Behold with sleepless eyes! regard this Earth
Made multitudinous with thy slaves, whom thou
Requitest for knee-worship, prayer, and praise,
And toil, and hecatombs of broken hearts,
With fear and self-contempt and barren hope.
Obscurely through my brain, like shadows dim,
Sweep awful thoughts, rapid and thick.
For know there are two worlds of life and death:
One that which thou beholdest; but the other
Is underneath the grave, where do inhabit
The shadows of all forms that think and live
Till death unite them and they part no more;
Dreams and the light imaginings of men,
And all that faith creates or love desires,
Terrible, strange, sublime and beauteous shapes.
There thou art, and all the powers of nameless worlds,
Vast, sceptred phantoms; heroes, men, and beasts
World of Darkness
In 2043 a large group of Mages achieved Ascension, which led to the arrival of something truly terrible in Chicago. The entire city was nuked immediately by other members of the Technocracy. Efforts to Ascend have weakened significantly after that.
In 2050 The first manned mission to Mars.
In 2052 The Breath of R’lyeh discovered.
In 2057 Wormhole opened to Proxima Centauri. Start of interstellar colonization. First Homo Superior and Super Soldiers created.
In 2065 some Mages learned that Vampires exist, this led to Nuclear World War. Eventually the war ended with Mages agreeing to maintain the Masquerade in exchange for some benefits. Only a billion people died. Tokyo, Jakarta, Delhi, New York - the teeming multitudes of the largest cities of the world accounted for only a fraction of humanity's 10.3 billion. We had enough luck to be dispersed across the wide places of the world, where no bomb would bother checking in. So the nukes themselves only caught half a billion people sleeping in their cribs, scrambling for their shelters, or stuck in 9 am traffic. And, except for the countless ground zeros, it usually wasn't a fast death - fire and ash is a bad way to go. Seven billion people died in the next six months. The food just wasn't there, and the fires only added to the 150 megatons of radioactive soot already in the atmosphere. If you weren't starving, the cell walls of your lungs were puking themselves from all those extra ions. If you weren't sprouting unhealthy looking black bumps, you were getting murdered and eaten by your neighbors in the rubble pile next door. Hunger does that. 2.5 billion people left.
In 2070 a certain Cult was successful in summoning an Outer Being. A large part of South America is now the Forbidden Zone where reality has crumbled and unspeakable things walk the Earth. 2 billion people still on earth.
In 2075 came the Yith Incident, where almost the entire population of Australia was mentally replaced by members of the Great Race. To maintain the Masquerade the continent was cut off from the rest of the world and only certain governments and Mega-Corps can communicate with it. The official version is that a plague killed everyone there. 1.5 billion people left on earth, same as the year 1888.
It is now the year 2077. The world is ruled by a shaky alliance between Vampires and Mages. It is sometimes difficult to tell where the cybernetic ends and supernatural begins.
Cybernetic implants do not work on vampires or shapeshifters.
The Deep Ones have gained a lot more power in the last few decades. They live in nuclear-powered cities at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean. They interbreed with humans and are preparing for something. Only powerful and influential Vampires and Mages know they exist.
The Virtual Internet, or Cyberspace, has some places where few go. Seemingly corrupted for no reason, they can twist the minds of those who dare enter them. Sometimes nothing bad happens, but sometimes the people who leave these places come back changed. Not really insane, but not really all there. Their habits change, they act strangely or whisper words in strange languages. And a few weeks later the Dark Inquisition firebombs their homes.
The Triads are led by the Kuei-jin and Lasombra
The Mafia are led by the Giovani
The Russian Mafia are led by the Ventrue
The Cartels are led by various factions of the Sabbat
The Yakuza are led by the Yama King Mikaboshi
The Jo-Pok (Jojik-Poklyeokbae 조직폭력배) are led by the Tremere, small packs of Kkangpae are led by Glass Walkers
Regular Mega-Corporations only contact with Kindred is the unintentional hiring of the occasional Assamite hitman.
And of course, Vampire Mega-Corps have secret blood-draining farms.