Thursday, October 17, 2013

Organizations - Urdd Crefft

Urdd Crefft

After the fall of House Llud and the ensuing chaos that swept through the Freeholds, the wars of succession, the foreign invasions, and the rise of banditry in the countryside and piracy in the Heulwen and Galation Seas, many merchants in the towns and cities of the Freeholds where trading is common formed a loose knit organization. The goals of the organization are to combat problems with pirates and raiders as well as to facilitate trade by forcing local rulers to lower or eliminate tolls, duties and tariffs. This organization is named the Urdd Crefft. The Crefft, as they are commonly called, do many things: From placing bounties on particularly troublesome pirates, to handling currency exchanges, to negotiating with local rulers for tariff breaks and tax relief for members. The Crefft can also locate buyers or sellers for particular goods on behalf of a member and honor money notes for large sums of cash that members can transport across long distances without worrying about carrying large, heavy valuables.

Most importantly, the Urdd Crefft are a counterbalance to the power and authority of the nobility, giving voice and weight to the concerns of the mercantile classes. Because the members of the Crefft control so much trade, any ruler who ignores them does so at his own peril. Even more critically, because the Crefft includes so many bankers, and engages in some banking as an organization, a nobleman who turned a deaf ear to the organization's concerns is likely to find it exceedingly difficult to secure funds in the event that he needed them. And because every noble is always starved for cash, this is a substantial concern.

Members of the Urdd Crefft usually wear identifying gold brooches in the shape of a miniature ship. Becoming a member appears to require sponsorship by another member, plus an initiation fee and an audit The Crefft's endeavors are funded by its members who give ten percent of their profits to the organization, paying their shares at designated clearinghouses located in most trading centers. Urdd Crefft members in good standing generally get a variety of tax, toll, and excise breaks as a result of the agreements and concessions negotiated by the organization. Members also obtain access to a wide array of contacts through the organization as well as the benefit of a variety of commercial services and the ability to suggest (and promote) commissions and projects using Crefft funds.

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