Many Masquers believe themselves to be older than Artificers, but the accuracy of this view is up for debate. The only thing that can be verified is Moliate is definitely among the older Arcanoi. The ability to shape plasm was probably found early on, and subsequently the services of those talented in such abilities were up for hire. These wraiths also continued to hone the abilities of Moliate.
By the time the Artificers Guild had officially formed in 976 CE, those who used Moliate had already formed small cabals among the Necropoli, and maintained the use and trade of the Arcanos. Gradually, they continued to gather and enlarge, until they had formed the base of the Masquers Guild. However, the Guild was apparently unrecognized as such until the Artificers had had their say. Charon and his government eventually recognized them, and they pledged their services to Stygia.
The War and the RevoltEdit
The Masquers, along with soul shaping, quickly realized their abilities also got them into places they should not be, and could kill others without leaving a trace. They quickly grew rich in these endeavors, drawing the ire of both the Solicitors, whose business they were infringing upon, and the Mnemoi, who thought the Masquers too corrupt to continue operations. Neither Guild ended up ahead, however; for unrelated reasons, both Guilds' specialty Arcanoi were named as Forbidden, and therefore the Guilds' existence became moot. The Masquers rapidly became the premiere information harvesters of Stygia.
Because of their abilities, the Masquers became the only Guild to profit from the War of the Guilds. The other Guilds hired them to do their dirty work, seek out weaknesses in defenses, and outright fight against the others. Despite their relative power and stability when the Compact of the Guilds was signed, the Artificers remained at the top of the heap, something that still bothers many Masquers to this day.
In order to lower their profile, the Masquers began indulging in the more artistic bents of their abilities. Along with the Sandmen and Chanteurs, the Masquers became premiere artists of Stygia, their creative services in demand, although those who knew where to ask could obtain other favors as well.
It all ended when the Artificers convinced the other Guilds to revolt against Charon. Although the Masquers initially agreed, many felt it to be a bad idea overall. They went into battle anyway, but when the fighting ended and dust cleared, the Masquers were nowhere to be found. They had been the first to abandon the Guilds Revolt, taking several other Guilds with them. The Revolt was a failure, and resulted in Charon signing the Breaking of the Guilds.
For several centuries, the Masquers kept to themselves. Many were pressed into service by the Hierarchy to fight Spectres when several Maelstroms hit the Shadowlands in succession. While some left, many remained, working steadily through the Fourth Great Maelstrom and Fifth Great Maelstrom. The Fifth Great Maelstrom changed many things, and many Masquers ended up Harrowed or thrown into Oblivion. Those left decided to support the Hierarchy, as Charon had pretty much left them alone, and there was oboli to be made working for the Deathlords. Although many work in soulshaping and art, there is still the faction that specializes in dark secrets, allowing the Masquers to, as always, pretty much keep to themselves.
Arrangers are named after what they do, they "arrange" for things. Disappearances, assassinations, kidnappings, and the rest fall squarely into the Arrangers' realm of expertise. This is frequently done through Harrowings, but for those who are more likely to escape, there is always soulshaping...
Hand-in-hand with the Arrangers are the Anonymae. Anonymae are not so much a Guild division as a breed of Masquer. These wraiths sever all ties to their mortal life by creating new identities. They go by new names and new faces (or no faces). Some actually join a group and act as one with other wraiths under the same name. They make excellent Arrangers, but not all Anonymae become Arrangers; some do it for other purposes. Slander is considered the epitome of the Anonymae; no one can even be sure if there is only one.
Fetches are, quite simply, spies. They are trained to infiltrate any Shadowlands organization, from the Hierarchy to other Guilds to other Dark Kingdoms. The most frequent means of infiltration are for them to be re-shaped to resemble existing personnel. They are able to adapt to new personalities so well that if they replace the person, they can fool their target's closest friends.
Helldivers are similar to Fetches, except their target is Spectres. They disguise, act as, and even live among Spectres for as long as they can stand, gathering information or destroying the most dangerous among them. Most Masquers have been trained by the Harbingers to be incredibly skilled in the arts of Argos, helping them in their missions. Helldivers are usually on friendly terms with Pardoners and Usurers as well, if they do not know the abilities themselves. Many wraiths consider the Helldivers suicidal and crazy, and they are not far off of the mark.
Idunn serve primarily as the plastic surgeons of the Shadowlands; for a fee (usually steep), they will reshape a wraith's Corpus into the image they so desire. There is fierce competition among Idunn, and many are gossips that trade in information from their clients as frequently as they reshape faces and bodies.
Warsmiths specialize in arming other wraiths for battle. They can reshape others using Girding, creating armor, blades in place of arms, or whatever else they can dream up. Warsmiths are probably the least artistic of the Masquers, as their specialty is quick mass-production, with little time for flair or filigree.
Guild Culture Edit
Initiation in the Masquers Guild is simple, but can be quite painful and disorienting for the apprentices in question. A potential Guild member is soulshaped, from the eldest member to the newest joined. Using their abilities, they must pull themselves back into their former shape. If they fail, they are re-sculpted and further trained. If the succeed, they are welcomed as full Guild members.
Version Differences Edit
The 20th Anniversary Edition overhauls the Masquers' factions, which now include: the Chorus of Faces, who use their talents to entertain, the Fleshwrights, who reshape other wraiths for aesthetic or practical purposes, the Janissaries, bands of warriors who focus on Moliate's combat applications, and the Secret Order (aka "the Spiders"), master spies, assassins and thieves.
|Wraith: The Oblivion Guilds|