Neutral, User Created
The Shallow Guild is a society dedicated to the gathering of knowledge referring to the supernatural, and the transformation of that knowledge into power, influence, prestige, and independence. The guild received its name from the fifteenth century, when it was discovered that they paid a number of undertakers to dig especially shallow graves, which helped the guild no end in its pursuit of raw materials for the reanimation process (they claim that they no longer do this, having plenty of souls offering them their bodies after death in exchange for the multitude favours that they are able to offer in return). The second part of the name refers to the temporal, weather and light magic that certain members experimented with in the early seventeenth century, creating the twilight effect that illuminates much of the organization's land (an ostentatious tradition, and not particularly in keeping with its low-profile policy). The Guild has a particular obsession for animation and (re)animation; it seems that almost all creatures share a base desire to cheat oblivion.
It is the Guild's belief that the greatest knowledge exists outside the natural laws of the universe. Certainly, the amount of knowledge that the guild has gained over the centuries from its encounters, affiliations and negotiations is astounding, yet it is ever the guild's policy to quietly pull carefully chosen strings to affect situations; it rarely reveals itself, even when its machinations come to their conclusion.
This policy has seen the Guild safely through the centuries, while other secret societies have been diluted and destroyed. The arts of diplomacy and strategic recruitment are almost as well developed within the guild as the ability to manipulate and misdirect. This 'light touch' is necessary, as the Guild is often a welcome safe Haven for entities and individuals that are considered less than savory by many.
OOC: The Shallow Guild of Bleak Sunrise (abbreviated as SG, or SGoBS) is an unofficial team that consists of supernatural/magical characters. These characters aren't usually just any run of the mill wizard/mage/D&D or WoW archetype. They tend to be a little... darker (think H.P Lovecraft or Clive Barker). Very wry, dry (sometimes British) humor is also common, and somewhat expected. It is important to note that not all members of the Guild are human per se; in fact, most are not. If there is one thing the Guild is not, its prejudiced.
In Depth Background Edit
The location of the original Shallow Guild is an unknown, though there is much conjecture that the British Isles may have been its original home. Indeed, the Guildhall itself is actually a full reproduction of one of the many castles of Edinburgh. It looms menacingly from behind iron gates atop a grassy tor on the Western coast of Khazan.
The castle wasn't built in Khazan; soon after the island itself mysteriously appeared, the Guildhall was pulled along in the 'wake' created. It had been tossing in-between the Planes for nearly two hundred years, like a cork in the ocean. The Guild prefers not to discuss the events that lead them to create a wild gash in reality to teleport the Guildhall; such unplanned and desperate action is neither the hallmark of the guild nor its proudest moment. The Guildhall took advantage of the Khazan's distant relationship with the usual laws of physics and was simply inserted into the environment between the matter that was already there. The effect is not noticeable close up, but from a distance it is possible for the more perceptive to see a crease in the fabric of reality. This is, of course, far from the most unusual sight in Khazan, and the guild's arrival caused little additional concern amongst the panic that the sudden appearance of Khazan created.
One of the many advantages of the unusual situation of the Guildhall’s physical presence in Khazan is the fact that the site can only be entered via the front gate. No matter how far you walk around the outside in either direction, you'll never find any part of the high wall that, from the inside, appears to ring the grounds completely.
The Guildhall itself has been crafted by numerous Brothers over millennia. It is neither a sentient nor living structure, yet it displays properties of both. Few except for the members of the Guild can successfully navigate its constantly shifting corridors, and only the Brothers can do so with complete consistency and safely. The interior and the exterior of the Guildhall are two separate 'pocket planes.' Brother Haver once calculated the energy required to fit the infinitely large interior within the finite exterior, and fully realized while Guild lore refers to the construction of the Guildhall with terms such as "stuffing," "jamming," "prodding," and "prying." The effect at work inside means that you can walk in a straight line for a half-dozen long bowshots without meeting an external wall (though it has to be said, you can sometimes meet an external wall, turn around, and see the opposite one within apparent arm's reach; such things are bound to happen when one mingles the mysticism of The Guild with the odd physical properties of Khazan). The building changes to suit the needs of its occupants. Rooms previously ignored (or non-existent) are revealed to contain the most impressively (and appropriately) furnished quarters. The staff, all zombies, always know where the right rooms are and move towards them unerringly and surprisingly quickly (the guild buildings have been considerably more efficient and sanitary since the introduction onto the open market of formaldehyde).
Decor tends to be, as one might imagine, theatrically gothic, with long velvet drapes hanging from every wall, concealing numerous alcoves and tunnels (some always there, some not), while huge, ornate iron candlesticks carry decades of overflowed wax on their shoulders. The look can sometimes change, depending on the nature of the visitor, but the atmosphere of darkness and secrecy always prevails. The only component that appears to be missing is any sign of a religious or arcane symbol; because the guild welcomes any and all supernatural beings into its robed embrace and purports to have discarded any petty notions of good and evil, it seeks to offend none and keeps all of it's items of arcane significance in the many private chambers of the castle. Life with the guild is full of surprises. One never knows who is going to visit.
The grounds themselves are covered in short, coarse grass which grows in tightly-packed tufts. There are only a few other plants, and all are of the most drab of colors. Roses with blood-red petals and thickly-thorned stems grow up the walls, while dark-leafed sculpted hedges surround the base of the tor, towering menacingly in the grainy twilight which continually lights the area (no matter what the actual time of day). There are a few oddities, like a giant Venus Flytrap that stands twice the height of a man, and grows beside the marble steps leading from the bottom of the hill to the castle door. It's completely harmless, despite the fact that it occasionally takes a snap at passers-by; Brother Dereleth insists that it merely has a playful sense of humor. These components conspire to create a rather bleak and sinister atmosphere. In truth, this seems to be, at least in part, a carefully-crafted facade which offers more protection to the guild than a thousand guards.
The many-spired and castellated building sports an enormous oaken door, which can be opened in a seemingly endless number of ways. Sometimes it swings inwards, sometimes out (from either side of the frame). A smaller door has been known to open out of the larger one to allow single visitors quiet and simple entry, while on other occasions it has raised like a portcullis or dropped out like a drawbridge to allow large numbers of visitors (or simply large ones) easy access to its dark halls.
The Guildhall and grounds were once much more tamed, but it is still 'healing' from the damage caused by the Guildhall's time betwixt planes (and perhaps, some suffered before the unplanned relocation). The Brother's are forced to rely on whatever arcane energies they can wrangle to repower the Guildhall, and Vyras is convinced that these 'jury-rigged' solutions, coupled with Khazan's own bizarre reality, are influencing the appearance and functionality of the once predictable Guildhall.
The Shallow Guild has a loose hierarchy, with most members having one of three titles.
Brother is the highest rank, and can refer to male, female, and ‘other’. There are traditionally three Brothers in the Guild at any one time, although at different points in its history there have been as many as seven. All have risen to this rank by various means, but as a general rule they are the most arcanely powerful and “politically minded” members of the Guild. The Brothers are responsible for the administration of the Guild and meet as a theoretically equal council. The Brothers make use of a device known mysteriously as The Eye for tremendously effective communication with those 'outside' the Guildhall. The Khazanian Guildhall is overseen by the ghostly Dereleth, the feral Vyras and Haver. There is also a Brother known as Tchuuu who is a bit of an anomaly; he appears at will and at random throughout the Guildhall, going about his own business, but there is no record of his ever being a Brother, though the other three count him as an unofficial Brother for various reasons.
Half Brother is the rank given to any other full initiate of the guild who is not a Brother. They are the ‘regular’ members who make up the Guild and have full access to its resources and protection. The guild tends to make little distinction within this rank between new initiates and old veterans. There is, of course, a social hierarchy, but this is not backed by any special titles or privileges. Half-Brothers can come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities, but all are fully affiliated with and, for the most part, totally loyal to the Guild. They may be the workers, scribes and researchers working in the Guildhall, learning from the Guild and its vast archives or simply using it as an environment suitable to pursue their own individual “research.” There are also academics and sorcerers who choose life away from the guild, but are generally required to maintain quarters and spend some of their time at the Guildhall. Gate, Samas, Merle Silver and Crispian St. Crispin are Half-Brothers. There is a noticeable dearth of Half-Brothers since the Guild's arrival in Khazan.
“Friends of the Guild” Edit
Friends of the Guild, or simply “Friends” as they’re more often called, are even more diverse than Half-Brothers, and the major distinction here is that Friends are NOT full members of the Guild. They can be supernatural beings who are extended hospitality in return for (usually) the information and services they can provide (although this relationship has been known to be much more… antagonistic in some cases). They may also be employees of the Guild who do work that the organization cannot be linked directly with, or cover specialties outside even the Guild’s broad knowledge. Some reside permanently within the Guildhall; others visit as infrequently as two or three times a century. The Baron of All Zombies, Luna Grey, and Brag are considered Friends of the Guild. Since its arrival in Khazan, the Guild has been trying to re-establish links with many of their old Friends, often to no avail. The Reach and Nico Fera are technically 'Friends' as well, for lack of a better description for their relationship with the Guild.
Noteworthy Fics Edit
Special Delivery by IvanEdit
Secrets are obvious to those with their head in the clouds, and ride comes before a fall.
1551 - Crispian St. Crispin is promoted to Brother
1579 - Crispian St. Crispin is demoted to Half-Brother
1605 - Gate is apprenticed to the Guild
1717 - The Guildhall vanishes
1916 - The Guildhall reappears on the island of Khazan
Background (OOC) Edit
A long long time ago, in a country far far away (England), there was Chris. He found the FPL and yea, he thought it was neat. He wanted to make a contribution to the site, and thus, the Shallow Guild of Bleak Sunrise was born. A resource for all the creepy crawlies who go bump in the night of the Nexus of All Realities, Khazan. Starting an off site website and message board, he invited those who would create the creatures of the night to drop by an have a cup of virtual tea (not coffee, he's Brit).
Amidst the silly crazies and Justice League-wannabes and remnants of the 90's-antiheroes, the Shallow Guild of Bleak Sunrise was a solid novelty, with its dark gothic tone. It had a liberal association policy, where you did not have to explicitly create for the guild for your character to be considered SG... just some vague reference would have been enough.
Several factors made the SG not only stand out from the other unofficial teams, but outlasted everyone else. Obviously, one big reason is that its loyalists are still around. But the reasons we're still around are these: First and foremost was the way Chris ran the SG. Not only was it a cozy little "club", but all characters who wanted to be SG back then were given diplomatic yet honest analysis before being submitted to the FPL proper. This not only helped to ensure that the characters fit with the SG feel, but that they would be good characters overall. This meant that the character offerings of the SG were all strong contenders who had good FPL careers, which was not always the case with characters of the other groups. This of course, fostered a close and loyal clique among the regular Shallow Guilders.