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

The Mercantyler's Guild


Who are they?

Mercantylers are guildsmen involved in the trading of goods, or acting as agents for other individuals in some economic transaction. Most mercantylers are simple merchants, buying and selling goods within their town’s local area or just within the confines of their own country. The more adventuresome of mercantylers engage in foreign trade, either through caravan or maritime enterprises; although many trade in a variety of goods, some specialize in specific commodities such as furs, slaves, or wines.

The mercantyler’s monopoly is very ambiguous; therefore, enforcing rigid control over all trading activities would be impossible. Because of a town’s limited sphere of influence, numerous areas are free of any guild control. In these areas, anyone can conduct trading activities, as they like; however, once they enter a town’s sphere of influence the chance of being confronted by the guild for a breach of its rights increases significantly. In addition, there are the numerous peddlers, tinkers, and other minor merchants that the guild does not usually bother with, unless they become flagrant in their activities. It is for this reason that most mercantylers will only conduct business with each other. Consequently, most major towns have a Mercantyler’s Hall for guild members only. Non-guild members can participate in this private market only by hiring a mercantyler as an agent for a fee or commission averaging 5-10% of the exchanged good's value.

To insure that the guild remains at the center of economic activity, they have acquired one important monopoly that they rigidly enforce. Only Mercantylers can practice usury, the changing and loaning of money for profit (interest). Some mercantylers (usurers) specialize in this activity. The financing of trade generally involves such men; with the proper incentives, they will finance the ambitions and comforts of kings and other prominent individuals. Interest rates are high, ranging from 5-20% per month, compounded monthly. The rate charged is based on risk, collateral, and social standing. Nobles customarily enjoy the benefit of lower rates.