Inferior Race Settlements
The human empire of Bael Nerath crumbled when the continents of Iomandra sank into the Dragon Sea. The survivors lingered on the few remaining bits of land until the dragonborn dynasties swept in, “rescued” them, and took them as slaves. The descendants of Bael Nerath, freed from slavery, made a half-hearted attempt to rebuild their empire. They raised colonies on nine islands, which necessitated a pooling of resources. To ensure a fair exchange of goods, the islands formed the Trade Council, with one representative from each island. Unfortunately, human greed reared its ugly head, and the Trade Council became mired in corruption as its members took to calling themselves barons and formed secret alliances. Accusations of foul play and favoritism shattered all attempts to unite Bael Nerath, and today the islands are ruled by nine selfish barons who simultaneously oppose and rely on one another.
Two of the baronies—Ravan and Vhessek—have dragon overlords and are thus named after them. Baron Mystrum welcomed the iron dragon Ravan with open arms, and the two have struck an accord. Vhessek the black dragon is a savage tyrant, and many of the human inhabitants of Vhessek’s island have been devoured or driven off, while Baron von Ezengart remains as a puppet leader to discourage others from leaving. Dragons periodically accost the other seven islands of Bael Nerath, but to date the baronies have managed to drive them off or slay them (often with the help of adventurers).
Baron: Elidyr Xandros VI
Capital: Nerathor (pop. 12,200)
Baron: Steven Blacksword
Symbol: Black blade
Capital: Rockshoal (pop. 4,900)
Baron: Mariekus Corynnar
Capital: Shallowreef (pop. 7,500)
Baron: Elythea von Aress
Capital: Nerath’s Hope (pop. 4,000)
Baron: Yorgen Krell
Capital: Dragonfall (pop. 6,100)
Baron: Kharl Mystrum III
Symbol: Iron spike
Capital: Scalabar (pop. 4,500)
Baron: Tagon Archwind
Capital: Highpoint (pop. 6,400)
Baron: Jerek von Ezengart
Capital: Brightshore (pop. 500)
Baron: Sathima Shadowgray
Symbol: White stag
Capital: E’erwatch (pop. 9,500)
To save itself from the tyranny of the dragonborn dynasties, the human empire of Bael Turath forged dark pacts with infernal powers, giving rise to tieflings. Flush with newfound might, Bael Turath openly defied the dragonborn and their dragon overlords, calling down hellfire, curses, and eldritch power to scour their enemies. Although it wiped out entire dragonborn dynasties and slew countless dragons, Bael Turath eventually fell to the sheer might of Arkhosia. Bael Turath’s cities fell into ruin, its few surviving noble houses bound, weeping and cursing, into slavery.
When the continents sank into the Dragon Sea, nearly all of Bael Turath was submerged. A few ruins remain above sea level, tempting explorers. Even though centuries have passed and most of Bael Turath has been lost, the Deeplantern Guild and many others are drawn to the sunken empire by rumors of precious relics lost in the depths. Some seek a greater—and far more dangerous—prize within the sunken capital: a temple wherein lie the original pacts that transformed the devil-conspiring humans into tieflings and gave rise to the dark empire of Bael Turath. Mad prophets claim that a new emperor will arise among the tieflings, claim this ancient magic, and build a new empire to rival Bael Turath’s glory and splendor.
The ancient dragonborn dynasties apparently had no interest in exploring and conquering other planes of existence. Consequently, when the beautiful eladrin kingdom of Cendriane was threatened with annihilation by dragonborn armies, its leaders evoked powerful rituals in a desperate attempt to shift the entire kingdom into a twilight reflection of Iomandra called the Feywild. Although the eladrin mastery of arcane magic was unrivaled, their rituals failed. Cendriane’s transposition into the Feywild shook the kingdom to its foundations. All of the magic in the world couldn’t keep its towers and walls from crumbling into ruin, and few eladrin survived the calamity. The survivors remained in the Feywild and began the long process of rebuilding Cendriane’s capital of Amethystra. These eladrin cloaked the crystalline city using the magic of the Feywild, hoping that intruders from Iomandra would have a difficult time locating it.
Roughly two centuries ago, eladrin spies returned to Iomandra to observe the changes there. They were shocked to discover that most of its lands had sunk beneath the sea and that the dragonborn dynasties of old were no longer a threat. A few families of eladrin have since rejoined the people of Iomandra, but they guard well the secrets of their new homeland for fear that knowledge of the Feywild’s abundant land might spur others to invade it.
When the continents of Iomandra sank into the Dragon Sea, more than three-quarters of the dwarven kingdom of Gar Morra suddenly found itself underwater. The great mountains of Gar Morra now form rocky islands riddled with caves.
Freed from the tyranny of the dragonborn dynasties, the dwarves of Gar Morra returned to their ancestral kingdom to rebuild their strongholds, only to discover their islands overrun with orcs. For centuries now, the dwarves have been warring with these orcs, pushing them deeper down into the mountains. In the process, they’ve discovered large air pockets — vast cavern labyrinths filled with monsters far worse than orcs. The dwarves refer to this sprawling network of caverns as the Hollowdark, and they would like nothing more than to rebuild their great kingdom in its protective depths.
In addition to rebuilding Gar Morra, the dwarves want to recuperate their lost wealth. Beneath the Dragon Sea lie the ruins of dwarf kingdoms and warded vaults filled with gold and other treasure that the dwarves aren’t willing to abandon. Consequently, the dwarves of Gar Morra are anxiously launching expeditions to these ancient sites to recover what they can.
Known as the Kingdom of Blood, the goblin nation of Sanghor has been destroyed and reborn countless times. Today Sanghor is little more than a scattering of rocky islands hewn into hideous fortresses. The goblins that infest these evil bastions worship Tiamat, and each tribe is ruled by a wyrmlord (usually either a hobgoblin or bugbear warlord). From time to time, a particularly powerful wyrmlord rises to unite the goblin tribes under a single banner with one purpose in mind: to slay the Dark Queen’s enemies and harvest their blood.
The goblins of Sanghor frequently ride dragons into battle. Tribal warpriests tend to the dragon hatcheries and raise the newly hatched wyrmlings so that they’re willing and eager to serve as mounts. These goblin warpriests feed the dragons a steady diet of meat and blood so that they remain devoted to the tribe and their Dark Queen.
Sanghor is also home to evil dragonborn who follow the teachings of Tiamat. Most of these dragonborn are Dragovar agents who seek to rekindle the glory of the ancient dynasties by enslaving all non-dragonborn races and seizing their lands.