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The Ten Towns of Icewind Dale are a loose confederation of villages in the far North. Only one is really large enough to be called a town: Bryn Shander, the most central and largest town. It was because of this that the Ten Towns' council building was constructed there. The 9 other towns are built around the three lakes of Icewind Dale: Maer Dualdon, Lac Dinneshere and the smallest, Redwaters. The other towns are named Targos, Bremen, Termalaine and Lonelywood on the Maer Dualdon, Dougan's Hole and Good Mead on the Dinneshere and Caer-Konig, Caer-Dineval and Easthaven on the Redwaters.
The area is out of the way enough that not many people even know it exists, thinking the world to end at the Spine of the World mountain range.
Important decision are made by a council consisting of an eminent member of each town. The council gathers in Bryn Shander, which is viewed as the capital city of the region. The gathering takes place once a month during the warm season and once every 3 months in winter.
The Ten Towns have a reputation of being an ultimate refuge for the "scum" of the world, partly for not being very well known. Despite this, the administration is very democratic.
Those that do know of the existence of Icewind Dale usually know it for the scrimshaw of the knucklehead trout, a fish unique to Icewind Dale's three lakes. This ivory is the only real export of the region and is in great demand among the wealthy across Faerûn. The ivory, though unimpressive itself, can be carved into magnificent sculptures in skilled hands.
Bryn Shander, the lone inland town, does not have a fishing industry. It is a stop for mercantile caravans from the south, notably Luskan, the closest city.
Many rivalries exist between the towns. Most of these arise over fishing rights, as every town claims an exclusive fishing zone. It is common for a ship to be accused of trespassing, or even of taking advantage of a fish venturing in the "wrong" zone. These events occasionally escalate into outright fights between the crews of the fishing vessels. The founding of Easthaven reinforced the rivalry between Caer-Koenig and Caer-Dineval, as the fishing zones had to be redesigned to accommodate the new settlement.
Status also plays a role in inter-town rivalries. Thus, Targos, as the mightiest of the fishing towns is jealous of Bryn Shander's role as capitol, and Termalaine is jealous of Targos's might.
However, confronted with common peril, such as Akar Kessel of the Chimera Legion, the towns easily unite. The more fragile communities, such as Lonelywood (the smallest) and Easthaven (the most recent) are more prone to ally, as is Bryn Shander (which helps to confirm its role as a capital).