The Chronicles of Hallowdwell
Society of Twilight Wanderers
The Society of Twilight Wanderers is a well-known thieves’ guild, originally founded and primarily based in Allandria though agents, and targets, are found in just about every nation in Centralia. Unusually well-known for a thieves’ guild, few people actually know much more than the romantic, fanciful legends that their bold exploits spawn…and the dark allegations made by the authorities who seek to turn the opinion of the common people against this band of thieves.
It is instructional to note what the Society of Twilight Wanderers are not, as much as what they are. For one, despite allegations by law enforcement, the Wanderers are not an assassin’s guild, nor are they thugs for hire. In fact, the Wanderers look down on any affiliates that resort to violence, as it increases official scrutiny and hardens targets for future thieves. The Crimson Brotherhood, rumored to have been founded by a rogue member of the Wanderers, are an assassin’s guild, and their activities have often been confused with that of the Twilight Wanderers.
Second, the Twilight Wanderers are not a traditional guild, in so far as they have apprentices, guild halls and the other trappings of most guilds. Instead, there is central core of the Society, rumored to be no more than 10 to 30 people, and the rest of the guild function essentially as freelancers. Due to the illegal nature of their activities, the guild does not have a guildhall or single base of operations, and make a point of never having the central membership all in one place at one time outside of a true crisis. However, there are definite benefits to being associated with the Twilight Wanderers, much as membership in a guild. The central core has an amazing network of contacts that contract out their services and spot opportunities to hit weak targets. The central core sends word to their lieutenants, who then pass along the very barest details of members of the rank-and-file. Those who are interested in taking on a job tell the lieutenant, who decides whether the thief in question has the necessary skills and experience to handle such a job. The lieutentants then pass their recommendations off to the central core, who decide who gets the job.
To better insulate the core, there are usually several lieutenants in a single area, particularly in large urban centers. They do not speak directly with the central core, but through a rotating system of anonymous runners. They are not aware of other lieutenants in their area, to prevent an entire network from collapsing due to one arrest. Each lieutentant has their own “crew”, called affiliates, to further limit damage in case of arrest. Finally, the when the central core has selected the affiliate or affiliates who will take on a job, they send an unsigned letter, written in code, through a messenger who ensures that only the addressed member personally receives the letter. This charter letter contains instructions to memorize the pertinent details and then throw the letter into a fire, again to avoid detection. The affiliate is entrusted to not reveal any of these details to anyone, including other members and their lieutenant, until after the job is done.
The jobs taken on by the Wanderers range from small “skimming” operations that make a few hundred gold, to incredibly intricate capers to steal ancient artifacts worth hundreds of thousands of gold. This range helps the younger, less experienced affiliates gain experience, and serves as a way to gauge which young affiliates have potential. All stolen goods taken by affiliates are dropped at a pre-determined drop point, which is later picked up and taken to the central core. The core then either fences the property through their network, or completes the delivery to the person who contracted their services. The central core takes a 35% cut of the profit for themselves, and 15% cut for the lieutenant who recommended the affiliate. The remaining 50% is then divided among the affiliates who actually committed the job.
There is another benefit to being an affiliate of the Twilight Wanderers: They look after their own. If an affiliate is captured during a sanctioned attempt, the Wanderers will flex their network of contacts to get the affiliate sprung…though unless the affiliate was the victim of exceptionally bad luck or was set up, this is often the last the Wanderers will have to do with an affiliate, as they have proven to be reckless. The Twilight Wanderers will also financially assist members who are permanently injured during an attempt, and will provide a payout to the family of any member who dies in an attempt. These measures have ensured that affiliates prove to be exceptionally loyal to the Society.
The Wanderers, due to the covert nature of their activities, bear no distinguishing emblem or mark to denote membership. However, lieutenants and core members do follow a particular custom: they give up their given names, adopting nicknames or aliases as if they were named so from birth. This practice of secret identities has obvious utility, and adds to the romantic mystique surrounding the faction as well.