Karameikos and Beyond
Black Eagle Barony
This area in the western reaches of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, along the Gulf of Halag, has been given to Baron Ludwig “Black Eagle” von Hendriks by his cousin, Duke Stefan Karameikos III. The Black Eagle rules his dominion with an iron fist. The central town of 10,000 people is dominated by the Baron’s residence of Fort Doom, a forbidding structure whose dungeons are rumored to be filled with those who have displeased the Baron, an extremely cruel and unpopular man. The Baron may have connections with the evil slavers of the Iron Ring and other mercenaries. He keeps a garrrison of 200 troops, using them freely to stifle dissent and crush atackers. He is supported by human and goblinoid mercenaries, as well as by his powerful court mage, Bargle the Infamous.
The Duke’s Law is not obeyed here; only the Black Eagle’s Law is followed. That law is: Obey the Baron or Die. Laws change from day to day, with his whims; it may be legal to commit murder one day, illegal to eat the next. All crimes are punishable by death unless the Baron chooses to show leniency. This he does when he thinks the person will cause him more amusement if left alive.
The peoples of Fort Doom (formerly Halag) are mostly Traladaran fishermen. Each fishing family is required to leave a family member hostage with the guards; should a fisherman sail away, the hostage will be killed. The guardsmen are humans and some imported orcs; other nasty humanoids, particularly bugbears, walk the streets at will and occasionally fight for the Baron. This is a haunted and ugly place, and, except for Baron Ludwig, Bargle, and the numerous guards and mercenaries who live high off the sweat of others, everyone would love to flee Fort Doom. Because those who flee are hunted down, often caught, and always killed when caught, few people escape.