What fantasy gets wrong about mediaeval weapons

Cathbad

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No, they're not guilds. But it doesn't seem so far a leap to me.

Perhaps it's the wording?
 

sknox

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A guild was a recognized political entity. It had corporate status and a formal standing in the community. They can bring law suits (and be sued). They can serve on the city council (some, anyway). Their statutes are supported by the legal powers (city council, podesta, senate, whatever). Nobody's going to do that for a bunch of thugs, whether their business is stealing or murder. It makes no sense to have legal status for a group that is, by definition, outside the law.

And yes, I realize how stuffy that sounds. That's why I said I realize this is just me (or anyone else who studied guilds). Plus, there's a perfectly reasonable and established entity for thieves. It's called a gang.

I also realize that we have thieves guilds everywhere because of D&D. I blame Mr Gygax. :) It's fine, it really is (still have my AD&D 2nd ed). But when someone asks me about guilds, I'm going to give 'em my perspective. There are plenty of examples of the D&D way; maybe my comments might offer to an author a different approach.

Zat clarify at all?
 

thaddeus6th

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I think that's fair enough. A criminal enterprise operating underground like Murder Incorporated is one thing, but you wouldn't see an open Murder Inc. or iMurder4U shop on the high street.

So, a secret organisation that calls itself the Thieves Guild can make sense, I think, but one operating openly (likewise for assassins, underwear smugglers etc) just seems daft.
 

HareBrain

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I'll add my vote for "guild" being a misleading term to call it. In my early days of D&D it made me assume it must be like any other guild, with a publicly known headquarters and so on, and I couldn't understand how that would work. But the other part of the name, "thieves" doesn't make much sense either. Why would a criminal organisation choose to privately name themselves after a low-grade, almost universally despised activity?
 

pyan

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Why would a criminal organisation choose to privately name themselves after a low-grade, almost universally despised activity?
Well, it works in Ankh-Morpork, according to Sir Pterry...

"The Guild of Thieves, Cutpurses and Allied Trades is distinguished from thieves' guilds in other fantasy universes by being completely legal. The Thieves' Guild was established early in Lord Havelock Vetinari's rule of Ankh-Morpork. Lord Vetinari realised that what people crave is stability, and that, while it is impossible to stamp out crime altogether, it is possible to regulate it. In other words, if crime is inevitable, it might as well be organised. The major gang leaders of the city were therefore called to the Patrician's Palace, where they agreed to be held responsible for ensuring a socially acceptable number of thefts. While they may have been insincere in this promise, they soon found the Patrician knew too much about them for reneging to be safe."

ie, if you can't stamp it out, regulate and tax it...

Guilds of Ankh-Morpork
 

HareBrain

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True, though he was writing satire. In reality, it seems to me, the leaders of such organisations crave the aura of "respectability", and try to put some apparent distance between themselves and the sordid underpinnings of their wealth.
 

Toby Frost

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"Fellow members of the Guild of Thieves, let me call this meeting to order by banging the ceremonial golden gavel - wait a minute. Where's the gavel gone? If any of you kleptomaniacs have stolen the gavel again, I'll put a black mark against your name in the guild record book, which is just over here - oh, for goodness' sake, who's taken the book..."

Shouldn't this last page of comments be in the "guilds" thread, not the "weapons" one?
 
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Cathbad

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A thieves'guild legal?? Nah...

Underground, well-known 'secret' organzation, yes. Calling themselves a guild legitamizes them - not at all. Remember, Capone's organization/business sounded legit, as well. I think too many are hung up on the word "guild". Seems likely to me this is what such an organization might call itself - but just because the sign outside my establisment reads "Flowers by Cathbad", doesn't mean I'm not making counterfeit money in the back room...

Do you think the Cosa Nostra hung out signs saying, "Guild of Murderers, Thieves and Influence Peddlers"?
 

The Big Peat

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I think too many are hung up on the word "guild".
Yes, but there's nothing wrong with that. We're here because we recognise the power and appeal of the right words in the right order; if we think a word's usage is wrong, of course that's going to matter.

Nor do I think there's anything particularly wrong with taking an approach to fantasy that isn't particularly bothered by correct usage of historical terms, or accurately portraying historical combat, or political power structures etc.etc. If anything, I believe the genre is getting far too bothered by historical accuracy.

But that doesn't mean caring about that accuracy and the word usage is wrong. Sloppy usage of the word feudalism is a good way to make me very grump. Neither's wrong really, just as long as everyone's happy and we know which one's which.
 
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