[The following should be understood to replace prior Guild information.]
GUILDS OF BRAELIN
Guilds are important points of unification and power among the Braelinese lower classes. First organized to safeguard the interests of commoner professionals, they have since grown into prestigious groups offering new avenues of knowledge, opportunities, and wealth to members. Due to their long-standing focus on supporting commoners, guilds do not allow nobles to become members, though they are more than happy to do business with nobles. Likewise, because each guild has its own secrets and specialized knowledge to protect, no individual may be a member of more than one guild at a time.
In the late 900s, the guilds developed a “Great List,” a system of precedence ranking each guild in accordance with its wealth, base of knowledge, and influence. Since then it has become common practice among most guilds to jockey for the highest position on the Great List. Precedence is announced each year in the springtime.
Each guild has its own livery (two colors divided per bend), motto, internal system of governance, and purview in society. The guilds are listed below in current order of precedence.
ARMORERS & WEAPONSMITHS GUILD
The Armorers & Weaponsmiths Guild is renowned for its remarkable developments in the fields of blacksmithing and rune scholarship, as well as its close relationship with the Crimson Tear mercenary company. Long ago, the two organizations reached an accord: The mercenaries have agreed to protect the Guild’s interests in exchange for being outfitted with first choice of the Guild’s weapons and armor. The alliance has brought a great deal of power and influence to the Guild, giving would-be enemies reason to pause and consider whether open opposition is really worth the price. Other Guilds have been known, in past, to broker deals for the Crimson Tear’s services with the Armorers & Weaponsmiths.
Membership in the Armorers & Weaponsmiths Guild is open to rune tinkers, blacksmiths, and rune architects of established skill. For new members, or novices, membership initially means a period of working as a Guildmaster’s apprentice. Master-apprentice relationships differ from pair to pair, but usually apprentices toil in the master’s workshop to satisfy small contracts for weaponsmithing, armor repairs, and metal implements for farms or villages in exchange for a fixed stipend and/or training. Generally speaking, apprenticeships last one year. Apprentices are not expected to pay Guild dues.
As apprentices garner experience, they are sometimes invited to join their masters as full-fledged employees; or, more often, their masters will assist them in setting up a workshop of their own. Particularly skilled apprentices are able to progress into the profession of Artificer, whose practitioners combine runic knowledge with smithing. The secrets of artificing are available only to Guild members who have earned the Guild’s trust, and thus reprisals against those few people who betray the Guild have traditionally been swift and ruthless. No matter what graduated apprentices choose to do, they are expected to pay Guild dues; though individuals willing to take on an apprentice or two of their own pay a bit less.
Finally, because the Armorers & Weaponsmiths Guild has a pronounced interest in the acquisition of ores and runes alike, it often employs freelance miners and rune scholars looking to sell; and actively seeks out places to establish mining companies.
- Current Guildmaster: Theodoric Ashenhurst of Blacknall
- Livery: Per bend Grey and Black
- Motto: With a strong hand, guard well
- Main Chapterhouse: Limnport, Blacknall
The Apothecaries Guild oversees the production and sale of plant-based goods in Braelin in the following ways.
Firstly, the Guild offers contracts of employment to commoners who are willing to forage wild plants and/or tend gardens. Guild members may purchase “shares” in these Guild-supported farms; and in return, four times per year, they receive a bundle of in-season plants and possibly some other small goods from the different Guild-supported farms and hothouses in their area.
Secondly, the Guild offers middleman services to dyers, brewers, cooks, and poisoners. It will ship packages of raw materials to Guild professionals with a list of instructions on what to make. Professionals process the raw materials as directed and then return the package to the Guild. As soon as an item sells, the Guild forwards a percentage of the profit to the crafter.
Thirdly, the Apothecaries Guild controls licensing for taverns and inns. Individuals wishing to sell food or drink in an established tavern or inn can buy a food merchant’s license for 1 silver from any local representative (usually the owner of the business in question). Once licensed, food merchants can sell their goods as desired, paying a 40% tax on any resulting profits to the tavernkeep and, by extension, the Guild. [Note: This rate is levied on individuals selling out-of-game food or drink for in-game profit; for those selling in-game food, the tax rate is lowered accordingly.] Freelancers caught selling unlicensed food or drink in a tavern or inn are subject to Guild fines.
Finally, the Apothecaries Guild has a core group dedicated to the healing arts. This group creates small “physician’s kits” which members can purchase in addition to their normal shares for a nominal fee. They also offer training to healers who wish to enter the profession of Physician. Physicians are able to manipulate normal healing techniques in ways that result in more effective treatments, often with the addition of raw or prepared plants; though their exact methods are a closely-kept Guild secret.
- Current Guildmaster: Blanche Milner of Gavell
- Livery: Per bend White and Green
- Motto: By honesty and toil, seek a useful end
- Main Chapterhouse: Cedarshade, Hawksworth
The Scriveners Guild is dedicated to the collection and preservation of national knowledge; and, by extension, all those who seek to increase and/or protect that knowledge. Scribes comprise the majority of the Guild’s members, but heralds, magic hunters, and ritual-focused inventors are also welcome to join.
Individuals interested in research can apply for grants and funding by sending in project proposals. In this way the Guild is able to amass new information, while researchers are able to engage in projects that are larger or more complex than what they might be able to manage alone. Likewise, the Guild has been in charge of several important archaeological digs over time; and often seeks members interested in helping out with these kinds of missions.
One branch of the Guild oversees the Royal Library and maintains the Archives-at-Glasscourt. They also post emissaries and representatives to different great cities, influential nobles’ homes, and regions of particular interest.
Rumors abound that, given the nature of their work, the Scriveners Guild maintains a network of spies throughout the country and beyond–though the exact scope and nature of this alleged network is the subject of vigorous debate. The Guild denies these rumors categorically, chalking them up to the paranoid imaginations of conspiracy theorists.
Membership in the Guild is structured much like that of the Armorers & Weaponsmiths; apprentices, who do not pay Guild dues, help established researchers for a period of time before setting out on their own paths, at which time they start to contribute money or other compensation as the Guild demands.
- Current Guildmaster: Clare Holsey of Stemma
- Livery: Per bend Purple and Grey
- Motto: Arise and illuminate
- Main Chapterhouse: Southlight City, Southlight
The Fabricators Guild oversees the production and sale of runic, gem-based, and invented goods in Braelin in the following ways.
Firstly, the Guild offers contracts of employment to commoners who are willing to mine ores and gems, or produce runes. Guild members may purchase “shares” in these Guild-supported ventures; and in return, four times per year, they receive a bundle of ores, gems, runes and possibly some other small goods from the different Guild-supported mines and businesses in their area.
Secondly, the Guild offers middleman services to rune scholars, inventors, and jewelers. It will ship packages of raw materials to Guild professionals with a list of instructions on what to make. Professionals process the raw materials as directed and then return the package to the Guild. As soon as an item sells, the Guild forwards a percentage of the profit to the crafter.
Thirdly, the Fabricators Guild maintains an internal list of contracts. Members are alerted when contracts of a certain complexity and/or nature come in, and they can sign up to complete these contracts on a first-come-first-served basis. The Guild takes a certain percentage of the final profit for its trouble, but members are guaranteed an immediate sale. Contracts also exist solely to re-charge runic items or repair gems as needed.
Finally, the Fabricators Guild has developed the profession of Engraver. Engravers practice a form of runic gem-setting that allows them to manipulate commonplace skills for greater effect. Like each of the other guilds, the Fabricators Guild guards these secret methods jealously.
- Current Guildmaster: Damian Harper of Caxton
- Livery: Per bend Grey and Blue
- Motto: By magic and metal, we extend our reputation
- Main Chapterhouse: Stonemoor, Caxton
The Couriers Guild accepts as a member anyone who takes up the profession of a courier. The guild’s values are humble but firm: loyalty to the Crown, swiftness of travel, and courteousness of delivery. For all that the other guilds may look down upon the Couriers Guild, which is almost always ranked lowest on the Great List, it is under the direct protection of the monarchy; and so its members may rightfully claim their status as servants of the Crown.
- Current Guildmaster: Jaye Bennett of Hawksworth
- Livery: Per bend Purple and Gold
- Motto: I shall either find or make a path
- Main Chapterhouse: Esos, Stemma