The Puppeteers' Guild has always had the most contentious relationship with the Hierarchy and a deep personal dislike for Charon. The Guild's signature Arcanos is not only a de facto violation of the Dictum Mortuum, but it also encourages a callous treatment of its consorts and the use of especially dark arts in order to maintain possession.
Official Guild history holds that it was organized shortly before the War of the Guilds by a head named the Puppet Master; the Puppeteers generally hold that the Puppet Master was a quisling for Charon and have no idea what his original identity was. During the war, the Puppeteers formed deep bonds with the Monitors' Guild, generally providing cross-Shroud access to the Fetters that the Monitors maintained.
Following the Breaking of the Guilds, Puppet Master disappeared, and the Guild started actively purging members from fear of Stygian infiltration. The purging ended when the Guild was reorganized by a Renegade who went by the title Marionette. Where other Guilds maintained a clandestine role in Stygian society, the Puppeteers became full-tilt Renegades intent on undermining and destroying Stygia and eliminating Charon. Under the leadership of Marionette and her successors (who maintain the same name in tribute), the Puppeteers have focused on two goals: the elimination of Stygia and the destruction of the Shroud.
Puppeteers are very loosely organized; they recognize a skill-based distinction between Apprentices, Journeymen and Masters, but beyond that the majority of relationships are personal. The Puppeteers are master networkers, and their organization on the whole is largely subsumed as a fraternal group within the broader circles of Renegades and Heretics. Puppeteers have a certain amount of hierarchy in the form of Marionette and the masters underneath her, but the majority of connections remain informal.
Assisting The Risen Edit
The Guild as a whole is actively dedicated to creating new Risen as part of their general policy for overturning the Shroud. To that end, the Puppeteers will eagerly train wraiths to Rise.
There is a difference between eagerly and stupidly, however; Puppeteers see Rising as a means of alerting the living to the dead's presence – they want anarchy, chaos, rampant destruction, all of that good stuff. However, Rising is already a gross violation of the Dictum Mortuum and an invitation to the forges that the Hierarchy actively studies. As a result, the Puppeteers won't help someone Rise for free (that would be suspicious), and they do actively screen candidates before helping them to rise using experts in Castigate who are not subject to the Pardoner's Oath.
Candidates are taught all the skills they need to Rise, which generally includes training in multiple Arcanoi besides Puppetry. Lifeweb, given the importance of Conduits, is particularly critical. Puppeteers will help produce a conduit (creating an animal one if necessary) and provide technical assistance during the process of Rising.
In addition, Puppeteers monitor their charges, generally without the knowledge of the Risen in question.
The Puppeteers do associate with Renegades, but are generally more directed than many would traditionally think of Renegades. Given the distinctive marks of Puppetry, most Puppeteers keep their mouths shut and try to be unobtrusive. With that in mind, Puppeteers often serve as diplomats for Renegade and Heretic factions – skilled Puppeteers are generally highly intelligent and also very good manipulators. More importantly, they have a specific agenda which requires more Renegades and Heretics to assist them.
Puppeteers generally have little truck with stupidity, and their organization demands a fair degree of self-control and internal monitoring. To that end, Puppeteer initiations are not just skill tests but actually tests of loyalty; the standard Puppeteer initiation involves skinriding a host to perform something that is deeply disturbing to the wraith in question.
At the same time, Puppeteers can be fantastically egotistical. According to the Puppeteers, they have historically served as protectors of humanity by manipulating events while skinriding. That said, many Puppeteers also tend to take a callous attitude towards the Quick and they encourage a certain distance between the living and their consorts.
Most skilled Puppeteers also have a running Angst problem as working with an unwilling host generates a fair amount of dark emotions. However, the Pardoners loathe the Puppeteers and tend to feel that the Angst Puppeteers accrue is well-deserved. As a result, while Pardoners will fulfill the bonds of their oath, the Guilds are generally at each other's throats, forcing the Puppeteers to actively seek out non-Pardoner Castigation whenever they can.
Puppeteers obviously depend heavily on their Fetters; those Puppeteers who do become Domem often retire to teaching. However, given their tight relationship with the Monitors' Guild, Puppeteers will often purchase new Fetters in these situations.
The 20th Anniversary Edition introduces Guild factions along political lines, downplaying their previous focus on destroying Stygia a notch: the Harlequins still hold a grudge against Charon, running a centuries-old terror campaign against the Hierarchy; the Marrionette movement see themselves as citizens of the world, aiming to step up the Guild's coordination and mitigating wars that might threaten another Great Maelstrom; and the Silhouettes are halfway Heretic, seeing Puppetry as a means to Transcendence through the resolution of Fetters.
|Wraith: The Oblivion Guilds|