The Free Traders
The Free Traders is perhaps the most influential spacefaring mercantile company that has ever originated on the world of Oerth. It has only been operating in space for some five years, but in that time it has risen from obscurity to challenge the “heavy hitters” in interplanetary trade, such as [[Anything Inc.]] and the Lacross Brothers, and take away some of their market share. They are the money behind the The Triad.
The Free Traders’s Oerth-based headquarters is located in the Free City of Greyhawk. This is where the group originated some 10 years ago as a purely terrestrial trading and mercantile concern. The group was the brainchild of Vorith Axelhode. Along with two partners, he built a company to take advantage of the influx of money into [[Greyhawk: Free City of Greyhawk]] that arose when the treasure troves were discovered around Greyhawk Castle.
International trade became a major source of income for the city at that time, and quickly expanded to interplanetary and inter-sphere trade as well. This, of course, tempted many people to enter the business who had no real talent for it. While many traders made their fortunes, many also went bankrupt. When one small interplanetary trading concern fell on hard times, it was forced to sell its sole spelljammer, a Dromon. Axelhode acted quickly, purchasing the ship from the distressed company at a fire-sale price. Using the vessel, which he renamed the Free Spirit, Axelhode expanded the Free Traders’s business into wildspace.
That was five years ago. Since then, the Free Traders have done so well that they have expanded their spacegoing fleet to a total of 12 vessels: four Tradesmen, a Clipper, two Galleons, two Hammerships, two Shrikeships, and a Swan Ship. Although the Free Spirit is the least effective of these vessels, it remains the company’s flagship for sentimental reasons. In fact, the company’s crest sports a representation of the Dromond in gold against a star-flecked field of black.
Three years ago, the Free Traders established a trading outpost on the north face of The Spectre. Axelhode, who had tired somewhat of his “boring” life on Oerth, elected to run this new outpost, leaving his two partners to manage the Free City of Greyhawk headquarters.
Free Trader vessels can be encountered anywhere within Greyspace, the Phlogiston, and in many other crystal spheres. They will carry just about any trade goods that people will pay money for, with the single exception of slaves.