WORP Revision #3: Guilds

[The following should be understood to replace prior Guild information.]


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.



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

Tuesday Tales, Part XII: The Founding of the Order of the Silver Fern

The founding of the Order of the Silver Fern.  In the earliest days of the year 81, High General Knight Victoria Raynsford approached Queen Abbigale Robbins to request the chartering of an order that could provide magical support for the White Lotus’ operations.  At first, Queen Abbigale was hesitant; although she agreed that it made sense to assign mages to help the knights in battle, particularly powerful mages could—and often did, at that time—pose a very specific and dangerous kind of threat to society.  After several long discussions with Raynsford, however, she finally granted her permission to create a “trial” organization of mages.

At the queen’s command, criers throughout Braelin carried the announcement to the furthest corners of the country: The Crown was seeking talented, respectable mages to serve and support its interests as part of the new Order of the Silver Fern.  Interested persons were to report to Esos in order to participate in a weeklong tournament taking place from the 10th through the 17th of Springrise.  (This, of course, is where the Carnival of Magic originated.)  The victor of the competition would be appointed to the position of High General Mage, while the individuals taking second and third place would become Brigadier General Mages.  After this point, Queen Abbigale decreed, it would be up to these three mages to prove that the investment of time and money had been worthwhile.

Records from that time indicate that a grand total of 479 mages flooded into Esos in order to participate.  After seven days of fierce competition—including melees, tests of knowledge, strategy games, sample battles both with and without non-mages, and tests of magical endurance, among other contests—three winners were crowned: Desmond Neilson in first place, closely followed by Lita Saunders and Alyssa Grey.

Over the course of the next two decades, these three worked together and with the aid of the White Lotus to establish laws against illegal casting, to bring dangerous magical practitioners to justice, and to contain unstable magical experiments.  They did their job well and faithfully; and it became increasingly clearer to everyone that the Order of the Silver Fern had become essential to the continuation of Braelin’s growth and security.  As a symbol of the Silver Fern’s success and to commemorate the issuing of the order’s permanent charter, Queen Abbigale ordered the construction of Glasscourt in western Stemma, declaring that henceforth it would serve as the headquarters of the Silver Fern.  At the same time, Brigadier General Mages Grey and Saunders were given leave to recruit five additional mages into the organization as Brigadier Mages; Halvard Fane of Blacknall, Sancia Caxton of Stemma, Shayne Spicer of Stemma, Eva Corby of Hawksworth, and Frances Quintin of Southlight.  In turn, those five recruited still other mages, who became known in common parlance as “royal mages.”

Tuesday Tales, Part X: The Bards of Éras

  • The Bards of Éras hold a unique position in that they do not hold to the idea of loyalty to a specific culture or nation.  Instead, they are loyal to each other, and to the truth in their stories—no Bard is allowed, if recounting a true story, to lie or otherwise obscure the truth.  The Bards are held above everyday performers by general consensus, and the members of the Bards consider it a definitive insult to be compared to performers, even if the latter are talented.  Likewise, for a performer to claim to be a Bard is seen as presumptuous.
  • The Bards have an established internal hierarchy of four tiers—Bards, Lyric Bards, Eleiac Bards, and High Bards.  There is no hard-and-fast method of advancing between tiers; instead, progression is based on one’s acceptance by one’s superiors.  Thus, to be admitted into the Bards of Éras, one must be “recognized” by at least four existing Bards; to advance from Bard to Lyric Bard, one must be recognized by at least three Lyric Bards or higher; to advance from Lyric to Eleaic Bard, one must be recognized by at least two Eleaic Bards or higher; and finally, to advance from Eleaic to High Bard, one must be recognized by at least one High Bard.
  • Historically, there has been one period of time during which no High Bards have existed, because the contemporary group of Eleaic Bards failed to seek recognition before the High Bards of that time passed on.   This situation was rectified only by the appointment of Natalia Goldentongue, whose position automatically qualified her for the position of High Bard.
  • Although the Bards refuse to pledge loyalty to any specific nation or place, it is a point of honor for the High Bards to serve in the Courts of high-standing nobility or royals.  The majority of High Bards have served at Esos or Belváros, although some elect to live in Xiros, and one High Bard has also been attributed to Zikari in recent history.
  • The Bards have a number of different traditions, many of which have been embraced within the non-Bardic populace:
  1. “The right of table” – Customarily, if a Bard appears on the threshold of a house, the occupants of that home are to give the Bard admittance, bread and wine, and a place to sleep.  In exchange, the Bard will offer payment in songs and/or stories for as long as he or she remains in the house.
  2. The opening of a “Court of Love” – After a public joust or tournament, a resident Bard may choose to open a Court of Love, in which knights and Bards contend in poetry and song.  The Bard will step forward and give a challenge, and a knight or another Bard will accept it.  Each competitor recites a story or song on a specially-given theme.  When both have finished, the lord or lady of the house will rise, give judgment, and award a prize.
  3. The settling of disputes – If a Bard ever feels slighted or otherwise offended by another Bard, the first may challenge the second to a “song duel.”  These involve the use of both traditional and specially-composed songs that are designed to heap insults on an opponent.  Upon gathering up at least five spectators to act as witnesses, the challenger begins with a song; when the challenger is finished, the challenged is able to respond in kind.  Once both are finished, the witnesses pass judgment in favor of one of them and the dispute—whatever it was—is considered officially settled.  No Bard is ever required to honor a challenge issued by a non-Bard.
  4. “The right of challenge” – This tradition is solely internal and allows one Bard to establish the legitimacy of another Bard.  Upon admittance to the Bards of Éras, each Bard is given one copper, one silver, and one gold, which he or she is thereafter required to keep in his or her pocket at all times.  Any other Bard may, at any time, challenge him or her to show one of each of these three coins; if the challenged Bard cannot display them then and there, he or she could be demoted or even kicked out of the organization.  This tradition is in place to demonstrate that the Bard is always self-sufficient enough to safely maintain that kind of coinage upon his or her person.
  • Laryn Goldentongue was the founder and first-ever Bard of Éras.  This individual lived so long ago that scholars no longer know any of the specific details of Laryn’s personality, nationality, or life, or even whether Laryn was male or female; all that is known is that Laryn gained a following of other musicians and performers who wished to emulate his or her style, and that Laryn in turn began to establish rules and acknowledge those of true talent.  The original outline of the organization was written into the Black Book of Laryn, of which only fragments remain today.  These fragments are safeguarded by the Bards in the Hall of the Unending Verse.
  • The Hall of the Unending Verse represents the organization’s only official holdings in Éras.  A low-slung, rustic wooden feast hall, it is located in the mountains of the contested zone between Braelin and Seren.  Tradition requires that at least one Bard must be present and reciting the “Unending Verse” in the Hall at all times; any Bard may be called in to share in this rite, and most Bards end up participating several times over the course of their lives.  It is rumored that, should the Verse ever come to a stop, the Gold God itself will appear to continue it.
  • In keeping with the “right of table,” Bards are afforded a great deal of respect.  Non-Bards regard them as speakers of the truth; but beyond that, it is believed that the ill-treatment of a Bard will bring down the wrath of fate upon a house—the Gold God is recognized as the patron of music and has been known to bring ruin upon those who mistreat Bards.  There is a famous story about Natalia Goldentongue, for instance:  An overzealous baron in Hawksworth, hopelessly taken with the young and beautiful woman, asked her to remain in his court and become his wife.  When she refused his advances, the baron imprisoned her.  The baron’s home is now a shell, his lands have never yet produced a crop, and his bloodline has been extinguished.  The Bards tell this story as a reminder to anyone who becomes too demanding of them.
  • Generally speaking, Bards are recognizable by the books they carry with them wherever they go.  These books contain notes that are designed to remind the Bards of the hundreds of stories they know, and are available for reference during a performance.
  • There exist several famous Bardic books in Éras, most notably those compiled by the Goldentongues:
  1. The Black Book of Laryn, by Laryn Goldentongue
  2. The Book of Dawn, by Natalia Goldentongue
  3. The Verses, by Dominic Goldentongue

Folkloric Fridays, Part VI: The Rooftoppers

The Rooftoppers.  An “organization” based in Esos, the Rooftoppers are a group of young, usually orphaned children who have banded together for the purpose of providing teaching and funding for the numerous unfortunate or underprivileged of the city.  Members maintain the group’s eternal youth by “graduating” at the age of seventeen; many go on to serve as foot soldiers, city guards, mercenaries, or even apprentices to the merchants and artisans of Esos.  Although they fund themselves primarily through pick-pocketing and petty theft, the Rooftoppers pride themselves on never targeting anyone less fortunate than themselves, and never leaving anyone worse of than they themselves are.  The children live in a series of ancient warehouses—dubbed “the Shambles”—that lie along the Kordiso; they have occupied these buildings for so long that rumor has it that the Braelinese government has actually given the Shambles to them.  People who believe this claim argue that the Rooftoppers actually diminish the overall levels of crime in Braelin by teaching young, impoverished children useful skills.  Within the last ten or so years, the Rooftoppers have spread out of Esos into residences in Summerwood, Wildehold, and Ammos, although it is said that they have had difficulty finding sufficient housing in that last city.

The Rooftoppers’ leader—the “Old Father” or “Old Mother,” officially, although younger members often have more colorful nicknames for their leaders—is chosen at age seventeen and remains in charge until he or she is twenty years old.  The leader’s express duty is to settle all internal disputes, and rules over the other children as a kind of benevolent tyrant.  Beyond training and teaching, the Rooftoppers have two causes that they hold dear.  Firstly, they are opposed to war, since so many “graduates” have entered into the military; and secondly, they dream about discovering what is on Caprina—the Rooftoppers have a number of different, often wild conjectures about what lies on the mysterious island.