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Fantasy Guilds: The Merchants

As a continuation of my previous fantasy guild Fiverr commission, here are seven more guilds focusing on the mainstays of industry, trade, and craft.

The Everlasting Hall

Motto: “Standing the test of time.”

Logo: A symmetrical house divided by a line. On the left a statue sits outside it and on the right a pile of sand.

Summary:  

The Everlasting Hall is a group of builders, architects, and designers of many stripes that banded together to set a strong standard for building design across kingdoms after a major disaster destroyed many structures in a region. They enticed other members to join in to their set of measures and standards by offering a united legal defense for members who follow their code of professional ethics and standards. These things include reputable material sourcing, an eye for safety, and an overarching pursuit of building long lasting structures. Members of the Everlast Hall range from woodworkers, to architects, to stone weights, to siege engineers, and even furniture makers. Seniority and a proven track record are the keys to advancement and honors in this mutual aid society, but even the youngest members who are in good standing have access to the support of the worldwide network should they fall on hard times, have their work slandered, or have legal troubles.

Key Players:

Kyung-Hee Sharrow is a mountain dwarf who wears her emotions on her sleeve; no ability to stop smiling or frowning. She is a Journeyman architect hoping to find backers for her life’s work of creating an indestructible bridge to cross the Innumerable Cliffs, opening up a major trade route between cities that will reverse the poverty caused by the destruction of the previous bridges.

Saedly Firogis-Kareem is a mason and has filed down teeth in the shape of fangs. He is an apprentice who showed up at a local carpentry workshop with astounding skills at door and lock-making, but with no history or memory of his past.

Grigoriy Ratomir is a half-orc engineer who has a squeaky, mousey voice and a deep red scar running across his neck. The Master Builder is well known for having broken through every siege he has been in through the clever use of siege weapons, munitions, and unconventional tactics. His ability to think three steps ahead of his opponents and think outside the box have helped him climb the ranks of the everlasting hall to be one of its leaders.

Quests & Interactions:

A series of arson attacks is currently unsolved and the local Everlasting Hall builders are offering up a reward for whoever can apprehend the firestarter along with evidence of their guilt. They are eager to prove that their certified buildings were resistant to normal fires and required supernatural means to start.

The town’s stone quarry has been taken over by a gang of goblinoid creatures. The mine owner is hoping to clear them out so his miners can get back to work gathering marble for a new palace being built.

While exploring a well-known dungeon, the players come across a guided tour of architects studying the place. These students are affiliated with the Everlasting Hall who is hosting the tour to critique its design and building techniques. If the players help them by stopping a monster that has been stalking the group, they may be able to point out locations of probable secret passages.

 

Coalition of Metalworkers

Motto: “Heat of the forge, tamed by the hammer.”

Logo: Three crossed fists holding tools. From left to right, they wield: a pair of tongs, a hammer, and nail.

Summary:

Originally established as a competitive group seeking out the best metalworkers of all stripes, over time, the group has evolved into a full-fledged guild. It still hosts yearly competitions in various regions, kingdoms, and continents, but it also adjoins those events with free workshops for due paying members and regular trade shows that its members get free booths at. The core of the coalition is run by dedicated metalworking enthusiasts and retired smiths, with these individuals traveling between local guildhalls to provide lessons as well as approach successful metalworking businesses to encourage them to join by paying dues. The ranks within the group are purely merit-based, and each year individuals will rise and fall in the ranks based on their performance at the many competitions. Sometimes the group will even recruit from back-alley fighting rings or fighting pits by having competing blacksmiths prove their worth by having a fighter they arm and armor win the fights. A winner in Coalition competitions is often able to command high prices for their work as well as find easy appointments to run the armories of kingdoms and armies.

Key Players:

Derrickson Shahin is a half-elf ranger and has two eyes with different colors. He jokes that his red eye was prophecy that he would one day take top honors as a renowned weapon smith. However, a cursed hammer he stole from a dead smith’s tomb has blinded him to any faults or mistakes he makes while crafting.

Josef Vígdís is an human laborer and has a receding hairline. A simple Firetender, he has hopes to one day reach the rank of a Hammer but he just isn’t very good at metalworking. His hobby of carving tiny wooden figurines while he stokes forges for other smiths is actually astoundingly good, but he has his heart set on metalworking not woodcarving. He can be tricked into doing significant amount of woodworking if someone mentions a particularly interesting challenge on how something might be carved while he has a lot of stoking to do.

Hrolf Eniola is a halfling driver and has a scar across one eye that they brandish proudly. This brash Anvil was once renowned as the greatest maker of cart parts the world over, but has since been spending way too much time attending chariot races and chasing his dream of an impossibly fast cart design.

 

Quests & Interactions:

A rare vein of magical ore would be perfect for an Anvil’s competition entry, and they will pay handsomely for someone to retrieve it from the likes of the rebels squatting there.

This young Hammer regales the party with tales of their ancestral home being ransacked while they escaped with their lives. She is looking for clues to the whereabouts of the family’s hammer.

The party is being called in as skilled adventurers to take the place of a competition team that has just fallen ill with food poisoning. They are being outfitted with specialty armors and exotic weapons to prove the worth of the blacksmith, a friend or recent acquaintance.

 

Gilded Guild

Motto: “All that glitters is worth something to someone.”

Logo: An isometric view of three ingots: one gold, one silver, and one copper.

Summary:  

Shrewd business moves by a handful of plutocratic jewelers and coin minters saw them combine their various merchant companies into a single guild. As a public relations move, this helped bring them out of the shadows and give them a reputable name. For competition reasons, it also let the original owners consolidate and compete against outside groups rather than with each other. Exacting standards and random inspections are just some of the costs of being an affiliate or member of the Gilded Guild, although even these can be overlooked with the right bribe, a rule hinted at in the training manuals. In the Gilded Guild, all that matters is being successful, although blatant lawbreaking or dishonesty that damages the name of the Gilded Guild is looked down upon as making everyone else in the guild less successful. It is the quickest way to find one’s business stolen from them, the deed to their house changed in the court records, and their name removed from any Gilded Guild records.

Key Players:

Giselle Leoania is a half-orc tailor and has long hooked nose that she pores down to see her fine stitching. She couldn’t do very well as an independent tailor, but has an in with the Gilded Guild after looking the other way during a robbery at her last job, so she hopes she can make this job work.

Draupadi Bastion is an elven thug and has gaunt cheeks and a pale complexion. Despite his progressively worsening wasting disease, Draupadi is the best ringmaker in all of the world.

Aeronwy Rei is a bard and has garish makeup slathered over their face. Her lowly appearance hides her actual standing as one of the Diamond Lord’s when she moves about, checking in on her underlings and business partners. She will undergo staggering amounts of magic, make-up, and surgery to keep changing her appearance to stay one step ahead of assassin’s looking to end her life.

 

Quests & Interactions:

Giselle Leoania comes pleading to the adventurers about the unfair practices of her tailoring competition driving her out of business. She offers that she can pay the rest of her life savings if they can figure out what the businesses are doing to drive away her business. In reality, she has planted evidence with the help of her guildmates and is using the adventurers as rubes in a plot to have them investigated, embarrassed, and maybe even run out of business. She is trying to increase in rank from a Copper Trainee to a Silver Worker.

An unscrupulous merchant bearing the Gilded Guild logo swindles the adventurers out of fair compensation for a recent jewelry or treasure sale, which they will discover when they stop to count the money. Investigations will prove difficult as the local authorities are in the guild’s pocket and help this Silver Worker avoid a trial.

A struggling clockmaker, a Lead Initiate, is hoping to strike things big with their new design of animal constructs, but is having trouble complying with all the Gilded Guild rules. She is too socially inept to tell that the inspectors are looking for bribes, so she is desperate to give the players a free sample to advertise her wares or maybe even get them to invest in her work.

 

Carter Brothers Shipping and Delivery

Motto: “Nothing and no one stands in the way of our deliveries.”

Logo: An ‘L’ shaped flexing, and heavily muscled arm with a wooden box suspended by the bicep.

Summary:

Not a decade ago, anyone looking to move goods or people across long distances had to deal with a mess of different companies, merchants, ships, caravans, and dealers to move even the smallest package. That changed when the quadruplet Carter brothers elbowed their way into the shipping business. Their habit of undercutting competitors on price, putting ex convicts back to work, and a dabbling in enhancing potions left them cornering the market on shipping everything from bulk goods to personal messages by land, sea, and air. Some might allege that they caused mishaps suffered by their competitors, but very few have the poor sense to attach their names to the accusations: ill-timed worker strikes, lost cargo, or box shortages. They run the various branches like a huge family business, often marrying new talent into their extended family tree, giving new recruits nicknames, or having regular company outings. Should even the lowest Crawler at a wharf in a tiny town run into issues, they can be sure that the Carter Brothers have their back. Loyalty, cleverness, and toughness are the traits most rewarded by this crew.

Key Players:

Mathilde Meino Bernhard is a dwarven captain and has a devastatingly attractive pout whenever they do not get their way. Trying to work out a way to stop a sea monster from claiming so much of their shipping lanes.

Incarnate Clarus is a caravan guard and has immaculately clean fingernails kept razor sharp, painted, and threateningly displayed. Incarnate joined in on the caravan business to provide for her half-monster son by smuggling illegal goods in with the food shipments. He has been growing recently and she worries he’ll start to show his monstrous parentage soon, so she’s desperate to make enough to retire and has been taking risks.

Kovač Thuzog is a half-elf messenger and rides a jet-black stallion through the night to deliver his messages wherever they need to go, no matter the danger. He hopes his dangerous adventures will help him prove himself in the guild but also embellishes his tales in his diary, hoping to turn them into a series of books to retire on. Makes extensive lists on every risk factor and counterplan before taking on a job.

Quests & Interactions:

A messenger on a lightning-fast black stallion pulls up to the adventurers with a summons for an audience with a local authority or royalty. The odd part is how the messenger got their horse down into the caves the party is currently exploring.

A ship flying the Carter Brothers flag is sitting in port as its captain argues with the port inspector. When the captain sees the players, he waves them over, introducing them as royal inspectors that were specifically assigned to search this ship so the port inspector need not take time from her busy schedule.

On their way into a meeting with a powerful authority figure or a member of a noble family, a scrawny teenager asks the players to take a sealed scroll in with them to deliver. If they accept, the authority becomes infuriated with the message delivered about lost supplies or taxes and takes it out on the party, having never believed in the phrase “don’t shoot the messenger”.

 

Fraternity of Greener Pastures

Motto: “From the bounty of the land, we harvest. To our neighbors and friends, we serve.”

Logo: A diamond shape split into four smaller diamonds. The top diamond is green with flecks of gold. The right diamond is blue with flecks of silver, the bottom diamond is red with flecks of white, and the left diamond is white with splotches of black.

Summary:  

Generations of folks working hard in the industry of supplying the world with food have worked hard to join this venerable order. Honesty, integrity, and hard work are prerequisites for membership to even be considered. While the Fraternity of Greener Pastures works to promote the interests of all food industries, its voting membership is made up of those with higher ideals. The group looks to recruit innovators, scholars, those who overcame hardship, and people who perform great charitable works. Regular activities include the free dissemination of cultivation knowledge, best practices, and sustainable harvesting. They also take up collections from area doing well to give to those farmers suffering drought, so that they may replace their lost crops. Giving crops to the farmers instead of for free to the people ensures that the farmers don’t go bankrupt having to compete with free food. Due-paying members are given access to a wider library of knowledge, network of discounted suppliers, and connections to wholesalers who can buy their goods. Meetings and research most often takes place in the guild halls in the winter, when there is little to harvest.

Key Players:

Odilia Augusta is a human rogue and has constant streams of sweat pouring down their brow when they do even the slightest amount of work. Joined as Fieldhand to retire from their life of thieving on a hobby farm where they raise exotic goats to make even more exotic cheeses.

Telesphorus Skylord Devastator is a high elf with a little bit of demi-god ancestry who works as a butler and has a set of dog ears that make them sensitive to certain noises. This Farmer has the king’s ear one agricultural matters and has been serving as the Fraternity’s inroads to improving yields and ending starvation in this kingdom.

Vaughn Béranger Frediu is a halfling that intermittently offers a hand as a grain harvester and has almost no body fat or muscle, practically skin-and-bone. This Great Shepherd has a crazy theory about digging ditches and stopping annual brush-fires that regularly devastate food harvests. Even crazier, he takes a hard line in the Fraternity against making grain silos larger, fearing that the inert grain could somehow explode.

 

Quests & Interactions:

A large separatist group is rustling cattle, sheep, and goats as a way to feed and fund their efforts. The Fraternity of Greener Pastures is torn between trying to help the impoverished rebels and their individual members who are being stolen from. The local members have put out petitions for aid instead of waiting for their guild to step in.

The quarantine of a plague-ridden city has sent the price of grain skyrocketing in the area while leaving many close to starvation. Herdsman I’Yeff Ethop is looking for some hardy individuals willing to clear an underground labyrinth to create a passage to bring grain into the city without breaking the quarantine.

Adventurers keep hearing stories and find evidence related to the notorious cheese thief, rumored to have swindled the world’s finest cheeses and serving-ware, leaving behind smelly goat cheese. On a chance, they meet Odilia Augusta on her hobby farm where they notice out of the corner of their eye some particularly valuable serving platters and cheese plates.

 

Association of the Free Trades

Motto: “Free to pursue excellence in our crafts.”

Logo: A small silver chisel surrounded by a silver circle, added to the bottom right of the individual artisan’s signage.

Summary:  

Feeling left out of the new guilds sprouting up around the world, and worried about getting crowded out by their pricing schemes, a number of artisans met in a bar in the merchant quarter of a large city. Scrawled out on the back of a sketch for a new shoe design was the founding document of the Association of Free Trades. Spelled out in its charter, framed in glass at the main headquarters, the Association would only require modest dues in return for a yearly directory of other members, united defense against encroachments of other guilds in their city, and insurance against the loss of their business. From this simple foundation, the group grew across nation and geographic lines. Spontaneous structure formed within the various disciplines, where artisans made independent checks on one-another’s quality to ensure that the silver chisel mark meant quality and also allowed the members to self organize by skill level. This meritocracy ensured that younger members could see in the directory who they could petition to learn from and the more skilled members could ensure that their skills and secrets were not lost to time. While the Maven’s of each discipline meet every three months, it is tradition to see most votes end with too many abstentions to pass new laws. They can change the Principal-Elect with a vote of no confidence, although the Principal-Elect is only truly in charge of public relations.

Key Players:

Hrothgar Bastion is an gnomish innkeeper and has a series of moles and boils on their body, a sign of the malnourishment they suffered as a child. His inn serves customers normally, but also hosts his Association-affiliated candle-making trade that he works with his wife. He is only a Free Chisel now, but hopes that he can convince older members to hold their meetings at his tavern, and thereby see the quality of his candles so he can increase in rank.

Adam Anson is a half-orc cartographer and has giant ears. Thanks in part to his large hearing organs, Adam has a master-sense of proportion, location, and distance that have escalated him to the level of a Professional cartographer. He is quite nervous about his new assignment of mapping an expansive mine and cave system underground though, he starts to gag and vomit in enclosed, dark spaces.

Therese Ermendrud is an human artist and has deep underbite and a furrowed brow. Squinting so hard that most wonder how she can see, Therese has a staggering command of worked stone. She earned her Maven rank by carving a stone so delicately it could not be discerned from a real feather. She just wants to be left alone to do her work and to make her greatest masterpiece, a perfect, 1 to 1 recreation of a dragon so crisp it fools even the most learned monster hunter.

 

Quests & Interactions:

A local Artisan of the Association of Free Trades is looking for help guarding a caravan bearing their recently completed statue of a thoroughly disliked emperor through rebel-controlled territory. Secretly, the artist is working for the rebels and has placed a trap inside the statue to kill the emperor, but for secrecy reasons cannot betray her cover to other rebels.

The Principal-Elect of the association is coming through town in a few days, so all the local artisans are putting together a grand festival to display their wares and show their hospitality. The rest of the town is getting in on the fun, but pick-pockets are too.

Some local tailor or inventor’s shop is getting completely mobbed by customers. The owner of the place recently got promoted to Professional, so now many people in the city are flocking in to hopefully pay Artisan prices for Professional grade work. Many of them claim to have been a supporter and fan before they got recognized. The proprietor looks exhausted and cannot keep up with the orders, trying fruitlessly to get people to leave so they can close. If the players help, there may be a few unsold, but high quality items available at a steep discount.

 

Ravenhome

Motto: “Where even a single bird still roosts, we will be there. Our ears listening patiently, our lips speaking kind words, our minds working swiftly, and our services rendered efficiently.”

Logo: A black raven in an open, white birdcage.

Summary:  

Ravenhome is  group dedicated to taking no actions. It is their intent to be the eyes, ears, and consul of those who can pay. Although the group is mostly organized into independent cells, Falcon, Owls, and Nightingales do follow the often vague commands of the Raven, the head of the group. Very little is known about the mysterious and constantly cloaked androgynous figure, save that they prefer the company of birds and can speak to them freely. The three branches of the group consist of the Sparrow and Falcons, Doves and Owls, and Canaries and Nightingales. Sparrows and Falcons are responsible for listening, watching, and recording events as they take place, whether discretely as spies or openly as guards or scribes. Doves and Owls are concerned with giving advice, prophecy, and knowledge to those who can contribute to the organization’s coffers. Canaries and Nightingales serve as entertainers and ambassadors, serving to foster mutual understanding, enjoyment, and diplomacy. Most Ravenhome members were initially independent workers that were recruited by the group, pay membership, and receive access to the advice, observations, and silver-tongues of their fellows. The Raven will often form new cells to work in a specific area or field if they believe their network of informants, advisors, and diplomats are thin or nonexistent in an area of concern. Above all, the Raven is concerned with extensive records copied and kept in three separate, secret library headquarters.

Key Players:

Soffía Goebel is a gnomish farrier and has dried mud cracking and peeling off their skin. Soffia spends her days recordings the goings and comings of this large city, tying off secret message scrolls to the feet of one of the many pigeons roosting in the roof of her stable. She is a Sparrow hoping to get noticed by the Falcon of her cell, Marxu Pliliao, whom she has a major crush on.

Naoumov Ingo is a halfling entertain and has a magical,  religious tattoo that moves around their body. He uses this tattoo and his many other minor magical curiosities as a side-show act, traveling from town to town bringing joy and wonder to the people. He hopes to inspire the next generation to tinker and study the world. The Raven knows his motivation and that is why the Raven chose to recruit him and finance his travels.

Ermendrud Meino Josef is a human consultant and has cataracts in one eye on and one side of their face that looks much older than the other. Part of his body was magically youthened as part of a magical curse he recieved from a mad wizard-king who he advised many years ago. The wizard was embarking on a foolish plan that Ermendrud advised him not to. When it failed, the mad wizard-king cursed his advisor with his last breath, blaming him for failing to believe in the plan. Ermendrud works as a free consultant, offering his services as a magically skilled individual with common sense and discretion. He is a highly sought after person for archmages, powerful druids, and the like to consult for a second perspective likely to point out flaws or mistakes in their plans, spells, and experiments.

 

Quests & Interactions:

A scantily clad bard of extraordinary talent is singing and dancing for the lowly tavern that the adventurers find themselves in. Between acts and after the show, the bard makes a point to get to know the players and listen to their stories. They offer to tag along and record the events of the group, noting that their story could make for good songs.

The city the players plan to enter is on lockdown since an assassination yesterday morning of a respected advisor to the queen. If the players ask about the advisor or the assassin, the descriptions seem to match people they recall seeing at a tavern just the other day. In reality, the queen has gone mad and the Raven is trying to get their agents out of the city before the queen could impose martial law like just happened.

This simple hamlet that the adventurers are passing through seems to go quiet when they walk down the road. Many eyes are on them and someone at the back of a barn seems to be taking down notes. This farmhand drifter is a plant by Ravenhome to learn about the secret cult the town has. They send notes to their partner by tying coded messages to the barn cats.

 

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