The largest group in Terescence is the Hand of the Asp. In the simplest terms they are the mafia, a massive crime syndicate spanning the entire western continent of Nor'Doth. A good hundred plus years ago, they took over the last remaining Thief's Guild on the continent and ever since have been the "only" source of illegal activity. Smuggling, robbery, assassinations, political maneuvering, their activities run the gamut. They hunt down and brutally exact 'commission' from anyone who acts illegally within their territory(which is vast), unless that person joins them and works for them. Just like in 1920's and 30's in New York or Chicago, they have legitimate business fronts: taverns, inns, stores, etc.