The Guild is a Canadian-based superhero team that focuses on international threats. Members of the Guild can also be a part of the Protectorate. Their logo is a spear-pole with a ribbon-like flag flowing from it.
The Guild acts as an international force enforcing certain standards among the international community, even in areas the Protectorate can't reach. Individual members often pursue their own agendas, which can lead to misconceptions among the public about the Guild's goals. However, there is also a large unpowered staff who work to ensure that the Guild do the maximum amount of good possible, as well as a civilian oversight committee that deliberated on what threats the Guild needs to focus on. This allows the Guild to focus on dealing with those who might attempt major crimes such as genocide in areas other Western heroes might not reach.
The Guild has extremely high standards, and requires - and allows - a high degree of autonomy from its members, as well as a certain philosophy. Individual members do not seem to have a large degree of combat utility outside of early mainstays like Dragon and Narwhal. But this does not mean they are not individually dangerous, and are influential in political arena's.
The Guild was created as a Canadian answer to the Protectorate, but effectively failed due to lengthy response times and a lack of high-powered capes. The initiative was revived at around the time Canada established their own Protectorate divisions, this time with stronger parahumans.
Dragon and Narwhal would join the Guild after it was well established as the force it is today, Narwhal eventually became the leader.
Members of the group dealt with credible threats like Lung.
↑ 1.01.11.21.3Dragon – Heralded as the most skilled and powerful Tinker in this reality, this superhero deploys to every incident with a new and original suit of armor. Manages the Birdcage, the top security prison for supervillains based in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, all of the computer systems for the Protectorate, and has designed much of the equipment used by the PRT. A member of the ‘Guild’, a Canadian superteam that focuses primarily on threats of an international scale, and an honorary member of the Protectorate. Defiant, Colin – Dragon’s partner, Defiant is Armsmaster. Narwhal – Leader of both ‘The Guild’ and of the Protectorate station in Toronto, Ontario. Narwhal is an unparalleled wielder of forcefields. - Cast (in depth)
↑The Guild’s icon, the spear-pole with the ribbon-like flag flowing from it, marked the panel. - Excerpt from Extinction 27.2
↑External resources and the like are contacted. New Wave reaches out to The Guild and travels out of town briefly to make their pitch to The Guild's committee, asking for intervention. The PRT is stretched too thin to send a strike team, New Wave isn't strong enough to act on their own, and the Undersiders are argued to be too dangerous and very powerful with Panacea on their side.
The Guild is mid-deliberation when the newly hired villains start making targeted attacks against the visiting heroes, and they come to a decision - they'll step in for what's later termed a fight for the soul of Brockton Bay. - Excerpt from a comment by Wildbow on Reddit
↑ 4.04.14.2The Guild is something of a failed effort that mutated. Where other groups were founded and then collapsed, the Guild drew in just enough powerful members to have some clout after the group failed to get traction. They changed tacks.
The original goal was to be another Protectorate of sorts, albeit cape-led, with an emphasis on peacekeeping and nonviolent absorption of capes. The problem was that Canada is very spread out, and reaction times are thus slow, when you have 10-30 capes to cover a lot of ground. The initial aims shot too high, higher-ups set expectations and couldn't meet them, and the initial guild (which had none of the Narwhals or Dragons or any of those guys) flopped. It was resurrected around the same time Canada sighed and took on its own Protectorate divisions, when political powers that heavily criticized the PRT wanted certain elements in play, as well as a certain amount of freedom to make certain realities a positive without dealing with PRT bureaucracy (initiatives, acting to help other countries without worrying about the balance of PRT forces). The programs and aims that were pure concept beforehand became the reality. Certain individuals got on board and it worked.
The end result is a group that balances a lot of individual autonomy punctuated by demands from higher up. If you're a villain that's not in Protectorate territory and you're crossing lines, the Guild is still something you might worry about. This might be for those who go way overboard (ie. genocide) or cross the lines with pet issues for various members of the Guild (targeting gays, women, interfering with the political process, etc, etc).
The Guild, at its heart, is about trying to set standards, and it's got just enough prominent members that it can make others stand up and listen.
On the flip side, it draws a lot of criticism due to perceived imbalances in the subjects it focuses on (this goes back to individual autonomy). If one guy gets very active and makes gay rights a huge focus (targeting villains with a propensity for gay bashing) then the Guild gets perceived as having a heavy focus on protecting gays. There's a large-ish non-parahuman staff just trying to enable the capes to do as much good as they can. - Wildbow on Reddit
↑Much more free reign, but higher standards too. Not an easy group to join, since you need something like 10 recommendations and you need to conform to a very specific sort of attitudes and ability to problem solve. - Wildbow on Reddit
↑ 6.06.16.26.3I could see Narwhal, standing off to one side, two of the Dragon’s Teeth flanking her. Masamune wasn’t present, but from what I knew of the guy, he wasn’t even close to being a front-lines combatant. They’d recruited him from the ruined area of Japan, a somewhat crazed hermit, and gave him work in figuring out how to mass produce their stuff without the maintenance issues snowballing out of control, like tinker tech tended to do in large quantities.
Thanks to him, they had the Dragon’s Teeth, they had the combat engines and they had top of the line gear for various members of the Protectorate and Wards.
Of the other members of the Guild, the only other one who could theoretically be on the front lines of the fight would be Glyph. I could only assume she was somewhere close. - Exerpt from Sting 26.2
↑ 7.07.1It's, uh, pretty hard times for the Undersiders. The Dragonflight isn't fought off for good this time, and virtually every Dragon-mech is backed by 1-2 capes who'd be a hard fight for the whole Undersiders team on a good day. [...] The Guild represent some top notch capes and some powerful political voices - many of their capes being key advocates for causes. - Excerpt from a comment by Wildbow on Reddit
↑According to the wiki, Lung had apparently suffered a number of minor defeats at the hands of various teams, ranging from the Guild to the local teams of New Wave, the Wards and the Protectorate, but consistently managed to evade capture until last night. - Excerpt from Insinuation 2.2
↑December 5th, 2012, six months ago [...] “The Guild found the mass-production tinker. All signs point to them becoming a force in their own right. We won’t be helpless.” - Excerpt from Interlude 27.x
↑Indiscriminate, February 5th, 2013 // Khonsu Notes: Victory by Eidolon/The Guild. List of the twenty-nine targets here.
Los Angeles, May 17th, 2013 // Tohu Bohu Notes: Victory by Eidolon/The Guild. Tohu selects Alexandria, Phir Sē, Lung. Target/Consequence: unknown. - Excerpt from Scarab 25.6