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Drakeburn
2017-04-02, 02:50 PM
Basically a type of business where you have clients pay you to rescue the princess, slay the dragon, foil the evil wizard's plot, etc. Like The Companions in Skyrim, the main characters in the first Crystal Story game, the two main characters in the Magiswords cartoon series, Acqusitions Incorporated, and the list goes on and on.

I've thought about running a game for my sister and her friends where they are in their own adventuring guild, and are approached to do all kinds of quests.

So, what are your thoughts and opinions in the idea of an "adventurers for hire" type of guild?

Vitruviansquid
2017-04-02, 03:02 PM
The idea of having a centralized location where you could go to find "adventurers" is not itself a bad thing.

Clients need to be able to find adventurers, and know that the adventurers they find are qualified for the job.

Adventurers need things like protection, a way to build their reputation, probably things like insurance.

However, I also think the word "guild" is overused to describe almost any professional organization in a medievalish setting. I would simply not call it a guild unless it did other guildlike things.

Cazero
2017-04-02, 03:25 PM
However, I also think the word "guild" is overused to describe almost any professional organization in a medievalish setting. I would simply not call it a guild unless it did other guildlike things.
I just realised that I have no darn clue what those "other guildlike things" may be, and that make me sad.

Berenger
2017-04-02, 03:52 PM
I just realised that I have no darn clue what those "other guildlike things" may be, and that make me sad.

Why don't you read Wiki (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guild) for basic information and come back when you have specific questions?

Millstone85
2017-04-02, 03:55 PM
For an "adventurer guild" to exist, you must first have a setting where adventuring parties are a thing.

Yes good sirs, and ma'am, there be a dungeon near our town, and we often see yer type. A few return, most don't, but the place ain't fully explored.

It is kind of silly, but not necessarily in a bad way.

Cazero
2017-04-02, 04:05 PM
Why don't you read Wiki (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guild) for basic information and come back when you have specific questions?
Because goading random strangers on the internet into educating me (for free!) is funnier.:smalltongue:
Also I'm lazy.

Kelb_Panthera
2017-04-02, 04:34 PM
Because goading random strangers on the internet into educating me (for free!) is funnier.:smalltongue:
Also I'm lazy.

Very, very roughly; it's a cross between a trade union and a mafia that is -usually- sanctioned by the government in control of its area of operation. Unlike trade unions, however, their primary concern is not so much fair treatment for its members by the law (though there can be -some- work in that area) so much as working to advance the guild's interests against competitors and to control the market that its members operate within its area of operation.

@OP

Other than calling it an "adventurer's guild" being a bit on the nose, it's a fine idea. More euphamistically, you could call it something like an explorers' guild, a finders' guild, a fixers' guild (as in; fixing problems), or something like that.

Honest Tiefling
2017-04-02, 04:55 PM
Not terribly fond of them. The terms "Adventurers" and the like seems very meta to me, and usually just means anyone with class levels, which gets really distracting. If you are going to do this, have the term MEAN something other than that. Doesn't help that 'adventurer' seems to also be another term for 'grave robber' so why anyone would make a guild of them is beyond me.

I much prefer things like a mercenary band or a league of explorers, because it feels like it has a meaning in the world more often. Not to say you can't make a setting where 'adventuring' is a thing, just...Be aware that for many people, it might be a hard sell due to associations.

Personally, I feel that varied mercenary groups gets the job done just fine, much like the Companions of Skyrim. You could even get a lot of mileage out of competition between the groups.

Drakeburn
2017-04-02, 05:43 PM
Personally, I agree that "adventurers guild" is a bit of an iffy way to describe it. Though what the PCs are going to refer to their "company" as is up to them.

The idea of the PCs having their own mercenary business has several advantages, such as explaining the absences of party members ("I think he's busy with another job") and having new players joining in the game ("We just hired a new employee today").

Also, this premise works really well for a "Dungeon of the Week" type of game.

Clistenes
2017-04-02, 06:03 PM
Not terribly fond of them. The terms "Adventurers" and the like seems very meta to me, and usually just means anyone with class levels, which gets really distracting. If you are going to do this, have the term MEAN something other than that. Doesn't help that 'adventurer' seems to also be another term for 'grave robber' so why anyone would make a guild of them is beyond me.

I much prefer things like a mercenary band or a league of explorers, because it feels like it has a meaning in the world more often. Not to say you can't make a setting where 'adventuring' is a thing, just...Be aware that for many people, it might be a hard sell due to associations.

Personally, I feel that varied mercenary groups gets the job done just fine, much like the Companions of Skyrim. You could even get a lot of mileage out of competition between the groups.

This. I think your typical adventuring party should be the exception, not the rule. The PCs are special, a rarity.

Also, stuff like dungeon exploring and dragons slaying should be rare enough as to not merit the creation of a profession dedicated to it. If you have people making a regular job out of exploring dungeons and rescuing princesses, you are close to entering parody territory.

I mean, look at the LOTR. Even Gandalf hesitated before entering Moria. Balin's group was slaughtered down there. There is no guy badass enough to make a profession out of cleaning places like Moria, and if said guy existed, he could probably make a better use of his skills building an empire.

Or look at Smaug. Thorin didn't just hire a professional dragon slayer to get rid of him, because being a professional dragon killer would be like being a professinal suicide. Hell, nobody dared try to off Smaug and take his stuff for almost two centuries, despite Smaug literally lying on top of a mountain of gold... And when Bard DID kill Smaug, they made him king.

Drakeburn
2017-04-02, 08:27 PM
This. I think your typical adventuring party should be the exception, not the rule. The PCs are special, a rarity.

Also, stuff like dungeon exploring and dragons slaying should be rare enough as to not merit the creation of a profession dedicated to it. If you have people making a regular job out of exploring dungeons and rescuing princesses, you are close to entering parody territory.

I mean, look at the LOTR. Even Gandalf hesitated before entering Moria. Balin's group was slaughtered down there. There is no guy badass enough to make a profession out of cleaning places like Moria, and if said guy existed, he could probably make a better use of his skills building an empire.

Or look at Smaug. Thorin didn't just hire a professional dragon slayer to get rid of him, because being a professional dragon killer would be like being a professinal suicide. Hell, nobody dared try to off Smaug and take his stuff for almost two centuries, despite Smaug literally lying on top of a mountain of gold... And when Bard DID kill Smaug, they made him king.

The funny thing here is that we're talking about role playing games here! :smalltongue:

How many times do Player Characters get asked to go on some quest in exchange for payment in gold?
So it wouldn't be too bizarre if the Player Characters capitalized on the idea.

But it certainly beats beginning a game with "you're all in a tavern."

Honest Tiefling
2017-04-02, 08:37 PM
The funny thing here is that we're talking about role playing games here! :smalltongue:

LOTR might as well be the grandfather of DnD...Which certainly inspired other games. So LOTR isn't a bad example, given the roots of the game.


How many times do Player Characters get asked to go on some quest in exchange for payment in gold?
So it wouldn't be too bizarre if the Player Characters capitalized on the idea.

Essentially...Yes. Yes, it would be super weird if people kept referring to a group of highly trained bards, spies, guards, priests, mages and worshipers of nature as adventurers, but not OTHER bards, spies, guards, priests, mages and worshipers of nature. Define for us what an 'adventurer' is in your world.

And how many dragons or other high level threats are in your world where going down to the guild to get the infestation sorted out like they are some sort of glorified rat catchers? Oh darn, Varnifexxil the Red has settled into the old ruins again, second time this year. Get some adventurers to shoo him out, now!

Slipperychicken
2017-04-02, 09:00 PM
I dislike adventurer-guilds because they encourage lazy writing and cheapen adventure. Adventure is supposed to be unusual and exciting, taking people out of their comfort zones and into worlds of uncertainty and danger. It's not a 9-5 job that happens to involve steel outfits and cave-dwelling monsters. Adventuring guilds are also quite ridiculous in concept, and often require the entire setting to bend over backwards just to support the basic premises that would allow such an institution to exist.

If you want an organization to prompt the PCs into embarking on an adventure, then my advice is to use one that makes sense to exist outside the context of adventure. Those could include all kinds of things, from the court of a powerful leader, a village council, the leaders of a warband, the usual religious figures, a specialized mercenary group, someone's family, and so on. There are many options that can add to interesting stories while building a coherent world instead of detracting from it.

Shoreward
2017-04-02, 09:06 PM
I think it depends on both the tone of the work and the way such a guild is presented. I tend to be leery of the word "guild" on principle, despite having what are ostensibly guilds in my own comic's setting, because it brings to mind images of things like Albion's Heroes' Guild in Fable.

In any case, a genuine Adventurer's Guild implies a few things about a world; "Adventuring" as a profession, and a high enough frequency of incidents to require a sophisticated level of organisation. This might just be me, but that second one implies more about the world than the first. Mercenaries and freelance knights or ronin existed in the real world at various times - usually following a war - but a dedicated guild to house adventurers implies a world on par with Borderlands' Pandora, or worse, Australia. It's a nightmare realm in which anyone trying to be a farmer will be menaced by at least four roaming monsters, three warbands, and a dragon by the time they hit adulthood.

Anything less than constant unstoppable threat and you'd have a whole syndicate of bored, trained, armed, and dangerous humanoids itching to use their cool new abilities on something vaguely peasant-shaped. Not to mention that there would hardly be any reason for low-level threats or un-looted dungeons to exist anymore besides high-level members allowing them to.

This is why tone matters. A world which is barely able to function without adventurers on constant watch is either a parody, a deathworld, or both. Any less-threatened setting in which there are many high-level adventurers around refusing to deal with the local goblins is either a parody, filled with jerks, or both. If one of those is what you're going for, then by all means! Just be aware of what you're doing so you can do it well.

Bottom Line: An Adventurer's Guild is a lot like the Justice League. It works best in a world where there are both a lot of superheroes and a lot of supervillains/world-ending threats. A world like that is necessarily under near-constant high-level threat, which is what enables low-level supers to keep doing their thing while the higher-level folks are distracted with K'Qortha the Invincible Demon of Outer Mars' fifth attempt to turn the world into a snowglobe.

Edit: An aside: Having a single Adventuring Guild as opposed to a widespread one in the manner of a trade guild is less silly, since that would be more about one character's attempt to start one up than about syndicated monster slaying.

Pauly
2017-04-02, 09:36 PM
I agree about the use of the term 'guild' being kind of lazy.

Real world based examples.
Bounties - offered for eliminating pest animals by local councils.
Bounty hunters/bondsmen. Tracking down criminals or debtors sanctioned by the central state. Usually capture and retrieve, but in old days they had the 'dead or alive' wanted posters.
Insurance investigators/private investigators. Paid by private companies or individuals. Usually involves information gathering.
Murde Inc. - organized crime paying bounties for the elimination of criminals (usually) or law abiding citizrns who are interfering with criminal activity.

So you see that there isn't a single central "adventurers guild" one stop shop. However there are multiple avenues open to create a centralized agency, or guild if you like, that co-ordinates adventure for hire plot lines for a specific type of activity. The place where you get the 'find my missing daughter' quest will be a different place than the 'kill those pesky trolls in the west pass' quest.

Edit. To the OP. What this suggests is that instead of The customers coming to them, they are a band of contractors trying to find jobs. Think more Cowboy Bebop and less Sam Spade.

Also, you could also think of adding a Roman style legal system. The prosecution of crimes, and defending of them, in the courts was done by private citizens. Which opens up not just adventure for hire, but political intrigue opportunities.

Martin Greywolf
2017-04-03, 02:31 AM
1) Historical guilds

If you want to call your group a guild and there's no law from stopping you (usually not), and no other people to stop you (eh, 50:50 chance), then you're a guild. Middle ages tend to be cute like that. The guilds we know about (rich enough to keep written records, important enough to have the records kept and/or be mentioned in other sources) tended to be big organizations, usually monopolizing a trade in at least a major city.

Not all of the were called guilds - as an example: the organization responsible for mining most of Europe's copper during late medieval period was called Der neusohler Kupferhandel - The new copper trade, though you'll often find it referred to as Thurzo-Fugger mining company, after the two noble families controlling it.

Long story short, there was utter chaos and everything was on case by case basis, any sweeping statements will be incorrect, etc etc. Welcome to the middle ages.

2) Adventurers and guilds

Well, why not. They will probably not be called that, though, since your clients don't want you to go on an adventure, they want specific services. What you have at this point is a mercenary company that hires out small groups of specialists.

What they will be called depends on the setting - if we have wilderness, then we can have Explorers' or Rangers' guild, when running a city full of intrigue and politics, you get law firm that is also a cover for... more proactive activities, etc etc.

Playing Adventurers' guild straight pretty much requires either a comedy-based world or some heavy-duty lampshades.

Pugwampy
2017-04-03, 03:46 AM
So, what are your thoughts and opinions in the idea of an "adventurers for hire" type of guild?

It kinda takes the fun out of looking for jobs or sitting on the road corner with a placard saying "will kill Dire weasels and drop pants for food" :smallbiggrin: . Assuming you have a nice easy going DM , not joining a guild gives you a good amount of freedom to do as you like and go where you please .

If you gonna join an adventurers guild , sure you get , protection bed and breakfast and job opportunities but probably have to pay rent . Taverns do exactly the same thing .

If this is about not thinking too hard and being directed to your next task , I would think joining an army is more fun . You get to rank up and stuff.

Then there is the rival adventure parties who steal your jobs and clean out your dungeons . Theoretically an established guild means all those virgin dungeons nearby are looted already.

Then there is the probably being forced to wear some sort of guild symbol on your clothing . you join a group you wear their mark

Stan
2017-04-03, 07:38 AM
An adventurer's guild or something similar is a fine idea. Unless your setting is supposed to be historical, don't worry about historical precedent. Besides, not all games are about detailing the macroeconomic details of a fictional world. Sometimes, you just want enough setting to set up the next adventure.

It's been a while, but I think Rat Queens has official adventurers and some higher organization. Or, there might a Dangerous Jobs Agency - people make requests and people willing to take big risks for high pay go there to find work. The agency takes a cut, makes sure taxes are paid, the requester has rights to treasures, etc.

One use for this setup is to present the stem of multiple adventures to the group and let them decide what kind of adventure they want next. It probably works best is an advanced points of light setting, where there are areas doing well and people who have money and/or claims to merit hiring someone, and there are dangerous areas. You could be near a frontier, a century after an apocalyptic event where old treasures are getting reclaimed, or have monsters coming into civilized areas and making a mess.

Grim Portent
2017-04-03, 09:04 AM
Depends on how much they resemble a less formal mercenary company really, the closer the resemblence the better.

I see adventurer's guilds as basically an assemblage of people who do odd jobs involving violence and have a loose but established heirarchy, primarily invoked during wars. A thousand or so soldiers of various kinds who live and operate in and around a large city, usually in a contested region or merchant city. Outside genuine military action they'd still get small jobs because they're a known source of people who know how to murder other people.

During war time the whole guild would go fight for the highest bidder, or the highest bidder they thought wouldn't get them massacred, and get paid a share of the guild's commission and whatever they can loot from the battlefields and any conquered towns. Political allegiance would be minimal, as would moral qualms about which side to pick, you don't join a guild to help people, you do it to get paid.

During peace time jobs would be a first to complete gets the money affair, or would be handed out to specific members. Usually they would be simple things like hunting down outlaws or guarding things, the odd paid murder and a little light banditry of their own. Stuff you don't send hundreds of men to do, but that people will still pay for and can't necessarily rely on their own thugs to do.

The guild would probably occasionally ship off a big chunk of it's members to fight in wars further afield, but in such a case getting them to come back rather than just join/start a mercenary company out there would be difficult.

Retirement would be common after just a few well paid fights. If you manage to loot enough jewlery or take a noble prisoner to ransom you'd pay off your fees and settle down to live like a minor merchant prince, not taking up the sword again unless you got very bored or needed more money badly.



If it's less like the above and more like 50 or so armed men operating out of some lavish manor inexplicably found in a town in the middle of nowhere that is content to hunt giant rats and goblins for farmers who can somehow pay them enough gold to sustain a fighting force and their gear, then it really taxes my suspension of disbelief.

Mark Hall
2017-04-03, 09:11 AM
One might exist as essentially a Mercenaries' Guild, given the more friendly name of Adventurer's Guild.

The Guild might serve as a clearinghouse for various jobs, but could also offer a degree of assurance for their employees and employers... a bond against unnecessary damage, ensuring a proper contract, and vetting the experience of any adventurers hired, as well as the reliability of employers.

Such an operation would be a great front for an organization of spies or assassins, as well. Sure, they hire out bullyboys to beat up goblins, but those bullyboys filter information back to the guild, and, if you know the right passwords, you can hire someone to go kill the count next door.

SilverLeaf167
2017-04-03, 09:23 AM
My current campaign is centered around an "adventurer's guild" (or a knightly order acting like one, anyway), but I've made it explicitly clear that such organizations are quite rare and have a well-documented tendency to turn into regular mercenaries, become corrupt or otherwise dissolve from the inside, assuming some outside power doesn't get tired of them first. It's a very new group and the founder is quite an idealist, but not even all members share the same optimism. :smalltongue: They're more focused on helping people on a "pay what you can" basis, though... at least officially.

jayem
2017-04-03, 10:01 AM
This. I think your typical adventuring party should be the exception, not the rule. The PCs are special, a rarity.

Also, stuff like dungeon exploring and dragons slaying should be rare enough as to not merit the creation of a profession dedicated to it. If you have people making a regular job out of exploring dungeons and rescuing princesses, you are close to entering parody territory.

Or look at Smaug. Thorin didn't just hire a professional dragon slayer to get rid of him, because being a professional dragon killer would be like being a professinal suicide. Hell, nobody dared try to off Smaug and take his stuff for almost two centuries, despite Smaug literally lying on top of a mountain of gold... And when Bard DID kill Smaug, they made him king.

He did (try to) hire a professional Burgler, though.

The groups of like minded individuals meet in coffee shop for business matchmaking (e.g. merchants and insurance) is definitely historical (there's even a parable about it, in the case of farmer and farmhands). And for that matter in risky jobs too (particularly early factory girls)
So I think there's scope for a family of organizations that normally deals with the levels below, matching people to something they'd be 95% likely to survive, for a half decent wage. And that then would be a natural group to go to when you are looking for people willing to take a lifetimes risk for a lifetimes reward. Either with them working together or competing.

sktarq
2017-04-03, 10:40 AM
Most of the time I think they are rather silly. Because of need to constantly provide adventuring jobs on a scale to support enough of them to need to organize them into a guild.

But it is more a matter of presentation. It can be done well.

If the use of force is highly regulated and the adventurer guild is basically a system for those without legal authority to carry arms to get stuff done that needs it. To an extent this could also be used by governments if their actions involving their own troops are limited by law or tradition.

If it is basically treated as a small mercenary unit agency. This would still basically have to be a largely lawless or at war area to provide a basis for work but is certainly possible. War could just be against the various goblin clans in an area-none big enough to get the army out due to other external threats perhaps.

Colonialism. If region A is doing a lot of exploring and seting up new systems in region B and the government of region A is not trying to control everything. That would provide a basis for demand to set up such a guild. That said it would probably not last forever. Eventually maps get drawn up. Local governments stand up and guard the roads. Some work may continue with regularly discovered ruins for a good long time in some place with an Egyptian like length of history but that would be more self funding than a for hire system.

So yeah, the big issue is creating a setting where there is enough work to support a guild of that nature and yet can support an agrarian economy.

CharonsHelper
2017-04-03, 11:08 AM
In part it depends how vicious the world is in general. If it's like The Witcher, I could totally see there being enough jobs for PCs. Mostly kill quests rather than dealing with entire dungeons - but still jobs.

Storm_Of_Snow
2017-04-03, 11:29 AM
For an "adventurer guild" to exist, you must first have a setting where adventuring parties are a thing.

And there's sufficient numbers of adventurers to justify it.

Some of the services could be things like medical care, appropriate funeral rites (maybe even to the point where another party comes out to try and recover your mortal remains), cheaper equipment, training contacts and so on, plus it's also somewhere central that local merchants can go to hire people to do things like protect caravans, without the risks of hiring random people from the local tavern (you break the contract or do a little off the books pillaging, the guild comes after you). Jobs allowed would depend on the person in charge, but outright assassinations would almost certainly not be allowed.

For locations, IMO, the offices would be in the main towns and cities - a village tavern might have an arrangement with them to host a notice board, and maybe provide guild rate rooms to parties on guild-sanctioned missions, but it wouldn't be an office per se.

Mark Hall
2017-04-03, 11:59 AM
I keep coming back to Morrowind and the Fighter's Guild.

The fighters guild offers a variety of services... rooms for guild members, job hiring, smiths, trainers, merchants, all of whom work with guild members. What kind of jobs do they do? Well, you might get hired out to clear rats out of a storehouse. Or to clear bandits out of a mine. Collect a debt. Or go kill some undead that have taken residence in a family tomb. Even simple delivery missions into hostile areas.

Outside of Morrowind, a Mercenaries' Guild might be the place to get caravan guards. Or random layabouts to guard your cattle at night. It might be the refuge of mages who are willing to work for their money, unlike the snooty Wizards Guild.

Joe the Rat
2017-04-03, 12:17 PM
One might exist as essentially a Mercenaries' Guild, given the more friendly name of Adventurer's Guild.

The Guild might serve as a clearinghouse for various jobs, but could also offer a degree of assurance for their employees and employers... a bond against unnecessary damage, ensuring a proper contract, and vetting the experience of any adventurers hired, as well as the reliability of employers.

Such an operation would be a great front for an organization of spies or assassins, as well. Sure, they hire out bullyboys to beat up goblins, but those bullyboys filter information back to the guild, and, if you know the right passwords, you can hire someone to go kill the count next door.

This is essentially what I ended up doing for my home game. The setting is defined as barons bickering over semi-tamed lands rife with the ruins of a couple of civilizations. Mercenaries are a common sight in the region, what with the on-and-off wars and the value of veteran soldiers, who may on occasion decide they want to be King of the Sandbox. It also helps justify all the henchmen hanging out in various dungeons - working for lair bosses, or engaging in a spot of banditry between jobs. The idea soldiers of fortune that deal with issues other than fighting wars - is new to the region.

Here though it is more like companies than guilds - there isn't a pre-existing regional network, but a local clearinghouse for jobs.

BWR
2017-04-03, 12:42 PM
I'm fine with them in theory. In practice, depends on the setting and where in the setting you are.
I wouldn't think it appropriate for something like Dragonlance or in the middle of big, settled areas, but I can see it working in places with a lot of wilderness, ruins of ancient civilizations and in the aftermath of terrible wars.

Some settings work well with the idea. Mystara not only has places with adventuring guilds, adventuring is a taxable profession in some countries and the Kingdom of Ierendi takes the romantic ideals of adventuring to the extreme. It's a cross between a polynesian paradise and adventure town. The king and queen are chosen yearly in a tournament. There are adventuring guilds, there are taverns with mini-dungeons and adventuring-related tests of skill and might, there are adventuring safaris and adventuring tourism is Big Business.
In fact, the PCs of my campaign, all 18-19th level, have decided to take a break from running countries, being diplomatic with hostile neighbors, saving cities from the center of the sun and time traveling gods who have it in for them. They are going to Ierendi, gonna switch up jobs and run a simple adventure like they did in the old days. The sorceress is going to be the fighter, the paladin will be the arcanist and the cleric will be the thief.

Bucky
2017-04-03, 12:54 PM
I'd imagine the guild would start off unofficial and unorganized but gradually evolve into an institution.

It starts with an inn-and-tavern where a few parties of professional merchant-guards, thieves and undead-hunters get together when they're in town. At some of the meetings an "odd job" comes up and they trade leads or form temporary parties. Over time, the tavern gains a reputation as a place to go with such "odd jobs" that may involve combat.

Then the inn starts encouraging the practice. The innkeeper starts forwarding quests to various groups. The barmaids keep track of which adventurers have what skills and who's in town; a couple of them act as a recruiter for existing parties (for a fee), another eventually quits her day job to be a mediator and bookkeeper, and several more act as go-betweens for negotiations. A 'neutral ground' policy develops where rival parties can't fight because the other adventurers will intervene.

Eventually the inn business becomes secondary. Rooms are only occupied by adventurers and have been upgraded with features like lead divination screens, booze is free to basically anyone with 6+ levels in a PC class and the complex has been expanded to include a professional services wing staffed by several retired casters and artificers, and again to include a second-hand loot market.

When the innkeeper retires, he sells the place for a fortune to a consortium of his clients. The only change they need to make is to replace the "Fiddle and Hourglass Tavern" sign with one that reads "Hourglass Tavern Adventurers' Guild".

GungHo
2017-04-03, 01:28 PM
In part it depends how vicious the world is in general. If it's like The Witcher, I could totally see there being enough jobs for PCs. Mostly kill quests rather than dealing with entire dungeons - but still jobs.

It's essentially what the Witchers are. There are some 4th wall-rubbing conceits, like the postings which, beyond a few exceptions which are there for comic relief, are all relevant to Geralt.

I also like this in the 4th wall shattering conceit of Quest for Glory where there are a number of cities with guilds, Hero schools, and the like.

If you want to "play it straight", the guilds existed to protect their trades both from the government and from unrestricted competition. What would make adventurers want to do that? What reason would they have to combine?

Slipperychicken
2017-04-03, 01:42 PM
It's essentially what the Witchers are. There are some 4th wall-rubbing conceits, like the postings which, beyond a few exceptions which are there for comic relief, are all relevant to Geralt.


In a game, do you really want to sift through a medieval craigslist for ten minutes before finding the handful of quests you could possibly want?

SilverLeaf167
2017-04-03, 01:44 PM
If you want to "play it straight", the guilds existed to protect their trades both from the government and from unrestricted competition. What would make adventurers want to do that? What reason would they have to combine?

Well, there's plenty of reasons a government might not look too kindly upon highly-armed vagabonds walking around in public while murdering things left and right... And it's in everyone's best interest (including their own) for said vagabonds to have some sort of organization keeping them in check so they don't start fighting each other and messing up each other's quests or something. It could be pretty risky or at least intimidating for most employers to even approach them without some sort of unified front to handle the transaction. If the adventurers don't want to combine on their own, outside pressure might force their hand.

Quertus
2017-04-03, 01:47 PM
Q&A'a Adventurers' Guild is really more of a membership-gated chain store than anything else. It's a good place to get books and spell components for rock bottom prices. It's also a little bit elitist social club. And the guild can act as a matchmaking service, pairing wealthy citizens with skilled mercs, if it absolutely has to. But perhaps it's biggest draw is that it's a great place to sell unwanted dragons eggs, artifacts, etc.

Also handy if/when you fall through a portal, and find you're not in Kansas anymore. :smallwink:

Alabenson
2017-04-03, 02:36 PM
Honestly, I tend to feel that adventurer guilds have as much a place in a given world as magic marts do, in that both institutions reflect a world where adventurers are common enough to justify organizational support.

Mark Hall
2017-04-03, 02:53 PM
Honestly, I tend to feel that adventurer guilds have as much a place in a given world as magic marts do, in that both institutions reflect a world where adventurers are common enough to justify organizational support.

"Magic Marts" are another question entirely... while often used dismissively, I think Dragonlance made a fairly good case that there would be some talismongering trade, and that those would be a likely place to find magic items. If I go to Bob's House of Components for all my bat guano needs, who am I going to turn to when I have a scroll of my opposition school? Bob, who I know does business with other magic-users, and has ready cash on hand.

Milo v3
2017-04-03, 06:45 PM
In normally have Chartering Companies, Mercenary Organizations, and Ratcatcher's Guilds instead of adventuring guilds. Though on the plane of Elysium I do have an adventure's guild because that plane runs on heroic fantasy narrative logic.

Pauly
2017-04-03, 07:20 PM
One thing, if you do run adventurers for hire campaigns you need to change the dynamics of the rewards.

Most of the fictional equivalents of adventurers for hire (examples Sam Spade, Nero Wolfe, Firefly, Cowboy Bebop, the 7 Samurai) are in an environment where payments only just meet expenses. Which creates the story telling hooks of grinding out low level encounters to pay the rent, vital bits of equipment being off line for maintenance, taking on high paying jobs that sound fishy from the get go, taking jobs from people who end up not being able to pay full price, chasing macguffins which turn out to have no cash value, having rivals swoop in at the last minute to steal the completion bonus.

The exchange for having the quests come to them is that the rewards aren't as high, and they will be forced into accepting adventures they wouldn't freely choose. Having adventurers sitting on a pile of cash being picky about the jobs they choose is hard work for the DM and ultimately boring for the players.

CharonsHelper
2017-04-03, 07:40 PM
"Magic Marts" are another question entirely... while often used dismissively, I think Dragonlance made a fairly good case that there would be some talismongering trade, and that those would be a likely place to find magic items. If I go to Bob's House of Components for all my bat guano needs, who am I going to turn to when I have a scroll of my opposition school? Bob, who I know does business with other magic-users, and has ready cash on hand.

That - and even if every magic item is the equivalent of a 'priceless' work of art - there are plenty of art dealers in the real world which can get you just about anything which is at least a half step down from The Mona Lisa so long as you have enough cash.

Xuc Xac
2017-04-03, 08:56 PM
I can see having adventurer guilds but not one guild that does everything. Need something killed? Post a bounty or hire a mercenary company. Need something explored? Go to the Royal Geographical Society and make a proposal at a symposium.

Storm_Of_Snow
2017-04-04, 03:41 AM
Q&A'a Adventurers' Guild is really more of a membership-gated chain store than anything else. It's a good place to get books and spell components for rock bottom prices.
And a good place to find someone to go and get those spell components for you, especially the more exotic ones.

I guess a lot of it depends on what kind of setting you're looking at - something closer to the renaissance in feel might have such guilds, while something more along the lines of the dark ages probably wouldn't.

darkrose50
2017-04-04, 11:43 AM
I like the idea of treasure hunters. In a world with lost magical treasure there would be a demand for such people. Like Indiana Jones working for an university, and seeking the treasures of old.

Getting hired by royalty, nobility, politicians, and the wealthy to find lost treasures sounds exiting. The lavish parties, the expectation of entertaining these important people with tales of adventure, doing ones best to make the host looks good, networking, and chasing down future leads would be fun.

I would have agents who could find buyers for ancient art and magical items. Many of them would be willing to buy treasure in hopes of making a profit selling it later. This would be a way to get quick gold, but not as much gold if one were to wait for an upcoming seasonal auction.

I would have auction houses that would sell these items for people for a cut. These places could bring in a larger sum of gold than the appraised value, but would mean waiting for the gold (as apposed to selling the item to an agent).

Throw in oddities like a +1 sword enchanted by a young mage, who became a archmage being more valuable than a +3 sword. Perhaps this sword would give an insight into how to best enchant a sword, as well as how to best create a forgery of that arch-mage's enchantments.

No one would look at 100-year-old chess books for advice on playing chess . . . the newer books would be far more advanced. However people would still read and collect 100-year-old books on playing chess. Old magical books could not be all that useful magically compared to modern magical books, but would be important for understanding how mages of old thought, acted, and behaved. This could answer historical questions.

Also perhaps a well known spell has a portion of it that is included for an effect that is not intrinsic. An old tomb could unmask a magical secret. Perhaps casting lightning bolt does not require sacrificing a portion of the heart of a 101-year old oak tree. Perhaps this was added in to purify the air of poisons. Using an older version of the spell without the material component could be valuable. Segments of hearts of 101-year old trees are expensive, and an industry has grown around supplying them. This knowledge could be good for mages, good for understanding history (some extradimensional threat released poisons and was vulnerable to lightning), bad for the oak heart economy, and potentially be important life saving information to have if the extra-dimensional threat were to resurface, and fireballs were used by the war-mages. Perhaps some mage is renown for being so powerful that he could cast lightning bolt without the heart of a 101-year old oak tree, and this secret being made public would be quite embarrassing for him.

Basically rich people like fancy things, with great looks, that are rare, and have a good story. The better the danger, the better the story, the more name recognition, the more the item could be worth.

Finding out how and why people in history did something would be valuable. A person knowing this information could write a book, get invited to parties, make connections, and earn some gold.

For example, knowing the location of a Templar's vault of treasure would be quite the valuable and historical find.


"Magic Marts" are another question entirely... while often used dismissively, I think Dragonlance made a fairly good case that there would be some talismongering trade, and that those would be a likely place to find magic items. If I go to Bob's House of Components for all my bat guano needs, who am I going to turn to when I have a scroll of my opposition school? Bob, who I know does business with other magic-users, and has ready cash on hand.

Finding items that provide healthcare benefits, healing, or life extension would be popular.

Who would not want a potion of healing that could save the life of a loved one? Everyone that could afford one, would want one.

Now not everyone would want a suit of plate armor of the deep.

More merchants would have potions of healing, and few merchants would have plate armor of the deep. Now the military would likely buy plate armor of the deep, but the local upscale merchant would not stock it as a regular item.

solidork
2017-04-04, 01:11 PM
In The Wheel of Time, the main characters run into what are essentially other adventuring parties because this one kingdom declared that they would be holding an official hunt for a particular sacred relic. Thousands flocked to the capital, swore an oath related to finding it and then proceeded to head in pretty much every direction, much to the dismay of anyone not enraptured by the romantic notion of it all.

erikun
2017-04-04, 01:12 PM
Adventuring guilds, along with always-alignments, merchant shops, and several other concessions are typically metagame constructs designed to simplify situations and give a clear idea of how the world works, and/or skip over undesired sections of the roleplay. I mean, there is no reason why a coil of rope found in a decades-old tomb would be in prestine condition, why it would be exactly 50' long, or why every single town would have a building and person dedicated to selling rope/swords/rations to passing travelers and would be happy to buy your spare rope. It is merely a convenience, because some groups don't want to get into the details of rope degredation or manufacture, and don't want to get involved in small village economics when they just want a few coppers for their spare rope.

Adventuring guilds are bascially the same way: not every group of players is looking to sit down and roleplay out an amount of time involved in discovering a location of interest and deciding how to visit. Some groups prefer to spend their roleplay time in the dungeons, or in the journey to the dungeon, and not the minutae involved in teasing the location out of NPC. Hence, the adventuring guild: a place where "adventurers" can gather, learn about points of interest, and head out to deal with them. The guild also works as a point to buy/sell items and for distributing rewards, for adventures and dungeons which might not have piles of gold in them.

Keltest
2017-04-04, 01:44 PM
In a world where adventurers are sufficiently common, and employment available for said adventurers, it is entirely plausible that they would for an organization or organizations to help ensure fair practice and quality work. And even in worlds where they aren't common, some sort of registration with the kingdom (so they can tax you, for example, or track you down if they need to employ you) is in the realm of possibility.

Slipperychicken
2017-04-04, 03:49 PM
Adventuring guilds, along with always-alignments, merchant shops, and several other concessions are typically metagame constructs designed to simplify situations and give a clear idea of how the world works, and/or skip over undesired sections of the roleplay. I mean, there is no reason why a coil of rope found in a decades-old tomb would be in prestine condition, why it would be exactly 50' long, or why every single town would have a building and person dedicated to selling rope/swords/rations to passing travelers and would be happy to buy your spare rope. It is merely a convenience, because some groups don't want to get into the details of rope degredation or manufacture, and don't want to get involved in small village economics when they just want a few coppers for their spare rope.


I agree with your general sentiment, but I think that supplies like preserved food and rope make perfect sense for a small town's general store. Weapons might come from a more specialized vendor, and most store owners would take even a pristine rope at large discount, but basic traveling supplies would make sense to all be lumped together.

ArcanaGuy
2017-04-04, 03:57 PM
The name "Adventurer's Guild" automatically adds a bit of a humorous tweak to it - therefore, I would assume you're going for a somewhat humorous, tongue-in-cheek world. In which case, it's a great vehicle for adventure and plot! With an insane amount of variety.

On the other hand, it doesn't have to be. It could represent a group of people with a bit tongue-in-cheek view of their own profession. Perhaps trying to be taken seriously despite the oddity of them trying to sell themselves as professional adventurers. In this case, I would expect a lot of social interaction and slice-of-life scenes in addition to your standard adventuring. Can't-pay-the-bills tropes and that sort of thing.

Finally, perhaps it's absolutely serious. Perhaps you're using 'Adventurer's Guild' as a stand-in for whatever mercenary "Heroes for Hire" scenario you're talking about. In this case, you are definitely saying a lot about the world. One: It has to be dangerous enough that this is a valid profession. Two: There is a reason that the standard government of the area doesn't do something about the danger.

Perhaps the government isn't lawful good? Perhaps it's an evil government. I did a game once along those lines - you could get a license for almost everything, up to and including murder. But not tax fraud. There were no licenses for tax fraud. People hired mercenaries, police corporations, and 'adventurers' to buy justice. The running gag in the game was "Do you have a license for that?" but it created a very serious and dark world.

Perhaps the government isn't strong. I'm putting together a game along those lines - post apocalyptic. There is no strong central government - just a loose coalition of the remnants of governments from the previous world, heads of groups of survivors that have all banded together in the same city. They do their best to keep the city safe, but they can't be everywhere at once, and sometimes none of the little mini-nations in the city agree that they're the one to spend money on this problem. The elves don't want to do it because it's the humans' city, the humans point out that an elf is the victim, so the elves should front the cost of the investigation, and the orcs claim they should have jurisdiction since the accused party is an orc. And then, of course, all the chaos of the outside post-apocalyptic world, means there's a ton of "Please find my missing _____" quests available. The government forces focus on protecting the city, the various mercenary groups (adventurers) provide the less immediately vital but still important services that don't fall under that umbrella.

There's a lot of ways to go with an 'adventurer's guild' but no matter what, the existence of such a thing and how it is received says more about your world than about the guild.

JBPuffin
2017-04-04, 06:57 PM
I'm actually trying to make a game where each player is in charge of their own Clan (Final Fantasy Tactics Advance-style, somewhere between martial law and adventurer's guild), so I'm totally down with the idea. It's not for every situation, and in-world it might have other terminology or justification beyond a band of wandering leveled people, but they can be a great reason for a team to work together and an easy plot-hook mill.


Also,

Everything he just said.

raygun goth
2017-04-04, 07:52 PM
Perhaps the government isn't strong. I'm putting together a game along those lines - post apocalyptic. There is no strong central government - just a loose coalition of the remnants of governments from the previous world, heads of groups of survivors that have all banded together in the same city. They do their best to keep the city safe, but they can't be everywhere at once, and sometimes none of the little mini-nations in the city agree that they're the one to spend money on this problem. The elves don't want to do it because it's the humans' city, the humans point out that an elf is the victim, so the elves should front the cost of the investigation, and the orcs claim they should have jurisdiction since the accused party is an orc. And then, of course, all the chaos of the outside post-apocalyptic world, means there's a ton of "Please find my missing _____" quests available. The government forces focus on protecting the city, the various mercenary groups (adventurers) provide the less immediately vital but still important services that don't fall under that umbrella.

This is, interestingly, the default assumption of D&D from 4e onward. Nations are city-states situation between vast tracts of inhospitable, monster-infested no man's land.

In my own setting, it's due to a couple of things - one is that there is a Traveler's Curse-type effect on wilderness regions - there is even a ritual you have to do in order to start building a town, and you have to continue to upkeep it every once in a while (they call it "Keeping Country"). The more you get out into the wilderness on foot, the more dreamlike the world becomes until the past, present, and future are occurring all at once, and they called adventurers (people crazy enough to go out in these things) isolators - after "Zone of Isolation." There's an authority in place held by international treaty because people who do go out in those places to fight monsters and keep the planet quiet and sing to the stones to keep the world alive tend to acquire power on par with a small military, just on their own, and that needs some kind of international adjudication. I mean, there's this thing that happens to the people we need to keep our society functional, and that it's that eventually they acquire the ability to, you know, ring up gods and tell them to sit down, shut up, and go get them a beer, or take tank rounds to the gut, or punch Godzilla in the face and Godzilla will allow it. That's something you definitely want to have heavily regulated and definitely not on the side of your enemies (or your own, honestly, the instant your enemies know you have that kind of weapon lying around they will try to do something about it, and that's not a political debacle an already (relatively) weak, fractured government wants on its hands, no, better to get them out of town as quick as possible while also trying to figure out how to tax them).

Illven
2017-04-04, 10:35 PM
I'm almost tempted to run a adventurer guilds type game, but pick up the mafia-like portions of it.

Every character has to explain why they were chosen to join the guild.

You occasionally have to hunt down and intimidate scrubs. And if that fails arrest them for breaking the law.

Potentially assassination work.

In between sessions of guard work, helping explorers in dangerous tombs. Etc.

NRSASD
2017-04-05, 06:40 AM
In my sister's campaign setting (inspired by Jen Burdo's excellent campaign logs!) we have a branch of the law enforcement known as the Troubleshooters. They get paid triple the normal rate, free room and board, bonuses on completing missions, and have the freedom to dress as they like in a highly regulated society. The downsides? They are sent on any mission too dangerous for the regular guardsmen or one where the Crown wants plausible deniability. Since these missions are often lethal, the Crown allows any criminal to enlist in exchange for a full pardon. Oddly, almost no one has taken them up on their offer, probably because of the hilariously high mortality rate.

I've been having a ton of fun with it so far. Our poor PCs dread being sent to the front, are constantly plotting to overthrow the monarchy, and are fervently searching for evidence that the country next door is out to kill us specifically. We get the job done, but with much whining, grumbling, and funerals. It's definitely a comically dark campaign, but it works really well.

If you want to run an "Adventurers' Guild" style campaign, I strongly recommend the Troubleshooter format. Otherwise, take a look at the Renowned Explorers' computer game for inspiration. Set during the age of Exploration (1800's), various adventuring parties are competing to become the most knowledgeable, wealthiest, or most famous company in the world. Of the many that venture out only a few return, but those that do become national heroes and win the adulation of an adoring public.

CharonsHelper
2017-04-05, 07:39 AM
In my sister's campaign setting (inspired by Jen Burdo's excellent campaign logs!) we have a branch of the law enforcement known as the Troubleshooters. They get paid triple the normal rate, free room and board, bonuses on completing missions, and have the freedom to dress as they like in a highly regulated society. The downsides? They are sent on any mission too dangerous for the regular guardsmen or one where the Crown wants plausible deniability.

So if there's trouble... they shoot it?

JeenLeen
2017-04-05, 08:00 AM
I can think of a few sources of inspiration for good implementations of Adventurer's Guilds. (This isn't adding much to the earlier posts, but it may help.)

In Suikoden III, there's an organization made up of mercenary companies (each company basically a party of adventurers) that work for one of the countries but do freelance merc work when not on duty. There is competition between companies, and sometimes outright violence, but in general they are on the same 'team' and show professional courtesy. From what I could tell, they all report to that government's military, but they are sort of 'beside it' instead of 'part of it'.
Makes sense as a way to keep powerful people in the military without having to pay for all their upkeep when there's not a war going on.

In a game I ran, the world basically had constant threats, at least in the form of bandits, goblins, and undead. Three mercenary companies had formed, each effectively its own adventurer's guild. You could, in theory, be an adventurer without belonging to an organization, but you'd have trouble finding work and you'd probably be targeted by one of the organizations/governments and be pressed into retiring or joining up.
Each guild had a different outlook and structure.
-one was primarily concerned with holding back the undead from the Wastes (sort of a mix between Church of Pelor and the Wall from Game of Thrones), and they'd take jobs away from the border to raise money. Also acted as traveling healers, usually asking for donations
-one was the primary army of the smaller country, essentially organized like the Suikoden III example. Worked with the goal of strengthening its nation, but took odd jobs across the continent. Somewhat distrusted in other countries.
-one was basically organized like a merchants' guild. You'd take a job, get to keep any loot and a cut of the pay, etc. If you did good work, you'd get offered better jobs. This was the most morally neutral faction.
There was also the idea that a Big Bad could reappear, so the Guilds were a way to have prepared soldiers in case that happens. Of course, by the present, that was basically a fairy tale.

One thing I liked about Fable was that the Guild was definitely neutral, and would take both good and evil jobs. I find that hard to do effectively in an RPG (unless the Guild basically runs the country), but... well, it is a cool idea that I'd like to see implemented well with good verisimilitude.

CharonsHelper
2017-04-05, 02:09 PM
As another example in fiction - aren't the Ninja Villages in Naruto variants on the adventurer guild idea - only they have more of a monopoly because only certain people can ever do ninja techniques.

They are semi-aligned with the nation they're within, but they often take jobs from other nations and/or individuals from them as well.

ShaneMRoth
2017-04-05, 09:50 PM
I built a campaign around this concept. (This was 3E D&D, by the way)

The player characters would begin their careers being trained up to 3rd level at an academy.

Once the characters were leveled up, they left the academy and performed missions for the guild and worked off their tuition.

The guild took a full share of the treasure found during a mission to pay off the tuition. (Meaning that if there were five PCs, then the treasure was divided six ways and the guild took one sixth of the treasure.)

I worked it out so that the players completely "worked off" their tuition by about 10th level. At that point, the characters were independent adventurers in control of their own fate. More importantly, they were powerful and experienced enough to function independently. The guild was still on good terms with the PCs, and would provide them with things like access to spells and a place to buy and sell magic items.

Herobizkit
2017-04-06, 05:16 AM
I just thought of the Stonecutters (from The Simpsons) as a typical 'Adventurer's Guild'.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZI_aEalijE

"What, you want us to DO stuff? Get outta here..."

Kelb_Panthera
2017-04-07, 09:30 PM
So if there's trouble... they shoot it?

Well someone has to mete pun -ishment.

I am so sorry...

Velaryon
2017-04-09, 08:05 PM
I used an adventuring guild for my D&D game, though my PC's have pretty much outgrown it by now. I found that it works well as an easy and convenient setup for episodic adventures. The reason I did it was because I didn't have much of an idea at the beginning of the game. It was basically a case of "I miss gaming. Why aren't we playing D&D anymore?" "Well, nobody else feels like running a game right now, so why don't you?" So I ended up starting a game and just throwing some a few things together to get it moving, until the story developed organically out of what the PC's were doing.

Here's how it worked:

Guild members are freelancers who can operate independently or as a group. They must obtain a license in order to take on guild jobs, which is obtained by passing a field test (retrieve a dragon statue from this cave up in the mountains and bring it back here). A guild-employed wizard ran the trial site, challenging prospective members with summoned monsters and traps to judge their prowess. The statue is simply a non-magical idol with a false aura of conjuration (healing) magic. Successfully retrieving it and bringing it back to the guildhall earns a membership card for everyone in the party.

Anyone can hire the guild for work, and can offer whatever they feel is a suitable reward. Jobs are basically posted on a bounty board, so if the reward is inadequate then no one will take the job and the reward will be refunded. The guild will not allow missions that require breaking local laws (so no assassinations, robbing the palace, etc.), and offers no protection to guild members if they break any laws themselves. It's simply a business that facilitates the hiring of qualified people to accomplish jobs that require adventurers' skill sets. The guild sustains itself by taking a 10% cut of all rewards offered (taken off before the job is posted).

The campaign began at a job fair, in which adventurer types could sign up on one of four lists (corresponding to the typical warrior, arcane caster, divine caster, skillmonkey archetypes), and then network among themselves to form a party. After that, the first mission was the license test (outlined above), and then episodic adventures. I prepared for the game by creating 3-5 jobs that would be on the bounty board when they went in, then sketched out bare-bones details and encounters for each and made up the rest on the fly. If they didn't take a job, it might still be there later, or another adventuring group might take the job before they could claim it.

In case anyone cares, here is a list of some of the jobs the PC's took on under this system:

-track down a barbarian who burned down a tavern, turn him over to local authorities, and obtain compensation for the innkeeper
-obtain a griffin egg and transport it to a knight who plans to raise it
-capture owlbears for a gnome who runs a traveling zoo/circus
-administer the guild admission test while the wizard who normally does it goes on vacation
-rescue a bride kidnapped on the day before her wedding
-obtain a lawyer for a man falsely accused of a crime
-act as security guards on a barge transporting valuable goods downriver
-fight a 1v1 duel against the elf who posted the mission
-serve as backup dancers for an orc entering a dance contest (oh man, did this one get out of hand:smallbiggrin:)
-help a local wizard test the new spell he's been researching... by being the target
-protect a coastal village from an imminent pirate attack
-investigate gold shipments from a guild outpost in the next city that are going missing


By the time the PCs were level 9 or 10, they had developed their own priorities and the storyline built itself around them, so they gradually stopped doing guild missions as they found other ways to get into/cause trouble. They've since moved onto bigger things such as clearing out three criminal organizations that were having a gang war in the city, becoming nobles responsible for the safety of thousands, trying to end the mysterious magical drought that has plagued the land for most of a year, and finding out what happened to cause an entire dwarven city to die and rise up as undead. But the guild thing worked out pretty well at low levels at least, especially since there was not much of a story at that time.

Piedmon_Sama
2017-04-11, 11:25 AM
There was probably a time when I would have been perturbed by a lack of realism or whatever, but in the last couple years it's an idea I've used several times as a source for plot hooks, information etc. I've discovered I kind of prefer games where "adventurers" are an acknowledged part of the world--is it a little meta, a little side glance at the 4th wall, yeah probably, but it also means you don't end up with settings that have long stretches of "nothing for you to do here" which was a problem with my earlier games.

PhoenixPhyre
2017-04-11, 04:55 PM
In my current setting adventurers are an acknowledged social class--basically those who can't fit into (the rather rigid and xenophobic) society. They are usually condemned criminals given a chance to spend their death sentence somewhere other than prison. They're sent out to outlying settlements to aid them and die horribly so more "valuable" members of society can survive. The mean life span of an adventurer (from commissioning to death) is about two weeks. Fortunately the PCs are the rare exceptions (if they survive, of course).

As such, the "Adventurer's Guild" is run under the military (which is part of one of the militant religious orders) and is called that so it matches the other Guilds that run the society. No kings or nobles, just a council of guilds.

I've also worked in a setting where the adventurer's guild was more normal (covering for a multi-table, no-fixed-attendance, multiple-DM shared universe). It generally worked well, although I didn't like the setting all that much for other reasons.

icefractal
2017-04-11, 06:07 PM
I don't mind the concept too much, but having anything literally called an "Adventurer's Guild" or a "Thief's Guild" just feels a bit too "generic fantasy" for me. And I'm not even against 4th-wall breakage, but those particular ones are too overused for my taste.

Also, I'm of mixed feelings on the whole "get hired, go on missions" campaign structure. It works in some cases, and it's certainly an easy setup to get the party together, give them a thing to do, etc, without any time wasted. It just gets a bit uninspiring sometimes, especially when you're talking about higher-level characters still doing this. Like - you've got all this power now, and you use it on running errands for rich people so you can get paid and invest it in incrementally more power? What's even the point?

Kelb_Panthera
2017-04-11, 06:36 PM
I don't mind the concept too much, but having anything literally called an "Adventurer's Guild" or a "Thief's Guild" just feels a bit too "generic fantasy" for me. And I'm not even against 4th-wall breakage, but those particular ones are too overused for my taste.

Eh, I can see a group of like-minded rapscalions getting together for mutual security and to prevent fences from strongarming them calling themselves a guild in a sort of pseudo-ironic fashion. Ya know, they call themselves a guild but they don't necessarily pay dues (at first) or consider themselves to be a real guild, anymore than local law enforcement does, even though they largely function like one.

And just to be "that guy," "Thieves' guild." :smalltongue:

raygun goth
2017-04-11, 10:00 PM
Eh, I can see a group of like-minded rapscalions getting together for mutual security and to prevent fences from strongarming them calling themselves a guild in a sort of pseudo-ironic fashion. Ya know, they call themselves a guild but they don't necessarily pay dues (at first) or consider themselves to be a real guild, anymore than local law enforcement does, even though they largely function like one.

And just to be "that guy," "Thieves' guild." :smalltongue:

It's important to remember that we have those in real life. We call them alternately "gangs" or "organized crime rings." Which always bothered me that people seemed to think cant was silent sign language, rather than, you know, a cant - a collection of words, body postures, symbols (written and worn on clothing) that creates a coded system of conveying data about rather complicated business. It also bothered me that each city seemed to have its own and gladly welcomed wandering, adventuring thieves into their town for a small amount of coin. What organized criminals care about the actions of some pickpocketing drifter, honestly? We have more important alchemy industries to control.

Guizonde
2017-04-11, 11:07 PM
i've been running a campaign in a setting for nigh on 4 years where the basic premise was that all characters were from the "scavenger's guild". it's a post-apocalyptic setting, and if you become a scav, you're either suicidally insane, brave, both or in deep trouble. big risk generates big rewards. at first, the guild was a way to make a quick buck (and give me the first dm an easy alternative to the "you all start in a bar" scenario). in the 4 years of play (3 full campaigns with rotating dm's), the guild has become a watermark for "psychotic badass that gets the job done". sooner or later, pc's become a scav' as a proof of honor.

you call upon a scav' to do anything that is dangerous, even if it's as mundane as changing an air filter... in a nuclear reactor. rad-mutants ate the mayor again? call up a scav' team to solve the problem. a settlement needs a check-up? send a scav' runner. scav' team missing? send another to loot the bodies and finish the mission. need a distraction? give a scav' a month's wages and tell him to drink himself stupid. giant rats ate your baby? one scav' hunter should be enough to clear the nest out.

you're a waster who single-handedly saved a scav's life? you might get inducted into the guild. life expectancy sucks, but the pay, prestige, and medical is great. it all evolved from the in-universe need to control the gung-ho burn-outs while simultaneously getting someone to do the dirty jobs. the prestige came from scav' teams routinely doing the impossible, like saving the world, reinventing nuclear bombs, finding a cure for lead-poisonning (not getting shot and improving body armor, basically), or surviving for more than 5 missions. those are the exceptions, mind you. as of now, in-universe the guild is just over 200 years old. still relatively stable, for a bunch of mercs who can shoot, fix things, and follow instructions. in the past, they were a mix between mercs and handymen. they went on to become black-ops extermination squads due to bad leadership, to becoming a police force, back to their role as fixer-uppers, and now are leaning to becoming a trade school versed in computers, electricity, medicine, and combat. lots of fluff for a simple plot device, but it evolved naturally.

so, you can make it work, so long as your "adventurer's guild" is more fleshed out than a simple bulletin board in the local tavern. if you think about it, when playing dark heresy, the inquisitor's warband you should be a part of serves that purpose of a quest-giving organization.

Kelb_Panthera
2017-04-13, 02:20 PM
It's important to remember that we have those in real life. We call them alternately "gangs" or "organized crime rings."

Yes, technically.


Which always bothered me that people seemed to think cant was silent sign language, rather than, you know, a cant - a collection of words, body postures, symbols (written and worn on clothing) that creates a coded system of conveying data about rather complicated business.

Yeah, not sure what that's about either. Pure somatic language has some serious limitations if you want to do anything else or even hold something most of the time. Why on Oerth would anyone think that would be useful to thieves except in fairly limited circumstances?


It also bothered me that each city seemed to have its own and gladly welcomed wandering, adventuring thieves into their town for a small amount of coin. What organized criminals care about the actions of some pickpocketing drifter, honestly? We have more important alchemy industries to control.

Gotta disagree here though. Low-level gangs IRL are regularly losing members to law-enforcment to the point they need regular recruitment to offset the losses and that's before you even consider rival organizations, the inherent greed of an organization comprised primarily of thieves, and the sheer difficulty in reaching the point that political figures start to look at the organization as a viable tool rather than a nuisance. Tack on pseudo-medieval notions of justice and the need for near-constant low-level recruitment becomes quite clear.

It's like an army in a constant state of war; if it's to continue to exist, it's gotta keep gathering more troops. Savvy?

raygun goth
2017-04-14, 01:40 PM
It's like an army in a constant state of war; if it's to continue to exist, it's gotta keep gathering more troops. Savvy?

No, that's the part I get. The part I don't get is that there's only ever one per city for some reason and it's always, always called the thieves' guild in Gygaxian parlance, and for some reason they have the psychic ability to know you're of the class "thief" and believe that you're going to steal stuff even though you took that class because it's really the only "some schmuck" class in the whole damn game and for some reason have the ability to know every time you steal something and they want 10% if you want to be a licensed thief in this town. Not to become a member, but just to be allowed to steal stuff. Because only registered thieves can steal things in this town? So I guess it's more a personal beef with how Gygaxian OSR style gaming handles it.

I also understand that organized crime would be rampant and the vast majority of "town guard" is probably corrupt shills for it in most D&D settings - given that organized crime often responds to disasters faster than legitimate government (it has to protect its interests and it doesn't have as much messy paperwork to handle), and any given D&D city, no matter how rarely, has the opportunity to turn from "day at the ren faire" to "pilot episode of Attack on Tarrasque" in seconds, but I also think there should be, you know, more than one gang (most of what we'd call "gangs" nowadays were made up of bored noblemen's sons in the middle ages, but D&D isn't exactly the middle ages, you know?) or mafia family per given city.

Honest Tiefling
2017-04-14, 01:43 PM
i've been running a campaign in a setting for nigh on 4 years where the basic premise was that all characters were from the "scavenger's guild". it's a post-apocalyptic setting, and if you become a scav, you're either suicidally insane, brave, both or in deep trouble. big risk generates big rewards. at first, the guild was a way to make a quick buck (and give me the first dm an easy alternative to the "you all start in a bar" scenario). in the 4 years of play (3 full campaigns with rotating dm's), the guild has become a watermark for "psychotic badass that gets the job done". sooner or later, pc's become a scav' as a proof of honor.

I agree, this is the way to do it. Weave it into the world and have it make sense! A guild of people doing dirty jobs (and a reason said dirty jobs are wildly abundant) are, in my opinion, quite vital for the concept to work.

Cluedrew
2017-04-14, 02:35 PM
you call upon a scav' to do anything that is dangerous, even if it's as mundane as changing an air filter... in a nuclear reactor.
[...]
the prestige came from scav' teams routinely doing the impossible, like saving the world, [...] or surviving for more than 5 missions.That sounds like a terrible way to live, but a pretty good story. You make a good pitch.

Jay R
2017-04-15, 12:05 PM
An "adventurers guild" implies many things about a setting, including that adventuring is common, that the people doing it are more or less organized, and that cities are large enough to support such things.

If you want a world that feels this way, then have fun with your adventurers' guild. But it leads to the kind of modern setting that I'm actively avoiding.

JinkyS
2017-04-17, 08:21 PM
I think the word "guild" is overused to describe almost any professional organization in a medievalish setting. I would simply not call it a guild unless it did other guildlike things.

Guizonde
2017-04-18, 02:57 PM
That sounds like a terrible way to live, but a pretty good story. You make a good pitch.

thank you, it's a very grimdark universe that works on an overload of horror, violence, and gallows humor. its inspirations were 80's action flicks, warhammer 40k, cthulu, fallout, and a bunch of science fiction, film noir, or horror movies that the other players threw in. it's been 4 years running, and most of the time at the end of a session we tend to go "what kind of monsters are we?!"

quite cathartic, really. we had one campaign that was essentially a mix of the expendables and leon the proffessionnal, if it took place while facing eldritch horrors. (spoiler alert: we survived)