Trade is the lifeblood of the Six Cities Confederacy, but commerce has become a force in the rest of the world. Within the Confederacy and the other nations, trade is in the hands of powerful merchant houses and mercantile companies. This power, though, is somewhat tempered by various labor guilds. Each exist in a complex web of trade and competition. Trade has made the world a smaller place, but no less dangerous, and many adventurers find employ in the mercantile world as agents of espionage and sabotage, as guards and escorts.

Merchant Houses

Although there are scores of Merchant Houses, a few have risen to become part of the commerce elite. They are Houses with a pedigreed lineage in the world of trade, are powerful enough to challenge Kings, and are known throughout the civilized world.

House Arehs

Based out of Conmaer and led by Tomas Arehs, House Arehs focuses on arms and armor. Its artisans are known for providing some of the best weapons and armor in the known world. Its artificers imbue weapons and armor with potent arcane enchantments.
House Arehs also maintains all controlling shares in the mercenary company, Bright Star, which provides guards to other houses, mercantile companies, and wealthy nobles who wish the prestige of a bodyguards.

House Braedan

Based out of its namesake city and led by the matriarch of Braeden, House Braedan is intricately embedded in the politics and power structure of the city. House Braedan maintains a broad array of economic interests. Notably, they are one of the few Houses willing to engage in the lucrative slave trade between Lysantho and southern Aren Doael.

House Saedher

Based out of Sheinar, House Saedher has the greatest diversity in its area of trade, with arms manufacturing, shipping ventures, insurance for other companies, and agricultural concerns; most these are through a number of subsidiary mercantile companies. Notably, House Saedher provides significant funds to the University of Sheinar and funds exploratory expeditions in the undercity of Dobe and the Dragonhold Islands.

The House is led by Semon Saedher, a man known for being an aggressive merchant who is unforgiving of failure. His eldest son, Alain Saedher, who is being groomed to take over the House is considered by many to have inherited his fathers’ temperament and honed it to a dangerous edge.

House Red Stone

Based out of Sheinar, Red Stone is a house only recently elevated to the same tier as the other Confederate Houses of Reknown. Lackiing the lineage of the other houses, Aeryn Bertol, chose to break with tradition avoided using her family name. A dowager, she has maintained control over the House for decades and appears to plan such control until her death. Her daughter, Alysen Bertol, has attempted to gain control to no avail.

House Red Stone has a limited sphere of influence, but it directly challenges House Saedher – artifacts and antiquities. Bertol is known for sending out teams of explorers in direct challenge to House Saedher, earning the ire of Semon Saedhar. Rumors have suggested that part of the challenge and animosity comes for a failed love affair between Alain Saedher and Alysen Bertol.

House Dhove-Faisel

Emerging from the marriage of the scions of their namesake houses, Dhove-Faisel is based in Sheinar. Their sphere of influence is shipping and their ships ply the major trade routes of the world. What elevates them in the ranks of the merchant houses is that they make their vessels available to other companies and houses.

House Miansakh

Led by Jerard Miansakh, House Miansakh of Hiandhar has interested in textiles and agriculture. Jerard’s heir, Kaderine is a timid young woman who many fear will bring the House to ruin as a she lacks the will to stand against the other Houses. Perhaps in recognition of this, many of the other Houses have begun to send suitors to her doorstep. Whoever wins her hand is likely to take over House Miansakh.

House Dol

This Sheinar-based House is led by Alejand Dol. Though trading in few commodities, Dol has risen in the ranks as a potent economic force. Dol exists as an information brokerage. Purchasing, parsing, and collect information from expeditions and long forgotten records. Dol and his people have a knack for finding value in information that is discarded and forgotten. The, this is sold to the highest bidder. Of course, there are many who believe that House Dol also has a knack for steal information from one house and selling it to another.

House Ren’ Rechau

Based out of Corelyan, Ren’ Rechau is the only merchant house of Halfling origin. Led by twin brothers, Ren’ Rechau focuses on a variety of diverse enterprises, though they are most well known for their trade in raw alchemical and arcane materials. Though they have earned a reputation for underhanded dealing and even had their charter in Sheinar revoked on at least two occasions, they have managed maintain their economic might and influence.

House Troibandhe

Based in Sheinar, this House was founded by Iesadhe expatriate, Vilem Troibandhe.. Their primary sphere of influence is banking and insurance.

House Cardhimom
House Cardhimon is based out of Dobe and is led by Joreph Cardhimom, a powerful wizard in his own right. Specializing in arcane artifacts, Cardhimom has funded some of the most famous delves into the ruins beneath Dobe. They have established a small outpost on the fringes of the Bryl jungle, and have a permanent expedition team on the Dragonhold Islands. A man not to be trifled with, Joreph Cardhimom has shown little qualm in aggressively defending his enterprises. A direct rival to House Saedher, open skirmishes between the two houses are not unknown.

Mercantile Companies

Unlike the merchant houses, a mercantile company lacks the direct familial connection, but often have some history. There are far too many companies to list,but a few have made their names well known.

Sheinar Trading Company

The Sheinar Trading Company was founded by House Arehs and House Red Stone as they began to establish a presence on Aren Doael. The STC was the first foreign trade presence of any significance in the Lysantho Empire. After the success of that enterprise, House Dhove-Faisel joined the founding houses and the company expanded to establish a trade route into the Great Pale. The company has numerous investors in addition to the houses, some openly known like the Dockworkers Guild, and others more clandestine.

Steelhold Company

The Steelhold Company's fame arises solely from its founder, the steel dragon known as Jalanvaloss. She makes her home in the city of Conmaeir and it is believed that she aided the city in defending itself and the peninsula from the incursions of the empire. Although the true nature of Jalanvaloss was once unknown, it has since become common knowledge, though she still appears in her various humanoid forms on most occasions.

For details on Jalanvaloss, see pg. 211 of Draconomicon: Metallic Dragons.

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