The Caravan Union
What we do isn't politics. Our job is to make sure everybody gets paid, has enough to eat, and a roof over their head. Sometimes you can make peace between enemies, sometimes you have to pick sides- keeping people alive is just more damn important.
-Master Johnathan Clarke, The Caravan Union
The Caravan Union is a group responsible for regulating trade and transport in Ki’Mara. They also control most of Ki’Mara’s black market and organized crime, but they typically exercise this control in ways that help the colonies survive and thrive. This earns them the support of colonials themselves and inspires Parliament to ignore their illicit dealings. Many Caravaneers are heroes to the common man, fighting for their fair wage from colonial courthouses to the very edge of the frontier.
Fifty years ago Junaar Colony was founded, and the lack of safe transportation between it and Stonebridge Colony shortly became a crisis for both. While Parliament debated the merit of a rail route between the two cities, a group of colonials took action. A considerable majority of local business owners, workers, and concerned citizens signed an agreement giving a few trusted parties the authority to organize- by whatever means necessary- transport and trade between all Ki’Maran destinations. Their early success was dramatic, as was the improvement of living conditions in the colonies. Member companies also saw a sudden, substantial increase in their profitability, which only served to attract more and more interests to the Union. The astonishing effectiveness of this model let many Amaran financial authorities to suspect the Caravaneers were deliberately circumventing proper Parliamentary trade laws, but their evidence was sparse and Parliament itself was hardly keen to risk their own interests in Ki’Mara by launching an investigation.
The Caravan Union became the undisputed arbiter of commerce on the frontier, controlling both legal and illicit trade. The exact nature of the organization has always been a matter of some debate; while clearly born of private interest and unaffiliated with any government, Imperial or Colonial, it essentially fills a regulatory role typically reserved for Parliamentary committees. As well as being a trade and transport group the Union offers colonial citizens an opportunity for representation at Union council meetings, which are open to the public. Small businesses that might otherwise be wiped out by larger interests are preserved and integrated by union officials, whose guiding philosophies typically favor grassroots efforts and entrepreneurship. Workers appeal to Union representatives for fair wages and conditions, and the Union strong-arms companies into changing their policy.
Membership in the Caravan Union is different from being a
Caraveneer. A union member is any owner or employee of a company that has
signed the Union Accords, which includes all but the most minor local
businesses in Ki’Mara and many Amaran companies that frequently engage trade with
the Colonies. A Caravaneer works directly for the union, and may fall into one
of two categories: the first group are representatives and councilpersons who
design Union policy and enforce that policy across Ki’Mara, and the second
group are Caravan Masters and their retinues, who directly oversee the
transportation of goods. These individuals run the gamut from idealistic
leaders of men to ruthless racketeers, but are most often some combination of
Caravaneers in the Caravan
As a Caravaneer in the Caravan, you are part of the leadership structure of the expedition itself. Though the mission is Parliamentary in nature, and wields Imperial authority and support, the Caravan Union has been contracted to manage the expedition, in light of their superior experience with such operations on the wild frontier. Unfortunately, this places the Caravaneers in the difficult position of handling the unreasonable and often conflicting demands of factions that represent interests integral to the Union’s contract with Parliament. Maintaining complete neutrality might be beyond your reach, but will likely fall to you to find the middle ground that satisfies opposing parties during a crisis. Caravaneers in the Caravan are also expected to advance the Union’s business interests in Ki’Mara, establishing lucrative trade routes in the wake of the expedition.
Ranks and Powers
(Faction powers are legal abilities that rely on in-game compliance with the law and are not enforced by any game mechanic.)
The entire command structure for the branch of the
Caravaneers made up of Caravan Masters and their staff, to which all
Caravaneers in the Caravan belong, is described below. All Caravan Masters
report to a political representative who keeps track of their activity in Union
Description: Your job is to implement instructions from your Foreperson or the Caravan Master, executing tasks both menial and exciting. Many opportunities for personal profit are assured to ambitious assistants with flexible legal ethics.
Power: At each check in, you are given a single black market item. The value and usefulness of the item may vary widely.
Catch: Along with the black market item you will be given a faction mission that you are expected to complete during the event.
Description: You are a manager, overseeing the execution of the Caravan Master’s instructions by your Hirelings. You are frequently responsible for making, mediating, or witnessing important business deals.
Power: Once per month, you may visit Logistics and send a writ featuring a Union seal with a messenger to the caravan followers, requesting the immediate presence of a merchant selling a specified type of goods. Since most businesses among the followers are Union members, your request is enacted with haste- as completing it will be lucrative for anyone involved. There is no guarantee that available merchants will possess any given specific unusual item, or arrive in any kind of specified time frame (in some cases, the merchant may not be able to show up until the following event).
Catch: If a Merchant picks up shop to journey into danger, he or she will be expecting a significant purchase. Merchants who feel their time or effort has been abused by poor sales will decrease the likelihood of success and speed on future requests.
Description: Master is the highest rank possessed within this particular branch of the Caravaneer hierarchy. You are responsible for the management of the entire Caravan and balancing the interests of political factions. Your authority is not absolute, and depends strongly on popular support.
Power: Once every three months, you may choose one of the other major political factions (Advocates, Legionnaires, Engineers, or Solemnites), and prioritize supply lines valued by the chosen group. At the event following the use of this legal power, all members of the chosen faction receive item/sovereign packets which are doubled in quantity or value.
Catch: It is your responsibility to pursue the most profitable or otherwise appealing offer from members of each faction made in exchange for choosing them for supply prioritization. Any such deal is expected to benefit the caravan as a whole, as well as your superiors in the Caravan Union’s political hierarchy.
- The Advocacy: “We’re all about getting along with the
natives. It’s the only way to do good business with them. That being said, these
folks seem to want to protect the locals from everything, including a good
- The Imperial Corps of Engineers: “We have them to
thank for the steam train, a source of untold fortune for our organization and
Ki’Mara as a whole. It’s when they start in on that “Noble Blood” talk that my
eyes start to glaze over.”
- The Foreign Legion: “As the appointed protectors for
our Caravans as well as the colonies we trade with, it pays your life to
maintain a good relationship with the Legion. Watch them around the natives,
though; what we see as opportunities, they tend to see as threats.”
- The Order of the Solemn: “Before you laugh at their fancy suits and robes, just remember that a greater source of Sovereigns in this world there is plainly not, and show the proper respect. Then laugh anyway, but out of earshot.”