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  1. #1

    PEST(LE) Analysis for the Northern Marches

    I put together this write-up a couple years ago for the Northlands Exchange / Source of the Maesil / Stonecrown Coster guilds operated by Mheallie Bireon. And, I just thought I'd post it to get some feedback from people.

    A PEST(LE) Analysis is used when you're putting together a business plan. It looks at the the macro-environmental factors in the environmental scanning component of strategic management. (

    I'd originally planned on putting together a business plan for Bireon's guilds and using it as a basis for gameplay strategy. But, I got distracted and forgot about it for a while. Then, I stumbled across it today while I was searching for stuff on my computer and I thought I'd share it.

    I think it's a pretty good assessment of the time period -- providing an overview of the different trends that would be going on in Anuire in the Birthright Campaign Setting. (Remember. It's a Renaissance technology period -- just before the Industrial Revolution.)

    Anyway, enjoy . . . .


    The marcher lords of Cariele and Dhoesone have more exposure to outside attacks than their counterparts in more civilized parts of Anuire. These counts and barons are expected to maintain larger and more active military forces – being prepared to resist incursions on their own with little or no support from the Crown. However, they also enjoy considerably more power – ruling their own lands according to their own laws sicut regale or “like unto a sovereign.”

    As a counterbalance to the autonomy of these powerful nobles, Cariele and Dhoesone have granted various cities, towns, and villages royal charters – treating them as boroughs. A royal charter grants a limited degree of self-governance and the rights to hold markets, to establish local courts, and to maintain standing militias. Many citizens of these boroughs have also established communes. And, leagues of towns have begun to spring up throughout the Northern Marches to protect these interests.


    Wool has recently emerged as the principal export of the Northern Marches. Sheep are raised on the moors of northwestern Dhoesone and fleece is sold to factors at county fairs and sent to the Anuirean textile industries in the south. Grains and other foodstuffs from the Heartlands are imported to get the populace through the harsh winter.

    High quality luxury goods from elven craftsmen in Tuarhievel and cheap bulk goods from Thurazor are also starting to take on larger roles in the local economy. However, Cariele is also starting to develop a textile industry – to capture some of the profits that are lost when raw materials (such as wool fleece) are exported rather than finished goods (such as textiles and clothing).


    The enclosure of common lands has started causing population shifts – as people are forced to move to cities, towns, and villages and give up on the old, inefficient system of subsistence farming to take part in the growing cottage industry in order to earn their livelihoods.

    Consequently, the Northern Reformed Church of Sarimie is starting to attract a larger following – as its message is more relevant to people living in cities, towns, and villages. The Oaken Grove of Aeric (with its emphasis on the nomadic hunting and gathering lifestyle) and Haelyn’s Bastion of Truth (with its emphasis on the traditional manorial agriculture lifestyle) has been unable to adapt its message to make the transition as of yet.


    The growth of cottage industries has started to break down craftsmen’s guilds – as the putting out system has broken production into smaller component processes which require less specialized skill. Crude steam engines are also currently in use, pumping water out of flooded mine shafts in the Stonecrown Mountains.

    There is some talk of mechanizing some of these processes using steam engines and centralizing production in large manufactories. Cariele seems to be a particularly well-suited for such facilities – being located near overland major trade routes with displaced labor populations and plentiful supplies of timber, coal, and iron.


    Being located so far from the imperial capital, the Northern Marches have always had limited access to the definitive textual sources of imperial law. Thus, they have often been forced to incorporate elements of the common law system used in the Rjurik Highlands – relying on local custom and precedent when they didn’t know what their Anuirean counterparts in the Imperial City had decided.

    Written instruments have also recently started taking a more central role in commerce – with deeds and contracts, letters of credit, and bills of exchange becoming popular tools. Some of the more powerful Anuirean realms to the south are pursuing mercantilist policies – issuing royal charters granting exclusive trade monopolies to national joint stock companies which make it hard for independent merchants to compete.


    The cold climate and acidic soil of the Northern Marches make food production difficult. The local nobles are starting to discover that their lands are more profitable when used for grazing rather than for sharecropping – spurring the enclosure of common lands.

    The harsh storms and rocky shores of the Western Coast create a treacherous environment for seaborne shipping. Thus, overland trade routes passing through Cariele remain the principal source of commerce. Although bandits and outlaws from Thurazor and the Five Peaks remain a potential threat to these supply lines, regular patrols have restored a considerable sense of security to the region.

  2. #2
    Member Arentak's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Joliet, Illinois, United States
    I thought it was great. You should write one for every region.

    I especially liked how you explained the guilds holding law. In most BR games it turns into "Why does a guilder have MY law?"
    I like PBEM's.

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