The Assassin's Guild is the trade organization and official contracting agency for all licensed assassins. The Guild was established during the Dynastic Period, and became predominantly a puppet organization of the Gudersnipe Foundation in the Golden Age.
The Assassin's Guild has its roots in the Order of Wizard-Breakers, but split from them some time around the Intermediate Period. Most historians agree the schism was caused by the Order's hypocrisy and cult-like organization. The Guild's web page, however, states they did it for the money.
Throughout the early Dynastic Period, the guild earned a reputation for professionalism, efficiency, and over-all effectiveness. An intricate network of spies and safe houses allowed a unified guild to operate over much of the known worlds. The guild operated on a principle of equity, with every assassin owning a 'share' and none profiting more than others. The guild even owned a large number of legitimate businesses and real estate.
Around the mid Dynastic Era, the guild hit on a new strategy: assassinations paid only once, but everyone needs protection. After 600 years establishing themselves as "the guild of death", the organization began offering protection services. Trained and skilled assassins could be hired as bodyguards. Since the guild would never take contracts that would involve in-fighting, this protected the target from the most skilled assassins in the verse; additionally, guild assassins were the finest counter-assassins available.
At its height, the guild was the most powerful entity in the verse, with an intelligence network all across the known worlds. This changed in B.G.A. 901, when Lelerough attacked the Marcon Alliance. The guild had no quarrel with Lelerough, and ignored the destruction she wrought. It was "part of the war" which the guild generally stayed out of. At the time, the guild had been willing to work for anyone who paid them. The events of Lelerough's rampage, however, caused the guild's leadership to re-consider, and they began taking sides, against the Marcon Alliance.
While the guild had always maintained certain moral and ethical traditions, these were codified around this time. While they still maintained impartiality, they tended to favor free people or nations which treated their citizens well. Most assassins were quite wealthy and well-educated, and favored an egalitarian system.
When the Second Chaotic Period began, the guild received its largest contract ever: the Gudersnipe Foundation. This newly arrived power required the guild's intelligence network, and paid quite handsomely for it. Indeed, well into the Golden Age, descendants of guild members were still living off the shares received.
The contract quickly evolved into a partnership, and by the start of the Golden Age, the Foundation held considerable sway over the guild's leadership. They then founded Gudersnipe Assassin's School to train new assassins, and urged the guild to pass a rule barring anyone who hadn't graduated from a licensed Assassin's School from working as an assassin. While several such licenses were granted, only a few were renewed.
By the middle of the Golden Age, the guild was effectively a puppet of the Foundation. Its entire leadership were graduates of Gudersnipe School, and its assets were slowly absorbed by the Foundation. The guild was maintained, but most contracts were only carried out on the order of the Blind Consul.
In most parts of the Alliance and all Foundation-controlled space, being an assassin is legal only if bonded and licensed by the Assassin's Guild. Only three schools in the Multi-Verse are certified by the guild, two of them being Gudersnipe School and Sevel School.
It is important to note that hiring an assassin is still illegal. In legal parlance, the assassin is considered a weapon, and the person who hired the assassin would be guilty of murder. In jurisdictions where assassinations are legal, an assassin who is caught will typically recieve immunity in exchange for testimony. Hence the reason to hire a licensed assassin: they are highly skilled and very difficult to catch. Unlicensed assassins are considered murderers.
The Society of Assassins
The Assassin's Guild is not to be confused with the Society of Assassins, a clandestine organization with whom the Guild is at war.
A very low-brow organization of assassins, whom the Guild has not licensed.