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).