The Power of Death
The Great River flows from the center of Matrin and forks to become the Gal and the Sannel, which both run straight through the hilly fields of Legume to the sea. Villages and cities rose up on the banks of these two great rivers, bringing up a great system of trade and bartering. Legume’s sailors are regarded as the best on the continent and the three great merchant houses control most of the trade that goes on from Two-Seas to Sanaga. Many are those who have tried to muscle in on the monopoly that the Houses hold, but none have yet succeeded, and fewer still are seen again after the attempt. Legume’s ships are regarded as the safest on the seas, and pirates do well to give a wide berth to any ship flying House colors. Despite the security, more and more ships have left City-by-the-Sea only to never make port at their destination, far too many ships to be falling to pirates or bad weather.
Associated Skills: Bluff and Insight
Common non-human races: halfling, gnome, goliath
Patron Deities: Erathis and Avandra
Major Cities: City-by-the-Sea (Major Port), Legume (Capitol), King’s Crossing
Proudfoot – The largest merchant house in Legume, the Proudfoot halflings speak in the ears of every major figure in the Five Nations. Their influence can seen in even the smallest shops, and there is no question that they command the most power in the entire nation. They allow the lesser two Houses to exist for the sake of fair play and competition. That doesn’t mean they are above pitting the other Houses against each other for the sake of gaining an advantage, of course. Their colors are red and gold.
Galwalker – What the Proudfoot House has in numbers, the Galwalkers make up for in reputation. Regarded as the fairest House by far, they offer the best prices on goods though their selection is lacking at times. They are also the only House to engage in major philanthropy, providing food and shelter to the needy and outcasts. Some say that this good will is only a front, and that the House’s boarders are put to work producing the goods that the House may then sell for cheaper than their competition. The House entirely denies these accusations, of course, and the needy that they take in enjoy food and a bed too much to say anything. Their colors are blue and purple.
Nedeling – The only competitor to successfully rise up against the halfling juggernauts was a gnome, and, ever since, the Nedeling House has been allowed its place on the House Council. How such a lesser house managed to rise to power against the entrenched families remains a matter of debate. Some claim that the founding family used to be pirates and were very successful at it; others say that good, old-fashioned acquisition of smaller houses eventually helped them secure their place. Most merchants in City-by-the-Sea will tell you in a quiet voice that the accidental burning of half the House warehouses down at the docks in a single night was all it took to secure a place. Their colors are green and white.