichtensteinian Refugee Ministry, is really a cover for their outreach to the Touched who are struggling to find their place. However, these clients are often recruited to serve the higher mission of the organization, which is to deal with the the various manifestations of evil that seem to have there source beyond ordinary science and nature. These recruits become trained exorcists for the organization.
Organizations are based in the city and interact primarily with the Touched. However, behind them either consciously or unconsciously to them, are darker deeper forces trying to manipulate events through them. It is not necessarily true that even these more powerful sources have the complete picture but they certainly may be expected to have a deeper understanding even if they are not sharing much of it. It helps to think of the overall picture as being like layers of an onion, with the core being Earth and the City being the very center of that. Then around that center is the realm of the arcane circles of power and weird science, as well as the hidden realms that exist on the planet. Next is the Galaxy around the Earth and solar system. Next the various alternate dimensions where intelligent powerful creatures dwell. Then, is the realm that contains all of these, the Dark Realm where the Ancient Ones are imprisoned and long to be freed to return to their former reign over the cosmos. And finally . . .
GENERAL FEATURES OF A COSMIC FACTION
Cosmic Factions have these features: They are governed by one or another species or federation of other worldly intelligences either from the hidden realms of earth, space, other dimensions, or anything else off planet. The usually specialize in one or another type of power or energy such as psionic, arcane, weird technology, etc. They have their own (yet partial) interpretation of the cosmic system and its history and future. If they are active in the affairs in the city it is usually through the intermediary of one or another of the Organizations in the city (a fact that the organization may not want to reveal). The faction often provides powers and devices or information or missions to the organization. Finally each Cosmic Faction has its own vested interest that brings it into conflict with other such factions. Some Cosmic Factions may yet not be aware of the existence of any of the others.
The Intergalactic Empire of the Pirating Clans
Among the intelligent races of the largest occupied area of know space is the Imperium. The Royal Family of the Emperor came to power through victory in the warfare for dominance between diverse space faring races hundreds of thousands of Earth years ago. There remain other space faring governments outside the boundaries of the Empire that trade with or resist the Imperium. However, when the Imperium took notice of Earth, it placed on the status of a natural reservation and instituted a non-interference policy with the hope that in the course of time the human race would evolve to contribute to the Empire. However, this unusual display of benevolence and tolerance is not without self-interest. The Imperium recognizes that the Earth and the city are to play a central role in the future of the galaxy and its reservation policy is meant to keep out rival powers within and outside of the empire. It is rumored that there are members of the Royal Family in line to the imperial throne living incognito in the city. The Imperium does have connections both with Future Co. and the MIB for purposes of trade and secure management of the security of the city.
The Ancient Ones
Beyond the edge of space, time, and sanity are the Old Ones, the Lords of Madness and Chaos, who once entered into the existing order and twisted it to their own reign. By seems or another they were expelled from the Cosmos and locked away behind the Great Wall (or membrane) of empirical reality. They for ages sought to recover there former place and make an end of all sense and purpose and to taste the withering of the minds of all sentient races. But now they cannot operate directly and can only work through indirect influence on those who blindly adore them and worship them or on those who because of their own interests allow themselves to be their tools. The Old Ones believe that the key to their release is at the heart of the city. They also believe that somewhere and somehow, the city contains the only thing that can stop them.
Other possible sources for cosmic factions may include: The realms of Fey: Dark Elves, Black Leprechauns, the Dryads who lived before the foundation of the city, etc. Other dimensions: the Kingdom of the Giant Crabs, the Alternate Roman Empire, etc. Other alien species: The Space Navigator Guilds, the League of Golems, etc.etc.
SETTINGS AND LOCATIONS:
There are two settings that are typically relevant in a SSOS! adventure. One of the ethnic neighborhoods that have their own distinctive flavor, culture, and traditional values that have existed side by side with each other in the city's history. (Ex. In the real Syracuse, there is Tipperary Hill, one of the oldest Irish neighborhoods in America, and Little Italy, an Italian business district. There are also Polish, German, Ukrainian, and Indochinese neighborhoods, native American and refugee neighborhoods, and urban neighborhoods.) Each character is a native child of one or another of these neighborhoods, chosen at character creation.
The other are the adventure locations that are set in or around the city's landmarks and buildings - except always in there "shadow places" that are unknown to the public (Examples; the hidden third basement at the University Research Facilities, the floors "in between" the floors at the City Hotel, the gateway to the Dark elf realm at the base of the Central Statue, the long unused extension built at major shopping mall, and of course the subway that Future Co. built without the city's notice). There are often underground locations or hidden dimensional gateways or cloaked spaceships where much of the real action and adventure lie for the Touched.