In this 9th installment for the City of Rookroost we start looking at the guilds of the city. The backbone of the founding of the city was it's guilds, before that it was just a collection of bandits. Once again thanks to everyone that have given me inspiration from Nigel Findley, Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean K. Reynolds, Frederick Weining, Casey Brown, and all the fabulous BK authors and lastly Gygax himself.
The Barbers and Dentists Guild – The barbers and dentists guild is another highly respected guild throughout the city. They offer services that are used by most that can afford them, and there are several clinics located even in Outwall where most novices will ply their trade to hone their skills. While the apothecaries and herbalists deal mainly with internal medicine, the barbers and dentists guild deal mainly with helping to heal physical trauma. Removing of arrows, sowing up of wounds, extracting teeth, and setting broken bones are common services.
While magical means of healing are available to the rich even, they will frequent the barbers and dentists first if they can. Magical healing is awfully expensive and sometimes reserved for members of temples only.
The cost of healing through the Barbers and Dentists Guild is 10gp per point of health or hit point recovered. The amount of health or hit points recovered in this way caps at 10. The remainder of lost hit points or health needs to be recovered through rest.
The Beggars Guild – The beggars guild is the largest in Rookroost, and while most people don't think of it as a real guild, they do have a guildhall located in Outwall, and they provide some services for its members. Despite the animosity shown toward the Beggars Guild by other guilds, it is recognized by the Council of Lords, and for a good reason, the taxes from the right to operate as a guild is a hefty sum.
Started initially by Tarzin Peddelquick, to help give the street level cut-purses and pickpockets protection from being shaken down by the Congress and the Talons, it quickly evolved into an institution that tried to provide an affordable alternative for those that couldn't get into other guilds. To be a member costs a 5gp entry fee followed by a 5cp a quarter fee. While still a sizable amount for the poor, the costs are far less than other guilds. Membership gets the citizen the gilded rank and access to the guilds soup kitchen at the guildhall.
The beggar’s guild is also a front for illegal activity, but they are careful to limit this activity to Outwall and unguilded citizens to avoid the wrath of not just the Congress but also the other guilds.
The Cartographers and Academics Guild – The cartographers and academics guild is very small, and most citizens are unaware that one even exists. Their guildhall is in The Peak and also doubles as the cities only library. The library is private, but nonmembers can pay a yearly fee of 10gp, which allows them access to the general area. In addition to the general area, there is also the private library for guild members only.
Despite the guild's anonymity with the general public, it is well known to all of the brigands and bandits that raid into neighboring kingdoms. These bandits know that the cartographers and academics guild will pay well for the right kind books. Most raiding parties will make it a point to bring back any books that they come across. Of course, most of these brigands are illiterate, and the books they get are worthless. Even worthless books will fetch a minimum of 1cp to help ensure the flow of books continues. The most prized books sought out by the guild are rare histories and nonmagical studies. All books that are arcane in nature are taken to the Guild of Wizardry, where they are sold at a discount for future considerations. The guild will pay upwards of 500gp for spell books and up to 200gp for rare histories and the like.
The Gravediggers Guild – Another small guild is the gravedigger’s guild, which is located well outside the city in the official cemetery of Rookroost. The cemetery is a small city of its own with rows of mausoleums and underground crypts. Only the rich have separate burials while the rest of the bodies brought to the cemetery are placed into mass graves.
Some Nerull and Wee Jas priests are part of the gravedigger’s guild and help keep the area free of the undead, at least undead they do not control. These priests employ a small army of zombies that perform most of the physical labor in the cemetery, but they hire out zombies to those willing to pay them the cost of animating them. The House of the Dead is the name of the guildhall of the gravedigger’s guild, located in the cemetery, and resembles an old Keep.
Besides the cemetery's care and upkeep, the gravedigger’s guild works hand-in-hand with the Night Merchants, the licensed collectors of the dead that roam the city streets. Many of the Night Merchants are also members of the Gravediggers Guild, but only about a quarter of them. The city gives the Gravediggers guild 2gp for each body they dispose of, one for the Gravediggers Guild, and one that is paid to the Night Merchants for collecting them.
The Jewelers and Gem-cutters Guild – Another small guild is the Jewelers and Gem-cutters guild. Located in the Peak District, the guild is the go-to place to unload gems and jewelry for the best price. While they do run a shop in the Peak, they also have shops located in the Inner-City and Outer-City districts. Their main trade is the re-cutting of gems to move them back to markets outside of the Bandit Kingdoms.
The Laborers Guild – Second only in size to the Beggars Guild is the laborers guild. Made up of the common laborers in the city, it has the second-lowest dues membership fee. The guild members provide physical labor for most of the city-run projects and everyday activities. The Talons hire foremen from this guild to oversee their work details of prisoners sentenced to forced labor. The League of Merchants also employs members of the Laborers Guild to load wagons, dig trenches, or any other mundane work that might be needed.
While Rookroost has a larger population of brigands and bandits, over half of the people within these lands are ordinary folk. Workers, farmers, and the like and the laborers Guild is their representative. Even in a notorious city such as Rookroost, there are farms in the countryside. Joining the laborers guild is the number one way of deterring bandits from pilfering their crops. Punishment for those that prey upon the working class of Rookroost is severe if they are guilded citizens.
The Laborers Guild is the only guild with no main guildhall, but instead, it has chapter houses spread throughout the city. While considered an unskilled guild, the Laborers Guild has strong ties to the Lord of Brick that heavily relies on them.
The Leatherworkers and Masons Guild – The Leatherworkers and Masons guild has a strong affiliation with the Lord of Brick, who uses their services on projects. Along with other artisans’ guilds, this guild makes up the backbone of the guild structure that the city operates on. While more specialized than the Butchers, Backers and Cooks Guild, or the Laborer’s Guild, the Leatherworkers and Masons guild still considers itself among the working-class. Their guild hall is found in the Outer-City and is a practical stone house.
The Mercenary and Free Swords Guild- To newcomers of Rookroost, this might seem like a prestigious guild, but it is not. Rookroost has many Mercenary Troops and Companies that call it home, and these groups all file for separate guild recognition. For those mercenaries that are not part of one of these troops or companies, there is the Mercenary and Free Swords Guild. Members rely on the guild to help them get work and help them to maintain arms and armor. While members are generally employed together in groups, there is no real cohesion among them like traditional mercenary troops and companies. Because of this, the work that a member of the guild gets is generally nothing better than routine guard work.
Despite their poor reputation, the Mercenary and Free Swords Guild still has a considerable sway because of their large membership, which swelled in numbers after the Rookroost army disbanded. Mortoth has also been keen to utilize them closer to home when he needs extra manpower instead of relying on the humanoid forces, he commands for the Great Old One.
The Messengers Guild- The messenger guild is a highly specialized collection of talented rangers, rogues, and spellcasters that have a knack for moving about unnoticed. Those that can disguise themselves or use magic to travel great distances are highly sought-after recruits for the guild. The Messenger’s Guild is one of the few guilds in Rookroost that have guildhalls outside of the city and throughout the Free Lords' lands.
Founded over 100 years ago after the city had become well established and a hub of influence. The guild formed to fill the need to deliver messages in a land of constant turmoil and shifting alliances. Magical messages can be tricky at best, as the Free Lords' wizards have become very adept at intercepting or blocking magical communications.
Because of this, Silva Torren, a master thief from the Congress, began his service of delivering messages. Agreeing to pay a monthly tribute to the Congress, he was allowed to separate from them and fully develop his organization. The fact that Silva had amassed tons of blackmail material over his fellow members in the Congress didn't hurt either.
Today, the Messengers guild's offices can be found in all the cities and towns within the Bandit Kingdoms' lands. They also have offices in both of the Urnst states, Furyondy and The Shield Lands. The Messengers guild has never worked with or for Iuz or his minions. While several offices have recently closed down due to the war, their services are still in high demand.
The Moneychangers and Pawnbrokers Guild – Rookroost has never had an official currency or mint because the city has never had a shortage of coin flooding in with the brigands and bandits from their raids. Merchants and shop owners will accept any currency, but that’s not where the problem lies; the problem is for the merchants that come to Rookroost and into the Bandit Kingdoms to do business. Merchants Caught with coinage from several nations might tip-off authorities they were doing business in the Bandit Kingdoms, a moniker that could severely damage their reputation. Merchants can use the moneychangers to swap out the coin they might acquire during a stay in Rookroost for their homelands before heading home.
Foreign Merchants sneaking into Rookroost to buy illegally stolen goods is a tradition as old as the city itself. Still, they are not always in the city in large numbers, especially during the winter. During these leaner times, bandits can go to pawnbrokers to sell their goods or pawn a sword they might not need until raiding season comes around again, or even settle a gambling debt. These middlemen can keep the wheels of commerce running smoothly even if at a discounted cost to their customers.
In earlier years, competition between Pawnbrokers was as fierce as the rivalries between competing bandit groups, and those rivalries would often turn violent. Eventually, as the guilds took hold in Rookroost, the pawnbrokers banded together into a guild for its benefits. Today, their shops can be found in all the city districts, and they have a monopoly on it. Anyone that wants to open a store must get approval from them first. If a foolish person opens a pawnshop without permission, they soon realize that no one will go there for fear of being banned from guild pawnshops.
Cost of Services
Pawning items - In Rookroost, pawning is a way to get some quick cash but allow you to get it your items back. As a rule of thumb, a character can get up to 50% of an item's value in a loan. The rate of interest varies depending on your status, but there is a cap to it. The total amount of interest will need to be paid to retrieve the item from pawn, and this includes the interest which is tacked onto the total regardless of whether the item is taken out of pawn immediately. To find your interest rate roll on the chart below, adding in any charisma modifiers of appropriate skill modifiers such as persuasion and the like.
Purchasing Items from a Pawnshop: The other benefit of a pawnshop is finding useful items cheaper than the going market rate. The downside is that sometimes those items are not of the best quality. Pawnshops are also poor places to find more mundane objects, as they only want items with decent value to them. Because of this, if the item is under 5gp in value, pawnshops will not bother with them. The chart below shows the possibility of an item being found in a pawn shop and how it’s value modifies that. Items purchased from a pawn shop can be bought at 60% of the current market value, but there is a chance that there is something wrong with it. Each Item purchased by a player requires a roll of a 1D100, and on a result of 10 or lower, there is something wrong with the item. What exactly is wrong with it will be up to the GM’s interpretation, but whatever it is not noticeable.