JohnB's Games

Role-Playing, my way.

User Tools

Site Tools


pathfinder:campaign_systems2:merchant-house

Merchant Houses

Overview

Merchant Houses are the lifeblood of the land. If strongholds represent the bones that allows a community or nation to grow – Merchant Houses are the blood that circulates goods and ideas between them. Merchant houses enable trade, they are the outlet for the goods a community produces, enable transportation for one area to another and bring in the items a town needs to develop - as well delivering a few foreign luxuries.

Merchant houses start small - perhaps just a single serai, mule train and shop to serve s the local community. They bring goods and produce from the surrounding countryside and sell it in their own settlement. Then they take the produce from their town back along the same route. Once they have office, warehouses and more sophisticated forms of transport, they start trading with local towns.

As a merchant house grows, it develops a network of trade links, and their specialist stores start to play an influential role in their local economy. A well-established Merchant House will have a presence many settlements and communities. The most powerful, will link cities and metropolises across the world! Don't forget that a wealthy merchant may well buy homes in all the places they trade, and they probably have at least one Noble or Aristocratic quality house somewhere.

Progression

Merchant Houses progress by building Merchant Bases and Trade Routes.

From starting out small, in a single village or small town, a merchant can grow to become a Merchant Prince - with homes and businesses that fall into three or four jurisdictions. This means that if they fall out with one local ruler, they can move their home and business to another area. In some ways they have more independence than ruling princes - but without the titles that go with it.


Merchant Bases

A merchants base in a settlement is what sets them apart from simple traders - even the smallest merchant has some measure of control of the goods that arrive in the settlement, and some way of selling the goods to the locals. The benefits represent the extra value that comes from the merchant's control of the local economy. Mule trains and fishing boats connects local towns and villages and perhaps spread a bit further. Shallops and Ox trains move goods between the towns and other economic centres. Caravans and larger merchant Vessels handle longer routes between cities.

NOTE: These are minimum requirements, bases can be larger than those specified here, but don't gain any extra benefits until they meet all the requirements.

  • Local Base:
  • Minimum Requirements are
  • Can be built in any size settlement.
  • All: Shop
  • Land: A Serai, Mule Train.
  • Water: A Jetty, Fishing Boats.
  • Benefit: +1 Special Economy (does not need to be balanced) (for each local base)
  • Town Base
  • Minimum Requirements are
  • Town, City or Metropolis (not in a village)
  • All: Shipping Office, Warehouse and one of a Merchant Store or Local Market.
  • Land: Serai, at least one Ox Train or two Mule Trains.
  • Water: Jetty, at least one Shallop.
  • Benefits: +2 Special Economy (does not need to be balanced) (for each town base)
  • City Base
  • Minimum Requirements are
  • City or Metropolis (not a town or a village)
  • All: Shipping Office, Large Warehouse and either a Luxury Store or Regional Market.
  • Land: Caravanserai, at least one Caravan.
  • Water: Pier, at least one Trade or Merchant ship (Keeler, Wherry or Sailing Barge).
  • Benefits: +3 Special Economy (does not need to be balanced) (for every City Base that your business owns)
  • Waterfront
  • Minimum Requirements are
  • Metropolis (not a city, town or a village)
  • All: Shipping Office, 2x Large Warehouse and either a Shopping Court or Great Market.
  • Water: Quayside, at least one Merchant ship (Wherry or Sailing Barge).
  • Benefits: +4 Special Economy (does not need to be balanced) (for every Waterfront that your business owns)

Multiple Bases

In some settlements you may have two merchant bases (one water based and one land based) however you must build a Cross Shipping Office to coordinate activities between the merchant bases first. You should expect rulers and city councils to ask for a larger than normal community contribution, if they think you are trying to create a monopoly for yourself.

Remember there is a limit to the number of each type of building that can be built in a city. For merchant bases, the limiting factor will (most likely) be Shipping Offices.

  • Town: 1x Town Base and 1x Local Base
  • City: 1x City Base and 1x Town Base
  • Metropolis: 1x Waterfront and 1 x City Base

Trade Routes

A trade route links settlements in different provinces or states together. A water based trade route must have connecting waterways, while a land based route can use roads or highways, but not trails.

  • Minor trade routes allow for a bit of trade between areas. Fishing Boats or Mule Trains carry a few small items, often speciality items, between states, and allow some contact between the residents. This brings a small benefit to the settlements and merchant, and is a good place to start.
  • Lesser Trade Routes are a step up - Ox Trains and Shallops move more goods around between towns in different regions. Trade increases - with a wider range of goods moved and a bit of cultural transfer between the towns. It is beneficial for both the merchant who controls the Trade route and the towns involved.
  • A Greater Trade Route is a step up again - as large vessels and caravans conduct trade between two cities. There is a large boost to the economy of both cities and the merchant who controls the trade route prospers.
  • A Major Trade Route is very rare. This long distance route links metropolis to metropolis - and is huge boost to the merchant who can construct one.

The benefits and restrictions associated with different types of Regional Trade Route are listed below. Settlement, Base and Transport requirements MUST all be met to get the bonuses listed.

RouteSpecial EconomyConsumptionMin SettlementBaseTransport
Minor 1 1 Small Town Local Base any
Lesser 2 2 Large Town Town Base Ox-Train / Shallop
Greater 3 3 City City Base Caravan / Keeler
Major 4 4 Metropolis Waterfront River Barge

To gain the benefits listed a trade route must meet the minimum criteria listed under Settlement, Base and Transport at each end of the Trade Route. A Regional Trade Route between a city and a Small Town will never be more than 'Minor' - regardless of the transport and bases involved. The Consumption benefits go to the city or town at each end of the route. If more than one merchant house connects two settlements - the settlement only gets the best consumption modifier. DM Note: Influence is Reach Influence. Each Mercant House gains their own benefits - HOWEVER, they may only claim it once per route. For example, DELEM has a Trade Route that runs from Restov, through Newgate to Tusk. The Trade route benefits come from the Tusk / Restov connection. While Newgate keeps any benefits from the base built there, it doesn't get any extra benefit from the trade route.

Note: Only the best trade route counts. Dxamples … DELEM established a Trade Route between Restov and Newgate - Restov and Newgate get the benefits. However, once Delem build a Base in Tusk the trade route became Restov - Tusk and those two cities get the benefit. Newgate misses out. If V&A construct a local base in Jovvox and trade with Tusk - Tusk get the Minor Trade Route bonus. V&A do not get a trade route benefit for their Town Base at Ringbridge, as it is in the same state as Tusk.

Potential Destinations in the Stolen Lands game

Note

Development Details

Standard Developments

These developments work in the same way as any other business developments - you need the permission of the land owner to build them. However, they are the the developments that allow you to make use of the Tax Free developments described below.

NameCost BPSpecEconLoyStabDefNotes
Shop101000Somewhere to sell your goods
Shipping Office (★★★)1.501000A home for you and an office for your business Note
Cross Shipping Office101000manages trade between Merchant Bases in the same settlement
Jetty101000A Jetty can support up to 6bp worth of vessels up to 30 feet in length.
Serai (★)101000A Serai can support up to 5bp worth of Mule or Ox Trains
Warehouse101000
Merchant Store {★★★}1.501000Starting to employ a sales specialist
Caravanserai (★)202000A Caravanserai can support up to 11bp worth of Mule Trains and caravans
Wharf202000A wharf can support up to 13bp worth of vessels (any size)
Warehouse {Large}202000
Luxury Store {★★★}3.512000Introduce luxury Items to your City
Quayside504110A quay side, complete with a wharf and a jetty. It can support up to 25bp worth of vessels (17 of any size, 8 small vessels)
Shopping Court {★★★}5.513110The height of luxury Shopping

Special Developments

Mule trains, Vessels and Caravans do not count against a settlement's Economy value, so you can buy them without permission from a landholder. However, you must have the appropriate land based development to benefit from any of these investments - so it is good to stay 'in favour' with the town, city or stronghold administration.

ClassificationNameCostSpecDefence Notes
MerchantFishing Boats (M) 1 1 0
MerchantMule Train (M) 1 1 0
MerchantOx Train (M) 2 2 0
MerchantTrade Caravan (M) 3 3 0
MerchantArmed Caravan (M) 4 4 1 As they affect settlement size, you must have permission from the landowner to base Armed Caravans at a Serai
MerchantShallop (M) 2 2 0
MerchantKeeler (M) 3 3 0
MerchantArmed Keeler (M) 3 2 1 As they affect settlement size, you must have permission from the landowner to base Armed vessels at a wharf
MerchantRiver Wherry (M) 4 4 0
MerchantArmed Wherry (M) 4 3 1 As they affect settlement size, you must have permission from the landowner to base Armed vessels at a wharf
MerchantSailing Barge (M) 5 5 0
MerchantArmed Barge (M) 5 4 1 As they affect settlement size, you must have permission from the landowner to base Armed vessels at a wharf
MerchantSecure Barge (M) 5 3 2 As they affect settlement size, you must have permission from the landowner to base Armed vessels at a wharf
  • (M) = Mobile. Vessels, Pack Trains and Caravans can be moved between bases at no cost.
  • NOTE: These defence points refer only to the vessel, they cannot help to defend o settlement, BUT they count towards noble titles.

Defence

Every trade train, caravan or vessel is capable of defending itself to some extent or another. Even a mule train will have one or two trained guards riding along with it - enough to scare off casual bandits, but not enough to protect it from baa band of marauding Orcs or organized banditry. The same is true for every other vessel on the trade route. Most seasoned travellers wait and join up with merchant trains for mutual protection etc.

Some trade caravans and larger vessels are better protected. Rather than commoners and experts, a large proportion of the teamsters or crew are trained warriors, capable of defending themselves, and their cargo, from serious attack. While they often carry less trade merchandise, they can charge more than other carriers. These are the vessels that carry wealthier passengers, more expensive cargo - and are more valuable targets. No bandit is really interested in the deck cargo that a shallop carries, unless they are really desperate. However, the personal effects of the passengers and expensive hold cargo …

NOTE:- While these vessels are recorded as having defence points - these only count for the vessel itself. They do not count towards qualification for Noble Titles, nor can they be used to defend a settlement or a state. The merchant does not need permission from anyone to 'arm' a vessel, nor does it take up any more space in a settlement.

Descriptions

Descriptions might vary slightly from buildings in other sections of the rules. But realistically, you can 'flavour' these however you like.

NameDescription
Shipping Office (★★★) An officefor your business, with an Apartment for your comfort. Note
Cross Shipping Office (★★★)Manages trade between Merchant Bases in the same settlement, with an Apartment for your comfort.
Jetty A Jetty is used for loading and unloading small vessels and can support up to 6bp worth of Fishing Boats or other vessels up to 30 feet in length.
Serai (★) A Serai consists of storage rooms and animal pens. Merchants, their staff and travellers are allowed to sleep in the storage rooms, but no bedding is supplied. The Office/Shop normally sells small items (under 1sp) and food items such as bottles of beer, dried fruit, sausage and pickles. It can support up to 5bp worth of Mule Trains
Warehouse Storage space with a small office.
Shop Normally a general purpose store, selling a bit of everything. They almost certainly have any normal item that costs less than 1 gp somewhere in their stock, and can probably lay their hands on any mundane items (including weapons and armour) that cost up to 5gp. If you want anything more expensive than that, they will order it in for you.
Merchant Store This type of merchant specialises in the bulk supply of commodities. Some might be specialists, such as a Cloth Merchant, a Wine Merchant, Weaponer or Grain Merchant, although many deal with a range of different commodities. A combination of home, office, display room and store room to deal with the wholesale supply of commodities. The wealthy may well order or buy direct from the merchant – but it isn't for the likes of commoners.
Caravanserai (★) A Caravanserai consists of storage areas (large and small) and animal pens. Merchants, their staff and travellers are allowed to sleep in the storage areas, but no bedding is supplied. The Office/Shop normally sells small items (under 1sp) and food items such as bottles of beer, hard boiled eggs, sausage and pickles. It can support up to 11bp worth of Mule/Ox Trains and Caravans
Wharf A Wharf is used for loading and unloading boats and ships and can support up to 13bp worth of vessels of any size.
Warehouse {Large} Large storage space with a small office.
Quayside A quayside dedicated to loading and unloading your ships. It can support up to 25bp worth of vessels (17 of any size, 8 small vessels)
Luxury Store A single store selling a small range Furs, jewellery, courtiers' costumes, silver daggers, Objets d’Arte - etc. Clothes, jewellery etc must all be fitted to the individual if you want to be really stylish.
Shopping Court A collection of high quality shops selling luxury items - often created from imported and expensive materials. Clothing is made to measure, jewellery can be made to order, statues commissioned - etc.
Name Description
Fishing Boats (M) A pair of small fishing vessels that can also carry small amounts of cargo. Requires a Jetty or Pier (Mobile). Good for trading over about 5 hexes.
Mule Train (M) Pack Mules, a leader, a couple of guards and an animal handler or two. Requires a Serai or Caravansarai (Mobile). Good for trading over about 5 hexes.
OxTrain (M) Pack Oxen, a leader, guards and animal handlers. Requires a Serai or Caravansarai (Mobile). Good for trading over about 10 hexes.
Caravan (M) Horse drawn wagons with teamsters, guards and a caravan master. Requires a Caravansarai (Mobile) Good for trading over long trade routes.
Shallop (M) A simple vessel with an open hold that can be used for fishing or trade - but isn't much good for passengers. Requires a Jetty or Pier (Mobile) Good for trading over about 10 hexes.
Keeler (M) Versatile vessels with enclosed holds, deck cargo space and a cabin for passengers - Keelers are the workhorses of the Sellen. Requires a Pier (Mobile) Good for trading over long trade routes.
River Wherry (M) Versatile vessels with enclosed holds, deck cargo space and a cabin for passengers. One of the fastest vessels on the Sellen. Requires a Pier (Mobile) Good for trading over long trade routes.
Sailing Barge (M) Larger but slower than the Wherry, the River Barge is Queen of the Sellen. Requires a Pier (Mobile)Good for trading over long trade routes.

(M) = Mobile. Vessels, Mule Trains and Trade Caravans can be moved between bases at no cost.

pathfinder/campaign_systems2/merchant-house.txt · Last modified: 2021/07/17 07:55 by johnb