what exciting travelling professions can you think of for a fantasy game?
— Quinn Murphy (@qh_murphy) October 20, 2014
I then responded with a lot tweets over the last few days for a group I call the Sellswords and using those tweets I give you the rest of this post!
Sellswords is a guild of elite defenders for hire: escorts, bodyguards, lookouts, guards and their handlers. These are no simple soldiers for hire to fight your battles; just here to protect your stuff or keep you alive.
-Contract of Operations and Conduct-
The Sellswords Guild operates under a document that is referred to as the Contract of Operations and Conduct and in which all members carry a signed copy. The following is just a summary of its contents.
Seems a bit obvious but; Stay Alive, Get Paid, and Master your weapon but here are some other ways to look at it.
- Sellswords are merchants whose wares are their ability to keep people away and put a weapon to fantastic use; not a soldier or a killer.
- The fight prevented is a battle won.
- Contracts make sure you get paid.
None; Sellsword have no governing head figure. Handlers work together as needed to run things on various levels be it international, nation, regional, local or personal levels. Even then there is no formal council of handlers; just people discussing what needs to be done. In certain situations handlers will call for a vote and of course certain handlers take on my 'leader' roles created out of necessity, ability or situation.
Simply put Sellsword Guild asks you to join, not the other way around. This is usually done by handlers during an organized Sellsword Event where they usually have some kind of tournaments open novices or anyone in general.
The other time a handler or a well respected member (with handler approval at SOME point) will find someone they see potential in and bring them into the fold. Of course skill in arms is only a fraction of what they are looking for and not all recruits make it to claim the title of Sellsword.
Sellswords have a ranking system in which members call titles. Upon gaining title a member is presented with a badge (most of the time publicly) indicating their title level. These badges are usually displayed constantly on person as this is a potential tool a member can use. Privately a member is given a token that goes along with the new rank; the token is how members prove to one another who they are given badges can be counterfeited quiet easily. Most of the time old tokens and badges are turned into handlers to be used again for the next rising Sellsword.
Recruit - The training and learning step. No badge, no token; either working under a Selltitle or a Handler. If under a Handler they will be assigned contracts working with other Sellswords that will report back progress to the Handler. If your not going to make it, it will usually happen here.
Sword - Usually the shortest chapter for most Sellswords, your first badge made of copper and a wooden token. This is the true proving grounds as you will be given contracts unsupervised either on your own or working with fellow Sword titlers. Can still wash out. Badge looks a square plate with a sword going across it. The token is a bar with a sword on top and special inscription on the sides.
Sellsword - Full member of the Sellswords with Iron or Steel badge along with silver token. The wooden token is usually burned by the new Sellsword as a symbol of moving on from one's past into one's new future with the Sellswords. This badge is a round shield with a sword going across while the token is another bar, again with a sword on top and a different inscription on the sides.
Selltitles - The Elite of Elite though depending on what is going on Selltitles could out number Sellswords in a region or even over all. The actual title replaces the word title with the members specialty of combat, style or focus of duty ie SellShortsword, SellArcher and SellWall. Selltitles are proven contract completer and have proven there skills at many of Sellsword Events. A new Iron or Steel badge but made to fit your new title, still usually a shield with something across it. The new token is now gold bar with the sword on top with a different inscription on the sides.
Handlers - Many Sellswords leave or retire from the guild without becoming a Handler as it is a duty along with being a rank. Most of the time it takes a new region or city and votes from handlers to raise a Selltitle to a Handler. Odd situations have caused the rise of a Handler as well. One example could be a Handler suddenly dying and a member of the guild steps up handling the duties of a Handler. The word will spread and the surrounding handlers will make formal what is already going on. A steel badge similar to their Selltitle but with a H in the background or the equivalent in the Handler's native tongue. The token is same as before made out of platinum.
Retired - Not a rank but just a fact. Once a Sellsword they are done with the duty, the usually in form local handler(s) and move on with their life. They keep their badge and bar but no longer display their badge. Some go in and out of retirement.
Try to maintain good relations.
You always have the right to defend yourself.
The best victory is the one obtain without drawing your weapon.
Defend your fellow Sellsword, on or off contract.
If defended off contract, it is good practice to give boon or tip.
Tip Handlers for Crash Spaces if possible, Handlers get a cut of Contract Pay if they set it up.
Provide Crash Space for Sellswords.
Maintain good relations with local communities, govt, local law enforcement and other groups.
Collect and distribute contracts.
Plan and run one at least Sellsword Event per year.
To help relations with communities, build reputation and give a change for Sellswords to properly gather for various reasons Handlers put on special events.
They can range from simple combat demonstrations to the public in front of a Crash Space to grand region fairs.
Contract: Jobs and the written down arrangements for the job.
Boon: A favor granted to a fellow sellsword, sometimes written into formal contracts.
Tip: Money freely given to a fellow sellsword, usually no records for such a transaction.
Crash Space: A place ran by a handler to give sellswords a place to eat, sleep and get guild info between contracts. Usually where sellswords go to get contracts from handlers and where clients go to contract said handlers to arrange contracts.
-End of Contract-
Furan; youngest recorder Handler, first to earn the title SellVoice and never carries a weapon on person.
Sellwalls; heavily armored Sellsword team that are almost walking living forts.
Raniers; SellArcher and Handler. Operator of Outpost SellGreen.
SellGreen: An Outpost that serves as a safe haven in a middle of trade road that runs in untamed, barely explored area. It acts as inn, tavern and general store for travelers and those few that operate in the region. With a flash of your token gains you access to the private crash space and discounts at tavern and store...even perhaps access to exclusive equipment.
The Sellswords have gone to war, twice but neither time was for a contract but for themselves caring their own banner. (This is true but no Sellsword talks about it or admits that this ever happen.)
This was made for everybody! If you like what your read, please put it in your game if you like. Modify it to your desire, put in your details. Some things to think about: Do Sellswords have casters?, Are the Sellwalls a pair, a large party or even a sub guild with their own handler?
I am not opposed to seeing Sellswords in some kind of RPG document (it be insanely cool to be truthful); just give me some credit and super small cut if you make a profit?
Part 2: Twitter Notes
Part 2: Twitter Notes