On Rogues and Rogue Training,
An Overview of the Formal and Informal Education of the Rogue.
Raeven Kyrkonnel in Dark Ages
A description of the contents of this written work.
In this treatise, the Writer shall attempt to relay the notable points of a Rogue’s education—be it formal, informal, or both—culminating in the various practical and socially beneficial applications of the Roguish arts.
On the Roguish Reputation.
A comparison of the Rogue’s reputation, both outside and inside the realm of Temuair, with regards to the effect of education.
The Reader need not look far for a varied and energetic opinion on the character of the Rogue. The Rogue may unfortunately be known as a cheat, a liar, a skelper, a trickster, and/or a thief. Rogues are said to deceive their prey with traps in order to relieve opponents of their lives and their treasure with stealth instead of honourable, direct attack. Rogues are said to bilk others for as much gold as possible when selling or bartering for items. And last, but certainly not least, Rogues are said to distract others with wit and humour to make people feel at ease—so they might become easier targets for the Rogue who wishes to steal.
At the same time, however, the Rogue is also enthusiastically welcomed and sought for his or her particular crafts and skills. In Temuair specifically, Rogues excel in the tailoring of fine garments, the making of delicate and powerful jewelry or weapons, the careful improvement of gems, and the clever styling or magical recolouring of hair. Outside and inside Temuair, Rogues have risen to the pinnacle of many professions, from magic and mummery to politics and law. All of these occupations require a dexterity, a way with people, and an intuitive creativity that are unique to the Rogue class. Rogues who apply these characteristics for the Good are valued as being productive, supportive, and essential citizens, both within and without Temuarian society.
What is the cause of this widely divergent opinion? The Writer believes the gap between the lawful Rogue and the lawless Rogue is not necessarily or only a matter of an individual’s character—it is also a question of a Rogue’s training. Yet few people outside of the Rogue class have ever glimpsed the world of the Roguish education. Those Rogues who receive the informal education of the street criminal are bound to silence by their very lives; to discuss their motley’s strategies is forbidden upon pain of execution. Similarly, the Rogue who receives a formal education from a professional Guild, such as the Five Guilds near Rucesion, is also sworn to secrecy upon revocation of his or her credentials.
However, this Writer feels she has been freed from the confines and concerns of the mundane world by the grace of Danaan. With this in mind, this Writer will apply her experiences as both a lawless and then a lawful Rogue towards encouraging a greater understanding of the Rogue’s education.
On the Rogue’s Informal Education.
A glimpse of the Roguish life outside the law: banditry, thievery, and other forms of crime.
Most children with Roguish skills and tendencies begin life with the idea that they are somehow different from other children. While this statement may describe the feelings of all aislings, it must be noted that there is generally more room and greater encouragement for the Warrior, the Monk, the Priest,and the Wizard within Good Society. The fledgling Rogue typically discovers his or her talents through some wrongdoing, like a childhood prank or wager, and both success and failure here can be encouragement.
Those children who succeed at stealing apples or filching sweets develop pride in their abilities—most particularly at their ability to escape notice or blame. Similarly, those who exercise their talents and get caught may feel a more rebellious pride in being true to their nature. In both instances, and in most cases, the young Rogue finds himself or herself on the bad side of their parents or guardians. It can be a short slide down the slope of truancy, then, before such children find themselves alone and on the street—where their informal education into the Rogue arts can begin.
If a young Rogue begins life on the street, where his or her talents are applied towards lawlessness from the very beginning, there is generally no conflict: he or she joins a criminal motley as soon as mundanely possible. Street children are typically inducted into a criminal motley by other members, older siblings or friends they admire, though runaways are always at the mercy of the first motley member who recruits them by fair means or foul.
The very young are taught to wriggle through unlocked windows or down chimneys, to beg prettily on the street corners, or to pretend to be lost so that they and a "distraught parent" might entice sympathy money from an unsuspecting target. The older children are schooled in all forms of theft from picking pockets to preplanned burglaries. Incentives for success strike at the basic needs of life: no gold means no food. Young Rogues learn their various skills, then, without any thought for skill or precision; the need to learn is primitive and hasty. Punishment for willful failure results in physical abuse; this Writer’s own motley "teacher" believed that every scar was its own best lesson and rarely taught the younger members of his motley any sort of actual technique.
Escape from this lawless, informal type of Roguish life is infrequent. If the best years of a young Rogue’s life are spent training for a career on the street, rather than as an apprentice in some sort of respectable craft, he or she is precluded from qualifying for any respectable job. Entry into a professional Rogue guild is also expensive and usually requires a supporting patron as well, and any criminal record distances a Rogue even further from mainstream society. So most Rogues who begin on the street die on the street, usually before the mundane age of 20. This Writer, however, escaped the life of felony through a chance if not fortuitous robbery (the details of which are not precisely pertinent to this treatise) so she was removed from her criminal motley at the lucky age of 13.
The next segment of this tract will deal with the type of Rogue education received by students of a professional Guild, along with a brief discussion of the career choices that a lawful Guild education provides.
On the Rogue’s Formal Education.
A portrait of the Roguish life without lawlessness: the training and development of student within the Five Guilds near Rucesion.
The professional Rogue Guilds in the area of Rucesion (known collectively as "The Five Guilds") have a proud, long-standing history and an excellent system for determining and then directing a young Rogue’s natural abilities. The Guilds are actually an intertwined, interdisciplinary body, the sum of five separate parts, so that the young Rogue who gains entrance to one such Guild may in fact gain entrance to them all.
The Guilds prefer to acquire their students between the mundane ages of 8 and 10, before mundane children enter the human stage of significant physical development. However, they do accept students up until the mundane age of 14 if the patron is influential or the young Rogue proves to be exceptionally talented. This is because the first year or two of a young Rogue’s Guild education serves as a period of introduction and categorization; the Guildmasters observe each young Rogue carefully to initially determine if the child will embrace the Guild way of life, and then to assess each child’s unique combination of talents.
Each child is then transferred to the Guild which best suits their skills and temperament where they focus their training for the duration of their apprenticeship. Upon final examination, if the young Rogue is successful, he or she is given professional credentials and an entry into the occupation of his or her choice. Apprenticeships typically conclude between the mundane ages of 17 and 20, depending upon the type of credentials the young Rogue seeks.
The public names of the five Rogue Guilds are common knowledge in the vicinity of Rucesion (each Guild is so named for the Rogue who established it in ages past). It is no controversy, then, to list them here along with their specific areas of training :
Guild Riora – general Rogue training
Guild Orseline – performing arts
Guild FitzHugh – applied arts
Guild Hallanai – political arts
Guild Ectorius – trade & combat arts
All Rogue apprentices (as they are know upon acceptance into the Guild) begin their training exclusively within Guild Riora. All apprentices study certain general subjects at Riora throughout the duration of their Guild training, no matter where they transfer after their second year: reading, writing and general arithmetic; combat forms with the dagger, the soori, and the crossbow; lockpicking and trapsetting/trap evasion; general principles of business and economy; and general history, philosophy and literature.
The physical aspects of training can sometimes seem at odds with the intellectual; the Writer remembers with particular poignancy the discomfort of trying to complete her penmanship assignments with a fragile goose quill after having soaked her blistered hands in ice water for three hours. The written assignments were intended to sharpen her mind (and fashion her poor lettering) while the soaking was intended to toughen her skin, but the latter made the former all the more difficult. Patience, determination and tenacity, then, are taught alongside whatever overt coursework is offered at the Five Guilds, and in the end this is what the final accolade of accreditation truly represents.
After the first year of training, the Rogue apprentice takes introductory study at all the four other Guilds. Depending upon the combination of introductory studies in which the apprentice excels, the young Rogue is then transferred to the appropriate individual Guild to continue a focused course of study. Here is a general list of subjects offered at the Five Guilds, and how the apprentices studying at each specific Guild typically combine them:
Part of this second phase of Rogue study is an actual apprenticeship with a craftsperson, diplomat, performer, merchant, or other professional. The young Rogue will have two or three different apprenticeships throughout the course of his or her Guild education, all of which are typically related—for example, a Rogue studying within Guild Hallanai might become a scribe to a demagogue or burgess, then an envoy for a Rucesion diplomat, and finally a page or courtmember within a foreign royal court. Occasionally the apprenticeships may vary for reasons of developing a student’s broader interests. Rogues who study the performing arts in particular are often apprenticed to a traveling musician, next a troupe of mummers, and then a noblewoman’s private players or orchestra simply to widen the range of their experiences.
This Writer finds it appropriate to mention two other items of note. First, the overlap between the trades and crafts studied at each of the four Guilds mentioned above is significant, hence an apprentice may opt to spend the maximum amount of time permissible in training (all Guild training ceases at mundane age 20). This is most appropriate in certain popular Rogue arts such as politics, diplomacy, trade, or mummery where a Rogue’s success depends upon fluency in a diverse number of areas. However, some Rogues who specialize in the applied or performing arts concentrate solely on their most beloved craft—jewelry-making, for example, or playing one musical instrument—and complete their course of study around the mundane age of 16 or 17.
Second, there are certainly Rogues who tire of the disciplined Guild life, or who are lured away from their training, and turn or return to the criminal life. The Guildmasters take great pains to protect the Rogues who are particularly good at smithing silver and gold (because they make excellent forgers and counterfeiters) and who show a strong gift for the basic Rogue skills of picking locks and working with traps. This attentiveness is certainly part good stewardship of young Rogues but it is also part of the Five Guilds’ land grant from the burgess of Rucesion, who does not wish the environs to become renown for training criminals. But despite the Guildmasters’ best efforts and good intentions, there has been the occasional scandal. (This Writer feels obliged to note, particularly, that the Five Guilds have no public comment about the Rogue courtesans who currently operate a thriving gaming hall near _____.)
Upon completion of an apprentice’s training, the young Rogue is presented with a parchment of accreditation and the Guildmasters carefully advertise his or her set of credentials. Traditionally, it is the parting gift and the tradition of the Guild to approve any offer the graduate accepts, so that it is the Rogue himself or herself who chooses the direction their professional life is to take. This Writer herself studied within the Guild Hallanai but was offered a position as a hangman, along with other students, within Guild Ectorius because she has great proficiency tying intricate knots. Fortunately for this Writer, another Rogue graduate was discovered to be the Chief Executioner’s third cousin twice removed, so nepotism—for once—proved to be a beneficial thing.
The next segment of this philosophy holds a brief discussion about Temurairian Rogues as fine, upstanding citizens of merit in a variety of occupations and professions.
On the Practical Application of the Rogue Arts.
An examination of the Rogue within the boundaries of Temuairian society.
This Writer has lived within Temuair for several moons, and she has heard several arguments with regards to the character of the Rogue. She has also mentored and guided several young Rogues in the hopes of inculcating a positive attitude and respect for the Rogue arts in as many young aislings as possible. It has also not escaped this Writer’s notice that one of the first three demagogues of Mileth, the most lively and vibrant city in all of Temuair, was the Rogue Dartanian. This thoughtful, generous Rogue is greatly responsible for the founding of law, of culture, and of civilization in our world. Therefore this Writer holds Lord Dartanian forth as an example of what Rogues can and may become.
A summary of the arguments and points of logic suggested within.
It is no great stretch of the imagination to envision the Rogue within Temuair as a bard or musician; a dancer or mummer; a scout for our armies; a professional investigator or Rogue-For-Hire for our motleys; an advocate or judge; a silver, gold or weaponsmith; a maker of jewelry and fine garments; or a diplomat—to name a scant few possibilities. We Rogues of Temuair were rescued from our mundane lives by the merciful Danaan so that we might live in the Light as humbly and happily as every other aisling. It is this Writer’s sincerest hope that this brief philosophy describing the education and training of a Rogue might serve to illuminate and to illustrate the complexity of Roguish arts and the value of Roguish gifts.
Deoch 6, 5th Moon, Sunday the 26th.