Caravans and Trading Companies in Sembia
By Rand Sharpsword
overland trade in Faerûn is organized into caravans. A few of the larger
nations, notably Amn and the Zhents, run their own caravans, marked with
national colors and guarded by professional soldiers. Many other caravans
are private outfits or ad-hoc consortiums of temporarily associated merchants.
Overland travel companies seeking to make a name for themselves as reliable
movers of goods run still other caravans.
does not maintain national caravan outfits, though certain Sembian cities
have been known to sponsor their own caravans. Around half of the caravans
moving between Sembias ports, Ordulin, and the roads into Cormyr
are organized by the aforementioned overland travel companies. A list
of a few of the major companies with interests in moving Sembian goods
follows. There are many other trading companies elsewhere in Faerûn, most
notably along the routes between Waterdeep and the Moonsea, but only Sembians
follow caravan movements, caravan schedules, and individual caravan masters
with a passion and intensity that other peoples reserve for gladiatorial
combats or chariot racing.
Group: The Firehands Group is a medium-sized company based in Daerlun.
It has been in business for twelve years and concentrates exclusively
on routes to Waterdeep from Sembia. They are an above-board group, with
competitive rates, but frequently fall victim of the machinations of the
Throne: The Iron Throne is a mysterious organization that has rapidly
taken over much of the arms traffic between Sembia, Thay, and other nations
of the East. The Iron Throne merchants claim to be interested in the cause
of free trade, speaking for smaller merchants who lack a voice. In truth,
the master of the Iron Throne is a half-fiend, "fallen" from
the inferno, who seeks to carve a place of power for herself by economic
domination of Faerûn through weapons that wreak havoc upon the guilty
and innocent alike. No one knows the truth, thanks to the efficient operations
of the Iron Thrones three wings: The Arms, who handle high level
negotiations and business deals; the Feet, who see to caravan security
and the destruction or sabotage of rival merchants; and the Eye, wizards
and sorcerers devoted to maintaining communications between the organizations
Thrones initial period of expansion has slowed, largely due to a
mounting conflict with newly established franchises of the Red Wizards
Coffers Market Priakos: Originally formed by six prosperous merchants
in widespread cities as a means of ensuring the proper flow of their goods,
Six Coffers Market still controls a sizeable percentage of trade throughout
Faerûn. The headquarters is in Berdusk. Regional centers of operation
are Selgaunt, Iriaebor, Waterdeep, Marsember, Priapurl, and Silverymoon.
Mirabeta Selkirk has acquired a sizeable interest in the Six Coffers Market
Priakos. Mirabeta is evil-smart rather than evil-stupid, and she has directed
her part of the operation efficiently.
Seven Suns Trading
Coster: The poor merchants alternative to the Six Coffers outfit,
Seven Suns offers slow wagons, barely competent guards, and extremely
low rates. How low are their rates? Low enough that people who should
know better still hire them to transport their cargo.
can integrate the trading companies in your campaign in many ways, but
here are a few adventure seeds to get you started!
Watchful One: The heroes hire onto a Six Coffers Market Priakos caravan
as guards only to discover that a couple of the guards are acting strangely.
Why does one of the guards constantly watch another guard? Is the other
guard who she says she is? Dungeon Masters can set up the watched one
as a debtor in hiding or as a former kidnap victim who worked her way
free. The watcher can be someone who suspects the woman of some crime
or an agent of the kidnappers seeking to find a way to recapture his victim.
As the heroes travel, they come across a caravan that has stopped and
is in disarray. If the heroes investigate, they discover that half of
the caravan's guards walked off the job. The caravan leader is reluctant
to discuss why. Heroes can also discover quite easily that the cargo in
the wagons is trash! The smell is really hard to miss. What is going on
here? Is the cargo really trash, or is it disguised? And why did the guards
The Rumors Thicken:
News comes to light that implicates one of the Firehands Group's senior
caravan leaders in a scandal: He is in cahoots with the Iron Throne and
has been for years, according to the news. However, the leader insists
that he is innocent of such a scandal. The next day, he is found dead.
Was he innocent, or did his guilt bring about his death? What other people
will be drawn into this scandal by the time the heroes finish investigating?
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