The Seafarers’ Guild is a guild dedicated to the well-being of Guang Keshar’s commercial sailors and sailing ships. Having no House affiliation, the head of the guild, Admiral Limani Kukuri, reports directly to the Emperor. Even the Moot of Harbingers has no authority over the Guild.
The Guild has a monopoly on all commercial sea traffic in Guang Keshar. As per imperial law, no House may send out their own ships across the sea for the purposes of trade and commerce. Houses are still allowed to field navies and other military-purpose ships, as well as a single flagship with escort.
Most members are born into the Guild. An acknowledged child of one or more Seafarer parents automatically becomes a member of the Guild, as do all children born in Guild-controlled towns. Residents of Guild towns are also considered Seafarers, but are treated more like colonies than full-fledged members. Anyone else may join the Guild, if they can find a ship willing to take them on; after two years service at sea they become full-fledged members.
The advantages of becoming a member of the Guild are many. Upon becoming a full member, all previous obligations the new Seafarer may owe are completely forgiven. That means the Seafarer is free of all past debts, including indentured servitude. In fact, the Guild opposes indentured servitude completely: no Guild member is allowed to hold an indentured contract on anyone. That includes anyone in a Seafarer town.
Another advantage is lower taxes. Members are still obligated to pay imperial taxes, but the Guild doesn’t tax its members, who are likewise free of any tax burden to a House or lord. The Guild takes a percentage for each piece of cargo it ships, as well as charging for non-Guild passengers. All Guild members and their immediate families may ride free on any Guild ship, if there’s space available.
Unemployment is low among Guild members; the Guild does its best to provide every member with a job. The Guild also takes care of the member’s family, should he become lost at sea. It also provides for retired members.But Guild membership also has its obligations. Each member must serve two years on board a ship out of every ten. And ship definitely has its hazards. Few Seafarers make it to retirement age.
Ask anyone on Guang Keshar what word comes to mind when you say “Seafarers’ Guild” and they’ll immediately respond “shapeshifting”. Despite the fact that fewer than one quarter of all native Seafarers (those born to one or more parents carrying the Seafarer bloodline) actually have the shapeshifting ability, it’s the ability most associated with them. But more common than shapeshifting is the ability to use minor magics. These usually include cantrips for predicting the weather and means for communicating via magical mirrors from ship to ship.
Articles Zemanta thinks may be related
- GMing concept garage sale. Everything STILL must go! (gnomestew.com)
- The Guild #1 (popsyndicate.com)