The Alienage
All Things Relating to Trade, Shipping, and Commodities

The Mercantyler's Guild

Local Trading Activities

Local trading activities center on the provisioning of towns with victuals, drink, and raw materials for the local craftsmen and its citizens. These activities center around three areas. Each area provides a service to the community either directly or indirectly.

The Shop:

The shop is the central focus for most craftsmen’s activities. Each local guild regulates how many shops/franchises their guild allows to operate within a specific location. A guild controls this number by only allowing only enfranchised master craftsmen to own and operate a shop. In addition, the guild also sets limits on the number of apprentices, journeymen, and masters a shop can employ. Other restraints put on the owners of shops are price controls, fixed work hours, usually signaled by a bell in the Hall of the Mangai, and the limiting of on site commercial activities to retail trade only. Most shops lack the resources to conduct large-scale export operations and tend to focus on supplying the needs of the town and its surrounding environs. Owners acquire materials from mercantylers at the Mercantylers Hall, the Hall of the Mangai, or in the local market. Most shops are required to close their doors on market days and to operate out of a stall in a market place if they wished to sell their wares. Those shops that do produce items desirable for export will have to deal with mercantyler who control the import/export trade. Remembered, most guild regulations are developed to protect the consumer and local craftsmen from outside competitors, and to reduce competition from within its own ranks.

A shop is not just a place of business; but also serves as a home and storage facility. The front of the first floor is usually the shop and work area, most shops will have a large window opening onto the street. The window shutters fold out to form a counter and an awning allowing customers to see finished goods and to see into the shop and observe the craftsmen at work. Other shops have open fronts that are covered by large screens when closed, such as the metalsmiths and potters who required good ventilation while working. Behind the shop is a hall and attached kitchen for meals and social activities of the owner, his family, and employees. The upper levels are the residences for the owner, his family, and employees. Supplies are stored in a cellar or in spare rooms. Sometimes owners acquire extra funds by renting out spare rooms.

Shops are rated by a number of stars to signify their quality, price range, and mastery level and a number to designate size. The size rating states how many guildsmen work within the shop. A shop rated as a five would have the master and four other employees, at least one of whom may be an apprentice. In addition to the guildsmen, some shops may employ unguilded help as labors, clerks, messengers, etc. The star rating identifies the approximate quality of goods produced in the shop, the price range as a percentage of the base price, and a mastery level range for each shop.

The Market:

The market is a weekly or biweekly event held on specific days and controlled by the local chapter of the Mangai. In larger towns/cities like Coranan markets may be held every day to ensure that the population stays supplied with food and other necessities. On non-market days, the market places and streets of a town will still be active with victualers, tinkers, peddlers, and the town’s regular merchants. The primary function of the market is the selling of produce brought in from the outlying lands of the town by the peasantry and manorial officials. In addition, it gives these individuals a chance to acquire supplies that they can not obtain in their own villages. In Western Lýthia the Mangai holds the rights to all markets and pays a fee to local governments or kingdoms for the privilege. To defray the costs, and acquire profits for its own needs, the Mangai imposes market fees, stallage fees, sells or rents awnings, and rents permanent structures within the market place. In some regions, the Mangai is also responsible for collecting the hawking tax on all goods sold at the market.

Each town has established its own market day(s) and has identified the times during which the market shall be open. It is customary that the first half of the market day is open to the town’s population so they can acquire their weekly needs before the Innkeepers and cooks come in to gather goods for their establishments. In addition, the market is a purely retail establishment, no wholesale activities are allowed to take place within the market or during the hours it is open. Most towns also have an ordinance that calls for shops to close during market days or hours. If these establishments wish to conduct business they must obtain a stall for the day and conduct their business at the market.

To police the market and ensure taxes are collected, the Mangai assigns a sergeant and some assistants to check for tax receipts, ensure that the official weights and measures are being used, break up improper commercial activities, and look after the peace in general.


Peddlers are individuals who travel about with their wares looking for buyers and profit. Most peddlers are minor operators who carry their goods on their back or on a single pack animal. Peddlers are not just limited to traveling from village to village, but also include individuals reselling items within a town from carts or sacks. The goods they sell range from ribbons and caps, to pots and pans; mostly items a villager could not obtain locally and townsman has no time to shop for.

Within the towns, another trade akin to the peddler is the victualer. The victualer sells hot and cold foods from a cart. The items they cook up themselves or obtain from an inn or tavern, and vary from meat pies to pastries.

The Mangai has been attempting to control the victualers by incorporating them with the Innkeepers Guild or getting them to form their own association. Thus far, they have resisted both movements. Although some towns have tried to restrict their activities, they realize that the majority of the townsmen would resist abolishing this activity. The reason being that most townsmen have no way of preparing their own meals and the fare at inns or taverns are expensive or bland.