Tir Fhortun is a robust frontier city-state, rich with opportunities, ringed in by perils and dangers, and sporting a large population that is cosmopolitan in composition, and a similar fantasy economy. It has shops, armorers, multiple inns, places to barter exotic goods, rare items, and even a market for magical wonders. It also has an abundance of guilds, but three are really the ones involved in the ... troubles.
The Guild of Adventurers-Upon-Return is a venerable guild, equally as old as Tir Fhortun. It is steeped in tradition, wealthy, and has the largest number of high-level/high-power members. It also leans more heavily towards wizards, mages, sorcerers, cross-class, and multi-class magic user members. The other classes are represented as sub-orders within the Guild, with a warrior's circle, and attached Order of Assassins.
The Guild of Champions is more diverse in its class representation, but is much more focused on dueling and combat and much less on exploration, wilderness survival, or even delving into dungeons. The Guild of Champions is known for being much more like a gladiator's stable, and where the Guild of Adventurers-Upon-Return has a castle as their main guild house, the Guild of Champions has a colosseum fortress. It can be closed up and defended, but rather than a military fortification, it is an arena of battle where the Champions battle each other in performative duels, fight monsters in battle, and even bring in outsiders who are forced to fight or die. This is seen as okay, as these outsiders tend to be things like evil aligned monsters and races who are hostile to general civilization.
The Guild of Heroes is the youngest guild, the absolutely most diverse in race and class, and the most outgoing and colorful. They are commonly pitted against the other guilds, especially the Guild of Adventurers-Upon-Return, who typically returns their animosity in kind. The AUR tends to refer to the Guild of Heroes and the Demi-Human guild, given that it has the lowest rate of human membership, and is primarily populated by tieflings, dragonborn, warforged, half-giants, half-celestials, and so forth.
Guild of Adventurers-Upon-Return
Purpose: The rid the lands of evil, to slay monsters and protect the innocent, to penetrate dungeons, loot them of gold and treasure, and gain the power of fellowship.
Agenda: Fight monsters, beat dungeons, kill bosses, get gold, level up
Leader: The Archmagos
Membership: Predominantly human with a sizeable elfin contingent, primarily Wood elf with a smattering of high elves. Dwarves and halflings are also present.
Resources: The Adventurer's Keep, a magnificent and impressive gothic style castle adorned with spires, a great portcullis and drawbridge. Adorned with the carved likeness of great monsters and foes they've slain, with dragons, demons, liches, and such being common.
The Adventurer's Market, located inside the keep's common area, is an elite market that sells the best of the best equipment for would-be adventurers, or experienced ones. There are taverns inside the market that are the places where deals for kingdoms are made, fellowships chartered, and great oaths are sworn.
The Aisle of Shadows - the den of thieves and assassins, a secret location within the Keep. This is where the lawful rogues and assassins of the Guild meet and handle their business.
The Circle of Stars - the magic order of the Guild, the Circle of Stars consists of all non-clerical magic users, and functions as their center of organization and hierarchy system.
Coffers: deep and full
Magic Items: many and wondrous
Legendaries? yes, and numerous
Symbol: Griffon clutching a magic rod and a sword crossed in its talons
Brief History: The AUR was founded when Tir Fhortun was being carved out of the forest and hills, and the lands were teeming with monsters and was wormy with dungeons. The guild recruited, grew in strength, and its members either died or became wealthy. As dungeons were delved (and were either converted to new cores, or crumbled as per the DungeonVerse setting) their access to resources grew, their local influence grew, and the stronger members started supporting new members and recruitment. The guild became an economic factor in the city, and some of the high-ranking members found places of importance outside of the guild. Many nobles have AUR members in their bloodlines, and many non-heroic guilds have strong ties to the AUR, like the City Watch.
The Guild of Champions
Purpose: To defeat opponents to become the best, the strongest.
Agenda: Level up, gain new feats, gain new powers, acquire better gear
Leader: The Lord Martial
Membership: predominantly martial-aspected characters. Humans are present but not dominant. Dwarves are more common, as are half-orcs, half-giantkin. Elves are much less common, as they tend towards refinement/egalitarianism and not personal brinksmanship.
Resources: The Colosseum of Champions is a reverse fortress. The fortress part is buried underground, and the surface part is a massive colosseum devoted to gladiator combats, blood sports, races of various types, and when these games aren't going, it is the common green for the Guild.
The Champion's Market is held regularly on the Colosseum Green, and is open to pretty much anyone with coin. It has more of a music festival vibe, where the AUR market is more RennFaireCore.
Lacking - the Champions do not have an organized branch for rogues or magic users, as they tend strongly towards strength builds and melee fighters. Rogues and magic users are soft targets and struggle with a martial rush, so there might be some cross-classing, but there is no Champion magic circle, no Champion thieves row. Both of these deficits have harmed them as they lack in heavy magic support, nor can they easily deal with subterfuge or espionage.
Magic items: Many, but few of great power
Legendaries? Some, all held jealously by individuals
Symbol: A stylized fist holding a sword
Brief History: The guild of Champions started as a chapter within the AUR guild, specifically based around martial skill and an interest in being the best and strongest, casting off the brotherhood and fellowship of the AUR. These were the sword-swinging rock stars and celebrities of the AUR who chaffed under the patience and instruction of often tedious and overly cautious magi. They split, created their first arena, and turned into champions. The warriors of the guild frequently won and dominated tournaments and lists, and after honing their skills, proving their gear, they were equally devastating in the field. Monsters used to facing a team could be badly upset by being hit by a single blademaster juggernaut. Foes used to misdirection, traps, and riddles found their teeth kicked in by armored boots and horns of blasting. The Champions and AUR have a cool relationship, one side seen as being meek and squandering their resources by leaving them locked in vaults and behind magic, and the other as entirely too hot-headed and overly embracing the spirit of their first Guildmaster, L. Royce Jenkins.
The Guild of Heroes
Purpose: To provide a place for the oppressed and the dismissed, to show teeth to those wearing the boots
Agenda: Upset the status quo, depose power systems, empower the sacred self, get laid.
Leader: The Demiarch
Membership: Humans are almost non-existent, with the most common race being hybrid or half-breed such as tiefling, dragonkin, half-elf, and similar. Elves are common, but almost always dark or fringe groups. High and wood elves are less common than humans. The most common class is a cross-class rogue/magic user.
Resources: The Underground, the name given to the remnant of a dungeon under Tir Fhortun. As per the DungeonVerse setting, this dungeon was delved and almost destroyed centuries before by the AUR, and barely survived, now functioning as the sewer system of the city. The Heroes Guild has occupied the dungeon, found it's core, and now feed it to make it grow and become stronger.
The Dungeon District is the bad part of Tir Fhortun, and is rife with seedy taverns, brothels, flop houses, safe houses, and is a hotbed of anti-nobility agitation. The area is dominated by the Guild of the Rose, the prostitute's guild, which in turn, is dominated by tiefling succubi and incubi.
Gobbo-Town is the demi-human part of Tir Fhortun and is technically a greenskin ghetto. Many other races live in close proximity, giving succor and birth to many hybrids and potential members for the Heroes guild.
Hierophant Park started as just a greenspace in Tir Fhortun, grew into a sort of outdoor school embracing the green arts of the ranger and the druid, and then encompassed sorcery (as opposed to wizardry). Given the outcaste nature of these skills and magics, especially in a city like Tir Fhortun, the Guild of Heroes were able to capitalize on the Park and turn it into their campus. Guild magic users learn at Hierophant Park, test their skills in other places, and then return to the park to train and instruct others. The fact that the Guild of the Rose owns the campus after dark is inconsequential.
Lacking: The Guild of Heroes is lacking in a strong martial arm. They are used to dealing with foes with misdirection, seduction, subterfuge, and innate magic. They cannot stand and fight, and accordingly, have the smallest holdings.
Magic Items: few, and highly treasured, but a very high attrition rate of them being recycled for the mana or materials they contain.
Symbol: A pastel/rainbow handprint, typically made by dipping the hand in a puddle of different colored pigments and applying it to whatever object.
Brief History: the Guild of Heroes splintered off of the Guild of Champions, just as it cleaved from its parent guild centuries before. The Heroes embraced the individualistic values of the Champions, but intensely disliked their forward aggression, and loathed the AUR's inherent specism. The AUR welcomed all races, so long as they were humanoid. Demihumans were not welcome, in fact, demihumans, the term itself specist, weren't just refused membership, they were preferred targets. The Guild of Heroes consolidated around a sense of non-gendered fraternity that rejected the status quo, rejected humans on basis, and only allowed the least humanoid of non-demihumans. There are no High elves at all, only dark elves, deep elves, and so forth. The Guild of Heroes excels at facing puzzles, riddles, and traps. They are also good at non-traditional problem-solving. Where the AUR make plans and kill dragons to expand the power of humanity and the current civilization, and the Champions slay dragons to demonstrate their prowess and mastery, the Heroes seduce the dragon, fuck the dragon, and introduce dragonkin into their ranks. The same with most other monsters.
BUT WHAT IS THE PROBLEM???
The Problem that arises is that there are three guilds with overlapping interests in Tir Fhortun. Given the current age and strength of the city, it has become a target bereft zone. Adventurers wanting to prove themselves are having to go longer distances to find dungeons to delve into, monsters to battle, or causes to support. This is a normal circumstance of a successful settlement project, and ideally, the guilds should expand their presence to where the new frontier is, rather than continue to consolidate power in tir Fhortun. This would correctly see the three guilds bleed down their power, build new bastions, and apply their craft to new camps which would grow into towns, then settlements, and then repeat. There would eventually be checks, where the guilds would face serious opposition, an army of greenskins, an undead uprising, a dragon leading a host of dragonsworn, a civil war, a famine, an epidemic, and so forth.
These things aren't happening.
The Guild of Heroes is slowly turning its attention to fighting the status quo in Tir Fhortun instead of fighting monsters.
The Guild of Champions is finding that the best fights aren't with monsters at the end of a two-week ride, it's in the colosseum with members of the other guilds, one way or another.
The Guild of Adventurers-Upon-Return is increasingly finding itself not just targeted by the other two guilds, but by the nobility and monarchy because of the wealth and power they hold.
Things have become accordingly tense.
The Festival and Tournament of Terat Massacre
The Festival of Terat is always a raucous spectacle, marked by heavy drinking, feasting, an excessive number of tilts, melees, and other combative sporting events, wrapped up with more drinking, feasting, and fornicating well into the night. Things were turning as was expected for the Festival, initially little different from any other year. Accounts differ and many are hotly disputed, but it is generally accepted that the riot broke out near the Commoner's Tilt, a melee arena improvised so that common folk could themselves engage in a bit of cathartic fisticuffs without being maimed or murdered by a leveled opponent. Members of all three guilds were present, as well as the youth of the noble houses, and some of the Devoted of Terat. No one knows what triggered the riot, but by sundown, a dozen buildings inside Tir Fhortun had been burned, hundreds of people were injured and dozens were dead. The guilds had retreated to their strongholds, and there were several violent battles pitched in the streets under a blood moon.
The Summer of Suffering
The summer that followed the Massacre was a brutal one. The three guilds largely held their power within Tir Fhortun and within their estates and holdings. Activity along the frontier decreased, and it didn't take long for forces along said frontier to notice. By the end of the season there were monstrous incursions all along the border with the Neenoque Forest line, Sedgemagne Wood, Allerlinet Glacier and the Allerlinet Moiraine, the Cochbour Crevasse, Canrood Lake, Leosach Mire, and all signs pointed to a new dragon roosting in the Rabbit's Lair.
This meant months of villages and communities along the frontier being left to their own devices. There were forces that tried to offer support, but the house levies of the nobility, the King's Guard, and most mercenary companies were a practice in throwing warm bodies at a problem. For every success the foot had, they suffered two losses. Lord Teque the Turgid's 800 foot and 45 knights managed to drive the goblin bandits out of the Neenoque and secure that boundary and the Neenoque road, but Teque's flanking maneuver into Canrood left Black Cypress Cove choked with corpses and brackish with spilt blood. Prince Elbert of Kelsey led a respectable host of nearly two thousand foot, cavalry, and siege engines to the Rabbit's Lair with every intention of drawing out the dragon, stymying it with glamour, and arrows, and then finishing it off with a barrage of arbalest and scorpion shot. Thirty men returned, most of those wounded, and the Prince would not be seen against for nearly a century. On that dark day, Black Elbert would reappear as a dragon bound fell knight, an undead cooked into his armor and sworn to blood, death, and vengeance.
But ... but Why???
There was another guild, one that was forgotten.
The Forgotten Guild
Purpose: endure the new age
Agenda: go unnoticed, undermine, destroy, corrupt
Leader: The Spirit of Relentless Remorse
Membership: Predominantly high elf, some humans, all currently immortal as liches, vampires, or otherwise deathless
Resources: The Abyssal Dungeon, as they all dwell in it now, as beings of the Dungeon and are attached to its core. To slay a member of the Forgotten Guild permanently, the dungeon would have to be delved, the corporeal member slain, and the core itself found and broken. Anything less would see the member eventually resurrected by the dungeon core. It has all the powers associated with a dungeon of enormous power, and it is directly under Tir Fhortun, and the Guild of Heroes are the ones closest to accidentally breaking into it. Their own dungeon is a bud that came off the Abyssal Dungeon less than a century ago.
Lacking: fresh blood
Coffers: gold means nothing to immortals with the power to create gold with magic
Magic Items: anything they want
Legendaries: they have full panoplies of legendary gear
Symbol: the skull of a bird
Background: The Forgotten Guild was an unknown guild that operated from the Abyssal Dungeon before Tir Fhortun was a thought. This was an evil guild, and when the Elves of Sedgemagne penetrated the dungeon, they vanquished its minions, defeated its champions and technically slew its masters. It was for naught, as they were all undead abominations, and the elves failed to find the dungeon core and did not destroy it. Abyssal became dormant, its entrances closed, and it was forgotten. Then, a new wave of people came through, and new settlements were made, and Tir Fhortun was build literally on top of Abyssal. When the lords of the bottomless maw awoke, they were both weak and outrageously pissed off by their new stone and plaster gift shop hat.
Things were not ideal. Despite the depths of their coffers and the plethora of wondrous items and weapons they had, their numbers were small. The Forgotten Guild has four members, and as such, the three guilds of Tir Fhortun could wipe them out, loot their vaults, steal their legendary magic items, find their dungeon core, and shatter it, destroying the guild and ending their millennia long existences.
So, the Guild has acted covertly. They have stoked and resurrected ancient cults by spreading forgotten tombs and incomplete texts. The four members are venerated as the Ancient Spirits of Evil.
Cemeisha, the Ravager, appears as a boar-faced woman. Her cults are based on fertility, curses, hexes, gluttony, greed, and lust. Cemeisha spreads her blessings for the Guild of Heroes.
Zikanal, the Butcher, appears as a large man with the skull of a long-snouted dragon, frequently dripping in blood, and carrying a staff and a cleaver. His cult involves craftsmen, butchers, cooks, assassins, murderers, and dispensers of vigilante justice. Zikanel supports the Guild of Champions.
Nezgurt, the Pillar, appears as a massive man with the skull of a bull. He is naked save for a few bits of leather and necklaces of trophies taken from those he kills. His cult has grown around non-heroic soldiers, guardsmen, minions and hirelings, and the commoners who are conscripted into noble's war. Their cult is violent, bloody, and secretive. Nezgurt favors the commoners, the city guard, and the mercenary factions.
Nekolamo, the Mother of Tears, is a ghost pale and skeletally gaunt woman with the head of a white raven. Her cult involves nobility, hedge magic users, gossips, money lenders, guildsmen, and other people of middling and low power. She favors intrigue and mystery. Nekolamo has long supported the efforts, especially those that alienate the other guilds, of the Adventurers-Upon-Return.
These four avatars are largely accurate representations of the four members of the guild, and each minister to their cult and ensure that they are spreading problems and dissent in Tir Fhortun. They want the guilds to go into an all-out war with each other, and the city guard and the nobles to be drawn in too. Nothing would please them more than for the dragon in the Rabbit's Lair to appear at the peak of the civil war, where all five factions furiously kill each other and turn the city to ash. The Long Plan is to accomplish this, wiping out the guilds, taking their resources, and maybe enslaving a few of the more promising members as the new champions of the Forgotten Guild. Once this is accomplished, and the city is gone, the Guild will restore the Abyssal Dungeon to its old glory, the massive inverse fortress that delves deep into the earth, rather than soaring above it.
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? Responses (1)
The Abyssal Dungeon is the ultimate base of operations for a group of entities known only as the Underlords. Currently it is well concealed and the magic emitted by its many Dungeon Hearts is kept hidden under a magical stealth field. It is currently inaccessible from the surface. Some might think that the Forgotten Guild might in fact be the Underlords in disguise. But that is just a rumor. Or is it?