"Change requires chaos, and chaos is ours to orchestrate."
The Dragon is a mystery to most, even to those who consider themselves part of this secret society based in Seoul, South Korea. With agents scattered across the world, the Dragon is a force of nature, believing in the idea that seemingly insignificant events can trigger cataclysmic change -- that a butterfly's wings in Central Park can eventually cause a hurricane in the South Pacific.
Players are not so much recruited by the Dragon as press ganged into service for reasons unknown. The fortunate -- or unfortunate -- chosen are paid an unannounced visit by the Dragon's silent monks, and then whisked away to South Korea, where a nondescript van leaves them stranded inside a neighbourhood of Seoul with, apparently, no exits. From here on in, players are expected to follow the clues and find the current headquarters of the Dragon, where they will learn more about their new destiny.
Unlike the Templars and the Illuminati, the Dragon has no permanent base. Its location shifts with each generation, as the organisation resets and begins anew. The only permanence is with the silent monks, who are tasked with finding a new leader and recruiting the agents and the army needed for the Dragon to fulfil its chaotic destiny. The Dragon issues few direct commands and expects their followers to live by the tenets of their society and to know instinctively how to accomplish their goals. For any new recruit, this may be confusing and even frightening, but it is the way of the Dragon.
Few get close to the Dragon's head, and most interact only with his -- for in this generation, it is a boy -- right hand, who translates and communicates the thoughts of the Dragon to the body of the Dragon. The Dragon's head is watched over by the silent monks, and they are fiercely protective, for without the head the body will also cease to be, and the cycle will have to begin anew.
There are many who serve the Dragon without knowing that they serve the Dragon, or even know what or who the Dragon is, and the player will meet some of these lost souls in the streets of Seoul. Pulled here by events large and small, they are part of a vast machinery of chaos. Their roles may be unclear to all, but they do have a role to play, and sooner or later their presence here will have an effect. The players are not as helpless, and they are given direction -- if not direct commands -- by the Dragon's head, but even they will not yet know what role they ultimately have to play in the orchestration of chaos.
While the Templars and Illuminati are usually engaged in open war, the Dragon prefers subtelty and intrigue, playing its enemies up against each other and acting when they are distracted. Never cowardly, the Dragon simply believes that war is not always about brute force, but also about opportunity, and that it's sometimes better to hold back and wait than to rush into battle.
The ancient origins of the Dragon lie somewhere in East Asia, though few know exactly where, when or even why they came to be. Divergent accounts from history provide fleeting glimpses of the Dragon's modus operandi, though the history of the Dragon precedes modern society -- perhaps even the dawn of this age.
It is said that one person will never know the entire story, the whole truth, and nowhere is this more evident than with the Dragon. Through chaos, a system emerges, though its ultimate purpose remains a puzzle shrouded in a mystery.
Into Darkness – Ranking Mission
In the Secret World, players will progress through the ranks of their secret society, gaining more power and rewards as they reach a higher standing within their chosen society. In order to move up the ranks, players will complete missions that are unique to their secret society.
What follows is an example of one of the ranking missions in The> Secret World.
The Back Story
Through a long trail of shady deals and government bribes, one of New York’s underground criminal cults has acquired a valuable artefact -- a relic smuggled out of a remote village in Egypt by an enterprising young pilot who decided that his cargo might be worth more to the right client in the USA than his original client in South Africa, and subsequently managed to bring the artefact to New York.
After procuring the artefact, the cult has now received an offer from the Illuminati to sell it for a significant amount of cash. The Illuminati doesn’t want the artefact to fall into the wrong hands -- and they do want it to fall into their hands.
The deal has been made and the swap has been arranged. The parties in question are meeting in a dingy car park in Co-op City, the Bronx.
The stage is set.
The Dragon’s Perspective
“When a man ascribes value to an object, that object becomes a weakness that can be exploited.”
The Dragon has received word of the artefact, but they could care less about the object itself. However, they do recognise its potential as a catalyst for gaining an advantage in the secret war, something that can be used to play the other societies up against each other.
The player is tasked with impersonating the Illuminate agent assigned to do the pickup, and stealing the artefact.
The player will intercept the Illuminate agent in a subway station in Brooklyn -- close to the Illuminati headquarters -- and use a fast acting sedative to knock them out. Stealing their credentials and outfit, they make their way to the car park.
The player makes their way down through the levels of the car park, noting that the entire area is patrolled by thugs working for the cults. Wearing the Illuminati credentials, however, the player is allowed to pass through.
As the player reaches the lowest level of the garage and approaches the cult leader who’s holding the artefact and his personal guards, the shit suddenly hits the fan.
Out of the shadows, a Wendigo -- a creature from Native American mythology -- attacks the cult leader. At the same time, all the lights go out.
In the near total darkness, the player can hear the screams of the dying and the scrabbling, chewing sounds of the massive beast as it devours its victims and begins moving towards their position.
As the player progresses back up through the car park towards the exit, they must avoid the flashlight beams of the spooked thugs, and deal with the Wendigo as it repeatedly emerges from the shadows to attack and kill the cult members.
Fleeing the car park, the Dragon player has learned a few things. An artefact was supposed to be sold to the Illuminati. Someone intercepted the trade -- someone with enough skill to control a Wendigo, a famously difficult beast to charm. And now that someone has procured an artefact that could be more powerful than anyone suspected...