What is the role of the Adventurer's Guild? How is it organized? How is it funded? What rights do its members have? How many sanctioned adventurers are there? These are the questions this article attempts to answer.
Adventurer's Guild History
The Adventurer's Guild started as an adjunct branch of the Council Lands military under the command of the Fist of the Sun and his acolytes. Adventurers were mostly condemned prisoners who were given a chance to "expiate" their crimes in the service of the people. This was a chance only given to those who were not considered threats or had been unjustly condemned. Teams of prisoners were assigned to work in an outlying area, completing tasks set by the locals. These were uniformly the tasks so risky that no free man would do them willingly. The life expectancy of adventuring teams was, as a consequence, very short. Most completed two or three missions before being permanently crippled or killed. A small percentage prospered, gaining strength as their souls absorbed the anima released by their fallen foes and their new experiences. Other nations had similar organizations, but generally smaller and less formally organized (and less compulsory).
One particular team, later known as the Catalysts, did more than just prosper. They participated in the discovery and opening of the Towers of Sun, Earth, Moon, and Stars to research teams, earning their freedom. They then went on to found the Federated Nations and have become a major political force. Their strong displeasure at being wrongly convicted and enslaved led to a sea-change in the Adventurer's Guild. In 205 AC, the first year of the Federated Nations, control of the Adventurer's Guild (and all remaining adventurer teams from all nations) was transferred to the new Federated Nations establishment, under the control of the neutral Windwalker Collective. The hobgoblins took to the role of trainers and judges with gusto, and the Adventurer's Academy was created. All existing teams were called in for evaluation and training (and given the opportunity to quit if they so desired). Other experienced folks (mostly of military background, although some arcanists and priests joined) were given an orientation course and sent out quickly (as a stop-gap measure). At the same time, construction of the Adventurer's Academy continued apace. In 210 AC, the first set of sanctioned adventurers who were recruited, sorted, and trained from the ground up graduated from the Adventurer's Academy at Fort Hope and set out to explore and protect.
The Four-fold Mandate
The new Adventurer's Guild has been given four commands that form the mandate of the organization. They are
- Unify: Encourage the people of various nations to work together to prevent conflict. This is accomplished by sending mixed-background teams out wherever they're needed, without regard to background or upbringing.
- Protect and Serve: Adventurers are to defend the people of the Federated Nations against all threats, especially those that are not suitable for military resolution. They are not to be the masters, but the servants. They take requests from common and noble alike. Unlike the Old Guild, they are not required to stay in one location--they should go wherever they're needed and generally stay in the thick of the action.
- Explore: An adventuring team should make it a priority to seek out new things, to rediscover locations and knowledge lost in the Cataclysm, and to bring it back to benefit the people of the Federated Nations. If the adventurers get rich in the process, well, that's only natural and right.
- Train: Guided by the example of the Catalysts, there are certain people who can gain power at a much faster rate (and to higher levels) than the common folk. The Guild is mandated to seek these people out, recruit them, and find out which ones can be trusted with this power. This mandate is not spoken of commonly--it's phrased as helping people gain power. In reality, the Guild is tasked with judging those who have the potential for great power and marking those it considers unfit for such power for elimination or for further observation.
Rights of Adventurers
Sanctioned adventurers (those with membership in the Guild) are granted a range of legal rights by international treaty.
- Independent social standing: Adventurers exist outside the social standing structure of whatever nation they're in. This makes them immune to (for example) forced labor and weapons laws. This does not give them the right to command others or rights of justice--those must go through the local authorities. Even ba who become adventurers are considered of muen rank in the Stone Throne.
- Legal immunity (limited): Adventurers have limited immunity to local laws. When in direct furtherance of a legal mission they commit acts that would normally be crimes, they have the right to be judged by the Guild if arrested by local authorities. If the Guild determines that their actions were excessive or not in furtherance of a legal mission, the adventurer is expelled and subject to full legal penalties. In practice, this right serves to prevent the legal authorities from arresting the adventuring teams on pretexts. Adventuring teams that find themselves having to commit theft or murder better have very good justifications (discovering that the target was worshiping the Outcast, for example).
- Free travel: A sanctioned adventuring team can enter any city or town in the Federated Nations.
- Weapon/Spell Freedom: Unlike common folk, adventuring teams can cast spells for any legal purpose without requiring a license. They can carry weapons and wear armor in restricted zones--the only exception is in the direct presence of an upper-rank national leader.
- Possession of Artifacts: Normally, magical artifacts discovered in ancient ruins are considered state property and are illegal for most "normal" people to own. Adventurers can own and use such artifacts in the furtherance of their duties.
The Guild maintains an agreement with a wide variety of merchants, vendors, and amenity providers. Merchants agree to sell adventuring supplies (including weapons, armor, and other gear) to sanctioned adventurers for a fixed price. In return, the Guild offers compensation if that fixed price happens to be below the market price. Selected merchants (one in each larger village or town, usually) are chosen as Guild merchants--these will buy non-magical relics (art objects, gems, etc) from adventurers for a fixed price based on a published list; in return the Guild guarantees a ready supply of coin and a minimum profit margin when the agent sells the purchased item to buyers.
The Guild also provides sanctioned adventurers with tokens that entitle them to a room at certain inns. While these are not always the best inns, it provides them a place to stay and to store their stuff between missions. Mechanically, this entitles sanctioned adventurers to a Modest lifestyle without cost, as long as they're actively adventuring.
Current Roster and Disposition of Forces
Currently (210 AC), there are two types of adventurers--legacy teams (those who were adventuring before the transfer of authority and who haven't gone through the whole process) and new-style teams (those new graduates from the Academy).
Note: In what follows, teams are assigned an Effective Character Level--this is not the same as actual PC class levels. It's merely an equivalent power rating. An ECL 5 team is capable of handling the same basic tasks as a party of PCs with average level 5. Most of these have reached their maximum power rating.
There are 44 legacy teams currently on the rolls. Of those, they are distributed as follows:
The Council Lands still maintains the largest force of adventuring teams, but most of them are low rank. Currently, there are 14 ECL 1 teams, 6 ECL 2 teams, and 1 ECL 3 teams active in CL territory. Most of them are spread throughout the North-East area, protecting farms and villages from wandering monsters. The ECL 3 team (a group of mountain dwarves) operates out of Fuar Uulan and negotiates with the local giant population.
The Stone Throne has fewer teams than the Council Lands, but averages higher rank. Currently, there are 8 ECL 1 teams (mostly in the North), 3 ECL 2 teams, and one team at each of ECL 3, 4, and 5. The last three teams operate in the west, cleaning up the remnants of the Twisted Lands that leak into populated areas.
Byssia has very few teams, although one of the Tier 2 teams is stationed there. Currently, there is one team of each ECL 1, 3, 4, and 5. The two high-rank teams are actively involved in dealing with the recovery of the Twisted Lands on the eastern frontier.
The most powerful of the legacy teams are stationed here, mainly to protect against the Frost from the Nocthian Plateau. They have one team at each of the following ECLs: 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7.
So far, 5 teams have graduated from the Adventurer's Academy. As expected, they're gaining power fast. As of late spring 210 AC, there are 3 of ECL 3 and two of ECL 4. The two ECL 4 teams are allocated to each of the Council Lands (helping with the exploration of Godsfall) and the Stone Throne (investigating the increase in strange beasts from the north). Two of the ECL 3 teams are in the Remnant Dynasty (both at the Wall), and the remaining team is investigating reports of strange behavior on the western border of Byssia.
The central Adventurer's Guild has four branches that provide support for the Mandate. The specialties of each branch are apparent from the names.
The Training branch is primarily located in and around the Adventurer's Academy at Fort Hope. Most of the labor is provided by hobgoblins and goblins from the Windwalker tribe (which has devoted itself to running the Federated Nations). Specialist trainers from all lands participate.
Spending their time looking for new adventurer prospects as well as areas of concern (to reassign adventuring teams), the Information branch pulls from all races and nations. They especially recruit inn and tavern keepers to serve as informants and information sources.
After the Catalysts exposed the Dark Lady's machinations in the Commerce Guild in the Council Lands, a large chunk of the master merchants and craftsmen associated with that guild joined the fledgling Adventurers Guild. They deal with merchants to supply adventuring teams, buying the items that are sold back to those merchants and finding collectors for them (and for the information brought back). They also support the Training branch by creating and maintaining their equipment. Logistics branch operations form a major independent source of funding for the Guild.
Most of the funding for Guild operations comes from the constituent governments of the Federated Nations. Another source of funding is a surcharge placed on quest rewards. This is transparent to the adventuring teams, but quest givers tend to play about 10% (although this varies) of the value of the reward offered to the Guild for their services. The third portion comes from sales of items recovered by guild teams and other investments made by the Logistics branch.