The Merchant is an NPC who returns coinage every dawn for a small price. When paid 1 coin, he leaves for the Merchant Settlement, loads his donkey with baggage, and returns to the center of camp, offering 8 coins the following morning.
The merchant will only accept payment during the day and will only deliver coinage if he reached his spot in the center of town before sunrise. If you pay him too late in the day, he'll be late arriving, and will not deliver his cargo of money until the next dawn has come. Collecting from him early and tipping him promptly will ensure daily deliveries from the merchant. If he's sent to resupply at night, monsters can attack him and take some or all of his coin supply.
The idle, unladen Merchant who is waiting to be paid stands to the right of the kingdom's central campfire, until the Town Hall is upgraded to a stone keep. At that point, he idles to the right of the scythe trader's stand, presumably not to get in the way of purchasing shields from the Keep. When the Merchant has a shipment to be collected, he returns from his campsite to the center of town (for all town hall upgrades.)
He becomes more rare from Island 3 and perhaps onward, making starting on later Kingdoms more difficult without backtracking for better starting resources.
Merchant Settlement Edit
The Merchant Settlement is where the Merchant goes to resupply. Much like the Vagrant Camps, it can exist only in the forest, so the Merchant Settlement requires trees on either side to stay put. Expanding the kingdom past the campsite wipes it from the board, followed by the Merchant leaving the area for good once his current load is collected. Removing his settlement is only recommended if better opportunities lie just beyond.
In Kingdom: ClassicEdit
The Merchant functions much differently in Kingdom: Classic. He wanders around in the forest, and when he's paid 4 coins, he returns to the center of town and delivers up to 4 of a single tool type, chosen randomly. If a tool rack already has tools when he delivers to it, he'll only drop off enough to fill it. At the cost of 4 coins, that can be a return of 8 coins (bows), 12 coins (hammers), or 16 coins (scythes) worth of goods.
If idle villagers are standing near the tool rack when the Merchant comes, he might deliver more than four tools if the villagers pick them up before he's filled the rack up.