(The Spectral Artisan Guild of Sandmen, Chanteurs, Artificers and Masquers)
The Sandmen held dominion over LA, only rivaled by the Chanteurs. The place people ran to in order to fulfil their dreams of celebrity and stardom was a hotbed for the Sandmen, eagerly inflaming their dreams and feeding their passions (or falling to the Shadow to rip them to shreds. Take your pick). The two guilds, however, never feuded, finding common ground amongst the Quick who flocked to LA. Rather than fight, they fulfilled the Compact – joining in union to become the Spectral Actors Guild of Sandmen and Chanteurs (SAG-SC), or more commonly called ‘The SAG”.
With the destruction of the Hierarchy and the calamity befalling LA due to the Great Rip, The Compact had business everywhere. Who better to uplift a demoralized population than Sandmen and Chanteurs? They turned away none, performing their craft for Hierarch and Renegade alike. No Necropolis was too small (though Oboli may be a bit tight) and no gang was too tough. Until they were, and the SAG found it sorely needing protection.
Holding out hope, the burdening SAG-SC looked to their fellow Guilds. The ones who answered the call were the First Guild, the local Artificers. Entrenched in LA’s Hierarchy remnant in Witley Heights, the Artificers cut loose a few of their number, former set-designers and construction architects to provide a strong arm to The Sag, now SAG-SCA. That soon changed when the local Masquer’s guild-leader was flayed of his corpus and strung up on a spike by The Beautiful People for “sinning against the Great Sculptor”, whatever that meant. SAG-SCAM was born, with enough subtle strength that only the Hierarchy could stop them. The SAG, however, continue to not seek the crown, let the Renegades and Hierarchy fight over the crown – the Guilds wield the true power in LA, and they know it.
Like a Trade Union, the SAG collects dues and offers benefits to its members, namely in the form of protection and racketeering perks – if people won’t leave you alone, a lot of doors close and the threat of soulforging becomes a real tangible problem.
Its leadership is democratic in scope. A president is elected from among SAG membership from one of the main signatory guilds: Sandmen, Chanteurs, Artificers or Masquers. The president has the power to control prices for services, is the prime arbiter of disputes within the Compact, and is the main authority in steering the Sag.
The SAG, chiefly the Sandmen, hold control over Tinseltown Studios – a place that generates a ton of Pathos – far more than any other faction in LA. Do Not Work codes are the most common punishment given to freewraiths who attempt to undermine the SAG by harvesting Pathos on their own outside the SAG’s permission.
The current President of SAGC-SCAM is Bette Davis. She is supported by a board of elected officials including a Secretary-Treasurer and Vice Presidents representing the Artificers, Chanteurs, and Sandmen. The Masquers, the latest addition, have no Vice President – a fact that bristles them.
Major Relations with other Guilds
Following the Compact of the Guilds, the Sag has working agreements with multiple guilds. The most prominent are listed here. The rest are either ambivalent or unobserved.
The SAG is loath to do anything to the Pardoners. Among its first struggles as a Guild Union was when a Pardoner received a Do Not Work code leveled on them for siphoning Pathos from a Church Mass. The next thing the SAG knew, no Pardoner would tend to their Shadow – sending many Sag members into Catharsis, no matter how much SAG offered for it and risked toppling the fledgling union. The result was an agreement that the SAG would not interfere with a Pardoner’s affairs, so long as the Pardoners did not undermine the SAG’s purpose. They’ve been fine ever since.
The Monitors are the chief rivals of SAG. The Guild that invented the art of Racketeering the dead, the Monitors by virtue of their skill protect and watch over several SAG Fetters so when the Monitors show up to ask for ‘a favor’, or for Pathos, SAG is loath to say no. The Monitors have put the SAG in a bind and they know it. Everyone can tell that when the opportunity reveals itself, the Monitors and SAG will throw down.
The Usurer’s Guild love SAG. They have so much Pathos and don’t know what to do with it. Luckily for them the Usurer’s are happy to help…for a modest fee. The Usurer’s have been offered a place at SAG’s table multiple times only to be politely refused each time. The Usurer’s are in it for themselves, and like the masters of the deal they are, have multiple agreements with SAG regarding the Pathos SAG generates.
F.U (The Free Compact of Haunters, Spooks and Puppeteers, United)
The other Compact in LA, F.U observes the letter of the Compact of the Guilds, not so much the spirit. Like the Hierarchy, F.U. is a sore spot in the side of SAG. Haunters and Spooks have run amok in Tinsletown Studios ruining pathos generation and SAG members have found themselves at the butt end of a Haunter’s prank, or a chance to get pathos thwarted by a well-placed Puppeteer. SAG looks at F.U. like anarchists, and they aren’t entirely wrong.
Relations outside the Guilds
SAG doesn’t mind the Hierarchy. Witley Heights is one little blip in a large city. So the Hierarchy has their Citadel and their clerks and their few squads of legionnaires. When they leave Witley, how will they find Pathos? SAG monitors pathos generation, so they better not get it from the Skinlands – SAG will rub Dictum Mortuum all over their face. Irony is a harsh mistress.
That said, the Hierarchy is among SAG’s chief clients. Everyone enjoys a Sandmen Show or a Chanteurs concert, and the presence of the Artificers within SAG makes them loathe to turn down the opportunity to get ahead on the Hierarchy’s dime.
It’s when the Hierarchy starts marching out of Witley Heights does SAG get nervous. The establishment of Joan Crawford’s leadership has put SAG on edge. The signs are there – the patrols of legionnaires, the recalibration of the Hierarchy’s civilian cohort. The perceived expansion of Hierarchy influence outside of Witley Heights. The Renegades have begun to steer clear of the area, and that fact alone makes SAG go on its heels.
The gangs of LA have had it pretty good. Like a jigsaw puzzle, LA’s Shadowlands has been carved up into little fiefdoms, patrolled and populated by Renegade gangs and cells. No two gangs are alike, which makes SAG have to have divisions to deal with each and every one of them. Thankfully the Guilds have members in most of the Renegade groups. The Guilds are equal opportunity employers after all. They have no clue about the Renegade Council of LA, though if they did the SAG would have reason to be more concerned about them.
SAG hates them. Period.
Part of being a Heretic is putting your faith above practicality. Transcendance demands it, no matter how the cult tells you that tyou get it. This means that Heretics ignore, scoff, and ultimately ignore SAG. Many Heretics have Do Not Work orders listed on them, and the fact they continue to exist in such blissful self-righteousness angers the union. Unfortunately SAG can’t do anything about them, because the cults know how to keep their mouths shut.
It also hurts SAG that there might
be a few true believers within the SAG ranks. Whoops.
It is the greatest problem SAG faces. In fact, it’s the greatest problem everyone faces nowadays. How do you deal with Spectres?
Los Angeles of course is a special exception – The Great Rip means that Spectres frequently hit and run LA with lightning speed, like a Maelstrom that never ends. It’s not unheard for a whole hive of them to hole up in an old building and snatch the restless, plunging them deep into the Labyrinth. Spectres used to be only restricted to the Tempest, save for the dreaded Dopplegangers…not in LA.
SAG isn’t a military force, nor does it pretend to be one. It’s an Artisan Union, not a paramilitary force. SAG hides behind the Renegades and the Hierarchy when Spectres come a-calling, using the result to either chastise them for lack of ability or use their victory as an excuse to continue dealing with them.