Bellfort is home to a multitude of species and ethnicities - and might well be one of the most diverse cities in this day and age. Dragonborn, Elfs and Half-Elfs, Orcs and Half-Orcs, Gnomes, Dwarves, Humans, Tieflings, and Genasi can all be found walking the city. There even are a few dozen Warforged
who have made Bellfort their home, making it one of the few places one might encounter these people of metal and wood.
The city is co-governed by a Council of Noblemen and a democratically elected Council of Commoners. Elections take place every five years. This was only established a century ago in Bellfort and might very well be the only Government of its kind in Ebea.
The taxes collected by the city are mostly used for the maintenance of important structures and the improvement of infrastructure. However, in recent years, war expenditures have risen exponentially.
The whole city is permanently enveloped in a large but thin barrier of Ley-Line energy. This barrier prevents magic from passing through it. At the same time, it keeps out any creatures, people, or objects trying to pass through the barrier. It can be temporarily disabled at the gates and the port to let in people or ships. The downside of this is that people and objects cannot leave the barrier without it being priorly disabled. Meaning the people cannot easily leave the city in case of emergency - or fight back against invaders. The barrier also does not protect the city from any damages that might occur due to bad weather, as water and oxygen need to be able to pass through the barrier.
However, this also means that the city can be locked down completely. To this day, this has only happened once, early in the year 627, when a series of murders were happening. Although no suspect was ever apprehended, the killings stopped shortly after the city had gone into lockdown.
When the nearby Ley-Line ruptured in 444, the barrier absorbed the brunt of the released Ley-Line energy, charging up the mechanism creating it. It is probably due to this that the barrier is functional to this day.
Although the barrier has proven to be a reliable defense mechanism, Bellfort is surrounded by thick city walls and laid out strategically. Apart from a handful of main roads, the roads are narrow and interwoven, making them easily defendable with but a few soldiers. Lastly, there are massive harpoons at the harbor, which could easily pierce the hull of almost any ship.
As a port city, Bellfort sees a lot of fishing, trading, and traveling - although the latter two have become less common with the wars of the last decades. Still, the city thrives and has managed to keep much of its wealth and safety.
Every once in a while, they trade with the Clans of Dhon Az'dugh
. Seeing as these Half-Orcs generally prefer to stay in their Wasteland
and be as self-sufficient as they can, this happens once or twice a year at most. Sometimes they go years without coming to Bellfort to trade.
Bellfort's citizens have a unique way of traversing the city. The engineers of the Second Age invented Carts
charged with Ley-Line energy that follow tracks set into the ground. Powered by magical energy, they do not require horses to draw them. These Carts are active at all times of the day and are only stopped for maintenance purposes.
The Waterside District
I had heard of this district built on water, of course. And yet, I could scarce believe my eyes when I saw it for the first time. Gods know, even after living in Bellfort for a dozen or so years, the sight of the Waterside Districts surprises me each time.
— A former adventurer
The Waterside District takes up much of the north-western part of the city. It refers to the part of Bellfort that has been extended into the ocean. Lightweight houses have been built upon platforms in the ocean and are connected by sprawling wooden walkways. This District also includes the cities harbor. Apart from the harbor, it is a mostly residential area.
The Clanking-Coin Corner
Although it may have started as one, Bellfort's market and trading District has long outgrown the word 'Corner'. Near countless lanes spread from the market square in an almost spiderweb-like manner. I would be surprised if even those who have lived here a long time had discovered all the city had to offer.
— A merchant doing business in Bellfort
The Clanking-Coin Corner takes up much of the city's center and refers to the main market and trading area. There is a big market square, where mostly fresh produce and meat are sold. This is also where events take place from time to time. Most citizens of Bellfort would, however, agree that the little lanes filled with a wide assortment of shops and ventures are the heart of the trading District.
Now, it may not be as lavish as those mansions in the Garden Glade, but it is safe - which is more than can be said for most places at the moment. I sleep better at night, knowing my family and I are safe on the inside of the barrier.
— A Bellfort farmer
The Artisan's District is where most crafters and farmers have taken up residence. It is located in the south of the city due to its proximity to the farming areas just outside of the city limit. Moreover, the Temples of the Nine Gods are located here.
Garden Glade District
One will be hard-pressed to find so much green in a city as big as this anywhere. It's no wonder so many nobles have taken up residence here.
— A Bellfort Commoner
The eastern part of Bellfort is by far its greenest. Many nobles have their residences here, big fancy houses with gardens just as big and fancy. Still, many of the commoners like coming here for the Flowerbloom Garden, which is a park accessible by the public. The park is named for the many flowerbeds with seemingly perpetually blooming flowers of a wide variety.
Although the city suffered some minor damage during the Age of Dread
, most of the city survived unscathed -and what was damaged could quickly be rebuilt. Thus, many of the contraptions of the Second Age remain functional to this day - provided their respective Ley-Line Crystals
Some of the still-functioning contraptions include Ley-Line-energy powered streetlights, tiny mechanical birds that occasionally flutter through the skies, and lamps that emulate daylight and are used for growing crops indoors.
The Finders of Fortune
As with every major city, the Finders of Fortune
guild has a branch in Bellfort. The Spears and Shields support the Bellfort guard with keeping order in the city and protecting it from any beastly attacks from the ocean. The Seekers make sure no dead are left undiscovered to rise as an undead. Meanwhile, the Gatherers, Shadows, and Collectors are hired by private people and shops to collect various resources, items, and information.
The Council of Nobles
The Council of Nobles is one of the two parties governing Bellfort. As the name suggests, this side of the Council consists purely of Nobles. Both Nobles and Commoners have 15 seats in the government each. Once a noble has secured a spot on the Council, they typically do not give up that post until their death as it comes with a lot of prestige and power. Thus, there is a lot of plotting amongst the noble families and even in the families themself. On very rare occasions, the Nobles have elected to have a well-off merchant take up one of their seats.
The Council of Commoners
The Council of Commoners makes up the second party of the government in Bellfort. Unlike the Council of Nobles, these representatives are democratically elected by the public every five years. Those who have been elected can choose to stand for election twice more, for a total of fifteen years. This is to prevent the longer-lived folk from hogging a spot on the Council.
Bellfort has a rich history, going all the way back to the Age of Discovery
. It is one of the few cities to have withstood the passage of time and countless wars for such a long time.
The most recent event of note was an uprising of the common people, demanding to have more sway in the decision-making of the Government. The Council of Nobles eventually conceded to the demands of the common folk, agreeing to govern the city in conjunction with an elected Council of Commoners..
There are plenty of interesting sights to behold in Bellfort, one of the most famous ones being the Ley University. The University was built shortly after the founding of the city and is one of the oldest buildings in Bellfort still standing. As with the rest of the city, it has been continuously expanded over the years. Over the centuries, many scholars and travelers have come to Bellfort just for the chance to visit the University or attend one of its many courses. It also features a big library, most of which is accessible to the general public. The University's main focus is the study of Ley-Lines.
Bellfort is home to the Shilling Sanctuary for Warforged
, founded by Denton Shilling
himself. Nowadays, the Sanctuary is run by Astra Shilling, a direct descendent of Denton. It is a place where Warforged might find respite free of charge. The Sanctuary offers them a place to power down for however long they wish and helps with maintenance. The upkeep of the Sanctuary is paid for by donations and a small subsidiary from the city.
Lastly, there is Radowan's House of Curiosities, a museum of sorts. In it, visitors can find all manner of Ley-Line contraptions that no longer have the energy to keep functioning. It also features a large botanical garden and a greenhouse with many exotic plants, some of which even are native to another plane. Those with more morbid interests might be interested in having a look at the large taxidermy collection, featuring all manner of beasts.
Bellfort started as a smaller town but evolved into a bustling city in the span of a mere handful of decades. Once the outskirts of the city had reached the edge of the barrier, people had to get creative to further expand the city. Instead of just building upwards, they used engineering ingenuity to build parts of the city on the ocean.
With the exception of the buildings in the Waterside District, most of the buildings are simple but sturdy brick houses. It is common for them to have a cellar and be two to three stories high. Quite a few houses in the Artisan's Districts had their bricks painted with colors, giving the whole area a lively yet chaotic feel.
With direct access to the ocean, there are many fish to be had. Just outside of the city prosper, plenty of farms have been set up. The moderate climate of the area allows for a wide range of produce to be farmed. With a nearby forest, the city has access to wood and hunting areas.
Seems like a good place to live if you're a refugee. Does the barrier mean the growth of the city is limited? Or, are their buildings outside, unprotected?
It is one of the safest places to be at this point in time. The barrier does limit the growth of the city, hence the expansion onto the ocean. The only things outside of the barrier are a handful of watchtowers as well as the farmlands supplying the city with food. The latter of which is a remnant from safer times.