Thursday, 29 May 2008

Sparkling New Campaign Idea - Part 2: The Guildhall and Library

So, Adventurer's Guilds.

Every guild needs a guildhall. That's a given. This particular Adventurer's Guild is located in a big, ramshackle old building that everybody calls The Owlery; it was built centuries ago at the behest of a forgotten burgher of the town who used it to breed a certain species of fish owl. (The descendants of those birds still inhabit the rafters of the building to this day, making their living by fishing in the nearby lake.) The Owlery is a sprawling labyrinth of a building, full of cul-de-sac corridors, mezzanines, false doors and spiral staircases which the original owner built to confuse thieves. These days it mostly confuses the guild's members, many of whom still can't find their way around despite having visited the place for years. It is full of collected artifacts that members have donated over the centuries, from huge vases to stuffed leopards to ancient paintings.

Inside The Owlery are offices of the guild's various Aldermen, Kerzenmeisters and other functionaries, several council chambers for meetings of the Ruling Council, a dormitory, a great Common Hall for feasting and carousing, and The Library.

The Library is a vast collection of diaries, letters, bestiaries, explorer's accounts, and treatises on any and every subject related to the Adventuring profession. It is the accumulated knowledge of dozens of generations of guild members, and is the organization's most prized possession. As such it is jealously guarded.

The Librarians

The Librarians are twenty-four in number; twelve replacements are elected every five years, and each Librarian serves a ten-year term. They are generally men and women of exceptionally trustworthy character, but nevertheless they are each bound to their duties by a Geas spell cast by a high-ranking Wizard member of the Ruling Council. Most commonly chosen are Wizards and Clerics, but prospective Librarians can be of any class. However, only those of a Lawful alignment may be chosen.

Librarians are typically of 6-9th level, and should be equipped accordingly. As well as their class and racial powers, they gain the benefit of a magical ring, of which there are twenty-four in existence. These magical rings are plain, made from copper, and are entirely unnoteworthy in appearance. They allow the Librarians to Know Alignment, Detect Evil and Detect Magic at will. Upon leaving their posts, the Librarians are expected to pass on their rings to their replacements.

The Golems

Five golems are placed in different locations in the Library. To the unknowing, they appear to be somewhat unusual-looking statues or artifacts, but they will spring to life should the Library need defending or should a thief be suspected. The first is a Gargoyle Golem who stands near the entrance. The second is a Glass Golem who is part of the stained-glass window on the fourth floor. The third is a Clay Golem who stands in a dusty corner under a staircase on the second floor. The fourth is an Iron Golem who is disguised as a suit of armour in the lobby. The fifth and final one is a Stone Golem situated between two book cases on the third floor.


Some books can be loaned for a period of one or two weeks, or a month. They are expected to be returned by noon on the due date, and the rules are very strict; one hour after noon has passed is considered too late. Every day that a book is overdue a fine of 10gp is levied. After a month has passed beyond the due date, the fine is ratcheted up to 50gp per day. After six weeks have passed, the penalty is a minor magical item or potion. After two months, the Librarians will "defer the matter to the Ruling Council", which generally means that the culprit will be found with a scrying spell and a Retriever summoned to recover the book.
Tomorrow: the Ruling Council.


  1. That's a wonderfully evocative location. Hints of Harry Potter, Ankh-Morpok, and the Royal Geographical Society.

    - Brian

  2. I simply love guilds, and this one is a great idea for a great Cabal! Lately I've been experimenting with eliminating the Epic Villain who hounds the PC's for a long period of time, and replacing him with rivals and opponents, ones that are more competitive then really life threatening. It would be considered "bad form" to eliminate a rival by killing them, but this also allows the rival and the PC's to work together for short periods of time.

    Of course the rival parties masters are evil as sin, just incase we do need to bring in an epic villain, but in the long run he can be completely ignored.

    God can I ramble! I love where you are heading with this, and you have me completely captivated!

  3. I like where you're going with that, Ripper, and it's something I'm also thinking about trying. The high-ups in the guild might be enemies, they might be allies, or they might be both or neither.

  4. That's a wonderfully evocative location. Hints of Harry Potter, Ankh-Morpok, and the Royal Geographical Society.

    Funnily enough I've never read a Harry Potter or a Terry Pratchett book. I think I must have taken on their ideas through osmosis!

    I'm also trying to get a Gormenghastian angle in there too. The internal relations of the guild will be as complex as the building itself.