The Great Merchant Houses of Grenfell Island control almost all the trade that takes place in the land. There are some small independent merchants. But they make a meager living. Many people will purposely frequent only the non-aligned merchants. However the selection of goods is usually better and cheaper if you deal with the large houses.
smallest denomination is the copper piece(commonly called a copper, or a bit)
10 coppers = 1 silver (called a penny)
20 silver = 1 gold (called a sovereign)
20 gold = bar (shaped like a small brick)
Each major Issaries temple makes their own money. But all are consistent in weight and value. They are all equally accepted just about everywhere. Most of the houses will have serial numbers on sovereigns and bars in order to maintain a tracking of where they are spent. (to prevent shaving and other frauds).
Most everyday people will go through their lives dealing in just coppers and pennies. Sovereigns and bars are only seen among the rich.
The Great Merchant Houses:
Each of the great houses supports it's own Issaries temple. Each temple has a high priest and many regular priests, initiates, and laymen. Each house has a main temple where the high priest resides. Many of them will also support several small temples that are controlled by favored priests. Additionally they also allow shrines to other deities within their temples. They may also have shrines of their own within other cults temples.
Each major house also supports a large number of small vendors. These small shops will be scatter around the land. This is done to keep the business of trade from interfering with the religion of trade.
While there is much controversy over who is the true High priest of the island (there are 6 claimants) The common Issaries worshipper usually just assumes that the high priest at his temple is.
One every other year all the high priests of the Island get together to discuss that state of trade in Island. Each time this conclave meets the laymen assume it is to select a high priest that will rule them all. In reality that discussion never comes up. Each of the high priest doesn't trust any of his contemporaries enough to give him that much authority. They mostly discuss the state of trade in the land and how they can squeeze a little more profit out of the masses.
Worship at a temple of one of the great houses is not limited to members of that house. For religion purposes they are all the same except for the House of Caligyon. Any initiate can join a worship in any Issaries temple in the land. They are welcome to worship. Trade may be a different matter. Some of the houses don't get along too well together. But all differences are tolerated during the worship ceremonies.
House of Gordolian (Pure Isseries)
Specializes in trade among the cities of the Island. Has smaller temples in Kargarden and Mountain Home. Trades extensively with Chotar.
Runs the Gordolian Wagon Run between Kargarden and Karengorn's Joy. The Wagon Run is a large wagon that will carry up to 20 passengers and their luggage. It makes the round trip to Kargarden and back twice each week. If all seats are not taken then cargo will be carried instead.
Gordolian also runs the largest open market in Karengorn's Joy. Merchants rent booth space from the temple to sell in the market. Booth prices run 4 silver a day. The market is open year round. On Issaries' holy days booth rental is free and the market becomes a large Issaries worship ceremony.
The Gordolian Markets in Kargarden and Mountain Home are some of the largest markets. Prices and quality range from average to good.
High Priest - Jassir Kalladian - Accepted the position in 252 ARK. In the 8 years of his leadership the house has steadily shown a profit. Sometimes not as much profit as some of the other houses. But always a profit.
The main temple in Karengorn's Joy is also the single largest market anywhere on the island.
The House of Gordolian doesn't directly buy or sell goods. they provide marketplaces for other craftsmen to sell their goods. They charge a fee for selling in a Gordolian market.
Additionally the house of Gordolian is the main transport provider in the land. The Gordolian Wagon Run is a big money maker. There have been rumors that the house is working on setting up a wagon run from Kargarden to Mountain home. But n one outside the temple is talking.
The house of Gordolian is one of the smallest houses in the land. But they maintain the highest percentage of priests of any of the other houses. Many initiates have sought entrance into the House of Gordolian because it is viewed a a fast track to priesthood. However the elders are aware of this and the entrance requirements are very strict.
House of Chotar (Pure Issaries)
An Innkeeper capable of buying and selling almost anything. A small family oriented temple. Very devote Issaries. Chotar doesn't call himself a high priest. He also doesn't recognize any of the other high priests as his superior. He doesn't attend the conclave except for every 14 years when it is held at his tavern. Generally it is accepted that he would not be treated as an equal with the other 6 houses except for his obvious favoritism with Karengorn.
Located at the Cowsmell Tavern along the central spine of the island. The Cowsmell tavern has been run by Chotar for over 400 years. Actually Chotar always names his eldest son Chotar and then passes on the business. In occasions where the eldest son didn't work out a younger son was renamed and promoted to the head position. There was one occurrence a few hundred years ago where the eldest daughter inherited the title.
The Cowsmell Tavern has always been known as a place where anyone could get a fair deal. The goods are usually average, serviceable products. Chotar has always believed in providing a fair product for a fair price. He primarily deals with the local nomads and barbarians. But also does a brisk trade with travelers along the main road. He deals with most of the other 6 trade houses. But refuses to deal directly with the city of Karengorn's Joy. He allows a few houses to maintain shrines at the Tavern as well as the shrines of a few other cults. His dealings with the House of Nardyolies is limited to some clothing and perfumes, he doesn't approve of many of the products they sell.
It is well known among the locals that if you need a place to sleep and warm meal, and are willing to work for it Chotar will hire you. There is always manual labor to be done around the tavern, or one of it's attached activities.
If all else fails Chotar will put you to work on the highway. Chotar had agreed to work with Karengorn to settle the land by building a highway across it. Chotar was to take the trail between Kargarden and Mountain Home and turn it into a paved highway from coast to coast. In return Karengorn decreed that Chotar should be the only trader to be allowed to sell goods along the highway. Since Karengorn's death the work on the highway has slowed down but not stopped. Chotar still works at gathering stones and paving the roadway. For years the Cowsmell tavern was the only tavern along the great road. The last few decades a few small private owned inns have sprung up along the roadway. They do an reasonable business providing beds and meals to travelers.
However if Chotar learns of any Inn selling more than beds and food he uses his own private militia to convince them to stop. He has been occasionally known to hire mercenaries for this task. I some cases that convincing required Chotar's forces to destroy the offenders Inn.
Chotar claims that since he is still building the highway he still has his royaly decreed right to be the only merchant dealing along it. At least until the next king tells him differently. But since there has been no King since Karengorn, his claim still stands.
None of the other Merchant Houses have ever bothered to dispute his claim. He is very well liked among the locals of the island and they don't wish their bad will.
House of Caligyon (Sorcery)
specializes in the buying and selling of magic. All types. Main temple is in Kargarden. A Large temple is located in Karengorn's Joy, but their presence there is the smallest of the six temples. They also have minor temples in Mountain Home and one at the Cowsmell Tavern.
The Temple of Caligyon doesn't advertise that they are sorcerers. They put on a front of being good Issaries worshippers. But new petitioners to the cult are usually driven to one of the other trade temples by their strict rules and initiations. The priests of the other trade temples know that the Caligyon's are not Issaries worshippers. But they don't tell because they would loose the benefit of trading with them.
They maintain the deception of the masses by faking many of the necessary Issaries spells.
It is generally accepted that is you want a magic device or spell the Caligyon's can get it for you. For the right price.
Entry into this house as a sorcerer is very difficult. They do take some non-sorcerer initiates, but no divines, just spirit types. But they are even rarer than new sorcerer initiates.
The Caligyon's do not worship the Invisible God as a general rule there are some of them in the house and they are allowed their practices. Most Caligyon temples appear to be Issaries temples. But they never fake a worship to Issaries in them. They are just for show.
House of Nardyioles (Issaries/Uleria)
specializes in the buying and selling of physical pleasure. Product ranges from fine clothing and perfume, to luxury accessories like jewelry, to prostitution and slavery.
The main temple is in Karengorn's Joy with a small temple in BogPit. They do trade with Chotar but he will not allow them a shine at the Tavern.
The Temple of Nardyioles was Karengorn's favorite place to stay while in Karengorn's Joy. Many of the houses don't approve of some of the products that they deal in. But most find dealing with them to be too profitable to ignore.
House of Grethen (Issaries / Mostal / Vulcan)
specializes in the buying and selling of raw materials. Sells very few manufactured products. Main temple has just been relocated to Kargarden from Smelzbad. They have small temples or shines in most of the cities of the Island.
They primarily deal in wood, stone, water, dirt, manure, etc.
They are always looking for recruits or workers.
They have the largest shrine at the Cowsmell tavern. They work well with almost all the other merchant houses.
House of Gyolian (Issaries)
retail merchants. The oldest Issaries temple on the Island. Main temple is in Kargarden. Large temple in Karengorn's Joy. Small shines spread throughout the island. Merchandise and prices range from poor to exceptional.
High Priest - Trader Garrian Wannish - Has been in charge of the temple for almost 10 years now. While profits have not been exceptional, there have been profits every year. Instead of directing the house after the large instantaneous profits Garrian prefers to establish solid long term trade relations.
Garrian is constantly preaching that "We are not the oldest house in the land because we are the richest. We are the oldest house in this land because we offer a good product for a fair price". This is the attitude under which he directs all the houses efforts. Except for the temple in Karengorn's Joy. They are allowed to exercise some rather liberal trading practices. But this is primarily becasue the business climate in Karengorn's Joy will support such radical pricing practices.
The House of Gyolian trades heavily with local craftsmen. They do not really produce any items for sale themselves.
They are the true retail market chain in the Island.
House of Larporlan (Issaries)
are general merchants. Also one of the oldest Issaries temples on the Island. Main temple is in Karengorn's Joy. Large temples in Kargarden and Mountain Home. Small shines spread throughout the island. Merchandise and prices range from poor to pretty good.
High Priest - Trader Victoria Darmon - High Priestess for 3 years. Priofits were high the first two years of her leadership. But lately profits have been off and there has been grumbling among the other priests.
The House of Larporlan are manufacturer/resellers. They either manufacture everything they sell or contract out for it to be manufactured. They seldom establish a trade agreement with any single craftsman. Instead they simply buy his business from him and then hire him to run it for them.
The House of Larporlan maintains large sections of shops in Kargarden and Mountain Home simply manufacturing goods that they sell.