In the March of Bissel
Covenant of the Shield and Coin
What is the Covenant of the Shield and Coin?
The Covenant of the Shield and Coin (hereafter “The Guild”) is a continent-spanning organization which acts as a business network and resource for the adventurers of Greyhawk. Rumored to have been created originally by the Archmage Mordenkainen, the Guild screens both its members and clients and seeks to bring together those in need of “special assistance” with the skilled men and women of Greyhawk that are willing to risk their lives in search of adventure.
What is required to join the Guild?
The Guild requires that prospective members be sponsored by an existing member of the Guild — although for applicants without a sponsor, the Guild will try to assist by making introductions if the candidate seems skilled.
Candidates are referred to as Guild Initiates until they have successfully completed their first official Guild contract (see Initiation below). After that, they are awarded Apprentice status and can begin to take advantage of the full benefits provided to Guild members.
What are the benefits of being a member of the Guild?
- Companionship: The Guild provides a place for adventurers to congregate and socialize with others in their particularly hazardous line of work. Furthermore, they act as a referral service for those looking to supplement their adventuring party as well as providing references for local mercenaries that may serve as henchmen or hirelings.
- Adventure Opportunities: The Guild maintains a listing of local adventure opportunities, providing a board of potential jobs and screening the available clients for integrity, ability to make good on their promises (and providing mediation services when jobs do not go as planned). The Guild also makes all best possible attempts to rate missions based on difficulty so that inexperienced members do not get (too) badly in over their heads. The Guild Hall has secure meeting rooms for members to meet with clients — including the ability for clients requiring discretion to communicate without having to be there in person.
- Adventure research and reconnaissance: Each Guild Hall maintains a library of literature about local areas potentially including: maps, scouting reports and relevant histories. The Guild Sage will assist groups with the gathering of information and (for a fee) will provide written copies of materials (time depending). It is rumored that higher-ranking Guild members may gain access to exclusive collections situated in the main Guild Hall in the City of Greyhawk.
- Equipment discounts and affordable resources: The Guild maintains relationships with the business of the city they are located within. Guild-affiliates provide members in good standing with a discount on all items and services – ranging from weapons and armor, to boarding and stabling. For those willing to stay at the Guild Hall, common sleeping chambers are available for free and inexpensive food and drink is available. Private vaults and meeting rooms can be rented, magical items can be identified and spells can be cast (again, at reduced cost). Higher-ranking members have access to additional Guild resources and magics which are revealed to them as they move up within the organization. For Guild-sanctioned jobs, free magical item identification is provided.
- Training, tools and spell research: The Guild Hall maintains trainers (often retired adventurers) and the trappings for many professional fields, as well as laboratories and target ranges for spell research. The trainers can be hired for reasonable (and set) fees and the workshops and labs rented depending upon availability. Guild spell books can also be made available as adventurers seek to learn new and more powerful magics.
- Health Care: The Guild understands that adventuring is a dangerous occupation. Reasonably priced healing (and more elaborate healthcare) can be provided regardless of a member’s personal denomination or religious beliefs. The Guild will also provide appropriate funeral rites and will carry out the last wishes (and distribution of wealth) of members as requested. The Guild maintains a widows and orphans fund to assist the families of adventurers that are lost on Guild business. For Guild-sanctioned jobs, the Adventuring Party is provided with a credit that can be used on health care related expenses including healing potions.
- Legal assistance: As mentioned above, the Guild will provide members with legal and mediation services as needed. The Guild also provides members with travel documents allowing them unhindered entry across the borders of nations signatory to the Guild Charter (see list below).
What is required of Guild Members?
- Party Membership: All active Guild members are required to be part of an active Adventuring Party with a minimum party size of four members. Groups that fall below this number, or do not adventure within a year of their last official Guild-sanctioned job will need to pay a Membership Fee to maintain their Guild membership. This fee is based upon their current Guild Rank.
- Tithing: Upon return from a Guild-sanctioned job, the adventuring party must tithe a percentage of all treasure (not including magical items) gained. This does not include any money being paid by potential clients as they pay a fee to the Guild for access to qualified (and screened) adventurers. This money helps subsidize the benefits summarized above as well as pay for the upkeep of the Guild Hall itself. Adventuring parties are expected to appoint a Treasurer who will be responsible for the books and tracking of all wealth gained (less qualified expenses). Parties without a suitable candidate can hire Guild accountants that will maintain their books and help them track their earnings. The money tithed by a party is dependent upon their rank in the organization (and any modifiers due to excessive risk).
- The Guild Oath: While ostensibly the Guild is a neutral organization trying to stay out of local politics, it seeks the betterment of the Flanaess and requires that all members swear to the Guild Oath upon completion of their Guild Initiation. The Guild Oath is as follows:
“On my honor, before my betters and the gods above, I swear to champion the Covenant of Shield and Coin and its interests. I will bring no physical harm to the innocent, nor steal from the citizenry of any land through which I travel. I will be sword and shield and stalwart compatriot to the members of my adventuring party, providing them with all manner of prudent and sincere assistance in matters relating to our assigned mission and for our common defense. I will show integrity to the honest, charity to the good, moderation in my pleasures, and cunning in my endeavors. I will fulfill my contract with diligence, fortitude and prudence. In good faith, I pledge myself to making the realms more secure for the betterment of civilization. I shall not make pacts or treaties with the forces of evil or be forever cursed, this I swear in all that I am and believe."
- Defense of Guild Interests: Guild members are prohibited from taking on missions that would violate the Guild Oath or put them knowingly in direct conflict with other members of the Guild. Jobs taken outside the Guild are taken at a group’s own risk, and any damages incurred to life and or property during such jobs are the sole responsibility of the adventurers, and the Guild is hereby indemnified. Jobs taken outside the Guild found to undermine the good name and or works of the Guild are grounds for demotion from current ranking, forfeiture of some or all guild benefits, immediate expulsion, and/or death. The Guild will not prevent its members from taking non-Guild work (paid or otherwise), but requests that any group engaging in off-book work inform both the Guild and their clients of this arrangement to prevent any misunderstandings. The Guild also maintains a list of blacklisted clients that Guild Members are prevented from working for under any circumstances.
Where is the Guild located?
Representative Guild Nations: All nations on this list have official charters with the Guild and Guild Members are allowed to travel within national boundaries unmolested while on Guild business. (BOLD = Guild Hall)
Furyondy – Chendl
Greyhawk – City of Greyhawk
Keoland – Niole Dra
Nyrond – Rel Mord
What is the Guild Initiation?
Upon entry in the Guild via a sponsor, the candidate must align themselves with other Initiates and form a proper Adventuring Party. There is no requirement as to the make-up of this party, but it is recommended that the group be self-sufficient and be able to survive the hazards of adventuring. The minimum number of beings for an official Adventuring Party is four, but there is no higher limit. If a group cannot find reasonable candidates to form a Party, they will be made to wait for their first Guild contract until such time that they have the minimum required group. This is for the purposes of maintaining the Guild’s reputation as well as to insure the successful completion of the mission and the best chances of survival for the group itself. Exceptions have been made under extenuating circumstances, but these are rare and are frowned upon.
Once the Adventuring Party is complete (and has been officially named and registered), the Guild Leader will provide them with a suitable Initiation Mission. For this mission, the Guild will usually provide pro-bono services to clients that cannot afford the usual fees and that have a cause worthy of Guild attention. The Adventuring Party will not be paid for this job, but they will be allowed to keep 100% of their earnings to help them equip and prepare themselves for future Guild missions.
If the Initiation Mission is successful, the Adventuring Party is officially entered into the rolls, and the members are provided with Apprentice status. There is also often drinking involved.
How does an Adventuring Party move within Guild Ranks?
Adventuring Parties move up in ranks as determined by a combination of their Average Party Level and reputation within the Guild. As the characters level, they can petition the Guild for a change of status after the completion of a Guild-sanctioned mission. If approved, the Special Benefits will kick in immediately but the Job Tithe percentage will apply to the next job undertaken by the group.