This is truly not really an organization, but the common term applied to the Gifted who owe no allegiance to any of the major societies and organizations of the occult world. Some are simply fiercely independent individuals who rebelled against the rules of their original groups, while others were found and trained by small groups of magicians or psychics who have formed their own mini-societies.
To generalize about Solitaires is nearly impossible. They range from charlatans with only a touch of true power to enormously accomplished Magicians, Seers or Necromancers who refuse to swear allegiance to any group. Some groups are very suspicious and contemptuous of Solitaires, while others (especially the Wicce, who are possibly the most loosely organized of magical organizations) accept them as equals in most respects.
The strength and knowledge of Solitaires range from the god-like to the nearly non-existent. A few are actually incredibly ancient, having used their Arts to slow down or stop the aging process. These “holy hermits” are often very reluctant to admit the level of their power. Much more common are phonies with only a smattering of power who will readily claim to be living storehouses of occult secrets.
Some Solitaires abuse their powers more readily than members of other organizations, because there is no ruling body they have to answer to. However, Gifted powers usually regulate themselves, and overt displays of power attract the attention of both other Gifted and supernatural predators. Solitaires are among the most likely Gifted to try to make a living through the use of their abilities. Mostly they do it subtly, using real magic to perform amazing “stage magic” stunts, or conning people out of their money through the careful combination of Gifted powers and mundane skills. Others are seduced by the offers of power made by Dark Covenants and other evil beings, but they are in the minority.
A number of Solitaires are actual renegades, former Covenant members who have broken free from their former allegiance or who have been expelled for some misdeed. Most Covenants will not pursue such renegades unless their crimes have been too extreme to be ignored. In most cases, however, they will be watched to make sure the former member does not attempt to betray the Covenant. A few renegades continue to practice the Arts, and may even take students under their wing, teaching them their own version of the Truth. More often than not,these renegades do not have a lot to teach, and their students are not likely to advance very far.
There is no real ‘origin’ or collective history to Solitaires as each group has it’s own history and origins. That said, Solitaires are the original organization of magic. Before any major organizations existed being a Solitaire was the norm and only the advent of later major organizations changed this.
Both the Wicce and Rosicrucians, and most of the other magically oriented groups, refer to those Gifted who learn and practice their Arts without help from others as the Solitaires. Beyond that characteristic, however, the Solitaires are as diverse as humankind itself. Some are fairly orthodox witches or ritual sorcerers who simply refuse to acknowledge any kinship with, or authority from, a Covenant. Others are individuals or small bands who have developed their own mishmash of occult arts. Some mix European sorcery with Native American or African shamanism for a unique combination; others develop magic and other Arts and use them simultaneously in strange hybrid forms. The Solitaires are not truly a organization as they do not have a common history or organizational structure.
For the most part there are rarely more than a handful of Solitaires in any group, typically being the members of a family or clan. Many are single individuals, perhaps with one pupil who also doubles as servant or bodyguard. The largest and most successful Solitaire groups are in effect miniature Covenants, perhaps with two or three associated Covens or Houses spread over a limited area, but those are the rarest.
Most Solitaires favor remote areas. In North America, they can be found in the swamps of Louisiana, uninhabited expanses of the Mid-West, and the Appalachian Mountains, where ancient lores brought by European settlers, mixed with native customs, have developed into unique styles. They tend to avoid large concentrations of people,where their abilities might attract the attention of mundanes or, perhaps worse, the interest of other Gifted. In more recent times, however, Solitaires have been found in cities, usually in the lowest-income areas, where those who might witness displays of magic are unwilling or powerless to report them to the authorities, and even less likely to be believed.
Most other groups dismiss Solitaires, though the Wicce usually have the friendliest relations with them. Among magical organizations the Magi and Sentinels both see them as walking time bombs, so are the least friendly.
The Hellfire Club has targeted such groups for ages, as they are much easier prey then larger groups. Not to be outdone the Opus Dei, The Cabal, and The Combine have been known to come down hard on Solitaire groups as easy targets as well.
Skills and Abilities
Skills are mostly determined by the profession and background of the character. Solitaires often have Occult Knowledge of some type or another.
Having no real affiliation, Solitaires learn any of the Arts their teacher or teachers know, in addition to what they discover or learn on their own. Magic is the most common Art,followed by Necromancy. Solitary Seers will sometimes take others under their wing and help them sharpen their powers. Some Solitaires are Divinely Inspired.
Almost any profession or occupation is applicable. Some Solitaires are criminals or outlaws, using their powers for personal gain, while others choose professions not unlike those held by the Wicce or Rosicrucians.