| Thieves' Guild
Leaders: Terno LaGuardia
The Thieves' Guild of Gateway Empire is a quiet and complex organization, largely prone to calculation, mystery and intrigue. They say that the oldest profession in Ikol is whoring, but what they fail to note is that after the first whore turned her trick and got her coin, someone came by, hit her over the head and stole it, making Thievery Ikol's second oldest profession.
They have branched out from mere thievery in this day and age, especially in Crossroads City, now including members ranging from the highly-skilled to the barely sentient. The ranks of the Guild are largely unknown and mysterious to many; whispered about in halls, said to be in connection to every major theft and curious occurrence, it's rumored that they have their hands in every isle, elbow deep. While there are the more obvious souls who scream "I'm here to rob/maim/murder you!" the truly disturbing part about the Guild would be their unknown ranks. In some cases, even the Guildmaster is unknown, pulling those strings from an invisible distance.
It is unknown just when the Guild was formed and officially became an organized syndicate, but after centuries of organization, their rites, ways and skills are undeniable. Every so often there will be an awareness of a change in power when a new Guildmaster comes to power, or a frightening rash in murders when a smaller gang tries to overthrow the guild and start an underground war, or a jump in prices when shipments are knocked over or drugs/booze/medicine are lifted and tainted. They are always there, just on the periphery.
An important part of the history of Gateway Empire, they are impossible to completely defeat and scrub the city clean of, but a better question may be whether or not some of the higher ranking officials want them gone. After all, when all eyes are on you, you need someone to do your dirty work for you.
The basic construction of the Thieves' Guild is not terribly different than any other guild or leadership structure in the Empire, where each isle seems able to run independently and yet, is interconnected to one another through the very nature of the Empire, all lines eventually drawing back to Gateway.
Each isle possesses its own Master, and each Master is known to handle their guild in their own way: assigning subordinates, lieutenants or members as they see fit in order to handle their business-- which includes changes in leadership. The Gateway Guildmaster acts as a kind of overseer to the other four, and while more often than not he or she is just as inclined to leave the Masters to their own work, being situated at the hub of the Empire, it's generally understood that if one doesn't want their business between the isles to be compromised, there is a level of loyalty and communication that must be maintained. Like the construction of the very Empire they live in, each isle has their own leadership structure, but Gateway is where the seat of power is and when Gateway calls, the other isles would be wise to take notice. More information on the Guild on other isles and the Masters can be found in the FAQ page.
The comparison is mostly stated with some dry humor but the similarity in construction between the Guildmaster and Masters and the Emperor and his Dukes would be one reason why some that circulate through these realms have said that the Thieves' Guild is the Shadow Empire of Gateway--not that anyone would point the comparison out to either the Guildmaster or the Emperor.
| Membership Requirements
In the Empire, there are black, white and gray distinctions in the level of association one has with the Guild. The breakdown does have its own kind of flexibility, with each having their own list of pros and cons, depending on the involvement and credibility of the person.
Requirements are loose as members are wildly varied, but a moral flexibility and understanding that the Guild is not a book club or hobby are a necessity. Ability to take orders, function both as part of a group and on your own to bring something to the table is definitely looked for when seeking out 'new talent'.%r%rOOCly, if someone is looking for a way to get involved with the guild and don't know exactly how, the admins and fachead are always more than happy to help someone, but a good start is definitely to start skulking around outside of the 'safe zone' or send a +request to admin or @mail to Tee that you're looking. You're about as likely to find a thief in the castle as you are to find a fish in the baths; it could happen, but it's not likely.
Client: The lowest and least involved 'member' of the guild (save for Victims), these are the people who require some deed to be done through less than official means, without their name attached officially to it.
- The guild has a long and illustrious history of dealing with everything from civilians, merchants, political staff and even noble houses; it doesn't matter who you are, the guild does not discriminate who they work with -- unless paid to discriminate.
- These people do not have any 'credit' to them and have positively zero pull with the guild itself, unless noted otherwise. They come, they talk, they pay and they leave. While it does not often come through in meeting, the attitude the guild takes with most clients is "We are doing Them a favor, and allowing them to pay us for it, as payback. We're gracious like that." There are always exceptions to the rule, but this is the general guideline.
- Business and reputation make the Empire go round, so those who become 'regulars' of the guild may be treated with a different level of allowance and grace.
Contact: A Contact refers to a person 'in the know' or knowledgeable in a subject that a Guildmember needs to see to gather information on their job and get the wheel rolling.
- These people are the point on which the entire Guild turns, and are both very important and not at all important all at the same time. A contact may or may not even be aware they are being used by a Guildmember for information and could literally be anyone from any background.
- People who are aware of the guild and have cooperated with them in the past -- either by peddling information for money to guildmembers or friends of members who pass information along for credibility or favors -- are officially known as 'Aware Contacts' or simply 'Knowns'. People who are members of the community who unwittingly do not realize that they are speaking to a guildmember and need to be treated delicately under cover are officially called 'Blind Contacts' or simply 'Blinds'.
- Generally, these people carry slight to no pull with the guild itself, but Knowns who deal information to members for favors may carry some pull over specific members.
Associate: Also known as Cutpurses, are ne'er-do-wells who have often times unwittingly found themselves on the Guild's radar. Street Gangs, Thieves, Robbers, Mercs and Rogues are often found in this category.
- Often times, when another thief or ne'er-do-well finds themselves on the Guild's radar, they are viewed as either unwelcome competition and a blight on their fair city, or as a prospect to be used and abused; they are usually used as patsies and fall guys to be thrown to the law when they've outgrown their usefulness. They are not Guildmembers. They are not our responsibility. At best, they are to be tolerated; at worst, they are to be eliminated.
- In addition to allowing them no protection and no work that the Guild is offered, they must also pay a regular, generous tithe to the guild that can range depending on just how well-known and well-liked they are by the guildmembers. It's not entirely unheard of that a disliked, push-over Cutpurse will be bullied several times in a month to pay their tithe to different guildmembers -- even if already payed up -- or for a female Cutpurse to be expected to perform other 'favors' for guildmembers in return for partial tithes. While it is possible to fly under the guild's radar and generally be considered too 'small time' to deal with, almost any ne'er-do-well with any reputation will be known to the Guild.
- Cutpurses also have a kind of freedom with not being associated with the Guild, and while they are not given any of the 'good' jobs, they have the freedom to pick their own and are truly masters of their own destiny. They are also more likely to hear underground gossip and stay 'in the know'. However, the guild has no loyalty to these people, their attitude is "We ALLOW them to work our turf for a nominal fee, but if worst comes to worst, they're expendable."
- When being inducted into the Guild, a member has to endure a probation period of time being a Cutpurse to prove themselves; after this, they may be allowed to become full members.
Guildmember: Also known as Brothers. Genuine, full-fledged members belonging to the Thieves' Guild.
- While this may sound standardized, it could not be further from the truth. It has been rumored in many isles that high ranking members of council and other guild or city formats may even be members. Experts in many different fields, including deep cover deception, assassination, alchemy, extortion and political manipulation, they also cover areas as 'insignificant' as lifting, burglary, guarding and traditional thieving. One thing is always certain: These are members for Life. They are the tried and true, and while they may serve many different masters, the Guild always stands prominently in their minds.
- In some cases, these may be orphans who were taken into the guild and raised by them, or people who were down on their luck and aided by the guild in some way in return for service, or just those who have always devoted themselves to the ideal that power truly rests with the People and not with Politicians, as treasonous as that sounds. They provide a Necessary service to the Empire and in some cases may see themselves as the ultimate patriot.
- They are called Brothers because of this tight-knit loyalty to the rest of the Guild, following the orders of their Master. They are fiercely protective of their 'family' as, for some of them, this is indeed the only family they've ever known.
- These people are allowed the protection of the Guild, provisions and assistance from housing to resources to cold hard coin, choice jobs the Guild is presented with as an inclusion to whatever work they find for themselves, as well as an easier accessibility to the Black Market. They also do not endure a high tithe, but do have to pay a 'respectful' amount of dues to the Guild.
- They are also more tightly controlled and watched, much like a family; they are expected to make more regular reports to their Parent on their actions, plans and jobs. Brothers who have fallen out of favor with their Siblings or Parent can also expect to endure harsher punishments and 're-education'--a term that was made infamous under Father Gaspar's rule. May Providence help you, if a Brother is labeled as a traitor. There are so many things worse than death, and chances are, you will endure them all before it claims you.
- Once you become a Brother, you are rarely allowed to completely leave, no matter what path you take in life. It is often rumored that one man was nearly fifty, twenty years free of the Guild and a respectable member of the community, when he was called upon again, as a Brother.
Second: The Second in Command of a specific isle's Thieves' Guild.
- A Brother of great prestige and trust that has earned the rank over years of devotion to the guild. He acts in the stead of the Master and is given the title from that specific Master. More likely to be seen away from their isle and sent as a representative to Gateway to handle most matters than the Master him-/herself.
Master: The Master of a specific isle's Thieves' Guild.
- Each Isle has their own specific branch of the Guild, and a Master, who ultimately answers to the Guildmaster on Gateway Isle. They are never seen far from their isle for long, mostly out of the fact that someone else could theoretically take control of the guild in their stead since this rank is not granted from the Guildmaster, but won on their own. This doesn't stop the Guildmaster from picking favorites or furthering his own agenda by working to put a specific person in line, if he cares that much.
- A Brother from a specific isle may also refer to their specific Master as some familial name in recognition of their placement, or name of the Master's choosing, but never Father or Uncle.
Uncle: The Second in Command of the Gateway Thieves' Guild and a Brother of great prestige.
- The Uncle is someone who has proved themselves time and time again in duty, honor (Ya Rly) and loyalty to the guild and has earned the trust of both the Brothers and the Guildmaster.
- The Uncle is always someone who has been involved with the guild for years to build up his worth and contacts, and usually is presumed to be next in line for Guildmaster, though this is not always true. On an hypothetical level, if Father is the mastermind of the Guild behind the scenes, Uncle acts as his Hands on the forefront. It's not uncommon that the Uncle is seen more day to day and is more of a public face; this honor is also appointed straight from the Father himself.
- Treated with the utmost respect, a slight upon him is answered as if it were a slight upon the Father or Family, often dealt with severely and quickly to quell any questions of weak leadership. He also gets away with plenty, as you can imagine.
Guildmaster: The Father of the Thieves' Guild.
- An honor typically won through survival of the fittest when the upcoming Guildmaster 'retires' the former. This does not always come from the Uncle/Second in Command, but more often than not the natural flow of the guild has been that the Uncle will retire the Father and take his place at head of their deranged little Family.
- He is the final call on anything and everything that he wishes concerning the Guild, ignoring or handling as many things as he likes, or appointing others to various tasks. At least, so the theory goes. This does not stop others from attempting to overthrow him, with varying levels of success.
- Over the years there have been various levels of public acknowledgement and general ways of handling things, no two being exactly alike. They're a bit like snowflakes, you see. The only thing they seem to have in common is the fact that once they are gone, they are almost never heard from or seen, again.
| Grid Relations
The Thieves' Guild is certainly one of those grayer realms in the world of Crossroads, often surrounded by more speculation than cold, hard fact and spoken of in very different manners depending on just who you ask. Generally regarded as one of those organizations people try to avoid, there is always a bit more to it than that since the Thieves' Guild has a wide web of information and other means that is not always available to law-abiding realms, making them highly valuable to certain people. 'Thief' is something of a misnomer as it's well-known that they handle much more than theft and are often blamed for any nefarious activity or unfortunate circumstance that seems to be a little too coincidental. From pick pockets to sensitive information specialists, to the right person, they are a group of skilled men for hire; a tool to be utilized under the radar or a valuable business associate with ears, eyes and hands everywhere.
Forming opinions about the Guild may also differ greatly from opinions on certain Guild Members or suspected Guild Members. Where someone may actually avoid the Guild at all costs, they may actually be quite close with a specific member and work through them to avoid other unpleasantness. Whether or not they know they're part of the Guild, or maybe just someone who knows a thing or two with connections, it doesn't really seem to matter, much.
It is impossible to fully cleanse the Empire of the Guild, but some places in Crossroads City are more questionable than others. It's common knowledge that the Docks are undisputed one of the most dangerous places to find yourself, and the most likely place you can find a thief or someone who knows a guy, who knows a guy, who can get you an audience with one. It might seem counter-intuitive to have the thieves operating out of the same area as the City Guard, but with enough traffic and distraction, this ugly spot on the fair face of the city is perfect for them. Friend, foe, work hound, necessary evil or just plain evil, whatever someone's view on the Guild may be, it is an undeniable truth that in an uncertain world, the Thieves' Guild will always be there, watching and waiting.
| Significant IC History
493: A local son of a whore in Gwencalon, Guardian named Saunder Tremere slowly starts to gain speed, rising through the ranks through force and organization through the years, waging war on the Guild.
499: Guildmaster Jackson wrests control of the guild from his predecessor, Graham.
501: Guildmaster Jackson, is retired and replaced by his daughter, Ebony.
503: Guildmistress Ebony, vanishes. Soon to be replaced by Gaspar.
504: Saunder Tremere takes control of the Guardian Guild by force.
- Card is named Uncle by Gaspar.
March 30, 504: The Red Comet of the Conjunction releases the demon Belial and a slew of Lessers from the Gateway. Thieves take up arms along side the rest of the city to fend them off from the rooftops and village.
505: Master Saunder Tremere leaves the Guardian Guild and comes to Gateway with a small and loyal band of followers, leaving the Isle's guild leaderless.
June 505: After much infighting, Coalton grasps the title of Thieves' Master of Guardian.
July 23, 505: Uncle Card, Gaspar's favored son, gathers the guild and declares his control over it, making himself the next Guildmaster and Father.
January 506: Guildmaster Card leaves the isle for a meeting of the Masters. He does not return when expected.
- Master White, of Draught, also does not return after this meeting, leaving Draught leaderless.
December 24th, 506: Gaspar's personal guard, second favored son and Card's rival, Terno declares himself Guildmaster as his brother remains missing for nearly a year.
July 507: Spider is named Uncle after more than a year and a half of the station being empty.
August 507: Master White is seen once more in Draught during a massive infighting between two major sects of the Guild in Draught. He attempts to quell the fights and regain control of 'his' guild.
September 25, 507: Card is seen once more in Crossroads City. He does not seem interested in reclaiming his seat as Guildmaster. He vanishes but a month later, once more.
October 507: A man known only as 'Corvus' moves into Gateway, forming a gang he names 'The Crows'. He begins slowly gaining supporters from other non-guild ne'er-do-wells.
August 507: Spider is declared a betrayer, removed from her position and 'taken care of'.
December 507: 'Corvus', AKA Jaec, is folded into the Guild. His Crows are disbanded and assimilated as well.
February 508: The Bard 'Corvus' AKA, Jaec, AKA Aiolus is declared a betrayer and 'made an example of' what happens to people who seek to start a war with the Guild.
June 16, 509: An illness spreads quickly through the Isle of Draught, leading to a quarantine of most of the isle. The matter is quietly handled.
June 20, 509: Inexplicably, Card is announced as a Lord Venator, removing him from the ranks of the Thieves' Guild. Rumors float throughout the guild of a possible assassination attempt, though nothing seems to come of it as the former Uncle/Father is actually released from the Guild.
| The member pages of this faction are located here.
OOC Tips and Information:
- Business Matters: Being Prepared
- Making Contact: How & Why & Who
- Places of Note: Where the Creepies Crawl
- Becoming a Thief: Tips, Tricks & Advice
- Off Grid: The Guild on Other Isles