A guild is an organization formed to protect the interests and pursuits of people involved in the same general trade or activity. Within that broad definition, a guild can appear in countless different forms: large or small, weak or powerful, public or secretive. From the tailors who band together to battle import tariffs, to the religious malcontents who form their own united front against the oppression of the government, to the thieves' organization that operates in the heart of the poor quarter, guilds are everywhere in a fantasy city. Even two guilds of the same type might differ wildly in appearance and behavior, depending on the people who join and the city in which they dwell.
Small, weak guilds often do little more than provide members a place to belong (and perhaps a bit of financial support), but powerful guilds control entire economic markets, and might even guide the course of their local government. Consider, for instance, a guild that controls the shipping and sale of lumber in a city far from any source of wood, or a powerful mercenary guild that protects a city with an otherwise weak militia. In both cases, the municipal government cannot afford to alienate the guild, giving it substantial leverage to make demands. A guild that becomes this powerful often fixes prices, drafts legislation favorable to it, or dominates markets otherwise unrelated to its pursuits.
It is far easier to join a guild than to gain the patronage of a noble house. In fact, in some cities, people of a certain profession might be required to join the local guild. Guild membership can be an attractive prospect, though most guilds appeal only to characters who stand to gain from belonging, rather than the party as a whole.
That said, many guilds will be of no interest to PCs. It is unlikely that an adventurer has much interest in joining a butchers or bakers guild in his spare time, even if he possesses some skill at butchery or cooking. Adventuring-oriented guilds might attract his interest, however, and some characters might indeed seek to join a more mundane guild, if only for a way to earn some money or to practice their skills.
Joining a Guild
Joining a guild is a simple enough prospect; one simply approaches it and petitions for membership. Finding the guildhouse of a particular guild typically requires a DC 10 Gather Information or Knowledge (local) check. A more covert association, such as a thieves or assassins guild, might require a DC 20 or even a DC 25 check. Some secret societies are so well hidden that the party must seek out clues through investigation and adventuring before attempting a supremely difficult (DC 30) skill check. This check can also reveal other information about the guild, such as its general membership requirements, operating procedures, and so on.
It is also possible that, if someone has obtained fame or notoriety for a certain skill, the relevant guild might approach him directly. This is a relatively rare occurrence, however; once someone has mastered a skill to such an extent, he is more likely to form his own guild than to join a preexisting one. Additionally, an established master is not only far less easily influenced, but far more likely to seek a position of leadership in any organization to which he belongs... possibly displacing one of the current guildmasters in the process. Still, some guilds do approach famous practitioners of their selected craft, especially if they believe the benefits outweigh the risks.
The various guild types each have associated classes and associated skills. In most cases, a petitioner must either belong to one of these classes or possess 4 ranks in at least one skill to be accepted for membership. Exceptions to this rule are possible, however, if a character has abilities that the guild can clearly use. For instance, a mercenary guild might accept a sorcerer or warmage into its ranks, if his or her spells would be of particular use on the battlefield.
Some guilds have additional requirements, such as passing initiation rites or belonging to a certain race or religion.
Finally, most guilds gain the bulk of their income through entry fees and membership dues. The average guild requires a one-time entrance fee of 25 gp from a new member, and monthly dues equal to 5 gp per level. (These fees might be higher in richer cities or campaigns, or lower in poorer cities or less economically inflated campaigns.)
Benefits of Membership
Most guilds provide a standard set of benefits, available to all members. While they might vary slightly in specifics, they are generally the same from one guild to the next.
Most guildhouses include barracks and kitchens, guaranteeing members food and a safe place to sleep if needed.
Guild members help one another out. The initial attitude of a fellow member is always one step closer to helpful than normal. Additionally, a character gains a +2 circumstance bonus on Diplomacy and Gather Information checks made when dealing with a fellow member.
A guild subsidizes the cost of goods, supplies, and services related to its chosen field, reducing the price to a member by 10%.
A guild can provide monetary loans to members who have fallen on hard times. Successfully requesting a loan requires a Diplomacy check, with a cumulative -2 penalty for each previous such request made by that individual to that guild. The DC depends on the amount requested.
Success indicates that the borrower receives the money, and has one month to pay it back. Should he or she fail to meet the deadline, he or she is (at the very least) expelled from the guild. Some guilds - particularly criminal organizations - have much sterner penalties.
|Desired Loan Amount
|Up to the member's monthly dues
|Up to the member's monthly dues x 10
|Up to the member's monthly dues x 100
Every guild member gains a contact specific to his or her guild.
In addition to the above benefits, particularly active guild members gain additional benefits, depending on the type of guild. This requires the PC to gain the Favored feat.
Drawbacks of Membership
The most obvious drawback to guild membership is, of course, the monthly dues. While most adventurers should have little problem earning this much money, a slow month can cause problems. A member in good standing might be given one month's leeway, but if she fails to pay her dues (including back-dues) by then, she is expelled.
Additionally, many guilds have enemies or rivals among the other guilds of the city. The starting attitude of a member of a rival guild is one step closer to hostile than it would normally be.
Guild members have certain responsibilities which they must perform in order to maintain their standing. In some cases, these are fairly minor, such as keeping the guild apprised of certain topics. In others, this responsibility might involve donating a percentage of earnings, or seeking guild permission to undertake certain actions.
An individual who fails to pay her dues or perform her duties for more than two consecutive months is expelled from the guild. Similarly, a member who compromises the guild in some manner, such as providing information to rival guilds, is also expelled. Expulsion results in the immediate loss of all benefits gained from the guild, as well as from the Favored feat (if applicable). If the individual was expelled for failure to perform her duties, all attitudes of guild members return to normal. If she was expelled for betraying the guild, the attitudes of guild members are one step closer to hostile than they would normally be. Some guilds, particularly criminal organizations, might enact steeper penalties - up to and including attempted assassination - in the face of betrayal.
A single city can have an enormous number of guilds. What follows is not a comprehensive list, but rather a breakdown of the general types of guilds most likely found within a typical fantasy metropolis. The DM should customize these guilds as he sees fit. Each guild should have a unique name, of course, but certain mechanical details might be altered as well. For instance, a smugglers guild might be based on the criminal guild, described below, but with Profession (sailor) substituted for Disable Device in the associated skills list.
As discussed above, potential members should have at least one level in an associated class or 4 ranks in an associated skill. "Duties" describes certain actions or concessions members are expected to undertake on the guild's behalf. "Favored Benefits" lists the advantages a member gains for taking the Favored feat with this particular guild.
This guild is designed expressly for those who battle monsters, hunt treasure, and explore unknown lands. It is far less common than most other types of guilds, and is not appropriate for all campaigns. An adventurers guild is an excellent spot for members to relax, share tales of their exploits, pick up rumors of evil cults within the city or lost ruins without, and meet with prospective employers. Many people looking to hire adventurers come to an adventurers guild first. In addition, PCs can easily acquire adventuring hirelings or cohorts through the guild, or hire freelance spellcasters to cast spells such as identify or restoration. In both cases, the guild keeps track of its members' abilities, and often directs potential employers to the adventurer or party that best fits their needs.
In settings where adventuring parties can be licensed and registered, such as certain regions of the FORGOTTEN REALMS® campaign setting, the guild can handle the necessary paperwork.
An adventurers guild offers one additional, and unusual, service. Any time a member embarks on an adventure, he can, if he chooses, ask that the guild send out a search party if he fails to return by a specified time. He must tell the guild exactly where he expects to be.
If such a search party successfully locates and rescues a trapped or injured adventurer, the search party and the guild each receive 40% of any treasure and valuables the rescued member found on that quest, as the price for their assistance.
Examples: Explorers guild, monster hunters guild.
Associated Classes: All PC classes.
Associated Skills: Decipher Script, Disable Device, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (dungeoneering), Knowledge (geography), Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (religion), Knowledge (the planes), Ride, Search, Survival, Use Magic Device.
Duties: Members must keep the guild apprised of their abilities and notify the guild when they are undertaking an adventure or quest. They are not required to accept any job offers the guild might point their way, but constant refusal of employment might eventually upset the guildmasters. Finally, members must be willing, if asked, to embark on a quest to rescue or discern the fate of other missing guild members. They are only required to accept such a mission once per year (if that often), but doing so more frequently is a good way to gain popularity within the guild. Finally, all members are expected to pay the guild 10% of the value of any treasure or goods they find on their adventures, in addition to the regular monthly dues.
Favored Benefits: The character can request a rescue or search party, as mentioned above, but with a lower cost. While the search party is still entitled to 40% of the character's treasure, the guild takes only the standard 10% for the quest, leaving the character with 50% rather than a mere 20%. Additionally, the guild sends potential employers - particularly wealthy ones - the character's way with great frequency. He gains a +2 circumstance bonus on Diplomacy checks when haggling with a potential employer who contacts him through the guild.
An arcane guild consists primarily of spellcasters, but occasionally boasts non-casting members, such as experts who practice alchemy. Wizards make up the majority of guild members, with bards, sorcerers, and other casters a distinct minority. These guilds offer comfortable and well-stocked libraries for research, and laboratories for experimentation. Perhaps more important, they offer an environment where casters can exchange ideas and theories, or simply interact with those who actually understand them. Arcane guilds are also valuable as political leverage in cities where governments or common folk distrust the use of magic.
Examples: Mages guild, alchemists guild.
Associated Classes: Adept, artificer, expert, sorcerer, warlock, wizard.
Associated Skills: Concentration, Craft (alchemy), Decipher Script, Knowledge (arcana), Spellcraft, Use Magic Device.
Duties: The member must provide to the guild a copy of any new spell or scholastic discovery he researches.
Favored Benefits: The guild subsidizes the creation of magic items, reducing the character's raw materials cost by 5%.
These organizations are illegal and highly secretive, except in particularly corrupt cities. They exist for one purpose: to protect their members from the law, the citizenry, and rival criminals. A criminal guild offers its members somewhere to train, compare notes, learn of opportunities, fence stolen goods, or simply lie low for a time. It is particularly valuable as a means of finding employment, since those who require an illicit service often approach the guild (which in turn farms the job out to a specific member). Membership in the guild is a powerful tool for intimidation and negotiation when dealing with those who know of the organization's power.
Criminal guilds occasionally have an underworld house at the center of their power structure.
Examples: Assassins guild, thieves guild.
Associated Classes: Bard, fighter, rogue, scout.
Associated Skills: Bluff, Disable Device, Forgery, Hide, Move Silently, Open Lock, Sleight of Hand.
Duties: Members must keep all details of the guild secret from nonmembers. They must avoid robbing or otherwise victimizing anyone the guild has declared off limits (either because the individual is paying protection money, or because he poses too great a risk of drawing attention). A member is not required to take every job the guild asks her to perform, but she should have a good reason for refusing. She must obtain guild permission before undertaking any large criminal endeavor. Finally, she must pay to the guild 15% of all profits made from criminal activities, on top of her monthly dues.
Favored Benefits: The guild provides access to the black market and stolen goods. A member can obtain many goods for a discount, in any city where the guild maintains a presence. The chance of finding a specific discounted item is a flat 85% for mundane items, 50% for minor magic items, 25% for medium magic items, and 10% for major magic items. If they are available, mundane items can be purchased for a 10% discount, while magic items are discounted 5%. Note that these items are stolen or contraband, and a PC caught with an identifiably stolen item on his person could be arrested and charged.
Many cities have arenas where gladiators battle it out - against one another or against various fearsome beasts - for the entertainment of the masses. While many gladiators are slaves, free fighters also participate in public matches. A gladiatorial stable is a small guild, usually consisting of a number of gladiators, support staff such as healers and trainers, and an owner or manager. Some arenas do not accept free fighters who do not belong to an established stable. Even if they do, stable managers often have the contacts and clout to arrange better and more profitable fights. A reputable gladiatorial stable provides free healing to its members (at least for injuries sustained in the arena), arranges matches between foes, and offers to invest a gladiator's profits in other enterprises if the gladiator so chooses. It can also provide most nonmagical equipment a gladiator might request, though he can usually use such items only in the arena, not on outside adventures.
Unlike other guilds, gladiatorial stables do not require monthly dues. They make their profits on fees from the gladiators' matches (and from betting on the side, of course).
Associated Classes: Barbarian, cleric, fighter, hexblade, monk, ranger, rogue, scout, warrior.
Associated Skills: Balance, Climb, Heal, Intimidate, Jump, Perform, Tumble.
Duties: The stable earns 30% of a gladiator's purse per match (see sidebar). Members must fight in the local arena at least once a week, unless they have a solid excuse, or else risk expulsion from the stable (or at least additional financial penalties on their subsequent matches, to make up for the loss).
Favored Benefits: So long as the privilege is not abused, the stable heals a gladiator of injuries suffered outside the arena as well as within. Additionally, in one out of every four matches, the stable takes only 20% of the purse, rather than 30%.
PROFITS IN THE ARENA
On average, assume that the purse for a given gladiatorial match is roughly equal to the value of treasure that would normally be gained for a fight of that Encounter Level (DMG 51). Use the EL of the tougher side, if the two sides are mismatched. For instance, if two 5th-level gladiators (EL 7) face off against an 8th-level gladiator, the purse for the fight averages 3,400 gp - the standard treasure for an EL 8 encounter.
Again, this is an average. Precise monies vary depending on the size of the crowd, the popularity of the fighters, and so on. To determine the exact amount of the purse, assume a base of 80% of the above value, and add 2d20%. This gives you a range of 82% to 120% of the standard value for that EL.
Note that the gladiators themselves don't see much of that money. The arena takes an average of 40% off the top from each match, and the stable takes another 30%, leaving a mere 30% to be split among the various fighters on the winning side.
So why become a gladiator? Because while an adventurer battling monsters might earn much more from a single treasure hoard, he has no guarantee of ever finding a monster, or of that monster possessing treasure. A gladiator knows that he will see a profit if he wins. Further, the gladiator knows that healing is available to him if he survives the match. Finally, popular gladiators can often earn money on the side by betting on themselves or by hiring themselves out as bodyguards.
A gladiator who does not belong to a stable lacks the influence and contacts to arrange fights as lucrative as one who does. Such a gladiator earns a purse of only half the normal amount (before the arena takes its cut), receives no free healing or room and board, and must provide his own equipment.
Government guilds are unusual in that they blur the line between municipal and private organizations. Many cities lack such guilds - government employees simply work at the behest of their ruler or the city itself. In regions where government guilds do exist, they take one of three forms.
In the first form, there is literally no difference between the guild and the city department it represents. Everyone who works in that department is a guild member. The department itself is a guild in only the loosest sense of the word; it's a portion of the city government that provides its members guild-like benefits. Government guilds of this sort do not require dues of their members, financing themselves instead through taxes and city monies. Characters who join such a guild can actually earn a regular (if relatively small) income, but are required to spend the bulk of their time working for the city and guild.
In the second form, the city government subcontracts certain duties to a guild rather than undertaking them directly. For instance, a government might hire a guild to permanently oversee its city watch or handle road maintenance rather than running those departments itself. As above, everyone who works in that department is a guild member, and the guild is financed through city monies rather than dues.
The final variety is a guild in the traditional sense: a private organization, made up of city employees and usually drawn from the same department. Membership is not required (or at least the city doesn't require it; the guild might strongarm people into joining). City workers join the guild for extra benefits, or as a means of gaining some leverage with the government, allowing the guild to negotiate for better pay and hours. This type of guild requires the standard dues of its members.
Examples: City watch, street cleaners guild, embassy.
Associated Classes: Depends on the specific department, but often includes aristocrat, cleric, expert, and fighter.
Associated Skills: Depends on the specific department, but often includes Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Intimidate, Knowledge (nobility and royalty), and Sense Motive.
Duties: Each member of a government guild must spend at least 10 hours a week working for the guild.
Favored Benefits: The character gains a +1 bonus on Diplomacy and Intimidate checks with members of any guild. (When dealing with members of his own guild, these bonuses stack with the standard guild bonuses.)
Another relatively small but growing phenomenon, laborers guilds are associations of unskilled, low-paid, physical laborers who have banded together for mutual support. Usually, such groups organize in the hope that sufficient numbers might grant them some of the influence and authority they lack individually. The guild not only provides laborers with a place to gather and share their grievances, it attempts to negotiate with employers and the city government for wages and working conditions. No single laborer has any real clout, but a few of the larger laborers guilds have garnered a fair amount of respect.
Many laborers guilds must weather assaults - usually economic and political, but in some cases literal - from businesses or even government departments. Most employers, after all, dislike it when their workers band together and insist on higher wages. Although a great many laborers guilds are entirely legitimate, a portion of them have allied with criminal organizations as a means of protecting themselves from government or business reprisals.
Laborers guilds still require dues from their members, but the cost is normally lower than other guilds. It varies from guild to guild, but a fee of 1 or 2 gp per level, rather than 5, is standard. Entry fees (when they are not waived) average 5 to 10 gp.
Examples: Dockworkers guild, teamsters guild.
Associated Classes: Commoner, warrior.
Associated Skills: None. Common and untrained laborers are the primary members of these guilds.
Duties: Members are required to support their guild and their fellow members in all confrontations. This can mean joining in demonstrations, or even going on strike (regardless of the financial hardship it causes) when asked to do so.
Favored Benefits: Members gain a +1 bonus on Diplomacy and Intimidate checks when negotiating with potential employers. When performing basic physical labor, members can expect to be paid 5% to 10% more than the standard value for those services.
Mercantile guilds are the most common form of guild in most fantasy cities. Each is typically devoted to a single craft or profession, or at most a small group of closely related trades. A mercantile guild provides its members a place to meet and discuss business with fellow tradesfolk, protection from fraud and theft, and in the case of more powerful guilds, safety from criminal guilds or excessive taxation by the government. The richest guilds might even offer loans for a member to start up or expand a business.
A few larger mercantile guilds oversee not a specific craft, but an entire market. These guilds accept all artisans and tradesfolk as members, and they have an enormous amount of political clout. On the other hand, they often require merchants to join before allowing them to set up shop in "their" city, and can often force independents out by undercutting prices, intercepting shipments, and the like.
Examples: Carpenters guild, smiths guild, the Dragon-port Merchants' Consortium.
Associated Classes: Expert, rogue.
Associated Skills: Appraise, Bluff, Craft (any one), Diplomacy, Knowledge (local), Profession (any one), Speak Language.
Duties: In addition to monthly dues, a member must pay a 15% monthly tax on all profits acquired from guild-affiliated businesses.
Favored Benefits: Membership in the guild is a sign of quality merchandise. Members can charge an average of 5% more than the standard market value on their goods and services in any city where the organization maintains a guildhouse.
Like an adventurers guild, a mercenary guild is a place of safety and camaraderie for those who live lives of great danger. The guild provides a centralized location to procure employment, receiving contracts from those who need hired swords and passing them along to its members. In most cases, the reputation of the guild as a whole attracts more (and wealthier) clients than any individual might on his own. Some guilds provide healing for their members; this is not free, or even dis-counted, but at least the individual always knows where to find an available cleric. Similarly, the guildhouse is considered a place of safety, where a member can go to avoid enemies or simply leave the combat and carnage behind for a short while. In an urban environment, the guild serves to legitimize its members: City governments tolerate members of recognized guilds far more readily than they would independent swords-for-hire wandering around their streets.
Examples: District/neighborhood watch, mercenary company.
Associated Classes: Barbarian, fighter, hexblade, monk, ranger, soulknife, warrior.
Associated Skills: Climb, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Jump, Ride, Use Rope.
Duties: A mercenary guild requires its members to spend no fewer than 20 hours a week on missions and patrols. Generally, such duties are fairly safe and do not require much combat. In times of war or danger, however, members must support whatever cause the guild does. With a successful DC 25 Diplomacy check, a member can have an adventure with her companions registered as a "patrol," if the adventure somehow advances the cause of the guild or its employer, or is intended to pacify an area of the guild employer's territory. This counts toward the guild's required weekly duty. Each additional attempt to register an adventure as a "patrol" increases the Diplomacy check DC by 2.
Favored Benefits: Members of the same mercenary guild learn complementary combat tactics. Whenever a member is adjacent to another member, each of them gains a +1 competence bonus to Armor Class.
Performers band together in guilds both to enable them to put on larger and more spectacular shows, and for the same reasons common laborers do: to gain the protection, respect, and authority they cannot acquire as individuals. A performers guild promotes entertainment events and combines members with complementary talents (such as grouping dancers with musicians, or actors with bards who can create illusory backdrops and special effects). The guild aids its members in finding taverns or theaters in which to ply their trade, or - if the guild maintains a headquarters large enough to double as a theater - draws patrons to them. The guild also provides areas to rehearse and other performers who can aid in practice or critique performances.
Examples: Acting troupe, minstrels' society, traveling circus.
Associated Classes: Bard, expert, rogue, wizard (illusionist).
Associated Skills: Balance, Disguise, Diplomacy, Escape Artist, Perform (any one), Sleight of Hand, Tumble. (Additionally, Handle Animal is common in circuses.)
Duties: Members must perform their chosen services in support of other guild members as necessary. This normally requires 1d4-1 days (4 hours/day) each week.
Favored Benefits: In any city wherein the guild maintains a guildhouse, the member can substitute a Perform or Profession check for a Diplomacy or Gather Information check by offering her services for free. In addition, she earns twice the normal income when using her Perform or Profession skill to earn money. These uses of Perform or Profession must match those with which the character has earned guild membership. For example, a character who joined the guild as an actor cannot apply this benefit to Profession (blacksmith) checks.
A psionic guild is dedicated to exploring the secrets of the mind, making new discoveries, and enhancing the power of its members through shared resources and techniques. Psions make up the bulk of its members, but other psionic classes - and even the occasional enchantment-focused arcanist - are often welcome.
Although their trappings are very different, psionic guilds often resemble arcane guilds in their general setup and methods of operation.
Examples: College of psychics, soothsayers guild.
Associated Classes: Psion, wilder.
Associated Skills: Autohypnosis, Concentration, Knowledge (psionics), Psicraft, Use Psionic Device.
Duties: The member must share with the guild any new power or scholastic lore he discovers.
Favored Benefits: The guild subsidizes the creation of psionic items, reducing the character's raw materials cost by 5%.
Unlike most other guilds, racial guilds are united not by common interest or a common business, but by common heritage. They allow members of a minority race - such as elves or halflings in a human city - to interact, speak their own tongue, exchange offers of employment, share news from home, and simply relax in a place designed to accommodate them. In cities where prejudice and oppression exist, these guilds also fight for the rights of their members. In most cases, this activity means putting political and economic pressure on local merchants and, if at all possible, the government. Tales even exist of racial guilds taking up arms against the leaders of a city in open revolt. Alas, most such tales end in defeat; such guilds are not particularly powerful organizations.
In the overwhelming majority of cases, only members of the race to which the guild is dedicated can join. In a select few instances, the guild allows members from other races, if they are truly devoted to helping create a better world for the guild's primary race.
Examples: Elves' Consortium, the Goblin Liberation Front.
Associated Classes: Varies by race, but always includes the race's favored class.
Associated Skills: Varies by race, but always includes any skills on which the race gains a racial bonus.
Duties: Members must do their best to advance the cause of the guild's race. Wherever possible, they must buy goods and services from members of that race, and support political candidates of that race.
Favored Benefits: Members gain a +1 bonus on Diplomacy and Gather Information checks involving any member of that race who knows of the guild's existence.
A religious guild is either an association of followers of the same faith, or a multi-denominational organization allowing membership from a select group of religions. In either case, a religious guild is not the same thing as a sect or cult. Such guilds might be secret orders within the larger confines of a church; an assembly of people with a particular goal (such as protecting the faith from enemies or proselytizing to the masses); or even a gathering of religious individuals belonging to a specific profession, such as a society of priests or a group of temple guards. Any sort of intrachurch organization, such as an order of holy warriors or a group of scholars dedicated to researching ancient myths, might also qualify as a guild, though less formalized or smaller groups might be better portrayed as organizations.
Examples: Knightly order, secret order devoted to forbidden research.
Associated Classes: Cleric, expert, favored soul, paladin.
Associated Skills: Concentration, Diplomacy, Heal, Knowledge (religion), Knowledge (any one other), Spellcraft.
Duties: Members must observe and adhere to the specific tenets and strictures of their faith. Additionally, some orders might require partial or complete secrecy regarding their activities, membership, or even existence. Finally, if a religious guild is dedicated to a specific purpose (such as research or proselytizing), members must spend at least ld4 days (4 hours/day) each week engaged in that activity.
Favored Benefits: The member's faith and understanding of her fellows is bolstered by association with others who share her beliefs and purpose. She gains a +1 bonus on Diplomacy and Gather Information checks when dealing with any follower of her religion, whether or not they are in the guild. She also gains a +2 bonus on Will saves when resisting any compulsion that would cause her to act outside the dictates of her faith.
A scholastic guild can be anything from a small circle of researchers dedicated to studying a particular topic to a full-scale university providing knowledge to all who wish it. In any case, the guild works to further the knowledge and education of its members, if not its entire community. It provides libraries, places of study and academic discourse, an atmosphere conducive to the acquisition of knowledge, and possibly instructors willing to educate students in one or more subjects.
Some scholastic guilds overlap with arcane or psionic guilds if the culture considers magic or psionics to be just another field of study.
Examples: Sages guild, secret society, university.
Associated Classes: Aristocrat, bard, expert, wizard.
Associated Skills: Decipher Script, Gather Information, Knowledge (any four), Speak Language.
Duties: Members must contribute constantly to the guild's knowledge and lore. They must spend at least 10 hours a week in study, writing, research, and discourse with other members. A successful DC 25 Diplomacy check allows a PC to count time spent adventuring toward this requirement, if the purpose of the adventure is to recover some ancient lore or unearth some great secret.
Favored Benefits: To its favored members, a scholastic guild offers complete access to its many libraries and troves of research. A favored member who is in the guildhouse and is making use of both the library and other guild members for research purposes can take 20 on any single Knowledge skill in which he has at least 1 rank. Such painstaking research is time-consuming, however, requiring 2d4 days (8 hours per day) to complete.
A slavers guild is an odd organization. In most civilized realms, it is a subset of the criminal guild - either a branch of a larger organization, or another form of guild frowned upon by local law enforcement. In particularly vile or corrupt regions, slavers operate openly, and in slaver cities, such guilds might hold more political and local power than the nominal government.
Although a slavers guild is usually based in a particular city, it must operate throughout a much larger area in order to gather sufficient "merchandise" to function. Slavers guilds purchase prisoners from the city or other legal slave-owners where possible, but most have no compunctions about kidnapping foreigners or even poor citizens to meet their quotas. Loan sharks and crime lords often sell clients to a slavers guild if the poor souls cannot repay their debts.
Associated Classes: Fighter, rogue, scout, sorcerer, wizard.
Associated Skills: Bluff, Diplomacy, Escape Artist, Gather Information, Intimidate, Search, Sense Motive, Spot, Use Rope.
Duties: Members must spend at least four days out of every month in direct service to the guild. In some instances, this might simply involve arranging sales and meeting with clients. For characters with levels in adventuring classes, however, these duties more likely involve capturing new slaves or guarding and transporting those already under the guild's whip.
Favored Benefits: Favored members of the guild can purchase slaves at a 20% discount. Further, if a favored member needs a few hours of physical labor performed, the guild provides the temporary loan of slaves, free of charge.