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Basic Trope: A shadowy but insanely powerful group of villains secretly pulls every string in the story.

  • Straight: The Knights Templar have orchestrated a millenia-long Gambit Roulette (including their own disbandment, World War II, and the rise of the boy bands) to bring the Anti Christ into the world. They are now two steps away from causing The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Exaggerated: Every single secret society that ever existed (from the Freemasons to the White Lotus) is actually The Knights Templar in disguise. And they are also the true masters of every single government in history since Boethos and Gilgamesh.
  • Justified: The Templars were started by The Precursors because they noticed some flaw in their project (the present race), which the Ancient Conspiracy was intended to avert. However, they are warped over time into Well Intentioned Extremists and become the villains.
  • Inverted:
    • The Templars are an Ancient Tradition dedicated to keeping the secrets of The Precursors until the world is ready.
    • The conspiracy isn't ancient.
    • An ancient rivalry among a group of people, all of them trying to foil each other's plans right up to the present day.
  • Subverted: The Templars get the bad rap because of, well, Knight Templar characters among them, who engage in little side projects like summoning the Anti Christ. However, except for those bad apples, their methods and goals are no worse than those of any other large, old institution.
  • Double Subverted: ...except that said Knight Templar characters now sit on The Omniscient Council of Vagueness, too.
  • Zig Zagged: Noone knows the true goals of the Templars, as their acts fall anywhere between Lawful Good to Chaotic Evil. Maybe, they don't even exist.
  • Parodied: "Nobody expects The Knights Templar!"
  • Deconstructed:
    • A Conspiracy Theorist ends up in a nuthouse after his carefully compiled theory about The Knights Templar shatters on contact with reality.
    • The conspiracy started off with sinister aims or a particular goal, but as the world changed and the original founders died and moved into history, their successors gradually lost their way, drifting away or losing interest in the original goals until it eventually became unrecognizeable from what it started out as.
    • Nazi Germany propaganda, which depicted non-German-aligned nations as all part of an ancient conspiracy against Germany
  • Reconstructed:
    • However, a few opportunistic criminals get their hands on his research, find it profitable in a long run, and go ahead with the "Templars' Evil Plan".
    • Conspiracy Buffs are sent to Cuckoo's Nest insane asyla because the international Psychologists' conspiracy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ancient Conspiracy.
  • Averted: There is no conspiracy.
  • Enforced: "We need a direct link between our villain and Adolf Hitler. Oh, I know! The Thule Society actually survived and they are now at it again!"
  • Lampshaded: "The Templars, huh?"
  • Invoked: A rather new conspiracy tries to make itself look older in order to seem more intimidating.
  • Defied: A documentary examining Urban Legends about the Templars and rating their plausibility based on current historical research. Final count: 0.
  • Discussed: "The Templars tried taking over Middle-East in the 19th century but -- guess what? -- the Hashshashin fought them back. Again. And with the Dragons in control of the Far East, they didn't gain much foothold in Asia since..."
  • Conversed: "So for the third season, they needed an ubervillain even bigger than a Physical God, so they took the next best thing, the Ancient Conspiracy."
  • Played For Laughs: Secret societies run so rampant that everyone is ultimately plotting against everyone. Nobody can so much as order a pizza without invoking a One Million Xanatos Pileup.
  • Played For Drama: The conspiracy is so good at what it does, nobody ever truly catches on. Tugging at the back of every sane person's mind is the thought that their Crapsack World is the result of collusion by wealthy elites, but those few that try to prove it are thoroughly crushed.
  • Plotted A Good Waste:
    • What starts off as a Conspiracy Thriller is soon revealed to be an accurate introduction into the world history, intended to raise the masses' awareness of it by wrapping knowledge into a fast-paced (if not overly complex) thriller plot.
    • Vive La Résistance! Aux armes, Citoyens! Formez vos battaillons!

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Unless, of course, TV Tropes is an Ancient Conspiracy which only needs you to return to the Ancient Conspiracy page to be able to summon the Eldritch Abomination...

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