The game is going to start in the City-State of Tyr. Tyr, a city of about 20,000 people, is ruled by the maniacal and cruel sorcerer-king Kalak who has spent the last ten years or so building a ridiculous ziggurat that consumes much of the interior space in this walled city.
Tyr has one dominant claim to fame: it hosts the last significant iron mines in the entire region. Even though they are sparse and require massive amounts of manual labor labor to extract from, iron gives Tyr a major advantage. Metal tools last longer and work far better. Metal weapons are far more effective and not prone to constant breakage. Metal gates are all but impenetrable by Athasian standards. Further, what little metal is allowed to be traded to other cities and villages fetches extremely high prices.
Every City-State has one dominant (some would say dynastic) trading house that concerns itself with the monumental task of keeping the city well supplied (and making a tidy profit while they are at it). Tyr exports iron, cloth, and pelts. It imports food, slaves, and a great deal of other stuff. In recent years, it has imported a tremendous amount of building supplies for the ziggurat. In Tyr, the dynastic trading house of interest is the mighty House Vordon, led by warrior patriarch Thaxos Vordon. They were entrusted for centuries with the iron trade of Tyr, but in recent years, Kalak has demanded that all trade support ziggurat construction and this has caused Vordon tremendous financial damage leading to quite a bit of anxiety.
Within trading houses, there is a clear hierarchy. House Leadership calls the shots and owns shares in the “company” meaning they are almost always blood relations of the House’s namesake (though there are exceptions for extraordinary individuals). Blood Agents are people directly related to the family in charge who have partial ownership and work on behalf of the house. Agents are those who have status in the House and do work, but can never actually take ownership – they are always paid a salary. It takes dedication and work to become an Agent or a Blood Agent (and to gain the corresponding perks).
Arya Falconsflight is the daughter of a blood cousin to Talara Vordon (a Blood Agent and Leader of House Vordon). Although a monk who by training cares little about the pursuit of wealth that obsesses most of the members of House Vordon, she recognizes that these are troubled times for House Vordon and the City-State of Tyr. In recent times, she has been called upon to perform services for the House such as helping to protect food shipments. This is extremely dangerous work and she has enlisted the aide of a extensive pool of mercenaries.