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The Pardoners are one of the 13 Major Guilds that exist in Stygia. Pardoners practice the Arcanos of Castigate.


First Pardoners

The origin of the Pardoners starts with one of the oldest wraiths, a woman by the name of Inachus, who was a follower of Charon and among the settlers of what came to be Stygia. At the time, redemption for the wraiths who did not fall to Oblivion came through the Far Shores. Inachus was among the wraiths who sought to help others to the Far Shores before they succumbed to the urges of their Shadows. She was particularly notable, as she could detect the darkness inside every wraith. During one occasion, Inachus physically reached out and pulled the blackness from one of her patients. The wraith, although wounded, also rejoiced as they could feel the effects of their Shadow lessening. Other wraiths discovered they had a gift for quieting or manipulating Shadows. Those gifted began to gather and call themselves Purifiers.

Charon approved of this greatly, seeing a way to help those who could not be previously redeemed make their way to the Far Shores. He actually made Inachus his personal Purifier in order to keep his own Shadow at bay; she took the name Sister Acceptance.

The Purifiers came to work with the Shining Ones, and were more than welcomed. The Purifiers were granted space in their temples and in turn taught some of them their arts of purification. The Purifiers (with the help of recent wraith Hippocrates) also wrote an oath that pledged their services to benefit the Shadowlands. Stygia had entered the Golden Age at that time, and for many decades all was right with the world of the dead.

Early Years

It all ended with the coming of the First Great Maelstrom, which destroyed everything Charon and his followers had worked to build. It was in large part to the Purifiers that anything even survived. The Purifiers were among many groups that were reformed to teach their Arcanos to willing students. When the Artificers named themselves as a Guild, the Purifiers followed them, changing their name to Pardoners to mark their shift in focus from confessors to teachers. At the time, it was a term of respect in the Skinlands that eventually became corrupted. By then the new name had stuck and it was too late for the Pardoners of the Shadowlands to change it.

War of the Guilds

When the Artificers proclaimed themselves the head of all Guilds, war broke out. The Pardoners were extremely reluctant to participate in any way, shape, or form, as they were working on strengthening ties between the Guilds. The only way the Pardoners could do that, they figured, was to enter the War and make those who were involved in it listen to reason. The Pardoners tried several times to serve as mediators and peacemakers, but no Guild had enough trust in the others, even one as appreciated as the Pardoners.

It was Charon's threats to put an end to the war himself that led Sister Acceptance and the Pardoners to set forward a final, desperate plea for union. They put forth a final meeting; any Guild that did not attend and sign a treaty would be shunned by the Pardoners and would never again receive their services. The threat was serious enough to finally bring the warring Guilds together. The resulting treaty put forth by the Pardoners became known as the Compact of the Guilds.


By this point, the Fishers had grown into prominence in Stygia, and were continuously making demands on Charon he refused to meet. They actually went so far as to attack the Onyx Tower and were subsequently crushed. Charon banished the Fishers, and sent representatives to speak with the Shining Ones about the attack. What his Knights found was beyond horror; the Shining Ones were binding and feeding on the souls sent to them, their Far Shores places of greed and corruption rather than ascension.

The Pardoners were devastated by the actions of their former allies, as was Charon. Sister Acceptance met with Charon to calm his Shadow and seek a course of action against the Shining Ones; as a result, they and their followers were dubbed Heretics to Charon's Legions and would be sent to be forged if discovered.

Guild Revolt

Threatened by Charon's proclamation against the Heretics and the recently enacted Dictum Mortuum, the Guilds felt they would be the next target for Charon's restrictions and proclamations. Sister Acceptance informed the Guildmaster, Brother Reliant, that Charon's Shadow had grown stronger since the betrayal of the Shining Ones. It was the concerns of the Pardoners Guild that sparked the other Guilds into action and started the revolt. As is known, it ended in failure, and the Pardoners Guild, despite their valuable service, were no exception to Charon's Breaking of the Guilds, though Charon allowed the Pardoners to practice their arts and services as individuals.

Post-Breaking to Modern Times

The Breaking did have one positive effect for the Pardoners Guild: it enabled them to be more widespread than they had before, even so far as working with Heretics and Renegades. They also were alongside Charon's armies during the major crises, such as the Great Maelstroms, the war against the Dark Kingdom of Jade, and the crisis of the Shoah. When the Fifth Great Maelstrom brought forth Gorool, the Pardoners could only watch when Charon descended into the Weeping Bay.

The Pardoners continue their work into modern times, needed now more than ever, as the Deathlords squabble among themselves and bring Charon's once-great kingdom to slavery, war, and ruin. They have regained much of their strength since the Breaking of the Guilds, and are awaiting the return of Charon to save Stygia from horrible times.



The newest and least powerful of the Pardoners come from referrals from an applicant's regular Pardoner or by attending a Pardoners Guild retreat. Most of the training occurs here, from studying the Arcanos of Castigate to following Journeymen along on jobs. The Journeyman is also charged with Castigating their student, a painful process that, if the applicant survives, will enable them to grow stronger. To move forward, the supervising Journeyman pronounces the Apprentice ready and has them take the Pardoners' Oath.


Most of the Guild members are at this level. When someone consults a Pardoner, they are usually dealing with a member of this group. Journeymen have their own Master watching them, much as they oversee the Apprentices. A Journeyman who has proven themselves must undergo a rite of purification by their Master before they may ascend to the next rank.


Also called "True Pardoners", these Pardoners specialize in more refined and obscure studies of Castigation, in hopes of strengthening their power or finding better ways to deal with Shadows. Others study Spectres intently, hoping on uncovering the secrets of Oblivion. They also oversee the lower levels of the Guild and practice Castigation themselves; some wraiths refuse to be Castigated by anyone lower than this rank.

Grand Masters/Master Pardoners

Those who have demonstrated exceptional skill or a deep understanding of their Arcanos are considered for this level. Grand Masters serve as mentors and ambassadors of the Guild, as well as making up the Curia, or Guild rule makers and overseers. Many serve Deathlords and others in power.

Supreme Master

The Guildmaster of the Pardoners oversees the entire Guild by approving the decisions of the Curia, serving as master of ceremonies at initiations, and approves of new Castigate abilities. She also represents the Pardoners at meetings involving all Guilds.

The current Guildmaster is Sister Acceptance.

Methods of Castigation by Faction


Of the factions that make up the Pardoners, this is the largest. Confessor-type Pardoners use religious imagery and themes in channeling Castigate. There is more prayer and speech than physical punishment, although accomplished Confessors are no less powerful than any other kind.


The Inquisitors use torture to see results. Mental, verbal, and physical are all acceptable to an Inquisitor trying to do their job of frightening a Shadow into submission.


The Pardoners here are almost like psychologists in their practice of Castigate. They tend to analyze and understand Shadows rather than outright rejecting them.


The Scourges are almost the opposite of Confessors, using physical punishment as a means of quieting the Shadow. Those who used force in life tend to follow this method. While one would think very few wraiths would use a Scourge, some have found no other means of keeping their Shadows under control.

Guild Culture

All members of the Guild of Journeyman rank or over are required to take the Pardoners' Oath in order to become a full-fledged Guild member. The Oath promises that a Pardoner will work for the benefit of a client or a sufferer of their Shadow.


Pardoners will collect the Angst of their charges in iron lanterns. They will then take this Angst and deposit it into a massive Angst Battery in the basement of the Pardoner's Guildhouse.

Version Differences

In the 20th Anniversary Edition, the proto-Pardoners were originally members of the proto-Solicitors who focused on exploring, understanding, and combating Shadows, eventually breaking off to form their own Guild.

The Guild's factions have been changed: the Confessors are masters of the Devil's Dialectic, able to shame a Shadow into remorse with their arguments; the Crusaders are hardliners, eager to pursue and fight Shadows, often using extreme tactics; the Scriveners are scholars, fighting the Shadow with lore and debates, and maintaining the Pardoners' libraries and records; and the Simonists (or Brokers, as they prefer) focus on Castigate's commercial possibilities, which their Guildmates do not look highly on.


Wraith: The Oblivion Guilds
Alchemists · Artificers · Chanteurs · Harbingers · Haunters · Masquers · Mnemoi · Monitors · Oracles · Pardoners · Proctors · Puppeteers · Sandmen · Solicitors · Spooks · Usurers