Trade in the Sea of Stars

22 January, 2010

Travel and trade are closely intertwined:

Trade in the Sea of Stars

While the tradition is that dragons pillage and steal, after their victory over the gods, they found that they owned everything, neatly divided by their contribution to the victory.  Dragons found themselves as rulers and overlords with access to immense amounts of wealth but some still sought more.

The Empress quickly clamped down on conflict between dragons except through formalized and ritualized channels.  For unlike many of her kin, the Empress saw that conquest  and plunder destroyed value in both the short and long run; While wealth was increased and enhanced by trade.  Creation, commerce and mercantile activity was to be the beating economic heart of the Imperium.

To support and encourage trade, the Empress instituted several systems:

•        All Imperial laws and decrees are published and disseminated in a simplified form of Draconic that has come to be know as the Imperial Tongue.  All Imperial servants conduct regular business in this language and this language only.  This has caused the Imperial Tongue to become the lingua franca of the Sea of Stars.

•        The Imperial coinage is standardized, kept pure and is never debased.  Thus payment in the form of the coin of the Imperium is always a known and guaranteed amount.  Imperial agents ruthlessly hunt down and savagely punish those who would dare to counterfeit, debase or otherwise corrupt the Empress’ coin.

•        The Imperial Court of Mercantile Trade oversees contracts of trade and transport presented to and sealed by its officers, for a fee to the Imperial treasury naturally.  The Court of Mercantile Trade has wide ranging powers to enforce the contracts it guarantees which it rarely has to use, the threat of Court action usually being sufficient.

•        Imperial taxes are drawn as a percentage of the local taxes raised and are charged on a higher rate on tariffs and other fees on the importation of goods or limits on trade.  While the goals of limiting tariff is not always achieved, it does impose some downward pressure on such barriers to trade.

•        The Imperial Navy actively hunts down pirates when it encounters them.  While small, the Imperial Navy is an elite group with the best equipment that money can buy and when they are unleashed against pirates, the pirates flee or are slaughtered.  Thus their presence alone deters and suppresses piracy in the Sea of Stars.  Advisors from the Imperial Army are occasionally loaned out to assist in the suppression of serious outbreaks of banditry that threaten major landbound trade routes.

•        The Seven Gate Cities provide an amazing ability to move masses of goods considerable distances quickly and inexpensively.  Additionally, the gates provide direct access to the vast markets of the Capital itself.

Note that all of these things that make trade easier also make travel easier and support the ability of adventurers to pursue their livelihood.

How does your campaign encourage (or discourage) trade and travel?

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