World of Prana
About 200 years ago, Ferenginar was a small village constantly under siege by bandits. The village was home to craftsmen and merchants with only a handful of sheriffs to keep the peace between raids. The people were starving and the exquisite goods that the craftsmen made could not be transported to market. Things kept getting worse and worse, and the neighboring kingdoms would do nothing as Ferenginar was outside their borders. One day, a man came up with a grand plan. He took a cart-full of Ferenginar’s finest goods and took them to the strongest of the bandit clans. When he did, he offered them a bribe. The cart, and 10% of all the goods coming in and out of the village for their steel. They agreed, and within a week all the others were routed. The man became the first Grand Nagus (Magus was considered, but they didn’t want to imply magic powers), Grand Nagus Damien.
Since then, Ferenginar has had a reputation for weaseling the shirts off the backs of anyone who enters. Among the Ferengi, all outsiders are considered marks to be exploited. This mindset is driven into them at a young age, as economic domination is the only thing that keeps the town safe. They have no standing army, using mercenaries when necessary. They do have guards, including the personal guards of the Dynasties, and the Board of Liquidators but nothing that could withstand a full frontal assault.
To a Ferengi, the contract is life. All business they do is tied to an ironclad contract. It seems to the uninitiated that they have a supernatural ability to pull a contract out of thin air. In reality, they are just always prepared. Contracts broken typically lead to bad things happening to the breaker, loss of business licence up to death depending on the nature of the contract.
Ferengi law is governed by the Rules of Acquisition. These were written down by the first Grand Nagus and are followed more or less to the letter by the citizenry. Understanding this code has given the Ferengi a sort of “honor among thieves” mentality, to the point that no Ferengi would fear theft from another Ferengi. Embezzlement, however, is a whole other story. The Rules do not discourage underhanded tactics to acquiring wealth, rather stating that a businessman is only as good as the amount of assets he possesses.
Ferengi government is centered around the Grand Nagus, who has the final say in all matters. Below him is the Ruling Council, which is made up of the heads of all the Dynasties in the Alliance. A Dynasty is a family that has gotten great wealth, enough to pass down to the next generation. In order to qualify, the successor of the Dynasty must have made more wealth then the previous head of the family and still maintain a fixed net worth determined by the Nagus. Typically, the Ruling Council controls most of the day to day concerns while the Nagus focuses on the big picture.