Ruled by a gold dragon, Castanamir is a horn-shaped island almost 250 miles long and protected by sheer cliffs everywhere but the southern tip. Rainforests cover the northern half of the island, while the southern half has been cleared, leaving grassy savannas dotted with villages and fruit farms. Castanamir has erected a rather ostentatious palace near the north eastern coast, tucked behind hills that cleverly block his view of his ugly neighbor island, Mheletros.
Io'garaloth, the City of Caves, is carved into the south eastern face of Castanamir's island. The dragon spends about half his time there, wandering the streets in various humanoid forms. The rest of the time, he's flying over the island, searching for other dragons who might be encroaching on his territory.
Io'garaloth (City of Caves)
The City of Caves is a pivotal location in Io'Tamrin, a place where adventurers can strike it rich, buy their own ship, and rub shoulders with other sea captains. However, it's also a den of villainy, rife with treachery, piracy, and double-dealers. Many of the people who live here and conduct their business here aren't nice people, and visitors are expected to tolerate a certain amount of avarice.
Io'garaloth is big, with a population to rival the capital of Io'calioth. With its subterranean grottoes and labyrinth of tunnels, it's one the most defensible strongholds in the Dragovar empire (second only to Io'fazor). One typically enters the city by two great sea caves, which connect to a series of six flooded grottoes. The grottoes are partially open to the sky, allowing flying creatures to enter from above. Wide tunnels from the city break the surface as well, allowing caravans from the villages above to reach the city.
The six grottoes that form the core of the city have names. The Seakissed Grotto and the Brokenwave Grotto contain numerous docks for visiting ships, and most of the merchants who come by sea berth their ships here. These grottos contain ample inns, taverns, and warehouses to serve their needs, as well as shrines to "lesser" gods such as Erathis, Melora, and Sehanine. The Venomspine Grotto is reserved for Dragovar warships and contains the city's shipbuilding facilities. The Golden Shark Grotto and the Fishbelly Grotto contain ships, residences, shops, and warehouses belonging to the city's indigenous population. The city's seamy underworld is also centered here. The deepest and best-defended grotto is the Dragon's Grotto, where the Dragovar nobility lives in relative luxury alongside the ostentatious Temples of Bahamut and Tiamat. Docks and piers line the walls of every grotto, and buildings are stacked atop one another to dizzying heights. Wood and rope suspension bridges span the tunnels that connect the grottos, allowing pedestrians to cross the city without having to travel by ship or meandering tunnel.
Connecting the grottoes are hundreds of miles of tunnels leading to squalid neighborhoods, fungi farms, cisterns, and deeper caverns full of monsters that are occasionally hunted, captured, and enslaved.
The City Watch consists primarily of Dragovar soldiers, many of them corrupt or susceptible to corruption. The rest are indoctrinated locals with very little military experience. The magistrate relies on the City Watch to maintain order, although in a city this crowded, "order" is a relative term. The City Watch rarely concerns itself with burglaries and muggings. The soldiers spend most of their time tracking down arsonists and murderers, with limited success. The many tunnels make it easy for one to "get lost" in Io'garaloth. The authorities mostly rely on the island's dragon overlord to keep the people in line. Although Castanamir has little interest in politics (like most dragons), he frequently walks the streets of Io'garaloth in polymorphed form, and people are trained to believe that he could be anyone, anywhere. Castanamir is quick to dispose of those who aggravate him. Fear of the dragon keeps most of the local population in line.
Fayal Taviq is the latest in a long line of impotent city officials. He doesn't have the respect of the local population, and his edicts are rarely enforced by his underlings. The citizens are grateful only that he's not a tyrant. Very few of the "common folk" have ever seen or met him, for Taviq tends to limit himself to the company of well-armed guards and members of the noble caste. According to rumor, Taviq doesn't like to get his hands dirty, and he views his assignment to Io'garaloth as a punishment. He is constantly distracted by reports of the goings-on in the Dragovar capital of Io'calioth and often speaks of a desire to "return home" one day.