TR made an excellent point over lunch about the premise. We need to specify why the characters are involved in this stuff and what is this stuff anyhow.
Following the example of Hellblazer: the characters are stuck with these things. It’s not really a choice. But this is still too abstract. We need to extend the premise a bit.
Let’s start with “who are the Quick”. And what they are not.
The Quick is a half-derogatory term used for the lose network of individuals, in which the characters belong. There is no official leadership or organization. Even if some characters might think there is one. The network’s shared goal is to help each other with Echoes and the dead.
Who runs this operation?
The Family does not run the Quick directly. They however fund the operation like a rich patron. And the Family does not have any real organization in place. Your rich uncle might pay for your school, and expect something in return. But you don’t have to do what he wishes.
The Touched share a gift. But they do not share a single theory about the death. They usually want to be rid of the Echoes haunting them. Without the patronage of the family, the touched would probably work alone.
The Old Souls have various reasons to be friends or retainers of the Family or the Touched. Mostly these reasons are organic, as friendship etc. tends to be.
Why is your character involved?
This is an important question, and should be part of character creation. Each character has their own reason. Maybe it’s your obnoxious friend in need who you help. Maybe you owe something. Whatever the reason: it should be reasonable enough to keep the game premise and events relevant to the character.’
Are the shades like character classes?
Yes and no. The shades were created to add meaningful character backgrounds, not to limit character choices.
If a player wishes to play an ordinary mortal, FB/Advance field operator, or Ordo Vellum Enlightened World Weaver that’s completely plausible. Anyone can be “of the Quick” as long as they take part in the Great Work [of mending echoes].