The Ferrymen

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From Shishinza’s Dossier

In Broken Wave City there are two modes of transport; there are the cartmen, and the ferrymen. The cartmen are heimin who run palanquins around the city, they know the roads and shortcuts better than most, and for a few zeni, will gladly carry one around the crowded city streets. They are similar to the heimin who perform such duties in every major city in Rokugan. The ferrymen, also called Mizunin, however, are cut of a separate cloth here on Kaigen’s Island. There are hundreds of ferries, some can hold a single family, others a squadron of Watchmen, and each ferryman, rather than operating his ferry singularly and in competition with the countless other ferrymen, operates within a dogyo kumiai, a trade association. The association provides several benefits to the ferrymen who work within them, chief among these benefits are price control. Rather than sit at the shoreline competing with the other ferrymen for business and slashing prices, the ferries all operate within a certain price range, which means more profit is earned per boat. Though prices do vary from boat to boat, or dock to dock, prices remain over all higher, and operating costs lower, than other ferries in Rokugan. What appears like chaos to the unknowing eye is actually a complex system of favors and mercantile deals brokered at the association gatherings. There are two dogyo kumiai within the city, and they each own and operate different docks and ships. There is the Earthquake Street Ferrymen, and the Hand-Fed Koi Ferrymen, both are patroned by the Yoritomo family, though, that fact should not be mistaken. The Ferrymen associations do attempt to discredit and outperform each other. Most of the members, however, are content to simply do their business and leave the inter-union politics to the politically minded among them. Most ferries will have the kanji of their association somewhere on them, though some are more open about it than others.

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The Ferrymen

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