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Freeborn traders go beyond the frankness that is normal for everyday Freeborn and strive for a degree of honesty that would shame a priest. They regard it as a matter of skill to obtain the best possible price while being utterly open about the goods they sell. This probity is not driven solely by moral concerns, but also practical ones. The Freeborn have achieved an extraordinary reputation for not cheating their customers; a reputation that drives business to their door. Any Freeborn trader who stoops to lying about their merchandise for the sake of a better deal, puts the prosperity of all Freeborn at risk. As a result they protect this reputation very aggressively. Freeborn traders who do seek to twist a deal or sell a light load are dealt with without mercy.
 
Freeborn traders go beyond the frankness that is normal for everyday Freeborn and strive for a degree of honesty that would shame a priest. They regard it as a matter of skill to obtain the best possible price while being utterly open about the goods they sell. This probity is not driven solely by moral concerns, but also practical ones. The Freeborn have achieved an extraordinary reputation for not cheating their customers; a reputation that drives business to their door. Any Freeborn trader who stoops to lying about their merchandise for the sake of a better deal, puts the prosperity of all Freeborn at risk. As a result they protect this reputation very aggressively. Freeborn traders who do seek to twist a deal or sell a light load are dealt with without mercy.
  
When an outsider thinks of a Freeborn trader, they are often thinking of an parador proprietor. Brass Coast towns always have at least one parador, a communal social house of music, story-telling, drinking and dance. At the end of a hard day of work the people of the Freeborn can often be found discussing their latest ventures or telling extravagant and grand tales of their ancestors, friends and relatives.  
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When an outsider thinks of a Freeborn trader, they are often thinking of the proprietor of a parador. Brass Coast towns always have at least one parador, a communal social house of music, story-telling, drinking and dance. At the end of a hard day of work the people of the Freeborn can often be found here discussing their latest ventures or telling extravagant and grand tales of their ancestors, friends and relatives.  
  
 
As with most Freeborn businesses, a parador is traditionally owned by an extended family invested in their upkeep and operation. Any given family will often maintain more than one structure, or operate a “travelling parador” akin to a circus or fair. In addition to the services and entertainments they provide, the best paradors are places of trade. While a lot of formal business takes place at the bazaar, the parador is where merchants go to relax and it is often where the real business of complex trade takes place. While the bazaar is a fine place to visit if you want a new pair of shoes or a sword, the parador is where merchants can informally come to an agreement over chilled fruit and wine concerning more risky ventures, bulk deals and investment opportunities.
 
As with most Freeborn businesses, a parador is traditionally owned by an extended family invested in their upkeep and operation. Any given family will often maintain more than one structure, or operate a “travelling parador” akin to a circus or fair. In addition to the services and entertainments they provide, the best paradors are places of trade. While a lot of formal business takes place at the bazaar, the parador is where merchants go to relax and it is often where the real business of complex trade takes place. While the bazaar is a fine place to visit if you want a new pair of shoes or a sword, the parador is where merchants can informally come to an agreement over chilled fruit and wine concerning more risky ventures, bulk deals and investment opportunities.

Revision as of 22:27, 5 August 2012

Money is the most versatile tool in existence. Every Freeborn is to one degree or another looking to “make their fortune” because wealth brings status and luxury and it gives you a freedom that is denied to the poor.

Freeborn traders go beyond the frankness that is normal for everyday Freeborn and strive for a degree of honesty that would shame a priest. They regard it as a matter of skill to obtain the best possible price while being utterly open about the goods they sell. This probity is not driven solely by moral concerns, but also practical ones. The Freeborn have achieved an extraordinary reputation for not cheating their customers; a reputation that drives business to their door. Any Freeborn trader who stoops to lying about their merchandise for the sake of a better deal, puts the prosperity of all Freeborn at risk. As a result they protect this reputation very aggressively. Freeborn traders who do seek to twist a deal or sell a light load are dealt with without mercy.

When an outsider thinks of a Freeborn trader, they are often thinking of the proprietor of a parador. Brass Coast towns always have at least one parador, a communal social house of music, story-telling, drinking and dance. At the end of a hard day of work the people of the Freeborn can often be found here discussing their latest ventures or telling extravagant and grand tales of their ancestors, friends and relatives.

As with most Freeborn businesses, a parador is traditionally owned by an extended family invested in their upkeep and operation. Any given family will often maintain more than one structure, or operate a “travelling parador” akin to a circus or fair. In addition to the services and entertainments they provide, the best paradors are places of trade. While a lot of formal business takes place at the bazaar, the parador is where merchants go to relax and it is often where the real business of complex trade takes place. While the bazaar is a fine place to visit if you want a new pair of shoes or a sword, the parador is where merchants can informally come to an agreement over chilled fruit and wine concerning more risky ventures, bulk deals and investment opportunities.

When it comes to making financial agreements more complex than a direct exchange of goods, Freeborn are most comfortable dealing through contracts. A contract lays down the responsibilities and expectations of both sides of an agreement. The best contracts are short, clear and precise, and contain at least one “get out” clause that allows the participants to get out of the contract without losing face (usually by paying a sum of money to the other side of the contract).

As a consequence, Freeborn merchants usually seek out the services of a professional Scrivener to formalise their relationships. A discreet, neutral scrivener can work out and witness a contract that satisfies both parties, and they are very much in demand. Combining the skill to express ideas simply and clearly in writing with a talent for arbitrating between individuals to help them express what they actually want, these scriveners are the backbone of Freeborn economic life. The Freeborn prefer to abide by the letter of a contract, rather than the “spirit". Arguments about what was “meant” by the contract are inevitably circular and unhelpful. Where the meaning of a contract must be discussed or clarified, it is again to the professional scrivener that the Freeborn merchant turns. The best scriveners are also artists, or employ someone capable of making their contracts look attractive and professional with fine calligraphy and colourful flourishes. A disproportionate number of Scriveners are of the Cambion Lineage. Common superstition suggests that their connection to the Autumn Realm helps them to instinctively understand how to frame a contract, and their blood marked on a document is traditionally held to grant good fortune to the enterprise involved.

The Freeborn are not the strongest military in the Empire, but there is one area where their strength is uncontested – on the open seas. Every Freeborn tribe includes dozens of families who make their living as Corsairs, sea-borne raiders who prey on barbarian shipping passing through the Bay of Catazar. The Freeborn detest piracy, but they regard privateering as a perfectly legitimate form of warfare, albeit a highly profitable one.

Corsair groups are usually Freeborn families who own one or more seaworthy vessels. Corsairs are not just privateers, they commonly engage in foreign trade. A common saying suggests that the only difference between a privateer and a merchant is that the privateers get their goods cheaper.

Regardless of how they choose to interact with foreigners, corsairs are often a source of goods unobtainable within the Empire. If the Freeborn applaud the triumphs of their corsairs, and enjoy the wealth and plunder they bring back, the Empire tolerate it because the Corsairs are effective in dissuading the barbarians who dwell across the bay from attempting a naval invasion. Only the fear of the power of the Corsairs keeps the southern coasts of the Empire free of invaders.

The Freeborn lands are rich in luxuries - especially fine wines and ports from their orchards and vinyards. Their ships sail far afield, bringing back bounty from foreign lands. Their expertise as entertainers is rarely matched within the Empire. The only thing the Freeborn do not buy or sell are slaves. Slavery of Imperial Citizens is illegal in the Empire, and the Freeborn take no part in the trade even when overseas. The Freeborn philosophy is that society is best served when every individual is responsible for themselves and to themselves. While the Freeborn do not hold with slavery, they approve of the idea of hard work as punishment, treating the wages a criminal might have earnt doing a job honestly as payment towards the resolution of their crime. Deep mines sunk into the Kahraman mountains tap veins of precious ores and gemstones, and are worked by gangs of convicted criminals.