You shiver as the cold wind bites at exposed skin on your face and hands. Stamping your feet in a futile effort to keep warm, you wait impatiently for your father. Finally, he comes out of the office, and you both saddle the horses and head for home.
Making occasional small talk with your father about the war, you suddenly notice a figure lying face down on the side of the road. Jumping off your horse and hurrying over to him, you turn him over to see if he is still alive. The man groans in pain as you move him, and with a shock you notice that he wears the badge of Keplerstan on his tunic.
- "Father! He's from Keplerstan!"
You have never seen one of the hated enemy of your realm before, being still too young to be sent off to fight. The man groans again as you continue.
- "We have to take him back to town to the garrison! They'll know what to do with enemy scum like this."
Your father nods in agreement, and bends down to see if the man is fit enough to be tied to horseback. With a sudden start, he grabs one of the man's hands and examines it carefully.
- "By the gods, he's a Hawk...Right, I want you to listen very carefully to me son, I won't repeat this. We're going to take him back to our house where your ma can fix him up. No-one will hear of this. Understand? No-one. This man belongs to the same guild that I do, and we're going to do all that we can to help him"
You look confused. Then you notice that on the man's hand is a silver ring, with a symbol of a hawk embossed onto the surface. Why, your father has an identical ring!
- "What's a guild?"
Guilds are a relatively new addition to BattleMaster, which allow like-minded players to band together in a common cause, regardless of their realm. A guild is formed by a local lord who constructs a guildhouse within his own region at a certain expense. Other nobles of any realm or class, or even commoners (adventurers), are then free to join the guild if they so desire - after paying the entrance fee of course (if one is set). Potential members are required to travel to the guildhouse in particular to join. However, once the first guildhouse is built, more may be created elsewhere by fellow members who command regions, spreading the influence and reach of the guild throughout the island.
Guilds have a strictly linear interior hierarchy. Starting with the Founder at the top plus a few ranks below him as the Senior Members, down through the various ranks of Full Members, to the Aspirant ranks seeking entry at the bottom. Senior Members may promote, or demote, other members below them at their whim, in addition to having access to other administrative functions such as expanding the guildhouses or setting promotion fees, monthly fees (not yet implemented) and maximum debt available to the various ranks.
Each guildhouse has a (local) treasury where Senior and Full Members may deposit or withdraw physical gold, depending on how much debt they owe to the guild already and by how much gold is actually available in the local treasury. Because the gold is kept in the guildhouse and not in a bank, it is at the mercy of the region commanders in which the guildhouses reside. It is therefore imperative to maintain good relations with the region commanders in question -- or to exert the guild's influence to ensure that only friendly troop leaders command guildhouse regions. The only way gold can be moved from one guildhouse to another is by physically withdrawing the gold from one guildhouse and then depositing the gold into the other. Obviously, conducting such transfers using multiple persons via bonds transfer as a middle step is allowed, subject to the usual bond transfer limitations, just be aware of the resultant changes in debt/credit ratings of the persons involved.
There is also a central (global) treasury where funds are kept in reserve to (only) pay for maintenance that can't be covered by the local treasury, though at an inflated rate.
Through the use of an extensive network of messengers, guild members may communicate with each other just as though they are in the same realm.