Emerald Claw Communication

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A player in my campaign is playing an agent of the Emerald Claw and, recently, he brought up a good question: if he were on a mission in a city he was unfamiliar with and sought the help of other Emerald Claw agents, how would he go about doing it? Simply asking around is likely a fruitless endeavor. More importantly, once he did find another member, how could he prove that he was a member himself? Carrying around a badge or symbol would be dangerous if you were caught by the authorities, I imagine. Secret phrases can be compromised, and so forth. How would you handle these issues?
Call me Ender.

It depends on how you think the group is organized. Personally I don't see it as an organization that is deeply ingrained in various societies beyond Karnath. I see them as having a few individual agents and sympathizers outside of Karnath (mostly hidden amongst the Blood of Vol - a religion practiced all over Khorvaire). Only when there is something specific going on would they send in large groups of agents. There are traveling papers, but there are no computers to filter out names in seconds as we have now-a-days so no real need for long term infiltrations of terrorist cells. There is all the risk though of mind readers blowing the cover of those long term cells.

Within Karnath there are probably a couple of relatively obvious symbols and signals, public secrets that anybody looking favorable on the cause definitely knows. Obviously, more secretive members are a bit more careful, but at least some of the "public" agents know how to contact those.

Outside of Karnath I would think agents keep themselves hidden, but their superiors are well aware whom they are and how to contact them. Assuming agents keep in regular contact with their superiors, if they start operating in the same area and there is a reasonable chance they come across one another both their identity or how to chat would be revealed through those superiors. If there is no reason to belief the two need to contact one another, no such contact methods are provided for the savety of all. After all, in a world were you know some people and creatures can read your mind, you really want to keep such information hidden unless sharing it is necessary.

This is where all the spy stuff comes in handy. Shades adjusted just so, a beer bottle lying just so in a certain place, etc.

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Forgive the real world religious reference, but I think its in context here.

In the early days of Christianity (back in the "feed 'em to the lions!" era), they had a similar problem.  The answer they came up with was if you were unsure as to the persuasion of the person you were talking to, you would draw a curved line in the dirt with your foot.  If the other person was also a christian, they would draw another curved line to complete the symbol of the fish (like Jesus fish you see on bumpers today, the two stroke fish was the symbol for christianity before they adopted the cross, the whole fisher of men thing).

You could adapt that.  Its the Emerald Claw, so you could go to the town square, pull up a nice piece of dirt to read the paper on, and leave a curved ( mark in the dust.  If another EC agent saw it, they could draw another line like ) to make () which the first person then adds the final line for ()) to finish the symbol of the claw.  Then they scrub the symbol out of the dirt and walk off for coffee and the exchanging of secret documents or whatever else they needed to do.