Infantry of the Guilds

Tavis over at The Mule Abides posted a fascinating entry about how, in medieval Krakow, various guilds were charged with maintaining the defense of different towers and gates along the city walls.

This clicked with something that’s been sitting in the back of my brain for a while. One of the Minifigs World of Greyhawk miniatures packs was entitled “WOG08 Infantry of the Guilds (6) spears, crossbows – Greyhawk” (I don’t have a pic available, but will update both that page and this post if I ever find one). For years I wondered what the heck “infantry of the guilds” might have been. Were they engaged in combat in the very streets of the city? Now it all falls into place.

In time of war, the various guilds of the City of Greyhawk, much like those of the city of Krakow, would be called upon to man the defenses, doubtless in a similar fashion, with each guild being assigned a particular tower, section of wall, and/or gate. This would function as a sort of auxiliary, allowing the regular soldiery to take the field or, during times of siege, run the defenses of the city, with the guild troops as backup.

Among the mysteries of the universe, this certainly is one of the most minor. But I’m glad to have it solved, at least to my satisfaction. Thanks, Tavis!

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Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

7 thoughts on “Infantry of the Guilds

  1. This is why I often feel like I've missed out by starting with FRPGs instead of going through a "historicals" phase like the old beardies did … I just have no real foundation in medieval military history, so anything of the sort is mysterious to me until someone explains it.

  2. Thanks, Joe.

    I've been working on the towers and chapel fortress for the main bridge of my Grey City, so this will be an interesting element to include.

    This would help account for the city being able to defend itself better while its main defense force may be elsewhere.


  3. If Yggsburgh is anything to go by, the vast majority of the infantry forces of the city of Greyhawk would be provided by the guilds and other burghers, much like medieval France or the various cantons (though the tendency later was to commute this service for cash payments).

    That said, in Yggsburgh a special tax is imposed for the maintenance of fortifications and the regular soldiers who are stationed in the towers, gatehouses and citadel.

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