Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Adventurers' Guild

One of the things I don't see a lot of in campaigns, but is a common trope in other aspects of the fantasy genre is the Adventurers' Guild. From perusing some threads online and reddit, it seems a lot of people don't like them because they feel to video-gamey. Something about the presence of a guild doesn't feel natural, and so they eschew it. I can understand that view, but I'm not sure I agree. Today I want to talk about that, and why an Adventurers' Guild may make sense in your world.

A Hub For Activity
The Adventuers' Guild gives you a hub for activity. In a sense it can be a one stop shop for a lot of the things the PCs are going to need. An Adventurers' Guild can give jobs and assign quests. It can sell gear. It can buy gear. It can provide medical, divine, or arcane services. It can do a lot of things.

As a GM this can be good because it means you can make a small number of NPCs that the PCs go to regularly for these things. For players it gives a sort of haven, and a place to go whenever they aren't sure what to do next, or where they should be going.

This idea of a hub is useful, and that is why they are used in games, anime, comics, and books. But that use is also why they frequently feel so fake at times. But I disagree.

Privatized Expendable Problem Solvers
RPG worlds you see in Pathfinder and D&D games are dangerous places. Goblin attacks, dragon attacks, armies of undead, liches, fallen gods, demon lords, etc, etc, etc. Everywhere you go, if you're not in city walls, you could run into monsters and problems. Even in cities you sometimes have monster problems. And it's not like the local army is always going to be equipped to deal with those problems - or that they can take people off the borders to do so.

So why not privatize it? An adventurer's guild serves as a hub for PCs and adventurers, but it also serves as a business and place that local towns, cities, and holdings can put up coin to have their problems solved. This works for the towns - do you want to wait for a group of adventurers to randomly show up to deal with your orc problem, or would you rather be able to send a letter and have adventurers dispatched to you? And it works out for the kingdom - they get safer roads/country sides.

More to the point, there is money to be made here. There are fees to collect from towns, cities, and kingdoms. There is money to be made on purchasing treasure found by adventurers and reselling them elsewhere. There is money to be made in membership fees, clerical fees, arcane fees, training fees. There is a lot of money to be made. Even better, there is power.

In solving the problems of kingdoms and the powerful, you find information out. You gain power. Controlling a powerful adventurers guild would give status. And when viewed from this angle the lack of an adventurer's guild makes even less sense than the presence of one.

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