The creation of a cabal is an example of an Iron Law (Silver Ladder, p. 73). The act of swearing an Iron oath infuses the mages’ words with power.
A cabal’s formation establishes a mystical connection between different mages, a bond based on specific principles that echo in the Supernal Realms. The cabal’s power draws from the nature of its members: their beliefs, values, Path, Order, Legacy, worldview, and even their conflicts. They cannot withhold what makes them Awakened, and strange confluences sometimes occur.
Mages contribute something of themselves when they perform the ritual of cabalization, just as though they cast a spell. The members must share a core understanding of the cabal before they can even begin to attune themselves to one another. This corresponds to the imago of a spell; without seeing what they want to create, they cannot invest it with power. Specific symbols and imagery associated with their core credo establish anchorages in the Fallen World, and define the nature of the cabal. Only then can the latent power in the Supernal flow through to make the metaphysical bonds.
The Mystery revealed during the ritual resonates with power and significance, often revealed in flickers of vision, a shared understanding, and subtle signs for days and weeks after the cabal is formed. The Mystery cements the connection that holds Supernal resonance.
Joining a Cabal
At least three Wise are required to form a cabal. Mages join a cabal by performing a lengthy ceremony in a location associated with magic, like a hallow, a mountain peak or a tower, or a caucus building. They prepare symbols corresponding to the cabal's foundation theme and draw Supernal glyphs and swear the oath to one another to create a cabal. Each participant spends one point of Willpower and a point of Mana, then enters into communal meditation and visions lasting 16 hours.
When a mage seeks to enter an existing cabal, any member can perform the cabal ritual with him.
Leaving a Cabal
To leave an existing cabal, a mage declares her departure and breaks a symbol associated with the cabal's theme. A mage who departs with the blessing of the other cabal members suffers the following penalties:
- 1 point of Willpower is immediately lost.
- All benefits are lost.
- Aura returns to normal.
- The cabal loses the Merit dot contributed by the member leaving.
A mage violates the Iron Law by breaking a cabal oath, departing on poor terms or joining another cabal without properly leaving the first. The Diamond Orders see the failure to live up to the Iron Law as a sign of immaturity, untrustworthiness, and irresponsibility. Oathbreaking among the Steel Legion is a serious matter which warrants immediate response, ranging from reprisals to death for the most grievous offenses. A Legionnaire's word is their magic, a sacred trust never to be broken.
An oathbreaker suffers the following penalties:
- 1 dot of Willpower is immediately lost.
- All benefits are lost.
- Aura returns to normal.
- -1 to all non-magical Social rolls with other mages for one season.
The Stage Managers are a cabal based on the principle of enlightening Sleepers through performances and festival theatre. Their theme is based on famous,revolutionary playwrights, reflected in their shadownames: Aristophanes, de Vega, Moliėre, and Stoppard.
- Above: To extend the influence of the Awakened in the performing arts.
- Below: To enlighten Sleepers through performances.
- Ascension: To inspire the Quiescent to cast off the Lie.
- Doorwarden: Stoppard
- Heartmaster: Aristophanes
- Farseeker: Marlowe
- Lorekeeper: Moliėre
- Above: +2 to Contacts (High Society, Media), +1 to Library (British Plays), +1 to Sanctum (Security)
- Below: +1 to Expression rolls.
Decide your theme, the unifying theme, myth or motif for the cabal and its members. Themes can be founded upon nearly anything, but the cabal’s must hold mystical, spiritual, or symbolic significance for its members.
The Purpose is the foundation for the cabal based on a particular set of beliefs. By nature, the Purpose is selective rather than all-encompassing. All participants contribute to the creation of these laws, even if they may not be consciously aware of the role. Purpose is a tool to designate what a cabal is about.
Three maximum purposes branching off of this indicate what the cabal’s goals and interests are. They are frequently related to one another, and an offshoot of mutual Path or Order goals.
- Above: A goal rooted in the Supernal Realms. A focus or a goal rooted in Awakened society.
- Below: A goal pursued in the Fallen World. A ban or an aim directed at Sleepers.
- Ascension: A long term, ultimate goal.
Determine the primary ideal uniting a cabal and driving their actions.
- Allegiance: The cabal serves an area or a specific entity (spirit, Order, etc.).
- Endeavour: The cabal is driven by a shared, epic endeavour.
- Principle: The cabal serves an ideology or a philosophy.
- Questing: The cabal aims to complete a particular task.
Determine who fills the five traditional roles of the cabal.
- Doorwarden: Chief duty is to protect the cabal. Called the "Fist."
- Edgetender: Chief duty is nurturing cabal's mystical resources. Called the "Eye."
- Farseeker: Chief duty is to gather needed resources for the cabal. Called the "Hand."
- Hearthmaster: Chief duty is maintaining the sanctum. Called the "Heart."
- Lorekeeper: Chief duty is keeping the cabal's history and knowledge intact. Called the "Head"
Specific benefits are determined by the cabal's Purpose. Benefits are selected at time of cabal creation and cannot be changed. If a new member joins the cabal, her dot for "Above" bonus can apply to an existing or a new Merit.
- Above: Each member contributes one dot to a shared cabal Merit1 pool. Dots may be split among multiple Merits or applied to a single Merit. Common choices include Social merits and Sanctum-related merits, such as Alchemical Lab and Library.
- Below: +1 to mundane, non-spellcasting rolls with a selected Skill2.
- Ascension: Reroll failed dice on Wisdom degeneration checks when adhering to her cabal ethos. Violating the ethos is a Wisdom 3 sin. If it would be a Wisdom 1 or 2 sin, take a -2 penalty to avoid degeneration.
- Aura: Scarlet bands for oathbinding are visible on the mage's aura.
- 1: Merits purchased from the cabal Merit pool are a shared resource between members. Admins reserve the right to decline an inappropriate or unsuitable Merit request.
- 2: The Skill bonus cannot be in a combat stat (Brawl, Firearms or Weaponry).
Does the cabal follow the five Great Rights? If so, determine what are the restrictions, if any. If not, decide whether you follow any.
Does the cabal have any additional rules or protocols?