The Tar Valon Merchants' Guild

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Leadership & Members

Guildmaster:
Great Circle:
Merchants: Tinaldra
Crafters: Alain
Apprentices:

General Overview

The Tar Valon Merchants' Guild is designed as an organization for the support and benefit of the Merchant class of Tar Valon. The benefits of membership include safe handling of your hard-earned money through the Guild's bank, legal representation, training in trade skills via an apprenticeship program, social status for members in good standing, a voice in Tar Valon politics, as well as a network for access to a community of other merchants. The Guild also hosts events to help promote the businesses of its varied members, assists the Tar Valon City Council in feastday and tournament funding, and sponsors various charities.

Guild Structure

Guildmaster

At the top of the guild stands the Guildmaster. All guild members are expected to respect and listen to her. Her task is to introduce new members, keep track of the administration and organization, make sure new policies of the guild are introduced and obeyed, listen to complaints from members and help to find solutions, and keep the peace between guild members. These complaints can be either written down and delivered at the guildhouse (aka @mail) or ask for an appointment in her office or tell her at breakfast or lunch time, which are the times she listens to such things.

Great Circle

Helping the Guildmaster with these tasks, and serving as a sort of ruling body is the Great Circle. This council is made up of five members, which includes four full members and one apprentice. They make the rules and judge whether rules are broken and what punishments will be made. They decide what should be done in regards to business and political movements. They are also looked up to with respect and usually have a day on which people who support them come to them to tell what they would like to change.

To become a member of the Great Circle, every guild member may put himself forth as a candidate and has the right to vote on a candidate of the party he belongs to. In other words: masters only vote for master candidates, apprentices may only vote for the apprentice candidates. Candidates should clearly state their platform, and what their plans are for the guild. Those with the highest grades will be elected, and votes are cast based on what the voting members wish to see accomplished in the Guild, and whether or not the candidate is believed capable of meeting said goals.

The Great Circle (including the Guildmaster) votes on matters after careful research of what the members want and what is best for the guild. Every member will vote and say yes or no and whichever side has the most votes wins. The guild master's vote counts for two votes, making a total of seven votes. This means that when two members are against and three in favor, she can cast the deciding vote. In extreme matters, and only if it's one to four, she can call for a 'Tree-maker' then her vote counts for three votes. This can only be done if she has sincere doubts on the guild's policy and good thinking about this subject. When this happens there will be a thorough investigation by followers of each Great Circle member under the direction of the Guildmaster.

Merchants and Crafters

The core of the guild is made up of merchants and craftsman who own a shop and can support themselves and their apprentices. Usually a full member, or master, has one or more apprentices and/or servants. All members wear a necklace or a brooch with the sign of the guild: A silver leaf of Avendesora and over that a golden fortune horn which points down, crossed with a white-gold Tower. This makes it easier for guild members to recognize each other as well as allow others with whom the guild does business to recognize their status as guild members. While masters don't have to wear it, apprentices are expected to wear a tiny brooch on their right side in clear view. They have to pay for it themselves, as an introduction to the guild but if they don't have the money right away they can make arrangements for a loan.

Apprentices

Apprentices are students of the guild who are learning one or more professions. The people who can't support themselves are also considered apprentices until the Council decides they are really self-supporting and independent and then they may apply for full membership.

As they are not full members yet, apprentices are expected to obey every guild member, except when they are busy with something else for the guild, and treat them with respect. Every apprentice is under the supervision of one full master, probably the one whose courses he takes more or helps in the shop. This supervisor is chosen by the guild master as she's the one who introduces the new apprentice in the guild. When a member comes with someone he wishes to train though she will send the newbie to him after the introduction.

When the supervisor considers someone ready to become a full member he discusses this with the guild master and when she agrees the newbie will be given a very difficult task to show he is worth the guild's trust. When he has succeeded the Council will discuss what shall be done to help the new member get his shop.

Unlike most guilds, the Tar Valon Merchant Guild allows its apprentices to follow more than one path of training, so if you are not sure which profession to pursue, or wish to expand your knowledge in certain areas you can go to your supervisor and/or the Guildmaster to ask permission to train with another member. These requests are always fulfilled as we want to have quality members. One thing expected from the guild members is the ability to read and write. Apprentices who are not literate will have one to two afternoons a week in which they are taught reading and writing. Another opportunity is to work for a year abroad to learn the world and gain more experience and of course expand your knowledge of different ways to craft and sell merchandise. This goes vice versa as well and many apprentices are join the Guild to get the opportunity to learn more while they actually study somewhere else. It ensures business relations for later.

Guild Policies

Guild Dues

Each full member is expected to pay a certain amount of money to the guild each month. This due is the only money the guild asks in return for what the guild does for you.

There is one additional due, which is not obligated. One benefit of guild membership is the convenience of allowing the guild to handle the financial administration that goes along with owning a business. This might include such things as tax payments, apprentice training costs, inventory, etc. This will take 5 percent of the member's profits, but as taxes outside the guild are 10 percent of all income earned, it might be a good idea to take advantage of this perk, as it will save money and time. Of course, if you don't want others to look in your books to see any falsehoods you don't have to. Just remember it will raise a small amount of suspicion for the reasons you have.

Apprentices have less to pay in monthly dues. These dues come from their loans for their work and their profit if their master or the Guildmaster allows them to practice what they have been taught. These expenses are made to cover the costs the guild incurs in supplying products to sell and to pay for training. These allowances for practice are usually made during the Guild's monthly market day in the Merchant's Guild Marketplace, in which apprentices may tend the booths. Apprentices may keep any profits earned after dues and loan payments are made.

Chain of Command

Guildmaster - Addressed as "Guildmaster". All guild members answer to her. She is only answerable to the entirety of the Great Circle under rare circumstances when her judgment is called into serious question.

Great Circle - Addressed as "Master" or "Mistress". All full members answer to the Great Circle.

Full Member - Full members have the title of "Master". All apprentices are expected to obey all full members.

Apprentice - Apprentices are expected to obey all full members, as well as the First Apprentice, who presides with the rest of the Great Circle.

Guild Interaction Between Members

Members are encouraged to show cooperation with each other in order benefit their businesses, the guild, and the city of Tar Valon. For example, if one is willing to buy goods from Altara, go asking around whether others are willing to get cargo from that nation as well, and work together. Share the costs and risks but make profit of your own. Another option is a captain or peddler who is a guild member who might make a deal with a crafter to sell his goods outside and promise them a percentage of what they sell. Thus they don't have to look for cargo and buy products and the craftsman will have less costs and someone willing to sell his craft work.

It could happen that a member goes bankrupt and has to sell his business. If it is done because of circumstances it's alright. But when someone has made his network too big so that the other loses his clients and now wants to sell his business, the guild will put the responsibility on the guilty one. In other words, profiteering and monopolizing is discouraged among guild members. We want a healthy business climate here, not organizations full of money and power without thinking about the others in the Guild.

Guild Interaction With Outsiders

This is allowed and greatly encouraged as we want to become the most powerful business organization in this part of the world (for now):) This means that you can use every evil business trick you want to outsell your competitors and become more powerful. The guild will be behind you to help you with business takeovers legally.

There is one exception, however. If your tricks are of an illegal nature, you will be the one being punished and we will probably take that merchant under our wing to help him buy up his shop and make him an apprentice. Criminal activity is highly frowned upon in Tar Valon, and the penalties are not worth the risk! The guild is supposed to be honest!

The guild has made deals with people outside Tar Valon to sell goods and hire ships and wagons and show contacts for a cheaper price for the guild members. It is widely discouraged to go after these people's business because that would more or less ruin the guild's profits and influence outside Tar Valon. Another thing these people do is send or take apprentices for a time to learn new ways of making things or selling them, get them more experienced.

Members Emeritus

Marla Shandal - Guildmaster

Quim - Full member and administrator, scholar

Alovar - Full member and administrator, shop keeper (Antiques)

Alven Shandal - Full member, silversmith

Jules Morlen - Full member, large business concern

William - Full member, tavern keeper

Ruhr - Full member, shopkeeper (clothier)

Bronwyn Montai - Full member, pottery maker and shopkeeper

Panthos Al'Tiebure, apprentice, novice woodworker

Diarmait Ruvigny, apprentice, captain of a river boat owned by Lord Nobreon

Jade Zath, apprentice, merchant

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