Posts Tagged ‘Explorers’ Guild’

I have two gaming groups, both of which will be playing in Exploration Age.

Originally, when I asked them what they wanted to see in the world, one player suggested that the two groups work for rival adventurer’s guilds. He also suggested we do the occasional megasession with both groups racing to get the same artifact or teaming up to defeat a greater foe.

Now, I’m not married to that idea, especially since megasessions are quite unwieldy and difficult to DM, but two groups of rival adventurers’ guilds seemed an awesome addition to the world! The parties won’t be forced to join one or the other, but the options and perks will be there for them.

Dungeons and Dragons has always played upon the dichotomy of good and evil, but there is the lesser explored dichotomy the game also encourages. It is one of law and chaos. In Exploration Age, The Explorers’ Guild is chaotic and freeform, with just enough rules to keep the money and jobs flowing into the organization. The Society of Seekers is more structured and has better definition to rules and regulations for its members. In their eyes, a job well done is better than a job that’s done by any means necessary.

My last post spoke about The Explorers’ Guild. I also mentioned The Society of Seekers in that post and now I’d like to show you a bit more of that organization now.

How The Society Came To Be

Shouldn’t we have some heroic music or something?

The Society of Seekers was started when a group of Explorers’ Guild mercenaries began to tire of the The Guild’s reputation as a group of merciless thugs who could get any job done, no questions asked. The Guild had some corrupt leaders and no standard structure from chapter to chapter. They thought the organization was one of braggarts and bullies, and the loudest thugs got the best contracts. They didn’t like that a mission accomplished by adventurers breaking laws and piling up damages and bodies received the same reward as a meticulous, legally sanctioned operation. It seemed Guildmasters were chosen for their popularity rather than merit. So these adventurers left The Explorers’ Guild and started their own organization.

For fifty years the two organizations coexisted in a tense environment, always trying to beat each other out for the biggest contracts. Soon, patrons realized they could contract both organizations for a job and pay the one who completed it, doubling the chances their quest would be fulfilled. The two organizations were so anxious to beat the competition, they gladly engaged in these missions to prove the other unworthy.

The Guild Wars

As the competition between the two organizations grew, so did their hate for one another. Jeers turned to practical jokes which turned to violence. Parties sent on the same mission would attack one another to ensure only their organization could fulfill the contract. It’s unclear who struck the first blow, but the two eventually took their feud into the streets of Findalay and Parian’s cities. A bloody, international gang war began.

During the time of this war, many patrons took advantage of the two organizations’ hate for one another to drive their contract prices down. This did not help quell the war. The worse things became the better the deals were for the patrons, ensuring a cycle of violence.

Then, almost fifty years after the feud turned bloody, The Plague of Undeath ravaged the land. Death knights, lead by Aeranore’s Highest Councilor Mage, a gnome called Fletcher Correll, used the undead to cut down a part of the king’s army. With the help of the rest of The High Council of Mages, he then used the slain to create an army of undead. Fletcher desired a kingdom just for his gnome brethren and was determined to carve one out in Findalay.

Other nations came to Aeranore’s aid, but every soldiers death added to the ranks of undead. Something had to be done before all fell to The Plague. The Society of Seekers and The Explorers’ Guild held their first ever summit. They called a truce and settled terms in The Finders’ Treaty, which lays out the rules for the two guilds’ relationship and interactions. The Treaty signed, the organizations came together to stop Fletcher Correll.

Today, that begrudging peace has lasted almost 100 years. The two organizations don’t always get along and still compete for business, but at least they aren’t knifing each other.

Undead. For when you need a common enemy.

The Finders’ Treaty

So what’s exactly in the treaty?

  • Members of The Explorer’s Guild and The Society of Seekers shall not take up arms against one another.
  • If the two organizations compete for a contract, the one first awarded the contract by a patron is the only party allowed to pursue that contract. The second party must decline any offers made for the same job.
  • Once a year, the Finders’ Festival is held in Aeranore and it is a chance for leaders to come together and discuss any problems and come to solutions. Members of either organization are welcome to attend and partake in revelry and physical and mental competitions that put the organizations on opposed teams.
  • Those who disobey the tenets set forth in The Finders’ Treaty will be removed from the organization and pending the offense could be charge a hefty fee, publicly shamed, or put to death.

Contracts with The Society

The Society of Seekers has a slightly different contract than the The Explorers’ Guild.

  • Patrons pay 50% upfront and the other half when the job is complete.
  • Patrons may give up to ten specific parameters for any reason in a contract. (e.g. do not torture any suspects, use no lethal force, let no one outside The Society know of your mission, etc.) For each parameter broken during the contracted job, the patron will be given a 5% or more discount off the original fee.
  • Patrons are guaranteed direct contact with The Society party contracted to them. If they so choose they can help oversee the operation with the local Society Baron. A patron can hand pick a Society party of their choice.
  • The Society of Seekers takes personal responsibility for any mishaps during a contracted mission. They will pay for damages of goods and people they were meant to protect in the unlikely event of such a thing.
  • At any time for any reason, a patron can request a new party be put on the contract and that request will be honored.
  • The Society of Seekers will replace a dead or otherwise incapacitated party of adventurers if the contract can still be fulfilled at the time of death or incapacitation.
  • Patrons are guaranteed rigorously tested, experienced adventurers working on their contracted job.
  • At anytime, for any reason, a patron can break contract and ask for his or her upfront 50% back.

The Structure of The Society

The Society of Seekers was founded partly because its original members believed the Guildmasters of the Explorer’s Guild held too much power. There own structure is, of course, different.

At the head of The Society is a President which, similar to High Guildmaster, is a yearly elected position. However the President does not work alone. He is part of the Top Executive Board which includes a Vice President, Treasurer, Parliamentarian, Secretary, and Registrar. All of these positions are annually elected. Each country has a chapter with a similar setup, though the President and Vice President position are the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. In local chapters these positions are Baron and Under Baron. The board runs the operations of their respective territories and are answerable to the boards above them. The Society of Seekers has Parliamentarians within their boards to help them amend and change their rules should the need arise. At-large members can also ask for recall elections of board members if 50% or more of the overall membership for the required region asks for it.

Being on the executive board is a mark of pride for many members of The Society, but it also comes with the perk of payment. Whenever a contract is completed by The Society the Top Executive Board gets 10% of the contract, the country’s board gets 10% and the local board gets 10%. The boards take their pay and pay the bills out of this debt. The adventuring party who completed the job gets the remaining 70%. However, if that party ignores or breaks one of the patrons parameters or damages property for which The Society is responsible, that penalty to the organization comes directly out of their pay (see above). Likewise, if the party is deemed to have done an excellent job, broken no parameters, and followed all the local laws and customs pertaining to the mission, the executive boards only take 5% each and the party gets 85% of the contract’s reward for themselves. Thus the party is encouraged to follow the rules within the contract and the law of the land.

Joining The Society of Seekers requires proof that an adventurer has completed a life-threatening mission (usually in the form of a recovered relic or a letter of recommendation from a former patron), a letter of recommendation from a member of The Society of Seekers, and a thorough interview process held during a formal dinner with a local executive board.

Every member must renew membership annually, by meeting with the Registrar of their local chapter and proving with official records they have completed at least one contract for The Society. At anytime an executive board can review a member’s status in the organization and force them out of The Society for misconduct or negligence. A member can appeal this decision by taking it to the board above the board which made the decision.

For the most part, The Society of Seekers holds themselves in high regard as courteous, clean, and chivalrous. This doesn’t mean that The Society doesn’t know how to have fun or see its fair share of corruption. After all, they were involved in a years-long gang war that cost many innocent lives.

Benefits of Being in The Society

For adventurers in The Society, there are benefits other than pay and easy access to jobs. Like The Explorers’ Guild they always have a place to stay in any settlement with a Society House, and have their mundane expenses, room, and board paid for when on a mission. Any items acquired while not on a mission that are not specified in the contract are the adventurers to keep.

A big benefit that is not an official practice of The Explorers’ Guild is The Society House Shop. Found within any Society House, the items purchased here is 20% off. The mages on hand usually have a few common consumable magic items and given a day or two can create a less common potion or scroll.

Accomplishments of The Society of Seekers

Careful now. They regenerate!

In its storied history, The Society has accomplished much. Here’s a few highlights.

  • 231 FF – The Society of Seekers uncovers the famed Ruins of Eloga and the technology discovered is used to power airships.
  • 257 FF – The Society of Seekers lays waste to the army of Vrelock the Troll King who threatened the isles of Marrial.
  • 305 FF – In rare team-up with the The Explorers’ Guild, the two organizations put aside differences and turn the tide of The Plague of Undeath and hordes of undead armies.
  • 397 FF – The Society of Seekers is the first to explore and discover ruins within The Damned Lands.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Across Findalay there are ancient ruins , mysterious forests, unexplored caves, and the terrifyingly uncharted Damned Lands. In Parian vast expanses of untamed wilds hold the remnants of ancient societies long forgotten. Verda is a newly discovered land with a map that remains incomplete and holds wonders unseen in the history of Canus’ current non-dragon inhabitants.

Adventurers were being hired by to procure treasures, clean out monsters, protect teams of archeologists, map new areas, discover new travel routes, investigate rumors, find new life, or simply to see what might be happening in a place uncharted and report back. The patrons for these quests included everyone from potion shop owners in need of ingredients from a dark marsh to federal governments in need of mercenary explorer. But for every ten adventurers hired, five might die, run away with the paycheck or treasure, seize an operation for their own, or muck up their patron’s desired result.

In Marrial, groups of seasoned adventurers were watching work slip through their fingers to cheaper, less-experienced greenhorns and they decided to do something about it. These groups formed The Explorers’ Guild and advertised themselves as the best and most reliable mercenaries for hire. The popularity of this group grew and today members of The Explorers’ Guild are made up of all types of adventurer. The Guild can be found in every corner of Canus.

Contracts with The Explorers’ Guild

Hire The Explorers’ Guild today!

The Explorers’ Guild is very popular with patrons because of the guarantees they give when they take on a contract.

  • The Explorers’ Guild asks for 40% of a contract’s payment upfront. A full refund is guaranteed if the contract is not fulfilled.
  • The Explorers’ Guild asks that the remaining 60% of the contract be paid upon fulfillment of the terms.
  • The Explorers’ Guild promises experienced, tested, proven adventurers working on every contract.
  • The Explorers’ Guild takes personal responsibility for any mishaps during a contracted mission. They will pay for damages of goods and people they were meant to protect in the unlikely event of such a thing.
  • The Explorers’ Guild will replace a dead or otherwise incapacitated party of adventurers if the contract can still be fulfilled at the time of death or incapacitation.
  • The patron may terminate a contract at anytime and get his or her 40% upfront payment back.

The idea of paying less than half upfront and a company of experienced adventurers that would claim fiscal responsibility for damages appealed to many patrons and still does today.

Thee other attractive thing about The Explorers’ Guild – they’ll stop at nothing to fulfill a contract. Patrons often don’t ask how results were achieved and less often does The Explorers’ Guild tell. To the mercenaries, laws are left unbroken when possible, but if they get in the way, they are an obstacle – not a dead end.

Structure of the Guild

The Explorers’ Guild has a very freeform structure. Every first of the year all members of the Guild are invited to Marrial to vote for a High Guildmaster. The High Guildmaster’s job is not very exciting – mostly bureaucratic. The position does pay very well however, and the job is an important one. The High Guildmaster appoints a regional Guildmaster for each country. The regional Guildmasters in turn appoint local Guildmasters in each city. The High Guildmaster deals with all international contracts, the regionals handle high-profile and domestic missions for the respective federal government, and locals handle the day-to-day quests.

Other than Guildmasters, members are simply at-large. An individual Guildmaster can hire as many advisors and coworkers as he or she wants (though it comes out of the Guildmaster’s tithe – see below). Thus each local chapter of The Explorers’ Guild is set up a little differently. The Guildmaster is only responsible for the lower Guildmasters and at-large members currently signed to a contract in his or her jurisdiction.

Guildmasters negotiate, settle, and dispute contractual terms. They assign teams of adventurers to fulfill the contracts and see that they are paid rewarded when the mission is complete. They deal with any snafus and serve as advisors to at-large members. If an at-large member has a dispute with a local Guildmaster they must take it that individual’s supervising regional Guildmaster. A regional Guildmaster’s decision can only be overturned by the High Guildmaster.

The largest perk of being a Guildmaster is the payment from each contract when fulfilled. 10% of every local contract goes into the local Guildmaster’s pocket and the pockets of his or her staff. 5% goes to the funding of the local chapter for upkeep, goods, and travel expenses, 5% goes to the offices of the regional Guildmaster, and another 5% goes to the offices of the High Guildmaster. The remaining 75% goes to the party who fulfilled the contract.

Joining The Explorers’ Guild requires letters of merit from two standing Explorers’ Guild members. The letters must speak first and foremost to the adventuring experience and ability of the individual. These are presented to the local Guildmaster who verifies their authenticity. As long as everything checks out, that person is granted membership into The Explorers’ Guild. Once a member, always a member. Only in the harshest of circumstances is a member removed from the organization.

Benefits of being a Guild Member

The first perk of joining The Explorers’ Guild is, of course, the payment and easier access to jobs. All an at-large member needs to do to receive a mission is enter an Explorers’ Guild House, talk with the local Guildmaster or a staff member and see what’s available. When times are slow, which is rare, the Explorers’ Guild may pay adventurers to take up a mission of importance (usually mapping a new area or gathering treasure) that will help the organization profit in some way.

Members of the Explorers’ Guild always have a place to stay in a settlement where there is a Guild House present. When on a contracted mission, their room, board, and travel are all paid. Any items or wealth acquired during a mission not specifically mentioned as desirable by the patron or Explorers’ Guild are the adventurers’ to keep.

I’m addition, members of the Explorers’ Guild respect and aid one another. They can provide goods, services, food, refuge, etc. to their fellow-guildsman.

Accomplishments of the Guild

Remember when we did this, dudes?

In its over 200 year history, The Explorers’ Guild has accomplished much not just in small ruins and towns of Findalay and Parian, but globally they are a force known to many. Here is a list of a few of their accomplishments.

  • 205 FF – The Guild destroys the ancient blue wyrm, Filixtrasa the Mad, after she lays waste to parts of Aeranore.
  • 266 FF – The Guild helps The Arcane College uncover and destroy the plans of The Servants (a group of evil wizards who profited from an enormous war in Findalay thanks to their manipulation of the people in power via magic crowns).
  • 305 FF – In rare team-up with the Society of Seekers, the two organizations put aside differences and turn the tide of The Plague of Undeath and hordes of undead armies.
  • 393 FF – The Explorers’ Guild discovers Verda.

Relationship to The Society of Seekers

When The Explorers’ Guild was fifty years young, a significant portion of the membership was unhappy with their loose structure and thought there was a better way to go about things. These adventurers formed The Society of Seekers and began competing with The Explorers’ Guild for contracts. Eventually this conflict became violent and the two organizations waged a years-long, global gang war.

Today, the two groups have ceased violence, but they are still in competition with one another. Representatives from The Explorers’ Guild and The Society of Seekers will often show up simultaneously to court and convince a patron that they are the best organization to take on a job. If that doesn’t work, the two groups will quickly resort to mudslinging tactics and bring up past failures of their rivals to convince the patron to grant a contract. The two organizations may also compete for members.

There will be more on The Society of Seekers in my next post.

PCs and The Explorers’ Guild

PCs can join The Explorers’ Guild either by seeking out members themselves, or by being approached once they have a level of moderate fame and notoriety. Perhaps the PCs would be approached about membership at the same time by The Guild and the The Society of Seekers. Or perhaps they run into a Guild-contracted party on the same quest as themselves. Or maybe the local Explorers’ Guild has too many jobs and not enough members in the area, so the Guildmaster turns to the PCs for help. There are loads of possibilities there. The PCs could be rooting out corrupt Guildmasters. The Explorers’ Guild is a perfect frame for me to design a dungeon of the week style campaign or have the organization pulled into huge, global problems. However it pans out, The Explorer’s Guild is a welcome addition to Exploration Age.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!