The everyday functioning of any system and its network of ships, ports and adventurous wanderers depends on the give and take of services as much as — or more than — the flow of goods and coin. After all, some things only certain people can do, and only fewer can promise.
So a semi-formal system to track all this grew out of the casual promises of yesteryear, commonly referred to as “markers” and “favours”. In the most basic of terms, a marker is something you owe, a payment or (far more common) a task or waiting request; a favour is exactly that, a payment or other such intangible thing that a person owes to you. Some are precisely defined (“for saving my child, I will grant you passage on any of my ships when you require it”), others are left nebulous.
* A PC can gain a Favour with a successful CHA test. (There may be modifiers on this test depending on the PC’s status, the status of the person who will be granting the Favour, what is asked for or may be offered, etc.)
– If the Favour is gained, unless the Favour itself is paying off a Marker, the PC also gains a Marker of equivalent value, to be “cashed in” by the other party at any time.
* Favours may also be offered freely (with or without a balancing Marker, at the player character’s discretion — freebies can improve one’s reputation and make future trades smoother!).
* Markers may also be accepted freely, if one really wants to make an impression (and, sometimes, find oneself being gifted a Favour regardless).
! But beware! While Favours may be “banked”, as it were, so can Markers — and both can be traded around through the “economy” created by this web of obligations. Because, well, “if you need x, well, you also need y and so-and-so owes me y, I’ll call that marker in for you if you’ll do z for me …” and so on —