The protagonists of this game are members of the Esoteric Order of the Illuminous, which stands between humanity and countless horrors that seek to corrupt their world. The order is consists of seven cabals, each of which has its own take on how to fight against the evils that invade the world through the aethyros. These cabals are Aethyric Engineers, Disciples of the Emerald Tablet, Ravens, Rooks, Scholars of Mu, Soldiers of Mithras, and Theurgists.

Aethyric Engineers

Engineers, inventors, and tinkerers have dabbled with using the aethyr to power mechanical devices for centuries. Indeed, the aethyric engineers trace the origins of these practices to 2nd to 3rd-century BCE. They are the newest cabal, only formally organized into the Aethyric Engineers in the 17th century. Early on, there was much distrust of the Engineers and their methods, but this has dissipated over time, in part due to the usefulness of their inventions.

The Aethryic Engineers utilize aethyr to power astonishing mechanical devices and machines. Some of their devices are advanced versions of 19th-century technology, such as instant cameras and portable and wireless telegraph machines. Other devices utilize aethyr to create seemingly impossible or even magical wonders of mechanical engineering, including goggles that allow one to see spirits and weapons that can harm aethyric entities.

Disciples of the Emerald Tablet

This cabal is believed to have been founded by the semi-mythical alchemist Abū Mūsā Jābir ibn Ḥayyān in the late 9th-century CE in the city of Kufa on the banks of the Euphrates River. Whether Jābir ibn Ḥayyān was indeed its founder or not, the Disciples of the Emerald Tablet certainly originated in Mesopotamia sometime early in the Islamic Golden Age.

The Disciples are alchemists and have handed down means of using substances with aethyric properties and infusing raw aethyr into compounds and solutions to create potions with magical effects. Their concoctions are known to accomplish everything from healing injuries to changing a person’s form or even granting invisibility. While perhaps not as powerful as manipulating raw aethyr as practiced by the Theurgists, it is considered to be much safer. The Disciples jealously guard the secrets of their ancient formulas, although they are willing to share benefits with others members of the Order of the Illuminous.


The Ravens and the Rooks were once one and the same but split around between 2nd and 3rd-century BCE. Their legends claim that they were once priest-kings in ancient Yorubaland and later honed their skills as legendary traders in Carthage. What this venerable cabal called itself before the split has been lost to the sands of time. Why they came to be called the Ravens is also unknown. However, it is possible that a Raven’s ability to affect others through speech could have become associated with the vocal mimicry capabilities of the fan-tailed raven, native to northeastern Africa. The cabal’s connection to corvids could also date back further to early Yoruban orisha religion.

Ravens are a welcome addition to any lodge because they grease the wheels of law and bureaucracy and make certain that the Order has what it needs when it needs it. Indeed, they often act as the defacto leader of a lodge, speaking for its members and removing obstacles before they become a problem. The Raven’s bribe politicians and bureaucrats and arrange for safe houses and equipment when needed. They deal with the mundane tediums so that other Order members can act and skirt the law when necessary.


The other half of the Ravens, the Rooks handle interactions and transactions with the dark underbelly of society. Need to acquire something highly illegal? You’ll want to speak to a Rook. They have contacts and connections throughout the underworld and are often able to acquire illicit goods and services. They split, or were outcast, from the Ravens in the 2nd and 3rd-century BCE when they existed mostly in Carthage. How they came to be called Rooks is unknown, although some theorize that the name rook may be derived from a much-hated Roman machine of war called the crow.

Neither the Rooks nor the Ravens know for certain the reason for their separation, but there was bad blood between the two for centuries. There are whispers that the cabal who would become the Rooks had dealings with dark powers that granted them their powers of shadow and darkness that allows them to move about unseen.

Scholars of Mu

If their stories are to be believed, the Scholars of Mu are the most ancient cabal of all. They claim to have originated from surviving philosophers and lore keepers from the lost continent of Mu. The Scholars do have evidence that dates at least some form to their order to Xia Dynasty in China. The Scholars maintain extensive archives on all of the cabals and their interactions with the aethyros. Indeed, Scholars are required to send yearly reports, usually consisting of copies of their notes and records, to their main repository in Beijing. However, in America, their largest collection is maintained in the basement of the Library Company (originally founded by Benjamin Franklin) in Philadelphia.

Although they do not manipulate the aethyr in manner as materially or obviously as other cabals, their knowledge of aethyros and the aethyr is greater than any other. They use this knowledge and their understanding of the Sight to combat creatures of the aethyros by identifying weaknesses and formulating defenses. Their knowledge is often of paramount importance when it comes to closing a particularly troublesome aethyros.

Soldiers of Mithras

The Soldiers of Mithras trace their origins to a faction within the Roman army in the 1st-century CE that was dedicated to fighting dark forces (entities of the aethyr) wherever they found them. This is as true today as it was then – they bravely go where others fear to tread and are usually on the front lines when destroying an aethyros devolves into combat. Viewed by many at the time to be a sort of a cult, and perhaps it was. The Mithrans survived the fall of the Roman Empire and transformed into the Soldiers of Mithras over the centuries. Very few, if any, still revere Mithras, but they are resolute as ever in their convictions.

Skilled combatants and warriors, but they are not simply warriors. The Soldiers know secrets of defeating and defending against aethyric entities. They draw up aethyr to channel bolts of light that destroy creatures of the aethyr and are able to draw circles of protection that keep them at bay. They subvert the power of the aethyr and use it against itself. But there is a price to be paid. Almost all of their gifts require a small sacrifice of blood.


The origins of the Theurgists are complicated. Dabblers in the magic and the dark arts have been around since humankind first harnessed fire and perhaps even before. The cabal was at one time a part of the Arcanum, a group of sorcerers who seek to use and control aethyros for their own benefit. Sometime around the 12th century CE the cabal now known as the Theurgists broke away from the Arcanum and joined the Esoteric Order of the Iluminous. Lingering distrust remains amongst other cabals, in part, because of their previous association with the Arcanum and because they channel raw aethyr in their workings. More than one Theurgist has succumbed to the aethyr by going mad with despair.
The practice of theurgy allows the caster to evoke spirits in order to learn from them or control them. This might be to speak to the spirits of the dead or manifest fire from a channeled elemental spirit. There is always a price to using tapping directly into the aethyr in this manner. There is evidence to support the concern that evoking spirits in this manner gives them power and may even strengthen an existing aethyros or spread its corruption further. Everyone, even most Theurgists, agree that their magic is dangerous and must be closely watched.