Bloodsalt; Points of Interest

B1. Reclamation Project: The compound at the center of Bloodsalt houses the district’s reason for existence—the headquarters for the Wizards’ Guild’s program to restore life to the soil of Skull Island. Wizards and alchemists work in the compound’s laboratories to perfect the Knorberrtal Program, while its factories pump out chemicals to be applied by half-orc and hobgoblin workers. In the short term, though, the toxic byproducts of the program have blighted the earth around the compound—not that the humans running the project seem to care.

When Tarmon and the Wizards’ Guild began the Reclamation Project, they set aside a wing of their guild house to contain laboratories and workshops. It didn’t take many explosions and clouds of acidic smoke to make them realize it was best to continue their research outside the populated and wealthy Old City district. Given the influx of savage nonhumans into the city and the problems they were causing, the council decided to kill two birds with one stone and establish a new district to house both the workers and the project.

Initially, the compound was small and lightly guarded, little more than a few workshops full of alchemical boilers behind a fence. As the scale of the project increased, so did the compound’s size, and more laboratories, living quarters, and offices were erected behind a larger wall. The increased security proved necessary as the project made its mark on the local landscape; the chemicals leaking from the laboratories damaged the soil of the district, leaving it blood red and lifeless. Worse than that, chemicals would mix unpredictably just under the earth’s surface, creating pockets of dangerous substances—acid, green slime, and even oil that caught fire when exposed to air. As inhabitants of Bloodsalt lost limbs or lives from treading in hidden sinkholes, the savages turned their ire on the Project Compound with strikes, riots, and arson attempts.

Harsh retaliation from the Wizards’ Guild and the Redblade Militia quashed the riots, but to maintain the peace, the guild had to overhaul their safety procedures within the compound. The leaks have slowed, and the contamination of the soil has stopped—but the ground on which Bloodsalt stands is still a danger to inhabitants, and their sullen hate of the guild will not fade anytime soon. The compound’s security has been increased, and Maelsom Brass, a specialist in fighting orcs and hobgoblins, has been placed in charge of protecting the guild’s investment.

Inside the compound are more than a dozen one- and two-story buildings. Most are laboratories and factories, containing boilers, mixing vats, stills, and vats of chemicals. The largest building in the compound is the Project Office, which also acts as living quarters for the wizards, Enloquicedo Guild chemical suppliers and alchemists who work within the compound. Almost all of them have homes within Freeport’s walls and prefer to stay there rather than in the less comfortable (and vaguely chemical smelling) rooms here; still, they have a place to stay when working late or if unrest in Bloodsalt makes it dangerous to leave. A single-story building acts as a dormitory for the guards, most of them mercenaries hired by the Wizards’ Guild; Maelsom Brass also stays in this building.

Prominent NPCs
Kenzil: Kenzil is a long way from being the most respected member of the Wizards’ Guild—not due to a lack of magical skill, rather a lack of ethical standards and diplomacy. Bluntly, Kenzil doesn’t care what he has to do to get what he wants or who he insults in the process. That’s why he now has the “prestigious” position as head of the Reclamation Project—which requires him to spend a lot of time stuck in the compound, keeping track of equipment and work details and constantly dealing with the savage races that he loathes.

Maelsom Brass: The head of security for the Project Compound, and is an ex-soldier with decades of experience fighting orcs and hobgoblins. Unlike Kenzil and many of her fellow dwarves, she doesn’t despise the savage races; she respects them for their strength and their skill and is careful to never underestimate them. She’s being well paid for her work at the compound and takes it very seriously. Her subordinates like her for her wry sense of humor and her unswerving loyalty. If Brass has a flaw, it’s that she micro-manages everything, taking too much responsibility for the running of every last aspect of compound security. Should something happen to her, chaos might quickly follow.

B2. Redblades Barracks A district where humans and elves fear to tread but is still nominally under the control of the Captains’ Council must retain some kind of law and order. The Redblades—a mertcenary company of belligerent, swaggering, yet disciplined hobgoblins under the control of a ruthless vicious warrior Draghar; supplies just that. This unit of savage killers operates from their fortified barracks at the northern end of Bloodsalt, from which they send out patrols to enforce Redblade’s whims with an iron fist.

It quickly became apparent that the human troops of the Watch and the Sea Lord’s Guard were incapable of policing the new district. The half-orcs and hobgoblins resented them and were far more likely to gang up and attack interlopers than respect their authority. Riots were destabilizing the district and jeopardizing the Reclamation Project, a massive investment the Captains’ Council needed to protect. It was at this tumultuous time Draghar approached the council with a proposal—he and his hobgoblin mercenaries would police Bloodsalt for a fraction of the cost of human troops in return for the authority to enforce the law their own way. It was a naked grab for power, and the council knew it, just as they knew it was the best offer they were going to get before Bloodsalt went up in flames. The paperwork was signed and the Redblade Mercenary Company became the law.
Draghar’s Redblade recruits were the fiercest and most disciplined warriors in Bloodsalt, and they cut a bloody swathe through the riots. Hobgoblin squads swept through every alleyway and clearing, punishing any who resisted their demands, making it clear they (and not the uncaring humans) were in charge. Over the course of a few weeks, Bloodsalt fell into line—all but the orc pirates that had been forced into the district by the racist thugs of Slums District. Conflicts between hobgoblins and half-orcs became a fixture in the district that continues to the present day.

The Redblades Barracks house is a large, low building of stone, wood, and bricks, situated on the northern half of Bloodsalt. The building was designed as a fortress in case the inhabitants of the district ever turn against their oppressors. Reinforced double doors at each end can be barred and bolted from inside, and narrow windows serve as sniping posts for archers while also preventing entry from outside. The area around the barracks is devoid of houses or any form of cover, and two pair of militia hobgoblins patrol it day and night.
Although savage, the mercenaries are disciplined (for now) and under Draghar’s firm control, and the inside of the barracks house is as clean and well maintained as that of any human army. Pallets and beds are arrayed at each end of the building near the doors, leaving space for several dozen hobgoblins to bunk down. Any intruder will have to contend with a room full of warriors before penetrating further. Internal walls surround kitchens, vaults, and Draghar Redblade’s personal quarters.

Prominent NPCs

Draghar: (Male Hobgoblin) Draghar is the leader of Freeport’s hobgoblin community and the nonhuman labor gangs of Bloodsalt. Under his leadership, the Redblades have worked thier way through the ranks of the city’s criminal gangs to take control of the district. Draghar is a bit short for a hobgoblin, standing just under six feet in height. What he lacks in height he makes up for in muscle, with a solid, athletic frame. His skin is dark red and he has a thick mane of red-brown hair. He carries his ancestral sword at all times, a potent blade rumored to inflict deep, bleeding wounds. When prepared for combat he wears chainmail and a shield. Draghar is careful and calculating, in both day-to-day life and in combat, never letting his anger take control. Preferring slow, carefully planned responses to hasty actions, Draghar is remarkably patient and even-tempered (especially for a goblinoid) and is willing to make many sacrifices in order to secure an eventual victory. His weakness is his belief in the superiority of hobgoblins over all other species, and he may underestimate “lesser” races, especially halflings or goblins.

Rakhuum: Rakhuum earned his name as a pirate, killing a shark armed only with a long knife. The young hobgoblin is stronger and even more savage than his brethren, one of the few capable of matching the strength of an enraged orc. For his strength and his discipline, Draghar has made Rakhuum his lieutenant and the second-in-command of the Redblade Militia.

B3. Krom's Throat (TAVERN) Before the founding of Bloodsalt, Krom’s Throat was the toughest, most dangerous dive in Slums District, a festering hole fit only for orc pirates. Not much has changed except for the location; Krom’s Throat has been relocated to Bloodsalt to cater to the new district’s orc population. It’s still a dangerous place for any human or elf to approach, let alone enter—and if you’re a hobgoblin on the south side when the bloodgrog starts to flow, may all your gods help you.

Founded a century ago, Krom’s Throat was one of the most notorious dives in Slums District, a wretched hive on the edge of the city. Ownership changed over the years, but the clientele didn’t—orcs and half-orcs fight over booze and food and just for the sheer joy of bloodshed. Krom’s Throat was a Freeport institution, one that tourists never cared to visit, and the Sea Lord’s Guard preferred to leave it and its patrons alone. But when the orcs of Slums District began relocating to Bloodsalt, Krom’s Throat lost both clientele and protection. The rising tide of racism in Slums District made it difficult for Cragwipe, the tavern’s owner, to buy supplies or stay in operation, and orcs coming into the district to drink came under attack from vigilante groups like the Blackened Knot. Cragwipe saw the writing on the wall and made an easy decision to relocate a few hundred feet to the southern end of Bloodsalt and get all his customers back. The tavern was dismantled and rebuilt (not very well but no one cared), and now it operates much as it always did—loudly, messily, and bloodily. The only real difference is it occasionally gets raided by the Redblade Militia, and when it does, the denizens rouse from their swill and give as good as they get.

Krom’s Throat is a stern-looking structure on the edge of Bloodsalt, made of cinder blocks messily plastered together (the same blocks it was built from in Slums District, more or less). There are no windows (though there are occasional gaps in the walls to let air in) and just one door, a slab of oak half a foot thick. There’s no sign outside and no need for a bouncer or secret knock; anybody who walks in that isn’t an orc won’t last long. Inside, the tavern is an offense to civilized sensibilities. There are no tables, no barstools—there’s not even a bar. Four cisterns, each the size of a cathedral bell, run along the wall opposite the door; at the bottom of these titanic vats are scores of iron nipples. A handful of coin gets you the right to fight for a spot at those teats all night. It doesn’t matter which tank you end up squeezed underneath, either—the only drink on the menu is bloodgrog, the orc favorite. As for food, Cragwipe usually sets up a trough of pig’s feet, squid arms, and live eels. The same payment gets you a chance to nose into that line, along with lodging for a night. Those orcs that can’t fit into the building when the doors close for the night usually bed down in nearby shanties or hovels; some sleep in the streets, but they risk being picked up by the Redblade Militia for loitering.
Krom’s Throat sees more than its share of violence. It wouldn’t be a night without at least a half-dozen brainings, clan wars, brawls with the Militia, and general bloody mayhem. Around daybreak, when the party ends, the blubbery snores of orc sailors bedded down in the underbrush is enough to chill even the hardiest seaman. And heavens forbid you’re around when Cragwipe hoses down the joint for the next night. Let’s just say if you thought a dirty orc was worth avoiding, you’d probably want to steer clear of a grudgingly clean orc.

Prominent NPCs

Cragwipe: Cragwipe has run Krom’s Throat for about a dozen years, and in that time he’s pretty much seen it all. The middle-aged ex-sailor is tough as nails but much more laidback than most of his brethren; he’d rather have a drink and make some gold than get into a fight. Getting muscled out of Slums District was inconvenient, but Cragwipe has simply shrugged and kept going on as before, secure in the knowledge that there’ll always be money to be made getting orcs drunk.
Karl the Kraken: One of Freeport’s most notorious criminals, a professional thug, arsonist, and killer. The tattooed half-orc used to be an enforcer for Milton Drac but went freelance after his death; he escaped his sentence in the Hulks during the Great Green Fire and has been on the lam ever since. Karl spends most of his time in Krom’s Throat, safe in the knowledge that the Sea Lord’s Guard aren’t going to bother hunting him down in Bloodsalt. Unfortunately, there aren’t many in Bloodsalt who need his services, and while Karl’s happy to kill and destroy for sheer enjoyment, money is tight. He needs contacts in Slums District and Drac’s End who can hook him up with clients—and possibly help him get in and out of the city to pull off some jobs.
B4. Irontooth Enclave Not every orc or half-orc is a pirate, thug, or baby-eating monster; there are children, weakened elders, and peace-loving types among the hulking humanoids, just as with any race. But the racists of Slums District don’t make that distinction, and they forced many orcs living in the district to move to the harsh slums of Bloodsalt. Faced with this injustice, the Irontooth clan—a respected family of half-orc scholars, craftsmen, and merchants—has done its best to make a community within Bloodsalt, a neighborhood where weaker orcs can live without being victimized by hobgoblins, pirates, or humans.

Togar Irontooth didn’t have to concern himself with the injustices being done to his people. The half-orc historian was a respected, well-off lecturer at the Freeport Academy who owned a manor house in Drac’s End; he didn’t need to care about what was happening to poor orcs in Slums District. But the aging half-orc had always loved his father’s people. An expert in orc history and politics, Togar had contacts and associates in almost every orc family and group in Freeport. Disgusted by how the humans of Slums District were treating his people (and how the Captains’ Council was letting it happen), Irontooth decided to relocate this family to Bloodsalt and dedicate his remaining years to protecting and helping those civilized orcs and half-orcs forced to live in the district.

The decision cost Togar dearly; he lost his position at the Academy, he lost many of his friends and professional contacts, and in the end, he lost his life. He sold his manor in Drac’s End, bought land in Bloodsalt (along with a farming plot to the east of Freeport), and erected several small but livable houses behind a sturdy fence. While the land was cheap, the labor was expensive, as were the guards he had to pay to protect his enclave from pirates, thieves, and hostile hobgoblins. Many orc and half-orc tenants moved into his houses, but because he kept the rent low, he made little money back from them. For months, Togar struggled to keep the Irontooth Enclave afloat—and then he stepped into a hidden sinkhole of fuming acid while walking down the street. The half-orc scholar died shortly afterwards, surrounded by his grieving family and tenants, while creditors and opportunists prepared to steal his possessions.
But the Irontooth Enclave held them back; the tenants and the remaining Irontooths joined forces and fought off the invaders. They were aided in this by Hatchetblack, an orc pirate who threw in his lot with his weaker cousins, and by Togar’s old associates at the Freeport Academy, who petitioned the Captains’ Council on the enclave’s behalf. The word came down to the Militia to leave the Irontooths alone, and the hobgoblins reluctantly gave the enclave a wide berth. Togar’s half-siblings rallied to organize the enclave tenants, turning what was once simply a housing estate into a true community.

The Irontooth Enclave has weathered the storm, but life is far from easy behind the estate’s fence. Many adults work for the Reclamation Project, while others look after children, till the fields on the Irontooth farm, or find any other work that can keep the enclave financially afloat. The head of the enclave, Torya Irontooth, does her best to maintain alliances with merchants and scholars in Freeport proper, relying on their patronage to deter the Redblade Militia. It’s a struggle to feed and protect a community that never stops growing; almost every week, another family or group of orphans seek shelter at the enclave, and the Irontooths refuse to turn anyone away. But despite the odds stacked against them, the Irontooth family and their community keep working and refuse to give in to despair, fired by the memory of Togar Irontooth and the belief they can make Bloodsalt a safe homeland for a more civilized orc race.

The Irontooth Enclave is a large stretch of land within Bloodsalt, measuring three blocks wide (not that Bloodsalt has blocks or even proper streets, but the area’s the same size). A six-foot fence of sharp wooden stakes surrounds it, which is enough to deter the odd drunken orc pirate looking for loot or company. Were the enclave to sustain a determined assault by the Militia or a gang, the fence wouldn’t be enough to hold them back; the community’s leaders know this, but it’s the best they have to work with. Entry to the enclave is through a heavy gate on the east side, facing the Irontooth farm and the sea. A pair of orcs—usually pirates loyal to Hatchetblack—guard this gate at all times.

Inside the fence are about a dozen single-story houses, one of which is larger than the others; this is the Irontooth “manor” where Torya Irontooth and her half-siblings live. The manor also houses Togar Irontooth’s extensive library of historical documents, perhaps the best such collection outside of the Freeport Academy. The remaining houses are simple but comfortable dwellings that each house one or two orc families. Demand for housing has outstripped supply, and a number of inhabitants must live in tents. Two barns flank the central house, one of which is used for communal meals, meetings, and get-togethers; the other serves as a forge manned by Tureg Irontooth, whose high-quality smithing is another source of income for the enclave. A large tent near the entrance houses Hatchetblack and some of his followers—as well as two cannons from his ship, which he’ll use without hesitation to defend the enclave.
The enclave also owns a small but successful farm not far to the east of Bloodsalt; Togar bought the land cheaply in the early days of the Reclamation Project. Two orc families, who grow barley and onions in the alchemically treated earth, work the farm. The enclave uses some of this for its own food supply and sells the rest. The farm is close to the beach, and the orcs also have a pair of fishing boats at a small dock; Hatchetblack’s ship, Champion’s Cry, is anchored just off shore, and a trio of pirates stays at the farm to protect it.

Prominent NPCs

Torya Irontooth The rarest of creatures—a beautiful half-orc. Before the Irontooth family’s relocation to Bloodsalt, Torya was a socialite of sorts, with connections throughout Freeport’s upper-middle class. She resisted the move to Bloodsalt, thinking it was beneath her; when she finally did relocate, she found almost all of her aristocratic friends considered her little more than a novelty and no longer wanted anything to do with her. The rejection spurred Torya rather than shattered her, making her realize her family and her people are more important than social recognition. She still maintains some connections within the Merchant and Eastern Districts, but she works with them to protect and finance the enclave, where she is regarded as the community’s glamorous leader.

Hatchetblack: A massive, dreadlocked orc pirate, who dresses in spiked leathers and is always armed with two razor-sharp axes. While he looks bloodthirsty, Hatchetblack is surprisingly personable, a former gladiator who gained a sense of both honor and showmanship in the arena, not that that makes him any less fearsome in combat. If anything, his training makes him much more dangerous than most of his barbaric peers. Like Togar Irontooth, Hatchetblack believes in a lost orc civilization that upheld ideas of justice rather than barbarism. Hoping to fulfill Togar’s dream and prove orcs can be not just equal but surpass humans in compassion, Hatchetblack and his pirate followers have sworn to defend the enclave. He is, of course, hopelessly in love with Torya Irontooth but has yet to find the courage to tell her of his affections.

B5. Gitch's Tower A rickety, crooked tower claws at the skyline in the middle of Bloodsalt, looking like it might fall over any minute. This is the home of the district’s mightiest goblin wizard. While he may be small, ugly, and overconfident, Gitch truly is the most skilled mage in Bloodsalt’s savage community—and the only thing stopping the Militia from completely enslaving their smaller, weaker cousins.

Gitch was never as skilled as his wizardly peers, but he had enough intellect and cunning to master a small degree of magic and put it to use. Several years ago, he managed to trap a water elemental within a brewery, tapping its power through his spells. He installed the vat on a wagon, and Freeport’s Goblin Fire Department was born! For a small fee, Gitch would put out fires with the power of the elemental and make it very clear if you didn’t want another fire to break out, you’d best pay him a regular fee. As far as protection rackets go, it was remarkably sophisticated for Slums District, and anyone who tried to get rough with Gitch or his goblin accomplices discovered the little guy knew some very dangerous spells.
Gitch’s operation went smoothly for a couple of years, and he became one of the most respected goblins in Freeport (which isn’t saying much, but the other goblins thought him akin to a god). Then came the Great Green Fire, and suddenly there was a real fire to deal with. In order to save Slums District’s goblin community from destruction, Gitch released the water elemental; the creature was destroyed by the flames, but its liquid death throes extinguished numerous blazes and saved many lives. Gitch was a hero! Gitch was the goblin of the hour! Gitch… was out of a job, as were his cohorts.

The gratitude of Slums District’s goblins wasn’t enough to protect Gitch from the ire of his old customers or the rising racism of the local humans, so he relocated to Bloodsalt with the rest of his kind, hoping to find another scam to get rich. Instead, he found a ghetto full of goblins looking to him as their protector—and a gang of hobgoblins who wanted their puny brethren to work and die for their pleasure. Gitch’s natural cowardice fought with his desire to be loved by his fellows (backed up by a small degree of actual loyalty to them), and to everyone’s surprise, cowardice came second. His magic drove the hobgoblins off, and the goblins hailed him as their savior. They built him a tower in the middle of their ghetto and told all that Gitch the Great and Powerful was their leader! Unfortunately for Gitch and his followers, the surviving hobgoblins joined the Redblade Militia. While the Militia has had other business to deal with since then, the time is coming when they’ll turn their attention to the goblin ghetto—and the uppity wizard that lives at its center.

The Tower of High Sorcery (as the locals call it) looks like it might fall over in a stiff breeze, and that’s probably not far from the truth; it was assembled from salvaged wood and debris and has yet to face a storm or hurricane. Crooked and leaning noticeably off center, the tower is made from various kinds of wood, stone, and other materials—barrels, packing crates, even part of Gitch’s old fire-fighting wagon—slapped together with whatever nails, plaster, and paint the goblins could steal. It’s surrounded by the tiny shacks, hovels, and lean-tos of the goblin ghetto, which takes up a block or so on Bloodsalt’s west side, under the shadow of the Eastern District’s wall. Human visitors stand out like a sore thumb in this area because they’re taller than many of the buildings (apart from the tower).

The interior of the tower is a warren of boxes, crates, stolen trash, knick-knacks and anything else the goblins have donated to their champion. The ceilings are low, and the smell is unpleasant; housekeeping is not a notable goblin talent. A ladder on the ground floor leads to the next, and a second ladder here leads up to the top floor. Gitch lives at the top and often peers worriedly out the windows, looking for signs of trouble. Up to a dozen goblins live in the bottom and middle floors to defend their leader and are ready to fire arrows and stones from the windows at invaders before fighting in close quarters.

Prominent NPCs

Gitch: A sneaky-looking goblin wizard with a greasy black topknot and a flashy black outfit liberally embroidered with red flame symbols, Gitch runs the most prominent firefighting enterprise on the Harbor District. He and his goblin crew drive their wagon with its large barrel of water to the scene of reported fires, and negotiate a price for their services. They are known to have the protection of the Family, who take a large cut of Gitch's business in return for that. Contrary to expectations, the crew is actually quite effective at what they do, and several people pay them a retainer to guarantee their services will be available when required.