Located on the northwestern slope of the Agrandoran mountain range, Radcolm has a wide variety of lands - hills, mountains, swamps, beaches, plains, forests. The eastern border is the Agrandoran mountains. The western border is the ocean. On the north, Radcolm extends to the Bay of Crishnolm. On the south, Radcolms border is at the narrow plains between the mountains and the sea.
Most of Radcolm is temperate. Summers are warm and humid; winters are cool and midly humid. All four seasons occur with even regularity. The mountain regions are considerably cooler than the other regions. Snow falls through much of the year, especially in the highest reaches. There are places where the snow never melts.
Radcolm is a highly regulated, bureacratic and corrupt society. The guilds control every aspect of society from the lowest (e.g., Beggers Guild, Day Laborers Guild, etc.) through the commercial sectors (e.g., Association of Warehousers, Merchants Guild, etc.) up to the very top (e.g., Association of Regional Administrators, Society of Royal Pages).
Every citizen of Radcolm belongs to at least one alliance, guild or association. Most have three or four memberships. Some claim more than seven affiliations.
Rank is the only thing that matters. Every group has a relative rank to every other group, as does every position within each group. When people meet for the first time, they work out which group(s) they belong to and what rank(s) they hold. Thus they know which person is superior in the encounter. All interactions are based on the premise of favor or threat - a person of superior rank can make a lower ranked person's life easier or harder.
Rank and position in Radcolm are highly fluid. A person can easily change their rank through talent, hard work, or purchase. Likewise the rank of entire organizations will fluctuate based on commercial success and failure or political intrigues.
One thing is more important than rank, however. That is money. A person with money can accomplish as much (or more) than a person with rank. Bribery is an important aspect of Radcolm business. The various guilds are constantly on strike, in negotiations, or in some other way preventing normal work from being done. Only through bribery are the day-to-day needs of the people filled.
Recently, three of the most powerful guilds in Radcolm (Peddlers & Tinkerers Alliance, Merchants Guild, Shopkeepers Association) have declared war on each other. Each of the three guilds see themselves as being "ganged-up on" by the other two in the effort to eliminate the third union.
The Peddlers & Tinkerers Alliance is made up of travelling traders, gypsies, and others who sell in more than one location. The Merchants Guild protects the interests of sellers who do not have a permanent structure, but sell in only one place (e.g., farmers at the same Farmers Market throughout the year). Store owners who occupy a permanent building comprise the Shopkeepers Association.
Since each guild controls a unique segement of the market, the strikes, attacks, burnings, product destructions, and other disruptions have dramatically affected general merchantile activity in all of the major cities.