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A Functional Guild System

Updated: Mar 17, 2018


why it is this way and why it should change

Any functional organization of people must have a division of roles as well as a power structure. Everyone can't do everything themselves and decisions must be made. Throughout history, the division of power and labor resulted in systems less than desirable with regards to fairness, liberty, and function. So far, our current system seems the best balance of fair and function while keeping liberty at the forefront of concern and conversation. This is a vast improvement upon the past. Humans, no matter their belief system, always strive to improve, so it stands to reason that our current system could stand some improvements. Guilds of Requiem is attempting exactly that: change what seems wrong, while keeping what seems right.

We recieved our current system, (perhaps it could be called a democratic republic?) from european colonial monarchical empires, and going further back, the roman empire. It consists of what we call an executive head (ceasar, president, prime minister, king, chief), congress (senate, parliament, noblity, council of elders), and a judiciary body that interprets the law(magistrates and religous leaders sometimes filled this role). When the founders of america designed it, they put in "checks and balances" to ensure that no single person could take too much power for themselves. This, being in the spirit of liberty and a democratic ideal, is a monumental achievement of their design. It ensures against tyranny and guards against the everpresent possibility of a single person making a mistake. Everyone has the capability of making mistakes. Their initial model in the US did look a bit like the feudal dark ages of europe with voting rights being given only to landowners(nobles), the representatives in congress being set up regionally (baronies), and full executive power resting only in a single individual, even if that individual was only a temporary king. Since their model allows for continous improvement and holds issues of personal liberty as sacred, it works well. How well it continues to function may be up for debate that is beyond this writing. Leave that for the historians to debate which winner's history is correct.

This model has permeated all contemporary human organizations, from politics to academia to religion to business. The best tool always get's used more than others. In business, the corporation is a reflection of this model. It has a President/CEO, a board of directors and then has shareholders or members or department heads (depending on it's exact structure). It is no secret that the corporate model, with it's diffusion of responsibility and often inflated beaurocracy, has stolen the economic stage. Ofcourse it would, because it follows the most efficient paradigm to date. Or does it? There was another model that sprang up and did not take over the dominant model, but elements of it became absorbed. It developed around livelihood and profession- not control. The pioneers of the other model veted their power in skill and prestige instead of ownership and wealth. It was the guild system that existed outside the dominant system based on land rights. Because they did not have any control of military, which had been crucial up until relatively recently in human culture, the guild system queitly assimilated into the ownership centered model. Modern human society, with all it's ills and injustices does allow for non-violent reform, unlike most societal models in history. For that, our ancestors' ideals of basic human rights and freedom to speak and organize, should always be cherished. Observe the present and learn from the past to make the best future.

So, within this free market capitalist society, Guilds of Requiem is seeking out to improve and challenge the current paradigm of organization....think outside the box of corporate beaurocracy. The corporate model struggles with the growing desire for employee ownership. It tends to place a few administrative professions in places of power over other professions, even though the entire entity needs all skills to fully function. Since it has it's distant roots in a stratified class system, overcoming this barrier to a more egalitarian and evenly distributed decision making process probably won't happen may never truly happen efficiently. All members of an organization bear insight into the organization's advancement and sustainability, so it's only rational to hear all voices equally. This isn't just a matter of social justice, it's an imperative matter or overall strength. A strength of diversity


the starting platform to expand upon

Once we started laying out what we desired in a business we could believe in, a guild dominant system seemed to just slide right into place as the superior model. This guild-based model is adaptive: we are attempting to allow it to change itself in the real world as time goes on, lessons are learned, and new members arrive with new insights to strengthen the overall organization. Guilds of Requiem is divided into seven guilds that parallel departments of the other model. All human professions can be placed in one of the seven guilds. Each guild has it's own "jurisdiction" and set of responsibilities to the other guilds which it must uphold. How these responsibilities are upheld is up to the individual guild to decide based on the needs and feedback from the other guilds. No one can truly tell you HOW to do your job except someone else who also does your job.

The guilds parallel departments, as they are areas of vocation or class of activity:



*administrative (secretarial/bookkeeping/human resources)


*natural resource management (agriculture, mining)

*distribution (shipping/sales/marketing)


All professions can be assigned into one of these seven guilds and, within a guild, those professions tend to follow the same methodology, philosophy, and strategy for achieving goals.

Every guild can be broken down into disciplines, or professions, that fall under the umbrella of the guild (for example, a librarian is a form of educator). Every discipline has a set of skills that are attributed to it. Skills can be shared by several professions, and can even serve to help across multiple guilds. The skill of algebra would be an example of a far reaching skill. Rank within a given guild would be based upon the skills one has toward the discipline, or profession.

Rank is important to the organization of activity and assignment of task. Initiates possess few or no skills towards any discipline. Their tasks are basic. They recieve constant supervision and instruction. Apprentices have a few skills that allow them to begin doing and learning skilled work under supervision. They can execute more specialized tasks but still require instruction to continue to hone their guild skills. Apprentices know enough to help train initiates. Adepts have enough proven skills and knowledge to perform their function with little or no supervision and oversee/ train apprentices. They still need to defer to masters whom they are learning under for overall plan of action and finer points to deal with arising issues. Masters possess so much skill in their profession that there is little more that can be taught to them, only a honing of skills through experience and confering with other masters. The masters decide the best overall course of action and direct the focus of all tasks. It is accepted by all that those with more rank in the guild should teach those with less rank, and also have more weighted power in decision making concerning guild issues and responsibilities.

Now, looking at this arrangement, it appears to be another departmental style organization. This would be the case if every single person belonged to only one guild. Departmental beaurocracies are slow- we all know this. That mechanical grinding comes apart, speeds up, and becomes more organic when everyone belongs to all departments. Every guild member is atleast an initiate in all seven guilds. Some have ranks in multiple guilds, giving each person a set of responsibilites and management duties unique to their individual skill set. This will allow for a greater, more efficient distribution of power that can react quicker to situations that may arise. For example, a member may be a master in sewing (manufacture), adept in gardening (natural resources) and teaching children (education), and apprenticed/initiated in the other four guilds. So, depending on the task at hand, the management structure changes, as do the nature of tasks. Throughout the given work week or work day, a single person may go from doing mindless errands to managing several people or the entire business for a time. The guilds are more an idealogical institution rather than a rigid collection of people.

This will not only be more egalitarian and more cooperative, it will react more quickly and efficiently to problems. There is a less likelihood of being understaffed for a given set of tasks, and there won't be people just sitting around waiting for someone else to do their own job...less potential for finger pointing and thumb twiddling. It will promote understanding of what it takes to do a certain job- much less likelihood of being asked to do something impossible. Lack of empathy between vocations is one of the slow-downs inflated bureaucracies experience. This also gives a greater sense of personal fulfillment, community, and personal creativity to one's own work.

Now, management is not included as a guild, nor is "management" a valid discipline within any guild. Management is integral to being a master of a discipline. So how are decisions made that affect the overall organization? This can be achieved by councils of those deemed to be masters. Often adepts and apprentices would need to have input as well because they are often doing the work with their own hands. There is, logically, no other way. Meetings must be part of the day or week. Communication is a skill that must transcend all guilds. Respect of peers follows. Everyone is peers, no one is completely above another and no single person is more important than another. To lose a single ranked person changes the entire structure and gaining a new person does the same. Everyone plays a role in the decision making process.

For every guild, there may need to be a temporary high master to make quick decisions. This person would need to be chosen by the others within the guild with their guild ranks giving their vote weight. A master's vote counts more than an adept's, an adept's vote counts more than an apprentice's, and so on. Keep in mind there, that there are more apprentices and adepts than masters within any guild. There are many electoral proceedures and term limit options here that can be chosen from, and those should be agreed upon by all members at any given time. This process would make a high council consisting of high masters who each represents their individual guilds and speak for their individiual guilds on issues requireing timeliness. From this high master council, a single high master would be deemed the ultimate representative to act as liason to other organizations as the president/ceo. The person in this postion would also be on a temporary basis and subject to an electoral process that includes all members of all ranks in all guilds.

"Checks and balances" are built into this structure. Asset management (possession, or as we prefer to say, stewardship, is 9/10 of the law) is a collective responsibility. The administration guild actually monitors all monetary transactions as accountants, but how or what transactions are performed are actually decided upon by the respective masters that have jurisdiction of the task of any given project. These activities must be completely transparent throughout the organization, subject to the high council's discretion, who are in turn under the discretion of all who elected them. Training and "passing of tests" is the only way to gain power in an organization of this structure, but all guilds would need to defer to the educator's guild to determine exactly how that is performed. Though the educators would not have complete control of training or test content. The safety/security guild would keep everyone compliant with working conditions and personal issues that may arise, but they would ultimately fall under the management of their seat on the high council who is working with the other guild masters. These checks and balances go on, and could fill paragraphs of possibilities.


Ultimately, this is a completely cooperative and synnergistic structure. Everyone offers their best abilities where they count at the time they count in the correct situation. Everyone in this structure is their own autonomous entity who may come or go as they choose. The benefits of belonging should far outweigh the benefits of leaving and the indivdual is responsible for their own worth.

This business model can easily fit into the current rules for the bylaws of the corporate paradigm with a little fine tuning for legality. It is an improvement with regards to efficiency and power distribution. It's a system built upon responsibilty instead of ownership. Upon cooperation instead of competition. upon ability and skill instead of favor and wealth.

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