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pathfinder:campaign_systems2:merchant-house

Merchant Houses

Overview

Merchant Houses are the life blood of the land. If strongholds represent the bones that allows a community or nation to grow – Merchant Houses are the life 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 and mule train to serve the local community. This will range from transporting produce from the countryside into the town and making provision for other traders to visit the town. Once they have office, warehouses and more sophisticated forms of transport, they start trading with other settlements.

As merchant house grows, it may want to invest in supporting streams of income. Boatyards make your business financially independent while mercenaries make you vessels/caravans safer - but there are others things such as Inns, Shops and markets that could be seen as complementary. Don't forget that a wealthy merchant may well buy homes in all the places they trade, and they probably have a Noble or Aristocratic standard housing somewhere.

Progression

  • Local Merchants are the life blood of a community, bringing produce from villages, farms and fisheries to their base and redistributing it as required. Normally they are based around a jetty and a few fishing boats or a serai and mule trains – that operate over short (5-hex) trade routes. It is a nice straightforward little business built around a local base in a Village, Town or City, which gives you some local influence and generates a basic income. Some Local Merchants might have local bases in two or three different settlements.
  • Established Merchants make their money trading between different towns and cities across the region. Medium length (10-hex) trade routes operated by Ox trains and Shallops support, or even replace, the local trade routes. As the Merchant House becomes known across a wider area, so their influence increases. An Established Merchant has one or more town bases, often fairly close together.
  • International Merchants have a City Base that is supported by Caravans and larger trading vessels. The longer range allows the merchant to develop longer trading routes, and control more of the goods coming through their city. International Merchants might only have a base in one area, but their vessels travel far and wide, meaning they have slightly more influence on trade routes they work.
  • Great Merchants have bases in a number of different towns and cities, wield as much influence a noble house and can seriously influence the flow of goods along a trade route. This is probably the first time that a Merchant needs to look at building bases in new and distant cities, rather than just the towns of their homeland.
  • Merchant Princes have homes and city bases 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.

Bases

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.
  • Land: A Serai and a Mule Train
  • Water: A Jetty and Fishing Boats.
  • Benefit: +1 Influence
  • Town Base
  • Minimum Requirements are
  • Town, City or Metropolis (not in a village)
  • Land: Shipping Office, Warehouse, Serai and at least one Ox Train
  • Water: Shipping Office, Warehouse, Jetty and at least one Shallop.
  • Benefits: +2 Economy, +2 Stability, +2 Loyalty, +3 Influence (for each town base)
  • City Base
  • Minimum Requirements are
  • City or Metropolis (not a town or a village)
  • Land: Shipping Office, Large Warehouse, Caravanserai and at least one Caravan.
  • Water: Shipping Office, Large Warehouse, Pier and at least one Trade or Merchant ship (Keeler or Sailing Barge).
  • Benefits: +6 Influence and +3 economy, +3 Stability, +3 Loyalty, (for every City Base that your business owns)
  • Waterfront
  • Minimum Requirements are
  • Metropolis (not a city, town or a village)
  • Water: Shipping Office, 2x Large Warehouse, Quayside and at least one Trade or Merchant ship (Keeler or Sailing Barge).
  • Benefits: +8 Influence and +4 economy, +4 Stability, +4 Loyalty, (for every Waterfront that your business owns)

Multiple Bases

In some settlements you may have two merchant bases, however you must build a Cross Shipping Office to coordinate activities between the 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 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 is just the route that your cargo carriers travel as they buy and sell goods on your behalf.

  • Local Trade Route - the Fishing Boats or Mule Trains of a local merchant circulate in the hexes close to their base bringing produce from the countryside to market. These local trade routes are what keep a community healthy and profitable.
  • Provincial Trade Route - Often serviced by Fishing Boats, Mule Trains, Shallops or Ox-Trains, this is how goods are moved between the towns and villages of a province . In the Stolen Lands game, this includes everything within Midmarch.
  • Regional Trade Route - Longer distance between Provinces, or substantial settlements, which are often serviced by larger vessels or caravans. These are the bulk carriers of the age and the trade routes that cities depend on for trade. Regional Trade routes are the true mark of a merchant's success, bringing independence, wealth and influence - but are the most difficult to establish.

To establish a Regional Trade Route a merchant house must have a base of some sort in a town, city or metropolis at both ends of the route. They must also have the ability to transport goods from one end of the route to the other using their own cargo carriers. The quality of the trade route will depend on the size of the settlements linked, and the type of transport used.

The benefits and restrictions associated with different types of Regional Trade Route are listed below.

RouteEconomyStabilityLoyaltyInfluenceConsumptionSettlementBaseTransport
Minor 1 1 1 2 1 Small Town Local Base any
Lesser 2 2 2 4 2 Large Town Town Base Ox-Train / Shallop
Greater 3 3 3 6 3 City City Base Caravan / Keeler
Major 4 4 4 8 4 Metropolis Waterfront River Barge

To gain the benefits listed a trade route must meet the minimum criteria listed under Settlement, Base and Transport. 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. However, a settlement can only ever gain a consumption benefit from one trade route.

Potential Destinations in the Stolen Lands game

Note

Influence

While a Merchant House gains influence through the normal channels, their mercantile reach can gain them extra influence. Every Merchant Base the house controls, each trade route they establish, every caravan and large vessel capable of long distance travel adds to their influence according to the following table.

BaseInfluence
Local Base1
Town Base2
City Base3
Waterfront 4
Trade Caravan1
River Boat / Keeler1
Sailing Barge2
Minor Trade Route 2
Lesser Trade Route 4
Greater Trade Route6
Major Trade Route 8

Supporting Properties

While Trade Routes, Merchant Bases and Cargo Transporter make up the bulk of the property owned by a Merchant House, there are a number of other business types that complement those. The most obvious are the Boat Yard and the civilian military establishments to train and house your guards. Longer term the various markets and waterfront might make a good match.

Don't forget that you can also build yourself a private dwelling house - there is nothing to stop you buying houses in all the towns you do business. Any home with a ★★★★, or more, adds to your influence. Some even add to your defence score. A wealthy merchant is almost expected to buy expensive houses and titles for themselves - as a way of cementing their status in society.

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 BPEconomyLoyaltyStabilityMinorMediumMajorValueDefenceNotes
Shipping Office (★★★) 110000000A home for you and an office for your business Note
Cross Shipping Office 110000000manages trade between Merchant Bases in the same settlement
Jetty 110000000 A Jetty can support up to 6bp worth of vessels up to 30 feet in length.
Serai (★) 110000000 A Serai can support up to 5bp worth of Mule Trains
Warehouse 110000000
Caravanserai (★) 220000000A Caravanserai can support up to 11bp worth of Mule Trains and caravans
Pier 220000000 A Pier can support up to 13bp worth of vessels (any size)
Warehouse {Large} 220000000
Mercenary Base (★★) 210000001 Somewhere for your caravan/ship guards to stay.
Sword School (★★) 311100001 a sword school that trains your own mercenary unit or guards.
Quayside 440000000 A quay side, complete with piers and jetties. It can support up to 20bp worth of vessels (any size)

Tax Free Developments

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

ClassificationNameCost in BPEconomyLoyaltyStabilityMinorMediumMajorValueDefence
MerchantFishing Boats (M) 110000000
MerchantMule Train (M) 110000000
MerchantOx Train (M) 220000000
MerchantTrade Caravan (M) 330000000
MerchantShallop (M) 220000000
MerchantKeeler / River Boat (M) 330000000
MerchantSailing Barge (M) 440000000
MerchantTown Base 022200000
MerchantCity Base 044400000

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

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.
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
Pier A Pier 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.
Mercenary Barracks (★★)Having your own barracks means you can put loyal guards on your ships and caravans - thus the economic increase. Mercenaries are semi-mobile. The troops (worth 1bp and 1 defense) can be moved - they leave a building behind, which can be turned into a tenement for 0.5 bp.
Sword School (★★)You train your own caravan / ship guards, and they really know how to work together - thus the economic increase.
Quayside A quayside dedicated to loading and unloading your ships. It can support up to 20bp worth of vessels of any size.
NameDescription
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 / River Boat (M) Versatile vessels with enclosed holds, deck cargo space and a cabin for passengers. Requires a Pier (Mobile) Good for trading over long trade routes.
Sailing Barge (M) Larger but slower than some of the other vessels available, the River Barge is the work horse 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: 2019/10/26 09:37 by johnb