I really liked reading Nightwings, especially for the world created there. I liked the idea of inherent guild membership due to past modifications, etc. I would like to take my RPG or LARP players there once in a while, but to do so, I would need to know which guilds are there to choose from.

Has someone compiled a list of such guilds? I only have a Polish translation, so re-reading it to compile it on my own would be inaccurate at best, and a bit tedious.

  • 1
    Didn't read it but here is a list: "Watchers, Defender Rememberers, Clowns, Musicians, Somnambulists, Scribes, Servitors, Merchants, Dominators, and the like. In addition, there are new biological forms mixed in with these groups: Changelings and Fliers and assorted visitors from outer space—a whole society creatively re-imagined by our author." Quote from this link. conceptualfiction.com/nightwings.html Somebody who read it should probably write a proper answer.
    – jo1storm
    Sep 21, 2021 at 13:13

2 Answers 2


Only a partial list can be made, since there are a lot of guilds never mentioned.

Gormon said, "And today, how many guilds are there?"

Discomfited, Basil replied vaguely, "At least a hundred, my friend. Some are quite small; some are local. I am concerned only with the original guilds and their immediate successors; what has happened in the past few hundred years is in the province of others. Shall I requisition an information for you?"

That said a fair number of guilds, including most of the important ones, are mentioned in the story.

Existing guilds:

  • Watchers - guild that watches the sky for signs of invasion
  • Rememberers - guild of those who investigate, record and remember history
  • Fliers - guild of gene-modified humans who can fly
  • Defenders - guild of those sworn defend Earth against invasion
  • Masters - guild of overseers and managers
  • Pilgrims - guild of those driven to travel to Jorslem, commune with the Will
  • Sentinel - guild of gate-keepers and police
  • Merchants - guild that buys, transports and sells goods
  • Vendors - guild of shop-keepers
  • Servitors - guild of servants
  • Manufactories - guild of craftsmen/builders
  • Scribes
  • Communicants - guild of interpreters of the Will (likened to poets in some ways)
  • Transporters
  • Clowns - guild of entertainers
  • Indexers - guild to organize knowledge, keep track of people
  • Musicians
  • Landholders
  • Dominators - guild of leaders/rulers; can also join multiple guilds
  • Somnambulists - guild of people who claim to see what has been, what is, and what will be
  • Chronomancers - guild that forecasts coming events
  • Artificers - guild that makes small complex devices, like artificial eyes
  • Surgeon - guild for all healers and doctors
  • Swimmers - guild of modified water-adapted humans (no longer heard from)
  • Renewers - guild that performs the process of Renewal
  • Redeemers - guild formed to help shape humanity's rebirth

No longer a guild:

  • Changelings - all gene-modded humans not in another guild, their guild disbanded after they tried to seize Jorslem

Other (likely extinct) gene-mods:

  • Twiners
  • Burners
  • Climbers

Other categories:

  • guildless - people who have not yet joined a guild, such as after renewal
  • neuters - criminals and others punished by being turned into labour devices
  • outworlders - any non-human being

From a quick readthrough:

  • Fliers - flies with wings
  • Watchers - watches the skies with instruments for "the enemies of man"
  • Rememberer - seem to be historians and archaeologists
  • Defenders - defense of the Earth
  • Masters - seem to be some sort of leadership
  • Pilgrims - seem to do religious pilgrimages, commune with "the Will". They are blinded and wear a mask.
  • Sentinels - city guards
  • Merchants - seem to be, well, merchants
  • Vendors
  • Servitors
  • Manufactories
  • Scribes
  • Communicants - ask for spiritual guidance about the outcome of events, presumably from "the Will"
  • Transporters
  • Clowns - entertainers
  • Indexers - seem to guard the doors to the palace and tabernacle, indicated in the sequel that they make records for the Rememberers without understanding
  • Landholders
  • Dominators - higher, possibly aristocratic, leadership, can take up multiple guilds
  • Musicians
  • Somnambulists - something involving trances, and selling that experience, sometimes speaking for "the Will". They claim to be able to see the past, present, and future, and seem to have a degree of actual clairvoyance.
  • Chronomancers - diviners of the future

Not a guild now:

  • Changelings - Those deformed by teratogenic drugs. Originally, they were a guild.

Never a guild:

  • Neuters

From the sequel, "Perris Way":

  • Artificers - able to create artificial eyes at the least
  • Surgeons
  • Swimmers - an altered race like the Fliers who have been lost to antiquity
  • 1
    I was confused by your mention of a "sequel", but discovered that depending on the edition, "Nightwings" can refer either to the first of three novellas, or the "fixup" novel combining all three.
    – IMSoP
    Sep 21, 2021 at 14:59
  • Ah, I was unaware that there was a third one. :)
    – FuzzyBoots
    Sep 21, 2021 at 15:11

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