The D'ni Guilds were originally established by Ri'neref after he and his followers arrived on Earth. They were based on the Guilds on Garternay, but with much more stringent regulations on their behavior, in an effort to curb inter-Guild competition and instead focus the Guilds on what Ri'neref saw as their true purpose: meeting the needs of the people and glorifying Yahvo. Over time, these regulations were gradually relaxed, and the Guilds grew more powerful as a result.
Originally, the Guild Council was an organization that worked in tandem with the King, drafting their own legislation and approving construction and regulatory proposals made by the King. However, after King Kerath abdicated the throne in 6977 DE, ending the reign of the kings, he transferred full power to the Guild Council, appointing five Great Lords to lead it. After that, the 18 Major Guilds - each represented by 19 Guild Masters and one Grand Master - ruled D'ni completely. Kerath had argued, "D'ni is the Guilds," and he could see no other organization better suited to rule D'ni until the coming of what he believed to be the true Great King – he strongly believed that King Ahlsendar, thought by many during his reign to be the prophesied Great King, was in fact a fraud and a liar.
Just prior to the fall of D'ni, Guild Master Aitrus of the Guild of Surveyors, with the help of his wife Ti'ana, began proposing measures that would give some of the authority of government back to the commoners of D'ni. This was met with considerable resistance from the entrenched aristocracy behind the Council, but the measures passed. Unfortunately, nothing is known at this time about what these measures actually did to empower the general populace.
Major and Minor Guilds
As on Garternay, there were 18 Major Guilds. However, the Major Guilds in existence at the founding of D'ni were not the same as those that existed at the time of the fall. The Guild system was designed to be flexible, enabling the Guilds to best meet the needs of the people they served. In addition to the 18 Major Guilds, there were also numerous Minor Guilds. These Minor Guilds did not have a voice in the Guild Council, and the extent of their influence is not presently known. It seems that the Minor Guilds were developed for much more niche training than the 18 Major Guilds, such as actors, musicians, and burial workers.
Ranking in the Guilds is slightly unclear, but there were clearly many levels of rank, including, from lowest to highest, Cadet, Guildsman, Guild Master, Grand Master, and Great Lord. There was also a Guild Captain rank according to research on Teledahn's history, but its place in the hierarchy is currently unclear. Rank was indicated by symbols sewn onto the cloaks of the Guild member. 8 symbols – 4 to a side – indicated the lowest rank, while the Great Lords had only one such symbol. Rank was not based on age, but it is unclear exactly what requirements had to be met to move up in the ranks of the Guild.
Membership in the Guilds was typically reserved for the upper classes of D'ni society due to the high monetary cost of enrollment. A scholarship program was instituted in 4721 DE by King Demath, requiring the Guilds to accept a certain percentage of students who passed the entrance exams but were unable to afford the price.
Women were not allowed in the Major Guilds, though there was a failed initiative to include them in 3523 DE. This was met with considerable resistance by Shama, the wife of King Ti'amel, and as a result of her arguments, the proposal was dropped. However, a proposal several years earlier in 3500 DE did enable women to join the Minor Guilds for the first time, though prior to that they had been allowed to participate unofficially (as actresses, for example).
Each Guild had its own symbol and color. On July 31, 2007, the DRC released information regarding the colors used by each Major Guild at the time of the fall of D'ni. However, information on the official symbols used by each Guild was not similarly released, and most are still unknown.
Lists of Classical Guilds
In 2488 DE the Guild of Miners replaced the Guild of Fine Artists, which was split into the Minor Guilds of Artists, Actors, Sculptors and Musicians. The following Guilds made up the D'ni Council at the time of D'ni's fall in 9400 DE:
|Guild of Writers||▇▇ black, dark red trim||Yakul|
|Guild of Maintainers||▇▇ burgundy||Gahreesen|
|Guild of Ink-Makers||▇▇ purple||Venalem|
|Guild of Books||▇▇ pale cream||Meanas, Trases|
|Guild of Miners||▇▇ royal blue|
|Guild of Surveyors||▇▇ pale blue||Minkata|
|Guild of Legislators||▇▇ crimson||Gadar|
|Guild of Messengers||▇▇ yellow|
|Guild of Cartographers||▇▇ turquoise|
|Guild of Caterers||▇▇ emerald green||Er'cana, Er'duna, Er'jerah, Hereas, Shimas|
|Guild of Healers||▇▇ salmon pink||Books of Birenni|
|Guild of Mechanists||▇▇ brown|
|Guild of Analysts||▇▇ orange|
|Guild of Stone-Masons||▇▇ pale green|
|Guild of Engineers||▇▇ green-brown|
|Guild of Linguists||▇▇ white|
|Guild of Archivists||▇▇ gold|
|Guild of Chemists||▇▇ lime green|
- Guild of Actors
- Guild of Architecture
- Guild of Artists
- Guild of Bankers
- Guild of Burial Workers
- Guild of Educators
- Guild of Illusionists
- Guild of Musicians
- Guild of Sculptors
- Guild of Zoologists
Restoration of the Guilds
On July 31, 2007, the DRC opened the neighborhood of Kirel to explorers. The neighborhood was at one time the DRC's base of operations in D'ni, but now serves as a gathering place for all explorers interested in the Guild system. The DRC has outlined five Guilds which they believe are the most important to be resurrected in this new D'ni being built today. Four of these are Guilds that existed at the time of the Fall, while the fifth – the Guild of Greeters – was created by explorers in 2003 to work and guide with new explorers through their initial explorations of D'ni. The full list is as follows:
- Guild of Cartographers (restored)
- Guild of Greeters ( ▇▇ green with cyan trim)
- Guild of Maintainers (restored)
- Guild of Messengers (restored)
- Guild of Writers (restored)