General Information

Hey there, Sailor. Come on and sit for a spell. Your Boatswain said I should give you the talk, so here we are.

No, no..., you're not in any trouble. Quite the opposite. You've been with us for six months and you've done a good job by all accounts, so we've decided to start keeping a better eye on you. And part of that is it's time you learned a thing or two about what we're about and what we're up to.

Protecting people's stuff isn't the whole matter, see. It's what we do and we do it well, but there's more to it than that. I mean, anyone can set up a protection racket. The Spooks have been doing that since Neptune knows when.

Of course, there's a big difference between what we do and theirs and, truth be told, I ain't going to call what we do a "racket." There's no "racket," about it. We don't threaten people. We wait for them to come to us and then we talk business like civilized folk instead of scared marks and angry thieves. The Spooks don't like us, but I'm sure by now you know enough to not like them, either, so there you are.


Reality Check: The Keepers vs. The Spooks

To be quite frank, the Spooks really don't like ANY renegade groups. They see the Hierarchy as something they can subvert and later replace with something better, or take over from within, but they know that if it just fell then Oblivion would have a picnic.

The Spooks hate The Keepers because a long, long time ago the Spooks tried to use them as a scapegoat and got burned hard in return. The enmity on both sides hasn't abated much since.


A Sacred Mission

You see, Sailor, we are entrusted with a purpose what's been handed down through the ages of Man. We keep secrets.

People come to us with secrets and we hear them, hide them and say nothing. We're given stories too large to tell, information too special to be trusted to anyone else, and things that no one else should get a hold of, and we take them into our safekeeping. And then, just to make sure no one gets hold of them except the person what's paid us, we put them the one place that most Wraiths just can't go - straight down into Davy Jones' locker.

Of course, in our situation it's Lake Superior, but that's not here or there. We "resign" the secrets, one and all, for a mere ten Oboli a month per item to be stored, and whenever you're needing them back you just have to say so. A good, clean transaction... of course, if you don't pay us we get to keep them for good. That's just business.


Reality Check: "Just Business"

That's fairly accurate, actually. The Keepers are good to their word. If you pay
them the fee they will hide your things for you, and they will deliver them
back into your hands whenever you so desire. It doesn't matter whether it's a
Relic, an Artifact, a Fetter, a piece of information... anything they can pick up
and take with them to "resign" can be taken away. There's even talk of
wraiths being hidden away, too, but we can only hope they're not given the
same treatment as everything else.

And yes, they will keep what you give them if you don't pay every month.
What they would do with those things is a troublesome concept: Artifacts and
Relics can always be sold, but what do they do with the secrets? How many
lost secrets do The Keepers have in their possession?

And as a side note, more of more of The Keepers are choosing to use the term
"Deep-Six" as opposed to "resign." This may indicate some shift in their
philosophy, or it may simply be modern parlance creeping in.


Diving Orders

Each city what's got a Locker in it's got a rank and file. It goes from the bottom to top, and the only way to get from one end to the other's good, honest work. There's no slacking about, here. Either you're ship-shape or you're shipped out, and there's no need you to know just what that means yet.

Down at the bottom, if you'll pardon the parley vous, are the Sailors (Status 1). That's you. You've just joined so you get to do all the dirty and thirsty work. Good news is that everyone over you was a Sailor once, too, so they're not likely to muck you about too much.

Over that are the Boatswains (Status 1, 2 or 3), and they're the ones making sure the dirty jobs get done and coordinating efforts with the Second Mates. Their big job is presenting a blank face for the customer to drop off and pick up with.

Then you have Second Mates (Status 2 or 3), like me. Now, see, when you're a Second Mate is when we start letting you in on some of the big secrets. Before then it's just too dangerous to trust you with too much. Don't look so glum, now. You'd do the same if you were where I am. I have to be the one to go meet with the customers, and for all I know I could be walking into a trap, right? So I have to keep my wits about me, and the only way I learned how to do that is by being where you are now and learning by what I could pick up.

Over me and my mates is the First Mate (Status 3 or 4). Some places have more than one, we have only one because that's really all we need. The First Mate runs the show for the Captain (Status 4 or 5) when the Captain's out of town or attending to other matters. The Captain will be out quite a bit, in fact, mostly because the Captain's got all sorts of important things to
do. And yes, there's a reason why I'm not using any "he" or "she" with the Captain or the First Mate. Security, my boy.

And over us all, in charge of the whole operation, is the Admiral (Status 6). I have never met the Admiral myself, but I have been told by the Captain that the Admiral is quite something indeed. Quite something. The Admiral's been the same one since as far back as The Keepers go, so that is one tough Gaunt right there. I have no idea who it could be, either... and it ain't a good idea to speculate too much from where you are. You just keep your mind on your duties and let us wonder about that, see?


Reality Check: Disturbing Rumors...

Quite a secret group up at the top, eh? They take their secret lodge
handshakes quite seriously, and it's been said that any Sailor who learns too
much too soon winds up in the category of "loose lips sink ships" and
disappears. People who give away secrets to outsiders get the same treatment.

What IS going on up there? Getting any of them to spill it is next to
impossible, and catching them is even moreso, but every once in a while the
Hierarchy catches hold of some Sailor or Boatswain who's willing to sell some
secrets just to avoid the forges. Most of them don't know anything substantial,
but some interesting puzzles have formed from the pieces they give out.

Try this one on for size: The Keepers supposedly evolved from a Skinlands
sea-based mystery religion, one practiced in some obscure corner of the
Mediterranean during the heyday of the Roman Empire. They worshiped
Neptune and Selene in tandem, believing that the Moon Goddess held divine
secrets and entrusted them to Neptune to keep safe. Every month, when the
Moon was a crescent in the sky, they would go to the sea at high tide and burn
papers on which they'd written down the great secrets of that month, letting
the ashes scatter into the sea. No one's sure whatever became of the
practitioners: after the rise of Christianity nothing more was ever heard from
them. In fact, they're so obscure we don't even know what name to give them.
Maybe they burned it?

The other piece of information has to do with their relationship with Stygia,
where The Admiral supposedly resides. One of those Boatswains all but
swore that he saw The Admiral conferring in secret with one of the
Deathlords. Names were mentioned, mostly the names of those high-ranking
and notorious renegade leaders who claim to be the masters of the Guilds.
Which Deathlord? We don't know. Which Guild leaders? Cianfrocco was one
of them, the rest escape us. Cianfrocco is the "Guildmaster" for the Spooks:
the plot thicks...

And then there's something about the nature of those weird, neo-masonic
secret handshake meetings the Second Mates get initiated into. Supposedly
some real scary stuff goes down, and while we're not exactly rolling in clear
evidence it's starting to look like The Keepers might actually be a Heretic cult
masquerading as a Renegade group.

There's tales of dark meetings amongst the Captains in some remote location
of the Atlantic Ocean, or maybe the Mediterranean Sea. Weird stuff goes on at
those times, and supposedly there's one section of the Shadowlands ocean
that's just crawling with plasmics. Are they opening nihils with what they're
doing, or is something coming through to greet them?

And if so, who or what are they worshiping? Selene and Neptune are forefront
in the public image, of course, but supposedly there's other, less recognizable
names behind the scenes. "Dagon" and "Hydra" are two of the more
pronounceable ones, and the rest sound like pure gibberish mixed with the