The Guilds of Ralindor
Guilds are organized into a three-tiered hierarchy, based on experience.
- "Apprentices" train from late adolescence to adulthood. They make up middle-class youths seeking professions, and are usually selected based on natural aptitude or parentage of another guild artisan.
- "Journeymen" are Apprentices that have graduated from their training. The vast majority of guild members are Journeymen.
- "Masters" are Journeymen that have grown talented and wealthy enough to sponsor their own Apprentices. With this responsibility comes additional power. They often oversee the administrative tasks of the Guild.
- The "Guild-Master" is a single craftsman of great skill, elected by his fellows, who represents the entire Guild in courtly matters.
- The Guilds wish to ensure the safety and prosperity of the Free City, and encourage the consumption of their finished goods, as well as the import of raw materials from abroad.
- However, the Guilds often take a fairly reactionary approach to economic progress, resembling mercantilism: they impose barriers to entry for craftsmen, such as having to be sponsored by a Master, or paying guild fees; this inflates prices, and contributes to persistent inequality between lower- and middle-class individuals.
- Guilds are opposed to innovative business practices or technological developments that would make them obsolete, and can eliminate threats to their business using the aforementioned barriers-to-entry.
- Every Guild has vast amounts of money, property, and labor.
- Guild-members are typically very well-connected and very few of them are above abusing their power or money to call upon less-than-ethical services like extortion or assassination.
The earliest Guilds were those centered around food and drink, such as the Butchers' Guild, the Brewers' Guild, and the Guild of Bakers. Food shortages and outbreaks of disease in Ralindor's early history led to a need to create stable production of acceptable food, and the first Lord-Mayor of Ralindor sanctioned these organizations. The first of the "political" Guilds was the Guild of Merchants and Moneylenders, who convinced the Lord Mayor that their importance was necessary to ensure an adequate amount of foodstuffs made its way from the farms to the city. From there, the other Guilds followed quickly, to address the similar concerns of production-stability.
List of GuildsNot every Guild is represented below, but some of the more-interesting ones are.
- The Alchemists’ and Apothecaries’ Guild: This Guild was forced into being by the Lord-Mayor a few decades ago, due to the frequently dangerous nature of their work. Its members (especially the alchemists) are rather resentful of that fact.
- The Guild of Bakers, Cooks, and Chefs: Surprisingly intense; the Guild-Master is decided via a cooking contest, using a list of predetermined ingredients, judged by three Guild-Masters of great renown. Likewise, they sponsor expeditions in order to secure exotic foods and recipes.
- The Guild of Barber-Surgeons: Clerical magic is expensive, so most folk rely on the skilled hands of barber-surgeons for medicinal procedures. They have a strong working relationship with the Apothecaries’ Guild (who produce medicines), and the Embalmers’ Guild (who keep quiet about the barber-surgeons’ mistakes).
- The Beggars’ Guild: Some of the city’s beggars and homeless pay cheap dues to this unofficial organization. In exchange, they are granted occasional safe-haven and supplies by allies of the Guild.
- The Guild of Blacksmiths and Tanners: Although a strange combination, blacksmiths and tanners are both relegated to work in the same area of the city, due to the amount of air pollution their industries create. As such, they partnered together to safeguard their respective interests.
- The Guild of Brewers and Vintners: The most important political function of the Brewers’ Guild is to serve as a liaison between rural farmers and urban brewers. Many tavern-owners and bartenders also work closely with this Guild.
- The Butchers’ Guild: The primary purpose of the Butchers’ Guild is to ensure that meat is prepared cleanly; its Masters have a reputation as legalistic sticklers, even if throwing out meat is not particularly popular among the lower-classes.
- The Guild of Criers and Heralds: This Guild is made up of Ralindor's Criers, who march around the city with bells, loudly disseminating local news. Heralds and messengers basically do the same thing, just more quietly and for the nobility. Some members of the Guild are experimenting with vending broadsheets.
- The Guild of Embalmers and Grave-Tenders: The connections this Guild affords include the clergy of the Keeper, the necromancers of the Wizards' Guild (however few there may be), and some unsavory grave-robbing types.
- The Fools’ Guild: This Guild trains jesters and clowns. But with their ears to the courts of aristocrats, they have developed a tradition of becoming information brokers and spies. They appreciate the comedic poetry of being taken very seriously while wearing funny hats.
- The Foremen’s Union: Laborers with the coin to pay the Guild’s exuberant fees are granted the privilege of standing around and shouting at workers. Due to the cost of membership, the Foremen’s Union requires that its members maintain a certain moral flexibility and tolerance for corruption.
- Forum Arcanis (Wizard’s Guild): This stodgy lot of elderly spell-casters and sages sees to the education of wizards' apprentices and astronomers, and regulate the use of magic in the city. Sometimes, they are called upon to investigate magical crimes.
- The Gem-Cutters’ Guild: The Gem-Cutters’ Guild is notorious for its demanding training, as well as the nigh-impenetrable storehouses in which it guards its invaluable products, including raw gems and finished jewelry.
- The Lantern: This Guild encompasses makers of candles, torches, and lanterns, as well as charcoal-burners, and lamplighters (who are responsible for maintaining the city’s street lamps at sunset). To protect its interests, they have partnered with the Wizards’ Guild to strictly regulate the use of magical lighting.
- The Guild of Litigants and Magistrates: This Guild was formed decades ago by a Lord-Mayor, who wished to keep the nobility from growing too discontented with the Guild-system taking over city politics. It trains members of the aristocracy in legal precedent and history. Apprentices and Journeymen are known as Clerks and Litigants, respectively, while Masters become Magistrates who judge and sentence criminal cases. The Guild-Master is the High Magistrate, who advises the Lord-Mayor on matters legal.
- The Mapmakers’ Guild: Although not a particularly large group, this Guild is quite wealthy, due to the demand for accurate maps by adventurers and merchants.
- The Guild of Masons, Bricklayers, and Potters: The largest Guilds tend to be the most unremarkable, although this one has also been occasionally known to look the other way while supplying wizards with the materials and labor to make golems.
- The Guild of Merchants and Moneylenders: This is perhaps the single most important economic coalition in the Free Kingdoms; due to their diverse activities, the Guild of Merchants deals with nearly every other Guild in the City, and maintains contacts across the Free Kingdoms. They have the most impact on city-politics.
- The Needle: The Needle is the somewhat dramatic slang-name given to the Guild of Tailors, Seamstresses, and Haberdashers. Many of them specialize in making expensive finery; these are commoners in-talks with the nobility, and if one wishes to hear their gossip, or pass on a message, they need only talk to a member of the Needle.
- The Guild of Plumbers and Cellarers: The members of the Plumbers’ Guild are the custodians of the city’s system of aqueducts and sewers, and the maintenance of wells. In addition to cleanliness, the Plumbers’ Guild is also responsible for clearing out any monsters that dwell within. Ratcatchers are also members of the Plumbers' Guild.
- The Scribes' and Scriveners' Guild: Aside from mundane writings, copyists associated with this Guild can also be called upon to transcribe spell scrolls and spell-books for wizards. They are well acquainted with the Forum Arcanis.
- The Guild of Stable-Masters and Horse-Breeders: The majority of its members work outside of Ralindor; they have little influence within the city, but are one of the most important in the countryside.
- The Thieves' Guild: The Lord-Mayor allows the Thieves’ Guild to exist, and thieves are entitled to keep whatever they can steal without being caught, via the Law of the Hand. In exchange, however, they are tasked with ferreting out criminals who are non-guild members, particularly agents of the Cloak. In theory, this is meant to reduce crime, but has only served to make the Thieves’ Guild one of the most powerful in the city.
- The Guild of Tinkers and Finesmiths: This Guild has been known to commission scholars and adventurers to explore the history of the gnomes and the ruined city of Glimm, in order to unearth the secrets of their advanced technology. Otherwise, its members build clocks, toys, and other mechanical marvels.
- The Guild of Weavers, Dyers, and Tailors: This Guild is dominated overwhelmingly by Stygian artisans and merchants, who have far superior clothes-making techniques to men from farther north. As such, the Weavers’ Guild is one of the primary political agents responsible for the interests of Stygians in the Free City.
- The Woodworkers’ Guild: This is rural-dominant Guild of carpenters and woodcutters also protect loggers, while the shipwrights and wagon-makers are more influential in the city itself. Musical instrument-makers are also part of this guild.
- Founding Date
- Guild, Professional
- Subsidiary Organizations
- The Free City of Ralindor
- Controlled Territories
- Notable Members
- By levying membership fees and requiring sponsorship for apprentices, Guilds prevent lower-class individuals from learning or practicing trades, perpetuating preexisting inequalities.
- Guilds are the only buyers of raw materials like ore and lumber; they can purchase these goods for much less than the competitive price because of that fact, under-paying folk like miners or woodcutters for their resources.
- Guilds set trade volumes, potentially limiting the amount of finished goods available within the marketplace.
- In an effort to maintain their monopoly, Guilds are opposed to innovative business practices and want to avoid making changes in the market.
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