The Shadow Council is the dark mirror of the Small Council. It is an unofficial and illegally run regulatory body that governs the Fynwell underground and includes elected representatives from all the major crime organizations in the city. Namely:
- Thieve's Guild
- Panhandler's Guild
- Assassin's Guild
- Forger's Guild
- The Triumvirate
- River Rats
It also includes a number of minor organizations willing to pay tribute and be regulated. The council resolves disputes between member organizations, rules on turf and scope of operations, as well as lobbies and influences politicians and bribes law enforcement.
Each elected representative of a crime guild or organization takes on the title of Shadow Councillor. Shadow Councillors are often the heads or leaders of their respective organizations, but that's not always the case. Fynwell's crime guilds, for instance always maintain a separation between the actual Guild Leader and the Shadow Councillor selected to represent them in the council.
One of the council's primary functions is resolving disputes between member organizations. This is usually done via Rite of Arbitration. When invoked, the injured party appeals to the remaining councilors to conduct an investigation into the wrong doing. The council listens to the arguments presented both by the representative of the injured and the accused organization, and interviews any witnesses as necessary. Then they make a decision whether or not the accused organization should be punished, or repay the injured guild in gold or in kind. Both parties must abide by the final ruling.
Sometimes, when the injury or the offense is especially dire, the injured party may invoke the Rite of Vendetta. This is put to vote, which requires simple majority. If vendetta is approved the other member organizations promise not to interfere, and the injured party may exact their revenge as they see fit, but must do so within three days or less. They also get one shot at revenge, and should their attack, assassination or ploy fail they must forgo further attempts.