The Messengers' Guild

Copyright Kerry Drake © 2005

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion

"Baron Hightower, look!" One of the wall guards suddenly pointed out over the mass of orcs arrayed outside the walls of the fortress. At rear of their ranks, just cresting a small hill, a group of riders with weapons drawn was making an attack. The orcs had laid siege to the fortress 3 days ago, and no help had been expected to relieve Hightower and his men. These riders were a gift, but a small gift the Baron saw as the last of riders cleared the hill and he saw their number was no more than 30.

Still 30 riders was nothing to ignore and the orc formations (if you could really call their rag tag groups formations) began to move to counter the new threat. The riders made a wheeling attack, drawing up 50 feet from the orc lines and letting fly with a hail of arrows from their horse bows. A dozen orcs went down under the hail of fire, but hundreds more surged forward to reap their revenge. The riders swept back, gained ground and fired again.

"My Lord" the same guard shouted, pointing off to the east where the shifting of the orcs had left an open corridor some 200 feet wide between their flank and the edge of the small river that ran behind the fortress. There a lone rider on a great stead had appeared as if from nowhere and was charging to the fortress as fast as his mount could take him. His cloak streamed out behind him in the wind and the Baron could just make out the black and green of the man's tunic.

"A Messenger!" Hightower called out. "Ready the gate at the small bailey!" He yelled down to the courtyard. "Sergeant, get all the archers on this section of wall, be ready to give covering fire as he gets closer." Turning the Baron saw the group of riders who had attacked the orcs, now less than 30 in number as he spied two horses down and a third without a rider, were nearing the top of the hill where they wheeled one last time and let loose a final volley of arrows into the pursuing horde.

The lone black and green rider was within 300 feet of the fortress before any of the orcs turned from the battle on the hill and finally caught sight of him. The Baron's archers cut down the few that made the attempt to cut him off and by the time Hightower made it to the courtyard, the small bailey gate was nearly closed again, and the Man was sliding down off of his lathered horse.

"Lord Hightower?" The man asked as the Baron approached.

"Yes, I am Baron Hightower." The Baron noted 3 silver bands on the man's left sleeve.

"A message from the Duke, your grace, he warns that orc tribes are on the move and you should be ready to defend yourself." The man delivered his news with a sarcastic lift of his eyebrows.

"You can't be serious." The Baron exploded.

"Please, your grace, " The man explained, "don't blame the messenger."

The Messengers Guild is known throughout the lands as a reliable, if somewhat expensive, way to send messages from one place/person to another. The black and green tunics of the guild garner respect regardless of the number of silver bands that adorn each individual's right sleeve.

Dashed Band -- Apprentice

Apprentices serve inside the guild house performing menial tasks in-between their trainings. It is normal for a new Messenger to spend two years as an apprentice before moving to the rank of Journeyman. Apprentices will only ever carry messages of the very lowest order, and then only from the guild itself to a local entity (i.e. an order for a keg of beer to a local brewery).

1 Band - Journeyman

Journeymen are generally used to transport messages inside cities or perhaps from one nearby town to another in a relatively safe area. Journeymen seldom deliver to an individual, rather they are most often tasked with delivery to a Messenger Guild House or other entity.

2 Bands - Messenger

Messengers usually deliver messages inside a given country / kingdom. Messengers can and will deliver to a specific individual. Messengers are also used as escorts for higher-ranking Messengers making a dangerous delivery.

3 Bands -- Senior Messenger

Senior Messengers are up to nearly any delivery. Occasionally hired out to a unit expecting combat, Senior Messengers sometimes expect to have their status ignored and have attempts made to purloin their parcels. Senior Messengers will courier packets from one country / kingdom to another and either drop them at a local guild house, or deliver them themselves (perhaps doing both on a trip). A Senior Messenger is also allowed to carry private verbal messages from person to person. A Senior Messenger swears an oath to never reveal any message transported this way to any but the intended recipient. Any Messenger who breaks this oath is immediately expelled from the guild ranks, and his life is forfeit if he ever is caught delivering another message for anyone, anytime, anywhere.

4 Bands -- Master Messenger

Master Messengers are often of an age where the rigors of long, hard rides no longer agree with them. Frequently assigned to run a local Guild House, Master Messengers teach younger Apprentices and Journeymen the craft. Masters will, on occasion, deliver messages of the highest importance themselves, and usually will be accompanied by 1-3 lower ranking Messengers as guards / students. Master Messenger is the lowest rank in the guild to be informed of the guild's magical pathways.

5 Bands - Grand Master

There is only one Grand Master per country / region, and some regions do not have any. Responsible for all the guild houses in his domain, Grand Masters are keepers of the magical pathways, and almost never deliver messages themselves that do not need to use this means of delivery.

6 Bands -- Guild Master

One guild master is the de facto head of the guild. The Guild Master is granted this position by being the Grand Master with the longest term of service to the guild when a new Guild Master is needed.

The Magical Pathways

The Messengers have access to a series of magical pathways that crisscross Evaine. That the Messengers have some sort of magical ability is known to those who pay attention to the speed with which some messages are delivered and responded to. The exact nature of that ability is unknown, and no messenger will even acknowledge its existence to an outsider.

A magical network exists that was created solely for the use of the messengers. The guild makes sure that at least 3 or 4 members have the ability to maintain this network at any one time. These members are subjected to a magical ritual rendering them unable to discuss the nature of the network with anyone except a Grand Master or the Guild Master.

Training Packages:

MESSENGERS (L)

The Messengers provide a secure, dependable means of sending messages across the city, county, or the land.

History:

The Messengers began as a way of fulfilling the need for fast communications between the newly peaceful tribes of the horse people. The Messengers slowly evolved, region to region, as a fast, dependable, discrete messenger service, for those that could afford it.

Time to Acquire: 24 Months

Starting Money: Normal plus 2d6

Special

Useful City Contact.................... 30
Promotion.................... 30
Daily I Item.................... 10
Detailed Local Map........... 100

Category or Skill # of ranks

Athletic — Endurance skill category.2
Climbing 1
Distance Running..... 2
Awareness — Senses..... 1
Direction Sense....... 2
Body Development 0
Body Development 2
Communications............ 1
Choice of 1 language 2
Signaling 2
Lore — General..... 2
Region Lore........... 2
Outdoor — Animal....... 1
Riding (Horse)...... 2
Outdoor — Environmental 1
Star-gazing....... 2
Urban........ 1
Contacting 2
Weapon / Attack........ 1
Weapon / Attack skill 1

Stat Gains: none

Cost By Profession

Fighter 32 Magician 48 Ranger 33
Thief 34 Cleric 45 Dabbler 35
Rogue 32 Mentalist 46 Bard 34
Warrior Monk 37 Layman 34 Healer 32
Mystic 46 Warlock 48 Sorcerer 48
RuneMage 47 Summoner 47 Illusionist 46
Essence Alchemist 46 Mana Molder 48
Channeling Alchemist 45 Animist 41
Mentalism Alchemist 45 Priest 46
Lay Healer 46 Arcanist 48 Wizard 48
Paladin 38 Mythic 35 Monk 40
Taoist Monk 40 Warrior Mage 39 Magent 32
Zen Monk 39 Chaotic 37 Mage Hunter 35
Nightblade 35 Dervish 38 Sword Dancer 34
Seer 44 Astrologer 46 Enchanter 46
ArmsMaster 38 Barbarian 33 Outrider 30
Sage 34 Swashbuckler 32 Shao-Lin Monk 40
Elementalist 49 Elemental Priest 45
Arcane Elementalist 48
Elemental Champion 39

MESSENGERS (HARP)

Skill Ranks
Climbing 2
Navigation 2
Endurance 2
Linguistics 2
Mundane Lore - Region 2
Riding 2
Weapon Skills 2