Guilds in Aerdy
The one non-adventuring guild which has a truly dominant role is the Royal Guild of Merchants of Aerdy. This group is dominated by the Royal House of Darmen under its patron, Prince Xavener. As part of the agreement of proclamation of Ivid I as overking, House Darmen was paid off for its support of Naelax by being granted a royal writ to regulate all guilds of a commercial nature—this means virtually regulating everyone in practice throughout the Great Kingdom.
Though this royal writ did not specifically exclude either North or South Province or Medegia, it could not be enforced there. So in those lands the Royal Guild of Merchants had to develop its influence more subtly and with greater wiles. But, with the backing of the priesthood of Zilchus, it was fairly successful at doing exactly that.
The Royal Guild of Merchants pays a hefty annual tax to the overking. In return it licenses all trade and craft guilds, which in turn regulate their own affairs. Guilds with small memberships, specialist areas of operation, or special and unusual requirements, such as literacy, have the strongest control over their internal regulation.
These Guilds are very rarely powerful, simply because most of Aerdy’s people live off the land as peasants or fishermen. However, they do act as a stabilizing factor in Aerdy today. Cohesive guilds look after their own, and if one furrier, for example, has his house burned by looters, other members of his guild will do something to help, such as give the furrier money, offer him accommodations, and provide other aid. In return, they might ask to work in their shop or place of business.
The Royal Guild is politically powerful through its monopoly of commercial licensing, its alliance with the priesthood of Zilchus, and its merchant-prince membership, which has major landholdings. Most of the guild currently supports Xavener’s bid for rulership, and they oppose Ivid by passive resistance means, such as channelling resources away from what areas of influence are left to the overking. However, some of the guild supports other bids for the crown, and this powerful group is as schism-ridden as other associations in Aerdy.