Seven Realms: Secular Factions
In my opinion simply having evil nations, monsters, and the like isn’t enough to represent the breadth of a realistic world. Organizations which transcend national boundaries or export their influence beyond the boundaries of their homes are excellent plot motivators, allies and antagonists. So in that case the Seven Realms is host to numerous factions, both secular and religious, which enhance the setting.
Some of the most prominent factions, excluding sorcerous guilds and the like, are the Iron Lions, the Blackened Blade, the Golden East Trading Co., the White Ravens and the Bonesmen.
The Iron Lions are crown sanctioned adventurers, or more like a guild with hundreds of operatives who often operate outside the borders of their nation, Veralon. The Emperor created the Lions of the Iron Crown nearly a thousand years ago, and despite them being somewhat unreliable as any sort of private army, they have become a fixture of life, and they constantly show others what Veralonian advances and culture are ike. While they are horrible private agents, they do a good job as unwitting ambassadors to the world.
The Blackened Blade is the world’s largest organized crime group. They operate in numerous cities all across Veralon. They are gaining footholds in other territories, such as Chard, Lyzant and Vardany. With the money, and men of an unsavory predilection, possessed by the Blade, they have little to fear from any one nation’s ruling body, and thus they flaunt local and international law in the name of money and power all while pretending to be simple moneylenders.
The Golden East Trading Company is just what they appear to be, a merchant’s guild operating across large regions of the continent to move goods back and forth for the pure increase of their own profits. They are included in this list because they have strongholds in the largest port cities in the South and East. They send ships as far as Kant and the Gaantu Archipelago in the West, and make landfall in Hospera and all along the Eastern Coast. Unlike the trade companies of Floren, which operate almost exclusively as caravaners, the Golden East Trading Co. operates almost exclusively as shippers.
The White Ravens are a mercenary army with bastions across the continent. While they are most common in the outer territories of the civilized nations, they will take any mission for the right price even ending up in the bed chambers of royalty. At times this stance places them against the goals of the powers that be, and in those situations they charge ten times as much (usually enough for the actual team to retire far away from the any possible inquest). Despite the common association with the word White in their name, they are hardly altruistic by nature.
The Bonesmen are the premier assassin’s guild in the East, Midlands and North operating throughout the extents of the former Lost Empire, and more recently the Veralonian Empire. History says that they were originally devotees to Father Bones, a god of death, but bonesmen today are in it for the money, and the power generated by fear. While they are the most easy to reach group of hired murderers in the civilized world, they are hardly the only option and they have begun to feel the pinch from other guilds such as the Sorrows, and the Hand of Jamoor. The main difference however is that these contenders either operate solely in a smaller region, or don’t have the same political power at their fingertips.
I chose to speak about these organizations rather than the Sorrows (another group of assassins), the Sunfalcon Guard (royal agents & guards), the Blue Robes Fighting Company (altruistic mercenaries), or the Knights of the Mark (one of Galtana’s more global minded knightly orders). because the heroes can choose to be a member of any of the above without it draining lots of their time, even though 2 are vile criminal enterprises. The impact on the party of a member being an Iron Lion are minimal, although the benefits can be sizable. The impact of a party member being constantly under mission assignments or feeling a pull back home are sizable.