Adventuring Companies in Trid
Even explorers need a permit.
Those who stake their lives on the fortunes of exploration are not rare in Trid. Indeed, they are sought after by Archons, Optimates, and Ecclesiasts alike, to discover and destroy danger before it strikes.
Still, the Autarch suffers no disorder, and to distinguish adventurer from outlaw, it is his edict that all explorers obtain an official charter.
Not unlike Letters of Marque, charters grant adventurers the right to bear arms and permission to travel outside a tithing. A charter may be issued only by a noble, whose authority extends only as far as his borders (i.e., a charter granted by an Optimate is sufficient within his Praedium; a charter granted by an Archon is honoured throughout his Regio). Charter fees usually start at one mina per member, and the issuing noble has rights to 100% of any spoils obtained. But fees are negotiable, and the more a party is willing to pay, the greater their percentage of swag they may keep.
Characters may petition the local Archon or Optimate for a charter, which is likely to be granted if the noble has a quick need for hard cash. Alternatively, an noble might offer a commission by proclamation, typically for a specific task. It is rare that a party can obtain a permanent charter; most contracts stipulate the dissolution of the party upon completion of the mission, a measure designed to prevent abuse from errant adventurers with nothing to do.
All charters identify the bearer(s) and stipulates the task for which the charter was issued, as well as the payment owed (if any) when it’s complete. Those named in the charter have the (temporary) right to bear arms and have nominal decision-making authority on behalf of the grantor. As adventurers roam the countryside, charters must be presented to any agent of the Autarch who asks for it (meaning anyone above the station of Furca). Despite the wide latitude afforded to chartered parties, characters may find that not all nobles give such credentials equal or even due attention, depending on their relationship with the noble who issued it, local pressures, and (naturally) their own schemes.
Chartered adventurers occupy a peculiar station in the social order. They’re not Optimates, but they enjoy some privileges of nobility. They’re not freeholders, but they are skilled workers allowed to earn an income. They’re not outlaws, though they go about armed, as they please. Though they’re bound to the same laws as everyone else, they enjoy fewer legal rights because they don’t belong to a tithing. Unlike most, they can rise above their birth, and outside of noble bloodlines, they are the most likely to become landowning vassals of a patron liege. A savvy party who holds a charter realises that it’s useful only for as long as the party is useful to the grantor. Caveat emptor...
In the Nepes Regio, Archon Emon supports two permanent companies under charter: The Eastriders, a company of 17 light horsemen based in Suslen, currently charged with exploration of the forest surrounding the proposed Praedium of Menevi; and the Wood Blades, a party of 11 scouts who watch for Illundii activity between Moorwatch and Florin’s Manse. Emon’s vassals occasionally grant similar charters, but any party greater than 12 requires Emon’s approval, and such companies are almost always temporary.