The Conclave

The Conclave is a rather unique entity in Aatos. It is one of the few truly world spanning organizations in Aatos, and it reaches all four continents. At its core, the Conclave is a guild of pokemon trainers and warriors who practice a variety of different skills, from combat to capturing wild pokemon. The Conclave serves as a place where individuals in need of services can find other individuals capable of satisfying their needs - for a price of course. By its very nature, jobs submitted to the Conclave tend to have some element of danger involved (otherwise they could just complete a job themselves) but not always. The work is wide ranging, both in nature and difficulty. Common jobs include hiring on as guards for a caravan, obtaining a specific species of wild pokemon, and serving as bodyguards. Not all job listings are strictly legal, but the individual guildhouses ensure that nothing too immoral gets put up on the board.

As an organization, The Conclave's reach is through crafting an efficient method of satisfying a supply/demand market. Their influence has caused the phenomenon that any semi-competent trainer will be several times wealthier than most of the others in any town (although still poorer than nobles and some middle class merchants). While merely being a place to connect patrons and employees, its system has shaped what it means to be a trainer in today's world. The Conclave has monopolized this market; while other guild systems have tried establishing themselves, they all simply end up folding in as a subguild to the Conclave itself.

Becoming a Member:

Becoming a member of the Conclave isn't difficult. There is an annual fee of $100, which allows the new member to obtain a magical mark on the back of their hand that lasts for exactly one year. This mark is invisible unless entering a Conclave, where it shines brightly. This phenomenon means that the inside of guildhouses are often filled with a soft phosphorescent glowing. This single tattoo grants entrance to most Conclave guildhouses (a few are more exclusive) and allows the individual to attempt any job posted on the job boards. Any member without a tattoo entering will either pay the fee or be thrown out of the guildhouse. In general, membership doesn't open many doors outside of the guildhouses. There are enough Conclaves around the world that meeting a trainer that is a member isn't exactly rare. That being said, some individuals may be more likely to hire freelance trainers who also are members of the Conclave.

The Rules:

While not an exact science, the Conclave does have a series of rules that govern the entire guild. The first (and most important) rule is that anybody completing a job obtained in the Conclave owes 10% of the payoff to the Conclave. In reality, employers pay the Conclave directly, who then subtracts their portion before passing the money off to the member. Conclave members aren't prohibited from competing to complete a job, and some of the guildhouses encourage the practice citing a more efficient job completion record. A Guildmaster will sometimes put aside very sensitive work, or work that can only be attempted once. In these cases, he selects one of his members (or a team therof) to complete the job instead of letting anybody take the work. These jobs aren't publicized and are sometimes called Secret Jobs due to their nature.

Additionally, every job that comes into the Conclave is ranked by the Guildmaster. He decides on how difficult the job will be and places a rank on it. These ranks range from I-V and denote the level of danger that a job entails. While any member can technically accept any job, almost all members stick to jobs at their level. Level I jobs consist mostly of menial tasks that simply require possession of pokemon to complete. They include capturing weak wilds, driving off a poochyena pack from a farm, and other such jobs. Higher rank jobs consist of bodyguarding, defeating powerful threats, stopping potential natural disasters, and moving valuable merchandise. Large scale mercenary jobs are generally handled by by Mercenary Guilds, which operate separately and generally are hired out by countries and lords.

In general, level I jobs should be appropriate for characters levels 1-5, level II jobs appropriate for characters levels 6-10, and so on. Level V jobs have no upper limit, although these are almost always secret jobs that guildmasters give only to certain individuals. They are also exceedingly rare, and come along without much regularity. The strongest individuals in Aatos are more likely to have more important work than waiting around a Conclave taking requests. At that point, many employers will contact an individual directly, skipping the middle-man services of the Conclave.

Guildhouses:

Conclave guildhouses are spread around the world, in cities large and small on every continent. Each one is different and has its own unique character. There are no unifying characteristics of these guildhouses except for a job board. The tone of each guildhouse is shaped by the community that regularly accepts jobs from the place. Some guildhouses are small and secretive, only one room where a member comes, gets a job, and leaves. Others have bars and are popular socialization spots for members. The largest Conclave guildhouses (usually located in major cities) will even have training facilities for their members to use for a small fee. In general, Conclaves will be found in any town that has a lord, duke or some similar installment. If there's a manor house near town, then there's a Conclave too. This means that many small villages will have one central Conclave that they will all use, although most village folk will be too poor to post jobs. On the flip side, most cities will have several Conclaves located inside, each spread across the city. In these cases, most of the Conclaves will each end up hosting more of one kind of work than another. For instance, one guildhouse may take a bunch of merchant jobs, while nobles seeking transport guards will head across town to a different location.

Structure:

In general, the Conclave has no overall structure. Each guildhouse operates as an independent unit separate from the other guildhouses. Each operates under the same broad general rules of the Conclave. However, there isn't a council that oversees the entire structure of the Conclave. That being said, many guilds do elect to cooperate with each other. While a member's tattoo will allow entry into most other guildhouses, some guildhouses will pool resources and jobs, finding that cooperation fosters more business than competition.

While most guildhouses follow generally the same tendencies, a few guildhouses have adopted special names and specialize in certain types of jobs. Sometimes these require additional fees to join, but oftentimes they simply provide more specialized jobs and services than a general guildhouse. Particularly successful guildhouses may expand to a regional presence, with 3-5 guildhouses under the same guildmaster across a larger region. A sample of the many specialty guildhouses can be found below.

Ghost Hunter: The Ghost Hunter guildhouse is one of the smallest guildhouses in the world. It consists solely of a single room, hidden in the back alleyways of Selgaunt in Sarn. The room is locked, with access only granted to those with a special brand. Few know how to join the guild, and many suspect that the guildmaster only accepts members that he has recruited. While it supposedly specializes in anti-theft services at major Sarran banks, most recognize that it is actually a group of assassins that thrive on the cutthroat nature of the Sarran economy to make extremely good money.

Holden Village: Holden Village is one of the larger Conclave guildhouses. Complete with specialized training facilities, pokemon breeders, move tutors, merchandise vendors, and clientele, this monothic guildhouse is home to the largest collection of bodyguards in Galla. They mostly work for the various noble houses, but recently the government has been trying to hire them on as psuedo-mercenaries to beef up the nation's armies.

Raticate Pack: The Raticate Pack goes after criminals that the government of Gavent hasn't been able to track down. Their targets range from petty criminals to highway thugs, to the occasional thief or assassin that makes it past manor guardsmen. While its open to all Conclave members, this guildhouse (as with all specialty guildhouses) tends to attract a certain type of crowd: a rather ratty crowd in this case.

Relic Eye: A guild located in Western Iussus, Relic Eye is an open guild that only posts jobs related to dungeon delving, exploration of ancient ruins, or treasure hunting expeditions. The guildmaster especially seeks out jobs related to the Vardamir Empire (see History) or places that relics might be kept. Due to the rather niche nature of these jobs, as well as their usually long time requirements, the guild is small and many members don't know each other.

Stoutland Six: This guild specializes in bounty hunting like Raticate Pack, but the skill level in this guildhouse are infinitely higher. Located in the Achaemian Empire, this world renowned Bounty Hunter guildhouse accepts jobs from governments all over the world. They track down and bring in the world's most dangerous criminals, for a good price of course. While the mortality rate in this particular guildhouse is quite high, the pay is worth the risk. However, there are only six members in the guild at any one time, all extremely skilled in their own methods.

The Conclave in a Campaign

The Conclave can fill a wide variety of roles, and it fits decently well into most campaigns. At the very least, it can provide PCs with a quick way to make money. However, the Conclave can also serve as a home base for PCs, a guildhouse where they have friends and allies, steady employment, and the ability to hone their skills with like-minded people. Since the PCs aren't ever obligated to accept any jobs, it is as flexible as the PCs want to make it. It can also provide a DM with an easy way to get PCs to a certain location or meet with certain people. All you have to do is lower a juicy reward tailored to PC interest to get them moving in the direction that you might want them to go.

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