Akara resonates with magic. Those who use it vary greatly in their philosophies and approaches. Mages of like temperament often gather together in groups, commonly referred to as wizards’ guilds. The title is a misnomer, since most don’t restrict their membership to only wizards, but include all who use magic such as sorcerers and bards, sometimes even clerics. Because of the diversity of magic and magic users, there’s no such thing as a typical wizard’s guild.
The principle difference between an Arcane Guild and an Arcane Society is that guilds are local organizations which operate within a single area. Societies, however, operate across whole regions.
See also: Arcane Society
FINDING A GUILD
Most major metropolitan areas support several public guilds. They have set locations and are easy to find. Smaller towns may have only one guild. Rural villages usually don’t have enough mages of similar goals to support a guild. Magic users from these places often affiliate themselves with the nearest established guild.
Not all guilds are public or easy to find, though. Sometimes mages find themselves at odds with the local authorities or populace. Guilds in hostile environments operate in secret. Guild locations may be temporary. Members may know each other only by code names. They jealously guard their privacy. Their lives may depend on it.
THE GUILD ENVIRONMENT
Most commonly, wizard guilds form for the purpose of sharing resources, with an emphasis on education. These places typically have large libraries and laboratories. They resemble schools. Many have rooms or small apartments where magic users can stay while doing research or creating items. At one end of the spectrum are the party guilds. The guild is often housed in a former tavern or inn. Rules are few and rarely enforced. The main criterion for membership is an enthusiasm for magic (not necessarily the ability to use it) and a penchant for silliness. The majority of members are young apprentices who want some place they’re free to cut loose and enjoy themselves away from the rigors of their studies (and their masters). The main activities are parties and pranks.
Mages of power and repute generally view party guilds with disdain. Probably formed in reaction against the frivolity of the party guilds are the serious, extremely quiet guilds of contemplation and study.
Housed in an impressive, temple-like building, it exudes dignity and manners. A mute butler greets visitors in the front hall, the only area on the premises where one is allowed to speak. Unseen servants tend to all the cleaning and serving. It’s an odd place where people come together
but never socialize beyond a polite nod. Members value the silence, and most use the guild’s extensive library.
While almost all other guilds permit their members to speak, they may have other peculiar restrictions. In some
guilds, members spurn manual labor. Everything must be done with magic. Unseen servants tend to all general needs.
Mages won’t even turn the pages of the books they’re reading; they’ll cast mage hand for such menial tasks. Magic users in these guilds try hard to impress one another. The more effortlessly they appear to do things, the better. Silent and Stilled spells earn more respect than those cast normally. If a mage has to resort to nonmagical means for any purpose in the guildhall, the person loses status with her peers. Some variants of this guild permit all types of magic, including divine; others restrict their membership to purely arcane spellcasters.
Secret wizard guilds usually form because their activities are against the law. Seemingly upright citizens during the day, at night the members swath themselves in dark robes with deep hoods and use code names to hide their true identities from each other. All the Dark Robes specialize in necromancy. The members have renovated some of the underground crypts into laboratories where they experiment with undead.
REQUIREMENTS FOR MEMBERSHIP
How can a magic user join a guild? The requirements differ. Most prerequisites are publicly disclosed, but some, such as alignment, might not be. Most guilds require an admission fee and monthly or yearly dues. In addition to money, joining a wizard’s guild usually means that you must be a spellcaster. Some guilds merely require the ability to cast spells while others are more specific, restricting membership to wizards and sorcerers or just one or the other. Some may only admit members of certain prestige classes. Frequently, a mage desiring admission to a guild needs to have a current guild member sponsor her. Occasionally, a guild wants an applicant to prove herself either through a formal duel or by defeating a particular creature or obstacle. Well-established guilds may have a whole series of formal tests that an applicant must pass. A guild might require applicants to donate a permanent magic item. Some guilds require this only upon application. Others include magic items as part of their dues. Some insist that the applicant be the crafter. Some guilds have alignment requirements, testing all applicants with a know alignment spell and only admitting those who share their philosophy.
Known Arcane Guilds
|Circle||3-9||Cabal||3-9||XXX (Coven )||3-12|
|Sect||25-50||Society||100-200||Council (Grand Coven )||50-100|