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Guilds, Orders and Secret Societies in Karameikosby Giampaolo Agosta
Societies of Karameikos
This article describes the secret societies, guilds and orders of Karameikos.
Apart from the Order of the Griffon, the Thieves' Guilds, the Merchants' Guild, the Loggers' Guild, and the Knights of the Three Suns, it's almost non-canon. I have kept all the professional guilds mentioned in Ville Lahde's Specularum adventure series, though.
There are three types of ranks of chivalry in Karameikos. In descending order of importance, these include:
1. The Knight Bachelors
2. The members of the greater orders of chivalry
3. The members of the lesser orders of chivalry
Knighthood of the first type is granted directly by the Duke, while the second type is associated with membership in specific Knightly Orders.
Currently, there is only one greater order of chivalry, the Order of the Griffon. These first two ranks are entitled to full knightly privileges, with Knight Bachelors having precedence over the members of the greater orders.
The last rank does not carry privileges, though often these honours are associated with a Court Lordship, the lowest title of nobility in Karameikos.
Order of the Griffon
Knights of the Order of the Griffon are entitled to style themselves Sirs, and receive the respect due to other knights. The Order of the Griffon is a military order of the Church of Karameikos, quartered in the Church district of Specularum.
The Order of the Griffon recognises four internal ranks, based on the traditional structure of the Thyatian military orders of Vanya:
1. The Master
2. The Marshals
3. The Knight Commanders
4. The Knight Brothers
The Master of the Order is Patriarch Olliver Jowett. Both Baron Desmond Kelvin II and Aleena Halaran are Marshals in the order.
Knights of the Three Suns
The Order of the Three Suns is a lesser order of chivalry, founded by Lord Arturus Penhaligon and quartered in the Castle of the Three Suns in Penhaligon. The Order is acknowledged by Duke Stefan, who acts as its Sovereign Head, but does not grant any social right to the members - i.e., Knights of the Three Suns are Freemen, and not entitled to style themselves Lords or Sirs unless they are also Court Lords or Knights.
There are three ranks in the Order: Squire, Knight and Knight commander. In addition to these ranks, there are three high officers, the Grand Master, the Treasurer and the Hospitaller. Together, they form the Council of the Order.
Aspirants are admitted by selection, and since the order is quite small, this process is handled directly by the Council. Aspirant squires must be recognised for their fighting skills (being Fighters or Clerics of 3rd level or more), though the requirement is less stringent than in the Order of the Griffon.
Squires can be promoted to Knights (this generally happens as the Squire reaches 7th level), and Knights may be named Commanders (usually at name level or more). Knight are often recommended for a Court Lordship, which is generally granted, and Knight Commanders are usually considered by the Duke for a Knighthood.
Fain Flynn, a veteran of Arturus Penhaligon's unit was the first knight, as well as the first Grand Master, while Sir Lyle Graybow, Penhaligon's castellan, has been the Hospitaller since the foundation of the Order twenty-five years ago.
There are three criminal rings in Karameikos: the Iron Ring, the Veiled Society, and the Kingdom of Thieves. This section describes them, as well as other secret societies.
The Iron Ring
The Iron Ring is based in Fort Doom, and has resident agents in all towns in Karameikos, as well as in Jaibul, Sind and Thyatis. Other agents of the Iron Ring travel across the Grand Duchy, furthering the agenda of the organisation. The Iron Ring has almost no influence on the criminal underworld of Specularum, where the major players are the Kingdom of Thieves and the Veiled Society. It operates openly both in the Black Eagle Barony and in Jaibul, as well as among several goblinoid tribes (especially of Bugbears and Goblins) in the wildernesses of Karameikos.
The Iron Ring is protected by Ludwig von Hendricks - in return it works to further the interests of the Black Eagle, operating as a sort of secret service for the Baron.
The members of the organisation do not generally operate as simple burglars or pickpockets, and the Iron Ring does not have the manpower to run extortion rackets. The primary business of the Iron Ring is slavery, followed by espionage and assassination. Goblinoid tribes are employed to help with guarding the prisoners along their route across Karameikos to Fort Doom, where ships are loaded with the new slaves and sent to slave markets such as Jaibul and Thyatis, but also Zeaburg, Surra-Man-Ra and the ports of the Alphatian Empire. Given the extensive amount of effort needed to hide the slave trade, the Iron Ring are also among the best smugglers in Karameikos, though they rarely work in this area, except to smuggle magical components and treasures to Fort Doom.
The typical agent of the Iron Ring is the Reaver. Reavers are not allowed to operate independently, and are either attached to an higher ranking member, or are assigned tasks in the slavery operations, such as leading caravans, coordinating the kidnapping of people in an area, or spying on the rulers of a town. The typical Reaver joins the organisation when he is already a skilled thief, warrior or priest - there are no apprentices. Due to the peculiar nature of the organisation, thieves are only slightly more common than warriors, and several priests of evil cults from Jaibul are also present.
The manpower of the organisation is provided by goblinoid mercenaries as well as by brain-washed and conditioned slave warriors, called Hounds.
The Iron Ring organisation is ruled by the Masters, almost all of whom are highly skilled wizards - at least as far as Karameikan wizards go. The real power is in the end of a few Masters, but even lesser Masters are able to pursue personal agenda, commandeering Reavers and Hounds as well as resources.
Joining the ranks
The Iron Ring is only suited for the most villainous PCs, given its goals and methods. A PC Reaver should either be a plant in a group that is a known opponent of the Black Eagle, or a member of an Iron Ring-only party.
Progression in the organisation is very limited - new members are recruited from those who demonstrate skill or strength (being second level Thieves or Fighters), or from the ranks of the Entropic priesthoods. At about fourth level, the Reavers are assigned to tasks or posts outside the Black Eagle Barony, and operate independently or in small groups. At about sixth level, the Reavers becomes more a threat than an asset to the organisation - thus, only the most loyal Reavers are retained past this point, and are usually subject to magical screening and control. All others, with the exception of Clerics, are assassinated by the Masters. Cleric Reavers, however, are allowed to leave the organisation and return to their cult.
The Veiled Society
The Veiled Society is an old racketeering organisation based in Specularum, and has only recently expanded into Kelvin, Threshold and Luln. Before the Thyatian conquest, there was a similar organisation in Halag, which has been all but destroyed by the Iron Ring and Baron von Hendricks.
The Veiled Society mostly runs protection rackets, though it also controls prostitution and illegal gambling. In general, it focuses on activities that require relatively little skill and produce a steady revenue. The Veiled Society also controls a number of legitimate businesses, using its thugs to reduce competition by targeting guildsmen and merchants tied to the Torenescu or Vorloi factions.
The organisation also tends to present itself as the champion of the Traladaran urban lower classes, thus gathering some support from the local population. It has also strong connections with several trade guilds, especially the powerful Merchants' Guild.
The Veiled Society is organised as a family, with an elder (starosta) leading each gang and controlling a territory - usually a number of city blocks in the Nest or the Old Quarter in Specularum. The elders report to
the upper tier of the organisation, which is former of white collar mobsters, led by the Radu family.
Joining the ranks
The Veiled Society has strict rules, but respecting the rules is about the only requirement for joining. Some amount of brawn is also appreciated, but skill is entirely optional.
This organisation is very appropriate for the business-oriented Thief - it can lead to power and wealth without too many risks. Fighters and Wizards can also join, but the latter are less common.
The Veiled Society also aims at controlling its territory - freelance thieves are not acceptable, and many members simply grow into the district gang.
The Kingdom of Thieves
The Kingdom of Thieves is a new Thieves' Guild, having existed for circa ten years only. It strictly limits its activities to burglary, and is based in Specularum, though its members sometimes operate in Kelvin or Vorloi.
Compared to the other Thieves' Guilds, the Kingdom is rather small, but is also composed of skilled members, thus focusing on high-revenue jobs, stealing mostly from the rich. The Kingdom as a strict hierarchy based on Darokinian, Traladaran and Thyatian aristocratic titles. The guildmaster, Flameflicker, is known as the King of Thieves, while his direct underlings are Princes. Dukes, Counts, Barons, Knights and Lords form the lower ranks of the membership, while apprentices are dubbed Squires. Members tend to act independently or in small teams, though the King and Princes assign jobs to specific groups from time to time.
The Kingdom of Thieves does not condone murder and other violent crimes, and members are required to use weapons only in self defence.
Joining the ranks
The Kingdom of Thieves only invites professional Thieves to join. Former cutpurses, pickpockets, and small time burglars are accepted, as are adventurers with the appropriate skills.
A new member starts either as a Squire, if he is a promising young thief (1st or 2nd level) or as a Lord, and can work his way up to the rank of Duke by proving his skill. Currently, all Princes are founding members of the Kingdom, and are all quite young. New Princes can be named only by the King, and this has not happened yet.
The Brotherhood of the Woods
This semi-secret society was founded by the Callarii elf Lathan Spearhand, after he came back from an adventurous journey across the Sea of Dread. Lathan had to pay a large sum to the Black Eagle Baron to ransom his
fiancée, an elven maiden from Rifllian whom the Iron Ring had kidnapped.
Seeing that the Duke's justice was not going to reach the Baron, Lathan decided to take the matter in his own hands. He soon discovered he was not the only victim of von Hendricks' misdeeds. Thus, he contacted many of those who had reason to take revenge on the Baron, and formed a society devoted to bringing down the Black Eagle and the Iron Ring, by whatever means were necessary.
The Brotherhood is currently a small group, but is composed almost entirely of low to mid level adventurers. Lathan also has several contacts with other groups, including the Traladaran resistance movement in Fort Doom and Luln. New members are recruited by Lathan himself in Specularum. There are no fixed requirements to join, except a grudge against von Hendricks and the Iron Rings, and some fighting or magical skills.
The Brotherhood meets at the Hippogriff Inn, in the north market district of Specularum, near the old city walls. The innkeeper is a friend of Lathan's, and relays messages left by other members of the Brotherhood.
Joining the ranks
Being an enemy of the Black Eagle Baron is the primary requirement. Adventuring skills of all types are appreciated, but the Brotherhood has a use for more mundane supporters.
The Brotherhood is a fairly informal organisation, with no ranks at all.
The Ambassador's Men
Outwardly, the Ambassador's Men are just a theatrical company led by Darokinian actor-playwright Emilio the Great. Emilio, however, is also an agent of Duchess Olivia Karameikos. His specialty, of course, is mixing with the upper class, but some of the Ambassador's Men are more at home in espionage and furtive activities.
In addition to these spies, the Duchess can also rely on other agents - a well developed network with ears in almost every fief, and even in some of the neighbouring nations.
Joining the ranks
Joining the Duchess' network is easily done at the lowest level - one just needs to relay important information to Emilio or other agents. However, the real nature of the network will be kept hidden until the recruit has proven reliable. At that point, he will be inducted in the espionage network proper, and given assignments.
The main requirement for admission are loyalty to the crown and a keen mind - skills and experience come a distant third.
Trade guilds (Arti, in low Thyatian) are a long-standing tradition in Specularum. Due to the usage of Thyatian to record official documents, the names of the Guilds were often reported in Thyatian even before the conquest, and all guilds have names in both Thyatian and Traladaran.
Five hundred years ago, the town, then Marilenev, lived its first rise to greatness as the capitol of the Duchy of Marilenev, as well as being the location of the Diet of the Traladaran League. Marilenev was a trading town, acting as the hub of trade from Harbortown, New Alphatia and Thyatis to the Traladaran principalities along the Volaga, Shutturga and Waterolde rivers. Furs and hides have always been the major exports of Traladara, and in Marilenev the merchants and craftsmen that worked with furs and leathers formed the first guilds, the Merchants' Guild, the Leathersellers' Guild and the Skinners' Guild. These first guilds mostly managed trade between Marilenev and Halavos, Volaga, Lugsid and Vaion, while foreign merchants from Thyatis and the Isles of Dread handled sea-based trade.
After the foundation of Minrothad, and the Fourth Traladaran War of 493 AC, the increasing presence of foreigners and Traladarans from different principalities led to the formation of the Moneychangers' Guild. The Scriveners' Guild (Arte dei Notai in low Thyatian) was also formed to represent a new class of Thyatian-trained professionals who could read and write the Thyatian language, and were needed to prepare contracts, as well as to record the proceedings of the Diet of the Traladaran League. The Armourers' Guild (Arte dei Corazzai) developed during the Traladaran Wars, and was formally chartered at the same time as the Moneychangers' Guild.
In the next century, several other trade guilds were formed, called minor guilds (Arti Minori) to distinguish them from the more powerful guilds.
During the first decade of the VII century, the dissolution of the Traladaran League caused a major loss of political power to Marilenev. Duke Alexandr Marilenev was not able to cope with the social changes imposed by this event, and the anti-ducal faction within the Merchants' and Scriveners' Guilds took the upper hand. With large financing from the Moneychangers, as well as the guilds prepared and enacted a bloody revolution. The Duke was deposed and beheaded, and the six major guilds (Merchants, Scriveners, Moneychangers, Skinners, Leathersellers and Armourers) declared their guildmasters (or Priors) as the Town Council of Marilenev. In the City-State oligarchic system, which lasted up to the Thyatian conquest in 900 AC, the Guildmasters of the Major Guilds formed the executive board of the government (the Priorate), with a number of elective boards and councils that acted as legislative offices. Each Guild had full judiciary and legislative power for what concerned their own members, and boards composed of members of the various guilds served as juries when members of different guilds were involved in a dispute.
The political system was not especially stable, however, and the Priors (often from the Radu or Torenescu families) were sometimes replaced with foreign governors (usually Minrothaddans, Darokinians or Thyatians) who were supposed to guarantee a less biased rule than the locals. This usually happened when the major guilds were weaker, and the minor guilds stronger.
In 681 AC, the threat of war led the town government to undertake a program of fortification of the city. The increased power of the masons and bricklayers allowed them to obtain a charter for their own guild (Arte dei Muratori).
The Vampire Wars of the VIII century threw the Skinners and Leathersellers guild in a crisis, as the northern trade was halted. These guilds lost their status as Arti Maggiori, and the Dyers and Tailors were able to form independent guilds. On the other hand, Marilenev had to rely more on sea-based trade, developing its own merchant fleet - and leading to the formation of the Mariners' Guild. Moreover, the increased availability of exotic spices and herbs from Sind, Ochalea and other remote regions (via the Ierendian, Minrothaddan and Thyatian merchants) gave a major increase in power to the Apothecaries' Guild (Arte degli Speziali), which moved among the major guilds.
After the plague in 802 AC, several dwarves of the Syrklist clan settled in Marilenev. These dwarves used their skills and their contacts with the Stronghollow clan of Highforge and the dwarven merchants in Thyatis to start a successful goldsmith trade. Unfortunately, the Moneychangers' Guild, which legally regulated not only the moneychangers and moneylenders, but also the jewellers, goldsmiths and silversmiths, set heavy measures against the dwarven craftsmen. In 902 AC, after the Thyatian conquest, the dwarven faction within the Moneychangers' Guild petitioned the Thyatian governor to establish a new Goldsmiths' Guild - a petition which was quickly granted by the Thyatians, who wanted to divide the guilds as much as possible.
The Thyatian conquest removed most political power from the guilds. The division between major and minor guilds remained, but was not as politically important as in the City-State times. Another Thyatian decree aimed at reducing the danger posed by the guilds was the division of the Armourers' Guild in three sub-guilds, forming first the Bowyers' Guild and then the Cutlers' Guild. The Armourers' Guild was also reduced to the status of minor guild.
A last governor's decree in 926 AC allowed the formation of three more guilds, Innholders', Vintners' and Fishmongers', and extended the authority of the guilds from the city of Specularum to the entire Province of Traladara. The Vintners' Guild (Arte dei Vinattieri) was a small and entirely Thyatian dominated guild, while the Fishmongers' Guild appealed to the smaller towns of Traladara, allowing them some representation in the government - traditionally, the guildmaster of this guild is never a Specularum native.
When Stefan Karameikos traded the Duchy of Machetos for the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, he confirmed the existing guilds, but allowed his friend Teldon to form a small Magicians' Guild. This guild is considered a major guild, even though its economic power is minimal.
The last two guilds, the Loggers' Guild and the Hunters' Guild, have been chartered by Duke Stefan in 980 AC, to help regulate the exploitation of the forests of Karameikos.
Major Guilds Arti Maggiori Foundation Magicians' Guild Arte dei Maghi 970 AC Merchants' Guild Arte dei Mercatanti ca. 400 AC Moneychangers' Guild Arte del Cambio 493 AC Goldsmiths' Guild Arte degli Orafi 902 AC Scriveners' Guild Arte dei Notai 494 AC Apothecaries' Guild Arte degli Speziali VI c. AC
Minor Guilds Arti Minori Foundation Bowyers' Guild Arte dei Balistai 903 AC Armourers' Guild Arte dei Corazzai 493 AC Blacksmiths' Guild Arte dei Fabbri VI c. AC Cutlers' Guild Arte degli Spadai 906 AC Bricklayers' Guild Arte dei Muratori 681 AC Carpenters' Guild Arte dei Maestri di Legname VI c. AC Loggers' Guild Arte dei Legnaioli 980 AC Brewers' Guild Arte dei Birrai VI c. AC Vintners' Guild Arte dei Vinattieri 926 AC Bakers' Guild Arte dei Fornai V c. AC Fishmongers' Guild Arte dei Pesciaioli 926 AC Butchers' Guild Arte dei Beccai VI c. AC Innholders' Guild Arte degli Albergatori 926 AC Grocers' Guild Arte dei Pizzicagnoli VI c. AC Skinners' Guild Arte dei Pellicciai ca. 400 AC Dyers' Guild Arte dei Tintori VIII c. AC Tailors' Guild Arte dei Sarti VIII c. AC Leathersellers' Guild Arte dei Cuoiai ca. 400 AC Hunters' Guild Arte dei Cacciatori 980 AC Mariners' Guild Arte dei Marinai VIII c. AC
In modern Specularum, the guilds play an important economic role, regulating trade and professional activities. Therefore, they can still exert some political powers, and the various factions have close ties with several of the guilds, often dating back to the times of the City-State or the Thyatian provincial government.
The Radu faction
The Radu were one of the first mercantile families to reach an aristocratic status. The Prior of the Merchants' Guild who led the rebellion against Duke Alexandr Marilenev was a Radu, Petros.
The Radu family has kept control of the Merchants' Guild for much of its history. Thanks to the family's connection to the Veiled Society as well as the guild's power as the regulating body of trade, the Radu faction was able to attract also the Apothecaries, Grocers and Tailors to its faction. After the Thyatian conquest, the Armourers and Leathersellers have also joined this faction.
The Torenescu faction
The Torenescu family and its allies have controlled for a long time both the Scriveners and the Moneychangers guilds. Thus, they control many government and administrative officers, as well as the availability of (legal) loans. Unfortunately, the Veiled Society runs a successful illegal money lending racket, which cuts into the Torenescu profits.
Several traditionally Traladaran minor guilds have allied with Torenescu faction, including the Bricklayers, Skinners, Blacksmiths and Butchers.
The Marilenev faction
The Marilenev family has lost most of its support, though two of the older minor guilds, the Brewers and Bakers, still support this faction.
The Fishmongers are another matter - many of their adherents are not residents of Specularum, and the guild is traditionally not involved in the city politics. They are, however, the loudest opponents of the Thyatian rule, and especially of the Black Eagle Baron. Since the Duke does not listen to their complaints, they have lost faith in a pacific solution. Thus, their leaders plot with Magda Marilenev, while still trying to advance their agenda through the Karameikan bureaucracy.
The Vorloi faction
The Vorloi family has been able to counter the economic power of the Traladaran guilds, gathering around the family business some guilds that are traditionally associated with the Thyatian rulers, such as the Vintners and the Goldsmith, as well as those primarily oriented to sea trade, including the Mariners and Carpenters.
This faction is closely allied with the Karameikos ruling family, but is more interested in advancing its own economic interests than the New Karameikan ideals.
The Karameikos faction
A group of newer guilds, led by the Loggers and Magicians, supports explicitly the ideals of a New Karameikos espoused by the Duke. These guilds favour equality between Traladarans and Thyatians - and even foreign
The Innholders have joined this faction due to their varied membership, which includes many Hin, some Dwarves and several former adventurers, while the Cutlers and Dyers mostly value the increased profits brought to their members by the presence of an independent government.
Neutrals and Independents
The Hunters' Guild was chartered by Duke Stefan on a proposal by the Lord Forester and the Lord Seneschal to regulate hunting activities in the forests of Karameikos. Its purpose is to keep track of active hunters to minimise losses of life and ensure that taxes are properly paid to the crown. However, the current guildmaster has moved the guild from a pro-ducal stance to a more neutral position, since he is more interested in the profits than in the ideals.
The Bowyers' Guild was one of the branches of the Armourers' Guild that were made independent during the initial stages of the Thyatian occupation. This guild maintains and extremely professional stance, and does not take part in politics.
The Major Guilds[
Guildmaster: Archmage Teldon.
Affiliated trades: Magic Users.
One of the smallest guilds, the Magicians' Guild has only existed since the foundation of the Grand Duchy. Its goal is to regulate the teaching and use of magic in Karameikos. While magic users are not required by law to belong to the guild, guild regulations forbid exchange of magical knowledge with non-members. Specifically, only Masters are allowed to teach spells and spellcasting techniques, thus ensuring both the quality levels of the education provided by the guild and the respect of requirements from the students. The Magicians' Guild agrees with the Church of Karameikos in discouraging the traditional Traladaran divinatory practices, which it considers devoid of scientific value.
Apprentices and medium-ranking members (Journeymen and Magicians) make up the larger part of the guild, which has currently only four masters, including Teldon - five if Kavorquian Penhaligon is still alive.
In addition to its magical services, the guild offers also public access to the non-magical section of its library. The library is located in a low building near the Guildhall, in the South End district of Specularum.
Guildmaster: Anton Radu.
Affiliated trades: import/export and wholesale merchants.
One of the oldest and more powerful, guilds, the Merchants' Guild controls wholesale trade, both domestic and import/export. While this guild has lost much of its official power with the Thyatian conquest, it still retains control over a large fraction of the Traladaran merchants, and uses it to boycott the Thyatian merchants of the Vorloi faction.
The Radu family has been part of the Guild since the foundation, and has provided one third of its Guildmasters over the last five hundred years. Other allied families, like the Kaison and Calihar, hold seats in the Masters' Council, providing the Radu a secure majority in all guild decisions.
The Guildhall is a broad, stout palace in the Stronghold district of Specularum. A statue of Zirchev, patron of the Guild, is located in the courtyard. Armed guards (mercenaries not associated with the Veiled Society) bar the access to the Guildhall.
The Merchants' Guild also organises caravans and mercantile shippings by pooling the resources of its associates. Thus, it often recruits mercenary guards for its caravans and ships.
Guildmaster: Ioan Azuros.
Affiliated trades: moneychangers, moneylenders, pawnbrokers.
The Moneychangers' Guild rallies all bankers and pawnbrokers in Specularum. The guild membership is clearly divided in two levels: the small time pawnbrokers and moneylenders, and the magnates, powerful bankers and investors who vie with the Merchants' Guild for control over the Karameikan economy. This division can also be seen in the ranking system, which differs from the typical apprentice, journeyman, master of the other guilds: the Moneychangers begin their training as apprentices, then move either directly to the master rank, if they are associated to an existing master's business or have the means to buy into the rank (and therefore also to open a large scale business), or to the agent rank.
Agents are independent guild members of lesser status, generally working in the poorer districts of Specularum or in the countryside as moneylenders and pawnbrokers.
The Guild is ruled by a Guildmaster, currently Ioan Azuros, the maternal uncle of Alexander Torenescu, assisted by a council of six Wardens. Two Wardens are elected by the members from the Hill district, and one each from the Merchant, Bricktop, and Stronghold districts. The last Warden is elected from the Agents. The Wardens' Council meets in the Guildhall, located in the Hill district, within Torenescu territory. It is a square building in rusticated stone with large, arched windows, built to show the power and wealth of the guild.
Currently, the Guild is closely allied with the Torenescu faction, and is pouring a lot of money into the feud with the Radu and Vorloi. However, the agents are getting the worst damage from the feud, as they are more exposed to the Veiled Society thugs. Thus there is a growing unrest in the guild, which might lead to an attempt by the agents to get their own guild or at least to depose Guildmaster Azuros. The Guildmaster is considering hiring adventurers to put an end to the Veiled Society arsons and racketeering.
Guildmaster: Thorur Silverbeard the Younger, son of Thoric of the Syrklist.
Affiliated trades: goldsmiths, jewellers, silversmiths.
A bitter enemy of the Moneychangers' Guild, the Goldsmiths' Guild is formed not only of goldsmiths, but also jewellers and silversmiths. Dwarves, mostly from the Syrklist, Buhrohur and Stronghollow clans, form one third of the membership. The other members are equally divided between Traladarans and Thyatians, with a few Highforge gnomes, Hins, and Ierendians.
The guild is organised in the three traditional layers, and access to each layer is strictly dependent on professional ability - there are no honorary or non-practicing members. The members of the master rank form the Guild council, and elect the Guildmaster. The Guildmaster position last for life, or until retirement (the guild provides support for retired members). Thorur Silverbeard, the current leader, is the grandson of the first Grandmaster (Thorur Silverbeard the Elder). The Silverbeards always supported the Thyatian governors, and now they are allied with the Vorloi, as they see Duke Stefan as too lenient with the Traladaran gangs, whom they consider responsible for most of the crime in Specularum.
The Guildhall, a dwarven-designed palace, is found in the Hill Market district, right out of the walls of Duke Stefan's castle. It is rumoured that underground dungeons hold secret vaults where the gold reserves of the guild are stored.
Guildmaster: Simeon Torenescu.
Affiliated trades: public notaries, scribes, heralds, judges, clerks,
The Scriveners' Guild collects the intelligentsia of Specularum, including the government officials, the public notaries and the judges, as well as a less powerful class of scribes and clerks.
Like several other Guilds, this one is ruled by a Guildmaster assisted by six Consuls. Since the various professional activities represented by the guild have strictly separated careers and requirements, and are all incompatible with each other (thus a notary cannot serve as judge, and vice versa), the Consuls are selected to represent the more important groups: three Consuls for the public notaries, two for the judges and lawyers, and one for the heralds. Scribes, teachers and clerks are not full guild members, and thus do not receive representation on the council.
Contrary to most other guilds, the Scriveners' Guild does not have apprentice or master ranks. Once a member is admitted, he is either an associate or a full guildsman. Admission is based on strict requirements: aspirant judges and lawyers must hold a doctoral degree in Law from the Imperial Academy in Thyatis or the University of al-Azrad in Selenica. All other aspirants must pass a series of exams, including a first one that is common to all, and verifies the aspirants' ability to read and write Thyatian and Traladaran. Associate members (scribes, teachers, and clerks) are only required to pass this first exam, while full members must pass two more exams on professional topics. These latter exams are presided by the College of Consuls, and all exams are open to all full guildsmen who care to take part as examiners (a minimum of four examiners is always required). Clerics and Paladins are never accepted as members, since they would not guarantee the professional neutrality required of judges and notaries.
Most ministers in the Karameikan government are chartered notaries of this guild, and Lord Valdo Tisza is one of the current Consuls. Currently, the guild has 300 notary members, 40 judges and lawyers, 30 heralds, and 1200 associate members.
In addition to the professional services of its members, the guild also offers public access to its library, where aspirants can consult the books needed to prepare their exams. Thus, the Scriveners' Guildhall, in Bricktop Road on the edge of the Grand Market, is the major hub of intellectual life in Specularum, as well as the theatre of nightly brawls between opposed factions of youths.
Guildmaster: Dimitri Levinik.
Affiliated trades: apothecaries, alchemists, general retailers,
physicians, painters, barbers, glassworkers, cartographers, papermakers.
The Apothecaries' Guild is a composite association that collects not only apothecaries, alchemists and physicians, but also other technical or artistic professions such as painters, glassworkers, cartographers and paper and parchment makers. Barbers are also associated to this guild, as they perform small surgery, dental extractions, and bloodletting. General retailers are also associated to this guild, though as lesser members.
Admission is free for the children of guild members, while others must pay 60 royals if they are born in Specularum, 120 otherwise. Once admitted, the new member starts as an apprentice. Apprenticeship lasts very long (10 to 15 years) for most members, except general retailers - who, on the other hand, cannot reach the rank of master.