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A guild was an organization composed of like-minded individuals to further and protect their interests. Guilds appeared in many different forms but typically offered benefits such as camaraderie and even financial support to members. Large, powerful guilds could even control an aspect of a city, such as trade in certain goods.[1]

Guild membershipEdit

Guild membership was generally open to those who possessed some skill in the guild's primary activity. In many cases, interested persons needed only to approach the guild and apply for membership. Occasionally, additional entry requirements such as belonging to a certain race were imposed. Some guilds, such as thieves guilds, were secret societies so even learning of the existence of these guilds could be difficult. Guilds normally required an entry fee as well as periodic fees to remain in good standing.[1] Benefits of membership in a guild could include access to the guildhall, discounts on trade materials and possibly financial support in the form of loans.[2]

Guild typesEdit

Adventurers guildsEdit

In some cities, those who hunted monsters and delved in dungeons banded together to form adventurers guilds. These guilds functioned as employment agencies for members and offered additional services, such as search parties for missing adventuring groups.[3]

Notable adventurer guilds:

Arcane guildsEdit

Guilds made up primarily of arcane spellcasters were known as arcane guilds. Membership was generally limited to mages, sorcerers, and other users of arcane magic such as bards.[4]

Notable arcane guilds:

Criminal guildsEdit

These guilds were made up of those operating outside the law. They tended to be highly secretive and could be difficult to join. They offered benefits such as training, employment, and help selling stolen goods.[4]

Notable criminal guilds:

Laborers guildsEdit

These guilds were associations of low-skilled manual laborers. Not surprisingly, laborers guilds were unpopular with merchants and others who depended on low-paid workers.[5]

The Cellarers' & Plumbers' Guild of Waterdeep was an example of a laborer build in the Realms.

Mercantile guildsEdit

The most common form of guilds, mercantile guilds were associations of merchants engaged in trading a particular good. Large mercantile guilds could be extremely powerful and could control trade in their area of specialization. Some mercantile guilds required practitioners of a trade to join before setting up shop within their area. Mercantile guilds offered benefits such as protection from criminals and excessive governmental taxation and might even loan money to members.[5]

Notable mercantile guilds:

Performers guildsEdit

Performers guilds were made up of bards, actors and others who performed for a living. These guilds promoted entertainment events and would match members with complementary talents to form troupes.[6]

Scholastic guildsEdit

Guilds whose members were primarily engaged in scholarly pursuits were known as scholastic guilds. Membership was usually composed of sages and mages. Many guilds had libraries and extremely large guilds founded colleges. Some arcane guilds could be considered scholastic guilds and vice versa.[7]


External LinksEdit

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