Belltower is a small city (pop. 7,914) on the southern most coast of the continent of Eregia, a major port town and the hometown of the eponymous Belltower Collegium, a dwarven-founded university of some renown in the area. A bustling trading port, Belltower hosts a great deal of traffic between Eregia and Colcambria and, subsequently, much of the town’s permanent population have built up around servicing either the resident students or the passing merchants, mercenaries and other transients.
Situated at the mouth of the Wintervein River, the city of Belltower rests near the southeast corner of Eregia, some ten leagues east of the Ironshod Hills and just down river from Occola Bayou, home of a goliath tribe, an elven clan and Maz Imurra, a pre- Arkhosian ruin, the last vestige of the ancient empire in the region and the topic of much debate at the nearby Collegium.
To the south lies the Scarlet Sea and the Chicken Bone archipelago, a haven of pirates, smugglers and criminals, who often prey on ships crossing between Colcambria and Eregia’s southern ports. Fortunately for the mercantile concerns of the region, however, Belltower is located just off a trade wind, making travel vastly easier along this route and helping to flow goods through the city.
The city itself is divided into five districts: the western Tavern District, the northern Market District, the southern Dockside District, the eastern Brewery District and the centrally-located campus of Belltower Collegium.
- A. Belltower: Rising above the university campus, the eponymous spire of Belltower Collegium rings out its echoing peal once every hour, on the hour.
- B. City Council Chamber: The center of government and law in the city, this building houses both the council’s meeting chambers and the barracks for the local Guard.
- C. Temple of Arkos: In the Market District, the local temple to Arkos is a comparatively stately building, complete with battlements and curtain wall.
- D. Chapel of Hroma: A modest structure in the Tavern District, Hroma’s temple leaves little to the imagination as a practically unadorned single-room chantry.
- E. Oslé’s Shrine: Little more than a bench and effigy high on the bluffside, worshippers of Oslé travel here to make penance and seek advise from their tempestuous oceanic goddess.
- F. The Broken Bones: The roughest, rowdiest saloon in Belltower, the Bones offers its patrons cheap ale, cheaper food and cheapest company.
- G. Old Brewery: In the aptly-named Brewery District, this dilapidated old brick monstrosity is riddled with warren beneath, rumored to be the hiding place of The Cup Tricks, the local thieves’ guild.
- H. City Gate: Three barbicans lead out into outskirts of Belltower, one leading north, one leading west and the last leading east.
The Collegium actually predates the city of Belltower by roughly three years. Constructed in 78 F.I. as a bulwark of knowledge and enlightenment in Eregia’s southwestern corner, the Collegium drew not only students, but also settlers – dragonborn refugees, elven wanderers, human pioneers, dwarven craftsmen, freed goliath slaves. The town of Belltower was properly founded in 81 F.I. by a council of peers, named after the college’s hourly booming toll and has, over the past several hundred years, endured goblin raids, pirate attacks and orc warbands, thriving against these odds to become a modest seaport in its own right.
Belltower is nominally ruled by a small council of influential peers, including several important merchants, a representative of each local temple, the college’s headmaster, the captain of the guard and an envoy from the nearby elven clan. Most issues of town importance are settled here, including matters of trade, law and defense. Other power centers in the area include the Collegium itself and the Cup Tricks, a local thieves guild.
Of its nearly eight thousand residents, Belltower’s population is predominantly human, while dwarves, dragonborn and halflings follow closely. Goliaths, gnomes and elves can also occasionally be found in the city’s general vicinity, but, as a trading port, people of all races and creeds pass through Belltower upon occasion.
The backbone of Belltower’s economy is trade – situated at the crux of three major trade routes, it does a brisk business as a middle man between Thuvik’s Hold in the east, the Occola Bayou to the north and the Chicken Bone Islands to the south. Minerals, precious stones and metals shipped down the east road are shipped overseas to Colcambria and beyond. Pelts, fruits and herbs from the Ki’ki’ki’é trademen are sold at market to travelers and natives alike. Passing mercenaries, adventurers and merchants use Belltower as a comfortable layover on their way towards Cantilever and the rest of westward civilization, offering the city a nice buffer of tourism as well.