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Traveling through the wilderness outside the towns is a dangerous ordeal. Roads aren't maintained, there are no rest stops between cities, and monsters attacks are always a possibility. A lone traveler could probably make a few day trips without running into a monster, but anyone who travels on a regular basis has to be prepared for that eventuality. Still, communication and trade are essential to every city's survival. The couriers, bodyguards, and general problem-solvers who make a living through travel are collectively called adventurers.

Work

Adventuring is a hard line of work to break into. A potential adventurer has to become proficient at combat and wilderness survival before they can take any jobs at all, and most figure there's no point using all that experience just for one kind of job. As such, adventurers rarely specialize, and most are equally glad to deliver mail or slay monsters as long as they get paid. An adventurer who can afford to be picky is either highly qualified or highly eccentric - usually both.

Most adventurers are independent contractors, meaning they take jobs and payment directly from individual clients. Since adventurers are travelers, the best place to find one is the local inn; this has been standardized to the point that many inns double as post offices and community bulletin boards for their respective cities.

Since the adventurer community consists of a relatively small number of people all sharing the same jobs and clients, reputation is paramount. If you're unlucky, a single faux pas can earn you the ire of hundreds of well-armed weirdos. Despite the social and physical dangers, though, adventurers who make it big really make it big. Many affluent noble and merchant families owe their start to an adventurer ancestor.

Guilds

Despite the invaluable services they provide, adventurers have... a less-than-savory reputation. It is very difficult to enforce laws outside of city walls; although nowadays it's possible to circulate photos of fugitives through phone lines, unscrupulous types used to be able to disappear and start their tricks over just by moving sufficiently far away. Many bandits and scammers call themselves adventurers to justify their arrival in a city, and some even do legitimate adventuring jobs to supplement their income on the side. It is often completely impossible to tell if the person you're hiring to deliver some mail will actually do it or just take your down payment and run off. Legitimate adventurers suffer from this too, often being forced to jump through hoops to collect payment for properly completed jobs because of a client's suspicion.

Guilds try to solve this problem by promising some level of accountability. Official guild members can register their jobs, then if either the adventurer or client breaks their agreement the other can report it to the guild. Guilds can expel members and bar clients from taking more guild jobs for large or repeated offenses, so experienced members of reputable guilds can be trusted to do your job quickly and properly (though they also tend to be much more expensive). For independent adventurers, guilds are also a great way to find travel companions who won't try to shank you or rope you into a smuggling ring.

Most guilds specialize in a specific kind of job: there are courier guilds, monster-hunting guilds, and so forth. An adventurer can join as many guilds as they want, but will have to pay their dues and meet their quotas separately for each one.

Some notable guilds include:

Guardian Blades

Active Region: global

Guardian Blades is the closest thing to a general-purpose guild. Members can register any combat-related job with the guild - bodyguarding, dungeon clearing, even cartography or trade if you can make a good enough case to your guild representative. Its sheer size and member count make it a powerful political entity in its own right, and its members can cross borders for job purposes even during wartime.

During construction of the Ortesia railway, the Orlis government worked closely with the Guardian Blades to ensure the safety of their engineers. The guild retains right of first refusal on railway maintenance-related jobs to this day, and this right alone has attracted many new members.

Sylphbird Express

Active region: Milluria

A guild specializing in mail and small package delivery. Sylphbird Express's members are all summoners, who cross the wilds alone on summoned mounts. Since summons require no food or rest, this is the fastest way to get a package from A to B, but it is also extremely perilous for the riders since they have no backup if they're cornered by a wild monster.

Sylphbird Express functions more like a company than most guilds; for long distance jobs, you can contact the guild directly, and they will plan a route and pay the individual delivery people. The usual guild infrastructure is still in place, though, so you're free to approach individual members for jobs.

Leviathan's Fleet

Active region: north Ortesia & Valefar, occasionally others

A small guild that deals in maritime transport. Although they accept commerce jobs, they have a bigger focus on exploration and discovery. Several wealthy patrons sponsor them in their efforts to map the North and Outer Seas.

Although all of their paperwork is in order, the Leviathans have a shady reputation - it's rumoured that their members work closely with certain mage academies to dredge the sea for illegal artifacts.