The Exchange

From Guidebook

Something like the Men-In-Black of the supernatural world, the Exchange are the people who hold the line between the supernatural and the mundane. As a group, they are capable, competent, and intimately in the know about the supernatural. With a long, storied history, they operate primarily in Western Europe and North America, with a few offshoots or reformed groups in the British Commonwealth of Nations and former British colonies. Their purpose in this modern day and age is that of an agile and stealthy force. They do patrol at street level, but many agents make use of stealth tactics to stay out of sight and out of mind. It is generally accepted wisdom that you want the upper hand when fighting the supernatural; if you can hit a demon before it even sees you, your chances of survival greatly increase.

The attitude towards the Exchange in the local supernatural community in Easthaven is generally positive, as they're viewed as a necessary line of defence against out of control supernatural entities and dangerous individuals putting the community at risk. However, on an individual basis this opinion does vary, based on personal perspective and experience. Many Agents are locals drawn from the supernatural community, with intimate knowledge of both the community and magic, but this also adds to the level of trust the community has for them, as they know the agents as one of their own.

For supernaturals who are troubled or in need of housing or other support, the Exchange run the Lethe Hostel, a place to stay and their primary office for social outreach in the supernatural community in Easthaven. They also offer a space for human witches, wizards, and ritualists to do their practice, called the Sewing Circle or just the Circle, providing support through resources and their expertise at the low price of agents being able to commission pro bono work.

Please take note: Players who do things to catch the Exchange's attention will have to contend with the consequences of their actions, although the way those consequences manifest can be discussed. Carefully consider what you will or will not do in a plot where your character is in trouble and talk it out with staff and other Exchange players. Crossing the line can be anything from bothering the locals enough to get reported, attacking an agent, or causing a magical disaster that harms someone or threatens the secrecy that the Exchange work to maintain.

Today's Exchange

The Exchange accepts both humans and metahumans into their ranks, having seen the tactical misstep of limiting their recruitment pool. Magic-users, half-bloods, shifters, and the undead are not viewed much differently than mundane humans. It isn't unheard of that the agents themselves have their personal prejudices, of course, but the organisation has a merit-based hiring approach. In that same vein, morality varies within their ranks, from the pinnacle of goodness to the sort of person who will do whatever it takes for the greater good. In essence, these men and women of the Exchange stand on the edge of the void and scream back, lending to a whole variety of personalities that may or may not clash. The job takes a lot out of the agents, as it is a high-risk, low-reward job that leaves little room for anyone simply seeking status. Summed up, they're a collectivistic group that rates cooperation highly but also requires the sort of person who can operate independently and make choices in tough situations.

Every agent who joins the Exchange signs a magical contract that serves as an oath to the organisation and their cohort, a product of an arcanists work. This magic goes beyond simple spoken oaths, as breaking this written contract marks the agent with a visible sign of their betrayal: Their hands turn black, as if they have been dipped in ink. The agent cannot scrub away or otherwise remove or magically hide these markings until they seek out the sitting Inquisitor and state their case. On a case by case basis, this either results in the agent being tied by the tongue tyers, kicked out of the organisation, or killed. To break the oath, a serious transgression must happen. Examples of this can be: sharing information to the detriment of the Exchange, the cohort, and the supernatural community; misusing magic or magical objects for personal gain; recklessly endangering fellow agents, mundanes, or members of the supernatural community; misappropriate Exchange property.

Common Tools

Each Exchange cohort has a cypher for digital and physical documents, which preserves the secrecy around their work. Many also have a collection of diaries and books written in older cyphers that they no longer have the key to, thanks to the writers, past Inquisitors and agents alike, being killed in action before being able to share their key. Easthaven's collection of coded books is extensive, thanks to its long history.

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