Guild Syndic
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Basic Information

A syndic is a master member of a guild who has been elected by his peers to represent the guild in its relations with other bodies and/or to serve on a governing committee of the guild. Given the status of guilds in medieval society, being a guild syndic is a position of significant power and influence and may be equivalent to, held at the same time as or a stepping stone into the role of alderman for the town or city in which the guild resides.

The term only properly applies to a guild with enough masters to be worth forming another level of organisation - and thus implies quite a large urban area with a lot of economic activity … if there are only one or two franchised masters in a given guild for the city, they will probably need to represent themselves. If there are dozens, they will probably need a delegate.

If the guild only provides a single syndic - or has one who is primus inter pares (or just primus) for their chapter, he may be termed a Guildmaster (as opposed to one of the masters of the guild).

Also, bear in mind that social/religious guilds could have syndics just as much as trade or craft guilds could (how seriously they are taken will depend entirely on the guild in question, but they could well be at least as powerful, especially if they command loyalty across a lot of different social groups1).


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • A syndic should make a useful patron or employer for a PC, whether as a member of the guild or an "external consultant" bought in for special work (such as a thief retained for industrial espionage).
  • Also, bear in mind that medieval urban politics and business were at least as closely linked as they are today - in fact, probably more so as there would be no party system and the majority of aldermen would be guildsmen (assuming that anyone else actually got a look in).
  • Being a syndic is probably not a good job for a PC unless the game is entirely set in an urban area - the day to day politics of running a guild and a city council are unlikely to give much time for dungeon diving, but if you're prepared to game urban plots, a syndic is likely to be a significant player.
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