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Guilds in BattleMaster are a largely free-form association of characters. They can serve many purposes, and in fact their goals and rules are entirely determined by their members.
Why join a guild? That is not an easy question to answer. It really depends on the guild. In general, however, guild membership offers these advantages:
- Guild Treasury - Members can deposit gold into the guild treasury and withdraw from it, offering a kind of private bank. This function can be used in many creative ways, including member-to-member loans.
- Different from realm banks, there is no automatic transfer of gold between guildhouses - gold stored in one location will remain there. While individual members can deposit at one guildhouse and withdraw from another one, this only works as long as the local treasuries are sufficiently filled.
- Communication - Members of the same guild can communicate with each other, even if they could not otherwise. This allows global trading or assassins guilds to exist.
- Intrigue - It's not who you are, it's who you know...
Every guild needs guildhouses to exist, because most of their functions are only available at the guildhouses. Guildhouses come in different sizes, where the size determines how large the house is and how well it has been outfitted.
The precise functions available at each guildhouse depend on the guild it belongs to and its size (many advanced functions can not be realized at small guildhouses).
Guildhouses can be sacked, burned or razed by the lords of the regions they are in. Sacking a guildhouse will take some of its gold. Burning it will take most of the gold, and reduce the guildhouse size by one (and can obviously only be done if the size is at least 2), while razing a guildhouse will take all its gold and destroy it. Guards can be hired for guildhouses which help prevent attacks, with each guard costing two gold upon hire and additional gold as part of monthly maintenance.
A guild with no guildhouse left is in serious trouble, but any region lords who are members of the guild can build a new one.
There are two types of guilds. Regular guilds are just that, regular and nothing special about them.
Secret Societies are a special kind of guild that hides from the public. Their guildhouses are invisible, which has many advantages, but also one crucial disadvantage: It is difficult for them to find new members, because every new member must be shown the way to the secret gathering place by a senior member of the guild.
Every guild defines its own ranks and titles. However, there are always three "types" of ranks.
- Senior ranks - Are the powerful ranks. Members holding these ranks can promote and demote other members, though only those of lower rank.
- Member ranks - Are the normal rank structure within the guild. They can have different titles, responsibilities and even membership fees.
- Aspirant ranks - Are those who are not yet full members of the guild. The main difference to members is that they can not read the members' bulletin and their communication options within the guild are limited.
Some guilds will only have one rank of each type, others will have many. The choice is up to the elders, who can create or remove ranks.
Joining a guild always puts one at the lowest rank of that guild, and promotion is always one step at a time.
In some guilds and/or for some ranks, promotion can be bought, so that paying a certain amount of gold to the guild treasury is the only thing needed for promotion and promotion is then automatic. Usually, however, a promotion by an elder is required to rise in rank.
Local and Global Treasury
Each guildhouse has a local treasury. Gold placed in the treasury goes into the local treasury for that guildhouse. Withdrawals by members, regional property taxes, and guildhouse maintenance all take gold from the local treasuries.
A global treasury is also shared among all guildhouses. The only purpose of the global treasury is to pay the guildhouse maintenance fee for guildhouses that cannot pay it from their local treasury. Senior members of the guild can issue a call for donations to the global treasury. This will take 10% of the gold stored in each guildhouse local treasury and place it in the global treasury. This is the only way to put gold into the global treasury. Once gold is placed in the global treasury, it cannot be removed by any noble.
Every guildhouse must pay a monthly maintenance fee. This fee is withdrawn from the local treasury automatically. If the local treasury is empty, then the amount will be drawn from the global treasury. If the global treasury is also empty, then the guildhouse will be reduced in size by one level. If it is already level 1, then that guildhouse will be closed. If the last guildhouses is closed, then the guild will be disbanded in a few days.
Take note that months in the BattleMaster world are lunar months, i.e. 28 days. No nonsense with variable length months or such.
Commoners in Guilds
Adventurers (as the currently only career where player characters are not nobles) can join guilds, but there are some restrictions and limitations because nobles do not like to mingle with commoners very much, even when it is useful:
- There is a mandatory joining fee of 5 gold, unless the joining fee for the lowest rank is higher than that, in which case the higher fee is used.
- Adventurers can never be senior members.
- Messaging within the guild costs 1 silver per message for commoners. No noble would be willing to finance the idle chatter of some commoners. Adventurers can not message some members of a guild, this is a purely technical limitation because otherwise we couldn't enforce the 1 silver fee.