The Council of Ten and the Runed Throne are the main movers and shakers of the Iron Kingdom. Between and beneath these factions are the people of Malak Travak. Some of these Power Groups seek to raise up the First-born while others want only to line their own pockets and destroy those who oppose them.
Basic: The Protectors, the Staff and the Bureaucracy of the Runed King.
Symbol: A dark grey ten-toothed gear with a fiery pillar at its center.
Over seven hundred and sixty years ago, Valak Ironsoul was raised by Church and Guild to the Runed Throne of Malak Travak. His bloodline has ruled, Father to Son, since this ascension, balancing Guild against Guild in service to the people of Malak Travak.
The centralization of government has served the Iron Kingdom well. Against the Steelbeard Clan, the combination of military intimidation and economic sanction allowed the Travaki Banking Guild to recoup its debts and for the Iron Kingdom to all but annex the Steebeard’s Clanhall.
Because the Runed Throne has many enemies, the Ironsoul dynasty must be ever watchful of their citizenry and the machinations of the Council of Ten. The Maker’s will and a strange Human named Luther von Pendrakken intervened to save the life of King Avarak II. After this near tragedy, a thorough investigation revealed that the Banking Guild was responsible for the attempted assassination. In an act unheard of, the Banking Guild was seized by the Throne and its management diverted to loyal bureaucrats — once a threat to the Runed King, the Banking Guild became one of the most powerful assets of the Throne: the Iron Bank of Malak Travak.
The Runed Throne is above the Council of Ten and the Church of the Maker, but its ascendance is ever on a knife’s edge. The Council of Ten holds the lifeblood of the Iron Kingdom and the Church keeps the people’s heart in its clutches. It is through goodwill, tradition and sheer muscle (both military and economic) that the Runed Throne maintains its control over Malak Travak. The Runed Throne may oversee the Iron Kingdom and enforce the King’s justice upon the Travaki First-born, but the three pillars of its ascendance are the Royal Bureaucracy, the Iron Bank and the Throneguard.
The logistics and the management of the royal coffers and the Throne’s staff is handled by the Royal Bureaucracy. This organization are the cogs that turn within the Runed Throne’s machinery, allowing the King and his royal bureaucrats to see to the needs of the Iron Kingdom, including the keeping of necessary and important Contracts and other forms of Documentation. Appointment to even the lowest office of the Royal Bureaucracy is widely considered to be an honor despite the tedium the profession entails.
Through royal tithes, tariffs and the machinations of the Iron Bank, the Runed Throne is able to maintain its holdings, pay its retainers and invest in massive projects that enrich the lives of Iron Dwarves as well as provide further income to the royal vaults. The offices of the Iron Bank are highly competitive and highly sought after. The politics within the Iron Bank halls are legendarily cutthroat and the losers of such struggles sometimes end up destitute and Slagtown-bound.
The Throneguard is the fist of the Runed Throne, originally wrought of the loyal commanders and soldiers of Valak Ironsoul. Protection of the King is one of their main duties, but it is far from the most prominent of their missions. When it comes to military intimidation, enforcement or peacekeeping, the neutrality and the authority of the Throneguard is not to be interfered or trifled with. Even the biggest and the roughest Guilds bow their heads when the Throneguard is abound. The Throneguard is authorized to use brute force and lethal force to accomplish the King’s dictates, arrest criminals and enforce the King’s peace.
Leadership: Avarak Ironsoul II is the current Runed-King of Malak Travak. Ancient even among the First-born, he has been both lauded and denigrated for his policies with regard to the remainder of Midworld. When Avarak II is spoken of, it is the Treaty that the First-born have in the foremost of their thoughts. Many have claimed that founding the treaty of Freehold would spell the end of the Malak Travak as it is currently known. Others believe that the Treaty heralds a new horizon for the Iron Kingdom.
Avarak III and Gorrak are his two sons; his daughter and his youngest child is Tallah. Avarak III is said to be a statesman and a leader. Tallah is a warrior and a commander of soldiers. On the other hand, the youngest child, Gorrak, is a man of business; he prefers to participate in the Royal Bureaucracy, demonstrating a head for numbers and organization.
THE COUNCIL OF TEN
The Council of Ten are the richest and strongest Guilds in Malak Travak. The Council of Ten handles many of the administrative tasks of the Iron Kingdom. Their power is exceeded only by the Runed-King, although majority decisions by the Council can block the King’s powers. Admittance into the Council of 10 requires a massive investment into the Runed Throne, with the King being the final arbiter of Councilor Guilds.
Basic: A Guild based on the genius of Copper Anvilsmith, an eccentric inventor.
Symbol: A black anvil marked with bronze runes that symbolize “Fortune” and “Skill”.
History: Copper Anvilsmith was born in the slagtowns of Clammorash over two hundred years ago. Even in his youth, he was known for his skill in the workshops, creating new ways to build faster and better even while he worked at the base level. When Copper was twenty years old, Bran Stonecunning of Stonecunning-Hammersmith Industries saw his genius and took him in, furthering Copper’s knowledge of craftsmanship.
After 10 years, Copper surpassed his mentor and his eccentricities became too much to bear. He left Stonecunning-Hammersmith and Malak Travak, returning after 30 years of travel in Midworld.
Copper returned with enough collateral to finance his own Guild. The small enterprise impressed the Runed Throne via Copper’s knack for innovation and efficiency; furthermore, his political impartiality pleased the members of the Council. Copper’s biggest project would land Golemic Advancements into the Council of Ten – he proposed a massive lift that would bridge all the districts of Malak Travak and allow easier travel to them.
Thirty years of work allowed Copper’s dream to become a reality. The Lifts are a marvel of engineering and of alchemy, using elemental energies to carry massive loads or peoples from one part of Malak Travak to another. A lucrative contract to Trustworth Securities ensures its safety and the Runed Throne benefits immensely from its share of the Lift’s profits.
Since then Copper has become a household name in every part of Malak Travak, from Clammorash to Deephold.
Current: Headquartered in a huge stalactite overhanging Clammorash, Golemic Advancements has grown immensely despite competition from Council Guilds including Stonecunning-Hammersmith Industries. Their main focus is on large-scale building and on architecture and maintenance (such as with Aggarak’s aqueducts and the Lift).
It is beginning to advance on the small markets as well, offering more expensive and better crafted alternatives to their competitors. Copper’s large-scale creations have won him a great deal of respect from the consumers of Malak Travak, thereby allowing him some leverage versus the product loyalties of older and more established Guilds.
Leadership: Copper has begun to stiffen and calcify like many Dwarves of his age do. But his physical disability does not inhibit his mental faculties. His children and closest associates note that his ideas have become even more radical and otherworldly. To those that hear him speak, Copper sounds deranged and detached from the world. Those who understand him however, claim that he is nothing less than a prophet of innovation and that his ideas will continue to change Malak Travak.
Copper has taken a backseat in the management of Golemic Advancements, preferring to work on Research and Development and on other less tangible prospects. Still, he has a strong voice among the Guild-leadership.
Politically, Golemic Advancements is part of the Grey Masons, who espouse an open door policy with the rest of Midworld.
Basic: A Guild of Historians, Sages and Witches, formerly called the Guild of Archivists.
Symbol: A Tome, open with a rune upon each page (History and Knowledge).
History: The Guild of Archivists has long been a place for sages and lovers of knowledge to congregate. The Runehelm Clan eventually joined with Malak Travak to form the Iron Kingdom and their core members helped found the Guild of Archivists.
These scholarly Dwarves built and managed the Universities of Runehelm, repositories of education and knowledge. However, these Universities would not survive Kazaq Travak; the Stone Clans destroyed much in their rape of Malak Travak and steal many priceless relics of Runehelm and Ironrune history.
Lacking in members and in manpower, the Guild of Archivists took a backseat to history for several centuries. In the interim, they recorded much of what transpired and attempted to recover what was lost to them. They slowly rebuilt their power bases, focusing on education, on the study of magic, on the production of Runic Ciphers and on the proliferation of knowledge.
When the Wyrdic Cipher was invented by the Wyrdic Empire as a more efficient means to spread mechanical and professional know-how, the Guild of Archivists prospered in its ability to utilize them.
The Guild was catapulted to Council of Ten status when they confirmed the King Valak’s lineage to the ancient Ironrune bloodline in year 2000 (Iron-soul Reckoning). The Guild of Archivists became the Runespeaker Guild, named after Jorrath Runespeaker, the current Guildmaster. The funding they received as a result of this was used to establish the Runespeaker University and the Runehelm Repositories.
The apex of their fortunes lay in the founding of Runespeaker Publishing, mandated by the invention of the Runic-Press, a device that can copy and produce pre-written documents. This device allows the Runespeakers to create massive amounts of written media, informing and educating the populace of Malak Travak.
Because their prosperity is so closely tied to the maintenance of this monopoly, the secrets of the Runic-Press are only known to the Runespeaker Circle and a few key individuals.
Current: The Runespeaker Guild of modern Malak Travak is known for Runespeaker University, one of the greatest centers of education in the Iron Kingdom, and Runespeaker Publishing, one of the main sources of news, knowledge and entertainment in Malak Travak.
Based in Flamecrown, the Runespeaker University has produced and educated the finest minds in Malak Travak. It also finances recovery expeditions of lost lore and scholarly pursuits into the realms of magic or alchemy.
Runespeaker Publishing works closely with the Runed Throne to get its messages across the massive width of Malak Travak. Runespeaker Publishing is also popular for its entertainment division which informs the Travaki of the happenings across Midworld as provided by its contacts in the Three Mountains Guild and similar organizations.
Another popular product of Runespeaker Publishing is in its depictions of Dwarven heroes, in serial format. Some heroes are the accounts of historical figures. More admired in the Slagtowns and Sporetowns are the fictional accounts of Dwarves adventuring in the lands beyond Malak Travak; most popular of all are the serialized stories of Ford Ironfist, fictional world-wise explorer and Runespeaker professor.
Leadership: Composed of five Masters (History, Aether, Elements, Life, Runes), the Runespeaker Circle is the governing body of the Guild.
Jorrath Runespeaker III, Master of History, is the most prominent and the wealthiest of the five, although he cannot challenge the rest of the Circle if they worked against him in unison. One hundred fifty years old and grey as stone, Jorrath III is a recluse, leaving his domicile in Flamecrown only to exercise his power in the Circle. Jorrath III is better known for the production of his Ironfist Chronicles, believed to be fictionalized accounts of his younger years spent adventuring. Many rumors are abound of his associations with the Spiral Cabal and of the Human King Arcturus.
Politically, the Runespeakers are neutral. However, they tend to oppose whatever the Spiral Cabal proposes.
Basic: The biggest Breweries in Malak Travak and major shareholder in almost every Sporetown in the Iron Kingdom.
Symbol: An ornate flagon or stein, typically encrusted with gems and carven with runes of “Health” and “Luck”.
History: Centuries ago, the spongers and grubbers of old Flamecrown put aside their differences and united for the sake of financial power. Those that were not part of the Guild were either strong-armed into joining, had their farms bought out from under them or had patrons that rendered them immune to the tactics of the Farmers’ Union.
In year 305 of the Iron Soul Reckoning, the Farmers’ Union was one of the Guilds in the newly established Council of Ten. Their efforts in maintaining the food supply in and around Malak Travak esteemed them in the eyes of the public and of the Maker’s Church. They headquartered their leadership in the newly founded Aggarak and were soon exploiting the location’s flora and fauna to their maximum potential.
This prosperity was short-lived, however; Kazaq Daemon made ruin of Aggarak and forced the Farmer’s Union to retreat to Flamecrown and lose their Council status. Throughout Kazaq Daemon, the Farmers’ Union persistently attempted to reclaim the rich isles in Aggarak.
Terra Goodbread was the key to their salvation, as she financed the bankrupt Union with the money from her breweries. Terra and the Goodbread Clan also introduced several new methods of agriculture to the Farmers’ Union, including seeding and harvesting certain wall-clinging fungi that were integral to the Goodbread’s success. With Terra’s funding, the Farmers’ Union was able to reclaim and maintain Aggarak; the Goodbread bloodline has remained in control of the Guild ever since.
When the Runed King rose to power in year 0 of the Runed King Reckoning, Goodbread Breweries was in shambles from the power-struggles with the other Council Guilds. The Runed King took their debt from the Iron Bank in exchange for a huge portion of the islands in the Big Basin – Goodbread Breweries had no choice but to accept the huge loss.
And yet, Goldie Goodbread, Guildmaster of Goodbread Breweries was far from defeated. She expanded her Guild’s operations and influence across Malak Travak.
As years came and went, Goodbread Breweries did not rely only on their ironclad contracts with most Spongetowns and their world-class brews, but also on the proceeds from the operation and protection of certain brothels and illicit drug cartels. With her leadership, Goodbread Breweries thusly reclaimed their seat in the Council of Ten.
Current: Based in Aggarak, Goodbread Breweries also includes Goodbread Bakeries, Goodbread Entertainments and Goodbread Properties.
Goodbread Bakeries are a portion of the Guild that is dedicated to the production and refinement of food and drink. They work in part with Goodbread Entertainments for catering jobs and with Goodbread Properties to ensure a steady stream of supplies. Their products, be it in brews or bread are always in high demand throughout Malak Travak and beyond. Unbeknown to most Travaki, Goodbread Bakeries also handles the production and trade of illicit drugs and poisons – this task is handled by Drega Goodbread, first daughter (and second child) of the Guildmaster.
Goodbread Entertainments involve the pubs, inns and brothels that are maintained and protected by the Guild. This portion of the Guild is far smaller than its other parts, but it brings in as much money as the Bakeries. It is managed by Goldy Goodbread III, younger sister of the Guildmaster.
The most militant and cut-throat of the three branches, Goodbread Properties manages the agricultural estates of the Guild and is handled by Gendry Goodbread (eldest child; first son). This branch ensures that the Spongetowns under Guild control remain protected and remain productive. Goodbread Properties also cuts down on any competition that may present a threat to the Goodbread Breweries; this function of the branch has special operatives and special funding to ensure that its goals are completed.
Leadership: Goody Goodbread II is the current Guildmaster of Goodbread Breweries. A matronly dwarf who has survived three husbands and ten children, Goody II is as harsh a taskmaster as she is as a mother; few of her children bear any love for her beyond what is socially required. However, Goodbread Breweries has only prospered under her tutelage. Before she turns the reins of the Guild over to her conniving son Gendry, she means to knuckle three more Spongetowns beneath Goodbread’s heavy hands and buy out three more minor Guilds. Known for her cold and calculating demeanor, it is believed that there is only one Dwarf that can break her calm: an arch-rival within the Iron Bank named Selene Quartzblood.
Politically, Goodbread Breweries is part of the Grey Masons, a faction among the Council of Ten that believes in greater commerce in Midworld.
Basic: A Guild of researchers and outcasts, dedicated to pushing the boundaries of the “forbidden” for the “good” of Malak Travak.
Symbol: A Spiral Rune; usually in lava red against a field of slate grey.
History: Sorcerers have ever existed amidst the peoples of the First-born. The concepts of a contract and an exchange of services is as familiar to an Iron Dwarf as it does a Diabolist and a Shadowsoul. Similarly, many Travaki seek knowledge beyond the depths of madness, initiating them into the mysteries of the Necromancer and even the Insanomancy Discipline.
However, it was only in Year 1750 (Iron Soul Reckoning) that sorcery truly gained any measure of legitimacy among the Travaki. The first Grand Cabalist of the Spiral Cabal was Margus Runehelm, formerly of the Archivist’s Guild. Margus, along with his disciples and allies, were instrumental in reclaiming Clammorash and Aggarak from Demonic infestation. However, most records do not carry the Cabal’s efforts in writ, nor do any of the Council Guilds recognize the debt they owe to the Spiral Cabal.
After the Iron Kingdom had righted itself from Kazaq Daemon, the Spiral Cabal was given leave to headquarter themselves in distant, dismal Deepwatch. The Cabal was only strengthened by the remoteness of their location and the tales of their unholy rites only fed their ranks. Those who spurned the teachings of the Maker’s Church or sought secrecy in their activities found the Cabal’s services more than useful.
As the centuries progressed, the Cabal’s foothold in Deepwatch strengthened into a stranglehold, rivaled only recently by Groshak Excavations and Roughrigger Enterprises. Despite the regular attempts to discredit them, the Spiral Cabal continues to gain strength and power within the Iron Kingdom — due only to the Cabalist’s tenacity and willpower to do what is necessary.
Current: The Spiral Spike, a massive hollowed stalagmite, keeps vigil over the rest of Deepwatch. The Spiral Cabal’s operations are focused here, in the education of magic, in the study of lores and in the crafting and sale of items that some would deem corrupt and/or dangerous. Royal inquiries into their methodologies and methods never find anything amiss – the Cabal is too cognizant of their notoriety to accept nothing less than absolute precision.
Their products and services are often bought for lower prices than the higher-priced goods of Guilds with better reputations. However, the Spiral Cabal also utilizes the market outside of Malak Travak to finance its affairs, withstanding royal tariffs to prosper above poor reputation and Council pressure. Furthermore, those Dwarves who prefer secrecy and silence regarding their activities can typically find the Cabal willing to sell them aid, be it in healing, providing sanctuary or other untraceable services.
The Cabal’s position in the Council of Ten is honorary (similar to the Church of the Maker), although they fulfill all of the requirements to remain in the advisory body.
Leadership: A triumvirate of Guildmasters called the Spiral Triad leads the Cabal. Each has their own specific duties although they congregate to discuss matters of governance and contention in the Guild.
Grim Galtha is a heavily tattooed Dwarf who manages the research and training division of the Cabal. Rumored to be a Shadowsoul and demonstrating mastery in all the lesser Disciplines, those who meet the Galthag find her to be jovial and affable company. Her subordinates report that she is a harsh taskmaster and expects perfection from those she employs. Those who join the Spiral Cabal deal with her the most and she has no small number of disciples and admirers – she has little time for lovers or paramours, however.
Rakkus Wrathstone is the business face of Spiral Cabal and its primary contact in Deepwatch and the world beyond. Rakkus is known for his professional, calming demeanor that puts the other Guilds to ease and on their nerves at the same time. He is always dressed in the latest Stonecunning fashions and his grooming reflects modern Iron Kingdom sensibilities (as opposed to traditional vestments). Those who frequently treat with Rakkus know him as a calculating schemer; he is never one to act or speak unless it advances his or the Cabal’s agendas.
Tremorous Travok is a powerful Witch in tune with the domains of Earth and Night. He is an anomaly among the Spiral Cabal, although his presence in the Spiral Triad allows for the entrance and training of other Witches. Travok is a connoisseur of song, food and ales but his vices never get in the way of his primary duty: the guardianship of the Spiral Spike and the protection of its denizens.
Politically, the Spiral Cabal is part of the Grey Masons faction – which supports greater trade with Midworld.
Basic: A Guild focused on mercenary work, pest control and protection, as well as some semi-legal businesses.
Symbol: An Axehead, carved with Runes of “Strength” and “Luck”
History: One of the newest Guilds to join the Council, Roughrigger Enterprises is the brainchild of Jherrik Roughcutter, a Deepwatch Dwarf who took control of his father’s mercenary, pest control and business protection and has transformed it into the powerhouse that it is today.
Two hundred years ago, Roughrigger Enterprises expanded its reach exponentially after the mysterious disappearance of Gerodd Roughcutter and Gerodd II, his first-born son. Jherrik, youngest of the Roughcutter brood, swore “vengeance” against the rival Diggerspade Guild. With the help of the Spiral Cabal, Roughrigger Enterprises defeated the Diggerspades in a turf war and absorbed their ranks. Jherrik continued to swell his reach among the criminals of the Travaki underground.
While improving their smuggling enterprises, the Roughriggers encroached and then dominated other untaxed (and therefore illegal) activities – pit fighting, prostitution, slavery, proscribed narcotics/knowledge and the like. This is in addition being hired to perform unlicensed Guild warfare and other extra-legal employment. Roughrigger Enterprises maintained a front of lawful mercenary work and made sure that its bribes reached the right people in the Royal Bureaucracy.
Within a century, Roughrigger Enterprises “owned” half of all the Slagtowns in Malak Travak. And in year 702 RKR (sixty years ago), a thirty year old Jherra Roughcutter brought her father, Jherrik, to the Runed Throne and the Council of Ten with all the documented evidence and accounted tariff evasion that they needed to put him away for life.
Jherra, having gained popularity among the Roughriggers and beyond, transformed the Guild from a crime syndicate to a legitimate business. Expending much of her father’s fortune (and none of her own), Jherra paid the Runed Throne in back tariffs and more – further “investment” in the Royal Bureaucracy and certain Council Guilds paved the path to the Roughriggers’ eventual entrance into the Council of Ten. Through the power she had among the Council of Ten, she also legitimatized the gambling dens, under-markets and “entertainment houses” owned by Roughrigger Enterprises. Now, these are legal activities and she pays taxes for the ones she has revealed to the government.
Twenty years ago, Roughriggers bought out the Ogthar Expeditions and took their place on the Council. Jherra Roughcutter has had her voice and her hand in Travaki politics ever since.
Current: Roughrigger Enterprises continues its traditional business of mercenary work, pest control and protection. It has expanded greatly in those industries, rivaling Trustworth Securities in market share. Rivaling Goodbread Breweries, the Roughriggers also offer entertainment opportunities in their gambling dens, fighting pits and entertainment houses.
Despite the Roughriggers’ encroachments on certain Council monopolies, they are supported by certain Council Guilds: Stonecunning-Hammersmith Industries invests in their protection business as does Groshak Excavations and the Spiral Cabal. Furthermore, Roughrigger strong-arm tactics are rumored to be as fearsome as Goodbread “enforcement”.
It is believed that Roughrigger Enterprises still finances and operates extra-legal businesses in the shadowed Slagtowns of Malak Travak. These less legal ventures include smuggling, slavery, racketeering and extortion. Some say that Jherra Roughcutter is nothing more than a kingpin of the Travaki underworld. However, the Throneguard have not found any leads that support these theories and few have evidence to do so; they typically recant their claims or disappear.
Jherra Roughcutter is the Guildmaster of Roughrigger Enterprises. She has had three girls and two boys. Her late eldest daughter and eldest son belong to one of her lieutenants while her remaining three children are the fruit of her late husband, Ogthar the Baldblade. A woman with many enemies, Jherra is known for her fearlessness and her ruthlessness. Rumors claim that she let her eldest daughter die rather than let her enemy have an advantage over her and she has been distant from her children ever since.
Kerrek Flagonfist and Grug Steelbeard are her two lieutenants and formerly, her lovers. Both are skilled in the ways of war and fear. They do not know if Jherra’s eldest son is theirs, but it does not stop them from being fiercely protective of the young Dwarf.
Politically, Roughrigger Enterprises is neutral although they often support the Steel Fathers – a faction within the Council of Ten that supports isolationist policies in Malak Travak.
Basic: An ancient, traditional Guild whose reach and influence spans the history and breadth of the Iron Kingdom.
Symbol: A multi-faceted Gem between two runes “Tradition” and “Excellence”.
History: In Malak Travak, Stonecunning and Hammersmith are names synonymous with tradition and with excellence. Yet the history of Stonecunning-Hammersmith Industries truly began when the Stonecunning Clan and the Hammersmith Clan allied with the Iron Kingdom against the other Stone Clans. While the Iron Kingdom lost that war, King Svaldi Stonecunning became the steadfast ally of King Taggert Hammersmith, eventually joining son to daughter in an alliance that would outlast dynasties and eras. The two Clans combined what crafts remained to them and put it to industry in the wake of Malak Travak’s darkest moment; thus, Stonecunning-Hammersmith Industries was born and their influence allowed them entry into the newly forged Council of Ten.
Stonecunning-Hammersmith was central to the rebuilding of Malak Travak. The Banking Guild provided the funds, the Mining Guild provided the materials but it was Stonecunning that planned out the new city and Hammersmith that built it. The contracts for the maintenance and construction of Malak Travak have remained with the Guild since the beginning of the Council of Ten.
Stonecunning-Hammersmith Industries diversified its skillsets while maintaining its construction and masonry front. It renewed its focus on Smithing, Pottery, Weaving and various artisan skills and cornered the market on the training and employment of these crafts. Of the dozen or so modern Guilds dedicated to craftsmanship, at least ten sprang from and are tied to Stonecunning-Hammersmith.
Current: The most recent incident that Stonecunning-Hammersmith Industries has had to weather is the entrance of Golemic Advancements into the Council of Ten. Golemic Advancements and the Spiral Cabal offer alternatives to the market that Stonecunning-Hammersmith and the Maker’s Church had once dominated.
Still, most of Malak Travak looks to Stonecunning-Hammersmith for their craftsmanship and for apprenticeship, rather than their rivals. Headquartered in Flamecrown and blessed with a majority share of Clammorash, this ancient Guild is solidly entrenched within the Travaki market, especially among the respectable and the wealthy First-born. Whether it is in clothing, furniture, tools, alchemy, armor or almost anything else, the average Travaki goes to Stonecunning-Hammersmith first for tradition and for quality.
Leadership: A Board of 5 Guildmasters manages the affairs of Stonecunning-Hammersmith Industries. The Board is led by a Guild-helm, who possesses the ability to break ties and veto propositions. The current Guild-helm is Horic Stonecunning, an aged Dwarf known for his support of the Runed Throne and his hand in the various political movements that occur in Malak Travak. Many tariffs and ordinances that pass do so because of his hand and lobbyists seek him first and foremost when they desire more favorable outcomes.
Politically, Stonecunning-Hammersmith Industries belong to the Steel-Fathers faction, who traditionally believe in Travaki isolationist policies. However, Horic Stonecunning was instrumental in Malak Travak’s investment into the Treaty of Freehold, convincing investors and Board members to support the Runed King. Why Horic would do something so inimical to his Guild’s traditional viewpoint is unknown and in the near future, it might just cost him his position as Guild-helm of his organization.
Basic: A Guild of Guardians, Locksmiths and Healers dedicated to keeping the safety of their clients.
Symbol: A half open padlock between two runes; “Protection” and “Vigilance”
History: More than a five hundred years ago, Wendel “Trustworthy” Nickelpick called himself the greatest thief in Midworld. To prove a point, he stole one of the greatest treasures of Stonecunning-Hammersmith to show them that their security was not at its utmost. He turned himself in and willingly served his 10 year sentence of servitude to the Guild. Immediately afterward, he formed his own Guild of cohorts, students and co-conspirators and found no small number of clients seeking to protect their properties and domiciles.
As the centuries progressed, Trustworth Securities grew from locksmithing and vault-building to more direct means of providing security. Wendel drew from the most elite and the professional of mercenaries, hiring guardians and bodyguards to protect vulnerable clientele.
In year 650 RKR (Runed King Reckoning), Wendel Nicklepick III further expanded Trustworth’s operations to include personal insurance and life insurance, adding medical and rescue personnel to his staff. Those who invested in Trustworth Securities became protected both in property and in health.
Only by the emergence of Roughrigger Enterprises and their own brand of business protection have impeded Trustworth’s growth. The battle between the two rival Guilds has only intensified as the centuries progress, with an ultimate victor out of sight.
Current: Trustworth Securities of modern Malak Travak is a Guild that has access to property protection, personal security, medical aid and rescue staff. While most Guilds, especially the Council of Ten, have access to their own security staff, Trustworth Securities lends their services individuals and less powerful Guilds.
Furthermore, because Trustworth has been hired by the Runed Throne to oversee order in Clammorash and Aggarak, these cities feature multiple branches of Trustworth personnel dedicated to maintaining the King’s peace and providing aid to those under Trustworth’s protection. Thusly authorized to utilize force, these guardians police their jurisdiction with an unwavering vigilance.
Trustworth branches are also capable of providing medical assistance, sending trained Physics to homes where needed. The remedies that these Physics possess ensure a low casualty rate just as the insurance policies allow for “compensation” in the rare occasion Trustworth Securities fail.
Leadership: Stutton Nicklepick, Alfar Stonefoot and Tarthok Shigglehook are the Trustworth Triad, the governing body of Trustworth Securities.
Stutton Nicklepick manages Trustworth Protections, the division of home, Guildhall and personal security. He is a tinkerer and a smith of the highest order, crafting masterworks in his free time. He delights in novelty and new mechanical toys are his obsession.
Alfar Stonefoot is an ancient Dwarf that manages Trustworth Armories, the Guild’s division of area security and law enforcement. Formerly one of the Throneguard, Alfar is by-the-book and efficient, easily able to apply a dozen military strategies to any situation. Some say that Alfar is easily confused when given a novel enough circumstance, but such a situation has yet to occur.
Tarthok Shigglehook is a Witch that graduated with the highest honors from Runespeaker University. Having shed his ties with the Runespeakers, Tarthok manages the medical division of the Guild. His talents at mending bodies pales when compared to his organizational skills – due to his leadership, Trustworth Medical operates at 50% greater efficiency in all but the most remote of their branches.
Politically, Trustworth Securities supports the Steel Fathers, a political party within the Council of Ten that believes in policies of isolation from the rest of Midworld.
Basic: A Guild made rich by the acquisition, operation and protection of mines, without regard to the cost of personnel.
Symbol: An open Lantern with runes of “Gold” and “Iron” on it.
History: The Miner’s Guilds of Malak Travak consolidated their power to become single Mining Guild and a voice in Malak Travak’s government in Year 305 (Iron Soul Reckoning). However, it was only in recent years that Groshak Shovelmug ascended to the office of Guildmaster and transformed the Guild into the powerhouse that is Groshak Excavations.
In year 1750 ISR, Groshak Shovelmug bought out his fellow Guild leaders from a Mining Guild that was ruined by the Ten Thousand Nights of Terror. Groshak moved quickly, claiming and strong-arming mines and prospects that were abandoned during Kazaq Daemon. Soon, the richest mines of Malak Travak and its surrounding area belonged to the newly forged Groshak Excavations. An alliance was struck between this new Guild and the Spiral Cabal, the other Guild headquartered in Deepwatch.
In year 5 RKR, a mighty earthquake shattered at least a dozen mines in the area, killing and trapping hundreds of Firstborn. Groshak III cut his losses and moved his operations elsewhere. Accusations of poor management and poor building were leveled against Groshak Excavations – the earthquake should not have been strong enough to level a properly supported mine and no attempt at rescue was enacted. Groshak III paid the substantial fine and compensated the miners’ families according to the dictates of the Royal Bureaucracy.
Groshak Excavations made it policy to hire Slagtown Dwarves for their most dangerous operations and reserve Guild members for overseer positions. On the other hand, while Guild positions decreased, the benefits they enjoyed increased immensely. Groshak architecture remained in poor quality, however.
Current: Groshak Excavations owns and operates mines across the Stoneclaw Mountains. Some allied Stone Clans are hired to defend these mines or operate them with a tenancy contract. Guild members in these mines are typically in supervisory and management positions, although Groshak security recruitment is at an all time high.
Despite the occasional mine collapse, Groshak Excavations is the biggest seller of gems and ore in Malak Travak. Their selection is vast and varied, offering the humblest metals and stones as well as the rarest of earthen treasures. Groshak jewelers and refiners are the best in the business, having centuries of skill at hand.
Prospecting for Groshak pays great dividends as the Guild rewards its finders well for their trouble. However, rumors are abound of strong-arm tactics done upon those who refuse to give up their mines to Groshak. Similarly, Groshak Excavations has been found guilty of industrial sabotage ten years ago – a mine of their rival, Stonespade Enterprises, collapsed. Groshak paid the fine as directed but Stonespade folded and was absorbed into Groshak Excavations soon after.
Leadership: Groshak Shovelmug VIII is the dynastic Guild-boss of Groshak Excavations and it is expected his son Groshak IX will follow after him. Groshak’s tastes are legendarily extravagant and he demands the most exotic foods and ales from across Midworld. It is believed that his vices could run the Guild out of the Council of Ten if they continue. Thus, all eyes are upon his son who does not share his father’s love for food but is rumored to have darker tastes in mind.
Politically, Groshak Excavations is part of the Steel Fathers political party, which supports closed door policies with the rest of Midworld.
The Three Mountains Guild
Basic: A Guild that profits from the export of Travaki goods and the import of exotic product into the Iron Kingdom.
Symbol: A mountain with a cave. Within the cave are the Runes for “Good Will” and “Fleetness”.
History: The story of the Three Mountains Guild is an odd one, doubted by historians and sung in Goodbread taverns.
Not too long ago, the Three Mountains Guild once owned several rich mines near Malak Travak. It was never a wealthy or powerful Guild, but it was an old one. However, fateful tragedy and the greed of the Shovelmug dynasty took these holdings away one by one until the Three Mountains held nothing at all.
Practically bankrupt, the Guild changed hands to young Mirt Farmountain. This change of ownership is hazy in the telling. Some claim that Mirt won it from the previous Guildmasters in a wager. Others say that Mirt bought the Three Mountains from its Guildmasters for a kingly sum.
In Mirt’s capable hands, the Three Mountains were repurposed. Instead of trading in ore and gems, the Guild began to trade in favors. Even in the beginning, only Mirt handled the most important exchanges and solidified the essential alliances with certain Stone Clans and certain foreign Guilds. Those in the Guild claim that none but Mirt himself could do what had been done. But Mirt had disciples and eventually, these disciples and apostles performed feats of negotiation to the satisfaction of Guildmaster Farmountain.
In a single century, the Three Mountains became a power within Malak Travak, ascending to the ranks of the Council of Ten. Buoyed by strength of their foreign contacts and rarity of their exotic imports, the Three Mountains Guild has only solidified the monopolies it has constructed with regards to outside trade. And because the Runed Throne benefits immensely from the tariffs of foreign traffic, it does little to impede the Guild’s expansion — it even utilizes the Guild’s contacts when dealing with otherwise unfamiliar Kingdoms.
Based in Clammorash, the Three Mountains Guild has focused its powers in exporting products from the Iron Kingdom and importing exotic goods into Malak Travak. Their aims lie in the protection of cargo, the maintenance of trade routes and the management of relations with foreign, allied Guilds.
At present, the Three Mountains Guild claims alliances with the League of Guilders in Labyrinthium, the Golden Fleet of the Riverfolk, Krieger Nibelung of Gotterdammerung, Shen Kaishu of Kenrei and Choir Eldressar of Callas Selvarion. While these “alliances” are tenuous at best, the Three Mountains Guild is able to send forth Travaki-grade material at three times the cost. Similarly, these contacts allow the Guild to bring in product that is greatly desired by wealthy collectors or is otherwise not created within the domain of the Iron Kingdom.
The Guild’s main currency in their enterprises is good will. They trade favor (and currency) to certain Stone Clans to allow them passage and protection through the quickest passes of the Stoneclaw Mountains. Furthermore, contracts with the Riverfolk and the Labyrinthium grant them the ability to place goods according to their customers’ order.
Currently, the Three Mountains Guild is in the middle of a bidding war between Trustworth Securities and Roughrigger Enterprises for protection services within Malak Travak’s domains. Rumors are abound of the escalating conflict between the two Councilor Guilds — indeed, the time is coming when the Throneguard itself has to bring peace to the two bickering Guilds.
Mirt Farmountain is the charismatic and visionary leader of the Three Mountain Guild. A Dwarf with a taste for high fashions, fancy women and fine wines, Mirt is said to be charming enough to sell fire to a Fury. Youthful and nimble despite his ancient age, the Guildmaster Farmountain is almost ubiquitous with regards to his Guild’s business — every Guildsdwarf of the Three Mountains has met its illustrious Guildmaster and claims to have had an in-depth and enlightening conversation with him about their lives.
Politically, the Three Mountains Guild is part of the Grey Masons faction – which supports greater trade with Midworld.
The Church of the Maker
Basic: The divinely-appointed healers, guides and protectors of Malak Travak.
Symbol: A Warhammer, wreathed in Holy Flame.
History: The history of the Maker’s Church is as long and as storied as the very history of Malak Travak (see the History of the Iron Kingdom).
Current: The Church is not truly a Guild, but it has been given the status of one with regards to its influence of Travaki governance. While it is currently within a strong position, it is must fight to maintain its current state among the Guilds of the Council.
Fortunately, the Church is very popular among the Travaki. Its Temples bestow insanely low prices and interest rates on medical care. The Slagtowns and Sporetowns of Nalimar house healthy and well-fed Dwarves, although the First-born of other districts are offset by their zealous devotion (and tithing) to the Church of the Maker.
Unlike the other Guilds of Malak Travak, the Church does not specialize in any specific craft or service beyond medical care of its healers, spiritual guidance of its Avatara and bodily protection granted by its Crusaders. The products of the Church are of excellent quality and they set the price of their services depending upon the faith of the buyer. To those who bend their knee to the Maker and His Dictates, the Church is more than willing to lower their prices. Those who are less than pious can expect higher prices and colder welcomes.
It is believed that the Church of the Maker ultimately seeks a return to the days of Nalim: a Theocracy where the Hierophants ruled the Malak Travak as gentry and kings. While this is far from a reality, the growing power of the Church is only checked by the strength of the King and the Council of Ten.
Leadership: Barduc Flameforge is the current Hierophant of the First Rune. He ensures that the Church maintains a strong presence among the Travaki people, although his methods seem strict and draconian to outsiders. He is close-handed when it comes to rewards and punishes harshly those who displease him.
Hadrec is his son and one of the Rune-Bearers of the Seeh (a rank second only to the First Rune). Unlike his father, Hadrec Flameforge is known for his generosity and his pleasing demeanor. It is believed that he will take the rank of First-Rune when his father’s spirit finally ascends to Overworld to join the Maker.
There are those, however, that claim that Hadrec is less generous than he appears. Rumors flit through the ranks of the Church that his mannerisms belie a cruel hunger and a deathly cunning… however, these are likely to be the whisperings of his rivals and disgruntled peers.
Politically, the Church of the Maker prefers to be neutral. They neither support nor oppose greater contact with the rest of Midworld.