Today we start off with an examination of the five Guilds of the Arisen. Each of the Guilds is a representation of a particular craft that the Arisen specialized in during their first lives as servants to the Shan’iatu. Even as the Arisen, the servants continue to bear the responsibilities and philosophies of their Guild, which color their relations with other Arisen and their ideas as to how to go about their duties.
Today we’re looking at the Maa-Kep, “Bearers of the Engraved” and what they bring to the game. The Maa-Kep are an interesting Guild as they occupy the niche of the mid-level laborer, the trusted right hand men. These are the assistants and the aides, the mid-tier functionaries that make sure that any craft or endeavor proceeds smoothly and with a minimum of disruption. These servants have become so ingrained into the workflow that they were considered to be an essential part to any operation.
It was not long that the Maa-Kep were given another task. Trusted as they were in their dedication to their respective roles, they were transformed into Irem’s secret police. Their loyalty was unquestioned, and therefore it was up to them to keep an eye on the others. They could observe without being noticed, and could gain access to all sorts of places and information by virtue of being beneath the notice of others due to their station.
Due to their mandate, the Maa-Kep are an interesting take on the “espionage” centered groups that you can find now and then in world of darkness splats. Rather than being secretive and enigmatic like the Guardians of the Veil, the Maa-Kep hide in plain sight. They are irreplacable and valuable as assistants, and yet little do those that work with them know that they are also keeping tabs on them.
The philosophy of the Maa-Kep is surprisingly pragmatic. They see themselves (and by extension, other people) as “tools” of a sort. Each must perform according to their role, and those who fail to do so are due for correction at best, and removal at worst.
My favorite part of the Maa-Kep would be their practices. By the use of amulets, they are capable of pulling off a surprising amount of success with as little showboating as possible. Their magics are subtle and have much more to do with knowledge and intelligence gathering than brute force, but if properly applied that kind of information can be used to great effect.
Given this, it’s no surprise that their methodology prizes invisibility more than being in the spotlight. The Maa-Kep value the freedom that a lack of attention brings, and would much rather not gain any accolades in order to not lose their edge.
I’ll have to admit that I’m a sucker for this sort of concept, and I feel that everything about the Maa-Kep speaks to me as the Guild I would love to play in. The idea of them being the ultimate assistant / jack of all trades, the focus on loyalty to a greater cause and the preference to stay out of the center of attention are all part of my standard playstyle as a player. I have to admit that I’ve not been this amused and excited to try out a character since I’ve read the writeup for the Euthanatos is Mage: the Ascension.
The idea of subtle mummies with amulets that grant them knowledge is a neat touch, and playing the ultimate wingman does have a certain charm to it. At the same time, if you look at it from the point of view of Mummies as monsters, the idea of someone who can pass unseen among societies and drawing out secrets to your vulnerability make the Maa-Kep remarkably dangerous opponents.