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In addition to the powerful clans, a number of looser associations known as cabals have come together to further their own ends. Unlike clans, which tend to band together in order to further their own ends, cabals are a way to form a loose association with other players without having to keep tabs on clan-to-clan competition. They are formed at minimal cost - but they are afforded no special rooms, no special items and are not in competition with each other.
Players may have characters in as many cabals as they want; however, they can only be the leader of one. Also, players can be in any number of cabals and one clan. (But players may only be in one full-fledged clan, no matter how many characters they control.)
One final note: all clans must start as cabals before being advanced to clan status.
For help in-game, see: help cabal