Traveler’s Guide to Stormbreak Keep

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The Guild of Wine and Roses is an Minor House sponsored by House Stratos for nigh unto a century, though its roots go back far longer than that. House Stratos always kept men and women for entertainment – a healthy emotional state was considered as important as a healthy body – but it was only in the last century that such practices became formalized. Now, the Guild operates throughout the lands, dedicating itself to the care of the people’s minds and hearts in a wide variety ways. To become a Courtesan is a highly regarded profession – only the most dedicated and skilled take up such a lifestyle and many never get through their novice training. Even those outside House Stratos highly respect members of the Guild and it is considered an honor when a Guild wagon comes through a town. Courtesans are regarded as well as healers and mages – and are just as highly trained.

Courtesans of the Guild train in a wide variety of skills to help support and soothe their companions on many levels. They are as much mental health counselors as they are givers of pleasure. This is why they most commonly refer to those who employ their services as Partners – while a guild member is in service to a Partner, they truly view them as a second half to be completed. Whether that partnership comes through conversation, food, love making, emotional outpouring, or simple company is no matter. They are still partners and as much an active part of their emotional recovery as the Courtesan themselves.

The Guild is organized and trained by a council of once-Courtesans, now called Professors. They no longer practice in the field, save for a few special partners some Courtesans take for life; instead, they focus on passing their crafts on to the younger set. No one can become a Professor without at least two decades of service to the Guild. Most Professors are specialized in a single area of service and have studied it to being a high art form. Not all Courtesans decide to become Professors and many practice into their twilight years, but some turn to being a Professor in order to dedicate themselves to a single style of service, or out of a love of teaching. The Professors watch over the entire Guild as a whole and ensure practices are both healthy and respected.

Practicing Courtesans come in three ranks: Novice, Courtesan, High Courtesan. Novices join the order any time after the age of their race’s adulthood and are schooled in the various methods of Service. Once a Novice has trained for a suitable amount of years (this varies according to their skills and natural talent), they can test to obtain the rank of Courtesan. Many Courtesans serve in any given Guildhouse. However, each guild house has a single High Courtesan. The High Courtesan is considered at the top of their craft, beauty and skilled service. They demand a higher price and are most often offered to the nobility, military commanders and high level merchants. To be a High Courtesan is a great honor, but also an exhausting life. Most only serve a handful of years as a High Courtesan before retiring to being a Professor, or moving houses.

While Courtesans offer a wide range of services and it would be impossible to describe each craft which a Courtesan can learn, there are five major Services in which Novices are trained and they must pass a test in each Service before obtaining their full rank. These methods are: Verbal Counseling; Feast (which includes both food and drink service); Love-making; Music (either dance, singing or instrumental); and Mediation. While Courtesans most often take single partners, the Guild has spent the last fifty years establishing themselves as skilled mediators for both political and business negotiations. Mediation was added as a required Service to novitiate training thirty years ago and now has become one of the most in demand skills of a Courtesan.

While Courtesans are trained to service all genders, identities, races, orientations and classes, no Courtesan is ever forced to take a Partner. It is believed that true healing or pleasure cannot happen save between two people who both entirely wish to be present in the situation. The establishment of the Guild allowed those practicing as Courtesans to have others about that may service Partners that are not to their tastes, and vice versa. It is also encouraged, among the Guild, that Courtesans themselves come from all walks of life, identities and orientations. All that one needs to join is the wish to perform Service and keep others happy. Often, those who identify beyond the traditional two genders are highly sought for Service for their adaptability and understanding of pleasure beyond that of a male or female upbringing. ..

The Oath of Service

Courtesans of the Guild speak a vow which covers their commitment to their Partner’s needs, their neutrality, honesty, and judgement-free actions.


A little over a century past, Lady Kylari Stratos noticed that a few of the more kind, open hearted, skilled but lacking in confidence entertainers were being taken advantage of by their companions. Often, those who wish to serve others have little heart to protect themselves financially. So, she decided to organize a proper guild to protect those who would help take care of the hearts and minds of the land. Establishing this order set down rules and protections for such services.

In the next twenty years, she standardized payments for service, initial ranks, and began establishing houses in the largest cities on the continent. While no official colors were ever put in place for the Guild, the Lady having said that Courtesans should be every shade of wildflowers in a field, traditionally those in active service wear a red and purple ribbon to represent the pleasures of wine and sweetness of a rose.

The first house was, of course, in the City of Wolkenstadt. She became the first High Courtesan of the Guild and later retired to establish the first Professor’s Council of Service. The Lady spent her entire life giving pleasure to others and was said to have died with the most pure of smiles upon her face and the lightest soul in the world.

Since then, the Guild of Wine and Roses has thrived. The oaths have become more formalized, smaller branches have popped up in more distant cities, and more Services have become part of the training. In the last decade, members of the guild have been a part of some of the largest negotiations in the land, including the notably failed Wyndael Council.

Since being formally recognized as a minor House – all Courtesians of the Guild are considered Members of the Imperial House of Stratos with the rank of Edel – thus deference is to be given over common citizenry and offenses inflicted upon them may be punished under the crimes of Treason (if it is deemed that membership in the house is what caused the crime).
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