Motes in the Serpent's Eye
The Guild of Tinkers
The Guild is an illegal alliance of infowarriors working to bring down the Dragon Empire from within. The current leader is a gnome male called Ditenda Rujit.
The Guild of Tinkers began its existence almost a thousand years ago. As its name suggests, it was originally a haven for mechanists who loved nothing more than tinkering with devices of various sorts, especially electronic ones. These mechanists were generally a rough and tumble sort, self-trained men and women whose primary interest was in “improving” already existing devices, but with little regard for the theoretical underpinnings behind that technology. In a sense, the original tinkers were “mechanical artists” rather than inventors or engineers. They tried their best to bend technology to their wills in order to achieve effects they considered desirable. This earned the Guild a reputation as “a haven for madmen,” according to members of the more respectable Imperial Union of Mechanists and Engineers.
From the first, the Guild showed little regard for the law, imperial or local. Members of the organization regularly violated rules and regulations in pursuit of their unusual goals. Indeed, the tinkers held that, since they were not actually creating new technology but modifying old technology to work in new ways, any laws relating to the development or dissemination of technology should not bind them. Such semantics held little weight in imperial courts of law, where tinkers were frequently charged with a wide variety of crimes, chief among them being infringement upon the secrets of other guilds. Naturally, the tinkers made the claim that trade secrets were themselves a violation of the Imperial Charter and that “information wants to be free.” Again, this line of reasoning held little weight and many tinkers found themselves sentenced to long terms on prison asteroids.
About 150 years ago, the Guild changed its tactics thanks to an elven mechanist named Vannine Dra, who became the organization’s new leader. Dra was obsessed with the InfoNet and other computer networks. She believed that they offered the Guild the best way to continue its work without interference from imperial authorities. Even the InfoNet is relatively unregulated. Not even the ISPD or Adamantine Order now possess the capabilities to police its activities effectively. By adopting these networks as its way of doing business, Dra argued that the Guild of Tinkers could not only continue to operate as it always had but could also “evolve” into something else. Dra’s strategy proved fairly effective. Many tinkers, especially younger members of the Guild, became enthralled with the notion of “improving” computer systems by hacking into them. Their intent was not always malicious, of course. Indeed, many tinkers had little interest in anything except expressing themselves creatively through the medium of hacking.
Of course, the purity of Dra’s original vision could not last. Many tinkers saw vast opportunities for making money by hacking into the right computer systems. They cultivated contacts with organized crime, including the Black Hole Syndicate, and helped them launder money and steal valuable data. Before long, the Guild was riddled with criminal agents, some of whom had little interest in its illustrious history or founding philosophy. This helped to bring the Guild to the attention of imperial law enforcement and espionage agencies, which rightly worried that it was a rogue element that could harm the stability of the empire. A series of high profile crackdowns eventually led to the official disbanding of the Guild and the prosecution of its leaders.
The Guild of Tinkers probably would have faded into history had Mezzenbone not taken the throne. The new emperor was every bit as interested in keeping a lid on dissent as his predecessors. As might be expected, Mezzenbone took an even dimmer view of groups such as the tinkers. This encouraged many of the surviving members of the Guild to band together and fight against the empire. Although not technically part of the Insurrection, they share many goals with the rebels. Therefore, the two organizations occasionally work together in mutually beneficial endeavors. At its base, though, the Guild of Tinkers is a pretty anarchic group whose members have diverse goals. They are united only in their desire to see the Dragon Empire suffer at their hands.