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How do guilds actually work?

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  • How do guilds actually work?

    I have recently got the corebook and yeah. The average mummy is active for a few months a century, with no connection to when anyone else is active, has an overwhelming personal mission during that time, and barely remembers their own name. How do you have a society with that kind of creature, never mind complex politics and ideologies and interrelations?

    I have been considering trying it but I just can't see how this makes even handwavey sense. Do the guilds only exist during sothic turns? Are they archetypes the mummies follow , lingering for Irem, with no current political power? Is there some obvious rule I misread or misunderstood?

  • #2
    The core book does a really poor job of explaining Guilds. Luckily they have a whole sourcebook, Guildhalls of the Deathless, but it's one of the weaker parts of the setting IMO and mostly there because formal factions are a common WoD device.


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    • #3
      I dunno, I rather like the Guilds. It's nice to have social splats that draw directly on Mummy's origin story. Plus it gives us the Deceived, one of the coolest parts of the setting.

      The best way to ensure the Guilds function as continuous entities is to make sure that each Mummy's Cult is versed in their Mummy's Guild, at least to some extent. Cults are constantly active, and can serve to remind their masters of important projects and relationships. One of the more flexible parts of the setting is that a cult may not pass down information from one generation to the next perfectly, allowing different cities to have weirder interpretations of the Guilds than the norm.

      And yes, Guildhalls of the Deathless does delve into the greater Guild structures more deeply, and is a good read.

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      • #4
        The Guilds are honestly more of a source of internal philosophy than they are political structures, at least to me. Most of the Guild is in death-sleep 99% of the time, and there's no guarantee that they're communicating when everyone is awake for a Turn. What they instead provide is a bedrock for an Arisen's identity; when Memory falters and all you have is your name, your purpose, and what your Guild's view of the universe is, that's huge. No matter where in the world they are, when they have woken up, and what the have forgotten, a Scribe knows of the Scroll of Ages and an Alchemist feels the flow of Dedwen.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by Urbenmyth View Post
          I have recently got the corebook and yeah. The average mummy is active for a few months a century, with no connection to when anyone else is active, has an overwhelming personal mission during that time, and barely remembers their own name. How do you have a society with that kind of creature, never mind complex politics and ideologies and interrelations?

          I have been considering trying it but I just can't see how this makes even handwavey sense. Do the guilds only exist during sothic turns? Are they archetypes the mummies follow , lingering for Irem, with no current political power? Is there some obvious rule I misread or misunderstood?
          With the standard relic depletion times, a Mummy could be down less than a year between between arisings.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Exthalion View Post

            With the standard relic depletion times, a Mummy could be down less than a year between between arisings.
            Also a standard Descent can easily be a year or longer. It's not too hard to get the Descent timer to reset.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Azahul View Post
              Also a standard Descent can easily be a year or longer. It's not too hard to get the Descent timer to reset.
              And even if you've completed your first purpose and can't get resets from anything short of vessel drainage anymore, you're still looking at at decent odds for a month or more of free time.

              Also — and I somehow missed this when I first read the book — if you have reason to pursue vengeance against a still-living individual, that grudge is enough to keep you active on the non-accelerated Descent timer even after you've done what you were called up to do.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
                The Guilds are honestly more of a source of internal philosophy than they are political structures, at least to me. Most of the Guild is in death-sleep 99% of the time, and there's no guarantee that they're communicating when everyone is awake for a Turn. What they instead provide is a bedrock for an Arisen's identity; when Memory falters and all you have is your name, your purpose, and what your Guild's view of the universe is, that's huge. No matter where in the world they are, when they have woken up, and what the have forgotten, a Scribe knows of the Scroll of Ages and an Alchemist feels the flow of Dedwen.
                I think it was Dataweaver who suggested that the Y and Z splats should be redefined so that Y only refers to social factions, while Z changes from the "prestige class" splat to internal philosophies (thus for example, vampires have X and Y splats while Prometheans have X and Z). In that light, you consider Guilds to be Z splats left ofter from Y splats that did exist (and sometimes get reformed for a time when enough mummies of that type are awake). I think it fits the age theme of Mummy, in that who you were holds an inescapable sway over who you are - and when those who shared experiences get together, they reminisce about the most glorious parts of them.

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                • #9
                  One thing that hasn't been raised yet, the Guilds are themselves quasi-magical entities. The ranks are enforced by the magical nature of the Guild; there's no debate over whether someone is a guild master or not, it's an objective fact.


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                  • #10
                    So it is the "they are magical archetypes mummies have rather then conventional political organisations" thing? Ok, that makes more sense. Thanks!

                    (also, I think I might have been confused because my previous experience with mummies was Mortal Remains, which implied that mummies very rarely awoke. Should have read the descent rules more closely. Oops)

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                    • #11
                      To be fair, they probably aren't awake as often as they could be. They don't like being called up to do minor errands for their cults, and the judges would probably get mad if they left instructions to be awakened to "do whatever you want" at every opportunity.

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                      • #12
                        Well, a Guild and Nome can potentially serve the function of keeping a society of Mummies relatively active in an area. If all the Arisen agree that DAY X will be set aside for the Deathless to arise and discuss Guild or Nome business, then that can serve as a grounding point for Mummies and their cults (which in turn lets Mummies keep track of happenings within their followers, attend to resources, and so on). For the Storyteller this can obviously also be of use in the same way that Vampire's Elysium is useful- as a set piece for the characters to meet their rivals, exchange stories, receive assignments and favors and plot hooks from their inferiors and superiors, etc. I imagine it also serves as a way to throw off the temptation of the Lingerer. Here there is community and continuity, someone who's handling affairs while you sleep. Do right by them, they'll do right by you. They can bring you up to speed when you need to understand the modern day, they can look after someone of your personal concerns and mortal contacts in trade for serving their interests as part of your time with the living, perhaps involves you in an ongoing goal no mortal man could achieve in one lifetime. And let's not forget, Mummies wouldn't survive long without their grandiose hidden tombs and complexes hidden among the modern cities. Somebody has got to build the Tomb in which a Mummy sleeps, and not every cult is skilled or large enough to justify a tomb worthy of the ancient pharaohs. Its a way to justify where a Mummy gets all its cool secret stuff. In a more sinister light, a Guild was once the ruling house of 7 Judges, and Mummies were literally made to be the tools of each of those Judges (and by extension the House they controlled). So you could look at each Guild as effectively the living hand of one group of Judges or another.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by nothri View Post
                          In a more sinister light, a Guild was once the ruling house of 7 Judges, and Mummies were literally made to be the tools of each of those Judges (and by extension the House they controlled).
                          Sorta maybe yet not exactly?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Azahul View Post
                            Sorta maybe yet not exactly?

                            Oh no, they were definitely built and created by and for the Judges. It just may be that the right hand didn't know what the left was doing at the time

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                            • #15
                              I tend to think of guilds as a combination answering service/administrative support/fill in team. In most large bureaucracies, the decision makers don't do most of the work. Their staff do, and are then responsible for briefing their leadership to allow informed decision making. The Arisen may rest, but their cults don't. It's not hard to imagine a cult that has primary responsibility for locating relics for instance, with the associated Arisen brought in whenever the cult bumps into something it can't handle.

                              Also, I think it's a mistake to assume everyone wakes up once a century. There are practical trade offs to when you rise. More frequent descents allows for more activity for the Arisen, but will tend to limit memory horizon for all but the highest memories. On the other hand, if your memory doesn't concern you, then it's less of a problem. This seems to be what happened to the leadership in DC, and resulted in significant power (due to activity) and substantial isolation for its members.

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