The bulk of the Solicitors is grouped into one of eight Orders, each of which oversees roughly 1/8th of the Shadowlands. Each Order is governed by a Grand Master of the Order from a cleverly-hidden fortress-haunt known as a Cathedral. For example, The Order of Seven looks after the North American continent, and has its Cathedral in the New Orleans Necropolis.

The Orders are further broken down into Chapters, which are numbered in multiples of eight. Any one Order might have eight, sixteen, or sixty-four Chapters, but would never have three, twenty-eight or fifty-one. To use North America as a further example, it has fifty-six Chapters, numbered one through fifty-six.

There are Chapter Leaders, but these stay in the Cathedral with the Grand Master of the Order most of the time. This is done for mostly esoteric reasons: by the time a Solicitor achieves that rank, she has so immersed herself in arcane researches that having to directly oversee her Chapter's day-to-day routine would be a dangerous distraction. Her orders are sent by The Urge and carried out by proxy by a Grand Master. Once they leave for the Cathedral, Chapter Leaders only come to visit their Chapters personally if there's some problem, or The Center of the Wheel wishes it done.

Each group of Solicitors in any one area are grouped together in a Chapter, and any one Chapter meets in a tight, local confederation known as a Chapterhouse. This refers both to the Solicitors themselves and the place in which they meet, which is usually in the most run-down and shunned area of any Necropolis. Chapterhouses rarely exist in Citadels, as such communities are much too small to hide a useful group of Solicitors: they'll usually just send a Circle to any such place if they need to do anything there.

As previously mentioned, each Chapterhouse is overseen by one Grand Master. She is directly answerable to the Chapter Leader, and every Solicitor in the Chapterhouse is answerable to the Chapter Leader through her. She is in charge of relating the desires of the Center of the Wheel to individual members of the Chapterhouse, and making sure those orders are carried out. She also has the authority to authorize - or turn down - contracts, select new Apprentices, and see to their pairing with a Novice for instruction.

Positions and Tasks

The Cabal has any number of things that need doing at any one time: all members are expected to be able to do whatever they're commanded to, and failure is not acceptable. Adaptability, ingenuity and the willingness to do things correctly as soon as possible are the signs of someone who'll go far. The alternative make nice wheels.

Of course, there are some "standing" positions that any member might wish to try out for. Being a member of these groups gets one allies, instruction and a faster chance for promotion. On the other hand, sometimes being in a niche means plum assignments go to someone who's more "flexible," even if you're really as bendable as a rubber band.



One of the more acceptable faces of the Cabal - or, at least, the side of them that the Guilds will invoke when they think they need to - the Negotiators do just what their name says. Of course, their methods of "Negotiation" have a lot less to do with convincing the other person to agree as they do in making them agree. But "Coercers" has such an... unsubtle... ring to it.

Such individuals tend to come in two packages. One is the sort of person who takes a contract and then lurks nearby the mark, waiting for a chance to implant the requested desires into her head. These are the infamous, never-seen "liers in wait" of the Cabal, ever waiting for their victim to pass on by.

The other lives a more dangerous life: she pretends to be something she's not in order to gain access to the halls of power where such negotiations bear their fruit. Often times she'll pretend to be a Chanteur, and be hired to lend a keen ear to the proceedings on behalf of whoever hires her. That she's using Intimation rather than Keening is a secret that the Negotiator keeps to herself, and anyone counter-employing their own Chanteurs to keep such an event from happening winds up spending her money in vain.


Agent Provacateurs:

For those unlucky enough to know something of the true face of the Cabal, these ones are often invoked as a "typical" Solicitor: a devious, desire-twisting snake in the grass just outside the sight of the eyes. She typically uses her skills of Intimation to clandestinely ruin any individual the Solicitors want toppled, and she'll also be set into play to disrupt other groups and institutions if the situation calls for it.

Unlike the Negotiators, the Agent Provacateur's services are not for sale. She works for the Cabal's direct interests, making certain those who feel her sting never know she was involved, much less that Intimation played any part in the tragedy that ensues. They are the invisible workers who make the Underworld function, or cease to function, as the Center of the Wheel desires.


Held Hands:

Another of the Cabal's more despicable sides rests in the lap of the Held Hands, who go out of their way to secure people's cooperation through the less-taxing method of blackmail.

One might well wonder why the Solicitors would resort to blackmail? Any Solicitor worthy of that name can Intimate someone into full cooperation, surely. And that's true, but such a working usually requires a lot of tiring, taxing and careful Intimation use - the sort of things that any one Chapterhouse may not have enough specialists to do at the time. In such cases the Held Hands will be employed.

Such persons tend to look at themselves as virtuosos of the Art. They use Intimation like a fine-tuned instrument rather than a blunt one, carefully setting a mark up into doing something she normally wouldn't. Once the deed's done, all she has to do is appear to confront that Mark with the evidence, and suggest she comply with what her new "friends" would like done - or else.

In some ways, the Held Hands do the same sort of things that the Agents and the Negotiators do, but their methods are different. The Blackmailer and her victim will have to talk at some point, after all, and should therefore know that someone has it out for her. If the Negotiator and Agent do their jobs well enough, their Marks won't know that they were forced into working against their natures.



Their name might be a bit of a twee joke, but no one in their right mind laughs about it in front of one, as the Gardeners are the Cabal's rather twisted interrogation specialists. They use their skills in Intimation to leech the secrets from those unfortunate souls given unto them, and then do whatever they like with the ruins of what's left.

Most of the time their interrogation techniques consist of breaking the spirit and mind rather than the body, but there are those who relish the time-honored traditions: rack, thumbscrew, boiling plasm and red-hot pokers - for a start. Just about every Chapterhouse has at least one room full of such implements for one of their number to use.

The Gardeners also serve another purpose: many of them are skilled in Soulforging, having... convinced an Artificer to give them their secrets. Such persons are the ones who create the various Artifacts that the Guild calls its own, and these are invariably made from either failed Apprentices, disgraced and deranged Solicitors or the "volunteers" they pool from their interrogation rooms.



A welcome sight to those of the Cabal, the Purgers are those Solicitors who have learned enough Castigation to affect the Shadows' of their fellows. Since the Solicitors know they aren't welcome in the halls of the Pardoners, and wouldn't trust their secrets with them, anyway, they have to look after their own Shadows. Most of the Purgers occupy levels of respect amongst the group, but there's always the chance that what you tell one will come back to haunt you in the form of blackmail one day. After all, they may know the Pardoners' Arts, but they're still Solicitors...


Keepers of the Shrine:

The Solicitors are as much of a religious order as they are a temporal one, using their sacred cause to justify their actions in the Underworld. As such, there are many Solicitors who tend to the sacred duties of a Chapterhouse, and these are known as the Keepers of the Shrine. They are the ones who look after The Book and the paraphenalia of the Induction Ritual, and they are the ones who carry those rituals out.

They are also charged with keeping track of the Cabal's spiritual life, and are permitted to spot-check any Solicitor for proper orthodoxy of faith. Anyone who fails such a test is either chastized for her misunderstanding and sentenced to "re-education," or sent to a Gardener for a good, solid scourging. Heretics and atheists are sent to the Gardeners for a very brutal and final "cleansing," one that strips the Solicitor of her sin via the soulforging process.

Table of Contents