Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Guilds

The cities of the Weird Opera world each have a multitude of craft associations, business organizations, and trade guilds. However, when an inhabitant of Seralin mentions a Guild, he is usually talking about one of seven worldwide organizations.
The Guilds each have their own distinct culture, which is often visible in areas influenced by a Guild. Just like the Catholic Church in medieval times, the Guilds bring their own symbols, rituals, traditions, and so forth, which modify local customs and way of life.
Company, Inc.: Also known as simply “the Company”, Company, Inc. is the only multinational conglomerate on Seralin. Originally it was a large trading company like any other, but in recent decades its power grew to include all commerce in the broadest sense of the word. In addition to trade, Company Inc. is in the business of production and manufacturing of goods, mercenary hiring, real estate, prostitution, opium smuggling, slaving, and tourism.
Benefits: A member of the Company can expect to pay the best price for any purchase he makes from another member.

Druids of the Ancient Mother: The order of druids exists since the earliest days of mankind. The druids are servants of nature, which they call The Ancient Mother. They revere – and bargain with – the pagan nature spirits of the dark forests to gain knowledge of the mysteries of Seralin. They have many ancient rites, some involving human sacrifice.
Druids have a worldwide organization. One enters the order as initiates. The titles of Druid, Archdruid, Great Druid and Grand Druid are won by challenging higher level druids in ritual combat.
Benefits: Without joining this Guild, a character cannot gain levels in the druid class.

Knights of the Ark: Also known as amazons and sometimes as valkyries, the Knights of the Ark is an all-female knightly order. Their home base is an ancient ship called Utnapishtim, which some say is the same ark build by Deucalion to save mankind in the Great Deluge.
The knights are champions of neutrality, trying to preserve the delicate balance between Law and Chaos. As such, they often come into conflict with lawful Guilds like the Temple and Company, Inc.
Benefits: One has to be female to join the Knights of the Ark. A Knight of the Ark may apply either her DEX or CHA bonus to AC. She may borrow special equipment needed for a quest or adventure for a period of one week. If the borrowed equipment is lost, the knight is responsible for replacement.
La Révolution: Depending on whom you ask, La Révolution is either a terrorist organization or an army of courageous freedom fighters. The Guild is opposed to hereditary rulership, and believes people should be able to choose their own leaders. Of course, in nations where the government is chosen democraticly, La Révolution claims the regime is corrupt and should be overthrown. There’s just no pleasing some people.
La Révolution is organized in small, localized cells. Each cell claims to be independent, but it is often rumored the Guild is under the influence of a single individual; someone using the revolutionaries for his own political purpose.
Benefits: Because of their free spirit, members of La Révolution gain a +4 on saving throws against charm, domination, and similar mind-influencing effects.

The Secret Masters: The Secret Masters are an order of political assassins. The Guild’s masters steer the course of politics and diplomacy by assassinating specific targets, often letting others taking the blame for the murder. The Guild can be hired, but it only takes on an assignment when the elimination of the proposed target agrees with the Guild’s master plan for the world.
Benefits: Members of the Secret Masters may petition for people of authority to be assassinated. The member must present his case for a lesser Guild official, basically having to convince him that assassinating the target is in the Secret Masters’ benefit. If the Guild agrees, the target will be killed in 3d10 days. PC members of the Secret Masters may be placed in influential political positions at higher levels.

Society for Language, Vocabulary and Idiom (SoLVI): The common language on Seralin is a constructed language. The members of SoLVI are the ones constructing it. Once every decade or so they update the vocabulary and grammar of the common tongue and publish the updated rules in a new edition of the Green Tome.
Common was supposedly designed to be easy to learn and understand for native speakers of all languages. However, the correct spelling of words has changed so much over time, nobody except SoLVI members is really sure what is correct.
Benefits:  SoLVI members can automatically comprehend languages and read languages, both once per day.

The Temple: On Seralin, philosophy is much more important than religion is. Most people are either atheist, follow philosophies like Humanotheism or the Path of the Self, or use their faith in higher powers as part of the quest for self-improvement and Enlightenment. As a result, most gods have only a small area of influence and are worshipped very locally. To protect their faith from the rising threat of atheism, several churches banded together to form one large meta-church, known as The Temple.
The Temple consists of many different orders, all dedicated to a single god or pantheon. However, all churches within The Temple make use of the same holy symbols and rites, often with minor variations. Cathedrals of The Temple have many shrines and chapels dedicated to some of the better known gods, as well as to important local gods and saints.
Benefits: When joining The Temple as a priest, a character gains a granted power according to his faith. Mage-priests gain access to the large libraries of The Temple, as well as many secret spells the churches possess, including some normally reserved for clerics. (The cleric class doesn’t exist in the Weird Opera campaign.)