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    Canonfire :: View topic - organizational details for Greyhawk Thieves Guild
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    organizational details for Greyhawk Thieves Guild
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    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2001
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    Thu Jul 22, 2021 10:33 am  
    organizational details for Greyhawk Thieves Guild

    There's a PC in my Age of Worms campaign who is a Greyhawk Thieves Guild plant/operative/informer out in the mining town of Diamond Lake. He's never actually been to the City but was recruited as a young man out there where he's lived his whole life. My sense is that he reports to a superior who now and then wanders into town to collect local information/gossip.

    I'm looking for practical information on the Greyhawk Thieves Guild for use with PC members, specifically stuff like what cut of loot does the Guild get? what responsibilities do members in good standing have? what perks? i.e. practical stuff to use at the table.

    Also, since this campaign will eventually take the PCs to the City, I'll need to know how the Diamond Lake informant will fit in once he gets there.

    I'm aware of the descriptions in City of Greyhawk, Saga of Old City, City of Hawks etc. but I'm wondering specifically if there areó

    a) articles in Dragon magazine or Oerth Journal that might help
    b) fan-created stuff that outlines the Guild as a player-facing organization

    Any suggestions?
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 26, 2002
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    Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:00 pm  

    I wrote an article about the Greyhawk Thieves' Guild for a postfest many moons ago. It's in the form of a legal charter for the Guild that describes its structure, the conduct of members (e.g. how much tax they have to pay the Guild), its views on things like alignment, magic and city politics, and penalties for violating the rules.

    The guild has a sixteen-person executive, eight of which are each Masters of a particular city quarter and four of which deal with other specific areas like Foreign Relations. Your Diamond Lake informant would probably be part of the Foreign Relations group, with his boss coming in to gather any interesting information the Guild might find useful.

    Since he's a guildmember, your PC could probably do thieving activities in the City or any of its domains so long as he pays the appropriate taxes. He could still run into problems with the city watch, rival thieves, influential nobles, or anything else you care to throw at him, but he'd also have access to Guild facilities and perks. These wouldn't be set out in the Guild's charter per se, but they could include everything from legal defense if he gets arrested to good deals on fencing loot to access to members-only establishments like bars, brothels or casinos.
    CF Admin

    Joined: Jun 29, 2001
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    From: Wichita, KS, USA

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    Sat Jul 24, 2021 12:56 pm  

    I have some notes about halfling crime families in Greyhawk for my current campaigns, following in the Finieous Fingers tradition. (And I incorporated a certain halfling prince from White Plume Mountain as well!).

    Iíve begun to think more about the various class-based guilds being local and regional, with several different ones/options available to join/interact with/fight against vs. the Thieves Guild (for example) being a single, monolithic ďall class members are hereĒ guild in nature. That makes a more diverse play environment at the table, allows for PCs to be members of rival guilds, to join and betray them, etc.

    Allan.
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    Allan Grohe (grodog@gmail.com)
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    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
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    From: Michigan

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    Sun Jul 25, 2021 5:11 pm  

    According to the City of Greyhawk boxed set (Folk, Feuds, & Factions, page 42), members of the guild are expected to pay 10% of their incomes to the guild.

    The 2nd edition Den of Thieves accessory is useful. In that book, the guild takes a 10% cut from jobs, with an additional 10% going to what Den of Thieves calls the taskmaster, the thief in charge of guild subfactions. This seems to correspond with what the City of Greyhawk boxed set calls a master thief. In the High Quarter, this is the guildmaster, Org Nenshen, while in the Garden Quarter the master thief is Pavel Alektrion. In the River Quarter, the master thief is Tomas Ratek. In the Thieves Quarter, it's Sharyn Messandier. In the Artisan's Quarter, it's Repnel Porton. In the Foreign Quarter, it's Simpkin Furzear. In the Slum Quarter, it's Larret Helfdane.

    Anyway, the official word is PC thieves in the Greyhawk Thieves Guild just pay 10%, but if you wanted to add Den of Thieves rules, thieves owe an additional 10% to the local master thief (Nenshin, Alektrion, Ratek, Messandier, Porton, Furzear, or Helfdane).

    In Den of Thieves, individual activities each get a taskmaster: there's a burglary taskmaster, a master forger, an extortion taskmaster, a pickpocket taskmaster, a blackmail taskmaster, etc. I think it's safe to say that in the Greyhawk Thieves Guild this is not the case, as each quarter of the city seems to have its own specialties. For example, the guild in the Garden Quarter specializes in extortion and blackmail, so Pavel Alektrion is both the extortion taskmaster and the blackmail taskmaster.

    The main perk PC thieves get from joining the guild in City of Greyhawk, besides not being killed by the guild for freelancing (if caught a second time), is free training, which might not be relevant depending on your ruleset of choice. Other perks might include access to specialized equipment, information, fences, forgers, and other rogues with specialized skills. The Complete Thieves Handbook goes into this a bit too.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 09, 2003
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    Mon Jul 26, 2021 9:23 am  

    rasgon wrote:
    ...The main perk PC thieves get from joining the guild in City of Greyhawk, besides not being killed by the guild for freelancing (if caught a second time), is free training, which might not be relevant depending on your ruleset of choice. Other perks might include access to specialized equipment, information, fences, forgers, and other rogues with specialized skills. The Complete Thieves Handbook goes into this a bit too.


    ..plus the guild provides legal representation to prevent punishment (if caught), or result in a lesser sentence, and "connections" that provide favorable treatment if convicted.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Tue Jul 27, 2021 10:53 am  

    Thanks, everyone!

    I'm curious what kind of usual connection a thieves guild representative way out in Diamond Lake would have with the guild. My sense is maybe once a month an operative travels out to the mining towns and gets a report from agents stationed there (of which the PC is the Diamond Lake one). Does anyone think there would be more interaction with the main guild than that?

    Who back in Greyhawk do you think would be the PC's boss? I wonder if it would be the master of the Foreign Quarter . . . ? Which of the quarter bosses would have the most interest in events way out in the boonies?

    There's also the matter of Balabar Smenk, one of the local mine managers who is a 7th lvl rogue, as I recall, and originates in the Free City. It seems unlikely that he wouldn't be a member of the Thieves Guild, although that's nowhere stated to be the case.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 26, 2002
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    Tue Jul 27, 2021 2:22 pm  

    edmundscott wrote:
    Thanks, everyone!

    I'm curious what kind of usual connection a thieves guild representative way out in Diamond Lake would have with the guild. My sense is maybe once a month an operative travels out to the mining towns and gets a report from agents stationed there (of which the PC is the Diamond Lake one). Does anyone think there would be more interaction with the main guild than that?

    Who back in Greyhawk do you think would be the PC's boss? I wonder if it would be the master of the Foreign Quarter . . . ? Which of the quarter bosses would have the most interest in events way out in the boonies?


    I doubt your player would just want his character to just sit in Diamond Lake all the time, so what else is he doing? He could probably head into the Free City and do some independent thieving so long as he keeps up with his Diamond Lake assignment and pays his taxes to the Thieves' Guild. He could interact with rival thieves (as Grodog suggests, the Guild is not a homogenous bloc and has its own internal factions that your player could get tangled up in), face legal consequences from the City Watch or robbery victims, etc. If your player gets bored, he could even request a transfer or some time off.

    The Guild having activities outside the Free City itself is why I expanded the Guild's leadership to include a "Foreign Relations" position. In that scenario, your player's boss would be part of that branch of the Guild, as would that boss's superiors all the way up to the Master of Foreign Relations.

    To build on something Grodog mentioned, I like the idea of different cities' Thieves' Guilds encroaching on each other's territories. The Greyhawk thieves might be trying to expand their operations into Dyvers, or fending off an incursion by Dyvers' own thieves into Greyhawk. The same thing could happen with guilds in other communities in Urnst, the Shield Lands, the Wild Coast, etc. The result, of course, would be wars between the various guilds similar to real-life gang or mob warfare, only across regions rather than just cities. Perfect for any gaming group wanting urban adventures or a focus on spying and deception!

    If your player does well enough at his Diamond Lake job, his superiors in the Guild might tap him for various spying or sabotage missions. These are obviously more dangerous than just collecting gossip in Diamond Lake...but they also pay a lot more. And if your player wanted to line his own pockets while he's on these missions, the Guild certainly won't mind so long as he fulfills his assignments and pays the appropriate tax...
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