I'm getting in the habit of spelling out what I'm intending to code before I go off and code it. It saves me from diving down rabbit holes and taking a micrometer to the weeds I encounter.

While I was preparing my last blog entry, I was thinking about the sorts of NPCs I would have to model to either be employed if the player was leading a trade delegation, or who would be needed to run a trade delegation on the player's behalf.

This is all off the top of my head, and subject to change, but here goes:


Merchant style characters have money, and they make more money by hiring people to do things. The principle way is by hiring people to move stuff from A to B. (We need Merchant NPCs because for lower level players, they need someone to work for to earn enough money to become their own boss.)


Organizations need eyes and ears in far off places. And sometimes there is no substitute for having a set of them that is loyal to your designs. Spies live abroad and will pass on information about what products are in demand, or what commodities are available for cheap


Travel is dangerous and difficult. Messengers are professionals who are adapted to life on the road. They also make an art out of getting places quickly, and delivering messages discretely.


Teams of workers actually do the loading, transportation and unloading. These are usually low level characters who will work for an agreed upon price.


Bosses manage other hirelings. They supervise a team or workers. You need a certain number of bosses to supervise workers or the workers wander off. (And sometimes they wander off with money or cargo.)


Sometime you need a junior you to straighten up issues abroad. They can travel to that far off place, and negotiate how to get that trade caravan out of legal trouble. Or perhaps work out a way that a warlord can get his beak wet on the activity of your trade caravans without attacking them. Or track down missing cargo, and bring back the scalps of those who made it disappear.


While the player may be a powerful warrior, thieves tend to work in groups. You want some hired muscle out there to keep trouble away by intimidation, and to pick up a sword when intimidation isn't enough. The Merchant can also send muscle along to watch over money and shipments.


With large caravans it is helpful to have someone scout ahead for trouble and make forward arrangements for logistics.
I'm also thinking that your workers, regardless of class, should probably have some special abilities:


Carries and instrument and entertains during campfires and nights at the Inn.


Character comes from a different culture and bestows bonuses when having dealings in that foreign land.


A soldier back from the war, or a sailor back from sea, they have gobs of experience that comes in handy in the oddest situations.


A character with a knowledge of first aid and field medicine


A character who is attuned to the spirits.


A character who can read and write. (Actually quite a rare thing in this setting.)

Eye Candy

A character who has just the look to turn the right heads in the wrong direction.

More on this as it develops.