“A brush with death always helps us to live our lives better.”
Need help resolving some unfinished business with a loved one who passed? Having a hard time dealing with a passing lover? Or maybe you think that the person you never wanted to see again died and is harassing you beyond death. Whatever your need may be, those of the Orpheus Group will help you deal with death.
Similar advertisements line dark web-websites, word-of-mouth discussion and high society catalogues. They aren’t cheap, but when the dead come a’knocking, you need some heavy firepower to help solve the problem. Enter the Orpheus Group – a clandestine corporation (complete with some epic tax breaks) that on its face looks like someone crossed highly trained psycho-therapists with quack mediums. They do, and their mediums aren’t quacks. Actually, they aren’t mediums at all.
To be an Agent of the Orpheus Group puts you as the rank-and-file of Orpheus’s operations. Its mandate is the study, reconciliation (and sometimes elimination) of spooks and hues that cause undue trouble for the living. The Underworld is a fucked up place, and as an Agent you are on the front lines keeping the dead dead and the living from being so due to the former. Rather than being a quack medium, you can enter the Underworld – what the natives call the “Shadowlands”, to deal with them head on. Not only that, but you are also trained in the use of special powers while Projecting to help you fulfill your mission parameters.
There are two main types of Orpheus Projectors:
Skimmers: Skimmers have mastered the ability to separate their spirits from their bodies naturally, through spiritually active drugs and unique biofeedback techniques married to Kundalini-inspired yoga.
Sleepers: Like skimmers, sleepers’ souls leave their bodies and enter the Shadowlands. Instead of a comfortable little death, sleepers have their blood replaced with chemicals to drop into cryonic suspension, a brute-force expulsion of the soul from the frozen, somnolent body.
History of the Orpheus Group:
The Orpheus Group began as a medical firm focusing on Cryogenics. The rest is a bit more perplexing.
The official story is that it wasn’t until during studies regarding cryosleep that Orpheus discovered that some of its cryogenically frozen test subjects were projecting into the world of the dead. Since then, Orpheus has put a lot of dollars toward the study of Projection. Through a combination of drugs, aestheticism and its advances in Cryogenics Orpheus managed to stabilize a method of cultivating those who could project themselves to the world beyond. This landed them series work, especially as a black op under the NSA for a time.
The Orpheus Group, now a full corporation, has expanded beyond its original purpose. While a small arm of its operations is still dedicated to freezing the super-wealthy, Orpheus gained traction in private security. Everything from PI work to reconnaissance to blackmail and extortion to full blown wetwork are some of the many jobs Orpheus takes.
Not everyone knows of the Orpheus Group. It isn’t a Fortune 500 company or a company that ever really lands on the front page, even if they are a corporation. The Dark Web, high society, the 1 percent, or top tiers of government are the likeliest candidates to know of Orpheus’s wide-ranging profile.
Meanwhile, Orpheus continues to expand its knowledge of the dead. Not natives of the Shadowlands, Orpheus established Project Echo, an initiative in which Orpheus catalogues and learns about the Shadowlands and its native inhabitants – Wraiths. Project Echo is a wide-ranging initiative that becomes second-nature to all their Projectors no matter what task they are given.
The Orpheus Group and the Shadowlands:
Orpheus has had little time to get accustomed to the way of things in the Shadowlands. While there is only so much lore and knowledge that a human can glean, nothing truly prepares Agents for when they first project. All Agents operate within the first layer of the Underworld which is The Shadowlands. As the Shadowlands is a mere mockery of the world of the living, Agents can easily navigate their surroundings (though sometimes they may need some inventive help). The second level of the Underworld, the Tempest, Isles of Calm, Stygia and so on, to Orpheus agents is The Wasteland, a layer of blight, horrendous winds, innumerous Spectres and…well…death. They do however know of the Labyrinth, the ancient maze of cavernous tunnels where Nothing and its Oblivion-Godlike beings sleep and Spectres dot by the thousands. They know because the Labyrinth comes to the Shadowlands at times…and Orpheus is there to nip it in the bud.
Orpheus, as a whole, has little knowledge of Restless society. While they know, via word of mouth, of the story of how a great wraith built a great city and repelled Spectres at every turn like Hercules on steroids only to die again fighting a titanic Oblivion-god, they don’t know the nuance of restless life: The Guilds, what the difference is between a Renegade and a member of the Hierarchy, why Pardoner’s aren’t Heretics and so on. They are new players in the realm of the dead, and the ones who knew about them (The Hierarchy) are scattered to the four winds now, giving Orpheus many opportunities to make a place for itself. Or not.
The Orpheus Group and LA
Los Angeles is a turbulent city on both sides of the Shroud; though the L.A. office in South Park is the second best-funded and second-largest satellite of the company in the United States (second to New York, thanks to an incident there where an apartment building turned out to be a giant array designed to open a portal into the heart of the Labyrinth) there’s never enough budget and never enough personnel to go around. Where New York Orpheus agents have an air of eccentric scientist-investigators, L.A. agents are often akin to bedraggled detectives – rumpled, sleep-deprived, chronically overworked chain-smokers and binge-drinkers who are perpetually on their last nerve. Turns out when an arrogant, shallow, narcissistic Cali-style fuckhead dies and comes back as a ghost, they’re still an arrogant, shallow, narcissistic Cali-style fuckhead. Go figure, right?
The Orpheus group’s primary competitors in the emergent ‘paranormal investigation’ field are Terrel & Squib and NextWorld. Terrel & Squib appears to be a professional Society for Inquiry by all accounts but T&S employees who’ve defected to Orpheus say it’s hiding something sinister. NextWorld is a slickly militaristic 21st-century style operation that is using its resources to expand into the ‘elite private security’ field, since that’s where the money is.
A Disclaimer From Your Local Funeral Director:
Fans of Orpheus will undoubtedly question the Cosmology schism inherent in the Wraith and Orpheus line. In Wraith (W20 too), there’s multiple levels of the underworld to explore and a Shroud that, while a pain, is easy to pass through. In Orpheus, they all got blown up and coalesced into the Wasteland – the one domicile within the Underworld that stood between Grandmother and the Stormwall (which was essentially the Sixth Great Malestrom trapped in the Shroud).
Your local Funeral Director is both aware and cognizant of the fact that Orpheus and Wraith walk on different timelines of the same story (Orpheus arrived on the scene after the Empire Ended after all). Your local Funeral Director has taken careful consideration of how to construct the setting to both keep to the spirit of Orpheus while fitting them in the cosmology of Wraith: The Oblivion. It isn’t perfect, but the presented setting should accommodate Orpheus gameplay and Crucible activity while keeping the Wraith Cosmology intact.
Any questions, contact your local Funeral Director.