Pirates of The Jewel Archipelago
Noble Houses and Guilds
In the Aurturi Empire, there are several guilds and aristocratic families that hold most of the empire’s influence and wealth.
The Great Houses
-House Drake – The house of Drake is one of the largest and most powerful noble houses. The imperial line is descended from the Drake family, as well as the Castellans. Most of their power lies in political positions and inherited wealth. They are also great landowners, many branches of the family have several estates, and their plantations fill the family coffers. The symbol of house drake is the Imperial Dragon, Bahamut. The house of Drake has a reputation for honesty, but they can be just as ruthless in pursuing their goals as anyone.
-House Terlago – The noble house of Terlago rules The Kush, the southern province of the empire. They are renowned warriors and known for their fierce tempers. They are also known for being expert horsemen, and their breeding stock of horses is highly prized. Their wealth comes from the rich ore and the gems they mine, and the exquisite weapons and armor they craft. Their symbol is a pair of sabers crossed below a sun disk.
-House Berregand – The noble house of Berregand controls the northernmost imperial province of Middenheim. They are master builders, expert craftsmen, and also have a reputation for producing many great bards. Their symbol is a long-tailed songbird in blue on a bisected filed of green and white.
-House Von Holden – The noble house of Von Holden controls Eria, the eastern province. They have a reputation for ruthlessness and cruelty, but also of fierce devotion to honor and loyalty. All their young nobles are trained in swordsmanship from an early age and their duelists are legendary. Their symbol is a black two-headed eagle on a yellow field.
-House Ghast – The noble house of Ghast controls the western province, Gaogol, and borders the charred expanse. Their nobles tend to be pale and sickly-looking, and it is suspected that their is a genetic disease within the family bloodline, though peasants whisper of a wood-elven curse. They are known to be great scholars and magical adepts, though some of the proudest knights hail from the western province. Their symbol is a trio of white circles in a pyramid on a field of blue.
- Taraglia – Dark of hair, with pale eyes. They control many lumber interests in Eria. The head of the family, Egan Taraglia, is second cousin to the emperor on his mother’s side.
- Annesley -
- Althan -
- Battenburg -
- Beaumont -
- Von Bessen -
- Callo -
- Calvert -
- Curzon -
- Celleniel -
- DeVere -
- Draskovic -
- Fairfax -
- Finduilas -
- Gladstone -
- Lindalë -
- Montag -
- Stanhope -
- Tinuviel -
- Wellsey -
The High Guilds
The leadership of the Guilds is not restricted by class or nobility, but most of the people who can afford the position are from noble houses. Younger sons and daughters are often sent to work in the guilds, but the power of the Guilds on the workings of the empire is waxing, and noble houses are starting to view guild work more favorably.
- The Adventurers Guild – Mercenaries looking for gold and glory, wizard adepts seeking greater knowledge of arcane mysteries, bards with wanderlust and skill with a blade, clerics with a desire to bring the teachings of their gods to all corners of the world, and noble paladins eager to bring peace and order to the lawless edges of the empire. All fall under the purview of the Adventurers Guild. This guild manages the wanderers and the legends of the world. Guild laws are set to prevent heroes from taking advantage of common folk, and to offer protection for heroes who may go counter to Imperial Law. Followers of banned religions are often protected from inquisitors by the Guild.
- The Agrarians Guild – Farmers are a vital part of a society, but until very recently almost all farmland was owned by noble families and worked by serfs. With the abolition of serfdom, the Agrarians Guild has formed to try and improve the livelihood of field workers. The guild is not very powerful, and is in fact often attacked by mercenaries and assassins sent by conservative nobles who don’t want their peasants getting too high and mighty.
- The Artisans Guild – Most craftsmen pay dues to the Artisans guild, from blacksmiths to carpenters and stonemasons. This guild is primarily concerned with the rights of artisans to practice their trade without unfair taxes or inflated prices from merchants. The Artisans and the Merchant guilds are often at odds, the Artisans saying the Merchants are trying to bleed them dry and the Merchants claiming they are forced to sell their wares at too little profit.
- The Shipwrights Guild – With the increased activity on the Southern Seas, the Shipwrights Guild has seen an enormous rise in profits, and so a surge in power. The laws of the guild are mostly about the building codes of ships, and making safe vessels for seafaring, but the guild leaders are looking to leverage their new-found wealth for greater political power. They clash often with the Silk Merchants Guild, sometimes violently.
- The Silk Merchants Guild – Originally only dealing with the trade of silk from Khitai, the Silk Merchants Guild has expanded to dominate all trade between the empire and Khitai. They are the wealthiest, and thus the most powerful of the High Guilds, and the throw their weight around often, trying to get a seat on the Imperial Senate or a say in the actions of the Navy. They hire many privateers in the Southern Seas, to keep their ships safe from pirates, and to weaken their competitors routes. Many privateers are hired to prey on their ships too.
- The Silversmiths Guild – While officially the guild of jewelers, the Silversmiths Guild is run by the wealthiest and most influential noble families, who use the organization to coordinate their efforts to control the empire. Or so people say.
The Lesser Guilds
There is a guild for nearly every profession. They set the rules that practitioners of the trade should abide by and pursue their members’ interests with other guilds. Some lesser guilds are Sub-Guilds of the High Guilds, like the Carpenters Guild is a group within the Artisans Guild. The lesser guilds include Apothecaries, Armourers, Bakers, Barbers, Basketmakers, Blacksmiths, Bowyers, Brewers, Butchers, Carpenters, Chandlers, Clothworkers, Curriers, Dyers, Farriers, Fishmongers, Fletchers, Girdlers, Goldsmiths, Masons, Mercers, Plaisterers, Poulters, Saddlers, Salters, Scriveners, Skinners, Vintners, Weavers, Wheelwrights, and Woolmen.