Campaign of the Month: July 2012
Guardians of the Frontier
River Tree Thieves Guild
River Tree is split among 2 Frontier thieves’ guild captains and their crews.
Magrath Mistletoe Unflinching and The Cloistered.
Traros the Armorer and The Chain.
Captains manage and maintain a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering. Each guild crew claims sovereignty over a territory in which it operates its rackets within River Tree.
Each guild crew frequently parallels, collaborates with or clashes with, other guild crews within the city.
Guild crews act as a sort of “private protection association” who act as guarantors of trust and security in areas of the economy where such things are scarce and fragile. In exchange for money or favors, crews use the credible threat of violence to protect their clients from fraudsters, thieves, and competitors.
For example: suppose a farmer wishes to sell some goods to a merchant without paying taxes. Neither the seller nor buyer can turn to the watch or the citadel for help should something go wrong, such as the seller supplying rotten meat or the buyer not paying up. The law does not enforce black market agreements; it punishes them. Without the arbitration of the law, the seller could cheat the buyer with impunity or vice versa. If the parties both do not trust each other, they cannot do business and they could both lose out on a profitable deal. Instead, the parties can approach the local thieves’ to supervise their illegal deal. In exchange for a commission, the guild promises to both the buyer and seller that if either of them tries to cheat the other, the cheater can expect to be assaulted or have his property vandalized. Such is the guild’s reputation for viciousness and reliability that neither the buyer nor the seller would consider cheating. Only a fool would dare cheat somebody protected by the guild. With the traders satisfied that this guild can discourage cheating, the transaction proceeds smoothly and all parties leave satisfied.
The guild’s protection is not restricted to illegal activities. Shopkeepers often pay the guild crews to protect them from thieves. If a shopkeeper enters into a protection contract with a guild crew, the crew will make it publicly known that if any thief were foolish enough to rob his client’s shop, he would track down the thief, beat him up, and, if possible, recover the stolen merchandise (guild crews make it their business to know all the fences in their territory)
Guild activities include smuggling, gambling, loan sharking, prostitution, burglary, protection, kidnapping, forgery, illegal arms and goods sales, theft. Assassination is not permitted or sanctioned by the guild in Frontier. Duels however are legal on the 2 islands, ‘Riverbud’ & ‘River root.’
A clan is led by a “boss” who is aided by an “underboss” and supervised by one or more advisers. Under his command are guild crews of about ten “soldiers”. Each crew is led by a captain.