The guilds of the Principalities, centered in the Free City of the Hulder, hold vast political and financial power that extends even onto Athral Isle. They further have a small number of representatives in Tarsikka, the Caliphate of Dusk, and Gaunt.
The major guilds are the Imperial Society of Alchemists, the Brotherhood of Ledgers, the Honorable Society of Brewers and Vintners, the Honorable Guild of Physickers, the Imperial Scribes, and the Imperial Society of Smiths. It is both unlawful and inadvisable to practice these trades on anything but the smallest scales outside the auspices of the guild. Within the guild, one can expect to find the friendship of like-minded individuals, easy access to work, excellent pay, protection of various sorts, and teaching. Members advance within the guild through years of study, hard work, and political acumen.
Many nobles find the guilds and their members distasteful, or beneath their dignity. However, these nobles lack the unified support to have leverage against the guilds, and frequently, rely too heavily on their services. When it is important enough to them, the guilds can stand up to the Emperor or the Patriarch.