Solicitors can use the same Backgrounds that any other Wraith might, plus a new one: Clients. Status, and Relics and Artifacts are described in some detail, below.

General View on Backgrounds

Allies and are seen as extremely useful. Without allies in the Cabal, a Solicitor is a target. But they never consider an ally to be anything more than temporary. The best way to break off such a relationship is to sacrifice the other fellow for your own purposes: Soulforged wraiths tell no tales.

Contacts, on the other hand, are a bit touchy. Why have someone you have to pay when you could have a Client, whom you can command? Contacts are generally wraiths whom the Solicitor does not wish to risk tipping her hat to - yet. Many clients were once contacts.

A Mentor or two would never be a bad thing, but their students should remember that lessons can sometimes be errands - or what a contact might call a favor - in disguise. They should also remember that the mentors view their pupils to be as temporary as the pupils might view an ally. Someone is being used in the relationship.

Eidolon is vastly important, for it represents the strength of the will over that of the Shadow. The Shadow would make the Solicitor be weak, or else think herself stronger than she truly is. Eidolon can burn through that falsehood, but, as with the Shadow, this, too, has its own agenda. Not everything it shows can be trusted, either, but it would at least spur a wraith forward instead of back, or down...

Haunts, Memoriam and Legacies are good things that must not be shared with anyone. Much like the location of Fetters, or the exact nature of Passions, they are not topics for discussion. Anyone who speaks of such things has just made herself a target, or at least set herself up for the eventual fall.

As for Notoriety... that is a double-edged sword. No one would argue that, once you've made the rounds more than a few times, a reputation saves time and effort that would otherwise be spent on introductions, threats and posturing. On the other hand, if you're trying to keep a low profile, there's nothing worse than having someone recognize your from across the room.

Don Salazaar is the most notorious Solicitor of them all, and he can go where he pleases without much hassle because of it. But, then, he is Don Salazaar.


The Solicitors main source of strength - other than their understanding of Intimation - lies in the wraiths they use it upon. Clients are the wraiths that a Solicitor has ensnared in her personal web of promise, deceit and desire. The more Clients a Solicitor has, the more she is able to do. Clients also buy a Solicitor a certain level of immunity from her fellow Solicitors: who would dare dispose of her and risk collapsing her network?

Clients are neither Allies nor Contacts: they will not stick their necks out for the Solicitor, nor does the Solicitor need to pay them for their further services. She need only command, and they will obey... or at least try to.

Each dot in Clients represents a single individual (major Client) who is very useful, and up to a handful of others (minor Clients) who are marginally useful, or fairly useless. Whenever a Solicitor tries to get a major Client to do something, the Storyteller should roll secretly at a difficulty of 10 - the Solicitor's level of Intimation to see if the Client succeeds or not. With the minor Clients, their success of failure at the whim of the Storyteller, as she deems best for the overall Story.

While this background is meant to represent a tool that Solicitors have, Storytellers should be aware that, in the hands of a "munchkin" player, this Background could be abused. Care should be taken in presenting Clients, and making certain that the Solicitor (1) takes in-character time to look out for them, and (2) doesn't rely on them for everything. Losing dots in this background due to neglect or overuse isn't out of the question.

0: No Clients yet, or did you lose them all?

*: One Major Client, and a handful of Minor ones.

* *: Two Major Clients, and a baker's dozen of Minor ones.

* * *: Three Major Clients, and a squad of Minor ones.

* * * *: Four Major Clients, and a large gang of Minor ones.

* * * * *: Five Major Clients, and an army of Minor ones.


You know the way - It throws about
It takes you in - And spits you out

"Cuts You Up" - Peter Murphy

To the Cabal, Status isn't just a measure of how much rank you hold, but also how much respect you can command from your peers, or those who are technically "beneath" you. A Master who doesn't watch her step won't get much respect from the Novices she commands, and an Apprentice who's worth her weight in good works might find herself spoken to at the same level as a Novice.

Respect is not purely a function of words or ideas, but deeds, and there is no deed better in the eyes of the Cabal than cultivating a "customer" for its use. As a result, no Solicitor may have a Status more than one dot higher than her current rating in the Clients Background.

Solicitors are urged to think several steps in advance, as one single misstep might do more than make them stumble. Status might go up or down several times in a Chronicle, given the fickle nature of the Cabal, and it generally takes more time to gain - or regain - it than it does to lose it.


Apprentice (0 to 1)

At this stage the Wraith is a Solicitor in name only. She is being taught the most basic skills of the Art (Basic Abilities), and all the while her political acumen, mental fortitude and willingness to obey orders without question is constantly tested. Sometimes these tests are so secretive that the Apprentices don't realize they're being given until they've passed or failed, if ever.

Those who pass the high bars their Masters set for them are tapped on the shoulder to undergo the Inclusion Ritual and become Journeymen. Those who do not are sacrificed, soulforged or disposed of in some fitting manner that best aids the Cabal as a whole.


Novice (1 to 2)

Following the Ritual, the Solicitor (who may now refer to herself by that name) is given a Wheel of Centering and a Mask, and allowed to pick a name more befitting her new station
if she so desires.

From here, she begins to learn the more advanced Arts of the Arcanos, and is drilled and coached in the ways of subterfuge, deceit and subtle bargaining. She will not be allowed to make deals on her own until she is a Master, but for the time being she will be allowed to watch and learn. To advance, a further test will be laid, the most common of which is for the Solicitor to slowly but surely cultivate a client - to be chosen by her Master - in such a way that the target never knows she's being manipulated.


Master (2, 3 or 4)

Once here, the Solicitor's duties expand. She may be a teacher of new recruits, an agent provacateur, or anything else the Cabal requires of her. The politicking at this stage is almost as dangerous as Desire's Whiplash, given the jockeying for position that occurs. The Center of the Wheel hands Hir orders down, but the question is always the way in which they're carried out, or how, or why. And from these divisions grow the flowers that trip rivals underfoot.


Grand Master (4 or 5)

Having progressed this high up, the Solicitor enjoys a position of rank and privledge within the Cabal. She may be the master of a Necropolis' Chapterhouse, the figurehead of a negotiating team or one of the trusted eight who report to, or advise, The Center of the Wheel. One of the more well-known Grand Masters is Don Salazaar.

Artifacts and Relics

Courtesy of the Gardeners, the Cabal has quite a few interesting toys at their disposal. No one needs to say where they come from; The price of failure is quite understood...

Anything marked Guild Property can be owned by no one. If a Solicitor needs one, it will be made available to her for as long as she needs it, and must then be returned.


Hypnobutton: 2

The name of this handy Artifact is a bit of a misnomer, as it doesn't have to be a button. Any kind of pin, bauble or other sort of Relic or Artifact will do, so long as it's steeped in the bubbling plasm of a Solicitor lost to Desire's Whiplash for 72 hours and had other, unspeakable things done to it.

After that, the Solicitor who gets it must meditates upon it, considering the Dread Secret as she does. During this time she places one point of Permanent Willpower into its surface. Ever thereafter, if she wears it somewhere that a target can see it, the hypnobutton will reduce the difficulties of all Intimation rolls by 1 for her and her alone. No one else can use her Hypnobutton unless they, too, meditate upon it and make the sacrifice of a point of Permanent Willpower.


Clear Spectacles: 3

These are eyeglasses that, when worn, have the effect of making Intimation's Arcanos Marking go away. So long as they're worn, the left eye - or both, for those who have developed that odd trait - will appear whatever color it normally would. They're made in such a way that they appear to be a part of the Wraith's corpus as opposed to a Relic or Artifact, but it only takes one good punch to the nose to dislodge them and ruin the secret. Some Gardeners have been tying to get their hands on a supply of Relic contact lenses to alleviate this problem, but haven't had much luck thus far.


Centering Wheel: 3

The mark of any fully-recognized Solicitor, this appears to be a catherine wheel made from tarnished bronze, and has an odd warmth to it surface that cannot be fully explained. They are created from the Corpus torn from their body during the Induction Ritual, and are forged in the pages of The Book. They are rarely far from their owners after that, and are often worn on some kind of chain that lets it dangle down to where one's heart should be.

Its use is invaluable for Mediation. When it is used as a focus for such an activity, and one point of Pathos is placed within it, the wheel reduces all Mediation difficulties by 1. It also prevents the Shadow from interfering with that Meditation in any way, once the Pathos is placed inside.

The Centering Wheel has another purpose: while it is worn, it facilitates mental communication between other Solicitors so long as they are both wearing Centering Wheels and touching one anothers' Corpus. This requires some concentration, but the Solicitor may attempt to carry on other tasks, such as vocally conversing with the other Solicitor, or another minor matter, if she can make a Wits + Meditation roll at difficulty 6. (Those who have the Concentration Merit automatically succeed at that roll). This communication is carried out in pictures, feelings, memories and the like rather than actual words, and it allows for the Stygian Solicitors to converse with brother Solicitors from other Dark Kingdoms without the language barrier getting in the way.

The wheel is made from one Wraith for that one Wraith. They are not interchangeable, and it's said that any non-Solicitor who tried to use a Centering Wheel would go mad from the attempt. But then, no one's really sure...


No-Wear: 4

A recent development of the Cabal, No-Wear is a tounge-in-cheek description of a particular sort of relic clothing the Solicitors have been sporting, lately. It usually takes the form of a hat of some kind: most often a bowler, as that's what the Gardner who made the first batch had the handiest when he finally got the formula right.

Those who understand how it works say that it does to Wraiths what The Fog does to the Quick. When worn, No-Wear creates an Intimation-based 'dampening field' of sorts. This field makes it so that no one can look at the Solicitor unless she makes at least three successes on a Willpower roll (Difficulty 8).

Those who fail the roll will not want to see the Solicitor, and therefore won't allow themselves to think that they have. They won't even remember what she sort-of looked like, either, and will go about their business as if nothing was amiss. They may later remember that something strange happened, but they will most likely shrug it off and find some way to justify it, just like a mortal struck by The Fog.

The protection of identity does not come without price, though. In order to activate it, No-Wear requires the expenditure of one Pathos per turn. In addition, the Solicitor must be careful in her use of any Intimation powers. All difficulties are at a +2 while the field is on, and such things as Hypnobuttons are useless because the target cannot see them. If the Solicitor uses Intimation under these circumstances, and fails, the field will rebound on itself and make everyone in eyesight want to see, and remember, the Solicitor in question.


The Contract: Guild Property

The time-honored tradition of the Solicitors, The Contract is both an Artifact and a simple ritual in one. It looks like an ordinary scroll of yellowed, cracking paper which glints from certain angles and is as tough as burlap in spite of its apparent age and condition. It is written on in a peculiar, dark green ink made from things best left to the imagination, and it's fairly traditional for the pen to be a quill of some kind.

The Artifact is impregnated with The Urge. Whenever a Solicitor binds someone to an agreement, she writes the details of the agreement out in private, all the while thinking of a particular thing she would like the client to want to do. When the time comes for the deal to be finalized, the Solicitor produces The Contract and has the client sign at the bottom. At that point the Solicitor puts a point of Pathos into the Contract, which then leeches a point of Temporary Willpower from the client. After that, it's primed and ready to go, and the Solicitor carries it back to the Chapterhouse to keep on file with the other contracts.

Whenever the details of The Contract have been completed, the Solicitor goes to find her particular contract and places another point of Pathos into it. The ink disappears from the paper's surface as though it was never there, and, wherever the client may be at that moment, she will feel the Urge-implanted desire to do whatever it was the Solicitor placed into The Contract when she was writing it. This is how the signators know that the deal has been carried out without the Solicitor having to contact her directly. They won't have to worry about finding the Solicitors to make payment, though: they'll find her, and soon.

Rumors circuclate of a more powerful version of this has been sold to others by the Cabal: one that does not have The Urge built into it, but actually binds all parties to obey the terms of the contract against their will. The Solicitors will not use this sort of thing except in dire circumstances, as they are quite capable of making the party obey... if they desire to, that is.


Wheel of Warning: Guild Property

This is the infamous calling card of the Cabal, sent to warn wayward bargainers who try to cheat them, or just as an unsubtle reminder that someone's watching.

They appear to be fist-sized catherine wheels made from fantastic materials, such as spun glass, emeralds or any other thing so long as it is at least somewhat green. In order to be used on a target, the Solicitor who made the deal with her - and who must have used Twinge or Deep Desiring on her as well - will hold it in her hand, think of the target, and place a point of Pathos into it.

The Solicitor then tosses the wheel up into the air, where it seems to disappear. It is somehow transported to near the target, wherever she may be at the time, and it will roll across a convenient surface (sometimes in mid-air) directly in her field of vision. It will then continue on around a convenient corner and disappear, whereupon it reappears in the Solicitor's hand.

What makes the Wheel of Warning so terrifying is not only the suggestion that the Cabal can find the target anytime they want to, but that the object is seen only by the target. Anyone else nearby is either unable to see it, or somehow unwilling to admit they saw it. The first time this happens, the target might blame her Shadow or think she's seeing things. Past that, there can be no denying that something is going on...


The Book:

The Book is the holy writ of the Solicitors, explaining the secrets of the Cabal in no uncertain terms. Every Chapterhouse has one, quarto copy, locked under key and kept with the most sacred of things. They are handwritten, bound in what appears to be black leather of unknown origin, and have no title, frontispiece, or acknowledgement of author. No one is certain if these tomes are relics or artifacts, and to ponder this too loudly is to incur the wraith of the Masters.

The Book is central to the Solicitors' instruction. Apprentices will hear things read aloud from it by their mentors, and be encouraged to read from it (under watch, of course) once they are trusted. But no one will ever be allowed to read the Dread Page of Truth - which explains The Dread Secret - until their Induction Ritual. The revelation is quite... disturbing, but it allows the Solicitor to learn more easily those uses of Intimation that require extreme force of will.

But The Book serves yet another purpose. During the ritual, attendants representing Agony and Ecstasy stand by the new Novice, holding her fast as she reads the Dread Page. Once she understands the implication, they are charged with taking the book from her and tearing a chunk of the Solicitor's Corpus away from her chest - the 'heart,' of course - with a special knife made just for the purpose of the Induction Ritual. It is usually considered good form to allow the initiate to stop screaming from what she's read before tearing the Corpus from her, though by this point most initiates are too stunned to scream at the pain, too.

That gob of corpus is then placed within The Book, and the tome is then slammed shut. The Book then glows as hot as soulfire, releasing a moan of what might be pain or pleasure. And then, once the glow and the heat subside, within The Dread Page is a Centering Wheel for the new Novice to wear and use.

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