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Guild Based Family Structure

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Phietadix, Jun 15, 2022.

  1. Phietadix

    Phietadix Auror

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    An older version of one of my current projects contained an aspect that, while I think no longer fits with with the stories current focus on Julius Caesar's invasion of Gaul in 60-50 BC, still has very interesting concepts that could be explored within a different work.

    This concept was as follows

    Rather than families tending to raise children within family dynamics based on blood ties and ancestry, instead the raising of children was done within trade guilds. Above the age of around 10 the child would leave the guild they grew up in become a ward of sorts to a neighboring trade guild of a different field. This would both strengthen the bonds between the two guilds as well as giving the child two fields of expertise they could use to guide them in their future endeavors.

    The child was highly encouraged to spend at least 1 full year with the guild they were a ward to, but after that year they had full freedom to float freely between the two guilds, or even seek to become a ward of a third unrelated guild of their choice

    Polyamory, Queerness, and Gender Equity were core concepts that I wanted to maintain within this system, plus I maintained a core emphasis on Youth Rights and Liberation in the drafting of this.

    The original setting this was drafted for was a blend of Medieval Spainish and Imperial Chinese influences, but that was done for reasons somewhat unrelated to this particular system. If anyone has a recommendation of another time or place that would suit this system, I would love to hear it.

    Shockingly enough, Kiki's Delivery Service was a key inspiration for parts of this system, so anything that could work witches back in would help it stay more faithful to it's roots
     
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  2. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    I am not sure what you are looking for, are you looking for real world cultures where this occurred?

    It would seem to me you could have this or not in any story world. I think you could bend any culture in to something that would kind of work to backstop it.

    I would be dubious that it would catch on though.
     
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  3. Phietadix

    Phietadix Auror

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    Half the reason I put this here was just so cocept this would exist in a relealer form than in my own mind. It is one of what I consider to be the more unique and interesting ideas from a setting I've essentially killed at this point and having been tearing apart to salvage loose parts. The the whole thing wound up being a lot more coherent written down than I would have exspected, and easily enough to warrant a story all it's own being written in it .

    I guess what I'm looking for is this. What are people's thoughts on this concept in general? What type of Worldbuilding could naturally build off a story focusing on this concept? And what kind of plot would best show off this kind of concept?
     
  4. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    Well, as a parent, I would be highly suspicious of any group saying they want to raise my kids for me. If they manage to succeed at that, I suspect you wont have many barriers to things like polyamory and queerness, and I suspect there would be a high degree of behaviors around that we would not think ideal. I am doubtful you will ever have gender equality in the way I think this means, and I am dubious that youth liberation would be something desirable for a society, but I'd need more definition on that.

    I am not thinking this would catch on, and am less thinking it could as we go back to societies further in the past. I don't think the economics would make this work. There would have to be some advantage to spending resources cross educating people, when the opportunity for wasted effort would be high, and the value of crossing skills would be low. I think something like that would have to evolve with expansion wealth and the needs as a culture or society grew. I suspect that it would be slow in coming, and could not form organically without it.

    So all of this, strikes me as only in fiction would it really take shape. Only in fiction means it might work well as the background for a story, but it probably wont survive much scrutiny.
     
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  5. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    Hmmmm.... I like the community focused take on child raising. Lots of honorary aunts, uncles and cousins around while growing up. I'm less fond of linking it so closely to a particular profession. That seems like it could cause problems, though as a reader I doubt I'd notice. I could also see the ward exchange program playing an important role in politics and maintaining relationships between guilds. Best case scenario? It brings the guilds closer together. Worst case? You've got a hostage to ensure the other guild doesn't go too far.

    EDIT: This feels like a natural fit for classic fantasy Dwarves.
     
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  6. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Maester

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    In the Pacific Polynesians don't view child raising as the sole responsibility of the biological parents but the responsibility of the village or community as a whole.

    Also, the nuclear family is a fairly recent socio-economic construct. Traditionally, the responsibility of raising children fell not only upon biological parents but also upon extended families and other authority figures such as members of the clergy, village/community elders and teachers.

    As a guild is a type of community there is no reason why child raising based around guilds can't work.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2022
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  7. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Auror

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    That's still families raising their own children, to the age of 10. Whoever you spend the first ten years of your life with is your primary influence.

    Beyond that, if children are required to leave their families at the age of 10, that's going to create some serious attachment issues. See: boarding school syndrome. Ten-year-olds are usually emotionally ready for short term stays away from home, like summer camp or visiting relatives on their own, but not for long term separation from their parents. A few years older, they'd weather it better. If you're taking your inspiration from Kiki's Delivery Service, remember, even witches don't leave home until they're 13.

    And while live in apprenticeship was common practice in many places, historically, the usual age for starting that was in the 12 to 14 range. Also in line with the Kiki's Delivery Service premise. Bottom line: adolescents may be ready for some separation from their parents, but younger separation is usually unwise, and that's long been recognized.

    That's a very heavy burden of choice for an eleven-year-old. Again, it would make more sense if the kids were a few years older. Offering a sixteen- or seventeen-year-old that kind of choice would make sense. Eleven is a whole other planet, developmentally.

    And that requires the breakup of the family?

    The only reason that appears to be so in our time is because all too many families have a terrible track record of not accepting their LGBTQ kids, not accepting anyone whose relationship choices don't fit monogamous hetornormativity, and of generally being repressive and heavy handed with their youth, and sexist to boot. What if a culture existed where queerness was matter of factly accepted by everyone, gender equity was a given, the take on sexual and marital relationships ran to, as long as it's consensual, it doesn't matter how many people are involved or what combination of genders they are, and youth were well supported in developing their autonomy, both inside and outside of the family?

    In a culture like that, there would be no need to break up families in order for that acceptance to happen. Perhaps teenagers would still go out and take apprenticeships to get some mentoring and some experience living outside of their families, but that would just be part of growing up, not because the family itself was undesirable.
     
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  8. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    Uhhhhhhhh.... Are you talking about when they go off to another guild for a time when you're talking about breaking up the family? 'Cause convenience alone suggests that the guild a kid belongs to would likely be the same one their parents belong to.
     
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  9. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Auror

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    I'm responding to this paragraph:

    Says right there that the ten-year-old child leaves their family's guild, and this is done instead of (and implied that it's in preference over) families raising their own children.
     
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  10. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    >highly suspicious of any group saying they want to raise my kids for me.
    That's a statement worth turning over a bit. We have different markers for "grownup". There's 18, but then there's 21. Car insurance companies say we aren't fully trusted until 25, and you can't be president if you're under 35. At the other end, with parental consent you can get married at 16, and kids can also declare themselves independent, with court approval.

    Across that whole span, from 16 to 25, kids become adults. On the other hand, any number of adults will observe that one doesn't stop parenting just because the kid hits 18 (or whenever).

    Parenting isn't a single activity. It changes over time. So it would be entirely reasonable to have kids in other households at some point in their lives. This was in fact quite common in the Middle Ages, at least in towns and at noble courts. Less common in the countryside. Then, in later centuries, there were boarding schools and military schools.

    The notion that a married couple should have more or less exclusive power over their minor children is rather modern. And post-industrial.

    None of that is to contradict the powerful impulse of a parent to "raise my kids". However flexible and subjective that phrase is, it's still very nearly universal and constant. I'm just suggesting it can manifest in different ways.
     
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  11. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I can't really answer to the general concept. It's too general. It is only going to hold water if you pour water into it--that is, until you put it to the test inside a story.

    If you want to explore the concept further, try creating a story. It's doesn't have to be the epic you probably have in mind. It can just be a story. The youngster wants to change guilds from the one where he was placed. Conflict between kid, parents, and host.

    Or, the only guild that will accept a child from that family is far distant. Or is socially dishonorable (executioners guild, for example).

    Or, the kid is at the host and his mother falls ill. But the guild has need of the kid's skills right now.

    Or, well you get the idea. This will put flesh on the bones, and only the author can do this.
     
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  12. K.S. Crooks

    K.S. Crooks Maester

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    Things I thought to consider: How are the children chosen for a guild? Are they tested in some way and do they have a choice to accept?
    Does every occupation that a village or country need belong to a guild?
     
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  13. Phietadix

    Phietadix Auror

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    Some clarifications of the concept. In it's original form, the Guild the child lives with for those first ten years is that of their mother. The year of "Wardship" can be terminated by the child if they deem it necessary, but they are encouraged to try to live it out
     
  14. Phietadix

    Phietadix Auror

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    The Guild the child lives in as a "Ward" would probably be a collaboration between all those involved. There was definitely an emphasis, when this idea was first being drafted, of using it as way to strengthen bonds between communities. There would likely be some some extra weight granted to having the child ward at their biological father's guild, but the nature of the profession, the politics of the guilds, and the distance of travel are all likely to be factors as well
     
  15. Phietadix

    Phietadix Auror

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    I would certainly be willing to push the age up to 13, but I don't know that doing so is necessary for this to work as a concept, it may be easier for me to write a story about a 13 year old than a 10 year old, though, so that is worth mulling over

    (Edit): After reading through where this thread has gone in more depth; I think I should probably move the age of "Warding" to 13.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2022 at 6:59 PM
  16. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Maester

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    Traditionally, the age of consent and the age when a person would be expected to take on adult responsibilities was when they reached puberty. In countries without an age of consent this is still the case. Because girls reach puberty before boys in most cases the age of consent was set at the age in which girls reached puberty. That is, around 13 years of age. This was common practice until the mid to late 19th Century when most countries moved the age of consent to 16 because that was the average age in which boyx reached puberty. The age of consent in most developed countries range from 13 to 16 as a result.

    Moving the age of warding to 13 would be more appropriate as this would be the traditional age in which the child reaches puberty and becomes an adult in the eyes of their community/guild.
     
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  17. Phietadix

    Phietadix Auror

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    This feels like the type of thing that would work very differently between cities and the countryside. I'm tempted to make it only occur in cities, but the Kiki's angle is making me consider it being a transition from Country to City
     
  18. Phietadix

    Phietadix Auror

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    Going back to the Kiki's influences, I'm thinking about a plot were much of the conflict is due the sudden onset of magical powers in the young main character, in a setting were magic isn't a common trait
     
  19. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    Well, this wouldn't be realistic, but I think having each small country village basically be a guild fits that sort of Ghibli feeling of whimsy.

    "Come to Glasston for all your glass blowing needs!" "They say that the townsfolk of Clotho's Spindle only wear clothing they've woven with their own two hands from the day they're born until the day they die. That's ridiculous of course, but the townsfolk aren't opposed to taking advantage of the rumor for some free advertising." "The rivalry between the fishermen of East & West Laketown has existed longer than anyone can remember and both sides aren't above hiring travelers to help them catch the legendary Big One before their rivals can."

    Then in a big city you could have more traditional guilds in comparison.
     
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  20. Phietadix

    Phietadix Auror

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    From my understanding, that's very realistic to the pre-industrial world. It's just that in most villages the "Guild" was something like farming, fishing, mining, an inn, or managing an orchard. I like the idea of adding more Guild based culture to that, but also doing more with your concept of a Guild Based town, particularly with somewhat medium sized towns organized around a single profession

    Perhaps in very small villages, the idea of family, guild, profession, and community, are all so synonyous that they're impossible to distinguish.

    Edited to fix typos and merge 2 posts
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2022 at 8:53 AM
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