Merchants of the Realms
Most trade travels in caravans for safety, and the great majority of caravans are run by independent caravan masters who often display no badge or colors at all. Some caravans are sponsored or directly manned by a city or alliance, and they usually bear the sigil of that place. The caravans of Amn, Sembia, and the Zhentarim are so marked, while caravans and ships backed by the Rundeen are not.
In addition to the major lines detailed below, a number of other trading organizations are active in the Heartlands, ranging from one-shot operators, to seasonal family operations, to independent merchants, to specialists in small package trade (smuggling). All are regularly looking for strong sword arms and wise wand-wielders to enhance their chances of making it to market.
Highmoon Trading Coster
The Highmoon Trading Coster is a dominant trading organization that controls much of the overland trade in the Sword Coast. It is led by Duldelph Maremmon. The Highmoon Coster has exclusive rights to kaorph blue wine and certain spices such as arispeg, marka and delph.
The Red Shields is a strong merchant organization, previously a strong mercenary company, that protects caravans leaving Scornubel as well as serving as the city’s army. The Shields make regular trading operations to Amn, Neverwinter and Waterdeep.
Seven Suns Trading Coster
The Seven Suns is one of the poorer quality costers around, with weak locally hired guards and shabby wagons. As a consequence, its caravans are slow and often targeted by bandits. But it is also the least expensive, undercutting their competitors on almost every trade-route.
Windriders Trading Coster
The Windriders are young merchants with a wild reputation for fierce competition, but they have learned the hard way about how to run a coster in the past few years. All wear shields adorned with a white Pegasus, wings outstretched, and they are much used for swift, discreet carrier service around the North. The sixty or so members of this coster prefer to remain anonymous and are represented through their office and leader, Torshilm Firetel (CN male Chondathan human Ftr7), formerly of Westgate.
Six Coffers Market Priakos
Named for the six wealthy merchants who sponsored it, this priakos is run by Thelve Baruinheld of Berdusk and has bases in that city as well as Waterdeep, Silverymoon, Priapurl, and Selgaunt. It is large, efficient, and prosperous, but only four of the original six partners still live (the survivors are Ultramm of Selgaunt, Syntel of Irieabor, Maftan of Waterdeep, and Szwentil of Marsember).
The Merchant’s League is an organization based in Baldur’s Gate that promotes safety among the caravan routes throughout the region surrounding the city.
The Zhentarim are a mercenary company who are intent on dominating the land from the Moonsea to the Sword Coast North. Originally a secret society, for years the Zhents have operated openly in the Moonsea area, particularly around their greatest base of operations, Zhentil Keep. People who live near Zhentarim strongholds grow used to caravans with its symbol but live in fear that someday they will see armies marching under that banner.
The Iron Throne is a mysterious merchant organization. Little is known of its history or the identity of its backers. It is apparently independent of any government. The Iron Throne has quite a bad public image. They have been charged with attempted assassinations, extortion, thuggery, trading weapons to hostile nonhuman tribes and trafficking in smoke powder, poisons and drugs.
The Rundeen are a slaving and mercantile consortium which operates in the southern Sword Coast and the Chultan Peninsula.
A large merchant clan from Delzimmer that was best known for controlling trade in the drug tearful. Strictly speaking, the family wasn’t noble as Delzimmer had no nobility. The family was considered a second-tier merchant house, below the Four Families who ruled Delzimmer.
The Silent Sail was a merchant guild operating in the Cormyrean city of Marsember. The group took its name from the Marsemban slang word for a ship whose ownership could not be traced. Membership consisted of eleven aging Marsemban merchants who made their fortunes in the shipping trade. The guild was active in smuggling and secretly controlled several Sembian trading companies.