> [snip] I would
> imagine that any important LE family would be at least
> somewhat militarized. I would imagine that even a
> trading family would have a small fighting force, with
> a commander, plus some skilled magicians, etc. I find
> myself thinking of the positions in (please forgive
> me) Dune, where the family had a weaponmaster, a
> mentat/magician, etc. Is this view fairly accurate?
> If so, some specific questions:
I think the Dune analogy can work very well, though of course as this is the empire, an extraordinarily multicultural, multiethnic, multiracial, multifaith, multimostthings conglomerate, no one model can hold in general...
> * what percentage of a trading house could reasonably
> expected to be skilled fighters? 15%? 25%?
There are going to be combat-specialists (guards, heavies, 'credit-management specialists', etc) who would generally make up at most 10% of the whole, unless the enterprise operates in high-risk trades and/or areas (a trading caravan going through troubled areas could have 25% of its crew as guards), it is an underworld front or its decision-makers are prepared to sink a disproportionate amount of their profit into security, for reasons of paranoia, prestige, politics, whatever.
But, there are also going to be people who can fight - burly stevedores and warehousemen, traders used to taking goods through tough neighbourhoods, etc. If the guards are the 'thanes', then this 'fyrd' would account for another 35+%
> * what background might these fighters have - trained
> in-house? or cashiered soldiers?
Depends on the region, priorities, etc. They could range from ex-soldiers with spotless records through to deserters and bandits, depending on the nature of the house. I wouldn't expect in-house training for any but the largest houses, though.
> * for a moderately large house, what magicians could
> be expected to belong to it or be employed by it?
> Obviously Irripi Ontor, Lokarnos, and related cults,
> but what others? Yanafal Tarnils seems too martial;
> perhaps Annilla would be appropriate? What about
> carmanian sorcerors, etc?
The limits would seem to be what is affordable - few magic traditions would not have some value. I'd imagine that the traders would be Etyries and the like (possibly Lokarnos), there may be some combat cultists within the guards, and one or two specialist mages/priests at most: maybe an IO for market research, identifying new trade opportunities and checking out the opposition?
All the best,
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