Rodorsceaft: Pillar of Heaven
The Red Branch
The Red Branch was one of the first Adventuring Companies founded after the enaction of the Writs of Marque. The Red Branch charter dates from 1st Quintus aS 874, having been founded a mere fortnight after the Writs’ signatory date. From its initial corps of twelve members, the Red Branch has grown to be one of the largest and most successful companies the Mysidian Empire has ever known.
The official membership ranks at over five hundred; as such, the Red Branch is one of the largest and highest-taxed companies in the Empire. The “shadow membership” of the organisation is likely to be at least that, if not more; these consist of the secretaries, hirelings, henchman and deputy members recruited locally.
The Red Branch has twelve Chapterhouses situated throughout the world; nine are within the Empire and three are, essentially, foreign embassies. These Chapterhouses are set up as enclaves that are adventurer’s dreams; virtually any kind of magic is available here at lower-than-normal cost, including permanent items, and there are libraries and trainers and mentors and other experts available at deep discount to members. In addition to this, every city of fair to middling size has a local office where people can hire members of the local chapter.
Roughly fifty members of the Red Branch are the traveling company, led by Cullen the Hound. This is the group that is called upon for the largest jobs and military operations. The rest of the company is divided up amongst the local chapters, of between five and twenty members.
The symbol of the Red Branch is that of an oak tree in crimson on a white field; every member of the Red Branch is given a signet with the emblem upon induction.
The Red Branch commands a bi-annual fee from each of its chapters, based on the size of the chapter. This fee is assessed based on the chapter’s income and level of skill, but usually amounts to one hundred gold per character level per member. The Red Branch sends special couriers around at the solstices to collect the fees and bring them back to the main Chapterhouse at Cair Cumhaill.
In addition to the prestige of being a part of the Red Branch, the benefits that come with being a member of an Adventuring Company and access to services at any Chapterhouse, the Red Branch offers an additional, unusual benefit. Called the “Everybody Gets One” policy, the Red Branch will pay for a raise dead for any member who dies in the line of duty. This service, valued at half a million in diamonds, is offered only at Chapterhouses. It is important to note that this service is offered only once to an individual member; records are carefully kept.