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Guilds of the Fallen Empire

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A guild is an association of people of the same trade or pursuits (with a similar skill or craft), formed to protect mutual interests and maintain standards of morality or conduct. They were formed to protect and benefit the craftsmen and the standards of the craft they represent. They also act to protect society as a whole by enforcing certain minimum standards among their members.

The guilds act like a small-business association for those members who own their own shops. For those members who work at those shops they often act like a workers union.
Guildcrest

Standard Practices

In protecting its own members, the guilds protected the consumer as well.

  • Many craft regulations prevent poor workmanship. The guild will often inspect the work of their members to insure that it is of good quality and does not harm the reputation of the guild.
  • Because of the rarity and quality of artificial light, work at night is usually prohibited.
  • To regulate competition between members the guilds forbid advertising by individual members. Instead the guild will decide which shops need more business, pay for the advertising for that shop and then the member will pay the guild.
  • All prices are regulated.
  • Price-cutting is strictly forbidden.
  • Craftsmen must get guild approval to take an apprentice. This preserves their monopoly and prevents oversaturation of the market with trained craftsmen or products.
  • To preserve its monopoly the sale of foreign artisans' work within a city is prohibited.
  • Important processes used in manufacturing are guarded. It is a guild crime to divulge certain creation processes to non-guild members unless they are guild approved students or apprentices.
  • Members are not allowed to corner a market by purchasing a large supply of a product or commodity so as to be able to fix the price.

Services Provided

Guilds don't just give their members a set of rules and abandon them, they perform services for their members as well.

  • Protect their members by requiring a minimum of safety and treatment standards. Any apprentice who feels he is being abused can lodge a complaint with the guild.
  • Employ private watchmen who walk the streets and check the shops that belong to guild members.
  • Prevent non-guild members from setting up shops and undercutting guild prices.
  • Members get goods and services from other guild members at discounted prices.
  • Provide funeral expenses for poorer members and aid to members widows and families.
  • Provide dowries for poorer members daughters.
  • Provide members with a type of health insurance and provisions for care of the sick.
  • Loan money to new members who want to start a shop or established members who suffer financial problems.
  • Donate services to local churches or temples.

Legal Status

In the Barony of Laesmoor the guilds have a quasi-legal status. They allow the guilds to police their members, and collect business license fees for the city. A magistrate will hear certain guild proclamations, and usually grant a judgement allowing the guild to enforce its decisions. For example if a non-member opens a shop and refuses to join the guild a guild hearing will issue an order to close the shop, and require its members to shun the offender. A guild barrister will take the order to a magistrate who will grant a judgement. Then said barrister will either take soldiers or hired help over to the offending shop to shut it down and confiscate everything in the shop.

If this happens the offender will remained shunned. Unable to purchase anything from guild members in that city the person will be in a bad way until he has paid the guild what they think he owes. This amount will usually by the guild dues, whatever money the guild had to spend to enforce its decision, and usually a small fine on top of all that.

Guild Rank

In addtion to dues, a guild member must purchase his guild rank. To offset this most guild members also take Sense of Duty to the guild.

Guild Rank
5 Guildmaster (City) gets +2 Status for free
4 Guildmaster (Town), or Guild councilman gets +1 Status for free
3 Master Craftsman gets +1 Status for free
2 Craftsman gets +1 Status for free
1 Journeyman
0 Apprentice, or family of guildmember
-1 Everyone else

Guilds

Adventurers Guild

No such guild exists. This is a slang term used to refer to Knights of the Order of Laesmoor. It is well known that many members of the order, or people who want to be in the order, make a life of taking on dangerous adventures in order to gain knighthood or raise their standing in the order.

Assassins Guild

The Barony officially denies this rumored organization exists.

In actuality this small organization does exist. The Barony allows them to exist rather than risking what would take its place if it was destroyed. The assassins guild regulates its members and maintains a strict prohibition on its members taking contracts against members of the nobility. Being a member of this organization is no legal defense. The guild will arrange for a skilled barrister in the event that a member encounters any problems. If it even looks like a member is going to admit membership to the authorities or give them any information the guild will kill their former member.

Barristers Guild

All lawyers (called barristers) and judges (called magistrates) are members of this guild. While status outside the guild isn't supposed to matter inside the guild, in reality it does have an effect. The barristers guild essentially functions as a country club for lawyers and judges. As well as a place to make backroom deals.

Businessmans Guild

Another "informal" organization. Also known as the "Thieves Guild" by members of the constabulary. Called the businessmans guild because of its members tendancy to answer the question; "What are doing?" with the standard "Taking care of business." Members of the businessmans guild are often members of other guilds as well, and provide the guild with intelligence. They often have a stake in or have total control of all illegal activity in a town or city. Since none of the standard items are illegal in the barony most of this guilds income comes from protection money paid by shops in the city or by streetwalkers. This guild also acts as a point of contact for the Assassins Guild.

The businessmans guilds equivalent to journeyman is Operator. Their version of craftsman is Capo, and their guildmaster is called Don.

Craftsmans Guild

In order to gain more prestige and power the Artisans Guild, Bakers Guild, Blacksmiths Guild, Brewers Guild, Candlemakers Guild, Masons Guild, Painters Guild, Woodcutters Guild, and all of the other smaller guilds combined to form the largest guild. While the largest guild it is not huge by any means. Often its members of a certain trade (say Blacksmiths) will number less than a dozen.

Journeyman members must pay one silver topin every month to maintain membership. Craftsman and Mastercraftsman members that own a shop must pay 5% of their profits each month to maintain membership.

A craftsman may attain mastercraftsman status after running his shop in the same town for at least ten years. He then makes a request in a guild meeting to be granted mastercraftsman status. Once his request is approved all guildmembers of the same craft will inspect his shop and his products. He will explain to them what he does and why his products are superior to the average. At the next these members will give a report and then vote. A majority vote confers the title of Mastercraftsman upon the member. This allows him to charge more for certain high-quality or custom items, and allows him to try for a position on the guild's council. Only mastercraftsmen can sit on the council or be a candidate for the Guildmaster.

Mages Guild

The Mages guild provides magical investigators to the constabulary. The guildhall maintains a huge magical library which members may peruse to learn new spells. There is also a lounge, sort of a members only bar, where members usually discuss unorthodox magical theories or new spells. The use of magic on a member or any offensive spells in the guildhall is forbidden.

Instead of journeyman the mages guild calls anyone who has learned the craft enough to be on his own (and has at least magery 1) Magicians. Anyone with at least magery 2 and claims a certain specialty of magic is called a Sorcerer. Someone with magery 5 or more that has proven themselves in their craft is called a Wizard. Only wizards are eligible to run for Guildmaster. Unlike other guilds, which are separate guilds with separate guildmasters for each town or city. The Mages guild is part of a combined whole. They have one guildmaster per country, or one per province of the empire.

The mages guild lost much with the downfall of the empire. At the guildhall in the capital the mages guild maintained a large stone into which was bound a demon. This demon had both telepathy and a photographic memory. As stated on Magic page 47; "If caster and subject know each other and the subject expects the call, there is no distance penalty." Mages would often go to the guildhall in the capital and touch the rock while establishing mental contact with the demon. This would allow the mage to get to know the demon, which would allow him to contact said demon at anytime from any distance without penalty. Since this demon had a photographic memory he would act as a message board. In effect this system functioned not only as an internet forum, but also as a chatroom. Mages would pass on information, job offers, and often just chat with their fellow mages on this "network." This network was destroyed during the Cataclysm.

The mages guild also maintained a series of teleport portals which would allow members to instantly teleport to any other guildhall. Since the main portal which bound and empowered all of the other portals was in the guildhall in the capital these portals no longer functioned after the Cataclysm. The existance of this teleport network was kept secret from non-guildmembers with the exception of the nobles of the various countries and provinces. The guild once made quite a bit of money from charging members of the nobility for use of these teleporters. What the guild in the barony is keeping secret is that they have managed to reactivate the portals to all of the guildhalls in the barony. This means that guildmembers can teleport at will between the guildhalls in the towns and cities of the barony only.

Merchants Guild

Anyone who creates a product is part of the craftsman guild. Anyone that sells a service is a merchant and is a member of the merchants guild. The various merchants guilds in each of the towns and cities all have agreements and work together. While technically only a member of the guild in his hometown a merchant is treated as a member in the guild of whichever town he is in. Bankers and accountants are members of the merchants guild. Though bankers often talk about forming their own guild, most are quite content with the superior status they enjoy in the merchants guild.

Most guildhalls have rooms which members can stay in when not in their hometown at a lower price than most inns. In smaller towns and villages they just have a room in a local inn which is rented to guildmembers at a discount. The private meeting room in the guildhall also acts as a clearing house for goods and jobs for members.

Professors Guild

All university and trade school professors are members of this guild. Teachers at primary schools are also members but they are not eligible for deacon status. Deacon is the professors guild equivalent to mastercraftsman. Only deacons are eligible to run for the guild council or guildmaster. The guild in the barony of laesmoor doesn't maintain a guildhall except in Conwrightsfast. In other towns a meeting room in the local university is used by the guild.

Teamsters Guild

Having successfully resisted efforts to be engulfed into the growing craftsmans guild years ago, the teamsters guild is now in danger of being completely taken over by the businessmans guild.

Members include anyone who loads or unloads ships or wagons, works carrying heavy objects, as well as anyone who drives wagons or acts as a courier. Retired members of the army or constabulary who take jobs as watchmen are also members of the teamsters guild. In towns on a shore fishermen are also part of the teamsters guild.

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This page was last modified on 4 March 2006, at 19:34.
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