Anyone who makes a living on Sargava's rivers is able to join the guild, but only those who own or operate a barge can become one of the guild's five masters. Turnover among masters is high. Only two of the masters—a dwarf called Borgo Irongate, and a human called Maximilia—have held office for more than five years. The others tend to die or disappear.
The guild is notorious for its brutal business practices. Rivals are beaten or even killed, cargoes are stolen and barges are sunk. Their main competitor is the Gold Crown Shipping and Mining Company.
In addition, the Rivermen operate as an unofficial thieves' guild and have been suspected of involvement in numerous crimes. Evidence against them is hard to come by, however, as many of their operations are more or less legitimate and witnesses of illegal operations are often too scared to testify.
At one time, the Grand Praetor of Sargava, Septimia Arodatus, lost patience with legal niceties and simply rounded up the guild's leaders and executed them. Guild reprisals against the families of those who carried out the task ensured no one has been willing to challenge the guild in such a way since.2
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