Every so often, I like to take a literary or film character/group and re-build them for a game. One organization I’ve used multiple times is the Isacariot Organization from the Hellsing anime.
The Isacariot Organization, also known as Vatican Section XIII, is a top secrete organization within the Roman Catholic Church. This orgnaization is so secret that they officially do not exist. They serve as the church’s militant arm in the fight against all that is vile and unholy. Their exact capabilites are unknown, but they likely engage in weapons and genetics research far beyond normal science.
So how do we take an organization like this and bring it into our game? One approach I’ve taken is to bring them in wholesale! I went so far as to create a Dresden Files game where the players where either part of a modified Isacariot Organization or were freelance supernatural agents (technically, natural enemies). Both groups had to work together for a given goal, but always carried the tension of possible betrayal. This approach doesn’t require a lot of finesse. You take the group, make the minimal modifications to fit your setting and let it run. If you’re worried about players making assumptions based on the anime, simply change the name! They’ll still probably make the connection, but they’ll be less likely to make inappropriate assumptions.
Another approach is to take just the concept. For example, you could take the concept of a secret, militant Vatican organization into a sci-fi setting. In this example, they might have agencies across multiple planets. Agents of the organization (perhaps even players) act as travelling priests when needed to deal with a threat, using the church as cover. From there, they can deal with the threats using their full capabilities having been able to move freely between systems.
Sometimes it’s enough to just take a handful of characters. For me, the character of Alexander Anderson is iconic. My first introduction to the character was through the English dub, so I typically think of him as Scottish (technically, his nationality is unknown). Perhaps Alexander shows up in your Victorian or Renaissance era game as a foil. Perhaps without some of the more outlandish powers, but retaining his penchant for religiously themed blades and weaponry. A character like this would work terrifically in a game like Spellbound Kingdoms (heck…I may need to do that….).