FATE of the 13th Age
The Guild Master
The Guild Master lies at the heart of all trade within the Mydian Empire. Nearly every shop-owner, every traveling merchant and every skilled craftsman within the Empire holds membership in the Guild. And the Guild Master runs it all from his gilded palace in Glitterhaegan.
“The scales always tip in my favor.”
The roots of the Guild stretch back to Old Mydia. The Dwarves forged a currency to be recognized within the Empire and took responsibility for its control and use. Over time their simple economy began to display problems. People began to steal the coins instead of earning them through honest work, craftsmen would engage in actions that would cause all around them harm in order to gain a few more coins, merchants would misrepresent their offerings or use dishonest practices in an attempt to destroy their rivals. Business owners would abuse their workers, laying heavier and heavier restrictions upon them.
It was then that the Guild truly began, run by the first Guildmaster. He quickly convinced merchants and craftsmen across the Empire to come to an agreement. Those who joined the Guild would all agree to follow the rules and regulations it put into place, they also agreed only to work with others who were within the Guild. Membership to the Guild became synonymous with honest dealings and the finest quality and the people heavily favored Guild businesses. Soon all who adamantly refused to join all but vanished from the world.
There are rumors that the Guild plays another part in seeing that non-Guild businesses do not succeed. These rumors claim that the Guildmaster also runs a vast network of thieves, brigands, thugs and assassins who eliminate all competition to the Guild, as well as anyone who tries to challenge his leadership within the Guild, in an efficient and brutal manner. In fact, many groups of organized criminals believe that their bosses may well be taking orders from the Guild.
Adventurers & The Icon
Any adventurers that want to set up a shop or go into business selling the treasures they have collected from their adventurers or goods they craft had best see to it that they properly seek membership into the guild. To do otherwise is to court grave danger. Retaining one’s position of membership however could well include undertaking some quite unusual tasks. In addition, there is a chance that less savoring adventurers have ties in one of those less savory groups that may or may not be working for the Guild.
The Guildmaster is vitally important to the continuing success of the Mydian Empire and so can easily count the Immortal Prince among his most important allies. However, the Guildmaster also has deals with the Council of Scales, trading with the draconic forces to get his hands on things that the Immortal Prince isn’t able to supply. This dual allegiance means that the Guildmaster might well remain in business whichever of them ultimately rules over the land. The Guildmaster also deals with the Prince of Shadows though secretly because he would never publicly condone the smuggling and piracy that goes on in Shadowport.
The Guildmaster has no love for those who work to bring chaos into the world. The Marauder, the Deathless One and the Demon Lord are counted among those who he fights against and whose influence he wishes to see would not spread any further than it already has. None of their followers seem to have much care or use for money, none of them create fine crafts or get their hands on rare or valuable objects— there is no business for him there to have. He has a contention relationship with the Worldspeaker who is leery of his excesses.
Although humans as the most common race are the primary users of coins and technically make up the majority of its members, the Guild is seen as a primarily Dwarven and Gnomish organization and the position of Guildmaster is almost always a member of those two races.
Climbing the ladder within the guild often requires a good deal of political manipulation, backstabbing and doing questionable favors to earn the favor of those of higher ranks. The position of Guildmaster is an office for life, though somehow the service of any given Guildmaster doesn’t seem to last more than a few decades before the death of person in the position. No doubt from the stress of the job, many would speculate.
The Real Threat
All is fine, so long as the Guild survives. Even if the Guildmaster dies, so long as someone takes up the mantle nothing terrible will happen. However, if something should cause the Guild to shatter….