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Not "conspiracies". Conspiracy. Singular.

The most basic definition of The Conspiracy is "a secretive villainous group with an Evil Plan". Let's break it down:

There are three basic kinds of conspiracies, though the borders between them are fluid:

The Conspiracy is generally a great antagonist in any story but two genres make a particularly extensive use of it:

For further tips on writing both of the above, see Write a Conspiracy Theory. For tropes commonly associated with conspiracies, see The Index Is Watching You.

Multiple concurrent conspiracies form a Conspiracy Kitchen Sink. A character believing in conspiracies is a Conspiracy Theorist. See also Milkman Conspiracy and Conspiracy Religion.

Examples of works/series featuring conspiracies of more than one type:


Anime & Manga


Literature


Tabletop Games

  • Eclipse Phase has Firewall, a "heroic" (well, anti-heroic) conspiracy that does not work for any government or criminal organization, and is devoted to the survival of transhumanity at all costs. Though there's also Project Ozma, SETI turned MIB.
  • GURPS Illuminati is an invaluable resource for conspiracy-related games in general.


Video Games


Web Comics


Other

  • The Church Of The Sub Genius blames pretty much everything wrong with the world on "The CONSPIRACY" (which is apparently an acronym for "Cliques Of Normals Secretly Planning Insidious Rituals Aimed At Controlling You").
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