The Adventure Guild
The closest Thistleland has to a ruling body is The Adventure Guild, based from the Restoration Shrine in the city of Guildtown. Not a law providing organisation, The Adventure Guild tasks itself with the safety and general protection of the residents of Thistleland.
The Adventurers are the main core of The Adventure Guild, being both the most populous faction due to their membership being open to all Thistleland decedents, and also due to they being the faction that first discovered and annexed the working Restoration Shrine. Providing the 'meat' of The Adventure Guild, the Adventurers will typically be given quests and proceed to carry out such quests using locally made weapons such as swords, shields, axes and whatever else they have the ability to purchase.
The Adventurers main focus as part of the Guild is to quest Thistleland and surrounding continents to determine remove threats to the local population and provide other assistance to the people. For a price. The Adventurers are led by a wiry and sly Coyote called Mark.
Mages are a less common sight in The Adventure Guild, but lay a vital role in it's existence. The Adventure Guild was conceived by the Mages as a joint operation with themselves and the Adventurers in order to repair the Restoration Shrine after it was discovered. Where Adventurers have muscle the Mages have knowledge and as such maintain and operate the Restoration Shrine itself, forming a sub-group of Mages permanently attached to the Restoration Shrine to ensure its operation.
The Mages occupy themselves primarily with the safety of Thistleland from magical dangers, including dangerous knowledge itself. They typically censor information that can cause harm if known by the population, and confiscate magic items and spells that are unstable, overly destructive or a danger to people at large. As part of The Adventure Guild the mages have run a program of licensing and approving the use of most of magic items within Thistleland. The Mages are led by the aloof and cunning Cougar Anna.
There are two public sub-groups of Mages within Thistleland that ensure the safe and smooth operation of the continent at large. One operates, maintains and repairs the Restoration Shrine, and the other sub-group operates the Mint within Thistleland, providing the population with a stable Currency. While the Mint has little need for a centralized leader, the Restoration Shrine upkeep is supervised by resentful and sharp-tongued Bear called Margret.
Shortly after formation, it was discovered that The Adventure Guild produces a remarkable amount of paperwork and needs a high level of organisation to work smoothly. As such the Clerks in local towns and villages across Thistleland that typically kept local settlements working smoothly were invited to join The Adventure Guild as a new group. they quickly became a new faction, with vast amounts of power through their work and responsibility. The Clerks take their instruction from the overworked and meek Armadillo Jake.
Generally speaking the Clerks have little interest in power within Thistleland. They are the only faction to have a test to join their employ, typically selecting those suitable who have an interest in the paperwork and administration side of The Adventure Guild. They are also usually far too overworked to have time to plot their own cunning plans.
Other members are on a less equal footing. After the evacuation of Avala, both the Adventure Scouts and East Avala Company have shown varying interest in The Adventure Guild membership, and have been permitted full use at a higher fee and other restrictions. Adventure scouts, for example, may only be allowed to work specific approved quests by The Adventure Guild, typically specialist roles outside the glory and higher pay of proper Adventuring. The East Avala Company members typically only register with The Adventure Guild when they employed in the more dangerous goods run. While The Adventure Guild originally met with The Gamanic on their arrival to Thistleland to discuss their membership and restrictions on Gamanic 'magic', the results of the first contact mean that The Gamanic are unlikely to ever become members of The Adventure Guild.
Classifications and Rules
The Adventure Guild has a variety of rules that it imposes on it's members, primarily to prevent corruption by monsters and to ensure the safety of the population as a whole. The Mages have sometimes suggested many of these rules are designed to ensure 'purity'.
One of the more important rules of The Adventure Guild, and one that has caused significant discord, is the Monster Exclusion Policy. The Adventure Guild will refuse membership and access to the Restoration Shrine to any monster, including people that have been transformed. The Adventure Guild members that have suffered transformation that is irreversible are purged from the Restoration Shrine records, and are honorably discharged from membership. If the transformation occurred due to a Quest that did not have this risk listed, The Adventure Guild will pay a retirement settlement to the affected person. This was the case with many early Adventurers and Adventure Scouts sent to The Changed Lands before the true nature of that continent was discovered.
The Adventure Guild is also known to classify people as one of three things: Creatures, People and Monsters. The clerks are also known to provide details on the danger level of each species and person also. Monsters can be A Monster and a Person are both Creatures, and a Monster can also be a Person. The Adventure Guild officially classifies a Monster as "A dangerous Creature that refuses to change behavior when it is given the opportunity to do so", though this classification is known to chance and be somewhat flexible.
Charges and Currency
The Adventure Guild finances itself with the use of charges. These are leveled at it's members with two separate charges for services, and one type of charge to the general population for their use of services.
Members of The Adventure Guild must pay a fee to register, and must also be a member of a participating faction be allowed to register. These are the only real barriers to entry. Registration takes place at the Restoration Shrine, and must be renewed yearly with the appropriate fee.
Use of the Restoration Shrine, seen by many as the biggest attraction to joining The Adventure Guild, also comes with a fee. The fee of restoring is usually a fixed amount, though for certain members this level can be different on special dispensation based on a persons role within The Adventure Guild. Typically each restoration is around ten times the usual pay from the average quest making the process of restoration a painfully expensive service, though naturally more attractive then the alternative.
Those unable to pay the automatic Restoration Fee from their associated funds will be given a grace period of one week for money to enter their bank account, or for another to pay on their behalf. If this does not happen, their record is purged from the Restoration Shrine to make space for others, will no longer be able to be saved, and the person is officially declared dead.
The fees to The Adventure Guild members are not universal. Adventurers pay the average 'standard' fee for Restoration, while the Mages and Clerks pay somewhat less. The Adventure Scouts and East Avala Company pay double, though are also allowed double the grace period if they are unable to pay.
Quests are paid by the local population, often via a collection run by local communities. This money is collected, recorded and tracked by the Clerks, and may be added to at any point by any person. As such Quest rewards will often rise over time, but will never lower. When an Adventurer accepts the quest, they are allowed to take money out of this reward to purchase specialist options, such as an Adventure Scout services before the Quest. This money will come out of the Quest reward and be provided to an Adventure Scout to accept in a similar Quest method that the Adventurer will be offered. As such most Quests are complex in paperwork for Clerks but to the local population, Adventurers and Adventure scouts the process is simple and easy.
The Adventure Guild will typically take between 10% and 20% of a Quest reward to pay for their own services, such as the use of Clerks.
The official currency of The Adventure Guild and thus Thistleland in general is the Gold Coin, a coin of Fools Gold that has been transfigured into true gold using an enchantment that creates a specific pattern. Each Gold Coin can be used as a source of magic, which both ensures their value and also makes them extremely difficult to forge.
In recent times, The Adventure Guild has begun an inclusion program designed to ease tensions and increase harmony within the various Factions that make up The Adventure Guild. This program enables people who would either be secondary members of The Adventure Guild with poor equipment, or people who ordinarily would not be allowed to join The Adventure Guild at all.
The need for an inclusion program was fuelled by the changing popular views towards people of Avala heritage as they integrated into Thistleland population over time, the rejection by The Gamanic to negotiate with The Adventure Guild on terms offered and rising tensions between the Adventure Scouts and Adventurers due to their unequal status.
Conceived by the Mages, specific people who are deemed appropriate are provided an offer to sign up to the Inclusion Program to join The Adventure Guild with it's full range of benefits, a discount on use of the Restoration Shrine and either a discount or no yearly registration fee. Initial equipment is also provided by the Mages and is often high level and enchanted. Members may also be allowed to use specialist magic-based equipment that is pre-approved by the Mages.
Membership to the Inclusion Program is limited and specific in scope. Typically those invited are there to represent a people, an idea or to trial a new system. The Rodent Adventure Group are an example of this, and are a test by the Mages to see the potential for Adventure Scouts to perform responsibly with their own Avala-based enchanted items and with the responsibility and exposure of public adventuring.
While considered a great opportunity by it's members to progress beyond normal restrictions, some have voiced that the Inclusion Program is not as benevolent as it is presented. The use of inexperienced members, and acceptance of personalities that have been known to be volatile have made some Adventure Scouts to question if the Inclusion Program is in fact a way to unfairly present it's members and their ideals as flawed and dangerous, with the intent to justify continuing with the current status quo, or even imposing greater restrictions. Some have even speculated that the end goal of the Inclusion Program would be an attempt to disgrace, disillusion and disband the Adventure Scouts once and for all, banning them from any role within The Adventure Guild.
Synthetic Meat Supply
The Adventure Guild is able to source a large and regular supply of synthetic meat delivered to the former ruins of the Cracked Temple that houses the Restoration Shrine, sent there via a pneumatic pipe system that travels underground from unknown source, presumably a Lost Farm built at the time the Sealed Temples. These pipes also provide a supply of plant based food, however many of the pipes for plant food are ruined beyond repair and do not work.
This supply of synthetic meat comes in several varieties, each made from different materials. The most common types are textured fungus, compressed bacteria, and formed treated plant protein. Very rarely actual meat has arrived, and appears to be laboratory grown meat from genetic samples. Mages have tested this grown meat, but as of yet cannot confirm any single species, stating that the meat appears to be from artificially created genetics.
The synthetic meat delivered to The Adventure Guild is largely sold to local traders in various towns and villages which has become both an important source of revenue for The Adventure Guild, and also a means to calm instinctual needs of some of the more carnivore-focused population in Thistleland, who may not enjoy standard meat-replacement plant protein that Thistleland farms normally provide
Due to the this synthetic meat supply being somewhat important to the easing of tensions, finding the location of the Lost Farm has become a priority for The Adventure Guild, though the Lost Farm remains elusive, likely located far in the deep woods of Thistleland and in all probability sealed much like the Sealed Temples, kept safely away from prying eyes.
While The Adventure Guild typically operates out of the various towns and villages within Thistleland, integrating seamlessly with the population, they have also set up their own settlements where needed to provide specific functions.
Guildtown is the heart of The Adventure Guild, housing the Restoration Shrine in the former ruins of a Cracked Temple, and various record offices, barracks, meeting halls and manufacturing facilities including some of the more impressive traditional forges in Thistleland. Originally built around the Restoration Shrine to provide a regional headquarters for The Adventure Guild, it has since expanded with local populations migrating to the settlement to earn a living. Guildtown is considered the heart of Thistleland as a result of this growth.
The Northern Port was built after the negotiations with The Gamanic fell through, with the intention to provide The Adventure Guild with the same transportability to The Dark Continent that The Gamanic had. Rarely used as there are few Quests to The Dark Continent outside The Adventure Guild interests, it's arrival point at the Dark Port is normally uninhabited, kept safe from the shadows between visits by Mage made lanterns throughout the docks and port.
In contract the Southern Port leading to the various plantations in the Southern Continent is the most heavily used port in Thistleland, housing several docks, warehouses and it's own settlement for workers. Visited by several ships a day it is the main access point in Thistleland for the import of Coco beans, Tea and Coffee.
To the East is the current focus of The Adventure Guild, with their efforts to attempt to make Thistleland safe from potential dangers of The Changed Lands. To access this continent, The Adventure Guild has had to string a number of settlements, usually fortified, in order to allow passage within the neighboring continent.
The Eastern Port is the first step towards The Changed Lands, situation at the edge of east Thistleland. A bustling port that supplies three settlements, it has a reasonable sized town providing the support needed for activities.
Ships leaving The Eastern Port will then travel towards the Dire Outpost, a fortified settlement and port run by The Adventure Guild for the use of refueling and restocking ships heading further out. It also provides munition replenishment for ships that are attacked by sea creatures and dire creatures that live in the Dire straits. Populated mainly by people, the Dire Outpost is known to have a high proportion of transformed persons, and has also proven adaptable by managing to hire some of the feral dire creatures in the Dire straits that are less aggressive. Considered a very risky place to stay in, people are known to go missing in the Dire Outpost at night though few notice due to the high turnover of population due to migration. Lock your windows before you sleep.
The first stop from Thistleland to The Changed Lands is at the Changed Lands Port, a small dock with a single workman who lives in a wood and straw hut next to the port. Merely a stopping point to unload people and supplies, the Changed Lands port is largely quiet, which is just the way it's operator, the transformed Cape Hunting Dog Taur Clive likes it. Situated along the Expansive coast, visitors are advised to not eat the local fruit in order to avoid having any enlargement, growth or expansion problems.
Deeper in The Changed Lands is the furthest settlement of The Adventure Guild, known as The Changed Lands Outpost. Situated in the soft heart of the Plush Plains, this fortified town-garrison is protected by a combination of a tall Palisade with walkways on top, and a selection of guards that include Mages specialised in the use of fire-based magic, which proved highly effective against the local plush based wildlife and monsters. Containing a small farm, town and barracks, the Changed Lands Outpost is the heart of civilised life within The Changed Lands and is known to contain the highest proportion of transformed people and Taurs outside of the Changed Lands Port, with more transformed individuals then untransformed.