CRB is a repository of all the creative things that float through my mind about the RPG Pathfinder. Two major features are random character generation and building characters based on the god they worship. Anything that seems like it adds to the creative aspects of the game will pop up from time to time, including location descriptions, adventure ideas and even short stories. CRB won't just be my own creativity, it will open the floor to anyone who has an idea sparked by what I present to you.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

One For a Penny

Trade in a Small Town

Last month we began the slow process of putting together a town piece by piece. In my first installment I spoke about the use of a foodhall/tavern as a center of social activity and laid out a tavern and its owner for our town. In the second piece I talked about the importance of the blacksmith to a town and wrote about our specific town’s blacksmith and his smithy. This week I’d like to talk about trade, both within the town and with outside sources.

Trade is ever important to a town’s survival. Towns would grow larger if they were on the path of an important trade route. But even small towns had to have a way for its citizens to trade with each other. Some towns would have a kind of general store, but more often they would have a kind of market where they would rent stalls to sell their wares.

Most towns, large and small, would have a trade day once a week. This was even a part of Roman culture when they had an eight day week – called a nundial cycle which you can learn more about here – where the eighth day was specifically a market day. Much of the trading in smaller towns wasn’t done with money as the peasants who traded were dirt poor and would exchange goods or even services that both parties needed.

Larger towns would have a fair which could last weeks and draw people from all over Europe to trade. Our town is both small and very far out of the way, so a weeks long fair is not something that is going to be going on for us. It is, however, something you should consider when making your own towns and their customs.

Most peasants grew their own food and had their own animals. These were usually smaller animals like sheep, goats, chickens, and pigs because larger animals cost too much to feed and care for. The items they would bring to trade were usually small things they would craft themselves during the year and the excess of whatever their crop was during harvest season. This allowed a farmer to grow a few crops and yet still have a variety of foods to choose from.

Harn’s Trading Post

The trading post in Nestletop is run by a man named Harn. It was run by his father, and his father’s father before him, and his father’s father’s father before that. The post has always been a family affair and that family is well respected.

Two separate areas constitute the post. The first is the actual shop where Harn sells goods he personally trades for. The second is a large open area which takes up the remaining of the side of the road that the post shares with the smithy. The open area is divided up into about two dozen stalls that can be rented on the weekly trading day to sell any goods you may have.

Harn’s payment for rental from the local farmers is usually a few of their wares. By keeping these odds and ends in stock it allows availability of an item if someone needs it outside of one of the weekly trading day, or if that seller is unable to come to market on a given week. This also means that Harn’s wares turn over frequently.

Anyone can rent a stall, and the elves who used to occupy these lands before the people of Nestletop came to settle make use of the post to trade as well. Occasionally some of the friendlier tribes of barbarians from the great plains will also come to trade. And although Nestletop is not on any major trading route, a caravan from the Divine Empire will traverse the plains to trade two times a year.

The caravan comes once in the spring and once in the fall after the harvest has come in. During the fall arrival Nestletop observes a week of celebration. There is a fair with food and drink and a week of trade which sees the townsfolk, the elves, and the foreign traders all come out in numbers. This is one of the few times when all the trading post’s stalls are rented out and the fair will sometimes need to spill over into the fields behind the post itself.

Harn Feedle

For a man with such a rough sounding name Harn is a very gentle soul. The name was his great grandfather’s, who started the post. Although his father went by Gwint, he felt that his son should keep the name of the post if he was to inherit it. Harn has always felt it an honor to be named after his grandfather and wears the name with pride.

The Postmaster is a small man, and slight. This is made even more obvious when he stands next to Abelton, the smith. The two are best friends and when business is slow Harn can be found in the smithy while Master Redrun works and the size difference is jarring.

Like Ableton, Harn is considered a fair and honest man. More likely to give one of the citizens a break then the smith is, but not the extent that he’d harm his own business much. A few of the townsfolk owe the Postmaster small debt, but everyone who has ever owed has paid in full.

Harn’s family came over with the original exodus from the lands of the Divine Empire. His great grandfather was a merchant of now small renown, but life in one of the larger cities was beginning to put a strain on him. With his wife having just given birth to their first son he wanted to be away from the bustle.

The Postmaster is one of the few people in town who has remained devoutly religious. Although he doesn’t push his views on anyone else, he does keep to many of the rites of the Divine Light. He keeps a small altar to the holy presence in the backroom of his shop. Occasionally when he’s had a bit to drink he’ll start singing hymns, which nobody would really mind except that Harn couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.

How do the people of your town trade with one another? Is your town on a major trading route? Does does being or not being on a trade route affect your town? Would you use Harn and his trading post or something like it in your town?

Like Harn’s trading post a bring my wares of the written word to you weekly. If today’s article has give you pause for thought please consider becoming a contributor. Monthly donations of as little as one dollar can be made to my Patreon. A one-time donation can easily be made to my Paypal. Every bit helps me keep the lights on so I can concentrate on bringing you the content you deserve.

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