The Peering Eye

Region Overview

The Great Lake Marks the effective border of Bigany, Torland and Az Ylar. The Southwest of the lake is dominated by the city of Lakeport the nexus of trade in the region. On the Eastern side of the lake are a number of ports that feed the trade to and from Torland. The southern coast is dotted with fishing villages and small towns feeding off the land, 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.

Lakeport

Population 12,500.
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.
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.
Lake Port is the second largest settlement in Bigany. It is mainly held under the sway of the trading noble families (the Vecs and the Momes) but 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).
The Border with Torland was never an issue as far as the King of Bigany was concerned. It was somewhere near the cross roads along the coast and a days ride in any direction from Lake Port. As far as the Emperor is concerned the border is as far into Biagny as cartographers dare to draw it on a map.
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.
During the recent short war, the Empire took Lake Port (as usual) and By-Water. They were halted in the Great Valley. A small number of Dirt Legion units made it into Bigany past the fronts. One was slaughtered in an ambush by a\renegade unit of Elves from Elledrin; one was killed by a The Black Guard commander Cleave at Red Brick Bridge. Others were lost, Bigany is full of nasty surprises...an entire legion could still be active...

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.