Table of Contents
FFTC as a Faction
FFTC is a well-established, if somewhat erratic, Trading House. It has never been a single ‘house’ in the traditional sense, but it is composed of a number of smaller interests working together.
The FFTC concentrate on local trade routes. They understand that they can’t compete with the major trade houses on major or long-distance routes, instead they provide the end services. Be it coastal trading ships, barges on rivers or even mule trains – they are always interested in developing trade links in new areas.
Members of this faction are expected to help develop trade links for the FFTC. They don’t become merchants (yet), but they facilitate, smooth and secure trade for the FFTC. They gain kudos (faction points) for every Shop, Trading Post, Market, Serai, Jetty, trade agreement, shipping contract or similar opportunity that they secure for the FFTC. In the long term, Faction Points turn into a pension for the character when they retire from adventuring (actually shares in their sub-factions shipping business). If the adventurer is killed, the pension is used to provide a small income for their dependents. At the end of their adventuring career, many adventurers defer their pension and take a ‘retirement’ job, running a trade station or serai, captaining a ship, as a warehouse manager or even as a merchant. Of course, they have their own money, made while adventuring, to build their own personal estates and income – outside the factions framework (if they so choose).
Of most value to the FFTC are vessels – ships, fishing boats, river boats that can be refurbished and put to use – and FFTC will always buy vessels from their members for a good price, and they are always worth bonus Faction Points.
FFTC will also buy goods (loot) from their members at slightly above market price, although this excludes trade goods, coins, gems, jewellery etc, that are always traded at full price. Note that this is only offered to faction members share of the treasure.
While there are many small groups involved, there are three influential families behind FFTC, all with different backgrounds and philosophies. They work together to find new markets and new ways for the FFTC to grow. These three families are :-
The Nightsky Family Your great grandmother/father was the child of a human Monk (Flower Nightsky) with an elven adventurer called Belle. Many of their scions are sent to train as monks, before returning to the work for the family. They believe in bettering themselves by experience and personal learning. Their members are generally Human or half elven. Their family motto is ‘Know Thyself’. Campaign Trait: Gain +1 trait Bonus in all profession skills (trained only). You start the game as a L1 monk, and a follower of Irori. You may switch to another class, but Irori is always important to you.
House deKassen traces its origin back to a half-orc adventurer made good. They own land and minor titles, but the shipping line is seen as a good proving ground for family members with wanderlust. Family members are all half-orcs (Gagak’s blood runs deep) with an aptitude for music - many of whom train as bards. Their family motto is ‘From Whence We Came’. Campaign Trait: Gain +2 trait Bonus in one instrument type or singing. You are half orc, and start the game with a level of Bard. You may switch to another class, but music is always important to you.
Clan Marisi are an old family, who once controlled swathes of land on the Far Coast, but were driven off by barbarian humanoids. Now the rump of the family are spread far and wide, with their shipping business as the glue that binds them together. Members of the family are mainly human (or half-human) and are bound together by family loyalty and an adherence to The Old Ways. Their family motto (loosely translated from an old Celtic language) is ‘In time we trust’. Campaign Trait: Gain +2 trait Bonus on Profession: Sailor rolls. You are a follower of the green, and the Green Way will always be significant to you.
Other groups include …
The Al-Tajir are a trading brotherhood. Descended from Moorish forebears that have an air of the old ways, although they are comfortable with the ways of the world. They can be of any race or class, although all are skilled merchants. Their motto is ‘We come in trade’. Campaign Trait: Gain +2 trait Bonus in Profession Merchant. You are a worshipper of Sarenrae, and you are a believer in ‘Second Chances’.
House Maistre are a noble family with a chequered history. They lost their holdings years ago, during the Kin wars. One side of the family made their fortune trading, but you are not closely related to them. Another side of the family, hold titles in a distant land - but you are not closely related to them either. Their specialism lies in land based routes, and they are not a part of FFTC, although they are on good terms with the group. However, your extended family has helped with your training, and arranged an introduction to the FFTC. Campaign Trait: You start with a level of Aristocrat, and gain +2 trait bonus in any skill that you wish.
As new trade routes are developed, the explorers and founders are rewarded. Every new trading point that a member helps to found sees them recognized as a Founder. Trade posts may have more than one founder, and a PC might be a founder of more than one trade posts. A PC is often rewarded by being appointed as a Patron and offered local accommodation where they can live free of charge.
A way station is normally a stop on a trade route, although they might also serve as the end-point of a developing trade route. They are generally built in small or new settlements and can help provide an impetus to growth as they provide work for the locals – they employ part-time staff, need supplies and can provide an easy export route for local products. The company does not expect to do a lot of trade at a way station, rather it serves the company by making trade easier and opening up markets.
Core way station facilities include
A lockable shed gives somewhere to store trade goods, a small hall that acts as a basic Inn, and a small staff. There is also a simple kitchen, storage and small rooms for the staff and a small shop. One of the rooms if fitted with bunks, and is reserved for Patrons who might be travelling through. The ‘inn’ serves simple food (often stews) bottled beers, cheap wine and grog (cheap spirts mixed with water). The two full-time staff a Cook and a Jack (who normally has minor carpentry and blacksmithing skills) to look after the place, who live is small rooms attached to the hall. The shop sells common items (⇐1gp) and often operates on a barter system – a local smallholder, who brings in a rabbit, might be able to take a woolly hat away with them.
The staff are normally L3 warriors, they will have worked a caravan or boat, and are capable of looking after themselves, should the need arise. The Cook normally has cooking and merchant skills, while the Jack has minor skills as both a carpenter and blacksmith. The way station is generally fitted with a basic workshop and tools to accommodate both crafts..
Way Station (road): A road-based way station also has a simple palisade (or equivalent) surrounds the Way Station, to provide basic defence from wild animals and skirmish type attacks.
Way Station (water): Has a jetty to serve river vessels.
Great Way Station: Combines Road and Water facilities and allows transfer between river and road trade routes.
A trading post is an upgraded to a way station, and is located in places where the company expects to trade. This might be in a small, established settlement, or it might be at the end of a trade route, or on a frontier, where the company expects to supply military bases and trade with local tribesmen.
The trading post will generally have a palisade, and the shop will be upgraded, normally to sell common items up to 5gp in value. Better accommodation is provided in a bunk room and there are a couple of extra fulltime staff to act as security and general labourers.
In many cases they will have a river vessel or a mule train, permanently assigned to the site, along with accommodation for the boat's crew, or the mule train's teamsters.
Local Trade Base
Trading bases are more serious affairs, with a general manager (often a founder retired from ‘active’ duty) and much better facilities for trade and employees. Frequently found in towns, they don’t (generally) provide inn or shop services to the public, although they still provide accommodation for some staff members, and have patron accommodation available.
They are frequently found in large towns or at the end of a developing trade route, have warehouse space and sell, wholesale, to local businesses. They may well have facilities to deal with full scale trade caravans or sea going vessels.
Upgraded Local Trade Base, that provides extra facilities for managing long distance trade and communications between a network of Local Trade Bases.