EN World City Project: Guilds and Organizations


First Post
Welcome to the Guilds and Organizations thread for the EN World City Project! The goal of this thread is to flesh out the various organizations that are active in the city.

For those guilds and organizations that we've already decided we need, I intend to post some relevant statistics below, based on the demographics guidelines from the DMG (pg 139-140), "A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe" (MMS) from Expeditious Retreat Press (mainly from Chapter 4, which is a free download), and "Medieval Demographics Made Easy":

- max class levels for the leaders
- number of people with relevant classes
- number of people with relevant professions

These statistics are not binding, they are merely guidelines, ballpark values to help us flesh out the guilds and organizations. With a reasonable justification, we can significantly deviate from these numbers. For example, Mor's End will have a much larger number of potters and silk merchants than the average city.

I will also post some quotes from various sources (mostly from MMS so far). Since these are getting a bit lengthy, I will start posting them in a slightly smaller font. Some of this material may be too specific for Mor's End, and I may edit it out later.

What we need from you, gentle reader, is all the details: history of the guild, structure, infighting, dues, names, leadership, etc. We badly need some better names for some of the guilds as well. Submission for new guilds are also welcome.

Keep in mind that this thread will be tightly interwoven with the NPC thread, the Craft & Trade thread and the Government thread. Entries from the NPC thread could refer to the Guilds in this thread; the Guilds will typically combine one or more Crafts, and the heads of the guilds/organizations will likely play a role in the Government thread.

Suggested Power Groups / Guilds (from Knightfall1972's summary in the "Time to open shop!" thread):

- Glazers Guild
- Glittering Brotherhood
- Guild of Guards
- Mages Guild
- Merchants Guild
- Silkers Circle
- Thieves Guild

Note: See the Goverment thread for for the City Warder. The Potters are now part of the Glazers Guild. The Workers Senate has been eliminated (not a mediaval concept / only skilled wokers have a guild)
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First Post
MMS on Guilds

For your inspiration, here are some quotes from "A Magical Medieval Society" (MMS) on guilds. Many thanks to Suzi Yee and Joseph Browning from Expeditious Retreat Press for letting me quote so extensively from their work!

Guilds provide structure and self-regulation in a city. Lords give cities the right to form guilds as listed in their charter. In the early days of the city, the guild replaces manorial obligation and organization in peasant society. Members of guilds pay dues and are subject to the guilds rules and regulations. Guild membership, in conjunction with oath taking, brings free peasants citizenship and all its benefits. Guilds also act as insurance policies. If a merchant or craftsmen dies, the guild takes care of his family and gives him a proper burial. The guild also provides assistance to guild members when their business is struggling. Guild members eat together, drink together, celebrate together, live near each other, and perform together, creating private theater troops in the magical medieval city. Guilds commonly sponsor public activities and plays, using such occasions to demonstrate their wealth and influence. Guilds and their members, called burghers, also man the city walls in early cities. In magical medieval cities, guilds are very powerful, especially merchant guilds. It is not uncommon for guild influence to rival town lord's influence.

Guildhalls are similar to town halls in construction, but they house particular guilds. The merchant guild, usually the most lucrative guild in the city, has its own hall. Other guilds usually do not have the finances to build independent guildhalls. Sometimes guilds pool their resources and build communal guildhalls, sharing the building between all the contributing guilds. Guildhalls are places for meetings, posting news and notices, and for recreation, such as theater performances, music shows, and other entertainment the guild members put on through the year. However, most guild performances occur in public spaces.

Craft Guilds
Craft guilds usually wield the least amount of power among power centers. They control the production of their craft, the progression of their craftsmen, and the selling price of their products. In the early magical medieval period, craft guilds may require the permission of the town lord or the city council to exist, but as the period progresses, craft guilds become very common. Every imaginable kind of craft can embody a craft guild: butchers, fletchers, cobblers, candle makers, masons, and tanners, to clothiers, cloth cutters, weavers, fine cloth sellers, smiths, and toy makers.

Most early magical medieval city dwellers are guild members. As more people immigrate to the cities, guilds become increasingly selective with their membership and with their members progressions within the guild. Some guilds charge exorbitant entry fees, while others only allow entry through heredity or marriage to a guild member's daughter. These limitations make guild membership socially exclusive and financially beneficial for those with influential guild positions. Every craft guild has varying amounts of control over their members and influence in their city. This determines the level of restriction enforced by the guild.

Apprentice: Craft guilds are stratified into three types of craftsmen: the master craftsmen, the journeymen, and the apprentice. All three are members of the guild and pay dues according to their station. All are subject to the guild's rules on methods of production, materials used in production, who can make certain items, and the items selling price. The apprentice is the lowest of craftsmen. Taken in by a master craftsman, he usually lives and works in the master craftsman's home. The apprentice is not allowed to make or sell any item without the permission and approval of his master craftsman. Often the master craftsman has his apprentices do the laborious tasks of the craft or produce the smallest and simplest items. When the apprentice makes items and the master craftsman sells them, he must pay the apprentice a small cut from the sale price. The apprentice earns a paltry amount of money and pays the least amount of dues to the guild. The guild promotes apprentices to journeymen on the recommendation of their master craftsmen.

Journeymen: Journeymen are the intermediary strata in the craft guild. They can independently make and sell items, though some craft guilds require journeymen to have a master craftsman's supervision and implicit permission. The craft guild limits the products journeymen make and the selling price of those products. [...]

Master Craftsmen: Masters are the ruling class in the craft guild. Socially and financially, they receive the greatest return from the guild and its regulations. They decide who become journeymen and master craftsmen. They determine the selling price for products of their craft based on the item and the level of the craftsmen who makes the item. They are ambassadors of the craft in civic matters and in dealing with the merchant guild. [...]
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First Post
The Glazer's Guild

Quote from GadiusNP in the Goverment Affairs thread:

Just throwing this out here - I think the Glazers (not sure of technical name) who make the distinctive coatings on the pottery of Mor's End should have some power. If this is a unique product, the monopoly would be tightly controlled - such a profitable, high quality luxury item has the potential for making skilled artisans a lot of money.

Of course, there are all sorts of regulations pushed through by the guild to prevent just anyone from joining - and those who haven't joined can't use the seal of the city on any finished pottery - making it worth much, much less.

Since the Elven Silk Fishers are the other main luxury item produced by Mor's End, one has to wonder - what do they think of the Glazers? Some sort of rivalry could be good - not bitter, but friendly (at least until an adventure hook needs an escalation in hostility). Even the humans who quarry clay, and the elves who raise silk fish, the workers on the street, could have this rivalry.

One of the more notorious gangs of the Squats could traffic in counterfeit glazes - something a little unusual and unique for criminals to sell. They'd probably have decent influence amoung the clay-pit workers, and hide bodies in the soft clay - sometimes living ones. These counterfeit glazes would be vastly inferior - they give the lustre and brilliance of the real coating, but chip and crack within weeks. This would be a high priority for the guard - the Glazer's Guild would make sure of it. What use is money if you can't do anything with it?

The Glazer's also control, through their monopoly of the glazes, the clay-pits (and probably the quarries, though I can't imagine much decent stone gets dug out at Mor's End), and the pottery guilds/companies (who are you going to sell to - the guild who gives three times as much profit, or some other guy?).

They'd also give gold to the city - lots of it. Guardsmen, roadworks, public holidays, schools, and so forth. Especially guardsmen.

Lastly, the Glazers are going to guard the secrets of the glazes with all the means within their power. If you get the formula, the gloves come off - immediately.

Because of their talents at Alchemy, the Glazers' Guild would have a large percentage of Gnomes in its ranks (gnomes are 13% of the population). The potters kilns are likely located in the "industrial district" area of Mor's End, at the eastern end of the city north of the river.
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First Post
The Glittering Brotherhood

Rare sapphires collected from the Mor River are used as spell ingredients. Ranging in color from pink to green to deepest blue, and in size from pin head (common) to robin’s egg (quite rare) these sapphires are coveted for many uses, from the mundane to the magical. The Glittering Brotherhood holds the secret to cutting the gems just right to bring out their magical properties.

The Glittering Brotherhood and the Merchants’ Guild are rivals, each seek to manipulate the City Council to their own ends.

The Brotherhood likely consists of a majority of Dwarves and Gnomes (respectively 20% and 13% of the population of Mor's End).
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First Post
The Guild of Guards

The Guild of Guards is more of an employment agency for hired muscle than it is an actual guild. The guilds power base in Mor’s End is built on an old regulation that states that guards and soldiers in Mor’s End must be registered to work within the city. The guild provides for the registering of soldiers and guards and does the bookwork of keeping track of their service. In order for the guild to register a guard as eligible to work in the city they have to join the guild. Soldiers in the Legion of Mor’s End register directly with the council, as does the Dwarven regiment from Kul Moren, but all private guards, private soldiers and mercenaries must register through the guild if they wish to work in Mor’s End. A added part of the service the guild provides for its members is that the guild bargains and inspects contracts for it’s members to insure they are not being taken advantage of. There are three different branches of representation in the guild, private soldiers, caravan guards and specialist.

Private Soldiers

These are the everyday guards and watchmen in Mor’s End. They guard everything from warehouses to private estates. They are bouncers in taverns to members of personal guards for the nobility. Many of these guards have long-term steady employment and are paid directly by their employers; they only use the guild to keep their registration current. There is a sizable amount of guards in the city that work short-term service and are paid through the guild, they rely on the guild to find them new work once their present job ends. These guards are more loyal to the guild than they are to who is employing them at the time, as they tend to change employers on a regular basis.

Caravan Guards

Caravan guards come and go with the caravans, most are from far off lands and are not from Mor’s End. The guild provides them with a barracks facility to stay in between caravans (if they so choose) and also helps them to find outgoing caravans to sign on with. Caravan guards are always coming and going from Mor’s End and the guild bridges the gap between one caravan ending and another forming up for them. Many caravan guards work in groups and some have built up a name for themselves, the guild always tries to bargain the best rates for these known groups and takes pride in matching up merchants with the proper caliber of guard for their caravan.


There is a small body of guards in Mor’s End who are particularly skilled or who are experts in certain task. These guards command high rates and their services are hotly bargained for. It is not uncommon for a particular bodyguard or troubleshooter to have several patrons bidding for his service at the same time. Many times adventurers in need of quick cash will register for work as specialist and take a job or two. The Guild of Guards maintains contact with the Mages Guild and several local temples and often passes on specialist work in their fields to them (for a small fee).
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First Post
The Mages Guild

Sorceror, Wizard:
1x9, 1x8, 2x5, 2x4, 8x2, 16x1

Bard, Adept:
1x11, 1x8, 2x6, 2x4, 4x3, 4x2, 16x1

Bards are arcane casters; Adepts are divine casters, but they a number of Sor/Wiz spells in their spell list. Should Adepts be required to join the Guild if they want to use those spells?

The Guild primarily regulates commercial uses of magic. Personal use is allowed, so visiting mages do not necessarily need to join the Guild. Do they need to register when visiting Mor's End?

Resident mages are strongly encouraged (required? how to enforce?) to join.

Quote from A Magical Medieval Society:

Wizards' Guilds
No magical medieval city is complete without a wizards' guild. Like other members of society, wizards need a community and group insurance. To determine a viable wizards' guild, one needs to remember why people form them: what benefits they offer, what financial and social payments its members pay for the privilege of membership, and the guild's role as regulator in the city. These ideas are integral to maintaining medieval thought among magical times. The unique magical ability of wizards also adds complication in creating a guild structure.

The guild is for camaraderie, insurance, and social distinction according to one's profession or craft. A wizards' guild offers many benefits for its members, both social and arcane-oriented. If a wizard dies an untimely death, then the guild insures proper burial and a stipend for the widow and children left behind. For members wealthy enough to afford coming back, the guild can ensure the member's return. In larger cities with wealthy guilds, the guild can grant access to research facilities, laboratories, special materials, and spell components. Where else can a wizard safely find the snake off a medusa's head, even if he has to pay the outrageous guild price? Other possibilities are shared magical learning, spell trading, and lend/lease magic items. Holiday feasts and theater productions must be a riot at the guildhall, and the types of songs wizards sing after pitchers of ale are legendary. Wizards also enjoy the settled ease of knowing someone understands them when they say over cards, "Yes, I tried to reverse the metamagic field by polarizing the phlogiston; unfortunately, upon opening the box, I found the cat dead."

The guild acts as a police force for its craft, both on guild members and on outsiders within the guild's territory. If there is a wizards' guild in a city, being a member of the guild is not a luxury; it is a prerequisite. As with other professional and craft guilds, membership is compulsory to practice wizardry in the city, which includes casting spells for others, selling wizardly services, and making magic items for sale. Unauthorized practitioners risk retribution by the guild if word leaks out. This does not mean that it does not happen; it just means that guilds have a socially and legally supported right to pursue such transgressors.

The guild also creates its regulations and bylaws. Any number of restrictions may be a part of a wizards' guild. Though the particular laws of any given wizards' guilds are campaign specific, here are a few ideas. Wizards' guilds limit who can make what magical items. They restrict what level of spells a wizard can cast for hire, depending on level or status in the guild. They regulate the prices at which wizards sell magic items, potions, scrolls, or spells they cast from memory. They determine who can create new spells and what new spells are created. They determine who becomes a wizard, through controlling membership and taking on apprentices. They even create codes of conduct for foreign wizards who enter the city. They create specializations within the guild, like battle wizards, caravan wizards, research wizards, and production wizards.

However, with guild membership comes guild obligation. Service, magic items, scrolls, potions, research, spells, unique components, or plain coin cover membership fees and other payments. The combination of payments depends on the particular guild. The guild itself has feudal obligations it must fulfill. The amount of comparative power the guild holds, the lord or city council that gives the guild a charter, and the arrangements made with other groups determine the feudal obligations a wizards' guild owes to other groups and power centers in the city. It is important to remember that despite the camaraderie and rules for self-policing, wizards' guilds have just as much internecine fighting, backstabbing, individual power grabs, systematic rule-breaking, and dirty play as any other magical medieval guild. Although lords may grant a city the right to form a wizard's guild, they will never relinquish control over their rights of magical taxation and service, unless physically forced otherwise.

Wizards' guilds are potentially one of the most powerful groups in a city. Such organizations have the magical power, and most likely the wealth, to compete against other guilds and power centers for attention and influence. Wizards provide magic that improves crime solving, intelligence gathering, and diplomacy. Wizards' guilds are full of learned men and their comprehensive libraries, facilities held in high esteem as places of learning and prominent architecture. A city's wizards' guild is immensely useful in places where military concerns are strong, or in times of war.

In smaller communities, it is possible to have an arcane guild, opening the guild concept to sorcerers and bards, but such an organization is unlikely where enough learned wizards gather and look down upon their unlearned and undisciplined arcane counterparts.
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First Post
The Merchants Guild

Quote from A Magical Medieval Society:

Merchant Guilds
All cities have a merchant guild, even the earliest of magical medieval cities. Merchant guilds usually develop before any other guilds. Socially, they rank above craft guilds, though craftsmen may belong to the merchant guild. In absence of a city council, the merchant guild acts as the city council. They negotiate rights, taxes, and rents with the town lord, make municipal bylaws, and pick city officials. If there is a city council, prominent merchant guild members are almost always members of the council.

Most merchant guild members are wholesale merchants. They are not concerned with the production of crafts and goods, but rather the transporting, buying, and selling of goods. Some wholesale merchants are concerned with buying local goods and transporting and selling them to neighboring cities, fairs, regions, or possibly kingdoms. Others concentrate on importing sought-after goods into the city. Selling staple products like grain and coarse cloth are quite profitable; other wholesale merchants specialize in luxury goods like wine, furs, silks, and fine linen. In smaller cities, all merchants may belong to one merchant guild. In larger cities, merchants may form multiple guilds according to their specific commodity.

Unlike the craft guild, merchant guilds are concerned with city commerce on a larger level, due to their concern with wholesale goods. They determine how much tax should be imposed on various foreign items, i.e. any item that was not made in the city by a craftsman of the city. They have monopoly powers, determining who can sell what, where, and when. They establish trading partners for certain commodities along river and land routes. Merchant guilds designate particular areas as the "territory" of a particular merchant for specific goods. They can limit which cities' merchants can come into the city and sell their goods. They can also determine to which cities a merchant can export a particular commodity. Merchant guilds usually wield exclusive power on trade in the city, although strong town lords and independent city councils try to curb the merchant guild's power.
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First Post
The Silkers Circle

Many, if not most of the Elves and half-elves in Mor's End are involved in the Silkfish industry (6% and 1% of the population respectively).
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First Post
The Thieves Guild

Quote from A Magical Medieval Society:

Thieves' Guilds
Thieves' guilds are associations between people who thieve for a living. Members of the thieves' guild do not have to be rogues, nor do rogues have to delve in the shadier use of their skills. Being a part of a thieves' guild provides the same basic benefits of all guilds: insurance, training, and tricks of the trade. Members get training and specialized class tools, which may not be available at typical stores. If a member of the guild gets into some legal trouble, the guild may pull some strings, especially if there is coin or favor in return. Thieves' guilds gather like-minded individuals who make alliances, plan jobs, and get information on buildings, people, and security measures.

Another benefit to guild membership, besides two unbroken legs, is more sophisticated thievery. Sophistication allows such things as protection rackets, where people pay the thieves guild to insure they, their homes, and their buildings are not burgled. This only works with implicit cooperation from guild members. If the guild leader says, "do not rob this place," he really means, "do not rob this place." Guilds also build up a repertoire of snitches, informants, bribed officials, and magic connections that other guild members may use. Smuggling goods, either for direct profit or through fencing, is also easier when thieves work together. The officials may catch one or two thieves, but the operation continues.

Maintaining a slim margin of honor among thieves is very tricky, which is why the most successful thieves' guilds are lawful. In order to keep a thieves' guild together, the guild must be strong and powerful enough to police their members and independent thieves that trespass on the guild's territory. Once a merchant pays the guild protection money, the guild's reputation is now on the line. Who wants a thieves' guild you can't trust? Guilds with enough authority allot territory to various factions within the guild to help keep the peace and reward favored members. The guild decides whether the Red Footpads or the Black Tigers get gambling and girl rights in the docks ward, while pick pocketing and begging on Baker Street goes to the Unseen. Such territory distribution also leads to internal contention that guild rulers use for their benefit.
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