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TV Tropes: Ancient Conspiracy


Tweet of the Day: Baba Yaga comes to The Book Smugglers


According to Cornell University Law School Page a conspiracy is:

An agreement between two or more people to commit an illegal act, along with an intent to achieve the agreement’s goal.  Most U.S. jurisdictions also require an overt act toward furthering the agreement.  An overt act is a statutory requirement, not a constitutional one. See Whitfield v. United States, 453 U.S. 209 (2005). The illegal act is the conspiracy’s “target offense.”

But in popular culture, fueled by fiction’s use of the word, a conspiracy is a secretive group working behind the scenes and in charge of all the evil in a given setting. But it is not just some secret cabal pulling the strings, it is an old organization, spanning most of human history.

It is the Ancient Conspiracy.

It engineers everything from humanity migration from Africa to the first Mars Landing. Sorry, you were not suppose to hear about that, or about the secret treaty with the alien empire poised to conquer the Earth the day after tomorrow.  It is a nifty upgrade to your average conspiracy. The ancient part makes it even more ominous and something that has been around for so long that it can’t be easy to destroy, not with centuries of experience an a nearly endless supply of resources.

But the Ancient Conspiracy has three weaknesses: a credible reason to exists, , a reason to remain secret, and a way to survive over time thus putting the ancient in the conspiracy. Power, in the form of wealth, magic, technology, or politics is usually the primary reason for the conspiracy, among others. If it has all the power it needs then either there is a source of power beyond their control, it exists to preserve the power it already has, or both. Secrecy is the primary way of preserving the conspiracy. If others know of it they can attack it or co-opt it. Since keeping such a vast operation completely secret is nigh impossible, the well constructed conspiracy sheds exposed operations, misdirects its opponents, and morphs to fit any environment.  The last point is the hardest to pull off. One path to longevity comes from the immortality of its members, ancient wizards, demons, vampires, fallen angels, aliens, what have you. They are the conspiracy and as long as they are around it will continue. The second is that the conspiracy is founded on powerful ideas. Any given incarnation of the organization can fail, but others will pick up the torch in the future and continue it.

Of course, it might all just be window dressing. If you want conspiracy cred you need to at least name drop Osiris, the Templar, or Atlantis in your secret stash of documents.


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