Guild Contract Card

A guild contract card (GCC) is the drastically abbreviated form of a service contract between a Guild navigator and a prospective client.   A GCC takes the form of a punch card made from stiff card stock and saturated in wax to prevent water damage. Guild halls possess specializes keyboards used to produce these punch cards, as well as dieseltech computer readers designed to transcribe cards into more permanent records or perform important actuarial functions related to the cards.


The purpose of a GCC is to serve as a semi-permanent record of the service deal struck between a Navigator and their client. Truly permanent records of such contracts only exist at guild halls to be audited by officers of the Guild Board of Trustees in the event of irregularities.

Document Structure


A given card specifies up to ten destinations anywhere within the Manifold Sky, expected duration of contract, negotiated contract price, any hazard surcharges, and numerous other special terms and conditions which might apply to a given journey. Additional cards may be appended for particularly long or complex journeys, but this is rare in the extreme due to both low demand and Guild policies restricting unnecessarily long periods between contract renewals. GCCs are always printed in matched pairs, and ensuring that a contract has not been altered merely requires holding the card up to a light source and comparing the holes.


Generally, only the leader of a journey (e.g. an airship captain) and the navigator with which they have contracted need carry their GCCs. Individuals and groups whose journeys involve vehicle transfers might carry their GCCs in a small pouch alongside their travel tickets.   Knowingly and willingly altering a GCC renders it void and may result in sanction (up to and including service bans) by the Navigator's Guild.


GCC derive their meaning by referencing a Guild-curated catalogue of pre-specified contract terms. These catalogues are, in turn, written with exacting, programmatic detail in Guild Pidgin. As a result, GCCs encode complex service contracts in a remarkably compressed format. An experienced navigators will sometimes 'cold-read' cards - without a catalogue at hand - as a parlor trick in exchange for bar tabs.

Publication Status

Many GCCs remain private and are destroyed, filed away, or lost once the contract has been fulfilled, but this is not always the case. GCCs can be used to trace the movement of people, cargo, and materiel from one location to another; GCC tracing is a popular tool for insurance investigators, police detectives, and spies. GCCs related to important dates (i.e. a souvenir from a honeymoon airship cruise), historical events (i.e. the one used by the last diplomatic mission from Voxelia to the Free Faces League before the outbreak of the War of Reunification) or locations (i.e. any originating in the Distal Tesseract) have value as collector's items.

Contract, Private
Digital Recording, Text
Signatories (Organizations)

Cover image: by BCGR_Wurth


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