Iaurrhen

Iaurrhen is a drow merchant clan of couriers delivering goods, acquisition services, and other forms of aid throughout the Underdark. The clan formed in wake of the Spellplague as a means to move trade goods through the ever-changing and dangerous Underdark, and has since grown into a movement to unite the various peoples through trade and cooperation. As such, it employs a significant number of non-drow.

Membership & Services

Anyone can place an order with Iaurrhen to have goods delivered or retreived for a fee, and any courier can accept the order to bring to its destination or pass on to another courier at another station. Iaurrhen stations all over the Underdark form a fluid and complex network of goods moving and exchanging hands, each courier trusting the next to bring it to the destination. In the decades since founding, Iaurrhen's services offered have expanded to include, but not be limited to: trading by proxy, tunnel upkeep, construction and repair of bridges and other structures, pest control, and reporting the levels of faerzress in the region.

Membership waives order fees, however members are expected to pay dues to the clan according to their capabilities; EG, a less abled member residing in a remote area may provide a rest stop for couriers, a farming family pays a percentage of its crops, or adventuring folk provide their time to move cargo through the perilous Underdark. Indeed, many disenfranchised drow sign on simply to get out of the cities but still have a warm meal and bed. Members are likewise compensated according to their needs and Merit, a rating system among the clan. All capital is held by the clan. Couriers are supplied with equipment, rations, and a stipend when picking up orders, and depending on Merit at a facility, can request extra equipment or better accommodations.

A system of checks ensures that no one abuses the system, as Iaurrhen is vigilant against exploitation by the established cutthroat social structures. “Extend a hand, but keep a fist ready.” Iaurrhen does not have great military power on paper, what with its couriers mostly practising self defence against monsters and vagrants, but popularity amongst followers of Vhaeraun often ensures that stolen or pillaged goods end up back with the clan.

Merit

Couriers are awarded Merit based on their performance on orders, rated by the recipient. Within 5-7 days of order completion, an Animal Messenger is sent to interview the recipient on the order and return to a station for the tally. Magical duplexing allows stations to all stay up to date on courier ratings, and merit is officially awarded to couriers on the first day of each month. Couriers carry clan tokens that are magically updated with their merit and serve as identitification.

Merit is considered both on a by-station basis and clanwide. It is also broken down into 6 categories: Economy, Capacity, Condition, Expedience, Threads, and Miscellany. Excellence in any particular area may earn a courier Personal Orders, in which client place orders for the specific courier.

Economy

How well the courier is able to conserve gold or supplies in orders where negotiation or bartering is done on a client's behalf.

Capacity

The courier's ability to move large volumes of cargo. Bags of Holding are prized possessions amongst couriers, but the heaviest movers use caravans.

Condition

The courier's ability to handle cargo with special conditions, such as fragility or sensitivity to light or faerzress.

Expedience

How quickly the courier can travel and meet deadlines.

Threads

Merit awarded for aid to the clan, fellow couriers, or other help unrelated to orders.

Miscellany

Merit for orders not fitting other tasks, such as retrieving lost cargo or removing a threat to travel routes. Sometimes used for “off the record” orders.

Couriers may be docked Merit for undertaking prohibited activities or harming the clan or its members in any way.

Stations

Stations range from ubiquitous offices in Underdark cities, to enclaves tucked away in caverns, to the key city of Kressut'chel, the knot that ties Iaurrhen's web of cooperation. Kressut'chel is used as the example of the future Iaurrhen wants for the Underdark, as it was able to swiftly aid its neighbouring members' recovery when earthquakes and spellfire devastated the region.

Iaurrhen attempts to recruit town or city membership with large gestures of goodwill, usually just when the people need aid. Non-members may scoff that such generosity is foolish, but Iaurrhen's inner circle plans for long term gain. Scoff as they may, Underdark residents can't deny that having a clan office in town means getting packages on time and undamage.

Controversies

Ties to Vhaeraun Sects

Iaurrhen does not have any official religious ties but often attracts followers of Vhaeraun who use the clan as cover to keep moving. It is especially popular amongst those who chose to follow the Masked Lady and see the value of cooperating with non-drow races. However, this earns ire from Lolth-Sworn drow who accuse Iaurrhen of hiding insurgents and heretics to Lolth.

There are often cases of Vhaerunite couriers helping themselves to discounts while acquiring trade goods. Iaurrhen denies any culpability.

Smuggling

The rare times Iaurrhen is contracted by topsiders is usually for the sake of subverting surface borders by means of the Underdark. So long as the goods aren't prohibited by the clan, Iaurrhen will accept the order - the clan doesn't concern itself with the geopolitics of the World Above.

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