Trader's Guide to Common Courtesy (book)

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A Trader's Guide to Common Courtesy

by Mutiara Os'Nedora of Leth Deriel

This book does not contain a set of rules every Trader must abide by. It does, however, contain some words of advice on what is acceptable behavior. Some are just personal quirks of mine, but I do believe this guide deals with the most common issues of courtesy encountered by a Trader.

I. Upon entering the Trader's guild

A. "How do I...?"

First, you should remember what Imaar told you upon joining the guild. That way, you don't have to ask other traders how to do some of the most obvious things. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying everyone should know everything and can't ask any question. But I probably am not alone when I say that I find it disturbing for people to not pay attention to Imaar, then expect someone else to explain everything to them again.

B. "Read your ledger!"

But if it's too late for you, and you really can't recall what Imaar has told you, don't fret. All you have to do is read your ledger. Yes, your ledger is very important. Most traders you ask will tell you to get a ledger and read it if you ask, "What am I supposed to do now?" (To get a ledger, go west from the reception room where Imaar is, and Get Ledger.) Read the notes in your ledger, and consult it if you have any question. If you can't find the answer there, then you ask another trader.

C. "Since all of you here are rich..."

A trader doesn't really need much to start. You don't need to buy anything to trade, and you don't need to immediately pay your debts (both to the province and to the outposts, unless you want another contract from that outpost). So, don't ask for handouts or loans from other traders because you think they're rich.

First of all, a Trader has a way to start himself off without asking others for money. It's called running contracts. Maybe the money is not rolling in as much as you'd like it to be. But it's honest and legitimate work. Second of all, other Traders don't get what they have by sitting around and asking for handouts. With the money you get from trading and the sum loaned to you by the province, you have more than enough to equip yourself with some basic armor, weapons, and containers. Go out and earn what you want. You will also earn my respect that way.

II. When in the guildhall

Everything in this section revolves around one main idea: When sitting around in the guildhall, ask before you do any- thing that involves another person.

A. "Why are you staring at me?"

Don't appraise someone else without asking:

Don't you find it rude if someone just steps up to you and starts eyeing every single thing you're wearing as if you're a piece of merchandise up for sale? Well, that is basically what you're doing when you appraise someone. Most traders won't mind if you ask first, so there's no harm in asking, not to mention it's the polite thing to do.

Even if someone has allowed you to appraise him at one time, that doesn't mean you can appraise him whenever and wherever you see him. Ask again.

B. "Ack! What are you doing?"

As with appraising, don't tend someone else without asking. Maybe it's because I have spent most of my life living with an Empath, but I personally would not want someone to suddenly fumble around with my bleeding, hand, neck, or whatever body part happens to be bleeding. Lemicus knows where your hands have been, or what you could do to make my injury even worse.

Always ask. If someone doesn't want you to tend him, respect his wish and don't pester him about it (that includes begging, threatening, and whining). He surely has his reasons.

C. "Teach me!"

If you want someone to teach you, ask politely, don't demand. Though this seems simple, you'll be amazed at how often this simple courtesy is not followed. Simply, if you're rude, I won't respond to you.

Also, when teaching, don't impose on others by trying to teach them when they have not asked to be taught. This may seem like nothing, since they can always not listen. But one shouldn't subtly force others to listen to him. You can either announce that you have a class running, therefore allowing others who was not aware of your class to ask to listen, or you can ask first before trying to teach someone.

D. "So what ... are you?"

If someone doesn't want to answer your question, especially if it is something personal (such as circle and skill ranks), don't insist. Some people are very private and would rather not reveal much of themselves.

III. Out in the real world

This book does not have the answer to every single problem you will encounter out there, but I do try to include most of the situations relevant to Traders.

A. "Why.. You little thief!"

You might think that all Thieves are out to get Traders. The fact of the matter is, only a small fraction of Thieves steal from Traders on the routes. Keeping that in mind, don't treat the whole guild based on the actions of a few. In fact, many members of other professions steal just as much from Traders, if not more.

I know this will sound strange coming from a Trader. But don't retaliate when you see a thief stealing from you. What I mean by this is, don't attack or taunt (Accusing is fine).

Why not attack? Simple. You will probably lose. If you haven't noticed, Traders aren't usually known for their prowess in battle. If you feel that you can handle the thief, feel free. If you're not sure but want to attack him anyway, go ahead. I'm not telling you what to do here, simply giving an advice.

Why not taunt? It's not a good idea to upset the thief. He can tell his friends, and they might decide that they want to have some fun with Traders on the routes. More thieves out on the routes means every Trader out there will be stolen from more often. But he might not tell his friends, you say. True. But what do you think taunting him will do? He will just train his stealing even more. He gets better at stealing faster. Then it's your loss.

Note: Thief refers to a guilded thief, where thief refers to a thief of any guild.

B. "You're a Trader, you said?"

Considering the small population of Traders in comparison to the members of other guilds, there isn't much that can be said about the relationship between Traders and the other guilds; except with Empaths. This is a purely personal choice, but when tipping an Empath, be generous. Remember that Empaths cannot hunt to earn their living, and depend mostly on the kindness of others. (I have yet to encounter an Empath who charges a fee for healing, except the towns' established Empaths.) Again, this is purely a matter of personal choice.

C. "Hey, you! You with the caravan!"

Unfortunately, Traders are known to be very unresponsive when they are trading. It is my hope that this will change. In order to change this image, every Trader needs to do his or her part. So what should you do?

If you encounter someone who is in need of help, do stop and help. This, however, doesn't mean you should stop everytime someone tries to get your attention. Sometimes, people are just trying to stop you to steal from you. You will have to judge whether someone is truly in need of help or merely trying to distract you.

For example, a newcomer to the land might be lost and has come to you for directions. As the travelers of the land, Traders should be able to help and direct him to his destination or lead him back to the nearest community.

However, if helping others is not something you would like to do, who am I to tell you what to do?

But if every Trader takes a moment to help others, maybe people will stop thinking of Traders as people who have their sight fixed between their mules' ears, and start thinking that Traders do care about other people in the lands... even when they are trading.