Heroes’ Guild

The video game “Fable” featured a “Heroes’ Guild” that was a center of learning an training for Heroes for hire. In the game the player’s character entered the guild after his family was killed and is trained in swordmanship, archery and magic. During the game there were many quests and often the player was able to choose if he wanted to take the good or evil route. The guild’s members were not forced to be “good”.

Could such an institution work in a D&D setting for example? I say: “why not?”. In most campaigns the players’ characters are some kind of mercenaries, hired swords, treasure hunters or soldiers of fortune. But every party is usually on its own. So why not introduce some kind of “Heroes’ Guild” or “Adventurers’ Union” to the game that helps adventurers to organize, enforces some regulations and represents the adventuring part of the population at the royal court? 

I think the name “Adventurers’ Union” is much better than the slightly cheesy “Heroes’ Guild”. So, let’s go with that. Ok, we have settled on a name let’s make up some more details of our new faction. It makes sense that the union has offices in all the major towns, so that interested hero-wannabes may sign up and join the union. As a member of the union you are allowed to wear the official union badge and take on union-sponsored quests. You also have to pay some percentage of your income to the union. The union will make sure that you get paid when you’ve done your job and will provide places where you can rest, train and socialize with other adventurers.

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

6 thoughts on “Heroes’ Guild”

  1. I have something like this in the city of Ordanth in my Memory Fading campaign. The city is essentially a border base between a civilized land and an uncivilized land, and because the people of the city see threats all the time, everyone in the city must have a use. When entering the city, within six hours, everyone must register with the “Traders League,” a guild of merchants who hawk their wares over town, the “Black Collar,” which is the regiment of very well-trained soldiers and guardians of the city, and the apt-named “Adventurers’ Guild,” and is then required to take commissions on various hunts and raids throughout the area.

    Ishmayls last blog post..Fantastic Governments

  2. I actually have used this idea in a Forgotten Realms Silvermarches campaign several times. I ran one with an established guild and another where the guild was just getting started and the players were involved from day 1.

    The main problem I ran into with this was providing (i.e. preparing) enough adventure ideas that could be adjusted by level to give the party choices in what they did. Giving them only one adventure option wouldn’t really get me anything that was different from a notice in a tavern and, in my mind, wouldn’t support the idea of an active adventurers/heroes guild.

    This did let me provide various hooks and ideas at a variety of challenge levels for the players, and they could choose what they wanted to follow up on. This also got them involved in guild politics, regional power struggles, and what not. The guilds built gate portals between their locations, and this gave me a way of “opening up” new regions to the game in a controlled way, e.g. they had to earn the right to use the new portals, new portals had new hooks and tasks, and/or the players had to travel to new places by foot before they could use the gate because they had to attune their “guild key” to the new gate locations.

    In my more recent games I started them before the guild was fully developed. Many of their quests related to guild development items, like scouting new locations for chapter houses, negotiating with local towns and cities for the right to setup a chapterhouse, aquiring rare spell components to help build the gates, etc.

  3. This concept has become the norm in most of our fantasy (namely DnD) chronicles.

    As the most recurrent narrator of my group, I have given a good deal of throught to warfare and the consequences of a world with common magic usage, heroes and monsters. And it took me to some odd assumptions that felt more than right, but natural, once they were in play.

    Unless your characters are the top of the food chain or somehow 'different' you must assume that there are plenty of people like them. Instead of imagining all the paladins of the realm put together in the same noble regimen, we extrapolated the idea of the Adventuring Party (or order, circle, or whatever nice name suits your fancy) to its maximum.

    Thus, warfare in fantasy became a much smaller affair. There is simply no point on mustering arms and making them march if magic is in play and highly potent bands of heroes struggle against their counterparts. After a while, war seemed (in its own post DnD) way much more civilized, albeit vicious.

    Even dungeons started to make some sense, once you come to realize a castle is basically impossible do defend against dragon attacks, lets say.

    So, last week our adventuring band received their letter of mark and sent an envoy to discuss with other representatives of adventuring bands their objectives in the approaching war. How, these objetctives will be achieved depends solely in the kind of party and its particularities. But my players expect to be targeted by assassination attempts by assassins of enemy parties, magic scrying and deceit, etc.

    The 'common man' has lost its place in a world where heroes are present. The concept of Army is basically obsolete in such reality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.