- Active Membership - An approximate number of active members. This can be very general, it's just to give us a sense of scale.
- Where Based - The location of their headquarters or chief operating area. Multiple locations allowed. Please link to the Locations pages where possible.
- Leadership - Who is the current leader(s) of the organization? Link to the appropriate Notable Characters and NPCs page when you can. If there is no active leader, or if the leader is a secret, say "None" or "Unknown"
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The Merchant's Association is still in it's infancy. It is lead by a council of 12 major guild masters, known as the Board of Kadrass and 89 minor voting members, drawn from all citizens. The Association's day-to-day matters are held within the hands of the Chairman and Director. They schedule meetings, assign task, sign the papers and are the representative of the Association in court. They are also the one that affirms any decisions made by council. The Chairman is thus the leader of the Merchant's Association, while the Director is mainly an employee that runs Trader's Hall.
The other chairs are open to sponsorship and voting to any citizen that proves he is a good business man, though usually guild sponsorship goes a long way except all the others guilds are no more.
While the association has many current merchants, industries and guilds within their membership, it is not absolutely required to join. The Association holds no licenses. What members do get is the active support of all other members, through loans, tax exemptions and social contacts. The association also runs an active employment board for job openings with active member businesses and guilds. All non members shopkeepers and traders are simply known as Independents.
Rise of the Merchant's Association
Whatever the political situation between the empires, trade has always managed to survive via a handful of well established Merchants Guilds of Vaxia. The Merchant Guilds maintained roads, half-way stations, sea ports and banks; shipping goods, and storing large bulk items and especially providing vast sum of tariffs, tolls and tax money to the governments, keeping the economic wheel moving.
Commoners think the merchant classes are harsh and greedy who only concern is to exploit them. The nobles understand they're need, but think of them as moochers and leeches preying on the needs of smaller businesses and guilds while using their riches to assume a faked sense of nobility and refinement. What people don't understand that delivering large goods on a continental scale requires a lot of planning and logistics and the small business do not have the capabilities to provide goods on such a large scale. Yes the merchants buy low and sell high, but they need to live too, though at lot of them are actually ultra-rich.
The main problem with the Merchant Guilds was they never had any cohesion among themselves. Individual merchants and guilds may partner with others on a limited scale, but they were mostly independent. Small businesses owed no alliances to the guild masters. In fact every trade established it's own guilds, always trying to outdo each other in prestige and number of membership. This proved to fail utterly as the smaller guilds crumpled to the larger ones, destroying entire industries, such as a many mercenary guilds that were established.
Post Darkest Night
And Ramsalon the great trading city crumpled. Economics literally stood still for a day and night, as the surviving guild masters and merchants conferred together. Individually, they where ruined, but since each had a good amount of assets diverse elsewhere on the continent, by combining their wealth, they could ride out the storm. And thus the Rise of the Merchant Association, a body of merchants, guild masters and small business owners bought together by disaster and formed out of opportunity.
The government requiring vast amounts of money and skilled labored for rebuilding suddenly found themselves dealing with a well organized league who weren't competing against each other but established a united front on what they expected for their contributions to the city. The merchant class would not be looked down upon any more. And the empires had no choice but to comply, legitimatizing them as a powerful political force in the new Vaxia. What choice they did have? Everything required money, rebuilding armies, city walls, ports, homes, warehouses etc. Government works were contracted out to the Merchant Association who freely donated many of their resources to rebuilding by demanding equal ownership of everything built. The exception is the military that had to be independent of the checks and balances of the merchants. And boy did they merchants deliver. Trade is being re-established and rebuilding moving at faster then the imagined rate.
However, all is not well. The merchant association is starting to fraction, as to whom should ultimately lead them. The merchants bicker and debate and lobby each for more power within the Association. And some of their ambitious will not stop there. They believe the Darkest Night is a sign that the regime of the Emperor and General are at an end, and whom better to take the reins of leadership than the influential gentlemen of the Merchant's Association.
Who they Are
Current Chairman is
The Director is Penrose. Human. Reserved. Prone to directness. Keen. Wife. Children all grown up and do not live in Ramsalon. likes game food, chess and Arpaksad Port.
Of the 12 Board members, 2 seats are unfilled. The current seats are held as follows:
- Beatrix Al'Hargarran, Shipping Guild
- Hared Erickson, Port Authority. Family unknown. Far as anyone knows he's a bachelor. Expert fencer. Calculating. Mysterious. Like wine and seafood.
- Master Sermon, Guild of Scribes and Worded Men. Ancient man. Works at the White Rose University Widower. Two children. A little senile, prone to constant mumbling on a subject. Has to eat mashed foods. poor digestion. can only drink hot liquids.
- Brokenhammer, Blacksmiths Guild. Dwarf. 8 children, all smiths. Runs the municipal forges. Gruff. Hard. but friendly and down to earth crass humor. Likes Roasted foods, stews and bread. Beers, meads are favorites.
- Urden Toff, Carpenters Guild. Human. Conservative. Tendency to yell at people for the most minor things. Divorced. three children. Likes home cooking. bland foods. beer.
- Hammond, Masons Guild. Human. Conservative. Strong. Wife. 3 mistresses. dozens of children both legitment and not. Drunkard, gambler. Pretends to be moral. Likes to eat everything though loves spices.
- Arron Frost, Brewers Guild. Meticulous. Liberal but very strict. Eats nothing but bland foods so not to destroy his palette. Very selective of what he drinks. only the finest.
- Master Timmons, Healers and Herbalist. Kind, gentle man who likes way too much paper work. Is not considered the best healer, but is extremely organized and effecient manager. Strict Vegetarian.
- Unfilled Position (Previously Held by Gioi)
- Odell, Bard's Guild. Liberal. Artsy. Some claim he's got his heads in the cloud. supports lots of members but does nothing with them. A little self-absorbed but in a charming way. Likes all arts, and prefers chicken.
- Sylene, Weavers Guild. Only woman on board. Quiet. defers to others. non-confrontational. Puppet to other board members. easily swayed. Likes quiet activities: reading. Likes eggs and cheese. A little red wine.
- Lady Saffron Brax, Hospitality Guild. Owner of The Last Chance Ramsalon Rest, Green Grape Inn and various shipping businesses
- Unfilled Position