In the first installment of my works on Rookroost We looked at and overview of the city and the first of the three heads of power in the city, The General. In part 2 we look at the Council of Lords.
The Council of Lords
The secret to Rookroost's success was their three tiers of government. The General is the figurehead of the city and the go-between for the marauding gangs that founded it. The thieves guild, or Congress as they call themselves, and is the only organization above the Council's authority. And lastly, the guilds that make up the Council of Lords. These three factions represent the most powerful groups in the city.
Unlike most cities, where the government tries to protect all their citizens, the Council of Lord's only objective is to protect the city's guilded members. The Guilds form the Council of Lords, and the Congress itself is a recognized guild. Guilds pay dues to the city to be acknowledged as chartered guilds, membership in one of these guilds are referred to as being guilded.
Only guilded citizens have protection under the law. Only guilded citizens can freely come and go, or live within, the Inner-City, or the Peak District. Only guilded members can own property in these districts. Only guilded citizens can engage in mercantile activities in these districts. Trafficking in certain controlled goods and services such as alcohol, drugs, and weapons, is also restricted to guilded citizens. Unguilded citizens caught trafficking these items in quantity are severely punished unless they buy writs of permission from the Council of Lords. This structure of government builds a type of controlled lawlessness within the city. It also allows the Council of Lords and the Congress to both operate and thrive within it.
Surprisingly, since the occupation, things have been running smoother than ever before, as Mortoth's steady hand leads the city. He has enacted changes that have all been unanimously approved by a Council too afraid to say no. Where corruption was rampant and driving up costs, new regulations have stifled these practices and increased productivity. Most notably, changing the Talons, as the city guard is called, from the guilds' personal guards into a legitimate peacekeeping force and giving the Commandant of the Guard a seat at the Council of Lords.
All laws are made by and passed by the Council of Lords. They can also strike down, amend, or change any laws that they find not working to their liking. This is done with a simple majority vote of the Council. The Council now has eight seats with the addition of the Lord of the Watch. So far, this has not led to any deadlocks since the majority vote in line with Mortoth.
The Council of Lords is untouchable except by fellow council members. If a council member is believed to have broken the law, other Lords of the council have to level charges against them. To physically harm or steal from a Lord is an automatic death sentence. This does not prevent Lords from being assassinated if the price is right.
Who can be on the Council of Lords
When a vacancy opens on the Council of Lords, those interested in the position declare themselves to the Council. These names are then posted in Raven's Square, and after one week, a vote is held with all the guilded citizens in the city getting one vote. After the voting is done, the results are tallied, and the new council member is declared. Council members on the Council of Lords hold their position for life, or until they retire, so the vote is taken very seriously. Despite the seriousness of the event, there is a large amount of vote-buying, promise-making, and intimidation accompanying each election. Violence has broken out in the past, but the Talons are there to ensure that large scale riots or brawls are put down quickly.
The seats on the Council of Lords
The General: The General not only acts as the city's figurehead, but the General is also its chief ambassador. Most importantly, he oversees all the marauding gangs that are based out of Rookroost. In addition to these responsibilities, the Governor is the top military commander of the Rookroost army, which is now defunct. The army was a separate organization from the city guard.
The 1st Lord of Merchants: The 1st Lord of Merchants is simply a cover name for Rookroost's thieves guild, or as they call themselves, the Congress. The oldest institution in Rookroost the Congress makes sure that no illegal operations are being conducted against the Council of Lords or chartered guilds without council approval.
The 2nd Lord of Merchants: The 2nd Lord of Merchants is the actual Lord who oversees the merchant activity of Rookroost. They make sure that trade is flowing and that no one guild can put together a monopoly on trade within the city. The 2nd Lord of Merchants travels extensively to other countries. He has even been to the domains of The Great Old One to meet with their trade representatives.
The Lord of Arms: The lord of arms oversees the guilds and companies of sellswords and mercenaries that call Rookroost home. The Lord of Arms almost always comes from one of the established mercenary troops. This was a lesson learned the hard way. Once a Money Lender bought his way into the position, years ago, and was promptly killed in the street by guilded mercenaries.
The Lord of Brick: The rather unflattering title of the Lord of Brick, is very misleading as the Lord is one of the most influential and powerful members of the Council. The Lord of Brick oversees the infrastructure of the city itself. Called the hardest working Lord, the Lord of Brick has a steady list of projects that he must find funding for. The Lord of Brick's real power lies in the fact that the Bagmen, as the tax collectors are commonly called, all report to The Lord of Brick. With the mundane nature of the job and its need for bookkeeping, most people who end up filling this position come from the tradesman class.
The Lord of Letters: Another seat on the Council of Lords with a less than illustrious title is the Lord of Letters. In a city where the illiterate far outnumbers the literate, it might seem like a useless position, and it would be if all it had to do with were reading and signs. However, the Lord of Letters oversees all communications and correspondents on an official level. Still, more importantly, it manages the arcane practitioners of the city and the mighty Guild of Wizardry. The Lord of Letters is always a member of the Guild of Wizardry, although there has been an odd bard or priest in the past to hold the position. The Lord of Letters' main concerns is making sure that some fool wizard does not blow the place up or unleash a magical plague.
The Lord of Tradesmen: The backbone of the city is its tradesmen. These blacksmiths, fletchers, tanners, and a host of other tradesmen provide the necessary skills to make Rookroost more than just a collection of brigands and bandits looking to sell and trade ill-gotten gains. While the merchants move the goods, the tradesmen transform the booty brought back to Rookroost from raiding into things more easily sold in neighboring kingdoms. The smiths who operate smelting forges are incredibly adept at turning precious metal into bars. The Jewelers are highly skilled at cutting gems into smaller stones. While the brigands and the bandits of Rookroost could care less if their stolen merchandise is noticeable in neighboring markets, the buyers do.
The Lord of Temples: This Lord Councilor is elected exclusively from among the religious class's priests and clerics. Many of the city's temples have open grudges against each other, and some deities even have an open doctrine that is hostile to other religions. Despite this, there is one god that all are indifferent towards or actively acknowledge the divinity of, Istus, the goddess of fate. Since the beginning of the Council of Lords, the Lord of Temples' seat has been filled by a priest or priestess of Istus.
The Lord of the Watch: The Lord of the Watch is the newest seat on the Council of Lords and has upset many because it declawed the Council by taking away its muscle. While the city guard's mission has not changed, they are no longer under the command of the Council. The Lord of the Watch has his own position among them and can now interpret the laws and rulings of the Council as he sees fit. The city guard now has its own source of revenue derived from the taxes levied from entry tolls paid when entering the Inner-city and Peak districts. The city guard is no longer at the whim and mercy of what the Council decides to give them for outfitting and paying their guards.