Forgotten Realms: Splendors & Shadow
The Mercenaries’ Registry and Adventurers’ Guild offers a means for sellswords and adventurers-for-hire to find those in search of their particular talents. The guild offers no assurances beyond matching suitably-skilled adventurers to contracts, and ensuring that payment is rendered for jobs successfully completed.
The guild does keep limited records of past contracts – fulfillment status, satisfaction of various parties, but seldom much more detail – allowing potential employers and contractors to check on the overall reputation of those they’re considering working with. Chartered guild members may consult the records kept by the Registry without charge, and the guild will keep records of their contracts, making them available to prospective employers.
Guild officers will assist in the arbitration of contract disputes, although they have no official legal authority, and must refer unresolved cases to the Lords’ Court. Most guild officers are retired adventurers and mercenaries themselves, and their sympathies predictably lie with contracted groups who they believe to have acted in good faith; they’re often quite adept at spotting bluster and dishonesty, however, and won’t hesitate to call out a group that they believe to have made the guild look bad by violating a contract.
The Guild Complex
The Registry has a small complex in the South Ward, where a mercenary company, party, or individual may register and obtain a charter for a fee of 50 silver (payable once per year to maintain its validity). A charter entitles the named group or individual to use the guild’s various resources, including job posts, contract records, and the complex facilities – basic room and board (common barracks and mess hall), safe storage for valuables, and basic training facilities for various combat and adventuring skills.
The Post, where open jobs are advertised, can be found in the guild offices, as well as various inns, taverns, and squares popular among mercenaries and adventurers (including the Yawning Portal). The job posts offer only a general description of the job, not details on the mission or employer, making it impossible to answer them without going through the guild.
Room and board in the guild’s complex is intended for individuals and small groups, and brief stays, offering only the most basic accommodations to members who are between contracts. Those who haven’t completed a paying contract within the last two weeks must either land a contract, pay to continue their stay (100 silver per week), take a day job through the guild (which entitled them to stay for free), or leave.
Vault and storage services are more extensive, but unlike the room and board aren’t free—there’s a 1% surcharge on all monetary deposits, or a charge of 1% of the appraised value of non-magical goods. Storage for magical items is more expensive, 2% of appraised value, and maintained by guild wizards.
The guild’s training facilities are free for chartered members to use, but don’t include full-time teachers or training assistants. However, many guild members and officers will tutor other members, for a price.
As a party or individual successfully completes contracts, their reputation is built; they are more highly sought after, and may thus command higher fees. Some employers won’t hire inexperienced contractors at all, stipulating that only those with a certain number of jobs under their belt may even apply.
To help facilitate this, the guild assigns “ranks” and other labels to various charters, representing both the number and (approximate) difficultly of the contracts that they’ve completed.
Novice charters are those issued to new members, and represent those yet untested (in the eyes of the guild, anyway). Many employers are leery of hiring novices, and so those contracts that allow for them tend to pay less. The guild endeavors to keep a steady stream of novice-level contracts available, however, to ensure that new members have the chance to prove themselves.
Journeyman charters are granted to novices who have successfully completed at least half a dozen contracts, and have thus proven their intent, reliability, and competence. The contracts available to journeymen tend to be both more difficult and more lucrative, often requiring specialized abilities and long treks into dangerous territory.
Master charters are given to journeymen who have completed no less than twenty contracts, and who have accomplished some extraordinary task in service of the guild, whether that be handling a delicate or high profile case with great skill, or cleaning up a mess in the wake of a botched job and saving face for the guild. Relatively few contracts stipulate that only master adventurers may apply; those contracts that do are often exceptionally delicate and dangerous. A master commands higher wages on most any contract, though employers looking for cheap muscle seldom want to pay for a master, and the guild frowns on master adventurers taking contracts out from under the novices.