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In many games, Guilds are little more than small groups who simply declare their affiliation and then go adventuring together. In Shadowbane we have expanded the concept, allowing players to form true political units. Guilds form the basic building block of Shadowbane's in-game community and society. Guilds are also the driving force behind Shadowbane's virtual economy, bringing them that much closer to the historical Guilds that arose in the Late Middle Ages and changed the face of Europe.

Guilds within Shadowbane are more than a collection of players banded together for the sake of camaraderie: typically, the members of a Guild share common in-game goals and aspirations. There are several distinct Guild templates in Shadowbane, each built around a common profession, set of professions, field of mastery, or World view. Shadowbane Guilds also allow for the formation of dynamic City-States, Kingdoms, and Empires.  In Shadowbane, player created and controlled Guilds can claim and own territories within the virtual world, building entire Cities, strengthening their defenses, and increasing the effectiveness of their City's shops and buildings.  City building and territorial conquest are the primary activities of most Guilds. Because Cities are notoriously difficult to pack up and move around, Shadowbane Guilds tend to be more local and stationary than the player organizations seen in other games. A Guild's fortunes are bound to the health of its City and its territory within the game. Guilds may wander around initially, but after gathering enough power and resources, a Guild or an alliance of Guilds will usually settle down, founding or conquering a City-State to use as a home base, open marketplace, or military stronghold.

Furthermore, Shadowbane's game mechanics allow Guilds to pledge fealty to other Guilds, creating an entirely new realm of possibilities for political maneuvering and tactical warfare. A dynamic, constantly changing political landscape has risen, with Guilds expanding into Kingdoms, Kingdoms merging into Empires, and Empires splintering under the strain of revolutions. Alliance, betrayal, and war are commonplace, and the winners of this deadly game are the shrewdest leaders, not the best fighters.

The Different Guild Types

As stated above, Shadowbane offers different Guild templates, each designed to favor certain professions, fields of mastery, or world views.  There are currently 17 different Guild Templates to choose from.  In order to found a Player Run Guild, you must choose and purchase one of the following Charters:

  1. Amazon Temple
  2. Barbarian Clan
  3. Church of the All-Father
  4. Centaur Cohort
  5. Cult of the Scourge
  6. Dwarf Hold
  7. High Court
  8. Kh'ree
  9. Mercenary Company
  10. Military Legion
  11. Noble House
  12. Ranger's Brotherhood
  13. Temple of the Cleansing Flame
  14. Thieves' Band
  15. Unholy Legion
  16. Virakt
  17. Wizard's Conclave

Each Guild type has it's own unique view of the world, its own set of knowledge and lore. To demonstrate this in the game, each Guild type has a set of 'Preferred Classes or Races' associated with it.  Note that these types of members are Preferred, not Mandatory: there are no Class or Race restrictions for any of the Guild types, and Shadowbane players are free to assemble and congregate as they see fit.

Each Guild type also has its own unique set of Titles and Ranks, allowing the Guild leadership to assign different ranks to different individuals, and award members for their loyal service. There are no pre-requisites or in-game requirements for any of the lower Guild ranks: the leaders of a Guild are free to assign them however they desire. When dealing with the highest Guild ranks, however, there are some restrictions and prerequisites. The highest ranks in each Guild type are reserved for Guild Leaders who control a City and Guild Leaders who control a Nation.  Guild ranks and titles have no bearing on the powers and statistics of the characters who hold them - they are used for roleplaying and managerial purposes.

Make sure that you do not confuse Guild rank with character Rank - the two are entirely different.  Guild rank (little 'r') denotes a character's status and position within their Guild. Character Rank (capital 'R') is a measure of a character's level and relative power (as described in Character Development section).

Is Everyone in a Guild?

No, players are able to live the life of an "errant", or a guild-less player.  Such a lifestyle is not easy though.  But, to account for players with more 'individual' styles, there will be a number of Guilds in the game that are not controlled by players. These 'GM-run Guilds' will be loose-knit organizations, whose members may or may not play cooperatively, as they choose. They will be tied to a common City-State (usually a Safehold) where they can train, purchase equipment, and heal. GM-run guilds will not participate in territorial conquest and can neither grow nor decline in power.

Guild Heraldry

During Guild Creation, the Guild Leader uses an interactive interface to create a custom heraldic Coat of Arms (also known as a Guild Crest).  These Guild Crests will appear in various places in the game. The most obvious use of the Guild Crest is its appearance in the Character Information window. Whenever you select a character by left-clicking on them, their Guild emblem will be one of the most prominent pieces of information displayed. With a few exceptions, players will never be allowed to hide their Guild affiliation, making all Guilds ultimately accountable for the actions of their members.

Guild Leadership

There are four levels of authority within every guild :

The GUILD LEADER is in charge of the guild.He or she is ultimately responsible for all areas of guild management, including initiating and banishing members, promoting and demoting members in Guild rank, and controlling their City's Tree of Life.

A Guild Leader can, at their discretion, appoint worthy members to their guild’s INNER COUNCIL.Inner Council members are granted the same powers and responsibilities as the Guild Leader.

Most players within the guild will be ACTIVE members.This gives them the right to use the Guild communication channel, preferred access to Guild shops and facilities, and the power to invite new players into the guild as petitioners. Active Members also receive the protection of the City Guards while in their Guild City.

Finally, members with PETITIONER status occupy the lowest echelon within a Guild. Whenever a character accepts an invitation to join a Guild, they are awarded Petitioner status until the Guild Leader or Inner Council officially approves their membership and formally initiates them. Petitioners are given limited access to guild facilities.

Players who are not currently in a guild are considered ERRANT.