The League is a nation where ritual and convention are important. The more common customs practiced by the majority of League include:

Wealth exists to be seen

The best of everything” might as well be the League motto. The nation is a crossroads for trade in all kinds of luxury goods, and being able to set a fine table is the mark of a solid citizen, regardless of social position. While outsiders sometimes criticize the League for being a den of greed and miserliness, this is largely unsupported prejudice. Wealth exists partly to "keep score" but it's true value lies in its ability to acquire the fruits of civilization - beautiful things, comfortable clothes, delicate jewellry, inspiring entertainment, a secure home and a secure lifestyle. It achieves very little if it is simply stored in a vault.

Citizens of the League love to give presents to their friends - and even their enemies. The giving of gifts is a traditional way of improving one’s social standing, and it is considered consummately rude to refuse a gift that is not obviously dangerous. The value of the gift is important, but the cleverness and appropriateness of the gift is much more vital. It is the icing on the cake for society to see you giving a grand gift to your rival, when they know that you have ruined them – the rules of the League etiquette dictate that they will smile and bow and bite back the bile as they accept. It is the mark of a true Merchant Prince that they are as gracious in defeat as in success.


Formal duelling is an accepted way of settling disputes, although duelling to the death is illegal. Duelling scars are usually worn as a badge of honour. Public challenges are, by tradition, announced in the marketplace, and duels between well-known individuals can attract quite the crowd. Traditionally duels were fought with either a sword or dagger, but the admittance of Temeshwar and Holberg to the League has seen this custom largely abandoned outside the Catazarri cities and duelists use whichever melee weapon they favour. It is considered a little gauche, especially by those of Catazarri descent, to use a shield.

Small Rules, Small Manners

"Manners" are important, whether it is a veneer of politeness in discussions with ones business rivals, or ensuring that one is always punctual for an arranged meeting. Citizens of the League consider themselves rational and civilized but they have a few important superstitions that grow out of their respect for manners. Like being punctual, superstitions form part of the rules of everyday life. Nobody really draws attention to them, but everyone is at least peripherally aware of them.

The most widespread and well known superstitions include:

  • It is unlucky to stick a knife in to a loaf - bread is torn, not cut.
  • Spilt wine brings misfortune - though that can be be remedied by dabbing a little of the wine behind each ear
  • One must always look into the other person’s eyes when toasting
  • The colours purple and black are considered colours of mourning when worn together; an unlucky combination that is to be avoided at other times.

Few actually believe these old superstitions have any power, but still most citizens avoid breaking them if they can. Breaking these "small rules" invites distrust, because it suggests you are the sort of person who cannot be trusted to follow even simple rules. If you cannot obey the small, simple rules how can you be expected to obey the important, complex ones? A citizen taken to task for following these superstitions is likely to be a little shamefaced, and it is the height of rudeness to draw attention to them.

Small Talk

Citizens of the League consider sharing information to be a national past-time. Very often, the cities are built up rather than out – particularly in the Jewelled City of Sarvos, where space is a premium – meaning that families are, quite literally, living on top of each other. In these cramped conditions it is difficult to pretend not to know the business of ones neighbours; and most simply don’t – conversation easily turns to what your neighbours have done, the games that your Merchant Princes are playing amongst themselves, who owes what to whom; and which stories are being told about them. There is an element of competition here as in most things in the League - a person who consistently has information that is interesting, useful and factual demonstrates their superiority over someone who doesn't.

Most importantly to remember, however, is that talk will always, always take a back seat to action when needed – and citizens of the League have never been shy to draw a blade when the time finally comes.


Performance and display are important parts of life in the League, and the arts are seen as a valuable way both to express one's wealth and one's appreciaton of what it means to be "cultured." Different arts wax an wane in popularity, but the theatre has maintained constant popularity since the early days of the League. The Nation claims to have invented the idea of theatrical performance, and is inordinately proud of it. From the towering theatres patronized by the rich to the squalid backrooms of taverns where an impromptu performance of "The Steel Throne" attracts a crowd of heckling drunkards, performance is everywhere. Theatre holds a mirror up to life, it allows people to relax and be entertained or informed, and for many it is an almost magical experience. It is perhaps no surprise that the most well-known and powerful magicians in the League are actors. Theatres compete to offer patronage to the most popular and experienced troupes and playwrights, and competion is fierce and occasionally violent.