The West Trading Company

In the bustling trade hub of the Edge Docks, where the Darrigan East Exports Company and the many other trade concerns of Tyb do bustling business, a newcomer has recently arrived to the scene; the West Trade Company, an 'up-and-coming' player looking to make a name for itself in the market. Recently established with a small fleet of three small trading boats, it appeared at first glance to be yet another case of an overly-ambitious wannabe 'entrepreneur' aiming for a piece of the massive Tyb trading pie, but doomed to fail and fade into obscurity like so many that have gone before it. Whatever the case, the young trading company had set up shop in an out-of-the-way corner (or what passes for such in the perpetually-busy Edge Docks), ready to make its fortune.

Except, for some strange reason, it has yet to turn out that way even though several months had passed. No one in the Edge Docks had any idea who would trust the green and untested company with a job, and yet it was known that its rag-tag trading fleet had set sail from the Docks at least once - presumably on such a job. The company's founder, Joseph West - by all accounts a salty old sea dog whom had come out of distant seas to the Merchant's Water, and was affectionately known as "Ol' Cunning Joe" by his crew - had gone on that trading run, and while none could say where the West fleet was headed or where it had come back from, neither was it disputed what had happened during that particular voyage.

For Ol' Cunning Joe had made it all but known that his fleet was sailing into dangerous waters - no one now was sure where it was headed, but many did know that the fleet's route took it through an area where countless trade vessels have been preyed upon by an infamous scoundrel of the seas - Captain 'Butcher' Jones, one of the most infamous of the pirates that infested the waters around Tyb, and came by his fearsome moniker honestly. As far as the old salt in the many taverns around the Docks were concerned, Ol' Cunning Joe must have finally cracked, and none expected to see him, the young lass who was his constant companion, or any of his crew alive ever again, when the West fleet finally left port and set sail.

Battered and battle-scarred were the boats of the West fleet when they returned; but return they did, along with Captain West who bore with him a most unexpected prize - the severed head of 'Butcher' Jones himself. So many pirate hunters have tried and failed to bring the bloodthirsty corsair to bay, but Ol' Cunning Joe was the one who managed it, and on his first trade run to boot. The bounty West collected on Jones' head allowed him to acquire a frigate as his company's flagship - which he renamed the Scent of Mirabelle - and though speculation was rife, neither he nor his men would reveal just how he managed the feat for any amount of gold.

All that the astonished seagoing peers of Ol' Cunning Joe learned from this, was that this old sea dog from distant seas who appeared by all accounts to have come to the Merchant's Water and to Tyb for his 'retirement', had earned his moniker for a reason. What reason that is, they still do not know to this day.

At present, the West Trading Company retains a presence in the Edge Docks, though it remains a small affair, and still no one could say whose patronage was keeping West in business.

Starting Location: Edge Docks, Tyb

The West Trading Company is currently based out of a small office in the Edge Docks, from which it conducts its business and negotiations. The Company is also known to have its own private dry dock in the area, where its fleet of small trade ships are serviced and maintained.

Unit Stats (5 BP)

Swords: 0

Captain West's crew are experienced seamen as able as any, but their expertise in sea-fighting doesn't always translate well on land, and Ol' Cunning Joe has yet to see any need to do anything about this fact.

Fleet: 0

The flagship frigate Scent of Mirabelle is the only naval component available to the West Trading Company. How Ol' Cunning Joe managed to take the head of 'Butcher' Jones with only his trade ships is a mystery, and most simply put it down to the old sea dog's titular craftiness.

Agents: 5

5 Tavern Wenches (1 BP each, 5 BP total) - Captain West is not exactly a specialist in the arts of subterfuge, but he and his men have certainly made their presence felt at all of the taverns in the Merchant's Water. The West fleet sailors are a familiar sight with many a wench serving grog and chow in these taverns, and they have struck up something of an understanding with them. The tavern wenches will pass rumors and gossip on the goings-on in the Merchant's Water to Captain West's boys, alert them to anyone asking after the West Trading Company, and maybe assist Ol' Cunning Joe in misdirecting their enquiries elsewhere if he doesn't feel like having people prying into his business.

Mages: 0

According to his crew, Ol' Cunning Joe has always managed his unmentioned previous exploits with sheer ingenuity, and without resorting to the arcane arts. This only changed when the 'Young Lassie' joined them on their voyage to the Merchant's Water, and even then she appears to be the only one handling whatever magical duties Captain West tasks her with.

Abstract Stats (8 BP)

Intelligence: 0

Being a relative newcomer to the scene, and Captain West cannot be expected to know all that much about his market competition at this point.

Wealth: 0

As a relative newcomer to the marketplace, the West Trading Company has yet to generate a regular clientele in the short time it has been here.

Morale: 8

Captain West's crew in the West Trading Company are all veteran sailors to a man, and have apparently been under the leadership of Ol' Cunning Joe for years. They have an inordinate level of trust and love in the old sea dog, and not a single one can be persuaded to reveal his trade secrets thus far.

Reputation: 0

The takedown of 'Butcher' Jones has earned Ol' Cunning Joe a bit of the spotlight in the Edge Docks, but he remains relatively obscure as of now. Of course, that might change...

Lore Stats (6 BP)

Magic Theory: 0

Neither Ol' Cunning Joe nor any of his crew have ever been of a magical bent, their sole concession to supernatural means being prayers to the sea gods for a safe voyage. That has changed slightly with the Young Lass joining the crew, but even so she is but one mage, and too young to be a particularly puissant one as yet.

Scientific Theory: 3 (6 BP)

Ol' Cunning Joe and his men are as able shipwrights and craftsmen, as they are sailors. They are seen laboring in the Company's dry dock and its attached machine shop almost as much as they are sailing out to sea, and it shows in the condition of their boats; while small, the West fleet appears to comprise boats of unusually fine and rugged construction.

Trade and Markets: 0

One would think any self-respecting trading company would have a solid grasp on the commodities market in the Merchant's Water, but Captain West cops to it, and claims he'll learn as he goes. The way he jumped feet-first into a profession he knows little if anything about may seem to be needlessly reckless, but that's Ol' Cunning Joe for you.

Foreign Relations: 0

Times were when Captain West's Crew sailed the high seas of all Lorin, and played his part in the political intrigues of the Great Powers. That was a long time ago, and he has since left it behind to his 'retirement' in the Merchant's Water. These days, Ol' Cunning Joe knows little of how much has transpired in his absence, and frankly, he doesn't care to know.

Merchant's Water: 0

Captain West visited the Merchant's Water on quite a few occasions in his youth, during his storied career as a rogue on the high seas. However, by the time he has come here to stay for good in the present day, Ol' Cunning Joe has since lost track of what little he knew about the region's political landscape. Nothing for it but to figure it out along the way, as he always says.

Far Isles: 0

The Far Isles are one of the few places Ol' Cunning Joe has yet to sail in depth in earlier years, at the height of his career. Now, he may claim to be settling down and making honest men of himself and his crew... but who knows? Perhaps the West Trading Company is but a ruse, an empty shell and a springboard from which Ol' Cunning Joe will undertake his last great adventure!

Zanchar: 0

Ol' Cunning Joe has never had reason to abide anything about the Dead Continent; danger is fine and all, but there's no sense in it if there's no profit to be had there.

VIPs (30 BP)

"Ol' Cunning Joe" (Level 9 Ship Captain)
aka Captain Joseph West

A hoary old sea dog who sailed into the Merchant's Water not so long ago with a crew behind him, Ol' Cunning Joe claimed to have come to these parts to retire from what, according to himself and his crew of grizzled sailors, had been an illustrious and varied career on the high seas, on both sides of the law. Of course, such an audacious claim was not something to be taken seriously by most, and either way, it was not as if West and his boys caused mayhem and havoc when they landed. Instead, they seemed to settle down as expected of men trying to go honest, put together a few ships and a dry dock, and started the fledgling business that they called the West Trading Company. Everyone expected Captain West's little business venture to fail, and for his motley band to end up destitute and far from home.

Then, the Captain took his entire Company fleet out on its very first job... and the rest was history.

Today, not all that much has changed, except Ol' Cunning Joe has become something of a minor celebrity in the taverns around Merchant's Water for his feat. Hard-drinking and full of good cheer, the Captain and his men are most often seen working on something in the Company dry dock in the day, when they're not making merry at one tavern or another at night. These days, the good Captain doesn't seem like he's getting any business for his company or otherwise have any plans at present, but people are waiting and watching to see if his victory over 'Butcher' Jones was no mere fluke.

VIP Traits

[Old Sea Dog] - As a debonair buccaneer who spent his youth pursuing riches - ill-gotten or otherwise - in the high seas of Lorin, Captain West has seen every wonder, tackled every danger and overcome every obstacle the dangerous waters threw his way. Now his best years are freshly behind him, but Ol' Cunning Joe remains as much of an old sea dog as ever. Ol' Cunning Joe instinctively knows how best to leverage the resources at hand to handle any sort of the challenge the high seas can throw at him, be it avaricious corsairs bearing down on his position, sea-sorcerers throwing sizzling spells from their barges, massive galleons which outgun and outnumber his own crew, or even great sea monsters of awe-inspiring size.

[Innovative Shipwright] - One of the few things that people in the Merchant's Water know about Ol' Cunning Joe, is his apparent skill and ingenuity at the art of shipbuilding. The ships in his fleet show the signs of robust construction and skillful reinforcement, and incorporate innovations known only to Captain West himself. Many have wondered why he chose to start a company as opposed to simply settling down as a master shipwright, but most put it down to the old sailor retaining a love for the sea yet.

[Old Age and Treachery] - Though he may no longer be a hearty and vigorous young buccaneer, Ol' Cunning Joe's immense capacity for guile - which earned him his moniker - has seen him through many challenges, and he now has many a long year on the sea to add to his natural craftiness. He is said to be known for devising frankly epic schemes to surmount the insurmountable, and most importantly seeing such schemes through to a successful conclusion. An unknown factor he might have been when he first settled at the Edge Docks and started his trading company, but ever since the taking of 'Butcher' Jones' head, people now know to think twice about crossing him, at least.

Isabelle Winterbourne (Level 6 Illusionist)
aka the "Young Lassie"

Serving as the West Trading Company fleet's chief and only mage, the youthful beauty of Isabelle Winterbourne stands out like a sore thumb on the deck of the Scent of Mirabelle, even when she's togged out in practical sailing gear not much different from those worn by the menfolk. That said, as far as the salty sailors of West's crew are concerned, Isabelle has quite earned her place amongst them; her grasp of magic has saved them much trouble, even pulled them out of a pinch on many an occasion, and the sea dogs are quite happy to have her around.

If asked, she would claim to be the daughter of Captain Joseph West himself. Which, in all honesty, is quite believable; Ol' Cunning Joe has had a long and storied seafaring career behind him, and his crew has known him to have sired many an illegitimate child all over Lorin. What makes Isabelle stands out amongst her myriad unknown siblings, though, is that her mother is supposedly a highly-respected sorceress of Ver Arcana itself, and a fateful encounter with the dashing Captain Joe West in her youth was what resulted in Isabelle. Even more unusual, Isabelle claimed to have set out to find her father. Not only did she find him, she actually managed to prove herself to him, and has been a part of his adventures ever since.

Whether a true story or otherwise, Isabelle's features do have a resemblance to Ol' Cunning Joe's. She has also proven herself to have something of the old man's temperament, reckless yet creative in equal measure. And even if it was not clear that the Captain does dote on her like his own, the fact remains that Isabelle Winterbourne is fully a member of Captain West's Crew.

VIP Traits

[Youth and Skill] - Perhaps a puissant arch-mage of awesome powers she might not be, but Isabelle wields magic with a respectable level of control for her age, and by any standard can be accounted a prodigy in her particular school of magic. Her tender years belie a great deal of potential as well as a youthful vigor, which is a big part of the reason why Captain West agreed to keep her around. Isabelle is especially skilled with magic in the illusion school, and is precocious when it comes to furthering her mastery of magical subterfuge.

[Like Father, Like Daughter] - Although Isabelle has known her father for far lesser years than the majority of his crew, that short period of time is enough to influence the young mage considerably; she soon demonstrated a capacity for utilizing her magical craft in creative and innovative ways that made Ol' Cunning Joe himself proud, and it was clearly a paternal inheritance given rein to unleash its full potential for the first time. Isabelle is just as capable of guile as Ol' Cunning Joe himself, although her upbringing and training means that she applies it best to mage-craft which complements Captain West's mastery of sea-craft best.

Assets (11 BP)

Scent of Mirabelle, Frigate (5 Fleet, 5 BP)

The flagship of the West Trading Company, Ol' Cunning Joe bought the fast-sailing warship with the proceeds from 'Butcher' Jones' bounty. Outfitted for full naval capability, and crewed by his veteran sailors, she now serves as the military component of the Company's fleet, acting as a guarantee of the security of any cargo entrusted to its trade ships. How Ol' Cunning Joe managed to secure that first job without the Scent of Mirabelle, much less overcome the infamous pirate without its firepower in the first place is a question for the ages, although one might guess it has to do with the ways that earned Captain West his nom de guerre.

Passion of Sarah, Caravel (2 BP)
Warmth of Ruth, Caravel (2 BP)
Touch of Velvet, Caravel (2 BP)

Faction Traits

Perk: [West's Trade Secrets]

It's strange how the West Trading Company has managed to survive as a business venture, when it doesn't seem capable of winning clients of any repute. For that matter, no one can remember the last time any of them ever engaged its services; no, the one where Ol' Cunning Joe bagged 'Butcher' Jones' head doesn't count, because it's still not known who even sent the West fleet on that trip in the first place. For that matter, no one can figure out how the good Captain managed to take down the bloodthirsty pirate in the first place, and he isn't telling. Ol' Cunning Joe is pretty darn good at keeping his secrets, and it'll take a lot to pry them out of him or his crew.

Perk: Hidden by [West's Trade Secrets]

Flaw: [Small Fish in a Big Pond]

The problem with that, of course, is that most respectable businessmen in Tyb can't even begin to trust such a minnow as the West Trading Company with their business. Sure, Captain West is offering his services for cheap, but it's a poor and desperate merchant indeed who would even consider braving the dangerous Merchant's Water with the bare-bones escort that Captain West can appear to give his trade vessels. No, even if the prices of Darrigan are too high to afford, there's still more reputable traders out there. Ol' Cunning Joe is going to have to start from scratch, if he really intends to make his new business venture a successful one.