So, while the Empire of Old Aquitaine has fallen, that doesn’t mean that many of the old power structures have gone away – first of all, while all of the old provinces of Aquitaine have become kingdoms in their own right, the ruler of Navarre is technically the “High King” of the realm – and he does have a selection of forces at his disposal if he chooses to use them. The Imperial Legion for one, the Free Legion for another, two highly competent military forces that are quite concerned with making sure that things from the mainland don’t get a foothold on Aquitaine. There is also the Imperial Eye – that is the former intelligence service of the Old Empire and it still operates for the benefit of the High King of Navarre, though many say that it has its own goals as well. Finally, the Imperial Marshalls are also technically under the command of the High King, but are rumored to just as often be a thorn in the current King’s side.
But as mentioned in the previous email there are also the Great Guilds, each of which also has a regional subguilds, but which can safely be treated as one for these purposes. For player characters there are a number of these guilds that are worth checking out, and a couple that are essentially prerequisites for the group members in some combination or another.
The Collegium (aka the Mages Guild): One of the most powerful and most organized guilds, the Collegium struggles to maintain its dominance and control of sorcery and alchemy in the face of challenges by the Church of Lords of Light, the En Khoda Theos Kirk, and the Old Faith which have their own mystical orders. Closely allied with the Cartel, the Collegium maintains tight rein on the sale and production of magic, as well as the dissemination of training in the magical arts.
The Cartel (aka the Merchants Guild): Powerful, and potentially even more powerful if it wasn’t for the competing interests of the various Merchant Houses, great and small, that comprise it. The Cartel keeps trade flowing through Old Aquitaine despite the mistrust and differences between the various kingdoms – as well as the limited trade that occurs with areas outside of Old Aquitaine (the mainland, other islands, etc). Some of the Houses are said to have ties to the Thieves Guild, and the Guild as a whole also maintains excellent relations with most of the other guilds for obvious reasons. The Cartel also operates its own system of banks and moneychangers independent of those run by the Dwimmervolk and the Church of the Lords of Light.
The Mercenaries Guild: A guild with influence out of proportion to its size, the Mercenaries Guild provides a place for all of the organized mercenary groups in Old Aquitaine to settle their differences outside of combat. They are also act as a hiring hall for warriors of all types who don’t have the resources or the style to belong to the Adventurers Guild. The Mercenaries Guild also handles bonding and insurance for the various mercenary companies, and also reviews and approves contracts for its members.
The Adventurers Guild: The term “guild” doesn’t exactly apply in some ways because the Adventurers Guild is almost more of a social club than an actual guild. But the services it provides to its members duplicate the effects of a guild and it’s wealth and influence compare to many guilds as well. Its members are also always willing to help out other members with word or action – as long as they get a share of the proceeds. Being a member of the Adventurers Guild is a source of great prestige and not an inconsiderable amount of work for those that are looking for it.
The Syndicate (aka the Thieves Guild): Actually comprised of numerous gangs, families, and organizations that all answer their way to chain of command to the “Little Father” (or sometimes “Little Mother”). If you want to practice the arts of fingersmithing in any sort of organized way you either have to join – though some members of the Adventurers Guild seem to manage to simply pay them off or otherwise avoid having to be members.
Other, smaller Guilds that are worth noting:
The Companions Guild: Long rumored to have associations with both the Syndicate and the Black Dragon Society, the Companions Guild remains independent and controls the most respected of the brothels and festival halls – as well providing training, guidance, and protection for the greatest of Tantrics and Courtesans. The services that the Companion Houses provide are greatly valued by the wealthy and the noble.
The Navigators Guild: Small, quiet, and extremely influential, the Navigator’s Guild is responsible for maintaining the series of Leygates, Waystones, and Mageports across Old Aquitaine. Closely allied to the Collegium, the Navigators Guild also maintains very close ties to the Adventurers Guild and provides a series of special services at discounted rates to both of those Guilds.
The Black Dragon Society (aka the Assassins Guild): Run out of hidden stronghold by “Grandfather” (or “Grandmother” as the case may be), the Black Dragon Society is a highly organized group of assassins and killers who operate with a fair amount of secrecy and who have agents hidden in guilds and organizations across Old Aquitaine. Some suggest that the Bounty Hunter’s Guild is merely a front for them, while others say the same about a selection of the Dueling Schools, and the truth really is not known.
Bounty-Hunters Guild: The only professional thief-takers in Old Aquitaine, many members are also known to take on less legal or at least more questionable bounties at the behest of those who are powerful. Often the bane of the local law enforcement, they are also often the option of last resort when corrupt officials refuse to pursue a legitimate criminal who preys on local business.
La Fortuna (aka the Entertainers Guild): Minstrels, Jugglers, Acrobats, Mountebanks and the like provide the bulk of this organizations members, which provides the members with a small degree of security and operates as arbitrator and mediator in disputes between various entertainers across Old Aquitaine. Known to have ties to the Syndicate, La Fortuna generally remains on good terms with the Companions Guild as well.