The Minrothad Guilds
“Over the sea, east of Ierendi and west of Thyatis... The people of the major islands banded together to form the Minrothad Guilds, the nation that controls most of the sea trade in the world today. These guilds have built an unsurpassed merchant fleet to carry their exotic goods... They are secretive about their crafts... But the secret of their trading success lies in two other factors. Minrothad maintains strict neutrality with other nations... The second factor is the Minrothad merchant-princes: captains and masters of magic that keep their vessels safe at sea.”
- A sage from Specularum
The LandThe Minrothad archipelago is formed by six major islands and numerous smaller ones, most volcanic in origin. Trader’s Island is the largest; on its northeast shore rises Minrothad, the capital, and major trade city of the guilds. Alfeisle is the home of wood and water elves, located here are the trade city of Verdon and the fortified elvish port of Seahome. Blackrock Island is dominated by an active volcano: Halfpeack; on this island there are a few fishing villages, far away from the volcano. Northwest of Trader’s Island there is Fortress Island: home of the dwarvish guilds of Minrothad and their city of Stronghold. Open Isle is a flat and treeless island home to the halfling town of Malfton; the industrious halflings have turned the area around Malfton in a region of tended gardens, limited orchards and pasturage. Far to the northwest lies Fire Island with its dangerous volcano Redtop; the area around the island has been declared off limits to all shipping traffic. The last major island is North Isle; the fortified town of Gapton was built here as a colony of refuge for members of the guilds in case of calamity; a great number of clerics and scholars live here.
HistoryGregus Verdier founded the Minrothad Guilds in AC 691. The responsibility for crafts, manufacturing, trading and sailing were assigned to specific clans and family groups so that each race had equal power. Then, in the following years, a number of miscellaneous guilds came into being which provided services rather than manufactured crafts. These families will be known as the Political Guilds.
In earlier times the country was fervently isolationist: forbidding immigration and strictly controlling travel and trade practices. But this policy has altered with a change in government, and the Minrothad Guilds have opened their doors to trade, travel and interaction with the folk of other nations.
The PeopleMinrothad is a polyglot society, it constantly incorporates new elements encountered and borrowed by Minrothad traders abroad; the main culture is a blend of native human, elvish, halfling and dwarvish practices. The language is the Minrothad Patois, which is a mix between the original speech and many other tongues, old and new. The same things could be said for dress: a pastiche of elements from all over the Known World.
Minrothaddans do not discuss guild politics or problems with outsiders. Ships come and go in Minrothad ports and the most important arrivals and departures, or the launching of new ships, are observed with a “docking party”, sponsored by a guild or a ship master; foreigners invited to such events are especially privileged.
Government and ReligionThe Minrothad government is much more than groups of self-serving craftsman trying to gut each other. The family guilds and political guilds are the primary counterweights on the political scene; they are separated by the ruling guild master, but he can do very little if both the family guilds and the political guilds oppose him. The national government, in matters of taxes, and the military aren’t under his personal control: so the balance remains stable as long as all three factions are strong.
Religions and philosophies in Minrothad have even been reinterpreted to accommodate the modern commercial bent of Minrothaddans; these ethical outlooks are rationalised as being similar to the purpose of the Minrothad Guilds, even where that was not originally the case. Elendaen philosophy honours Calitha Starbrow a water elf ascended to immortality; adherents of Elendaen believe the ocean is cradle of all life. Ordana, a wood elf who ascended to immortality, inspired Dainrouw; those who honour her call her “Forest Mother”. Augrism was created by Wildeye Auger, a dwarf cleric of Kagyar, the creator of dwarvish race; whose philosophy exhorts its followers to perform their best at all times. Minrothism, the fastest growing religion in Minrothad, derives from Minroth, who was the leader of the first peoples to colonise the islands, the followers of Minrothism must live in peace and occupy themselves with useful work.