Merchant and Trade Guilds

The Merchant Guild is responsible for the documentation and record keeping for all of the various international Merchant Guilds throughout the Realms of Alquennas. The Merchant Guild's secondary responsibility is to maintain and enforce the Lex Mercatoria or "The Law of the Merchant". Its tertiary responsibility is the running and maintenance of the Mercatorial Courts. These courts adjudicate both national and international disputes regarding Merchants, their goods, and damages.

Lex Mercatoria
The Lex Mercatoria was originally developed by Merchants to regulate their dealings. The Lex Mercatoria was designed to ensure that everyone involved in a Merchant's dealings was dealt with fairly. The Lex Mercatoria emerged from the problem that civil law is not responsive enough for the increased demand of commerce throughout the realms of Alquennas, especially with regards to jurisdiction, arbitration, and trade treaty interpretation. Disputes under the Lex Mercatoria are administered by specialized Mercatorial Courts that are comprised of Merchant Guild Masters. These courts are set up at key points along trade routes and in the capital cities of the countries throughout Alquennas. These Mercatorial Courts' goal is to reflect the customs, usages, and good practices among all parties involved.

The Lex Mercatoria contains common customs and codes of ethics that Merchants are supposed to adhere to when entering into dealings regarding trade. The Lex Mercatoria differs slightly from location to location as it has been derived from local customs.

If a complaint is brought before a Mercatorial Court, the Guild judge will be appointed by their background in the area of the dispute.

The Sub-Guilds that are part of the Merchant Guild and that are specifically bound by the Lex Mercatoria are:

Ale Merchant Guild

Apothecary Guild

Armor Merchant Guild

Beer Merchant Guild

Brick Layers Guild

Book Sellers Guild

Cheese Merchants Guild

Cloth Merchants Guild

Exotic Livestock Merchants Guild

Fishmongers Guild

Florist Guild

Flower Merchant Guild

Fruit Merchant Guild

Gem Merchants Guild

Grain Merchants Guild

Grocers Guild

Hay Merchants Guild

Herb Merchants Guild

Holy Relic Merchants Guild

Honey Merchants Guild

Inn Guild

Livestock Merchants Guild

Luxury Merchants Guild

Magical Relics Merchants Guild

Mercers Guild

Messenger Merchants Guild

Metal Merchants Guild

Music Merchants Guild

Oil Merchants Guild

Olive Merchants Guild

Paper Merchants Guild

Pawn Merchants Guild

Pearl Merchants Guild

Peddlers Guild

Rag Merchants Guild

Ship Merchants Guild

Silk Merchants Guild

Slave Merchants Guild

Spice Merchants Guild

Spider Silk Merchants Guild

Stone Merchants Guild

Timber Merchants Guild

Tool Merchants Guild

Water Merchants Guild

Weapon Merchants Guild

Wine Merchants Guild

Word Merchants Guild

The Merchant Guild Order

The Merchant Guild has four levels of membership. They are:

The Novice
The Novice is usually a child of eight years or older applying to become an Apprentice. During the application process, he or she is known as a Novice to the Merchant Guild and, depending upon the amount of openings available, he or she may be a Novice for up to two years. During their time as a Novice, they may act as pages and messenger runners for Guild members. It is hoped that this exposure to the workings of the Merchant Guild will help to determine the Novice's future placement in the Guild. As a Novice, the child is to be paid ½P per day of service.

The Apprentice
The Apprentice is an Apprentice to a specific Master. Even though most of his or her day to day routine and education will be overseen by a Journeyman, it is the Master in the end that is responsible for seeing that the Apprentice learns and excels at their trade. The Apprentice gets paid around 1P per day of service. Many Masters will charge the Apprentice fees for clothing and learning materials.

The Journeyman
The Journeyman has completed his training in his or her trade and works directly under a Master. Their pay depends upon their trade skill and their Mastery of their trade. The Journeyman has all the skills and ability that is needed to run the business that he or she has been trained in. Usually the only thing that separates a Journeyman and a Master is experience.

The Master
The Master has earned his or her right to open their own store or run their own establishment. They control the business that they are running.

Only Journeymen and Masters may be officers at a Merchant Guild House.

The Merchant Guild House is the center of a town or region's Merchant life. The Guild House holds all of the records for its members including their Guild rating and the rules for operating businesses in the area. The officers of the Guild are Journeymen and Masters of businesses in the area.

How Does The Merchant Guild Pay For Its Existence?

The Merchant Guild pays for its existence in three ways.

The first method consists of the dues that each member from Novice to Master pays month to the Guild. The table entitled "Merchant Guild Dues by Guild Rank" provides the amount of dues owed per month determined by the members rank in the Guild.

Merchant Guild Dues by Guild Rank
Merchant Guild Rank Monthly Dues Yearly Dues
Novice 1 P 12 P
Apprentice 5 P 60 P
Journeyman 20 P 240 P
Master1 100 P 1200 P
1This does not include the percentage the Master's shop is taxed by the Merchant Guild
Table: Merchant Guild Dues by Guild Rank

The second method that the Merchant Guild uses to pay for its existence is the taxes that it charges the Merchant establishments. The Merchant Guild charges 1 to 10% of the gross income of a shop or trade under its area of control.

The third method that the Merchant Guild uses to pay for its existence is the fee they get for acting as mediators for trade agreements between companies and countries.

A Merchant Guild House will be the representative of the Merchant's Guild for a town to a region. This is usually based on the population of shops and trades in the area.

As an example, the city of Azin is the capital of the country of Azin on the continent of Cellenda. It has two Merchant Guild Houses. The first Merchant Guild House controls the northern half of the city and the other house controls the trade and shops of the southern half of the city.

The Members of the Merchant Guild House

You have two types of members of a Merchant Guild House. They consist of the members and the officers of the Merchant Guild House. All Novices and Apprentices must be members of the Guild and thus are members of their local Merchant Guild House. Novices and Apprentices cannot hold any of the ranks of the officers of the Merchant Guild House. Thus only Journeymen and Masters can serve as officers in a Merchant Guild House. The officer positions of a Merchant Guild House are:

Merchant Sergeant of Arms
The Merchant Sergeant of Arms maintains the Guild House and act as scribes and clerks for the other Guild officers of the House. The Merchant Sergeants of Arms are also responsible for collecting the taxes as well as enforcing the rules of the Guild. Journeymen and Masters alike can be Merchant Sergeant of Arms. There can be any number of Merchant Sergeants of Arms in a Merchant Guild House.

Merchant Guild Officer
The Merchant Guild Officers perform the routine middle management tasks of ensuring that the Merchant Sergeant of Arms are performing their duties, preparing materials for trade negotiations and assisting the Merchant Guild Accountants, The Merchant Guild Treasurer and the Merchant Guild Master with their duties. Only Masters can be Merchant Guild Officers. There can be any number of Merchant Guild Officers in a Merchant Guild House. Normally for every 10 Merchant Sergeants of Arms, there is one Merchant Guild Officer.

Merchant Guild Accountant
The Merchant Guild Accountant works for the Merchant Guild Treasurer. They verify all of the accounts that the Guild House is responsible for. Only Masters can be Merchant Guild Accountants. Usually there are three to five Merchant Guild Accountants per Merchant Guild House.

Merchant Guild Treasurer
The Merchant Guild Treasurer is responsible for maintaining the Guild treasury as well as ensuring that all of the taxes and the dues are collected. There is usually only one Merchant Guild Treasurer per Merchant Guild House.

Merchant Guild Master
The Merchant Guild Master runs the Merchant Guild House and the Merchant Guild for an area of responsibility. He or she leads the Merchant Guild.

How much do Guild Officers get paid?

Guild officers get paid for their services to the Guild House in addition to their earnings from their normal daily job. The table entitled Merchant Guild Officers Pay provides the daily and monthly income they receive in addition to their normal daily job

Merchant Guild Officers Pay
Guild Officer Rank Daily Pay Monthly Pay
Merchant Sergeant of Arms 4 140 P
Merchant Guild Officer 6 210 P
Merchant Guild Accountant 8 480 P
Merchant Guild Treasurer 10 350 P
Merchant Guild Master 12 420 P
Table: Merchant Guild Officers Pay

The Council of the Masters of the Merchant Guilds

Depending on the number of Guild Houses and business populations in a country, the Masters from each Merchant Guild House will meet once every four months or more often as circumstances require. The larger the business community, the more often they meet.

What does the Merchant Guild Control?

The Merchant Guild controls all aspects of trade and merchandise created, sold, imported or exported in an area. They regulate the quality and the price of said goods.