This system for Pathfinder outlines a method for creating an Adventurer’s Guild as a shared character (in the style of a Song of Ice and Fire noble house, Nobilis Chancel, etc.). It’s inspired in large part by the house upgrades in Skyrim.
The player characters are the core members of an Adventurer’s Guild in a large city that sees enough income from treasure-seekers to have such a thing (think Ptolus). They’re either starting a brand new charter or are a previously decent guild that’s fallen on hard times. It’s up to the PCs to build the guild up to a political entity within the city and really get those dues flowing in.
Unless the GM starts the guild at higher level, this is intended to present a fairly farcical take on D&D: the players don’t just start at first level, but as first level commoners with classic 3d6 stats. They’re going to die. A lot. However, with each unlikely victory, they bring dues and prestige back to the guild, leveling it up and allowing it to attract a better class of adventurer. Eventually, new characters come in with a much better chance of survival and the game might transition to a more traditional style with a strong core of a guild with high player investment… and who knows how many of the earlier PCs might have gotten lucky more often than expected and still be kicking around?
The players should collaborate with the GM on a name for the guild and a location for the guild hall. Everyone will also collaborate on a floorplan for the hall: it should start out at roughly 40 five foot tiles (1000 square feet). The living accommodations in the hall are Poor for those PCs that choose to bunk there.
The guild is treated in many ways like an extra player character. It has a level and experience total, special abilities, skills, and feats. When the guild chooses feats and skills, the players collaborate on the decision of what to buy.
Experience to level for the guild is on the same scale as for the PCs (e.g., if they’re on the medium progression track, so is the guild). When the guild gets enough exp, it levels up, but the guild’s total exp cannot exceed that of the highest-exp PC currently in the group (except in the case of the death of said PC, in which case the guild can’t get any more exp until a PC again equals or exceeds its total). A guild gets exp from:
- Player Character Dues: Each gold piece a player character pays into the guild vault counts as a point of exp. PCs are expected to donate 10% of treasure earned from adventures, but can donate more if they feel the level of the guild is falling behind.
- Prestigious Accomplishments: Whenever the PCs get a quest award of exp in a way that would reflect well on the guild, the guild gets an equal award (e.g., if all PCs get 100 exp for rescuing the baron’s child, the guild also gets 100 exp).
In general, the guild should be about a level or two lower than the average party level if the PCs contribute only 10%.
The guild gets 2 skill ranks per level and 1 feat each odd level (including one at first level). It gets the following special abilities that influence PC creation and advancement:
- -1 Point Buy Commoners
- NPC Classes
- 3 Point Buy
- Basic Adventuring Classes
- 7 Point Buy
- Core Adventuring Classes
- 11 Point Buy
- Advanced Adventuring Classes
- 15 Point Buy
- Prestige Classes
- 19 Point Buy
- 23 Point Buy
- 27 Point Buy
The Guild Vault
All dues donated by the PCs are stored in the guild vault and effectively tracked as another score on the guild sheet. Gold pieces removed from the vault should be tracked as experience debt (new dues or quest rewards must erase this debt before the guild gains exp again); they’re assumed to be used as investments to maintain guild benefits. Any feats that have a prerequisite of a GP minimum in the vault become inactive if the vault drops below this level. Malevolent GMs may choose to threaten the guild vault with theft or taxes.
The PCs may choose to track on the guild sheet a “non-exp” pool of shared GP, and players can also donate equipment to the guild (generally hand-me-down or otherwise unusable gear) that is not tracked as exp. Some feats generate additional GP revenue that can be tracked here as well.
New player characters can be equipped out of these vaults.
PC Creation and Advancement
The level of the guild determines available player character build methods and advancement as outlined above. A PC is generally locked into his talents upon entering into the guild (e.g., a Commoner made at the guild’s first level can’t begin taking Fighter levels if he survives until the guild’s fourth level), but the GM may extend the option of respecialization in this circumstance (i.e., replace all of the levels or former ability scores with newly available options). However, in the case of a respec, the player forfeits the experience bonus (described below).
New PCs start at the level of the guild with the minimum exp necessary to meet that level. They have 10% of their suggested Wealth by Level (they might raid the vault for additional gear or funds). Replacement PCs might be elevated NPCs that were previously second tier guild members or might be completely new faces that come highly recommended to the guild from allies.
PCs can be made with the player’s choice of a point buy using a particular size pool or a corresponding dice generation method:
- -1 Points: Roll 3d6 six times and keep the results in order (old school generation)
- 3 Points: Roll 3d6 six times and rearrange the results to taste
- 7 Points: Roll 3d6 four times and 4d6 (drop lowest die) two times
- 11 Points: Roll 3d6 two times and 4d6 (drop lowest die) four times
- 15 Points: Roll 4d6 six times (standard method)
- 19 Points: Roll 4d6 four times and 2d6+6 two times
- 23 Points: Roll 4d6 two times and 2d6+6 four times
- 27 Points: Roll 2d6+6 six times (heroic method)
PCs gain a 5% bonus to all experience gained for each step in between their ability method and the current maximum available (e.g., a -1 Point Buy character gains +10% to all exp once the guild is level 5 and 7 Point Buy is available). New PCs can use a worse ability score method to gain this bonus.
PCs can choose from certain available class options based on the level of the guild:
- Commoners: PCs can only be of the Commoner NPC class. They will probably die a lot.
- NPC Classes: PCs can choose from Adept, Expert, and Warrior (and multiclass between them). Commoner PCs gain a +10% bonus to all exp gained.
- Basic Adventuring Classes: PCs can choose from the adventuring classes the GM thinks should be most common (typically Fighter, Rogue, Cleric, Wizard). If the GM wants to make all core classes available at this level, the next tier should open the option of the alternate class builds (e.g., from the Advanced Player’s Guide). Commoner PCs gain a +20% exp bonus and other NPC classes gain a +10% bonus.
- Advanced Adventuring Classes: PCs can choose from the non-core basic classes in expanded material, as approved by the GM. The bonus remains the same for NPC classes and Commoners.
- Prestige Classes: PCs can take GM-approved prestige classes if they meet the other prerequisites. Characters made before this tier (even NPC classes) can take prestige classes if they meet the other requirements.
The guild gets 2 skill ranks per level. No skill can be raised to two ranks until the guild is at least level 5, and no skill can ever exceed two ranks. The guild can buy any Craft or Knowledge skill. With sufficient justification, the GM might allow the purchase of non-Craft or Knowledge skills.
- One Rank: The guild hall includes the basic tools to practice the craft or a small reference library for the knowledge.
- Two Ranks: The guild hall includes masterwork tools for the craft or a large reference library for the knowledge, sufficient to impart a +2 bonus to rolls of the associated skill made at the hall.
The guild gets 1 feat at each odd level. Example feats are:
- Alliance*: The guild is allied with another guild or organization in the city. In addition to the political benefits, all PCs gain +2 to Charisma-based rolls when socially engaged with members of the ally organization. This can be taken multiple times for different allies. The GM may require the PCs to justify the alliance in play before purchasing this feat.
- Armory: The guild keeps basic equipment in stock for a nominal fee, and has a good relationship with local suppliers for crafting. Mundane weapons and armor can be purchased for half cost (or materials for crafting purchased at half the already discounted price). These items would be sold at half value as well by any guild entrepreneurs, as the guild keeps a cut to maintain the relationship.
- Security: The guild has improved the locks and fortifications. Locks on all doors are DC 15 to pick, and defenders of the hall gain +1 AC.
- Enhanced Security (requires Security): Locks are DC 20 to pick and defenders gain +2 AC.
- Magic Security (requires Enhanced Security): Locks are DC 25 and defenders gain +3 AC. Alarm spells can be assumed to protect the vault from theft and residents from assassination.
- Average Accommodations (requires 600 gp in the guild vault): The guild hall has been decorated, keeps a decent larder, and is a comfortable place to sleep (PCs staying in the guild hall can assume the Average Cost of Living for free).
- Wealthy Accommodations (requires 6,000 gp in the guild vault and Average Accommodations): The guild hall is lavishly appointed (PCs staying in the guild hall can assume the Wealthy Cost of Living for free).
- Expanded Space (requires 2,000 gp in the guild vault): The guild hall has built out or taken over nearby propery. It now has 3,000 square feet (120 tiles).
- Huge Space (requires 20,000 gp in the guild vault and Expanded Space): The guild hall is now effectively a mansion in size, with 9,000 square feet (360 tiles).
- Known (requires level 4): The guild has recruited non-PC members of some significance. Assume 2d10 such members at any time (max level of the guild’s level -3). For every donation to the guild vault made by the PCs, add +2% from these members.
- Popular (requires level 7 and Known): The guild now has 5d10 relevant NPC members at any time (max level of the guild -2). The PCs’ donations now earn +5% to the guild vault from these NPCs.
- Famous (requires level 10 and Popular): The guild now has 10d10 relevant NPC members at any time (max level of the guild -1). The PCs’ donations now earn +10% to the guild vault.
- Specialist* (requires level 4): The guild employs an Expert to provide a particular skill set (such as a smith, sage, entertainer, or chef). The character is built as an NPC Expert with a level equal to the guild’s -3 and 7 point buy, and should be designed with high ranks and possible skill focuses in the relevant skills. This specialist can use any relevant bonuses from guild skills, and will use his or her skills for the party’s benefit as if they were PC skills (i.e., will not charge extra). The feat can be purchased multiple times for multiple specialists.
- Guards (requires level 4): The guild has 1d6 NPC Warriors hanging out at any given time (day or night) who will come to the defense of the guild hall if necessary. They are built at guild level -3 with 7 point buy.