When shadows pass gigantic on the sand,
And softly though the silence beat the bells
Along the Golden Road to Samarkand.
By hotter winds our fiery hearts are fanned:
For lust of knowing what should not be known
We make the Golden Journey to Samarkand.''
- Spice and Wolf: Although the story begins when Holo the wolf goddess hitches a ride in the protagonist's cart, the series primarily follows a fairly ordinary medieval merchant, whose experiences manage to be interesting without seeming unrealistic, traveling company aside.
- Dryden Fassa in Vision of Escaflowne heads a large merchant convoy of airships owned by his father, a rich and powerful Merchant Prince.
- The Gu Binnen Trade Federation in Drifters.
- In the Arabian Nights: Sinbad the sailor.
- Who was actually based on a real person - a Chinese sailor, and Muslim, who traveled as far as Venice to bring back goods to China - only to have his deeds dashed from all records of Chinese history.
- In Star Wars, Han Solo is one (there's often a lot of overlap with smuggling).
- In one of Poul Anderson's Polesotechnic League stories, David Falkayn quotes a poem (attributed to "Sanders," one of Anderson's pen names) which describes this sort of character:
Their topmasts gilt by sunset, though their sails be whipped to rags
Who raced the wind around the world go reeling home again
With ivory, apes, and peacocks loaded, memories and brags
To sell for this high profit: knowing fully they are Men!
- In Isaac Asimov's Foundation, a subculture of these arose as a Batman Gambit to help spread the Path of Inspiration the titular society used to control its neighbors. Hober Mallow became known as "the Merchant Prince" for being successful enough — at many levels — to change the Foundation's Hat to Proud Merchant Race.
- Leland Gaunt is an evil version in Needful Things. He shows up in town, sets up shop, and sells "gray objects" that change shape according to the buyer's desires for a pittance and a favor which always sets two unrelated people against each other. In the end, he always winds up selling only one thing: weapons.
- One of Kipling's most beautiful passages is the beginning of "Ballad of The King's Jest". It describes the arrival of Caravans(or "Kafilas") in "The Market Square of Peshawar Town" and goes on from there to show two Intrepid Merchants telling traveller's tales to one another.
- Mahbub Ali, an Afghan horse-trader in Kim. Well, if his caravan is ambushed and shot at twice in one season, it's unusual, but not quite shocking.
- In C. J. Cherryh's Alliance/Union series the Merchanter's Alliance is made up of families of interstellar merchants that formed an alliance and became both a major power and the sole means of commerce for the other two powers.
- In Tales of the Alhambra Washington Irving describes Spanish muleteers as this and tells how they risked hardship and banditry, as well as how they sang songs about contrabandistas(smugglers)
- In the H. Rider Haggard stories Alan Quartermain did this as one of his occupations in his backstory, as well as prospecting and ivory hunting.
- A Song of Ice and Fire has an Intrepid Banker called Tycho Nestoris. When the crumbling central government of Westeros rather bluntly refuses to pay the massive debts it owes the Iron Bank of Braavos (a Merchant City that is something of a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to Renaissance Venice), Nestoris willingly goes into several warzones to negotiate with other claimants to the throne, offering to fund their campaigns in exchange for their promises to honor their debts and the debts of the rulers they hope to replace, and also doing business with anyone else who wishes to make use of his services. When one of the many Proud Warrior Race Guys that inhabit Westeros ask him about what a banker is doing in such dangerous situations, he proudly claims this trope as his explanation.
- In the Vorkosigan Saga novel Komarr, the noble families of Komarr are described as very successful Intrepid Merchants.
- In A Harvest Of War Ayan and the Makimba clan are merchants from the far south.
- Jang Bogo of the Korean TV epic Emperor of the Sea might do. Of course he is a member of a whole tribe of Intrepid Merchants. Which brings up a point that this can be a narrative theme as well as a character.
- Mal and his crew from Firefly, though due to the harsh nature of the show, they struggle just to make enough money to get by. "Intrepid" doesn't guarantee "successful".
- Marco Polo: Marco, his father Nicolo and most of the men of Venice.
- In Traveller the players are often Free Traders, buying goods (sometimes the illegal kind) on one planet and selling them on another in an attempt to make their ship's mortgage payments.
- Rogue Traders in the Warhammer 40,000 universe are part merchants, part privateers, and sometimes, part conquistador.
- Most settings of Dungeons & Dragons aren't nice safe places, be it Spelljammer or Dark Sun — thus there are merchants hauling cargo through anything, and sometimes a sourcebook about them.
- In Forgotten Realms you don't know whether the next caravan will be raided by a dragon, Zhents or mere goblins. But a special mention must be given to "enterprising entrepreneur, Aurora the Eclectic", ex-adventurer and founder of all-goods retail chain with its Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue.
- Welcome to Crazy Hassan's Used Camels!
- IntrepidMerchants are among the most likely to go far in the Guild. Among the most notable achievements are how they reacted to the observations of the raksha by making overtures intended to teach them the very concept of commerce, just so that they could have an inroad to trade for their magical items.
- The merchants in James Elroy Flecker's play: "Hassan: The Story of Hassan of Baghdad and How he Came to Make the Golden Journey to Samarkand", quoted at the top of this page.
- This is a playable class in Ragnarok Online. They (mostly) deal with the economy and are able to generate cash at an increased rate with their Overcharge and Discount skills; they can also employ Pushcarts as a kind of second inventory, and if they have this they can do Vending to sell valuable items to other players. In battle they use axes, and additionally can throw money at the enemy (Mammonite skill).
- Vega Strike aside of privateers choosing this line of work has Merchant faction ("Interstellar Shipping and Mercantile Guild"); Loading Screen with their advertisement says they even run through blockades.
- Castlevania 64 you meet a demon salesman called Renon early on in the Villa, who offers to sell you potions and other items. His stock is not very impressive compared to most merchants, but unlike most, his shop can be accessed from anywhere, using magical scrolls, making him somewhat of an asset. However there is a catch. He neglects to mention that spending more than 30,000 gold in his shop equals to selling your soul to the devil (that clause is technically written into the contract, but in a demonic language that humans can't read), in which case Renon will be more than eager to claim his fee when the time comes. (If this happens, you have to fight him as a Bonus Boss, right before you face Dracula and the contract is rendered void if you defeat him.)
- Might and Magic had a few. One example was in 6, where the best inn in the game, where you could buy 40 units of supplies, was south of a town where you initially had to fly over a few mountains to reach. Not coincidentally, this was located at the fork of two roads, one of which led to Dragonsands (one of the most dangerous parts of the game, with had no inn at all) and the other to Paradise Valley (which did have a town and an inn, but required getting past hordes of dragons and titans to get to.).
- Suikoden Tierkreis has a whole race of them in the Wanderers. They even travel to different worlds in search of profit. Some of the series allows the player to get into it as well, buying commodities in one region and traveling to the other side of the world to sell it for profit.
- Secret of Mana and Seiken Densetsu 3 have Neko, a cat person with a pack full of goodies that he will sell for a hefty markup. He tends to show up in the wilderness or in the middle of dungeons, where there's less competition to force his prices down. The well-prepared adventurer seldom has need of his services, but his presence can save your ass if you forgot to stock up before setting out.
- Resident Evil 4 features The Merchant. He's clearly infected by Los Plagas but seems like a pretty cool guy. Rather than bludgeon Leon's brains out he'd rather earn some cash selling weapons and upgrades to the agent.
HELLO STRANGER! WHATTAYA BUYIN'?
- There are several in Fallout 3 - each one is a trader with a pack Brahmin and a bodyguard to take care of Shoplift and Die duties, and they are the only people aside from Raiders, mercenary headhunters and the odd hunter who regularly leave population centres to cross the Wasteland.
- Roguelikes Nethack and Dungeon Crawl have shops inside the dungeon; Angband merchants play it a little safer, hanging out only in the town atop the dungeon.
- O'aka XXIII in Final Fantasy X sells to Yuna and her guardians so much that it actually gets him arrested by the Corrupt Church. His brother Wantz then takes over for him.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 has Chocolina, who follows Serah and Noel across different timelines.
- Melnorme in Star Control. Very useful especially when they come to save your butt if you get stranded in Hyperspace. However, if you do not have credits be prepared for an (un)fair exchange. Even the Melnorme have limits to their intrepidness. They bug out of the galaxy once the Death March begins.
- Dwarf Fortress, as you may have already guessed, has merchants willing to walk into anything this side of lava to do their business. Just read the Badass Boast of a human merchant prince. And here we thought fish in DF were "too hardcore".
- Whenever you open trade with far cities in any game of the City Building Series, merchants will travel from all over the world to trade with you, no matter how far you are. If you're about to be invaded, they will even inform you about soldiers on the road or political unrest (depending on the game).
- Charlieton in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is a sleazy merchant who was also a clear case of Adam Smith Hates Your Guts. He usually hangs out in Rogueport, where the stuff he sells is usually worthless junk. However, in the Pit of 100 Trials, he shows up from time to time in certain rooms to sell you various items that may be useful at inflated prices. The lower you go, the more dangerous it gets, and the more likely it is you'll be running out of healing items. He knows this. By the time you get near the bottom, he'll be selling items for twenty times what they'd be worth in a normal shop. Since you're likely to be maxed out in coins yet an inch near death at this point, these items might actually be worthwhile.
- The Pokémon games always have a PokéMart that sells some of the best items right before Victory Road, and another one right before the spot where you start your battle with the Elite Four. (And you should really spend as much as you can at the first stop, because you'll likely make a fortune battling the trainers on Victory Road.)
- Nurse Joy is an Intrepid Charity Worker, believe it or not. The Pokémon Centers heal your Pokémon for free, but they're located almost everywhere, even places like the foot of Mt. Silver (located in Gold and Silver, and the remakes of those games.
- Another example is the souvenir store at the top of Mt. Moon, also found, in Gold, Silver, and the remakes of those games. Lemonade is probably the most economical healing item in the game (heals 80 hp and costs 350 PokéDollars) but you usually have to get if from vending machines one can at a time, so stocking up takes a while. The shop at the top of Mt. Moon is a place you can buy it at bulk. (But you can't use Fly to get to it, and it's closed at night.)
- One of the Hero Sims in The Sims Medieval is a Merchant, who often has to travel to foreign kingdoms to trade. Since they're Hero Sims, they also have a wide range of quests to embark on.
- Treasure Hunter G turns the player's party onto this, since you don't earn money from random encounters. The only way to make money is to acquire goods from dungeons to sell, or buy items where they are cheap and take them to where they'll sell for a higher price.
- The Spyro the Dragon games has Moneybags, a bear that shows up and functions as a Cash Gate, forcing you to pay him in order to progress with the game.
- The Annas from Fire Emblem, who basically appear in every game not only as the "mascots" but as the ones handling all the Secret Shops. One of them can be recruited as a playable character in Fire Emblem Awakening and even become a Love Interest if she marries the male Avatar; others are seen handling the gates to the Outrealms as well as several other spots in them.
- Warriv from Diablo II is a merchant who badly needs to go to Lut Gholeim but the path is blocked by monsters, so he hangs around the Rogues's camp while hoping your Player Character can undo the mess. Once you do, he takes you with him in his trip.
- Beedle in various The Legend of Zelda games sometimes takes this role, particularly in his first appearance in The Wind Waker, where his shop ship will be found floating around not just populated areas, but random rocks in the middle of nowhere.
- Rebuild has Gustav the Trader. He comes around every week to sell items for food, buy items for food, or propose the services of his Band of Brothels, seemingly unaffected by the high numbers of zombies. Aside from Gustav, food caravans can pass by and agree to trade with you as a random event.
- In Digital Devil Saga, the local Pyro Jack merchant considers his profession Serious Business, to the point that, following the entire party's death and ascension to the Sun in a quest to placate God, he appears in the closest thing said universe has to the Afterlife, still quite intent on fulfilling his role.
- Marco Polo.
- Christopher Columbus started out this way but didn't find any markets, so instead decided to set a trend for the Conquistadors who came later.
- The caravan merchants of the Silk Road in Central Asia were a pretty brave bunch, given that killer sandstorms, greedy local nobles, and bandits were considered normal events along the trail. And that was a good year, when the local nomads weren't on a spree.
- The Phoenicians were also infamous merchant adventurers, and not averse to a spot of banditry and/or slavery when they thought they could get away with it. In the course of their travels, they popularized the world's first alphabet.
- Vikings could switch from being Pirates to Intrepid Merchants to being warriors without missing a beat. They could even do that in the same voyage.
- The whole British Empire was founded and built on this trope. It become The Empire only later - in order to protect the commerce.
- Before embarking on his religious career, The Prophet Muhammad was one of these. The Quraish tribe that ruled Mecca and of which he was a member organized annual trade caravans to Syria and Yemen—Mecca being roughly halfway between the two—and he participated in these grueling treks across the unforgiving Arabian Desert from a relatively young age. He distinguished himself in the service of his wealthy uncle Abu Talib, and made a reputation as a smart but completely honest businessman; this landed him a job with a wealthy widow named Khadijah, whom he later married. It was not until he was 40, when (according to Islam) he received his mission from God, that he would quit the trading life.