The State of Commerce, Finances, and Various Economic Activities in Almaris As published on the 5th of Sigismund’s End in the year 1827.
Soren Q. Z. Haas-Lotherington, President of the Economic Forum
I. A Summary of the World as We Know It: Almaris
The recent decade has been a particularly notable time for turbulent shakeups, nadirs of gradual declines, and the promising continuations of positive trends. All periods arguably possess these elements, but it is rare that one acts as a marker for contemporaneous shifts, highs, and lows in the way the 1820s does. The warrior bravado of the northern countries showed flimsy in the new era, Oren was again cemented as the dominant world power out of a half-century struggle, and Elven influence fragmented and waned through the long stretch of global violence.
Preceding decades of conflict and tensions have created insular and uncooperative attitudes throughout most regions, but the new, clear structure of order in Almaris is already opening the hearts and palms of people as time goes on. Distinct low points and soaring growth elsewhere gives the discerning capitalist a multitude of opportunities to enrich himself and the world alike.
II. State of the Nations
Each economic sphere of the world deserves a detailed, but succinct analysis to be best digested by the goodly reader. Onward is an alphabetically arranged list of notable countries and regions featuring trends, issues, and events which have shaped, are shaping, and will shape the face of Almaris.
The Rexdom of Crugmare finds itself in an unfortunate downturn it has repeated for the last few centuries. A powerful, reforming leader took center stage in the Cruggish lands some decades ago, bringing the disparate clans to his side and ushering in a brilliant period of construction, growth, and outward projection of force. In a sad turn of fate, however, as is common for a Rex, and the Cruggish folk overall, his life and rule was cut short. Though his successor was not incompetent by any means, a heavy downward momentum affecting communal interest and loyalties greatly weakened the country. This was most apparent when, in Northland’s invasion of the Empire’s western border, the Rex’s forces simply did not come to his promised aid in time, leading to the pagan king’s surrender. Whether this was operative chiefly of failed army logistics or a sudden shyness to project power is indeterminable, but the implications nevertheless revealed a crippled Rexdom. A new Rex has since come to power in the traditional capital. Though the country has lost considerable sway over its rural lands, the leader and court appear to be focused on solid internal development. Whether or not this will work out for the Cruggish folk will become apparent in the future, but the position of the country would make it an ideal investment for any commercial enterprise - if not for the murderous predisposition of most Orcs. Anyone able to look past life and limb will surely find good returns for themselves and the Rexdom. We at the Economic Forum recommend trusted Cruggish liaisons with upbringings native to Crugmare.
The Crown of Elvenesse was greatly weakened by external aggression, forcing it to adopt insular and defensive policies which quickly removed its sway on the world stage. Born from the collapse of Urrigwyn’s puppet government in Aegrothond, the formerly enslaved Elves hardly lost a step in maintaining tight economic competition with Oren. With a focus on Pan-Elvenism and a prime location dominating trade in all southern waters, this country acted as a perfect mirror to the Empire’s sprawling land-based might. This characteristic, perfect for peace defended by Dwarven legions, would show to be a major weakness exploited by the nearby Orcs.
As the armies and fleets of all the world postured to test Oren for the third time in a century, Elvenesse was left wholly isolated in the southwest. Coalitionary optimism at the time meant Crugmare was free in pursuing its own goals, which were obviously located within the rich peninsula inhabited by Elves neighboring the Cruggish jungle. The Orcs launched ceaseless raids for slaves and loot, and though Elvenesse was able to fight well, the constant pressure and inevitable loss of precious Elven lives did not bode well for the country. Crugmare humiliated the Elvenesse government in a treaty that was expected to secure the peninsula as a tributary, but the leadership of both countries collapsed soon after. The terms were no longer viable to enforce for the Cruggish warriors, and a shift in Elvenesse rule and large emigrations cleaned away the woes of the recent past. The aftermath of this chaos leaves the Elven peninsula as tempting grounds for small-time ‘adventurers’, but the new government has proven itself more than capable of protecting its people. Elvenesse may have lost its former supremacy for now, but it is certainly not a dilapidated market. We at the Economic Forum recommend respectful study of Elven customs when doing business in Elvenesse.
The Duchy of Elysium makes up the eastern half of the Nordling realm and contains approximately eight-tenths of the broader country’s population. Its ruler is de facto independent from the King of Northland, but is bound by formal obligations which keep the duke and his people as hosts to parasitic policies. The duchy’s economy is notably outdated when compared to its competitive neighbors, not to say it is weak or unhealthy by any means. Vibrant, classic modes of domestic exchange paired with appealing foreign commerce make Elysium a relevant player in the world market.
Elysium’s possessions incurred heavy damage when the Nordling offense against Oren was pushed back north, but the duke and people were able to manage their misfortune well. The Elysians quickly recovered, but their humiliated and bankrupt overlords in Varhelm did not. The duchy has been further isolated from Northland as the king and remnants of his court make increasingly tyrannical displays. While the Elysian country is still in a healthy state, a major shakeup could soon occur with de jure freedom or an exodus from the north. We at the Economic Forum recommend establishing personal relationships with the friendly people of Elysium.
The Silver State of Haylunore is traditionally the most insular economy in the world, but the activity which takes place in its guarded borders is always of incredible value. Though not an uncommon incident for the isolated High Elves, a breakdown in external posturing through the collapse of its coalition has severely damaged Haylunore’s internal optimism. The Silver State is currently at odds with stronger neighbors and suffering from bleeding emigration.
The value of Haylunorese commerce comes from the remarkable quality and rarity of goods produced by High Elves in their homeland. Long lifespans combined with communal support for most living needs gives rise to unique trinkets possessing artistry and magicks individually refined for dozens of years. The price of these items is exacerbated by the difficulty for outsiders to acquire them, typically trickling out through rare visits, accidents, or defections.
Recently, a policy of increased decentralization and established avenues of open commerce has been adopted by the Haylunorese government seeking to recover from the recent conflict. A short boom rang in these changes, but excitement quickly died down, revealing quite disappointing and dwindling figures for Haylunore’s continental ventures. We at the Economic Forum recommend carefully polite communication with the central government on the island, but to avoid dealing with the Silver State’s doomed continental markets.
The Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska is a country long at odds with its own repressive, outdated monarchy. Past kings and courts were able to systematically redirect popular discontent with their rule against the king’s former liege, the Holy Orenian Emperor, but Oren’s recent gift of independence to Haynes has exposed existential cracks in the old country. Since becoming independent, the two kings to reign have been involved in countless blunders and controversies which continue to harm the present economy and future of Haynes. As is typical for countries on the wrong side of a conflict, domestic and foreign commerce have noticeably slowed. Though Haynes managed to jump ship from the coalition against Oren early through eager diplomacy, the current king’s methods and attitude still managed to greatly damper economic optimism in the country. A busy trade route used to exist across the northern expanse, connecting Haynes and Northland with arms, foodstuffs, and commodities, but the diplomatic isolation of their former pagan ally has since closed it off.
Various misfortunes have severely affected the speculative future of Haynes’ economy. The Golden Crow Bank, which handles the minting and exchange of the national currency known as krawns, has in the past seized massive quantities of reserve wealth out of reach of the royal government. The king suffers from some form of daemonic possession, having caused massive economic upsets throughout events such as burning relatives alive, aggressively posturing against allies, and publicly speaking in a dark language.
Contrary to outward appearance and cultural tradition, the economy in Haynes is currently the most centralized of the three notable Human countries. This has made recovery and new growth practically impossible for the common people of Haynes and outsiders, but there always lies the potential for sweeping top-down reforms to engender hope and positive results. A lack of trust in the krawn means that the mina reigns supreme in the north. We at the Economic Forum recommend finding alternative routes of trade when in Haynes, as the unstable government presents a large risk to all business.
The Kingdom of Northland can be considered the biggest loser of this decade. After being couped by its warrior aristocracy in order to bring the coalition of itself, Haynes, Urrigwyn, and Haylunore in a grand invasion against Oren, the pagan country quickly fell into disarray. The king installed as a puppet proved himself to be incapable of domestic administration or diplomatic cooperation, leaving the country’s only hope in military success dashed immediately by a string of embarrassing defeats in its own territory.
The large majority of Northland’s population resides in its nominal vassal of Elysium, forcing the king to exercise parasitic methods so to keep his capital and powerbase afloat. His recent surrender to Oren, causing bankruptcy, a loss of legitimacy, and the suicide or emigration of most of his court, has caused him to abuse his subjects much more brazenly. The result of this has been a total collapse of internal cohesion and economic exchange within Northland.
The government of Northland backs an official currency, the mark, but an empty treasury and absence of faith in the country’s rule has rendered the coin absolutely worthless. A massive abundance of counterfeit units also makes any exchange in marks incredibly risky. Among all these factors, it is a sad, but truthful, assessment to say that the economy in Northland is completely defunct. We at the Economic Forum recommend steering clear of Varhelm, but to consult the section on Elysium for opportunities in northwestern Almaris.
The Holy Orenian Empire, rising from the tensions of the last twenty-five years, has secured its place as the dominant world economic power for which it will likely remain unchallenged until the middle of the nineteenth century. The Empire has demonstrated supremacy both on land and at sea, protecting the interests of its subjects and allies while preventing hostile vessels from even leaving port abroad. This unparalleled security has allowed business to flourish to a degree unknown by previous generations.
Oren established its position this decade with a stellar victory against the coalitionary aggression which had been bothering it for nearly a century. This harmony shared through an amicable relationship between monarch, government, and country has opened practically endless opportunities across the vast and populated empire. Oren’s capital city alone sees tens of thousands of minas change hands every year which has produced a predominant class of wealthy, politically involved common folk.
The Bank of Oren holds the largest precious reserve in the world by a huge margin, making the mina the officially backed currency of the Empire as followed by most other countries. Though no official figure may be seen by those outside the treasury’s highest administration, the Orenian crowns’s total assets in mina and exchangeable possessions is estimated to be in the low to middle six figures. This, of course, cannot account for the numerous personal properties owned by subjects across the country.
Every level of economic production enjoys immense lucrativity within Oren. Perennially hungry industries demand a constant source of raw materials, for which always exists a demand in refinement or manufacturing. An incredibly complex and varied society provides opportunities for all types of service and business, and a valued culture rewards any fruitful pursuit of the arts, sciences, or philosophies. We at the Economic Forum recommend deep pockets for new capitalists seeking to found their own ventures, but to also keep in mind the opportunity available in joining with existing companies or taking special loans from the treasury.
Sooticka exists in a long period of decline punctuated by sudden shifts in power between foreign puppets, local plebians, and now Human adventurers. In previous centuries, Sooticka was an incredibly wealthy country dominating the global economy in the absence of a strong and unified Oren. Outside pressures such as war, the rise of countries such as Llyria and Aegrothond, and diplomatic manipulation eventually gutted the purely mercantile country which lacked a strong sense of unity or patriotism.
The capital and seat of administration was recently sold to a noble family from Haynes, after which the head declared a Canonist kingdom ruling over the disparate lands and subjects of Sooticka. The transfer of power has shown to be entirely peaceful, which is promising in itself for the economic future of this Sootickan kingdom. As for the ability of the different vassalized microstates and cultures to cooperate in a common goal besides existing, only time will tell.
East of the Sootickan capital, across sparsely populated islands, exists a small city populated by a religious culture of heathen druids, shamans, and the like. The region is entirely inhospitable, but if the Sootickan kingdom is able to establish meaningful trade with the residents of the island grove, the arid continent would become very appealing to commerce. We at the Economic Forum recommend waiting and seeing how the new Sootickan monarch will conduct himself.
Talonsport, recently adopting the endonym of “The Unified Domain of Vortice”, has existed as a small, but surprisingly wealthy and successful city-state for several decades. Unfortunately, numerous decisions in the last two decades by its government which can only be described as schizophrenic have deeply troubled its economic future. Talonsport’s independence has been completely stripped by aggressive diplomacy on the part of Urrigwyn, making safe and profitable ventures impossible. We at the Economic Forum recommend steering clear of Talonsport entirely, for its current situation implies pending annexation and nationalisation of all private property.
The Grand Kingdom of Urrigwyn boasts an incredibly centralized economy with great industrial success. It has been in gradual decline for the last fifty years, losing influence over foreign governments until suffering incredible embarrassment in the recent coalition war. The former grand king immediately lost confidence from the clans, causing a great economic upset with the changing of rulership.
Urriwgyn’s commercial culture and climate is quite similar to Northland’s. In the absence of opportunities within the country’s restrictively planned economy, coin largely only changes hands for alcohol and weaponry. Near-constant drunken follies disguise the sullen and hateful attitude of most of the Dwarven population, who are largely employed in centrally organized extraction and production. One saving grace to Urrigwyn’s commerce could be its prized runesmiths, but their art and lives are kept jealously hoarded by the king.
In stark constrast to the meticulously regulated lives of its core Dwarven subjects, Urrigwyn holds a number of decentralized vassals in fealty similar to old Human systems. The kingdom considers itself a military and economic rival to Oren, so deals are aggressively pursued with the Empire’s exiled criminals or hapless enemies to provide leverage to that end. This, unfortunately for Urrigwyn, does not create a cohesive and cooperative realm, meaning the country’s overall commercial health is notably weak and fragile. We at the Economic Forum recommend staying away from Urrigwyn and the territories it holds sway over.
The Jade State of Yong Ping is a prosperous city state born from a Human race emigrated from Talonsport due to the government’s unsafe and irrational decisions. Despite its small size, Yong Ping possesses a rich culture which has led to a robust and varied economy. As for the future of its commercial health, the government has proven to deal fairly, but is also susceptible to dangerous foreign influence which puts enterprise at risk. We at the Economic Forum recommend interacting with Yong Ping respectfully and cautiously.
Written by J. H. Fitzpeter on behalf of the Economic Forum