The Mariner's Guild is an association of ship Companies and seafaring businesses operating throughout the Avadian Sovereignty.
The Mariner's Guild is made up of a number of branches operating in each major city or port in Avadian territory. Each of these branches elects a Representative from among themselves, who represents the group in the Conclave, a regular gathering of the Representatives in a rotating roster of cities. There they act to advance the agenda and interests of their particular branch. There are two types of by-laws decided upon by the Guild; local by-laws, which govern the local rules of maritime trade and are decided upon by popular vote of all members of a branch, and universal by-laws, which govern the entire Guild and are agreed on by a vote of all Representatives. Each branch also has other officers should they need them, such as treasurers, market specialists, etc.
The Mariner’s Guild’s public agenda is to advocate for the interests of captains, Companies and trade endeavours related to the seas.
The guild has vast coffers; not only from the percentage of earnings paid by each member to enjoy their services, but also from donations from wealthy and powerful individuals who want to ensure their co-operation. Officially the Guild has no standing army or navy. Unofficially, the general rule seems to be that an attack on one guild member is seen as an attack upon all, and raiders and enemy navies can expect reprisals from anybody within the guild. It is also of note that while the Guild does not have an official navy, many of its more prominent members do happen to own armed penteconters and even ex-Admiralty biremes, which may just happen to come across raiders.
During the late third century DoM, commerce in the Calinan Sea was at an all-time high, especially with the Avadian Colonies giving the Sovereignty the foothold on the Arikandan and Calinan mainlands it needed to trade in a variety of goods not easily available to them. With that boom in commerce, however, came an unprecedented boom in violent crime on the seas, with unscrupulous raiders taking to the seas and attacking merchant shipping. The Admiralty proved too slow to respond, so in the summer of 220 DoM, a group of independent traders assembled in Port Avadia and agreed to operate as vigilantes. While the act of attacking a vessel unprovoked was illegal, self defense of a vessel was not, and as a result, if armed penteconters through a twist of fate happened upon pirate vessels, they would be obliged to protect themselves. The fact that such raiders were at large for attacking associates of said penteconters was purely a coincidence, naturally. By the time the Avadian Admiralty determined that these events seemed to be co-ordinated and the result of traders taking the law into their own hands, the Calinan Sea had seen a massive reduction in piracy, to the point where the Assembly would never vote to prosecute these defenders of the seas, and to send them before the Council of Peace would cause a public outcry. So it was that the Mariner's Guild became a tolerated body for the protection of mariners and sea traders. Throughout the decades, the Guild expanded to take on other aspects of protecting the interests of mariners of all stripes. Ship Companies benefited from association with each other, and all sailors and traders benefited from the negotiation of mutual aid, and agreed standards and practices across Companies and crew. New branches of the Guild opened in ports throughout the Beyan Archipelago, and then further abroad again to the Avadian Colonies. During this time, the concept of co-operation across branches was negotiated, and the Conclave system was proposed to ensure certain global rules throughout the Sovereignty. In the Three Empires era, the Guild is as influential as it has ever been, with enough money and powerful members that even the Admiralty has to tread carefully around them or face crippling supply and service shortages. To this end, it has come under criticism from particularly large Companies and wealthy independent traders, who argue their rules and regulations are stifling the operations of their own businesses, and the Admiralty itself, who argue that the Guild is overstepping its bounds and encroaching on matters of state. In the last twenty years, there has also been a recent up-surge of independent traders who choose to operate without observation of or membership of the Guild, forming a minor challenge to their hegemony. Finally, the Guild are also butting heads with the new arrivals in the Calinan Sea, the traders of the Kingdom of Kjoqvist, with many Mariners uneasy at what they see as intruders into their rightful waters.