There's an entire world that exists beneath humanity's notice. A community of nations, alliances and races more weird and twisted then imagination has provided. And scarier in ways our imagination is incapable of produced. Vampires. Demons. Revenants and werewolves, gods and monsters. All of them are real, but for some reason they remain hidden. How? Why? Well, there's a very easy explanation for that altogether. Besides the fact we don't advertise, humanity itself is very, very good at being their own censor. They refuse to believe the evidence of their eyes and flee from anything that is unexplained in ways they call 'rational.' Because if they go around telling people, sooner or later they end up committed and locked away. Which is perfectly true.
But what about the weirdos? Those who talk about sightings, the unexplained, the alien? Who attempt to explain what they've seen? People ignore them, because of fear and because we refuse to believe.
And this is also true.
Funny, isn't it? That humanity that prides itself upon scientific advancement and reasoning, can be so dead wrong about the world? Check your history, it happens all the time. People threatened to burn the notes of a certain crackpot who claimed the earth revolved around the sun. Germs? Didn't exist, until people saw it with their own eyes. The earth was flat at one point, till people sailed around for their own discovery and biologists who heard of wildmen in the mountains of Africa scoffed before someone slapped a mountain gorilla on their dissecting table and even that was iffy, when a Platypus was sent in the mail.
We're a race perfectly willing to live in ignorance, because to admit otherwise would label us as crazy. We all have a ghost story in our family tree. We keep them quiet for our own reasons and the rest of us do the rest. But it all would have been impossible were it not for people on the level of the average human. And there are more people then there are persons in the world as it is now.
It still seems impossible though. That creatures that slaughter and hunt humans would be ignored entirely, on a scale that people seem to regard them. Well, lets look at things in a different way shall we?
I remember a wizard who explained it to me once, using statistics. It stuck in the head somewhat, after all this time. He began by telling me that at one point, more than nine hundred thousand people were reported missing and not found. That's out of about three hundred million, total population. That breaks down to about one person in three hundred and twenty-five vanishing. Every year. If you're around the age of thirty-eight since you graduated? So that would mean that between forty and fifty people in your graduating class of eight hundred people, give or take are gone. Just gone. No one knows where they are. Amazing, right? So where did they all go?
He then followed up by saying that it was almost, a direct correlation to herd animal loss to large predators on the African Savannah. Like I said.
It sticks in the mind.
Welcome to the Moonlit World.
For most people, New York City is New York City, America is America, and Earth is Earth—but there’s more to the world than that.
Beneath the “normal” surface of the world are things and people which most humans don’t know about, don’t want to know about, and will do their best to forget about if they ever come anywhere near them. That dead body with the odd toothmarks? Attacked by stray dogs. The traces of thirty different infectious diseases on this corpse? Statistical anomaly. The Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton from the museum scattered in a thousand pieces on the college lawn? Student prank.
People won’t see things they don’t want to see. Most of the citizens of the world would laugh at the idea of magic, even though some wizards and witches have their number and occupation right in the phone book. It’s always possible for everyone, from heroes to bystanders, to turn away and not get involved. It’s often the easiest thing in the world to do. You can choose between good and evil, light and darkness, possibility and necessity, taking action and going home to curl up with a good book. The world is weirder, more wonderful, and more deadly than it seems. Some people know this. There are people who know that magic exists and know who to call when they run into it. There are humans who have been divinely blessed or diabolically cursed. There are faeries—small, big, hugely ancient and terrifying.
There are dragons, although these days it’s said they consider bearer bonds as well as gold for their hoards. The Shadowlands—the world of fae and ghosts—is just on the other side of a veil from normal life; courts of vampires divide the night among them; the White Council of wizards tries to protect the innocent and stop the misuse of magic.
All of this is going on, right under our noses.
You don’t know the half of it yet.
Many residents of the supernatural world—some people call it the “Old World” or more commonly "Moonlit World'—organize themselves into factions, for the same reasons pure mortals organize themselves into tribes and nations: mutual protection and shared culture. Problem is, factions in the supernatural world make the United Nations look like the local bridge club. Supernatural factions have hidden histories, dark secrets, and blood feuds. Each one has its own version of how much they’ve left their fingerprints on the history of the world. And when disagreements arise, you’d better get out of the way.
However, these factions tend to go to some effort to make sure that mortals don’t even bother to start looking for their fingerprints in the first place. To the supernatural set, most of the world should enjoy comfortable ignorance. Vicious wars have been fought among these supernatural nations, right under the noses of unsuspecting mortals. Nevertheless, some events and episodes of the Old World order are well-established and can even be tracked by mundane humans.
In the wider scope of things, a lot of the effect of the supernatural on mortal history actually gets canceled out behind the scenes. The White Council saves a settlement here; the Red Court takes over a European colony in South America there; volcanoes explode, killing thousands (and a number of nasty mystical critters); Milwaukee disappears for a weekend. These things happen. The important thing about occult history is that it gives rise to long-standing grudges and vendettas among the supernatural factions. And these centuries-long animosities often catch uninvolved people in the gears and grind them up, leading to new and different drives for revenge.
Life isn’t fair. That’s history too.