Monday, October 17, 2011

Merchants of Calabria

Since the days of The Shattering, old structures of power have been rethought. In the Merchant's Republic and the Confederacy of Traders, the Merchant class has replaced feudal lordship. Property ownership extends to even the lowliest peasants, or yeomen; farmers have smallholdings, craftsmen own their own shops and tools, and hunters and trappers are free to seek game in the wild woods. Only in Oregate do the old ways still stand strong, with lip service given to freedom, yet the lands controlled to various degrees of rigid rule from generation to generation by one Merchant King or another. Each of the three regions host a trade union, to which all guilds belong.

Louis John Rhead

It is the leaders of these unions who are the de-facto rulers of the regions, chartering laws, imposing taxes, and placing restrictions upon the general populace. The upper leaders of these unions assume the title of Merchant Baron. Those who hold such titles wield great power and influence, and their business ties are deep and strong, if not always transparent.

A Council of Barons governs the larger cities, while smaller towns might be ruled over by a single Baron. All relationships are reduced to taxation, percentage of profits, and competition.

Many Barons indulge in extravagant public displays of wealth to dampen the spirit of the masses. However, all is not always as it seems, for many a Baron has leveraged loans and dubious business gambles to support their excessive lifestyles.

Maria Feodorovna

Beneath the Barons are the Merchant Princes. Having no trade or skill of their own, they deal strictly in the exchange of services, property, and coin. Their business reaches, interests, and holdings, may span several cities or even across the seas. While their tendency to showcase their affluence varies, there are many a Prince who's true wealth is reported to dwarf that of some of the Barons of Calabria. They may travel by land and ship, or hire others into their service to conduct their business. There are few villages without at least one Prince who either makes his home there, or calls on a regular basis.

Jan Steen

While many princes are among the wealthiest people in Calabria, the title is not exclusive to merchants who's success is that esteemed. Many a miserly coin pincher also claims the title of Prince, and calculates the balances of his accounts daily. Rarely to they extend any generosity to those that owe them money. Woe to the craftsman or peddler that forgets to address them as "Prince".

Jean Baptiste Discart

Frederick Arthur Bridgman 

From across the Sea of Hope come dealers in exotic wares. Traveling the countryside are caravans of The Wanderers, who hold their customs close and dear.

Aerston Pieter
John Frederick Herring I

Craftsmen can be providers of both services and wares. Be it Blacksmith, Baker, Miller, Tailor, Cobbler, Cooper, or Hunter, there is hardly a village where they can not be found practicing their trade.


  1. The pictures you chose are very evocative. It really creates a feel for your world different than the usual more fantasy lit based fantasy world

  2. Thanks Trey. I'm trying to make the world feel "real", before I make it feel "fantastic". That way, when the fantastic happens, it will really stand out.

    Players shouldn't have to work so hard to make their character actions majorly impact the world around them. Even at beginning levels, I see them as extraordinary among the populace.