Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Orders and Guilds - Benefits

I want to make a general template for the perks joining an order or guild will give a character.  I say general, because I want to leave several possibilities open for each class.  In other words there isn't just one mages guild.

I'm thinking progression though these hierarchies would largely shadow levels.  That there would be certain fees & requirements to advance as well as advantages to being at that level in a hierarchy.

So, what would be perks that you would like as a player?  Here are a few ideas I have:
  • lodging
  • letters of introduction
  • goods & equipment
  • research assistance
  • travel assistance
  • loans
  • skilled henchmen
  • troops
If I use the idea of interacting with npcs through the 4 playing card suits, some of these could be, not just a one time perk, but a rising level of support.  For example, maybe the order will offer you financial assistance starting at level 5 and the amount of assistance would climb with each level after that.


  1. Have you ever played the PC game "The Guild"

    Might want to look into it a bit, if not. There are some ideas there in terms of structural designs.

  2. In my Greyhawk campaign, there are a handful of immediate benefits to being in the Society of Mages. With one's monthly dues you get basic lodging in any guildhouse, a letter of introduction to other houses of the guild in other cities (functionally a guild i.d.), basic legal assistance, and basic protection. As they progress, not only do more perks get added, but the existing perks improve, such as better accommodations at the guildhouse.

    As an example of basic protection, if someone threatened a guild member, especially within the guild house, a higher level wizard in the guild might lay a charm or compulsion on the offender.

    If a low level guild member ran afoul of the city guard for doing something like accidentally breaking a window or knocking over a market stall, the guild might stress to the captain of the guard that it was only an accident, and should be overlooked.

  3. 1) Love the illustration. "In the U.S., the G stands for God." (What does it stand for in other places, I wonder!)

    2) I did something similar with much less detail (& thought) in my campaign, and should flesh it out more. I just had one guild for each class, except fighters have three (ultimately leading them to 'prestige' classes like paladin and berserker), and one "general" adventurer's guild. My players have not really been very "into" this though and they mostly ignore the guilds. MUs have no guild, they just find a single master. Clerics belong to churches (mainly the one Norse Catholic Church).

    3) The perks are important and I should have done more on that. Right now each guild has a few minor perks (free shields, axes, and spears from the Chaotic fighter's guild, free healing at the Demihuman's guild, fencing services and poison neutralization at the Thieves guild, lodging at the Neutral fighter's guild, etc.)

    I suppose if I had more players, who went through more PCs, there would be more call for fully developed guilds in my game. Of course they could also provide opportunities, rumors, and adventure hooks.

    I really like your idea about tying levels to rank in the guild and benefits. Keep us posted!

  4. Thanks, great comments.

    I take away: maybe guild members are allowed things normally forbidden like business or land ownership (Greg's guild), legal cover/legal assistance (migellito) and healing/curse removal.

    Providing non-pushy hooks is a big reason I'm interested mike, video games are an influence here with the various "missions" available to choose from, not all of them necessary to move to the next level in the hierarchy.

  5. When you say guild levels "shadow" experience levels, do you mean the guilds are the mechanism through which you level up - that they provide training for dues that adventurers bring in? Because I would be all over that. It hoovers up the excess gold in the system, keeps the pcs hungry and promises a "name level" moment where the training system no longer supports you and you have to make ig up yourself - a kind of level cap where you're no longer on the rails but really mechanically figure out your own advancement. Also, maybe your local guild only goes up to 4th level. If you want to go further you have to go to the big city or that monastery deep in the swamp.

  6. ...of course, Howardian players aren't going to want to give up no rugged individualism for no initiation staircase, so maybe it depends on your playgroup, if you need non-pushy hooks or if they'll accept a guilded system as a basic part of the world.

    It occurs to me, BTW, that in the Western pulp trad., magicians are generally initiated into apprentice hierarchies while swordsmen are natural talents honed by the school of hard knocks, but in the wu wei trad. swordsmen train in schools and then under masters, while sorcerors receive their training in secret from jealous witches or revelatory experiences out in the wilderness. AD&D as written in the books seems to put all valuable experience "in the field" but I can easily see systems where it's all tutored ...up to a certain level.

  7. Don't beat me with sticks for mentioning That Edition, but D&D3E did something quite interesting with affiliations and memberships.

    A character could join various in-world organisations (thieves/wizards guild, temple, knightly order, secret society, bandit horde, racial tribe, etc). The more you achieved that advanced the selected group's aims, the flashier title and better resources you were able to call upon (and the more complications and dirty secrets cropped up).

    The bennies could be anything from 'a bed for the night', 'a couple of cronies to watch your back' or 'discount on our speciality' for the guys one up from entry level up to 'free access to guild spellpool', 'loan of magic item' or 'small army' for the inner circle.

    Membership of two organisations was possible, and conflicts of interest between your affilitations opened the way for all sorts of "Paranoia" antics.

  8. @richardthinks: The simplest would be for these organization to be the leveling up mechanism, but, as you say, I didn't want to put players in a position where they had to join an organization.

    So I was thinking the difficulty of advancing from the fourth tier of the Templars of the Holy Font to the fifth tier would require skills and resources more likely to be had by a fourth or fifth level character.

    It might be possible for a formerly rogue character to decide to join an order and be inducted at some tier equivalent to their experience, avoiding all the apprentice rigmarole.

    My idea was to make the perks enticing enough to make players actually desire to belong to the organizations.

    @Chris:Wow, so they had all that already, huh. I only have the players handbook for 3.5 and never played. I'm certainly not above stealing good ideas from other editions. It depends on the mechanics they used, etc. I'll have to see about finding the DM's guide used. Thanks for the heads up.