TRADE IN GLORANTHA
Copyright c 1994 by Gerald Bosch
I updated it with the permission of Loren Miller the original holder of
the Website Fabulous World.
Jeremy Baker made Good PDF Format Document.
Jeremy's Site is here:
My purpose in doing this is to provide gamemasters with a set of tools to run trader characters and also to allow them to fill in the background more fully. The way that household production works, for example, will determine what goods are available for trade, but it also contributes to how the family works, what that farmyard the characters walk into looks like, how cities work... any number of things. I want to allow the gamemaster who likes world-spanning campaigns to be able to run trade all over, while also allowing the gamemaster who runs detailed local campaigns to get a better feel for the productive life of his community. It is important to bear in mind that all this is very much my vision of Glorantha. I tried to hold to the written sources, but in the absence of other material, I decided what regions I thought should produce various goods, what regions would want them, what things were important to include and what to ignore, so feel free to take issue with any of this and to use and discard at will.
I have confined myself to the regions and cultures described in the Genertela source pack. These notes are really only about human trade. Although Trolls are superficially similar to humans in some ways relating to trade, Mostali and Aldryami (not to mention Dragonnewts!) are so alien in needs and in mindset that their economic priorities are bound to be different than those of mortal humans who must produce and consume to survive.
Notes on Trade
In trying to discuss trade in Genertela, I will be using a number of idea from economic theory (but rarely discussing them...that was close, huh?). To do this, I am assuming that certain things that economists hold to be true on Earth are also true on Glorantha:
Relative scarcity determines value:
In other words, the value of a good is determined by how much there is, how many people want it, and how badly those people want it.
All other things being equal, people will give up as little as possible for whatever it is they want.
A person looking at identical or interchangeable goods will buy the cheaper one. This does not mean, however, that a rabid Sartarite patriot wouldn't buy something at higher cost from an Issaries merchant that he could get cheaper from that hated Etyries merchant. In addition to his goods, he is buying the right to trade with who he wants.
The Gloranthan economy operates like pre-industrial economies on Earth.
This is probably the most controversial assumption I'm making, but I think it holds up. This doesn't mean I'm thinking in direct analogues (although this seems plausible with the West): For example, my ideas about Peloria combine agricultural techniques from Mesoamerica with irrigation techniques from the Nile and an agricultural and marketing organization from ancient Rome. I believe the fit is general, and varies by location.
Material concerns interact equally with socio-cultural concerns in shaping Gloranthan economic realities.
I'm rejecting the idea that the material realities determine the cultural ones as well as the idea that culture overrides material concerns. Both interact to create the Gloranthan landscape (I include the mythic with the cultural).
Profit & Trade
One important idea to consider when designing elements of the game related to trade is that people exchange things for other things because they believe that what they are getting is worth more than what they are giving up. In other words, people are seeking profit in exchanges- they are not simply trading in order to trade. Profit can assume many forms beyond the acquisition of material wealth. A piece of art provides an aesthetic value beyond its purchase price to one who appreciates it, whatever the general market price. A donation to a charity can provide the giver a certain social status, the feeling of having others be grateful, or just joy in the happiness of others. Each of these id profit of a sort.
This doesn't mean that people are always happy about the terms of exchange. A person dying of dehydration in the Vulture Country might not want to give up all their metal goods to those Bison Riders in return for water, but if they value their life above their goods, they will make the exchange. This is an important point-- just because someone doesn't like the trade they are making doesn't mean they aren't making a "profit". Merchants turning a decent profit have been complaining about the prices they pay and the value they receive since time immemorial. In the absence of physical force (i.e. theft or taxation), people will not exchange goods unless they think they are getting more than they are giving up.
When determining whether trade in a good exists between two places, there are a number of factors to consider:
Supply--Is there a surplus of the good at the point of production? How much are they willing to give up? What do the producers want for it?
Demand--Is there a demand for the good elsewhere? If so, do those who want the good have the means to pay for it?
Substitutability--Is there a local good that can replace the good in question? If there is, why do the locals want to pay to import the foreign good? (Why would a Praxian tribe buy Sartarite leather goods when they can make the stuff themselves?--If there isn't some other factor, such as superior durability or attractiveness, that offsets the difference in cost, they probably wouldn't.)
Transportation costs--Can the good be moved from point A to point B? If so, how much will it cost to do so? A famous economist once said that a market for a particular good on Earth and the same market on Mars can be said to be linked, the only difference in price is the cost of transportation. Whether the consumer is willing to pay that additional cost will determine whether a trade route can develop between two points.
The means for moving goods from point A to point B are vitally important in understanding trade. Goods can be moved in four ways, listed here in descending order of cost: human power, animal power, wagon, and water.
The costliest way of moving goods is by having humans carry them. Human beings are weaker than any draft animal, and more stubborn. They can, however, adapt themselves to conditions no animal could.
Animals have a much higher capacity than humans for carrying goods. They are also able, depending on the species, to move over broken and difficult ground. They are, however, susceptible to a number of diseases and environmental conditions, and must be fed and watered. Animals transporting goods cannot simply graze, because while they are moving around in search of edible ground cover, they aren't hauling their loads from point A to point B.
An animal's capacity for moving goods is greatly increased by hitching them to wagons. The problem is that wagons require either relatively flat and open ground or roads. Some areas of Genertela are blessed with good road systems, but many are not.
By far the least expensive way of moving goods is water transport. Even in the modern world, a longer sea voyage is usually preferable to a shorter land voyage for most bulk goods, hence bulk goods being shipped from one coast of the U.S. to another are routinely shipped via Panama rather than by rail. Water transport is also generally faster and more reliable. In the Eighteenth century it took less time for a piece of mail to travel from Boston to London than it did for a piece of mail to travel from London to the West Country of Ireland.
Long distance land-based trade is usually only possible with low-bulk, high value goods. The spice and silk trade between Europe and Asia is a good example. Even that trade, however, used rivers and seas wherever possible. The trade in Indian cottons, by comparison, was only possible once sea links around Africa had been secured.
Gloranthan caravans were greatly stimulated by the Closing, and are now slowly being strangled by competition from the sea. When adventurers do encounter caravans, they can be sure they will be laden with highly valuable and relatively easily transportable goods.
Production & Consumption
The purpose for all economic activity is consumption, the use of resources be they food, clothing, magic goods, whatever. Any process that leads to consumption is production, from gathering walnuts to manufacturing a Protection 4 Matrix. Trade only exists as a way to convert production into different types of consumption (Trading the Protection 4 Matrix you manufactured/produced for a fine horse you want to use/consume.)
The bulk of people in Glorantha are engaged in primary production, in using their labor to provide directly for their own needs. They are farmers, herders, or hunters and they spend the bulk of their time producing food, shelter, and clothing. This is true even in those societies that are the most highly urbanized. These people produce most of what they consume and consume most of what they produce, leaving little surplus for trade. A minority of people are involved in secondary production, the trading of skills and labor for the necessities of life. These people include everyone from warriors to artisans to merchants to nobles to priests, anyone who doesn't actual kill, raise, or grow their own food.
If we use the cultural categories provided by RuneQuest (primitive/hsunchen, nomad, barbarian, civilized) we can see an increasing specialization of economic functions, leading to increasing numbers of people working in secondary production.
Almost all production amongst the various hsunchen peoples is primary. Only shamen exist off of selling their skills to the tribe. The rest of these hunter-gatherers produce all their necessities themselves and consume very few things they do not produce. If terrestrial hunter-gatherers are any guide, the bulk of their diet is actually produced by gathering (usually done by the women and children). What trade they engage in is mostly geared toward luxury items. They usually have no formal market structures, and outside traders hoping to deal with them must go to where they are liable to have congregated.
The nomadic cultures of Pent and Prax are somewhat more specialized economically than the various hsunchen peoples, but are still mostly self-sufficient. Most nomads are herder, hunter, craftsperson, warrior, all combined. Once again, if terrestrial models are any guide, most of these people's diet comes from non-animal sources, either gathering or small-scale gardening at semi-permanent camps. Part of this role in Prax is taken up by the Oasis Peoples. The nomads are somewhat more inclined towards trade with livestock acting as the basis of wealth.
The biggest step toward economic specialization comes with agriculture. The Theyalans are able to support a wide range of secondary producers, including nobles, priests, specialized craftspeople, and merchants. The food production of the Theyalan cultures is somewhat specialized between pastoralists and agriculturalists, but most Orlanthi are small peasant free- holders growing grain, gardening, and raising some livestock. Local trade is dominated by village markets linked into larger trade patterns with the cities. Most people are still rather removed from trade and are mostly self-sufficient except for certain manufactured goods.
The Western, Pelorian, and Kralorelan cultures enjoy an even higher level of economic specialization than does the Theyalan. In each of these areas, most people are peasant farmers whose lives are very similar to those in Theyalan culture. The major difference is that most of these are not free-holders, they are required to pay a portion of their crop to a landlord (usually a nobleman). Supplementary agricultural labor (beyond what the household can provide) usually comes from the local poor or from one-year indentures of young people from other families.
These cultures also have a number of primary producers who are bound to the land in one sense or another. They may be the serfs who live in the farming villages of Seshnela or the coloni working the huge grain farms of the Lunar Heartland, but in each case they own next to nothing and are unable to leave the land without permission.
Most trading among these farmers, bound and unbound, is very small scale. There are regular local produce markets that also provide access to a limited amount of goods from outside the area.
The economic specialization of these cultures also allows them to support an urban society comprised of merchants, craftspeople and a small wage labor market. It is in the urban areas that the bulk of trade goes on. These people use money more often than their rural counterparts, allowing them more access to a wider variety of goods.
Most urban wage-earning families supplement their income with small-scale gardening. The keeping of gardens and livestock within cities was more common than not until recent times. There are estimates that suggest that as much as one-third of the support for an urban family in the industrial northeast of the US during the nineteenth century came from gardening, raising animals, and selling homebrew (all of this done entirely by the women and children, who were also wage-earners). I assume this is also the case in Gloranthan cities.
Household production plays a large part in most industries (especially textiles). When Europeans were paying top money for Indian textiles, most of the Indian textile production was done in the home. An entrepreneur would bring around raw materials and then come back later and buy the finished pieces which he then sold to the cloth merchants. The same "out-work" system also operated in Europe. This system is in operation in most areas of Genertela, but in Fronela and Teshnos especially.
Young, unmarried craftspeople, who are learning their trades, join a skilled craftsperson's house, and are supported by the household system. When supplemented with unskilled wage labor, this system produces the urban workshops that are the genesis of modern factories. This type of production is common in Safelster, Peloria, and Kralorela.
The end result of these different types of manufacturing are rarely sold directly. The manufacturer usually sells to a merchant who then retails the item to the consumer.
Large-scale retailing is a result of industrialization, modern transportation, mass production, an urban society, and the fact that mean individual income in the west has increased by a factor of twelve since 1700. Without all of these elements, there is no support for modern retail stores. This doesn't mean that people in Glorantha, particularly in towns, don't buy things. It means that most things are bought on a piecework basis. The model is a tailor shop. A person walks in and orders an item of clothing, the tailor takes measurements and then makes that item from raw materials in stock, and then sells it to the customer. Some common items will be held in stock, but not many. Most things will be made-to-order.
We can think about Gloranthan trade as falling into two broad categories: local and long-distance. Local trade usually occurs within a cluster of villages which have a regular market in a central village. Other possibilities include meetings between different clans or tribes among hsunchen and nomadic peoples. The trade is in locally produced goods. One village has a bumper crop of yams, another has had a bad year, but has cloth to trade. There is also trade for superior versions of commonly made goods. One example might be a metalsmith who is known to be particularly skilled, so people from all over the area come to trade with him, bypassing other smiths. Another example is a particular nomad who is very good at leatherworking, so other nomads trade extra meat or milk to him for items they could produce themselves, but not as well.
The villages (or meeting places, or whatever) on the peripheries of these clusters will be linked to another cluster and so on... Villages that have local markets one week can also trade in markets in neighboring villages on others. Villages close to a city might schedule their marketing around that city's market days. For nomads and hsunchen, this type of marketing would occur at oases, clanmoots, or during religious ceremonies that bring different groups together at regular intervals.
These markets facilitate local trade, but they can also act as a conduit for transferring goods from further away in short jumps, one market to another. Thus they are also part of long- distance trade. A trader at a local market sells goods that are not produced locally. Some of these goods will be consumed in the area where they are originally sold, but others will be carried to the next market by another local trader, and so on, until there is no profit left to be gained from another re-sale.
There is also the case of the wandering merchant who tries to by-pass the costs of these repeated re-sales. This merchant buys his goods at the point of production, then by-passes several intermediate local markets to sell directly to a more distant one.
The other component in long-distance trade is the stereotypical large international merchant. This person operates in a major port or other large trading hub, and has shipping contacts, or owns their own shipping. They buy goods in large quantities from some distance away for import or from local producers for export. These merchants sell the goods to smaller retail traders who then introduce them into local trade. (A large vertically-integrated firm could combine these operations--the same person owns the production facilities, the necessary transportation, and employs smaller merchants to sell the goods. The Hausa of West Africa are good examples of pre-modern traders of this type.) They also buy their local products from these smaller traders, who in turn buy them from the actual producers (see my comments about "out-work" in the discussion on textiles).
Much of this cycle of trading will originate in a city. Local trading has been continual in human history, but the evolution of large-scale commerce has always been linked to the towns. This is why Europe's mercantile age began with the Italian renaissance and why China has one of the longest commercial traditions in human history. The population densities associated with urban cultures encourage specialization of labor and trade.
Note that the Issaries cult has sub-cults which reflect each of these types of trader. The Harst trader is the local villager who supplements his or her income by small-scale trading. The Goldentongue is the wandering merchant, moving from city to local market, and then between local markets. The Garzeen is the large-scale trader specializing in foreign trade. Thus, a Garzeen merchant in a large city buys goods from a distant place (perhaps brought in by a Goldentongue caravan). The Garzeen sells these goods to several Goldentongue merchants and some local smaller-scale urban Garzeen retailers. The Goldentongues then take the goods out into the countryside, selling them to smaller-scale Goldentongues who carry the goods to further markets, local Harst traders who sell to their neighbors, and local consumers. The Lokarnos and Etyries cults may or may not have the same sort of sub-cults, but they would definitely have members fulfilling the same roles.
Rural areas and people living in wildernesses tend to be self-sufficient in foodstuffs (and if they fall short they rarely have the wherewithal to purchase food). Merchants involved in food trading are usually trying to sell to cities. Long distance trade in foodstuffs is probably rather rare.
Foodstuffs tend to have a low value to weight ratio making them expensive to transport. There is also the problem of perishability. Grains will usually stand up to transportation, but most fruits, vegetables, meat, and animal produce (milk, eggs, etc...) will be produced locally (within a day's journey), even in the case of cities (research indicates that medieval cities fed themselves from sources within 30 kilometers, except where access to navigable rivers or the sea was possible). Whatever isn't produced locally will have to be preserved in some way (dried, salted, etc...). Most cities will have people keeping livestock inside the city proper.
Water transportation will allow for long distance trading in grains, but only when there is a good market waiting at the other end of the journey. All Gloranthan economies are agrarian, pastoral, or hunter/gatherer, and thus are mostly self- sufficient. Even when an area experiences a famine, it is unlikely that those starving will have anything to trade for imported foods (for a terrestrial example of this, see eastern Africa for the last few decades). Long distance trade in foods will usually exist in order to feed a city. A city provides for a market and for the necessary concentration of wealth to make such a trade profitable. This is one of the reasons why pre- industrial cities tended to be on or near bays or rivers, access to the necessary water transport allowed food prices to be kept low enough to allow that concentration of population to develop. The best terrestrial example of a pre-industrial long distance trade in food is ancient Rome, which was able to feed itself on Sicilian and Egyptian grain.
The Oslir river is one of the most important grain routes in Genertela. Given the magical ecology of the region, it seems likely that the Oslir floods regularly, like the Nile, and thus provides rich harvests and ready transportation. The Poralistor is important for moving Oslir valley grain throughout the Lunar Empire. The Lunar Empire subsidizes grain shipments and other trade through the Sweet Sea and down the Janube into Fronela (see my notes on the Etyries cult below). This trade has been disrupted by the rise of the Kingdom of War, leading to higher grain prices in Sog City and more importation from the sea.
Choralinthor bay is another busy place for grain ships. Esrolian grain feeds the entire basin. The Lysos would provide inland transport capacity, although the Upland Marsh would prevent Esrolian grain from moving much further north by water. The excellent roads in Sartar make overland grain transport somewhat less expensive, allowing Esrolian grain into the area even though Dragon Pass is fairly self-sufficient in terms of food. Esrolian grain is also be sold as far west as Ralios (through Handra and the riverain trade route), Seshnela (through Noloswal) and Fronela (through Sog City) if grain prices in those regions are high enough (due to bad local harvests, war, good harvests in Esrolia, etc...), although these areas are also usually self-sufficient.
The waterways of Kralorela are filled with barges moving rice to the rest of the region, and perhaps into the East Isles as well (but probably not to Vormain). It seems unlikely, however, that there is any foreign trade in grain with the west.
Textiles were one of the earliest and most important long distance trade items in human history, as well as being on of the earliest and most important manufacturing industries. Most textiles (and I include raw materials, cloth, and finished goods in that term), like most other items in Glorantha, are produced, traded, and consumed locally. Most rural families produce their own clothes, only in cities will one find tailor's shops, although rural families might buy high quality ready-made cloth as a luxury item.
Most traded textiles are produced through the "out-work" system. An entrepreneur buys raw materials, sells them to skilled producers who usually work in the home, buys the finished cloth from them, and then sells the cloth. In the absence of modern commercial retailing, mass produced clothing is non- existent, although certain unfitted items, like cloaks, togas, saris, etc... will be made in advance of sale. Some large cities support large workshops similar to small factories.
Only high quality textiles will be traded over any distance. The most significant example is silk from Kralorela. Although most areas of Glorantha produce small amounts of silk, the majority of that cloth comes from Chi Ting, home of the "Friendly Silkworms". Kralorela's other textile needs are met internally. The Kingdom of Ignorance could provide a potential market for foreign woolens, but the inhabitants are too cut off and poor to afford them. Silk provides one of Kralorela's main exports.
High quality cotton goods are produced in western Peloria and in Teshnos. The Teshnan cotton is grown in the countryside and processed in Dombain. The resulting fabric is called Teshnan and is exported to Kethaela and to the West. Pelorian cotton is grown around Oronin Lake, then shipped up the Poralistor to Elz Ast where a guild of skilled craftsmen creates Elzastin cloth. Elzastin is exported down the Poralistor to the Sweet Sea and then to Fronela, and up the Oslir into the empire and onward through Dragon Pass into Kethaela.
Fronelan craftspeople produce a high quality linen from flax grown around Ozur Bay. The cloth woven in Northpoint and Southpoint is called Fronelan Point and is exported upriver to Peloria, and by sea to Seshnela and Kethaela.
Tarshite, Sartarite, and Heortland raw wool is shipped to Nochet where a high quality woolen industry operates. These woolens are then shipped west to Seshnela, Ralios, and Fronela, and north through Dragon Pass into Peloria.
(For purposes of simplicity I will use the names of terrestrial equivalents for all metals.)
Most common ores suffer from the same problem that food does, a low value to weight ratio that makes it unprofitable to transport them very far. The solution here is the same as with grain--water transport. Most common metals will not be moved very far before being processed and sold, in that most places in Genertela are relatively close to sources for those metals, except in the case of Prax. There we find a vibrant overland trade in metal goods, but one that is being slowly supplanted by imports through Corflu and up to Pavis.
One further note on Prax: Do not underestimate the importance of the trade in more mundane metal items, such as tools and knives. Flint and bone are simply not as good for these uses (imagine trying to skin an animal with a sharpened piece of flint, and you can understand).
Iron is, of course, the most valuable metal in Glorantha, and thus can absorb fairly high transport costs before losing its value. This makes iron in Glorantha a lot like gold on Earth, a very useful medium for long distance exchange, but with the added benefit of having a number of practical uses as well.
The major source of iron for Genertela is the Iron Mountains in Seshnela. Lesser sources include Bad Deal in Ralios, Noastor in the Jord Mountains of Peloria, and Dwarf Mine in Dragon Pass. Despite the existence of the Iron Forts, there seems to be no source of iron in Kralorela (My theory is that these are artifacts from before the God's War and as such are outside normal explanations).
The iron trade routes generally run west to east along the coast, with iron getting more expensive along the way. With the array of trade goods being exported from Kralorela and Teshnos (see below), a trading situation much like that between pre- industrial Europe and Asia has arisen. Textiles, spices, and luxury goods are traded westward while iron, other precious metals, and gems are traded eastward. This drain on "specie" keeps iron prices and the value of money high in Genertela.
Gold runs a close second to iron in value in Glorantha. Gold has a slightly higher value among the solar cultures in Peloria and Kralorela due to its mythical links with the Sun. All official monetary transactions in Kralorela are carried out in gold, although there is a vibrant "shadow economy" in other specie. In Peloria the existing solar currency has been supplemented by a more diverse Lunar currency.
The magical ecology of Genertela also has ensured that these two areas are the major sources of gold in Glorantha. Large deposits exist in the Shan Shan mountains and in open pit mines in Dara Happa. Smaller alluvial deposits can be found in most rivers running from the Rockwood mountains, especially in Wenelia. Gold is widely circulated throughout Genertela, but there is a definite specie drain towards Kralorela.
Silver runs well behind iron and gold in value, but is widely circulated. There is little specie drain of silver toward Kralorela, and thus silver prices remain stable in terms of local goods and are dropping in terms of gold (as gold becomes more scarce, less gold will buy an equal amount of silver). This makes silver a more stable medium for currency and helps explain its prevalence in Genertela west of the Wastes. There are numerous silver mines in Genertela, but the largest sources are in the Storm Mountains south of Dragon Pass.
The next most valuable metal is Quicksilver or Aluminum. It is little traded in most of Genertela, however. The only source for it is trade with Mermen. It is mostly valued for decorative purposes or for curiosity, although some western sorcerers value it for magical purposes. There is a rumor that Vormain contains a land-accessible source of the metal. There is another rumor that purchasers for the Lunar Empire have been snatching up whatever pieces they can get in the markets around Choralinthor Bay.
Tin is valued mostly for its usefulness in creating bronze. The major source of tin in Genertela is mines in Caladraland. Kethaelan merchants trade tin north to Tarsh (up the Lysos, then overland for a short distance), west by sea to Ralios (through Handra), Seshnela, and Fronela, and east by sea to Kralorela.
Bronze is the most commonly used metal in Glorantha. It is made up of the bones of dead Storm gods and, since the Storm gods fought and died everywhere, is as common as iron ore on Earth. There are open pit bronze mines everywhere, except Prax, the Wastes, and Pent. There are probably ore deposits there as well, but they remain undiscovered due to the difficulties involved in prospecting amongst the nomads. The bronze supply in central Genertela is supplemented by the availability of tin from Caladraland, which, when mixed with easily available copper, also creates bronze. Because of this, bronze is slightly cheaper in Kethaela, Dragon Pass, and southern Peloria than it is elsewhere. This lower price helps bolster the trade into Prax. Most bronze trading occurs inside the broader regions of Genertela.
Copper is an common metal due to its association with the very deities who make up the earth (or perhaps its association is due to its ubiquity). Almost any mountainous region on Glorantha will have some copper deposits, and most rivers will have alluvial deposits. (Since the Aldryami commonly use copper, and I can't picture them mining, in my campaign most of their copper comes from rivers in the forests and the rest from trading with humans). The largest copper deposits are found in the Mislari mountains and in those rivers running from them. Ralian mine owners pay the Basim for the right to mine areas close to the riverain trade route to Handra. This is the only copper exporting area in Genertela.
Lead is most valued among the Uz, but human have uses for it as well, especially in certain types of decorating and manufactures. The most active human trading in lead occurs in the cities of Safelster in Ralios, where the manufacturing interests buy lead ore from the Argan Argar caravans operating between Guhan and Halikiv.
This is a catch-all term for a wide variety of low-bulk, high-value goods that only those with at least moderate wealth can afford. This can include any number of items, but I will discuss essences/perfumes, gemstones, woods, beverages, drugs, herbs, spices, and slaves.
Essences and perfumes, like most goods, will mostly be produced and consumed locally. Only a few special items command sufficient price to be shipped long distances. The following is a list of expensive scents used in Genertela and their places of origin.
Essential Scent Source
Red Lotus Kralorela
Purple Rose Ralios
The single most important source of gemstones in Glorantha is Caladraland in Maniria. The Mostali of Gemborg sell diamonds, rubies and sapphires to traders who then sell them throughout Genertela. Caladraland and the Shadow Plateau are both major sources of onyx as well. Choralinthor Bay and the inland waterways of Kralorela are both sources for pearls. Kralorela is also the only source for jade. Emeralds are imported from the East Isles, and are highly prized. Another precious material is ivory, the major sources of which are walrus tusks from the White Sea and elephant tusks from Teshnos.
There are two types of wood that are widely traded in Genertela. The first is a broad category called dyewoods. As the name suggests, these woods are source for various dyes. Different dyewoods can be found in coastal Wenelia, Fethlon in Teshnos, and on various of the East Isles. Another highly prized wood is sandalwood, which grows in Teshnos. Sandalwood is used for making decorative boxes and very expensive furniture (like thrones) in central Genertela.
A number of high quality beverages enter into long distance trade. Peloria, Esrolia, and Sartar are each known for distinctive types of whiskey, the finest of which are traded with each other, into Prax, and to the west. The Dara Happa region is known for a variety of fine quality wines and brandies which find a ready foreign market to the south and west. Teshnos and Kralorela both produce distinctive teas which are highly valued in western and central Genertela. Caladraland produces coffee for most of Genertela. A distinctive coffee grown only in Jrustela called Blue Mountain has recently begun to reappear in small amounts in major trading ports.
A few drugs are also traded for those wealthy enough to afford them. Hazia smuggling from Prax into Peloria continues despite continual efforts by solar cults at both ends to wipe it out. Opium is grown and used in Teshnos and is also traded into Kralorela for silks and gold, despite official disapproval. Increasing amounts of opium are appearing in the other trading cities of Genertela. Can Shu, the current Exarch of Bliss in Ignorance is subsidizing exports of Black Lotus Dust. Most of this goes into the rest of Kralorela, Teshnos, Vormain, and the East Isles, but some is making its way into the rest of Genertela. Small amounts of the drug have always been carried into Peloria via Pentan nomads.
Some herbs are traded over long distances. Belladonna and Hemlock from Esrolia play a major role in Lunar Dart Competitions. Aloe from Teshnos and Kralorela finds a ready market in most major cities, so much so that entrepreneurs have tried to transplant it into the Zola Fel valley. Wenelian camomile is used throughout Kethaela and Dragon Pass as a cold remedy. A number of cantharides are made from the giant beetles of Dagori Inkarth and are traded into the major cities of the Oslir valley as cures and aphrodisiacs.
Spices have long been a staple of international trade on Earth and the same is true on Glorantha. Cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg from the East Isles are increasing sought in central Genertela generally. Kralorelan black pepper is a major export item, as is Caladraland's red pepper. One spice whose popularity is rapidly growing throughout central and western Genertela is processed sugar. First grown in Teshnos, sugar cane has now been transplanted into the lower Zola Fel valley by Lunar entrepreneurs seeking to cash in on this quickly growing market.
The slave trade is an unpleasant fact of life in much of Glorantha. There are a number of problems with long-distance trading in slaves, especially the injury to the slaves (thereby lessening their selling price) and the danger of revolt/escape (a cargo of silks rarely tries to kill the merchant carrying them!). In terrestrial history, most long-distance trading in slaves was an adjunct to another, more lucrative trade (gold in the trans- Saharan trade, and the general vibrancy of the Mediterranean trade). The exception was the Atlantic trade to the slave plantations in which there was a combination of unusually low costs at the point of purchase, cheap transport rates since the trade was almost entirely by sea or river, and a very high demand at the end due to the extremely lucrative nature of the early Atlantic commodities trade. In general, Genertelan slave trading is liable to be fairly local and fairly small scale except in areas with large slave-worked agricultural industries.
Extensive use of slaves in the households of the rich is common in Peloria and in Kralorela, and less so elsewhere. There are only a few areas in Genertela that support chattel slavery such as existed in the Atlantic slave economy on Earth. The huge grain farms of Peloria are worked by slaves, mostly locals or war captives of the Lunar Empire. The sugar plantations in the Zola Fel valley and in Teshnos are slave worked, as are the tea plantations of Teshnos and Kralorela. Some rice farming in Kralorela is done by slaves as well. These areas get their supplies locally, since there is no abundant source of cheap slaves such as Africa was in the 16th to 19th centuries.
Some written sources have named Prax as a source for slave exports, but it seems unlikely given the low population density there and the difficulties in transporting slaves overland. Also, it seems likely that the slaves taken in Praxian tribal conflicts are more valuable for their ability to increase the tribal workforce than they would be for trade. It is more likely that the vast majority of Praxian slaves are bought by other Praxians or people living in the Pavis and the Zola Fel valley.
Magical goods are a mixed bag when it comes to trade value. They are high-value, low-bulk goods, and so are excellent for trade. Many of them, however, are also widely available and thus do not gain value by being transported (as does, say, bronze when you move it from Sartar to Pavis). Given the widespread nature of the God's War, it seems likely that magic crystals are available in each major region. They will be traded locally, but are unlikely to be widely traded between regions.
Since truestone is only found in Prax, it is an exception to the general run of magical goods. It will gain in value the farther it is transported from Prax, but only for those who can use it (i.e. theists).
It seems likely that most traders in magical goods will specialize in supplying regional markets. An Issaries merchant might go to someone capable of making spirit magic matrices (I use the Gustbran cult for this) and commission them to make, say, ten Protection 4 matrices on rings. The merchant will then haul these rings to a place where there is no local capacity for creating such rings and where there is liable to be unfulfilled demand for them (such as an encamped army).
Temples won't create divine magic matrices for sale, nor will most sorcerers. Such items come to market because the original owners lost them (usually through violence). Spirit magic matrices and crystals are another matter, these are traded by specialty merchants to those few clients able to buy them.
In these notes I will concentrate on major imports and exports, as well as notable internal trades. It would be impossible to describe every aspect of trading in Genertela. What I have tried to do here has been to suggest ideas which the gamemaster can then expand upon for regional development as well as providing a little detail for use when PCs are "just passing through".
I have tried to remain faithful to what documentation I have available to me, but in some cases I have had to make things up out of whole cloth. I hope you find my improvising useful and know that you will chuck anything you don't like in any case!
Imports: iron and horses from Seshnela, Ralian manufactures, indigo and other dyes, grain from Peloria and sometimes Esrolia, textiles from Esrolia and the East, small amounts of luxury goods
Exports: Sorcerous items and knowledge from Sog City, Fronelan Point linens, bearhounds (large canines sought as fighting dogs in Seshnela and points east)
Fronelan trade has begun to revive since the lifting of the Syndics Ban and the end of the Closing. Local trade is structured around small village fairs in the more settled areas and around clan centers in the wilder ones. The major local crop is barley, but various other grains are also cultivated. Another major local crop is flax, which is used in the production of linen cloth.
The Janube River creates a natural trade corridor through the center of the region and is the most natural link between Peloria and the west. The existence of the Kingdom of War, however, stifles much of this opportunity due to its position astride the Janube.
Internal trade is divided into two zones, east and west, by the blocking of the Janube. Trade in western Fronela is dominated by Sog City and Loskalmi merchants. Trade in eastern Fronela is dominated by the link between Riverjoin and the Sweet Sea. Most traders in this area are Etyries cultists.
There is a caravan route from the High Llama Pass to Eastpoint allowing Etyries merchants to trade Pelorian imports for Mostali goods.
Trade between Loskalm and eastern Fronela and Peloria is carried on via a caravan route linking Sog City to Riverjoin via Karstall, Molene and Einpor.
An overland route from Tastolar to the Janube allows the merchants in Loskalm access to some specialty animal goods, especially reindeer antlers, and some Uncoling art, as well as a limited amount of Aldryami goods from Winterwood.
Western Rathorela, along the Sweet Sea, is becoming a source for timber. The tall straight conifers there are in high demand for ships masts.
Zoria is the major source for trained Fronelan bearhounds. These dogs are shipped downriver to Riverjoin, and then to Peloria for re-export. Some dogs, raised in Loskalm, are shipped to the west, but these are considered to be inferior by canine experts.
Fronelan Point Linens are marketed during two huge cloth fairs every year. The first is held during the last week of Sea Season in Northpoint and the second is held in the first week of Earth Season in Southpoint. Merchants from as far away as Kethaela come to bid for high quality textiles. Local merchants from all over Fronela also pour in to buy the wares brought by the foreign traders.
A Note on Lunar Strategies in Fronela: Fronela provides more than a market for Lunar merchants. If the Janube could be opened to trade, the Empire would have a sea and river link to Seshnela. This would increase the Empire's access to iron and lower the prices it has to pay. The Lunar government is subsidizing grain shipments into eastern Fronela to help strengthen the Etyries cult's position there. It can be expected to take action to clear riverain trade if at all possible.
Imports: iron, gold, gems, opium
Exports: essence of red lotus and orchid, black lotus dust, jade, pearl, dyewoods, aloe, black pepper, tea, silks
Kralorela is the most urbanized and richest culture in Genertela. Its internal markets handle an amount of goods equal in value to that of the rest of the continent. As trade revives in the post-Closing era, more and more gold is being pumped into Kralorela, leading to general inflation. Western merchants, seeking a good to trade in place of specie and gems, are increasingly turning to opium from Teshnos.
Kralorela is a land of local village markets linked to the cities by merchants authorized by Godunya, the Dragon Emperor. Only authorized merchants are allowed to import or export goods between cities and regions of Kralorela, except within the boundaries of Wanzow, which is also known as Free Trade. Outlanders are allowed to trade in Wanzow. Each city other than Wanzow has a Trade temple to which all merchants of that city belong. The Emperor usually grants monopolies on major trade goods to one of these city temples until such time as another temple may petition to prove themselves more worth of holding that monopoly. There are no monopolies on rice or barley.
Rice is the most common crop in the lowlands and river valleys, while barley is the staple in the highlands and in the Kingdom of Ignorance. The Suam Chow and the major rivers of Kralorela provide excellent avenues for internal trade, so most goods are not shipped far by land.
Red lotus and orchids are cultivated along the east coast of Wanzow, near northern Fanzai. These flowers are dried and sent north to perfumeries in Lur Nop, from whence they are shipped throughout Kralorela and exported to the west.
Black Lotus is grown and processed on slave-worked farms owned entirely by Exarch Can Shu. It is smuggled both overland and down along the coastline.
The eastern slopes of the Hso Shan mountains are the major source for jade. Although most cities have artisans who work in jade, those of Kuchawn are considered to be the best. The merchants of Chang Tsai ship both raw jade and the products of Kuchawn throughout Kralorela.
Puchai province is the major source for both tea and black pepper. The trade in both is monopolized by the merchants of Laonan Tao. They charge western merchants very high prices in Lur Nop, a situation which has encouraged the growth of an active smuggling trade through Tung Shui An.
The merchants of Chi Ting control two-thirds of the world's production of raw silk, and are extraordinarily wealthy.
Opium is brought in illegally over the Hachuan Shan from Teshnos, then downriver to Sha Ming and thence to the rest of the Empire. Merchants from Guiching are involved in smuggling Black Lotus dust from the Bliss in Ignorance to the rest of Kralorela. There are rumors that some western ships are slipping into the western part of Modaings to deliver opium cargos directly to these same merchants, but that is unproven.
Some few goods are still exported through Bliss in Ignorance via the land route to Peloria, but this trade has declined since the end of the Closing.
Imports: textiles, indigo and dyes, all luxury goods, Seshnelan and Grazeland horses, Fronelan bearhounds, Ralian manufactures, truestone
Exports: Elzastin cloth, grain (esp. to Fronela), ivory, sunflower, essence of peony, Pelorian whiskey, wines, brandies, coriander, Mostali goods and iron from Imther and the Jord Mountains, gold, Fronelan re-exports
Peloria runs a close second the Kralorela in wealth. People in general enjoy a decent standard of living. Peloria has a vibrant internal trade centering on the Oslir and Poralistor rivers. Much of the gold going to Kralorela comes from Peloria and hence the Pelorian economy is suffering a slight shortage of coin and some deflation in relation to gold. The Lunar Empire's use of silver, though, has acted to stabilize the economy.
The Etyries cult enjoys a favored position in the Empire and receives a number of tax breaks. The Lokarnos cult primarily acts as a cult for teamsters who transport Etyries goods, although this is less true in Dara Happa. Issaries merchants can be found throughout the provinces and in the barbarian lands, usually complaining loudly about the extra duties they are forced to pay.
The major grain in Peloria is maize, which will bear twice a year in the absence of a harsh winter. The moderating weather in Peloria has made that region wealthier than usual in terms of food and this helps explain the internal stability of the Empire. Wheat is widely grown in the Provinces, barley in Carmania, and oats in the barbarian lands. Each of these are shipped by river into the Lunar Heartland.
There are two major forms of agricultural organization in Peloria. In Carmania, the Provinces, and in the barbarian lands peasant small-holders are the rule, either serfs or free clansmen, depending on the area. In the Lunar Heartland, agriculture is dominated by huge farms owned by the nobility. These farms are worked by a class of bound agrarian workers similar to Roman coloni.
Markets in Peloria are similarly divided by type. The pattern of small local markets, usually in villages, linked indirectly to city markets dominates trading in Peloria outside of the Heartland. The Heartland area is extremely urbanized. The extreme fertility of the area combined with the bound nature of the agrarian workforce allows for the large cities present in the Oslir valley. Trade in this area is primarily urban, although the coloni have regular Godday markets where they trade garden produce and small handcrafts (similar to the Sunday markets among the slaves in Brazil and the Caribbean).
One reason for the extreme wealth of this region is the ready availability of water transport. Most of the rivers in Peloria are extremely navigable. The special relationship of the spirits of the Oslir river with the surrounding human population means that water elementals are readily bound, thus allowing easier transit upriver than in many other areas.
Carmania's oldest source of wealth has been its brass mines. More recently the same river routes used to ship brass ore have become important for the shipment of cotton grown around Oronin Lake to the skilled weavers of Elz Ast. The Esel river provides a route for trade with the southern reaches of Carmania and for lye gathered from Brolia. With the re-opening of trade with Fronela, Harandash and Storal on the coast of the Sweet Sea have become major ship-building and trading points.
The Lunar Heartland surrounds the ancient civilization of Dara Happa, one of the wealthiest in history. The gentle flooding on the Oslir provides good irrigation and top soil allowing bumper crops of grain year after year. Gold flows from the mines in the Yolp mountains down the Joat river and into Raibanth. Elzastin cloth and Fronelan and Dara Happan trade goods are moved by barge up the Oslir and into the provinces from whence they are exported to Kethaela and from there to the rest of the world, while imports from the south are moved downstream and on to the tributaries and the Poralistor. The Imther and Jord Mountains provide Mostali goods for consumption and for re- export. First Blessed exports essences and perfumes manufactured in Torang and Yuthuppa, as well as Yuthuppan torches which remain lit for a whole week. Darjin and Sylila are both known for excellent wines and brandies.
Thunder Delta provides one of the two major sources of ivory in Glorantha. Walrus tusks are traded by trolls there. Their ivory carvings are currently in fashion in the Tripolis cities.
During the period of the Closing, the Lunar Empire developed a caravan route to Kralorela through Pent. Some silks, spices, and other luxury goods are still transported by the hardened caravaneers of the Red-Haired tribe. Since the end of the Closing, however, the renewal of sea trade through Kethaela and Dragon Pass has begun to supplant this land route, and only Lunar subsidies keep the caravaneers in business.
Imports: textiles, many luxury goods, Seshnelan horses and iron, Fronelan bearhounds, Ralian manufactures, Tanier River Cats, truestone
Exports: Sartarite and Esrolian whiskey, Esrolian grain, gems, tin, red pepper and coffee from Caladraland, lavender, Wenelian camomile, belladonna, hemlock, copper, silver, Nochet woolens, cantharides from Dagori Inkarth, onyx from the Shadow Plateau, dyes from Handra
Maniria runs third behind Kralorela and Peloria in terms of wealth. It combines a number of internal advantages with the advantage of location. Kethaela is a natural trading crossroads between Kralorela, Peloria, and the West.
The Issaries cult is the primary trading cult in this area, although Lokarnos, Etyries, and Argan Argar cultists also operate here, as do Western traders. Due to its world-spanning trade links, the city of Nochet boasts the largest Issaries temple in Genertela. In most areas not under Lunar domination, Issaries cultists occupy a slightly favored position. In Lunar dominated areas, the government provides tax breaks and other incentives to Etyries cultists, while imposing additional duties on Issaries cultists (Lokarnos, Argan Argar, and Western traders merely forfeit the tax breaks, but do not have to pay the additional duties).
Kethaela is the wealthiest area in Maniria. The seaborne trade out of Choralinthor Bay is the most active international trade on the continent, combining the export of local products with the re-export of goods from all over the world. Kethaelan is another word for middleman. In addition to trade the area is itself rich.
Esrolia is the most productive grain producing area in the world. It supports a dense population, yet still supplies exports to the rest of Maniria and to the West. Esrolia's local trade is predominantly village based, with frequent local markets tied to the nearest city.
Issaries merchants buy raw wool in the highlands of Sartar and in Heortland, then transport that wool to Nochet. That city supports the most skilled woolen craftspeople in the world. The resulting cloth is sold throughout Maniria, Peloria, and the West.
Caladraland, although wild, is a source for many valuable goods exported by Kethaelan merchants. The Mostali at Gemborg provide the majority of Genertelan gemstones. This area also supplies most of Genertela's tin. The fertile volcanic hillsides of Caladraland have recently come under cultivation by entrepreneurs who grow and export coffee and red pepper.
Heortland and the Dragon Pass region are mostly self- sufficient. Their local markets occur around regular meetings of the local clans, while the traders themselves operate out of the area's many cities. These traders sell expensive foreign imports, luxury goods and the products of city craftspeople to the clans in return for raw wool, high quality whiskey, and other goods. There is also an active export trade in apple wine from Sartar into surrounding regions (including Prax). Traders buy the highly-coveted Grazelander horses whenever possible. Local traders also re-export truestone and Praxian handicrafts to the rest of Maniria and Peloria. Another opportunity in the Dragon Pass area is a more ready availability of certain Troll goods, especially insect products. Finally, the Storm Mountains supply one half of Genertela's silver.
This area profits from its proximity to Kethaela, both from lower grain prices and from the trade with Peloria. Esrolian products and re-exports can only be moved upriver as far as Sartar, and even moving as far as Beast Valley and the Upland Marsh is full of danger. King Sartar and his descendants built mighty roads through their kingdom, thus making it the most efficient route for shipping goods into Tarsh on their way to Peloria (Once the reach Furthest they can again be moved by river). Issaries cultists, Mastakos cult teamsters, and Royal tax assessors all profit from this position along the north-south trade route.
The bulk of Wenelia is a trading backwater. Such was not always the case, but with the end of the Closing the caravans that once crossed Wenelia are quickly being supplanted by sea trade. The big winner in all this is the port city of Handra with its advantageous position as handy stopping point for ships moving between the west and Kethaela as well as being a terminus on the riverain trade route into Ralios. Like Heortland and Dragon Pass, the clan structures dominate the patterns of local marketing in Wenelia.
The Mislari mountains are relatively rich in copper. The Nimistor and Solanthi rivers both have large alluvial deposits which the Trader Princes buy and export.
Handra is becoming an increasingly important port. It is the major trans-shipment point for goods from Ralios heading for Kethaela, especially manufactures and copper, and for Kethaelan goods heading for Ralios. Handra is also one of Genertela's major dye producers. Various types of sea shells from along the Wenelian coast are shipped to Handra where local manufacturers grind the shells to produce pigments from which they produce dyes. These dyes are traded to all major textile manufacturing centers in central and western Genertela.
Imports: few, some metal goods from Peloria, some other goods from Bliss in Ignorance, especially Black Lotus Dust
Exports: horses, some trinkets, and re-exports of Black Lotus Dust
Pent is an absolute backwater for trade. There is some internal trade within the tribes for luxury goods, metal goods, superior handcrafts, and especially horses and herd animals.
The Pentan nomads are isolationist and self-sufficient and if there is a route to profit trading here, no one has found it. The Pentans want little from the outside except for metal goods and to be left alone, and the Pentans possess little that outsiders would want. The nomads obtain some few trade goods from sporadic encounters with both eastern Peloria and Bliss in Ignorance. The Red-Haired Tribe carries on a desultory trade along the Pelorian frontier and on across the plains. Many of the foreign goods found in the tents of the wealthiest Pentans come from raids on these caravans. The major trade that Pentans engage in is the exchange of hardy Pentan ponies for bronze from Peloria.
Imports: iron and horses from Seshnela, Sorcerous goods and knowledge from Sog City, textiles, dyes from Handra, some luxury goods, Esrolian grain up the riverain trade route
Exports: Mostali goods from Bad Deal, Safelsteran manufactures, some animal products to Esrolia, wolfhounds (prized as hunting dogs in other parts of Genertela), Tanier river cats (prized by Manirian Orlanthi as familiars), essence of purple rose
Ralios boasts two almost entirely separate economies. The cities of Safelster are sophisticated urban centers which are home to some of the most skilled artisans in Genertela, while the tribes of Vesmonstran and the East Wilds are mostly self- sufficient and nearly isolated. Local trading in Safelster is urbanized and is centered around Lake Felster itself. Local trading in Vesmonstran and the East Wilds is very small scale and is structured around the tribes.
Safelster is a vibrant part of international trade. The crafts guilds of Safelster produce goods that are shipped throughout Genertela, including glassware from Syran, rapiers and daggers from Tortun and metal goods from Azilos, furniture from Tiskos, tapestries and rugs from Tinaros, toys and mechanical clocks from Fiesive, and other manufactures. The guild-masters play a role in the convoluted politics of the region.
Merchants from Drom profit not only from the trade with Handra, but also from a deal with the Basim tribe which allows them access to the westernmost part of the Mislari mountains. There the merchants from Drom support copper mines whose ore is sold to Maniria through Handra.
Merchants from Fiesive exert a monopoly over river trade north to Bad Deal. It is this long association with the Mostali which has allowed Fiesive to develop the most skilled human mechanical craftspeople in the world. Fiesive built clocks are prominent in every city in Ralios and in much of Seshnela as well. Such clocks are also being sold everywhere outside Ralios, except in Kralorela, where the locals seem very indifferent to machines generally.
Fiesive also acts as the central point for the local market patterns in Vesmonstran. Kilwin holds a similar position in the East Wilds. Merchants from both cities wander the tribal lands, moving from stead to stead and from local market to local market. A small amount of handicrafts and animal goods, especially wool, are brought back to both cities for export to Safelster. The clanspeople of Lankst raise wolfhounds which are widely sought as hunting dogs. These dogs are usually sold to Fiesive before being moved onward for re-export.
Ralios has two major trading links with the rest of the world. It is linked by the Tanier river to Seshnela, which area also profits as the middleman in the trade with Fronela. There is also the riverain trade route to Handra and thence to Kethaela and the east, as well as the direct trade with that city for dyes. Before the end of the Closing, the river route to the Nidan mountains and the High Llama pass was the major route to Fronela. This route is still important for the trade with the Mostali of Bad Deal, but the combination of lower freight rates by water and the extortionate tolls charged by the folk of the High Llama Pass has shifted the bulk of Ralios' trade with Fronela to the Tanier river and the sea.
Argan Argar cultists run regular caravans between Halikiv and Guhan. These caravans provide Ralian merchants with access to lead, which is used by the glass-makers of Syran and other manufacturers as well. Enterprising merchants are also able to secure some troll goods for re-export.
Imports: textiles, some luxury goods, occasionally Pelorian or Esrolian grain, Ralian manufactures--especially weapons, Sorcerous goods and knowledge from Sog City
Exports: iron (over one-half of the world's iron supply), trained warhorses
The internal markets of Seshnela are not well developed. Only the nobility can afford much in the way of goods from outside. Also, the nobles of Seshnela are hostile to the development of a strong urban class of skilled artisans and merchants. Such a development does not fit well with the social and cultural ideals of the area. For the most part, the major nobles have servants who deal with outside traders while the peasantry only engages in local village marketing in produce and handicrafts.
The local nobility profits handsomely on its taxation of Ralian goods being moved down the Tanier river to Noloswal for re-export to Fronela. The Dukes of Nolos and Pasos have begun to try to encourage trading and they also profit from charges for naval protection paid by trading vessels moving to and from Fronela.
During the last week of Sea Season of each year there is a huge horse market held in Segurane under royal auspices (the King of Seshnela gets ten percent of the value of all sales). It is here that foreign merchants can buy the Seshnelan warhorses so prized throughout central and western Genertela.
During the first week of Earth Season of each year the Mostali of the Iron Mountains travel to the ruins of Laurmal to sell iron. Tierre of Caskall dominates this trade from the Castle Rhis, taking a twenty percent commission from the human traders in all transactions. The remainder of Seshnela benefits both from relatively low iron prices and from customs duties levied on iron being moved down the coast or up the Tanier river.
Imports: silk and jade from Kralorela, Black Lotus Dust, gold and gems from the west
Exports: tea, sugar, opium, jasmine, ivory, sandalwood, dyewoods, indigo, re-exports of emeralds and spices from the East Isles (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves), Dombain cloth
Teshnos internal trade is concentrated around small weekly village markets in patterns dominated by the three major cities. The hsunchen living in the Sofali islands and along the mountains of the north mostly live in small isolated communities that only trade with their nearest neighbors. Teshnan traders wander from group to group to trade for various goods.
Most people in Teshnos live the life of agrarian peasants. The nobility controls large slave-worked plantations that produce commodities for export. Indigo is grown in Wokistan, cotton between Gio and Dombain, tea on Melib island, sugar on the small northern Sofali islands, and opium in Matkondu.
The merchants of Dombain control most of Teshnos' export trade. The products of the slave plantations are shipped to Dombain for export, as is ivory. Merchants from there also move through the Sofali islands trading for jasmine and handicrafts. These merchants also trade with the Aldryami of Fethlon for a variety of goods. Dombain merchants also sail into the East Isles seeking emeralds, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves for consumption and re-export. Finally, these merchants control the local textile industry, whose finest quality work is in increasing demand in the west.
There is an active overland trade in opium across the Hachuan Shan mountains. This route is starting to be supplanted by bold western merchants willing to risk smuggling opium into Kralorela by sea.
The Wastes & Prax
Imports: metals and metal goods of all sorts, some luxury goods
Exports: truestone, some animal products, aloe and some sugar from the Zola Fel valley
The Wastelands are only slightly less of a trading backwater than Pent. The internal trade is mostly centered around seasonal gatherings of the major tribes. There is also trade within Prax, mostly centered around the Paps, the various oases, the Block, and Pavis. Most internal trade is in metal goods, beasts, and superior handcrafts. There is also an active internal trade in salt from various slave-dug open pit mines controlled by different tribes. Foodstuffs grown in the oases are commonly traded as well, as are slaves.
What trade there is with the outside world is mostly centered around Prax. There is some small trade around the Iron Forts in Kralorela. Until the end of the Closing, what few Kralorelan goods were getting to the west were traded by Praxian nomads and a few intrepid caravaneers, but the sea trade has bypassed all that. Most trade with Prax occurs through Sartar, although there is a growing direct sea trade between Corflu and Kethaela.
The major item the Praxians want from the outside world is metal and metal goods. They have also developed a taste for some luxury goods, especially Sartarite Whisky, and for cloth. Although treasure hunters swarm to the Big Rubble, most of the world is only interested in one item particular to Prax: truestone. The major flow of trade between Prax and Maniria is metal in and truestone out.
There is a great deal of trade between the peoples of the Zola Fel valley. This area has the highest population density in the Wastelands, it is the most fertile area, and it is the wealthiest. Corflu, originally intended by the Lunar to be their point of entry into the sea trade with Kralorela, has become important for its access to the valley peoples and Pavis. The ability to bypass the high costs of transporting goods overland is key to the future of Lunar economic development in the Zola Fel.
Much of the food grown in Pavis and Sun Counties is consumed in Pavis itself, creating an active grain trade. The citizens of Pavis benefit from being a major point in the truestone trade with the outside world and from the flow of treasure seekers entering the Rubble.
The Lunar settlers of the Grantlands are becoming a significant local economic force. Whether they develop beyond that will depend on their ability to find a product for trade. Aloe and sugar have been brought from Teshnos in an attempt to make this Lunar colony economically viable.
The Rest of the World
There is as yet little sea trade with Pamaltela, Teleos, Jrustela, and most of the East Isles. Some East Isles goods enter the Genertelan market through Teshnos. What few ships do make the journey into southern waters bring back a number of exotic goods. Genertelan traders are finding that Pamaltela is a good source for many items, particularly ivory and spices. Some of the ships that bring goods to and from Pamaltela are also the means by which Jrustelan Blue Mountain coffee reaches Genertela. The ships anchor off areas where the beans are known to grow wild and spend a few days gathering beans. The intrepid Genertelan trader who wants to make a journey to Pamaltela usually carries luxury goods and, sometimes, truestone.
Trading Cults & Groups
The Lokarnos cult is the oldest of the major trading cults. Lokarnos invented the wheel, the wagon, and coinage and is the patron god of traders and teamsters. The Lokarnos cult is very conservative, as befits the trade deity of the Solar pantheon. The cultists disdain accounting methods, letters of credit, insurance, and other innovations. The Lokarnos cultists are forbidden the use of any currency except the gold wheel, and they disdain any non-specie medium of exchange. They will, on occasion, use gemstones whose weight and value have been certified by a neutral third party.
The Solar pantheon is structured around the idea of an immutable celestial hierarchy. This idea is reflected in the social structures of solar-dominated areas. Each person occupies a fixed place in the solar scheme for society, with fixed rights and obligations. The archetypical Lokarnos trader is a loyal member of society and expects society to protect him in return.
In areas of Solar domination, such as Kralorela and Dara Happa, Lokarnos cultists compete for royal favor in the form of legal monopolies on various forms of trade. In return for their legal protection, Lokarnos traders are steadfast in paying their taxes and expect the state and the cult hierarchies to place restrictions on trading policies and prices.
Of course, by no means are all Lokarnos traders archetypical.
The Issaries traders are much more widespread than are Lokarnos traders. They are extremely flexible in their dealings with non-chaotics. Issaries invented the idea of differentiating currency. Issaries merchants are ritually forbidden to make use of wagons, but they side-step this by hiring non-Issaries teamsters (usually of the Mastakos cult in Orlanthi dominated areas). This is typical of the relations between God and Cult, except in the most important of areas, Issaries expects his worshippers to "bargain" with him.
The Issaries temples provide a number of important support services for traders. They act as depository banks (usually charging a straight percentage for storage and paying no interest), clearing houses for bringing borrower and lender together (for the most nominal of commissions), they will issue guaranteed letters of credit based on holdings in the temple, they also act to bring together insurers with those desiring that type of protection.
Issaries merchants vary in their relationship to society. Some are respectable local traders as conservative in their own way as any Lokarnos cultist. Others are vagabonds with no loyalty higher than their own pockets. The divisions of the cult help to point out the differences. The Harst worshipper is a craftsperson or farmer who also sells their own goods on the side. The Goldentongue is the wandering merchant, the caravaneer, the local peddlar, anyone who buys in one place and sells in another. The Garzeen is the large-scale trader, the retailer, the entrepreneur who buys and sells in one place.
Issaries merchants are equally different in their attitudes toward local governments. Some are patriots, some citizens of all nations, and some place their loyalties wherever there is profit to be made. The one near universal cult idea is that taxes are bad and that the state should leave matters of trade in the hands of those who understand business, the merchants.
Etyries is the youngest of the trading cults and draws upon both of the earlier ones for its structure and practices. The Etyries merchants are as sophisticated in trade as the Issaries while being as dedicated to the state as the Lokarnos, while being different from either. Lunar cultists see this as another embodiment of the Goddess' aspect of change linked with continuity.
The Etyries cult was drawn from the Issaries cult in Peloria, but those early Etyries had a long tradition of dealing with the Lokarnos cult, and shared many of the cultural ideals of the Dara Happans. The Etyries cult is, like all the Lunar cults, not solely a cult, but also part of the Pantheon of a single state, the Lunar Empire. In many places in Glorantha the cult and state are strongly unified, but in no place more so than in the Empire. The success of the cults is the success of the state, as the success of the state is that of the cult. They stand or fall together.
The Etyries temples provide all the same services as the Issaries temples. In addition, they have developed banking and lending at interest. The large temples in the Heartland also assist in the formation of joint stock companies formed with modern idea of limited liability (if the company falls, the investor only loses the amount of the investment, in most other places the investors are jointly responsible for the total amount of the company's debts). These developments have allowed for larger concentrations of working capital, and thus more weight in the world's marketplaces.
These joint stock companies may only be formed with Imperial approval, and are granted trading monopolies on the Lokarnos model. The Elz Ast Trading Company, for example, has a complete monopoly on the exportation of Elzastin cloth under Imperial law. The Etyries merchants are tightly tied to the state. In return for preferential treatment in matters of taxation and military protection, the Etyries merchants are duty bound to assist the officers of the Empire in enforcing law inside the Empire and in implementing policy outside. Etyries merchants will often pass useful information on to the government for free, motivated by patriotism and their belief in the Lunar Way.
There are four standard types of coinage in use in Genertela: Issariesite, Etyriesite, Western, and Lokarnic. The trading temples, beginning with Lokarnos, invented money in order to facilitate trade. Unlike terrestrial currencies, Gloranthan currencies are usually minted by the trading temples, the people most in need of a medium of long distance exchange. This origin and this set of conditions has helped to create a fairly standardized system of coinage in Genertela.
The gold Wheel invented by Lokarnos is the oldest form of currency on Glorantha and is the only official medium of exchange in areas dominated by the Solar cults (Lokarnos Priests have a 17th century European's view of paper letters of credit and bills of exchange). It is a relatively large gold coin with the hub, spokes, and rim of a wheel of Lokarnos' wagon depicted on it. It is the only coin commonly found in Kralorela and Teshnos and is widely circulated in Peloria, alongside the Etyries coinage.
In order to make the Wheel into a more flexible medium of exchange, Lokarnos traders, and others, commonly break the coin into smaller segments composed of the central Hub and ten wedge- shaped Spokes (each with a segment of the rim). Each Spoke is equivalent in value to a Guilder or Lunar, and the Hub is worth ten Spokes.
The young god Issaries saw the possibilities inherent in Lokarnos' invention. Using his charming ways and golden tongue he managed to convince the various elemental deities to allow him to use copper, silver, and gold to make his own coins. He even convinced Lokarnos to permit him to make a gold coin equal in size and composition to the Wheel, but with different decorations. Even today, Lokarnos traders will accept the other systems' gold coins at par. As the Theyalan missionaries of the First Council moved westward during the Dawn times, they carried the Issaries coin system along with them. To this day, the Western monotheists continue to use local variants on the Issaries system. When the Etyries cult arose in the Lunar Empire, it adopted the same Issaries coinage, but with different decorations, thus maintaining the Lunar way of balancing change with stability.
The smallest coin is called the Clack, it is a small copper coin decorated with a Communications, or Issaries, Rune on one face and a Harmony Rune on the other. The Etyries version is also called a Clack, but substitutes a Lunar Rune for the Communications Rune (all Etyries coins have a Lunar Rune on one face, a practice borrowed from the West). Western versions are usually called coppers and have a Law Rune on one face (as on all coins) and a symbol of local significance (a nobleman's or city's device, usually) on the other.
The next coin is a larger copper coin called a Tree and is worth five Clacks. It has an Earth Rune on one face and a stylized depiction of a tree common to the area where it was minted on the other. The Etyries variant is called a Castle. On the face not depicting a Lunar Rune it has a stylized rendering of Castle Blue. Western variants, particularly in Fronela, often simply have a stylized Castle on the free face and are also called Castles. Once again, the Etyries cult borrowed this practice, probably from Carmanian coins.
The smaller silver coin is called a Guilder and is worth ten Clacks. One face usually depicts some local ranking nobleman from the area and time the coin was minted. The other face usually depicts the sign of the local Silversmith's Guild from where the coin was minted. The Etyries variant is called a Lunar. The free face depicts the Goddess's victory at the First Battle of Chaos. The Western variant is called a Penny. The free face usually has the device of the political authority who had it struck.
The larger silver coin is called a Storm and is worth one hundred Clacks. This coin bears the Issaries Rune on one face and the Storm Rune on the other. Non-Lightbringers will rarely handle this coin without defacing at least one side. The Etyries version is called a Daughter because the free face usually depicts one of the Daughters of the Red Goddess. The Western variant is called a Sovereign because it usually depicts the local sovereign noble.
The Issaries gold coin is called a Sun and is worth two hundred Clacks or one Wheel. It has the same hub and radiating spokes pattern on one side, but this is called a sun pattern rather than a wheel pattern, on the other face it has a Movement Rune. Lokarnos cultists see their own god's runic associations and so are happy to handle the coin, while Lightbringers see associations with the success of the Lightbringer's Quest, and so are equally happy. The Etyries variant always depicts the present Emperor on the free face, and is thus called an Imperial. The Western variant is called a Golden and usually depicts some local triumph that the reigning nobleman wants commemorated (some victory or achievement).
A Final Note: On Earth, there was a common practice when specie was in wide circulation called coin-shaving. Gold and silver coins would be filed down or re-cast with other metals in order to make more coins. Earthly authorities usually dealt with this problem through an official ritual called Capital Punishment, or through an impromptu ceremony called Lynching. On Glorantha, the same modes of enforcement are in common use in areas where the trading cults are scarce, such as the West. They are unnecessary where the trading cults are active because any initiate or above of Lokarnos, Issaries, or Etyries can detect a shaved or adulterated coin upon holding it. Note that Argan Argar cultists usually don't care about the shaving or adulteration of Bolgs.