The world below the streets is much more organized than anyone might expect. Despite a population that is a chaotic mix of many different kinds of individuals, all bound together by a uniform rejection of the mores of civilized society, the Underworld is, in some ways, more structured than the World Above. The denizens of the Underworld long ago realized that it is this very structure – a combination of order and tradition – that aids in surviving a hostile environment, and also allows for the existence of the Underworld to be kept a secret. One of the most pervasive elements of this structure is the dominance of the Guilds.
Similar in arrangement to the Guilds of Renaissance Europe, the Guilds are occupational organizations that completely govern and control the practices of their professions. The Guilds gather similar occupations together for training and education, and strictly control their trade by insuring that only Guild members are licensed to perform certain functions within the Underworld.
Some Guilds are more powerful in some Domains. Especially in those where the Lord – often a member of a particular Guild himself – acts as a patron for that Guild, giving them privileges over the others within the domain. No Lord, however, would ever think of risking the ire of the Guilds by using non-Guild tradesmen (at least publicly). The Guilds rigidly enforce their monopolies, boycotting those employers that have failed to follow Guild dictates. A Lord can ill afford, for example, to suddenly have all his House Guards walk out on him because he had hired an assassin who was not a member of the Bravo’s Guild.
Being a member of a particular Guild does not insure that skills are proprietary, only the practice of those skills. For example, just because you’re a Bravo doesn’t mean that someone else might not be a better fighter than you are (through combination of a different set of special abilities, for example). What is does mean, however, is that as a Bravo, you are licensed to commit violence in the fulfillment of a contract. Full details of the proprietary trades of the Guilds are given in their descriptions, which follow.