Fate of the True Empress
The Merchant Prince is the head of the Merchant’s Guild, and he is the head of many merchant houses, craftsman’s guilds and industrial councils. He tries not to meddle in the affairs of magic and sorcery, preferring to leave it to his own cadre of Guild Magicians, and as far as possible, he will try not probe into the realms of politics. His chief concern is that of commercial power. He desires to have oversight of it, to be able to guide the path of commerce, so that merchants — and those who depend on them, will thrive.
Merchants and craftsman are almost ubiquitous in the lands of Vjantos and Aegis, and along the Sojourner’s Road. A relationship with the Merchant Prince means you have works for the Merchant’s Guild or one of the Craftsman’s Guild before. You have likely came in contact with traders, potters, blacksmiths, weavers and the sorts.
The Merchant Prince, however, does not only have the allegiance of the merchants. He relies on others to protect his turf. The Silver Wardens are his own elite force of agents, dedicated to fighting the Reaver and his criminal gangs, and to ensure that the squabbles between various Merchant Houses remain manageable.
Each of the Merchant House is influential, having control over one or two industries. House Cannith, for instance, is into artifice and creation of magical weapons and constructs. Other Houses are responsible for communication, travel, hospitality, crafting and so on. Each of the House’s Master reports to the Merchant Prince, and under each House are many subsidiaries – companies and smaller houses that answer to the chief Houses.
You will find contacts easily in urban areas, and they could be of any stripe. In rural areas, you are likely to come in touch with one of the Silver Wardens, or a wanderer merchant or trader, or a retired craftsman who returned home from a big city, like Arkios.
Lore, Skill & Knowledge
Having worked, or in close contact with the Merchant Prince’s organization grants you insight into how commerce work. The processes of business, maintenance of monthly accounts, management of hirelings for maximum efficiency. You may also have some insight in the politics of the various Merchant Houses, and their clandestine warfare. The Merchant Prince’s spies are concerned with supply and demand, risks to business that are looming on the horizon, and the plans of the Reavers.
The Reaver is engaged in an open war against the Merchant Prince; the Crime Lord wants a big slice of the wealth that commerce generates, and the Merchant Prince has been putting up a fight. Observers would say both are evenly pit, but the Beggar King is a wild-card here, for he hates the Reaver and the Prince both.
Being familiar with the Merchant Prince means you may have run-ins with the Reaver or the Beggar King, and therefore you are familiar with their ways. You know how gangs shakedown businesses, how they get people to their dirty jobs, aspects of industrial espionage and such — but not into the inner workings of criminals. You need a relationship with the Reaver for that.
The Merchant Prince has organized two personal armies for his protection, and to impose his will. The first is a group of covert operatives who ensure the conflict and competition between each Merchant House doesn’t get out of hand, known as the Raven’s Eyes. In combat they rely on keeping a distance between their enemies, and using ranged attacks if possible. If they do strike, it is to stagger or otherwise weaken their enemies so they may escape.
The other group is of a more militant nature, and are simply known as the Merchant Wardens. They are cautious, trained as bodyguards and escorts, and excel admirably in being defensive. They are good at defending others, and their martial training revolves centres on rendering their opponent harmless – be it with disarms, grappling or snaring foes with a net.
A branch of the Merchant Wardens are known as the Silver Wardens. They are the commandos against the Reaver’s gangs, trained in all sort of melee and ranged weapons. The Silver Wardens boast many sharpshooters and snipers, and have access to all sort of gears and equipment (alchemist’s fire, auto reloading crossbows and such) to aid them in their war against the Reavers.