Dark Sun: Gulg
Dynastic Merchant House
Dynastic Merchant Houses
There are many Dynastic Merchant Houses throughout the 7 city-states of the Tyr Region. The common theme is they are based around a family, and generally hire agents to supplement their ranks. They are generally divided into 2 types.
Minor Houses: Minor houses are the most abundant Houses. These Houses are more likely to only deal in 1 or 2 commodities on a regular basis. They have less money, power and influence.
Major Houses: These House deal in a variety in goods, although generally have specialities. They also control major trade routes. These Houses include Inika (Gulg), Wavir (Balic), M’Ke (Raam), Shom (Nibenay), Stel (Urik), Tsalaxa (Draj), and Vordon (Tyr). Each has its headquarters based in one of the 7 city-states of the Tyr Region.
Some Elf tribes, such as the Night Runners, Shadows, Clear Water, and Sky Singers, function more like trading Houses than tribes.
Agents, Contracted and Blooded members:
Blooded Members: Dynastic Houses are built on a family legacy and often named after their founder. An adopted member is still considered Blooded. A blooded member of the House always carries the Houses name as Surname.
Agents: Each House has different rules and culture regarding Agents, but they are often treated very well. They do not bear the name, but some Agents have more authority than Blooded members.
Contracted (or Under Contract): Allies of a House. These people are hired by a House to do a specific job. They are not recognized House members, but often carry temporary authority to act in the Houses name. Each House treats their Contracted members differently. Inika treats theirs as if they are Agents while Under Contract.
Employees: People working for the House. They may or may not be dedicated to the House.
City-state laws vs Houses:
Even Sorcerer-kings are hesitant to offend a Major House. A member of the House caught breaking the law is more likely to be exiled from the city rather than punished by the city.
Minor House members have less prestige, but still have influence, power and exception to some laws. A minor House is more likely to be fined by a city if a law is broken.
A special exception exists among Inika and the Nganga. The House accepted Nganga supervision, but not Scribe supervision. As such, a House member still need fear the Nganga assigned to the House, but rarely so from other Nganga.
Still, if any trading House decided to ruin the economy of a city-state, unless another House intervened, that cities’ economy would crumble into the wastes.
1) Recognition that by joining a merchant house,
an agent forsakes citizenship in any city or membership
in any tribe.
2) An oath of allegiance to the merchant house.
3) A promise to perform in the best interests of the
merchant house in return for a salary.
4) A promise to deal honestly with stranger, friend,
and foe alike.
5) A promise not to flaunt any wealth gained
through employment with the house.
6) A promise to uphold the laws of the city in which
the agent is stationed, and to do nothing to bring
down the wrath of the sorcerer-king or his agents
upon the house.
7) A promise to cooperate with other merchants to
make life very expensive for any person who unjustly
imprisons, blackmails, or otherwise harasses
Obviously, this is viewed as law by some Houses, general guidelines by others, and a handy way to fool people by others.