Eilward Hoekstra, merchant grog

[size=150]Eilward Hoekstra, Frisian Merchant[/size]

Characteristics: Int +1, Per +1, Pre +2, Com +2, Str -2, Sta 0, Dex 0, Qik -1
Size: -1
Age: 22
Confidence: 0(0)
Decrepitude: 0
Warping Score: 0(0)
Virtues and Flaws: Merchant, Puissant Bargain, Social Contacts (merchants), Privileged Upbringing, Ambitious, Poor Characteristics, Small Frame
Personality Traits: Wants to build the biggest trading business in Frisia +3, Brave -2
Reputations: None
Soak: 0
Fatigue Levels: OK, 0, –1, –3, –5, Unconscious
Wound Penalties: –1 (1–4), –3 (5–8), –5 (9–12), Incapacitated (13–16)
Abilities: Artes Liberales 3 (arithmetics), Bargain 4 +2 (seal products), Charm 3 (first impressions), Folk Ken 3 (merchants), Guile 3 (authorities), Carouse 1 (sailors), Etiquette 3 (merchants), Intrigue 2, North Sea Lore 3 (ports), Profession: Merchant 4 (find buyers), English 3 (merchants), Low German 5 (Friesian), Latin 2 (academic use)

Appearence: 5'0 tall and skinny. Dark brown hair reaching his shoulders and a goatee beard.

Eilward is the eldest son of a merchant from Helgoland. He has travelled between the ports of Frisia, Flanders and British Isles since he was a little child and learnt the trade from his father. His father died from a disease when he was 17 so he had to take over the business which only included a cog with crew. Recently his ship was attacked by pirates and was lost together with the crew. Eilward himself wasn't onboard at the time but lost all his assets and have been struggling with debts since then.


May I suggest the following specialties?

  • Carouse (sailors)
  • Guile (authorities)
  • Bargain (prices) (selling) (buying) or a certain type of good.

Quite an ambition there :slight_smile: And quite ready to fall into our hands to be [strike]corrupted and his soul eaten by us[/strike] conviced to join our covenant :slight_smile:

What kind of merchandise does he trade in? Merchants are usually specilized in some kind of wares, because contacts are difficult to come by. These contacts, in turn, often determine how successful you can be.

Completely uneducated? He cannot read nor write, and has very limited ability to do arithmetics.

Grog-level characters are limited to a single Personality flaw. Both Noncombattant and Ambitious are in that category.

His father probably owned a cog rather than a knarr. A knarr is more for coastal sailing, while the cog is more appropriate for trading in the North Sea.

I was thinking about that. What would be a feasible specialization you think? Wool, textiles or ore perhaps?

I guess we could change Strong-Willed for Privileged Upbringing to give him some levels in Artes Liberales and Latin. Educated would do the same but I don't think he would have gone to a school it's more like he has learnt it from his father and his contacts and friends.

Hmm only one personality flaw and no story flaw and a very limited list of general flaws make it difficult to make grogs with three virtues but ok. Fragile Constitution perhaps in exchange for Noncombatant?

Cog it is of course.

If his father wanted him to take up the family business, he may have sent him to a monastery or school to get educated. But Privileged Upbringing does the job as well if you don't intend to put more than 50 xp into Academic abilities.

Can do. Perhaps a Lesser Malediction of some sort? This would give him an additional reason to consort with wizards, as they may offer him a way to offset the effects of the malediction? This would also set a price tag attached to his dealings with the covenant.

Note that there is no prohibition on taking a Major flaw for a grog-level character.

Made some changes to Virtues&Flaws and Abilities.

Suggestions for a Lesser Malediction?
Alternatively we go all in on Ambitious (major). I don't know why I thought grogs were not allowed to take major flaws.

Textiles and/or wool might do.

Here's some more possibilities, from City and Guild.

Bulk goods: Coal, Copper, Foodstuffs or grain, Furs and skins (possibly seal skins?), Hemp (to make rope), Oil (perhaps from seals as well), Timber, Wine.

Manufactured Goods: Ceramics (including bricks and tiles), Leather (including parchment), Ironware (including tools), Linen.

Luxury Goods: Amber, Dyes and Ink, Slaves, Soap, Spices, Weapons.

Probably because they're not allowed to take a Major virtue.

Don't have any specific idea regarding a malediction, simply threw it out there as a possibility.

You now list 4 minor virtues.

Doh! Forgot to delete Strong-Willed. Done now.

Let's go with textiles in it's manufactured but fabric-wise broader meaning.

I'll think about the Lesser Malediction until tomorrow. Too tired right now.

I would remove strong willed and make him Educated over privileged upbringing. Same end result, but the education is more consistent. :slight_smile:
I would make the Ambitious flaw MAJOR. He is a grog, and grogs are good being somewhat caricaturesque. Otherwise, being lame because of an accident, or having poor characteristics (-2 to quickness and you are done) can also work.

Maybe Artes Liberales 3 would be better? He does not need philosophiae at all for his role, and AL can work well here.

Maybe he can have "seal products" as a catch-all specialization for bargaining? Sounds reasonable to me. Having a triangular trade of skins to England, Yorkist wool to Flanders and processed products and foodstuffs to Heligoland sounds like a promising triad to me :slight_smile: He will need to start smaller since he will only have a knarr now, but hey.

They are not. AM5, p. 37, Virtues and Flaws guidelines, 5th bullet point.

That's in the errata of the second printing. I had missed that.

Textiles work and is broad enough to build an empire upon. :wink:

On the other hand, I thought some of the others had potential as well, for various reasons. Timber for Quercus' oak spells. Seal skins and oil because Heligoland has them in some number. Coal because the island always needs fuel for the copper mines and other uses. Etcetera.

Great idea with the triangular trade Xavi!

I changed his Bargain specialisation to seal products including skins and oil and maybe even dried seal meat.
Changed the last flaw to Poor Characteristics which gave him -2 in Str and -1 in Qik.
Changed AL to 3 and dropped Philosophiae.

Actually this kind of triangular trade was extremely common during this period. It was like today's trade, that you add a margin for the transport, only that customs were much higher and the margins for the merchants were higher as well, so imported produce from far away was very expensive, usually because it passed through the hands of several intermediaries.

Looking good. :slight_smile:

Good idea ! There's plenty of profit in the seal skin trade, even one knarr at a time. Wine from Flanders (okay, coming from further south up the Rhine actually) would sell well in England, and may even find a small market in Heligoland.

Ah, I didn't know about the wine from flanders.

Generally, what do we have as export goods then?


  • Wool
  • Foodstuffs
  • Coal
  • weapons? IIRC they had quite an industry there.


  • Textiles (cloth and tapestries)
  • Wine (imported from down south)
  • processed and luxury products in general, imported from the continent [this area is a major trade hub]


  • Seal derivatives (skins, oil, meat)
  • Wood (oak production farm)
  • Copper
  • Bird derivatives (feathers, for example)

Another thing to keep in mind is that Heligoland is literally in the estuary of the Elbe river, so you have access to that market. And to Denmark as well.

Another local product that can be exported is fish.

I think that England also exports coal. I know that Wales did, not sure about the eastern part of England.

Wine is not produced only in Flanders, the valley of the Moselle river (a tributaryt of the Rhine) is also rich in wine. And oak barrels.

Added coal to the list of English exports.

If they use oak barrels, they must be good people :mrgreen: