Although known primarily for hauling cargo back and forth between Port Freedom and Eleder, the Gold Crown Company originally made its profits from mining operations in the Bandu Hills. Eventually, competition from the Deeptreasure Mining Company drove Gold Crown almost entirely out of the mining business, though they still do good business selling supplies to other mining companies and the occasional lone prospector.
Currently, Gold Crown’s primary focus is on shipping, mostly via Sargava’s rivers. Everything from pineapples and other exotic fruits to gold and gems from the hills travels on their swift, well-armed barges, and to be a Gold Crown bargemaster is a universally respected achievement, marking one as a master of hidden tributaries and the tangle of the Korir Delta. Gold Crown is always willing to take on nearly any cargo, headed almost anywhere, and sometimes even at a moment’s notice; their barges and wagon trains occasionally venture into the Mwangi Expanse, across the overland route to the Sodden Lands, or even north through the Expanse to Osirion or Katapesh.
Such expeditions are, of course, risky, and Krieve (male human rogue/expert), the Gold Crown’s current proprietor, is always on the lookout for adventurous souls willing to pit themselves against hostile conditions and even more hostile natives for a fair wage. Even though fully outfitted and heavily guarded, many of these expeditions are forced to turn back due to heavy losses. As a result, Krieve has come to rely on a handful of tried and tested guards and guides—such as his old friends Valmor (female half-elf ranger) and Skort (male human ranger)—to head up the more dangerous excursions, leaving the “milk runs” for newer, less experienced hirelings. Still, the real money is in the dangerous missions, and Krieve never has a shortage of volunteers.
Of course, he is always willing to take advantage of opportunities and has interests in numerous undertakings. One long-term contract with a Chelish nobleman named Othor Vibius to explore the Stasis Fields in the Bandu Hills pays the Gold Crown Shipping and Mining Company enough to operate for a year, and from time to time, General Alban, Kalabuto’s military governor, pays Gold Crown a good deal of money to have Valmor and Skort slip into Mzali and report back on what they find. Alban’s reasoning is, apparently, that it costs less—in terms of cash and lives—to risk a couple of mercenaries than to allow Kalabuto to be caught unprepared by another attack from Mzali. Frankly, he is quite astounded that the two rangers have been able to survive so many trips into enemy territory, but he cannot question their results: their reports always prove to be 100% accurate.