Mercenaries in this setting are unique, because there is an international Mercenaries’ Guild.
Part of the Code of the Mercenaries’ Guild is that both parties must follow a contract to the letter – if the person doing the hiring violates the contract, he or she is fined by the Guild, and cannot hire a bonded Company for a period of at least one year. While if the hired Company violates the contract, the Guild takes it out of their hide and out of the bond they were paid by their employer, for the violation of contracted.
Because bonded companies follow both the Individual Code of Conduct & the Mercenary Code of Ethics, they are reliable and trustworthy. For this reason, bonded Companies are more expensive to hire than either a free-lance Company or spontaneously-assembled Company, because bonded Companies are of a correspondingly higher caliber.
Not only is a Bonded Company highly sought-after by contractors for armies, it is also the best sort of company for a mercenary to join up in.
Bonded companies are more expensive to hire than most because on top of what each individual fighter pays into the Mercenary Guild, the company itself pays a pretty hefty bond to the Guild as well. The bond ensures the Guild that the company is serious and will follow the Mercenary Code of Ethics.
Additionally, as part of the Code, a bonded Company will not fight for a suicide cause, will not switch sides midway through a conflict, will not follow a mutiny against their employer, and will do all in their power to ensure safe extraction for that employer, if things “go south.”
Bonded Companies will work together with other Bonded Companies & established Freelance Companies, but they will not work with temporary Freelance Companies.
If a bonded Company or a bonded individual hired in a war surrenders, they are allowed to leave the zone of battle unmolested and report to a neutral zone, where they will “get ransomed,” by the Guild (meaning saved in some context), and this is stated as the reason that a bonded Mercenary (one who actually has a membership with the Mercenaries’ Guild) pays their dues.
Individuals and Small Companies
Individual fighters and small companies pay the Guild dues every year not only to be bonded, but also because if these fighters surrender during combat, the Guild will ransom these fighter back.
The Mercenary Code
A code of ethics and behavior that is enforced by the guild that all mercenaries should follow. The code includes:
*Bonded companies cannot switch sides in mid-contract.
*Bonded companies cannot pillage in their employer’s country.
*Bonded companies may pillage in the enemy’s country with permission.
*Bonded companies cannot instigate a mutiny against an employer.
*Bonded companies will not fight for a suicidal cause.
*If a bonded fighter surrenders, they may leave combat to be ransomed by the guild.
*If a company loses more than half of its officers and a third of its fighters, they may put the Captaincy to a vote from the ranks.