Tell Me About:
Copyright 1998 by Belarius
NB: The Guild of Shadows are a new sect not covered in TSR's Planescape books.
Look up high at the high-ups, berk, and tell me what you see. A man you envy? Someone who's power you wouldn't mind having? Rulers are always vulnerable to the worst of their flock, exposing themselves to assassins, poison, and accidents. Much better to rule from the shadow behind the throne.
The Guild is around 550 years old. It has always held small sway on the factions, but the complexity of the kriegstanz and the small number of numbers makes the task nigh-impossible. After the Great Upheaval, a fledgling shadow mage Magician named Penumbra learned, after years out-of-touch travelling the planes, of his faction's destruction at the Lady's decree. Feeling bitterly betrayed by being abandoned, Penumbra came to the conclusion that the Magicians, later to be the Incantifiers, were too forceful, too open. Their power was open, displayed to all, and that made it vulnerable.
Primary Plane of Influence
The demi-plane of Shadow, where nothing is as it seems and everything about its power structure is dark. Also the source of most of the Guild's stealthy magic, a major part of ruling unseen. Also, in Gehenna, under the shadow of Baator and right under the 'loths' noses, the Guild has some influence. Their stronghold, a day's climb up the slope of Mungoth from Portent, is equipped with a large library dealing with shadow magic, its effects, and its keys, a large food supply, and the Guild's own personal birdcage.
Allies and Enemies
No factions actually know that the Guild really exists, but many suspect something's amiss in the political scene of the Cage. Because of its manipulative position, however, the Guild would, if known, find instant enemies in nearly every faction. The Guild depends on the Cage's triumvirate of law (Harmonium, Guvners, Mercykillers) to succeed, so it cannot fight them. But these factions would hate to know that their just and lawful goals ere being perverted from without. The triumvirate of chaos (the Indeps, Xaositects, and Anarchists) would look down on their dependence on others to succeed and their support of oppressive factions. Only the Dustmen and the Bleakers might not care, but since no faction likes being manipulated, that's an iffy suggestion at best.
To join the Guild, a basher must meet the following requirements: He may not be either Chaotic or Good in alignment (individuality and compassion are frowned upon). She must have an intelligence of 14 or more. He must be willing to sever all other social contacts, including family ties, permanently. Anyone who meets these requirements may join, but not very many do because the Guild is so well hidden. If a priest wishes to join, they must worship a Power of darkness, manipulation, or subterfuge. Priestly Shadows are very rare, and only a single speciality priest is currently said to be among the ranks.
The Guild's association with shadows is apparently more than just symbolic, for any member of the sect gains duskvision, which is to say their eyes are more sensitive to light, and they can see as if it were broad daylight at dusk. The effective range of torches, lanterns, and magical light are tripled. Absolute darkness is still dark to those without infravision, however. Warriors and priests who belong to the Guild gain the ability to Hide in Shadows. Their score is 10%, +2% per level. Needless to say, the Guild has some very capable assassin-warriors. Wizards gain full access to the research materials in the Gehenna stronghold, and any spells researched by other members, as well as a list of spell keys for shadow magic for just about anywhere. Rogue members gain access to training, and get +10% to their Hide in Shadows Ability.
With sensitive eyes, Guild members do not function well in full sunlight. All members suffer a -1 to THAC0 and a +1 to initiative when exposed to full daylight, continual light, or the equivalent. Also, Guild members must obey orders from their superiors without delay, and must always strive toward the faction's goal of ruling everything from the shadows.