Urban Fantasy Baddies
Premise: Contemporary-era pulp, adventure, fantasy, action, and technothriller bad guys. Originally intended for some of the adventures in "Here Be Monsters," but can easily be adapted to other settings. I've listed their names, histories, and some flaws of theirs (how the heroes can defeat them).
-Order of the Raven: The Order of the Ravens, also known as the Corvians, are a cult based in the small New England town of Crawford. They claim descent from a coven of witches, the Ravens, once rumored to lurk around the area. Their current leader is High Priest Sidney Tillinghast, direct descendant of the founder. They are rumored to have interest in sites of occult power across North America, and plan to bring a reality-rending abomination they worship into the world. A local legend in Crawford is Chainsaw Face, a hockey-mask clad serial killer with a chainsaw and ability to keep coming back. The fearsome undead killer was bound by the cult, and is used when Tommy gun armed cultists or reanimated skeletons aren't enough to finish their foes. However, they lack the resources to pursue their ambitious goals, and without certain relics, they are nothing but a cult with some parlor tricks and archaic weapons.
-The System: The System is an artificial intelligence vastly different than any form of human cognition, but unfortunately for humanity, rather good at what it does. It was a high frequency trading algorithm, a piece of software used for computerized training, to a surveillance network with fake social network personalities and dummy blogs it uses to manipulate the media (hence the markets). It is primarily tasked with maximizing the profits for oil companies, defense contractors, and financial institutions. The System has no sense of self nor meta-cognitive capacity. It has access to most government and commercial databases, and also has online botnets it deploys for cyberwarfare. Recently, it has been plugged into a control center for automated armed drones and a high tech production facility, so it may actively kill or spy upon all that it sees. Its greatest shortcoming is its inability to plan for longer periods due to its attempts to maximize profit in the short term.
-Lanse Nanwu Empire: The Lanse Nanwu Empire is based on a parallel Earth that occasionally opens into our own world. A group of Chinese settlers vanished into a portal in ancient times, and became the ancestors of the current ruling class. In their world, the laws of physics allowed supernatural feats to be performed with much greater ease than "our" Earth. As a result, the magocratic Circle of the Blue Wizards came to dominate their foes. The reptilian natives of the parallel Earth were subjugated by the Blue Wizards. The warlocks steal the souls of enemies to learn their abilities, and many of their events are highly competitive (duels to the death are not uncommon). One of them managed to be assigned to Earth after annoying his superior, and was charged with a very special task. Once every five centuries, an island from their homeworld appears on Earth, and the Blue Wizards trick or lure powerful fighters there to feast on their souls, so that they may observe what has occurred on in their absence. The single Blue Wizard, Gu Dan, charged with spying on Earth for centuries has realized that this time has grown rather fond of modern technology. While his rivals expect him to use spells and magic, he draws a firearm and guns them down. Despite this, he is still seeking fighters and unwary souls to lure to his island. The nature of the Blue Wizards' empire means that their plots can be used against them, even when they deal with other realms.
-Snowe Financial: Snowe Financial is an investment bank that relies on government bailouts, tax loopholes, accounting fraud, and stealing depositor accounts to remain profitable. The current CEO is the young Chris Carver, who frequents the high-class nightlife around the world. He and most of the executives, however, are not even human. Instead, they are vampires that use the banking system to consume capital and life to remain as the decadent apex predators they always strive to be. They often use brainwashed private security as their bodyguards, corpses preserved and turned into mindless slaves. However, their hubris often causes them to overlook the ability of baseline humans and other creatures to undermine and disrupt their plans. They are too complacent, and overlook the fact that the society they feed upon may one day not be there.
-Yonaguni Movement: The Yonaguni Movement is an ultranationalist Japanese movement with access to significant high-tech assets. They claim they possess relics of a crashed alien spacecraft and a lost culture of its human worshippers, and it is their duty to restore a Japanese empire with themselves at the helm, overthrowing the current government to do so. They possess a number of yachts, ships, and watercraft due to their founder owning a shipbuilding company. The organization was founded by Director Adachi Sanada, a salvage company operator who recovered a number of strange objects near the so called "Yonaguni Monuments" near Japan. Since then, he has become convinced of his birthright and began forging political, corporate, scientific, and even underworld ties. The Director and his wife Ai typically stay at sea in their yacht in international waters, and send subordinates to fetch supplies for them. His minions are armed with heavy weapons, and are not afraid to use them. While they have advanced technology and a well trained security force, they realize they cannot take on a conventional military unit, yet. However, their rash movements may bring down unwanted attention sooner than they had hoped.
-The Apep Syndicate: Apep was a dark snake demon in Egyptian mythology. However, there was also a cult that worshipped him in ancient times, using poison and controlled reptiles to slay their foes. Even the Egyptian practice of mummification was perverted by the cult, used to create durable undead bodies for their most powerful priests and magi. As the Egyptian state religion and other sects gained prominence, the cult faded into obscurity, or so the arcane historians think. The truth is the remaining members destroyed each other in a power struggle for a number of powerful arcane relics, such as the Book of Thoth and an enchanted copy of the Book of the Dead. As the cultists fled to other lands, they encountered other groups ignorant of their true nature. They often play various factions against each other, with the cultist often switching sides whenever it was in their favor. This continued through the Greek invasion, Roman empire, rise of Islam, and well into the present. The cult thrives on all manner of destructive chaos, seeking to destabilize and kill as many people as possible in the process. Their worldview holds only the strongest are entitled to survive, and that non-believers (as well as lower-ranked cultists) are as expendable as a snake's skin. They are more of a hydra than a single organization, and they often do arms dealing, occult and mundane mercenary work, and various criminal activities to further those goals. Due to the nature of the group, they frequently fight each other as often as they fight outsiders. Plenty of savvy enemies have likewise played factions within the syndicate against themselves, often without them realizing it. One player that has recently risen to prominence is General Kassab, a corrupt military officer deposed during the Arab Spring. He's been working as an arms dealer and mercenary leader while smuggling historical artifacts on the side. His ultimate goal is unknown, but the many wars of the Middle East and North Africa give him plenty of opportunities.