Belegrod is the largest, by count of acres, of the islands in the region. It is ruled by a Dwarvish duke, although his barons (of several races) enjoy considerable autonomy as long as they pay their duties in goods, money, and indentured service. The island has an admirable set of stone-paved highways connecting all the towns, wide and well maintained by skilled artisans. Though evil things are occasionally summoned by the corrupted followers of Vecna, Orcus, Lolth, and Tiamat, civilization has long been firmly established here. Still, Belegrod is the least tamed of the islands here, excepting the closeness of the Feywild to the Wilderisle.
The Dukes have long enforced order (many deputies patrol the roads in all seasons) as well as maintaining their great roads. The emphasis on roads owes to the extensive interior of the island and the dearth of harbors (the five coastal towns mark the only places a ship of any size can anchor with any safety). The roads allow the ducal forces rapid travel, as far as they go; in some of the deep woods and remoter mountains, though, the Dukes’ banner has seldom flown.
Capital of the island is Belegrod itself, on an excellent harbor on the north coast. It is providentially close to the great iron mining complex which is the foundation of its wealth. The population is 19,000 souls, of which 13,000 are Dwarves; the other races are roughly equal to each other in representation. Ancestors in the ducal line feared assault from both the sea and the hinterland, so the city is massively fortified. The harbor is protected by a pair of great stone moles, which over the centuries have withstood tsunamis raised by volcanic blasts and earthquakes around the Blacksteam Rocks, whose nearest shoals are about 40 km north and east of the harbor mouth. While a great shrine to Bahamut is cut into the mountain just west of the city, a great and richly-decorated temple to Moradin dominates the fifth (and innermost) circle of the city. Rather than a war fleet, the dukes have opted to maintain a squadron of flying cavalry. These rarely scout offshore unless trouble is known to be at sea, but seeing them on patrol over the interior is common enough; all the towns have towers and yards for them.
Dawnsport, on the eastern coast, is a fair harbor at the mouth of the Mellorsrun, the wide river draining most of the central interior. A city of 6,000, a third of its population is Human, a third Dwarf, and other races making up the rest. The fruits of the interior come by road and river barge to Dawnsport for shipping elsewhere. The ruling Baroness Andra is Human, and she (like her mother and grandmother — her line observes matrilineal inheritance, as was allowed in house charters under the old Empire) enjoys a reputation for fairness and generosity, and energetic support for improvements to the roads, harbor, and river transport in her barony. The district prospers, and folk of all races have migrated to farms, vineyards, and lumberworks there for the last generation. The town is dominated by a trio of great temples, one each to Pelor, Melora, and Erathis, which look out into the sunrise over the open sea. Whales frequent the waters off Dawnsport in winter, but none sail out to them because of old legend.
Falltower, the nexus of the invasion of the island, was discovered by a force in the emply of the Baroness of Dawnsport in the autumn of 4142 by the Imperial calendar. It is located in the mountains north and west of Dawnsport, between 50 and 100 kilometers as the crow flies. The rough terrain makes it impossible to mount large-scale military operations into Falltower from civilization, or the opposite way; both sides send out small parties to probe at the other, as well as occasional raids of flyers.
Mellorsvale is the broad valley drained by the Mellorsrun. Timber is logged on the north slope, and vinyards cover the slopes on the south edge and west end of the valley; between those limits and the sea to the east, all the land is farmed. Scores of small villages connected by minor roads lie scattered among the fields, all fief to the Baroness of Dawnsport. Sheep and cattle are herded on the slopes around the valley’s periphery.
Gargoyle Pass was given its name centuries past: no gargoyle has been
seen with certainty on the island since long before the Great Horror. It marks the junction of three great roads, running north through the pass, east through the Mellorsvale, amd southwest to Clamspit. A town of 2,000 mostly Dwarf and Dragonborn, it is governed by a sheriff appointed by the Duke (although some other sheriffs in the islands are hereditary positions, the Sheriff of Gargoyle Pass is not, and rarely is it held by anyone for more than ten years). The high valley is cold, with oats, rye, and sheep being the principal products, but quarries of brilliantly-colored marble are on the hills east of the town, and several
distilleries turn the grain into potent liquor. The duchy’s road workers are based here. The road north through the pass is quite hazardous in winter due to avalanches, though it is reopened as quickly as possible after such an event. The rest of the year these engineers fan out across the island and repair the highways.
Clamspit is the seat of Westslopes, the second-largest barony of the island. The town lies on a good harbor guarded by a long sandspit which is submerged at higher tides, for which the town is named. A substantial fishing fleet calls Clamspit its home port; these boats work off the coast, and in late summer sail out to open waters south of the Fish Chain and catch from the annual migration of herring and cod that pass though the channel. Some farms surround the town up the forests and the rough hills to the east. 4,000 souls, mostly Humans and Half-Elves, live in town, but substantial numbers of Elves dwell in the woodlands along the slopes. High-quality hardwoods are harvested in the forests of this district. The Baron of Westslopes is an Elf, who protects his forests jealously and in sharp contrast to his peer to the east does not encourage more settlement in his lands. Small shrines to Melora, Corellon, Sehanine, and Avandra dot the barony.
South of Clamspit on the coast is Rose Bay, on a miserable excuse for a harbor with a population of 1200 hardy folk. This is chiefly a lumber town of Humans and Halflings. Its mayor is a nephew of the Baron.
The last barony on the island is Southland, whose seat is at Lead Bottom. Though the valley is farmed and some logging is done, the wealth of Lead Bottom is hinted by its name: the mountains surrounding the valley have numerous small deposits of lead, silver, gold, and some pockets of amethysts, zircons, and garnets. The harbor is small but good. The Baron is a Dwarf who prizes the wealth dug from the rocks of his fief.