- 1 Overview
- 2 Guilds of Temeschwar
- 3 Guilds of Holberg
- 4 Guilds of Sarvos
- 5 Guilds of Tassato
- 6 Prominent Guilds in Play
Guilds rise and fall constantly in the seething tumult of League politics, but those which wish to reach the very top must take their chances on the Imperial stage. This list details some of the notable cartas that have attended Anvil in recent years. It was originally compiled by The Harlequin and Gabriel Barossa, after the Autumn Equinox of 381YE.
Guilds of Temeschwar
Virtuous Guild of Torn Banners
The Torn Banners were formed amidst the chaos following the death of Empress Britta. A coalition of prominent Temeschwar families, their stated aim was to maintain security and prosperity in Temeschwar and The League during this great upheaval. Upon their formation, each family tore their personal heraldry asunder and wove them together to form The Torn Banner, a literal battle flag made from those strips of fabric.
After the coronation of Empress Lisabetta, the families decided to formalise their alliance and in year 380 the founding charter of the Virtuous Guild of Torn Banners was signed. The guild maintains a large portfolio of businesses and property in and around Temeschwar. They have a substantial resource-trading operation centred around the river docks and have ensured strong ties to many of the labour unions located there.
The Free Company of the Torn Banners is famed for its elite heavy infantry and has seen continuous active service since its inception, working for those nations that can afford them.
The Guild's charter mandates it to play an active role in imperial life. Amongst its number are the incumbent Senator for Temeschwar, Bourse members, priests and sinecure holders. The famous Temeschbar is in attendance at most Anvil gatherings.
Above all else, the Torn Banners value loyalty and prospective members must take numerous rings of fealty and secrecy before they are admitted fully into the Guild.
Formed by Drogon and Dante Morisini around 350YE, the Ashen Tower was originally formed by citizens who had migrated from Highguard, which is still shown in their stark black and white heraldry. They also still cleave to the Highborn principle that Virtue can and will redeem your soul. Brought to the League by the brothers, the Tower sought to rid Temeschwar of the Vyig threat, before focussing their efforts on the liberation of Holberg. A number of prominent members were lost fighting for the city. Despite these losses, the Tower grew, with their valour attracting many of the dispossessed and orphaned of the city into their ranks. As one of their bravos put it "we are a home for all the young minds wishing to pull themselves out of the gutter and in some cases down to it."
Now known across the Empire for its military prowess, the Tower remains a guild where which many claim you can find redemption, Virtue and family, whilst watching over the League.
- Motto: Ever Vigilant
The Bloody Butchers Guild has played a crucial role in Imperial affairs for centuries. Legends as well as their boasts tell that it hosted a sumptuous banquet for Aldones de Sarvos, Barrell of Tassato and Maria Ivanova von Temeschwar at which they formed the League and worked with the First Empress to found the Empire. This magnificent 'First Feast' continues to inspire a tradition of fine feasting today.
They claim their guildmaster was a close aide of the First Empress and her quartermaster general. She called him 'The First Butcher' in recognition of his logistical prowess in supplying cured meat for the Empire's armies. Many songs which they have commissioned are sung of his cunning which was said to be as sharp as his cleaver, and of his courageous death in battle beside the First Empress.
As the Guild's power and influence grew over the years, it diversified into many varied businesses, whilst never forgetting its bloody beginnings in butchery. One of its greatest Master Butchers about a century ago became known as 'The Gold Butcher', for her work serving the Empire as Master of the Mint. She used the Guild's wealth to help finance the Empire, issuing Butchers Bonds to raise funds. In doing so she founded the Butchers Bank and coined its famous motto.
In recent times, following the death of Empress Britta, the Butchers Guild became fabulously prosperous by dominating the Bourse and founding the League Trading Company. With its great wealth it has funded many great works for the Empire, including the Colossus of Sarvos, the Bloody Theatre of Temeschwar, the Blood Red Quays Art Gallery of Sarvos, the Blood Red Museum of Tassato, the Lorenzo Legacies of Virtue and, most impressively of all, 'The Butchers Benevolence: The Blood Red Roads'.
- Motto: Blood is our bond
Crimson Reaper Cartel
Formed in the harsh winter of 379 by Prince Drogon, the name of the Guild was chosen as a gift to the Reaper - one of the faces of the League egregore - during the masquerade festival that bears its name.
The Reapers are often seen trading throughout the League and in Anvil selling fine clothes, jewellery, rare materials, potions, and magic items, brought in from foreign nations via the Reapers' fine ships and traders.
Fighting as a free company, the Reapers are noted for including a high proportion of battle mages alongside their bravos. Aside from mercenary work they are often seen taking on private investigation contracts as well as accepting coin for passing on secret knowledge the Night ritualists and investigators have come across, finding clients from homely citizens to magistrates. These same ritualists are also known for using their magics to solve enigmas that puzzle their clients, or to create customised enchantments or curses - as long as they have coin to pay.
Although they cultivate a dark image with their associations with death and their brutal bravos, inside their own camp they pride themselves on offering a warm welcome where people can see past the masks to find warm, ambitious citizens driven to protect the empire.
- Motto: Reap what you sow
The Church of the Enduring Flame
The Church of the Enduring Flame was formed in the town of Tagliona near Tassato by Umberto Lucito di Tagliona during the Second Interregnum in around 285 YE from the non-militant wing of the now defunct Church of Burning Avidity.
Preaching the Virtue of Ambition, the sect's membership are not bound to a single guild but drawn from dedicants from across the houses and cities of the League, acting as a bridging point on matters of faith and ambitious competition. Historically, the sect has been known to both fan the flames of disputes between guilds and to facilitate reconciliation of old scores, largely dependant upon their own inscrutable interpretation of the Virtues.
The sect is known to possess a number of historical relics significant to Ambition within the League, not least one of the surviving torches from the Night of a Thousand Torches in Temeschwar that has been on display in their cathedral in the city (with very reasonable price of admittance).
Since the death of Empress Britta, the Church of the Enduring Flame has swelled in size, welcoming members from both the priesthood and laity. They have found a number of successes within the Synod, most notably spearheading the effort to have Ratibor of Temeschwar recognised as an exemplar. Their links to this ancient boyar also saw them continuing his legacy with their involvement in the recent efforts to purge League cities of the Vyig.
The Sea Wolves
The Sea Wolves are a free company formed from the original crew of the Cerberus, and their allies who helped them reclaim the ship from Asavea. Tragic and unfortunate circumstances allowed ruthless debt collectors to wrench the mighty black and gold galleon from the crew's control. Unwilling to meekly accept the situation, they swore oaths of loyalty to each other whilst planning a detailed heist. Together they liberated their ship from the foreign power and sailed triumphantly home to Temeschwar. Since that day they have steered clear of Asavean waters and resentment towards the nation runs strong amongst members of the free company.
Between mercenary contracts the Sea Wolves sail far and wide trading in fine wines, ciders and ports. The crew saves a portion of their stock to sell to the heroes at Anvil during each solstice. The Sea Wolf brand is becoming widely known amongst those who fancy themselves connoisseurs of the finer alcoholic beverages. This trading inclination means the company maintains a strong business presence in Temeschwar. It uses this financial base to equip and support their martial endeavours. When on shore leave the crew is set ‘at licence'. They can usually be found in taverns, drinking, gambling, boasting, and fighting; often all at the same time. The Sea Wolves' camp is large and loud with entertainers being enthusiastically welcomed to the fireside. Rival bravos are also welcomed although scuffles are to be expected. Fortunately the free company’s cicisbeos are more than capable of soothing a few bruised egos.
On the battlefield, the Sea Wolves pride themselves on rigorous professionalism. They fight together, with pole arms and two-handed swords, well supported by battle mages and healers. Their oath reflects their fierce commitment to loyalty, to their financial success, and to their independent lifestyle aboard the Cerberus.
Guilds of Holberg
The Holberg Haudegen are a halberd company, well supported by all the various sutlers and logistical base you could want for a large, campaigning free company. Founded by the canny Otto Friedrich Von Holberg, the third son of one of the richer burghers of Holberg, the company is known for its discipline on the battlefield. As well as travelling the length and breadth of the empire, this free company has also fought in the distant battlefields of Axos and Faraden.
Arising from the numerous tradespeople who support the soldiers, the company has among its numbers a lot of surprisingly influential business owners, and several senatorial candidates have been surprised at the influence they wield.
Though their bravos, soldiers, and other followers can be a bit rowdy off the field, the guild has a strong tradition of giving great rewards to those who have proven their worth. Entertainment is often hired in for soldiers who have proved their worth and they are paid "on the drum". Visitors to their camp have often been impressed by the graceful dancing of Haudegen soldiers, moving in stylised formations that are more than slightly reminiscent of their disciplined movement on the battlefield.
Every member of the company is given a wage when they sign on and walk under the halberd arch, as well as extra rewards for those who live to be veterans - these being marked by cards worn on hats and equipment. The company is for hire to most bidders in the Empire for the right amount, considering themselves reassuringly expensive.
- Motto: Last in, first out, get paid
The Feasting Crow
The Feasting Crow Tavern and Theatre was formed when a group of Navarri from the Summer Crows striding decided to settle and spotted business opportunities in the newly liberated city of Holberg. Lacking the funds for the major renovation their cellar bar required, they joined with a merchant prince of Holberg and a theatre troupe to work on the project. Group members include Caerwyn Von Holberg, retired senator for Therunin, who has served as proxy senator for Holberg.
- Motto: We're not going back!
House of Seven Mirrors
The House of Seven Mirrors was originally founded as a private political salon by Lisabetta Giacomi von Holberg. It would be a place where those gathered might seek to increase their knowledge through discussion of new ideas and ways in which to put those ideas into practice. The guildhouse in Holberg contains seven specially-commissioned mirrors which each represents one of the seven Virtues, and draw on the hearth magic of Holberg to encourage all those present to reflect the Virtues as they speak. The guild first came to Anvil in Winter 378YE, and soon after hosted luminaries of Anvil at a public salon evening in Holberg.
Following the election in 380YE of their prince as the twentieth Empress, the guild continues to support the Imperatrix in her duties. But each member of the guild also has their own sphere of excellence and influence at Anvil; ranging from economic, political, magical, and religious, to the sartorial and social. As a result, the House has considerable knowledge of the inner workings of Anvil and the wider Empire, and members have held, and continue to hold, a variety of Imperial titles.
Lisabetta acquired the famous Ledger Domain business following the liberation of Holberg, to enable the House to expand its publishing activities in the realm of political and informational works. The most notable is ‘The Book of the Empire’ - a substantial and handsome volume which draws on Imperial Civil Service records to provide the most useful information for those interested in statecraft. The guild also publishes the highly-regarded ‘Anvil Almanac’ each season: this is a compendium of current Imperial concerns, and includes a full listing of the holders of Imperial titles.
Guilds of Sarvos
Compagnia de Rossi
The Compagnia de Rossi is a carta with multiple financial interests within the League such as successful trade and shipping, commercial applications of magic, bridging interests between the Senate and the Bourse, the sale of stocks and shares in the wain/ilium market, and stakeholding either directly or indirectly in such organisations as Red Raven Holdings, the League Trading Company, the Crimson Tapestry, and the Burnished Compass. In the past they have also engaged in contract brokerage for mercenary companies.
Based in Sarvos (although originally from Temeschwar) the guild is guided by the Signeur who is first in a company of equals.
Carta Di Vergo
The Di Vergo family claim that the Di Vergo Playhouse has been in Sarvos for centuries, potentially predating the Empire. Whether this is actually true or not is entirely lost to the flames of the Sack of Sarvos. The guild, however, was founded recently, and members and associates of the guild are diverse indeed. From members of the Di Vergo Playhouse in Sarvos, the Brothers Blythe of Tassato, a vast number of healers, alchemists, and even a bakery, the guild has a great deal of talent to its name.
Members of the guild are oath-bound to do good and be moral people, and many of their efforts are based on investment in community projects as well as the prosperity and culture of the Empire. Another priority is helping defend the Empire from both domestic and foreign threats. Any aspirant members of this guild are encouraged to take a strong moral stand on issues facing the Empire, and be, or aspire to be, good.
- Motto: By sword and song
Carta Rosa D'Ora
An old trading camorra from the docks of Sarvos, the Carta Rosa D'Ora briefly saw scandal when the eldest two children, Cesare and Nerezza, vanished. Rumours spread that Nerezza, a draughir, had killed her own brother. The camorra's leadership was practically wiped out during the sacking of Sarvos. Its prince, Gioninno, was killed and his wife and daughter - Christina and Leticia - have lived in Tassato since.
The camorra might have collapsed at this point, but Nerezza returned and claimed the princeship. She declared the camorra to be affiliated with both the Dolcezzas, through blood, and the Ashen Tower. The ruins of the camorra's house now form the foundation of the building housing the Ashen Tower of Sarvos.
Church of The Little Mother
The most famous League church is the Church of The Little Mother. Originally based in Sarvos, churches dedicated to the Little Mother, an exemplar of Prosperity and the matron of children and orphans, are found in all League cities and in some parts of other nations as well. The Little Mother takes in orphaned or abandoned children, ensuring that they receive a chance in life. Children are taught basic numeracy and literacy before being apprenticed to a master in the city. The Church sustains itself with donations, often made by former beneficiaries, and is well respected by the Imperial authorities and League people. It can also wield a surprising amount of political power, as many influential people owe their start in life to the priests of the Little Mother.
Lead by the Mother Bishop, no matter the gender, the position has been held by strong leaders, most notably the late Ynez di Caricomare, known as 'the mother to many, helping guide people along their path'. She even held the position of Cardinal of Prosperity for a time, being a strong voice on the Council of Nine. Sadly however, Ynez and several others were cut down in the line of duty.
Lately however the church has seen a revival under its new mother bishop.
- Motto: Share all that is worthwhile with all who deserve
Granted their charter in the early years of Emperor Ahraz's reign, the Carta Notturno was founded by street mages, traders, and madames in an effort impose some order on the infamous night markets of Sarvos' Piazza della Notte. Due to its humble beginnings and relatively recent formation, the Carta is traditionally seen as an upstart guild with a shady image. Their reputation as barely legitimised mountebanks and tradespeople on the make has clung on over the years and, combined with a knack for making the best of bad situations, attracts a certain amount of resentment from more established Sarvosian guilds. The sinking of the Caricomare brought the guild a large influx of refugee members, whose efforts have enhanced its prosperity significantly. The Carta operates a diverse network of business concerns, and their fleets can be found trading across the known world (backed by powerful magic, if rumour is believed).
Though their fortunes have risen and fallen over time, a recent leadership change has allowed the Carta to shake off a decade of stagnation and resurface on the League political scene. When the Interregnum started, the guild's leaders scented opportunity and ventured to Anvil for the first time. Bringing the vibrant spirit of the Piazza della Notte with them, they operate from the brightly lit and multi-coloured Peacock's Tale cocktail bar, sending their diverse membership out to pluck the threads of influence across all the great chambers of the Imperial State.
Belying its dubious reputation, the Carta Notturno was the primary investor in rebuilding the Caricomare district of Sarvos, probably due to their history of re-homing refugees. Since then they have become known for putting both money and fundraising efforts into public works across the Empire and are regularly visited by people wishing to promote ideas for improving the lives of citizens.
A new guild in its infancy, The Accademia dell'Arte brings together independent artisans, artists, magical actors and playwrights, alchemists, poet-philosophers, and free thinkers. Why? There are philosophical reasons, sure, but mostly it is for delectable, delicious and deplorable profit.
...that, and the scandalous parties. The alleged scandalous parties. "But what can one expect from the antics of debauched artists?", asks the eccentric founder of the guild, Giacomo de'Geni. "Those who seek their muse at the bottom of a cup of wine; in the arms of another's lover; in the dregs of an alchemist's draught. They are flighty, that muse. Who knows where they will appear next!"
Originally based in Tassato, now relocated along with its founder to Sarvos.
- Motto: There is both Pride and profit in mastery of one's art
Based in the Sarvos docks, Prospero's Chosen has many fingers in many pies. A hybrid trading and mercenary company, the group turns itself to anything to earn coin, in the past dabbling in mercenary work, trading, and rumoured to be involved in other, less savoury activities. Members have been known to duel for the honour of the band, and any slight is answered with cold steel.
The symbol of the group is a skull, with the letter "P" on the forehead, and their chief colours are black and gold.
Guilds of Tassato
With the charter changing hands less than ten years ago, the recent infamy of the Printers’ Guild has eclipsed the historic successes and scandals. In just a few short years they have become famous both for the benevolence with which they have given to the Empire's museums and sinecures, as well as the questionable virtue with which they have antagonised eternals, heroes, and villains.
When the Senate and the Conclave refused to retrieve the Imperial Crown from Bas Celik, the Printers’ Guild stepped forwards to fill the void and reclaimed this priceless relic. Safely stewarding it for three years, the jealousy of smaller souls saw it sequestered by the Conclave. Within a season it was lost. Pilfered from supposedly sealed vaults by the Silver Mask (one of their notorious former members) and given to the Sumaah Republic.
The passion of the prince of the Printers’ Guild is the Pledge - a newspaper that divides the Empire. In his words, "many cry out it contains lies, but when pressed all they can find is the hard hitting truths that make them squirm." Although the guild has offices in all the League cities, it is the home of the Pledge in Tassato Mestra with which they are most often associated.
Famously, the guild boasts a range of involvement in the Synod that no-one else can match, since their members include both cardinals and those who have been excommunicated, along with everything between. They even believe that they are preaching to their readers.
Never shy, always controversial, they boast that if you are planning on attending Anvil and have an opinion that you want spreading far and wide then make friends with the Printers’ Guild and write for The Pledge.
- Motto: With Courage and Vigilance we spread the truth
The Gilded Horn Carta
Signed in Mestra before the formation of the Empire, the Gilded Horn Carta was founded from the diverse strands of the already powerful Rezia family, which had its various stakes in the city since antiquity. From Mestra it has spread to the rest of the League, and has played an active hand in its development since those early days.
The heart of the Gilded Horn’s operations is the Street of Pleasures in Mestra. Newcomers could be forgiven for thinking the Carta owns the whole street, but their rivals point out the other guilds between the brazen frontages of businesses owned by the Gilded Horn. For those in search of enjoyment, luxury, or the finer things in life, the Gilded Horn is a good place to start, though a critic would whisper that this Carta has something of an unsavoury reputation for debauchery.
Naturally, with such strong holdings on the Street of Pleasures, its members are often entertainers, singers, actors or cicisbeos. The Carta has one of the largest Autumn covens in the Empire, and has found renown in casting a permanent enchantment upon the Wolves of War; the largest known permanent ritual in recent times.
The Rezia family that runs the guild is largely of Cambion blood, but the Carta is no camorra; they will take the time to explain that the Carta recruits only the most promising candidates, and the most capable and driven individuals are married or adopted by the family. The Gilded Horn has always been politically active, but since the death of Britta it is common to find one of their membership seeking election in Senate, the Synod and the Conclave.
The Camorra Barossa, better known as the Crimson Foxes, are an old family from Tassato Regario, with roots going back pre-Empire. Members are all part of the Barossa line by birth, marriage or adoption.
Many of the camorra have been noted actors and playwrights and commonly have a love of dramaturgy, both for rituals and entertainment. They only have limited involvement in League politics, but are closely allied to the Empress Lisabetta.
Since the Interregnum, members of the camorra have served in numerous imperial positions, but are probably most well known for their martial and Bourse interests. The family regularly sends soldiers to support the armies and have given the League two generals, in addition to numerous exploits via the sentinel gate. Enemies of the camorra are quick to joke about the tragic litany of deaths in battle they have endured, but the Foxes point with pride to the victories those deaths have won. One such death was Nicolo Barossa, the exemplar of Prosperity, who was the first Master of the Imperial Mint after the death of Britta and one of several members of the family to sit on the Bourse since.
- Motto: Steel guard my body, Virtue guard my soul
Prominent Guilds in Play
This list is by no means exhaustive; efforts are made to keep it up to date but due to the sheer amount of work involved the onus lies with the League players to ensure the information is correct and current.
The majority of guilds listed here represent player-character households. It should go without saying that you should not create a character who is part of one of these groups, or has personal history with them, without first clearing it with the appropriate players. You should also check before including other players' guilds in your background. The background team are unlikely to approve a background that significantly impacts or involves another player character group without their permission.