Echoes of Heaven
Craft Guilds - About
Guilds are vital to the functioning of a city economy and they provide several services to members and to citizens as well. Dues range from a few coins a year to much of the member’s income, depending on the guild. Most guilds have set dues and while a poor craftsman might pay 25 percent of his income in dues and fines (especially if he pushes the rules for more profit) a rich craftsman might pay less than 1 percent a year.
Guilds are powerful in Felric’s Redoubt. While they do not technically equate to government, the leadership of both intertwine quite a bit. Guild members are called confraternities, because they consider one another brothers.
Guilds regulate quality. Most of them require every product be inspected before sale. They forbid work at night, metal plating, advertising, and the sale of foreign crafts. They protect against bad practices by guild members, set prices and the number of masters, and stop members from buying an entire supply of any commodity. Sometimes they guard their guild’s closest secrets with the help of the Assassins’ Guild.
The guilds aren’t all-powerful, however. The city government can intervene during interguild disputes, as well as dictate when the guild needs to change work hours, prices, and the like.
For all the limits guilds impose, they provide services as well. They provide funeral expenses for poor members and aid their surviving family, pay dowries if the member is too poor, build churches, give art to existing churches, and watch over the spiritual well-being of their confraternities.
They contribute to the cities as well, taking turns patrolling the streets and erecting defenses. This makes them well viewed by the populace. It’s also crucial to the peace in the streets of Felric’s Redoubt.
There are three levels of expertise in a guild. The first is the apprentice, whose father probably pays for his training while the apprentice lives in the master’s attic. The apprentice performs all the scut work while learning the trade. Apprentices can be of any age eight and up, but twelve is the most common. Apprentices learn for 2–7 years, depending on the difficulty of the craft.
When the apprentice graduates to the next level, he moves to the third floor of the master’s house and takes the name “journeyman.” Although journeymen of old traveled about, learning their trade, the modern journeyman studies under one master. While the journeyman makes a wage, it’s not a large wage and because of this, advancing out of this level is hard.
To do so, a journeyman must craft a masterpiece (or master’s piece) to prove his skill. He can only craft this on his own time, and since he has no time during daylight on most days, this means he can only work on Godsday (or Earthday if he’s in an Atavistic culture). He also has to provide his own materials and tools, which are likely beyond his easy means. Finally, the item must pass the muster of the guild’s board, and for them to pass the new master, they must feel the city can support another master.
Once a craftsman becomes a master he is a full craftsman and member of the guild.