The Peering Eye

Region Overview

Politics

The Great Lake dominates northern Bigany. It is a trade gateway to Torland and Az Ylar. Each of the Five Families has one domain on the lake.

The Forc Grand Duchy of Westlake is the largest and most powerful and as it’s name suggests it commands the entire west coast of the lake. The Forc Family has rarely been accused of imaginative naming. To the north of the lake is the Kinnett domain of West Elleria, one of the least wealthy Kinnett regions. In the northeast The Duchy of Vecberg is owned by the Vec Family and is has the second wealthiest town on the lake. South of this is the absurdly mountainous Duchy of Peaks owned by the Torc Family, this is a bleak and lonely duchy with little wealth, that is often looked down upon by other duchies. Finally there is the Mome Family’s Duchy of Southlake, which is in the shadow of the other massively wealthy Mome duchies.
 

Trade

The Great Lake dominates northern Bigany. It is a trade gateway to Torland and Az Ylar. The southwest of the lake is dominated by the port city of Lakeport, the nexus of trade in the region. On the northeastern side of the lake is port city of Vecberg, Lakeport’s primary trading partner and the gateway to Torland. There are many other ports that feed the trade to and from Torland and Az-Ylar but they live in the shadow of ‘the twin cities’.

The southeastern coast is dotted with fishing villages and but on the western coast small towns are more common feeding off the land and coastal barge trade. The north coast of the lake is a sparsely populated wilderness with a few towns dealing in the fur trade from further north.

The lake itself is dotted with a large number of isles, some of which are reputed to be the homes of pirate lairs. There is only one isle of significant size on the lake, devastated by plague over a century ago it has remained unpopulated and off limits since.

Politics

The Lakeport region is a substantial buffer zone between Bigany and The Empire of Torland. In reality patrols almost never go as far into Bigany as the Empire maps would indicate. Garrisons are AT LEAST a days ride from the official border. This is because the Black Guard tend to butcher patrols and raze garrisons depending on their mood and their current liberal interpretation of the border.

War

During the recent short war, the Empire laid siege to Lakeport, unsuccessfully as usual, having easily pushed through Vec lands and then getting fought to a standstill by the Forc armies. Interestingly they were stopped in their campign in the far south at Bywater, by the Mome Navy, having again pushed through the Vec lands with ease. The Crown asked some very difficult questions of the Vec nobles once the invasion was over.

The Imperial forces were halted in the Great Valley by the Forc armies from Crucible supported by Kinnett and Mome forces. A small number of Dirt Legion units made it into Bigany evading the main hosts. One was slaughtered in an ambush by a renegade unit of Elves from Elledrin lead by the infamous Boghadoir of Elledrin. Another was single handedly cut down by The Black Guard commander Garrol at Red Brick Bridge. Others were lost, in various unpleasant ways. Bigany is, particularly The Crownlands, full of nasty surprises. Some claimed that an entire legion could have still be been active after the war, but several decades later this is extremely unlikely. 

The Duchy of Peaks

This duchy looms over the southeast of The Great Lake and is absurdly mountainous. It is owned by the Torc Family and ruled by Duke Brusiekial Torc. This is a bleak and lonely duchy with little wealth, that is often looked down upon by nobles from other duchies. The majority of the duchy is unpopulated if not uninhabitable by subjects of the crown. The icy and treacherous peaks are home to all manner of monstrosities and stange beasts. Civilized races avoid it if they can. For wizards who enjoy secluded towers to study their craft in peace it is perfect. Even though their persecution by The Church is no longer an issue, many prefer to stay isolated. A good example of this is Prejama Castle.

Cragfort

This town has a tiny natural harbour with a rocky prominence overlooking it. Many years ago, an adventurer heavily fortified the harbour before he went missing. Some say he was on an adventure to earn tax arrears. The villagers hearing of his disappearance declared a free town, loyal to the king and seized his harbour fortress in lieu of back taxes. That merciless practicality has continued to today with each generation expanding the harbour and its defences. It is the strongest defended of the towns on the southeast coast, perhaps due to its proximity to the terror filled mountains. The provisioning of expeditions into the mountains is a major local business.

Cleaveberg

Situated at the mouth of the Misneach’s Cleave river, this town was originally settled by fishermen. Following the establishment of The Duchy of Southlake next to it, early trade occurred along this route. For generations after the foundation of Bigany it remained a predominantly Torlandish town. During the disastrous Empresses War the town was levelled several times despite strong defences, due to terifying ice creatures allied to the Empress attacking from the mountains. Since then it has adopted a policy of surrender in the face of Torlandish armies. It is a surprisngly cosmopolitan town, accepting all comers despite how strange they may be, for few are as strange as the mountain creatures. It is far removed from the centres of empire or kingdom and relatively self-governing. At the moment it is loyal to Bigany. There is no immediate likelihood of a change in that status. But after The Maius Bonum Letter, nothing is certain.

Lakeport

Population 43,000 

Known For: Warcraft, Shipyards, Trade Controls, Magical Weapons, Mercenaries, Huge Fortifications, Foundries, Smiths, Dwarves.

Located in the southwest of the great lake and situated on the Bigan River, Lakeport is famed for its weaponsmiths, shipwrights and more recently it's war focused magecraft, Lakeport is Bigany's ever expanding second city. All of the trade between the cities of the Great Lake and Bigany city moves through the massive gates of Lakeport.

It has been peaceful for many years despite several Torlandish invasions. This is due to the enormous walls and towers and the powerful siege machines deployed upon them.

As the second largest settlement in the kingdom, Lake Port is the jewel in the crown of the Forc family. The main trading noble families (the Vecs and the Momes) have been encouraged to trade freely and this has brought great wealth t this city and to the Forcs. With the lifting of the restriction on magic there are an increasing number of Torc noble mages declaring their use of magic and finding support there (it is very close to Kavar and Al-Shahn in Az-Ylar).

South Coast

There are three settlements of size along the Southern coast of the Lake. They are similar in structure and purpose and are treated together; each is supported by a number of smaller fishing villages and stretches of farmland.
Each of these towns is built around a harbour fortress to protect from hostile intentions from Torland or pirates. The Towns are small numbering between 1-5000 people. Their primary function is as a way station for the hauliers of Low Margin goods making the coastal barge run. Additionally they provide convenient stop over points for those travelling by road. Each town has a standing garrison of troops and at least one fast navy patrol boat. This is intended primarily as a means of delivering messages to and from Lake Port. Each town also has a royal roadhouse, an expensive hotel with standard furnishings and services but provided for use of royal messengers. The roadhouses provide an expensive but ready supply of horses and necessities. The towns also have large bunkers that are used as warehouses for food supplies. This is intended should the army ever need to mount a prolonged campaign in the region.


Cragfort
This town had a tiny natural harbour but the feature of a rocky prominence overlooking it. An adventurer heavily fortified the Harbour before he went missing on an adventure to earn tax arrears. The villagers hearing of his disappearance declared a free town, loyal to the king and seized the fortress in lieu of back taxes. That merciless practicality has continued to today with each generation expanding the harbour and its defences. It is the strongest defended of the towns on the south coast, perhaps due to its proximity to the Torlandish border. The provisioning of border patrols is a major local business.

Forcberg
Founded by the Vecs 200 years ago as an alternative to the Island hopping route centred on Valaff’s Isle the town struggled until Valaff’s Isle became a no go area. Since then it has been the route of choice for those wishing to avoid the pirates and other dangers of the northern lake.
The town received royal attention about 75 years ago and it is from that period that the fortifications date.

Vec Cove
Built to compete with Vecberg's steep prices this is the alternate base for many of those operating along the south coast. While the bitter rivalry of the towns early years may be diminished the local population is still suspicious of all things Forc. Merchants (especially those in low margin businesses) blame the Forcs for much of the trouble in the northern waters, an assertion that the Forcs strenuously deny.

East Coast

There are three towns, each of which compete for the sea trade from Lakeport. Land trade goes almost exclusively via Sothville but may then wend its way northwards through one of the other towns.

Cleaveberg
Situated at the Mouth of Misneach’s Cleave this town was originally settled by Fishermen. Following the establishment of the province of Vitrus early trade occurred along this route. Later after the foundation of Bigany this remained a predominantly Torlandish town. During the disastrous empresses war the town was levelled several times despite strong defences. Since then it has adopted a policy of surrender in the face of attrition. It is a relatively cosmopolitan town far removed from the centres of empire or kingdom and relatively self-governing. At the moment it is loyal to Bigany. There is no immediate likelihood of a change in that status.

Sothville
Located at the South-eastern corner of the great Lake. Primarily a junction on a land route furs and other goods from the north meet goods from Lakeport and central Bigany. This also serves as a major destination for goods from Central Torland to Bigany.
A very Torlandish town it is nonetheless under military control of Bigany and has been for several generations.

Nardheim
Nardheim is the North most town on the eastern shore of the great Lake. This town is primarily a source of goods, mainly furs and hides from the north. It is a centre of the tanning industry. Without any clear civil structure this sometimes-anarchic town is everything you might expect a wilderness town to be. Except for one thing. In the woods near the town is a Black Guard fortress that overlooks the stench of this town as a grim reminder that the freedom they enjoy is at the sufferance of the crown.

North Coast

A number of small villages similar to Nardheim populate this area. This is a lawless area. Hunting and trapping are the primary sources of income, though the area is also a popular base of operations amongst mercenary companies. There is much discussion in political circles as to why the regional powers have not intervened to bring this area under control.

West Coast

The area near Lakeport is heavily settled and farmed, supplying the needs of Lakeport. Northwards this area extends along the coastal belt half way up the west shore. Beyond Fort Julius to the north the rule of law and order breaks down and the level of farming is reduced. Inland the border of civilization is the range of hills that border Az Ylar. The Hills themselves are often inhospitable and the home to many strange cults and creatures. These are a constant hassle to the settlers of the region and the Az Ylar settlements on the far side of the border. It is unclear why Bigany has not purged the cults from the area.

Islands

The Lake has several hundred islands mostly concentrated in the northern half of the lake. Most of the isles are too small for habitation. Some of the isles in the northern part of the lake are rumoured to be home to pirates who deny repeated attempts at their elimination through better knowledge of the waters.
There are several Military outposts on the lake though they serve as little more than anchorages for patrol boats. The Largest Isle on the lake is Valaff’s Isle

Valaff’s Isle
The Robber Baron Valaff set up this island as a port and fortress in the early days of Bigany with the aide of a number of investor. The Family’s fortunes fell into ruin several generations later despite the lucrative income from the Islands increasing role as a stopping point for Barges and Ships crossing the Lake.
The Isle passed into the hands of a consortium of guildsmen and other investors who ran it as a business until the plague hit a hundred years ago. The plague decimated the population and the Priests investigating ordered a complete evacuation. Since then the fortress and its surrounds have fallen to ruin. No one visits the isle for fear of what may lie there. Stories abound as to the reason why the church evacuated rather than healing the afflicted.