Who are these mysterious people? Let’s find out!
It’s time for a bit of lore today on TTCommunity, as we’re going to look into the Guild itself, and more importantly, the thieves that make up its core.
In celebration of the imminent release of the Prince’s Court box, it’s time to answer a few questions.
Who Are The Guild?
Originally a close-knit group that represented the shipbuilding Castellani family and the fishing Nicolottis, the Guild has grown over the years and changed quite drastically. Over the course of 150 years or so, trade dried up in Venice, leaving these traders with little to do. As so often happens, the idle hands turned to crime. It was at this point that the Thieves’ Guild emerged. Once honest craftsfolk turned to theft to keep afloat, turning to the Guild out of necessity.
Once the Rent in the Sky opened there was a lot more money coming and going, and the Guild were in the perfect position to take advantage of the newfound wealth in Venice.
With such a pull over so many citizens in the city, the Guild spread their influence. Now there are few professions that don’t have a single thing to do with the Guild in one way or another. Spying and thievery are their main trades, covered by the tithes from more legitimate businesses that pay for their protection – whether they want to or not.
Who Leads the Guild?
We don’t know!
There is a shadowy figure in charge, known only as the King of Thieves. If anyone knows this person’s identity, they aren’t saying anything. It’s likely that the name is simply a title, given to the current ruler of the group. Since the Guild has been around for so long, that seems likely! Some suggest that it is a rotating title so no one person gains that much power. Others say that he is actually the Doge himself, running the city from the shadows as much as the light.
The King is supported by his Princes. There are five of them – one for each Sestiere (with the exception of Cannaregio). The Princes look after their Sestiere in different ways – some are benevolent, and others vicious. As with the King, none know the identities of the Princes of Thieves; they’re known simply by the title of their districts – Prince Duro, Prince Marco and so on.
Below the Princes are the Capodecinas. These people lead individual groups of the Guild and are responsible for collecting tithes.
What about the Baroni?
Good question! The Baroni exist outside of the observed command structure of the Capodecina and Princes. More of a militant wing, the Baroni oversee all goings on in the Guild, and report directly to the King of Thieves.
These individuals are ruthless, and operate complete rule over almost every person in the Guild. They’re most often seen (not that many people live to tell the tale) accompanying Princes throughout Venice. They make excellent bodyguards, but anyone in the Guild knows to respect their authority, lest they meet their end staring down the barrel of one of their Duelling Pistols.
It’s rumoured though that the Baroni monitor the Princes too. It’s known that the King’s Council is made of high ranking Baroni, who keep the King’s ear. It’s said that should a Prince fall in battle, his clothing and equipment are taken and a Baroni is elevated to their position. Indeed some Princes have shown vastly different behaviour from time to time, suggesting a change in leadership behind the mask.
Is There Any Money In It?
While petty thievery doesn’t yield huge results – especially after the Capodecina’s cut – the Guild has far surpassed its street-level crime roots.
While the Pilferers and basic thieves have barely any money to call theirs, rising through the ranks is very profitable, and no one makes it up those ranks without putting their time in to the not-so-simple art of stealing first!
A Capodecina for example takes a percentage of any tithes given to them. They can inspire loyalty through protection or coerce merchants through violence, but both lead to similar results. Most of the tithes go up the chain, but a particularly driven Capodecina is in fact richer than most Nobles.
A Prince of Thieves takes to the streets in the finest clothing, armed with exquisitely made weaponry, the envy of even the highest ranking official. Through networks of spies they have access to the finest materials, food, and company. Some even suggest that the Princes by day operate among the nobility, and that some of the most prominent public figures are in fact directly responsible to the King of Thieves – his strings spreading far out into every area of Venice.
Whatever the truths behind the Thieves’ Guild, the mystery is ongoing, with very few people included in any level of authority. Each group exists in a vacuum, all the easier for the Princes to maintain their secrecy. With the violent ends that anyone spouting off is met with, it’s no wonder that this most secretive of secret societies is able to exist in the shadows.