Established in 380YE, the Northern trade network is a series of routes favoured by merchants that pass through the trade hub of Torfast in the Imperial orc territory of Skarsind. The network was established (or perhaps more properly, re-established) in response to an opportunity offered by the influx of Imperial Orcs into Skarsind, the so-called crossroads of the north.
The network consists (currently) of four ministries.
- Torfast Trading Post in Skarsind
- Treji Wayhouse in Hercynia
- Delev Market in Karov
- Northbound Trade in Temeschwar
Each of the ministries allows the citizen responsible for overseeing their operations to purchase certain trade goods at bargain prices.
The four minstries were established over the course of 380YE. In each case, they involved the establishment of offices in one of the four territories in a region known for its trade. The establishment also involved ensuring the roads between the towns were protected, and encouraging merchants to make use of them. In each case, the trading offices in the Glen of Shadows, in Duzekani, and in Hanuri serve as subsidiary trade hubs - key locations through which merchants from the western, eastern, and southern Empire pass on their way to the mountainus territory of Skarsind.
The central trading office in Torfast is perhaps the most lucrative of the four - providing resources from the navarr, League, and Varushkan territories and exporting Dragonbone, Orichalcum, and Green Iron. The Wayhouse at Treji exports Dragonbone, Ambergelt, and medicinal herbs; the mercantile offices in Delev export the bounty of the Varushkan forests; and the League offices in Temeschwar city provide Green Iron, Weltsilver, and Beggar's Lye to the network.
In return, the merchants of each city are able to acquire raw materials and herbs produced in the other three territories, although with significantly less versatility than the Imperial Orc bonesetter enjoys.
In Summer 381YE, in response to an opportunity offered by the Thule orcs of Otkodov, a new partner joined the Northern Trade Network bringing valuable crystal mana to the markets of the northern Empire. This crystal mana, of course, remains available only while the Empire remains at peace with the Thule.
Orc merchants from the Thule territory of Urdur are not precisely a common sight in Skarsind, Hercynia, Temeschwar, and Karov,but they are present. They are much more likely to be encountered in Skarsind - the Thule traders seem to prefer to deal with their fellow orcs with only the most adventurous traveling further afield to trade direclty with human citizens of the Empire.
Threats to the Network
The network relies on merchants being able to move freely along the roads between Torfast and the other three towns. If one of the three routes were compromised, it is likely this would have a negative effect on the goods provided to each of the other merchant offices. It is likely that, in pursuit of their responsibility to encourage trade between the four nations, the Bonesetter, Overseer, Broker, and Trademaster would want to cooperate to efficiently end any threats to the network even if their route were not directly impacted.
Expanding the Network
It might be possible to expand the network further, taking more advantage of Torfast's position in the middle of the north. A route from Kalpaheim to Skarsind might be opened, although how lucrative this would prove is hard to say as the people of Wintermark already have extensive links with both Hercynia and Temeschwar.