City-State of Freeport
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Capitol: Freeport (population: 25,000)
Population: 30,000 (75% Ralani, 20% Eloysians, 5% other)
Current Leaders: Sea-Lord Arcelius Drac, and 7-member Captain's Council
Coat of Arms: Black trident over a green/blue quartered field
Exports: ships, mercenaries, lumber, stolen goods

Large independent city, located on the Serpent's Teeth; a chain of fifteen large volcanic, tropical islands in the southern region of the Wyn Myr, called the Shining Sea. The city of Freeport is home to many smugglers and pirates, and its seedy reputation is infamous throughout seaports across both Corwyn and Avokhar.

Freeport is also a world-famous seaport, serving hundreds of merchant vessels from the cities of: Alarë, Elsareth, Kingsport, Natharos, Pike's Ferry, Rastios, Sasserine, the Seven Cities of Brass, Shard, Syrene, Tar Vielca, Tymor, and Wyn Falas.

HISTORY:


Freeport was founded nearly 600 years ago, when a small merchant ship from Kendar got blown off course during a terrible storm. Trying to save their ship, the crew found a secluded harbor and dropped anchor on Green Island. That ship was owned by a wealthy Ralani merchant named Azren Valossa. When the ship eventually returned to Kendar, Azren found out about the island, and realized a great opportunity. Green Island offered a secluded harbor on the direct trade route between Kendar and the northern Ralani kingdoms of Rennsfar and Serathyr. He decided to move his family there and set up a small settlement on Green Island. In a testament to vanity, Azren named the village Valossa. Soon Azren and his men began exploring the remaining islands in the chain. After Azren and his Ralani colonists founded their settlement, he began to explore the remainder of the Serpent's Teeth. These expeditions turned deadly when the explorers came up against the other inhabitants of the islands; an evil race of serpent folk who lived in an island in the chain called A'Val. In response, Valossa hired groups of mercenaries and adventures who defeated these serpent people by slaughtering every one they could find and driving the rest into exile or hiding. Azren named the islands the Serpent's Teeth, and his exploits there led to much fame and wealth. The small city grew in size over the next century, because of its perfect location in the Shining Sea.

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The Valossa family ruled the city of Valossa for over one hundred fifty years, but became increasingly corrupt and tyrannical. Finally, the locals had had enough. There was a bloody uprising led by a smuggler turned rebel named Arthos Drac. Lord Valossa and his retainers were soon slain and the city freed. the locals renamed the city "Freeport" and the name has stuck even today. From that time on, Freeport was an independent city, ruled by the Drac family. The Dracs ruled differently then the Valossas, they were not tyrants and allowed a much greater amount of freedom to the citizens. Eventually all manner of piracy and smuggling came to be acceptable. The Drac family encouraged the city to be a base for pirates, in return for a portion of the stolen booty. The nations of Kendar, Rennsfar, and Serathyr tried in vain to stop the pirates,. whose always to seem to get away by hiding their ships in one of the many secluded coves located in the island chain. This reputation is where the Serpent's teeth got their nickname "the Pirate Islands." This successful defiance of the various royal navies further emboldened the pirates, and they decided to stage even larger attacks, unprecedented in scale and ferocity. For the first time in the young city's history, the entire pirate fleet organized into a single raiding expedition that was to assault as many targets as possible. Largely through surprise, the Great Raid was very successful, and the loot acquired was truly unprecedented. To this day, the city celebrates Swagfest in honor of that triumph.

However, the Great Raid united the city's enemies too, and they set out on an even more determined campaign to resolve the problem once and for all. Eventually, a large fleet composed of ships from Kendar, Serathyr, and Rennsfar was seen to be approaching. Just before battle was joined, Lord Marius Drac sailed out to meet the enemy fleet and skillfully negotiated a deal, saving his city from total destruction. Drac agreed to give up (more or less) the city's tradition of piracy, and instead use its fleet and tradition of seamanship for trade. As the city had more skilled sailors and shipbuilders than any other, it ironically became a prominent center of legitimate seaborne trade. Over the years, this trade has made the city a very wealthy place. For years afterward, the city prospered and pirate raids were kept to a minimum. Piracy never died out in Freeport, it only went quiet. Even today, while offically, piracy is illegal, in reality, many cunning pirates hail from Freeport. In fact, the city's only rival for piracy is the Crimson Fleet, based in the seaport of Scuttlecove.

Freeport is located on the western side of Green Island. The city grew out of the original settlement begun by Lord Azren. Freeport grew at a tremendous rate, chiefly because it was close enough to many shipping lanes, while still being far enough away from the main continents to provide some safety. Over time, the pirates of Freeport grew steadily in number and accumulated more and more enemies, but none of those enemies ever succeeded in stamping out the pirates.

About thirty-five years ago, Freeport came to be ruled by Antonio Drac. Unlike his predecessors, Antonio wanted to involve the city in the wars of Corwyn and Avokhar, and to use Freeport's considerable naval strength to support Kendar in its campaign against Tar Vielca. This was not a popular view in the city, as few saw any profit in it. On the eve of the mission, Antonio Drac was assassinated when a single arrow hit him as he inspected the fleet. Antonio Drac had no heir, so his younger cousin Arcelius Drac took on the title of Sea-Lord, and immediately ended the city's active involvement in outside political affairs. That was an immensely popular move, and Arcelius was hailed. That is until ten years ago, when he came up with the idea for the Freeport Lighthouse. Over the past decade, Lord Arcelius has spent all available city funds building a giant lighthouse to advertise the city and its standing in the world. This tower is to be the tallest human-built structure on Corwyn, and truly one of the wonders of the world. This too, is turning out not to be a popular idea either, but for some reason no-one has ever seemed to be able to stand up to the Sea-lord.

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FREEPORT TODAY:


This small city is a haven for all manner of smugglers and pirates, as well as many legitimate merchant ships. The city has prospered as a crucial rest stop for ships traveling the Shining Sea region, and also has a thriving lumber trade from the rich forests found on the islands. Because of its unique history involving the race of serpent-folk, there is a long tradition of scholars and sages reside here as well. In fact, one of the oldest and most important temples in Freeport is to Atanavar; the God of Knowledge, and its famed library is a great resource for sages and scholars who wish to study the ancient serpent kingdoms in the region's distant past.

Freeport is currently ruled by Sea-Lord Arcelius Drac, but real authority lies with the six person Captain's Council, a group of ship-captains who control the fleets of ships based in Freeport. the Council members are: Corliss, Grossette, Kromey, Liliana, Xavier, and Zagen.

LAW AND ORDER:


Freeport is a rough place to live, and trying to maintain a semblance of order is quite challenging. The city is protected by several groups. The largest is the City watch, a force of 250 men-at-arms, commanded by Captain Yeland. These troops are garrisoned at the old City. Second, the Merchant's district has hired a private mercenary force called The Fist, a force of 100 heavily armed and well-trained mercenary fighters who protect the city's wealthy elites and nobility. Third, the Bloodsalt District is patrolled by a force of hobgoblin mercenaries called the Redblades. This brutal group is commanded by a nasty hobgoblin fighter named Dragar. In addition, the Drac family paid handsomely for a small company of fifty Kreskan Archers, who protect the Sea-Lord's Castle and his family. Finally, the entire city is protected by the pirate fleet of Freeport, which will band together in a moment to protect their city and their financial interests from any outside invasion.

CITY DISTRICTS:


The Old City: (Valossa district) The Old City stands at the center of Freeport. Named for the original settlement of Valossa that once served as a haven for buccaneers, exiles, and fugitives, it features some of the oldest structures in the city. Unlike the other districts, the Old City’s boundaries are clearly demarcated: huge walls standing thirty feet tall surround it. Instead of divorcing the Old City from the rest of Freeport, though, the walls unite it, reminding people of the city’s strength and the fact that no one has ever conquered the city. And so long as the walls stand, no one ever will. The walls make the Old City easy to identify and find since they tower some one hundred feet above the rest of the city and half that far below it. Patrols walk the catwalk clinging to the walls’ interior and can be seen as they stroll past the crenelations and arrow slits that face the rest of the city. Spaced evenly around the district are five towers, each stretching twenty feet above the walls. The Sea Lord’s Guard uses these towers as additional barracks and living quarters. Even though many soldiers call these towers home, they are spartanly decorated. Each tower consists of several floors for barracks, storerooms, kitchens, dungeons, and more. Piercing the center of these floors is a twenty-foot-square hole that allows the soldiers to carry supplies to the uppermost levels using a winch and wooden platform. Five guards and a sergeant man each tower at any given time. These watchmen serve six-hour shifts that are periodically altered to avoid forming a pattern. Despite the defenses, travelers can come and go as they please. Five gates, each named for the district they face (Temple Gate, Drac’s Gate, and so on), allow access to the warren of streets and buildings of the Old City. The guardsmen are drilled on the gate closures monthly and can have the entire Old City sealed up inside three minutes by slamming down a heavy iron portcullis and barring access with a thick, heavy iron and wood gate.

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Past the gates are the cramped quarters of the Old City. The interior is oppressive, worsened by the towering walls that block out most of the morning and afternoon sun. While a boon in the summer, it’s positively frigid in the winter. The walls also give the whole area a claustrophobic feel. It’s all too easy to see the looming walls and heavy gates of the Old City as a prison rather than a fortress. For these reasons, most of Freeport’s upper crust live outside of this district, preferring the more spacious environment of the Merchant District. Most roads here are narrow and twisting, the result of little forethought and the premium put on real estate here. As such, some streets are little more than tunnels burrowing through a jumble of buildings that lean against one another. Though tight, peddlers, tinkers, and minor merchants ply their wares to officials hurrying to one important meeting or another. The residential areas of the Old City mostly lie around its perimeter. Housing types vary greatly, from a few freestanding single-family dwellings to row houses and three-story apartment buildings. Many of the prosperous (but not wealthy) merchants and tradesmen make their homes here—only a handful of the wealthy are willing to abandon the sunny streets of the Merchant District to be closer to the seat of power. Many of the tradesmen and artisans in places like Street of Dreams live above or in their places of business. Still, a fair population makes its home here. The place is bustling from sunup to sundown. It’s the seat of government, a refuge in times of trouble, and an imposing symbol of the power of the Sea Lord. The Old City is in every way the heart of the city, and its beating keeps Freeport alive.

Old City District Points of Interest:

Temple District


Freeport may be a den of sin, a place where wickedness and moral vacuity are the norms, and where piety and upstanding behavior are far from the thoughts of pirates and cutthroats walking the labyrinthine streets of the city, but Freeport’s perilous nature and sudden, violent calamities enable religion to thrive here. Freeporters turn to the gods for protection. There is no sense of spiritual enrichment; rather, it’s about appeasing powerful entities and cozying up to those with a bit more influence to spare oneself from the worst of the hardships one’s bound to face in this City of Adventure. So while Freeporters might not be stellar followers, they are regular in their observances to the gods who watch over their lives.

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The Temple District stands to the northwest of the Old City, a physical border between the upscale Merchant District and the rundown Drac’s End. The arrangement and height of the temples does a good job of concealing the squalor of the poorer district and the naked decadence of the richer, minimizing disgust and envy from each respectively. Ringing the temples is a wide avenue known as Pious Walk. Statues of holy men and individuals favored by the gods and temples decorate the street—often sitting right in the middle of the road. The statues include all sorts of figures, from images of kneeling women to dashing swashbucklers, crusty pirates, and robed priests wearing somber expressions. Many, though not all, statues bear plaques to indicate the name and deed for which they are remembered. This district contains 10 temples for every manner of worship, but of all the gods worshiped in Freeport, three have the largest congregations, based on the largest professions; Myrival for the Sailors, S'Thar for luck, and Ethenghar for destiny and fate. The other temples venerate: Atanavar, Ator, Enom, Etahr, Ixion, Nerydia, and Shua.

Temple District Points of Interest:

Merchant District


The Merchant District is the swankest part of Freeport, home to the rich and influential upper classes. Many residents of Freeport never enter this part of town—and wouldn’t be allowed to stay long if they did. Only the wealthy are welcome here, and the teams of private guards that patrol the district make this abundantly clear to those of the lower class who might wander into the area.

Merchant District Points of Interest:

Harbor District: (the Docks)


Locals call the Harbor district the 'Door to Freeport' because its the easiest place to moor ships. From the pre-dawn light till long after sundown, this is the busiest section of the city. At any given time nearly one hundred vessels from various ports of Cyrendar, Eldara, Kendar, Nimbor, Orel, Rennsfar, Sasserine, and Serathyr can be found in Freeport's sprawling harbor. Half of the docks stretch out into the harbor to accommodate the deeper water vessels. The other half have wharves built onto them that warehouse all manner of goods. A series of wooden walkways connect the docks to a central boardwalk that runs across the entire district, extending from the Warehouse District to Scurvytown.

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You can find just about anything you'll ever need here, as clever merchants like to get the jump on their customers before letting them move deeper into the city. The rest of the district caters to Freeport's particular breed of clientele: seamen. Pubs, flophouses, taverns, gambling dens and bordellos offer countless diversion in which to sink a sailor's pay. Crime is a constant problem, as brawls spill into the narrow streets, pickpockets and cut-purses worm through the crowds and bravos and tough lurk in the shadowy alleys waiting for the perfect mark to stroll by. Murders happen, not as often as some claim, but a body appears in the harbor often enough for people to think little of it.

The Warehouse District and Scurvytown offer places of port, but most ships dock here. Along the crowded wharves, one can find ships hailing from all over the world, bringing unusual peoples, customs, goods, and animals to this city of adventure. It is here that Ralani pirates rub shoulders with Eloysian corsairs. Hardy sailors brawl with those of rival nations, while exotic peoples from as far away as Za'Har stare in wonder at travelers from equally distance Cyrendar. A number of shops, pubs, and brothels that cater to travelers face the wharves. From the moment a visitor disembarks from the ship, locals assail him with ways to spend his money. Many people are flat broke within minutes of arriving. Behind these initial establishments are more taverns, brothels, apothecaries, and other businesses that cater to sailors. Flophouses are common, offering low-rent accommodations for those who aren’t too choosy about where they sleep. Although most buildings in the Docks are for entertainment or retail, there are some residences. Homes cluster together and form small communities bound by ethnicity. Most folks, though, reside in apartments above their shops, retreating there at the end of a trying business day. Structures in the Docks are wooden atop stone foundations. Some incorporate stone—mostly near the shore, but even these are few and far between since the material is expensive and rare on the islands. Nearly all the buildings in the Docks have some form of damage or another, incurred by the frequent storms that lash the island. The buildings fronting the wharves form a row all across the district. There are a few wide avenues heading off to adjacent districts, including one crowded road that travels through the Seaside Market. Most streets, though, are narrow alleys that wind into the darkest depths of the district or to nowhere at all. These labyrinthine paths may lead to ambushes, dangerous pubs, or bizarre shops that sell suspect or illicit goods. As one would expect, the Docks are active. The district is empty in the morning after crews depart for their next destination, only to fill again with another round of vessels in the afternoon. While few ships come to port after the sun has set, the night is filled with raucous laughter, screams, and carousing.

Harbor (docks) District Points of Interest:

Drac's End:


Freeport sits nestled against the remaining forests of Green Island. Drac’s End is where the pressing mass of the city starts to peter out against the greenery and farmland that covers the rest of the island. Although the area around the city is clear-cut and patrolled by the City Guard, the threats of the Island's interior keeps most people who can afford better housing away from this part of town. Of course, the number of people in Freeport who can’t afford better housing is considerable, and Drac’s End is home to the poorer elements of the city’s population. Sailors and longshoremen keep shabby rooms in rundown rooming houses. Families live in crowded, noisy tenements, and the smell of humanity is palpable to one walking the streets. This doesn’t mean Drac’s End is a terribly dangerous place. Compared to Scurvytown, the streets here are a haven of safety and civility. The people here may be poor, but they are in large measure honest folk just trying to get by.

The district also features an amazing variety of cultures and races from across the known world, all packed into the crowded dwellings. Foreigners fresh off the boat often gravitate to Drac’s End—those with the sense or morals to avoid Scurvytown that is. The cheap rents and the presence of the Freeport Alchemist Guildhall (the lone bastion of civility in the district) is also an attraction to many, and the students of the guild only increase the district’s diversity. The people of Drac’s End live packed together here in slipshod buildings, fully realizing they are the human shields between Freeport and the rest of Green Island. Never was that more obvious than during the Great Green Fire, when Drac’s End was ravaged for days by fire, smoke, and burning ash. Many houses burned down, and many more were damaged and still bear the scars of the flames—every resident knows someone who perished or was permanently injured by the fire. The disaster could have reduced the district to ashes, but it pulled through—if anything, the people of Drac’s End became stronger for their ordeal. There is a community here now, one that looks after its own and fights back against threats that might destroy it—whether that be the threat of famine, the travails of poverty, the political machinations of the rich, or the supernatural forces prowling the jungle. Life is hard in Drac’s End, but it’s not all bad, and most people here have hopes for a better future, whether they’re realistic or not.

Drac's End Points of Interest:

Eastern District:


The Eastern District is the bastion of the middle class. In Freeport, however, middle class is not synonymous with comfort and stability. Only the wealthy can really be sure of their future. For most of the scrabbling middle class (known colloquially as Easterners) in Freeport, financial ruin is only one bad business deal away. A decade of hard work can be washed away in a matter of days. Disasters such as this are known as the “Scurvytown Express,” since newly impoverished Easterners quickly migrate to the cheap flophouses of Scurvytown or, if they’re lucky, Drac’s End. Easterners are always looking to make some quick cash or better their position. This ambition gives the district an exciting, dynamic feel. The streets here are full of hustle and bustle and wheel and deal. While many folk still live in multifamily tenements, they are generally much better kept than those of either Drac’s End or the festering hives of Scurvytown. Easterners are more likely to have a row house of their own, and a lucky few even have small yards. The district is home to many small specialty shops and businesses, as well as up-and-coming sea captains and merchants. Craftsmen like blacksmiths, carpenters, coopers, and the like also make the Eastern District their home—although, those having more “olfactory impact” (such as tanners) are “encouraged” to keep their businesses in Scurvytown.

Eastern District Points of Interest:

The Slums District: (Scurvytown)


If the stories told in far-flung ports about Freeport were true, visitors would be gutted like fish the moment they strode down the gangplank of an arriving ship. While newcomers quickly learn Freeport is far more than a collection of bloodthirsty pirates, one place fits the city’s image like a glove: Scurvytown. This district is officially named the Freebooter’s Quarter in documents, but no one off the boat more than a week uses that name. The decrepit condition, lawless population, and grinding poverty of the place earned it the nickname Scurvytown decades ago, and the name stuck. Drac’s End is a poor district, but at least the people there try to better themselves. Scurvytown is for those who’ve given up or have no other place to go. It’s a squalid hellhole with appalling living conditions, and those marooned here suffer the worst Freeport has to offer. In the rainy season, water runs down the hill from the Old City and the Eastern District, turning Scurvytown’s unpaved streets into muddy swamps where mosquitoes breed. In the dry season, the heat dries and cracks the muddy streets, and dust rises in choking clouds when carts and wagons go by. The stench from the fishery and the other aromatic industries in Scurvytown rises to unholy levels.

Only those with a taste for crime, violence, or perversion (or with little regard for their own personal safety) voluntarily make their home in Scurvytown. Crime is higher here than anywhere else in Freeport, especially violent crime. Most days begin with a couple of corpses found face down in the gutter or bobbing in the waters of the harbor. Unless the victim is rich or influential, little effort is made to find the perpetrator. Other forms of crime—theft, mugging, smuggling, drug dealing, and cult activity—are just as common. In the warren called the Beggar’s Market, lowlifes from around Freeport come to buy less-than-legal items and substances. Criminals on the run use the flophouses and decaying buildings of the district as hideouts, and the neighborhood called The Pit hosts a variety of the least savory thugs in the city (not to mention occasional supernatural menaces).

For decades, Scurvytown was home to the few members of the savage races that dwelt in Freeport. This changed in the wake of the Great Green Fire, when the council established the new district now known as Bloodsalt to house the tasloi workers of the Reclamation Project. Most tasloi vacated Scurvytown for Bloodsalt, lured by the prospect of work and the company of their own kind. This exodus drained much of Scurvytown’s labor force and economy, leaving the remaining inhabitants resentful. Some of that resentment turned into active persecution of non-humans, and the few half-orcs remaining in Scurvytown were driven off by racist violence. The modern incarnation of Scurvytown is dominated by humans who have a weird kind of pride in their district; it’s not much, but they need to believe it’s better than Bloodsalt and need to believe they are better than the nonhuman newcomers to the city.

The Slums Points of Interest:

Bloodsalt District:


In the wake of the Great Green Fire and the Wizard Guild’s recruitment of nonhuman workers for its Reclamation Project, Freeport underwent a massive jump in population—and some of the newcomers were too aggressive to get along with their civilized neighbors. Faced with cramped conditions and the threats of riots in Scurvytown and Drac’s End, the Captains’ Council decided to expand the city and create a new district, a region where the half-orcs and hobgoblins working on the project could live in relative peace. After a few months, the unnamed district took form on the edge of the city, a curve of shanties, crude housing, and tents outside the walls of the Eastern District. At the center of the district, the Wizards’ Guild built a compound to house the Reclamation Project’s alchemical workshops and facilities, which were proving too dangerous to keep within the Old City. Savage workers would line up each day at the compound to collect tools, equipment, and barrels of chemicals and then trudge into the wasted lands north of Freeport to work the soil. The fears of the Wizards’ Guild soon proved well-founded, as various alchemical compounds soaked into the ground of the district, leaving it desiccated and dull red in color; soon the name “Bloodsalt” was coined by the inhabitants, and it stuck as the name of the district. Bloodsalt rapidly became the most violent and dangerous place in Freeport; rival groups of Tasloi clashed every night over old tribal grudges and new animosities. Meanwhile, the few non-humans left in Scurvytown came under pressure from the human citizens to join their own kind in Bloodsalt, whether they were workers, pirates, or working families.

Bloodsalt soon became a war zone, and the Watch proved unable (and unwilling) to police the district, putting the Reclamation Project at risk. Into this chaos came the Redblades, a hobgoblin mercenary company that took over the policing of Bloodsalt and the protection of the Project compound in return for official recognition for his followers. Dragar; the commander of the Redblades, has become the district’s unofficial warlord and governor, and the Captains’ Council seems content to let him run Bloodsalt as his personal kingdom. Bloodsalt is a ragged excuse for a district, a dangerous place for both locals and visitors. The Redblades enforce their will on the weak, while engaging in regular brawls with the pirates of the district’s south. Workers toil under the hot sun every day for a handful of coins, while poor tasloi families live in fear of gangs and random violence. Even walking down the street is a hazard in Bloodsalt; your next step could punch through a thin shell of earth into a pocket of acid or flaming chemicals, a terrible side effect of the alchemical pollutants leaking from the Reclamation compound. A few of Bloodsalt’s inhabitants fight to better themselves and protect their friends and neighbors, but for most in the new district, life is every monster for himself, and the weak are nothing but victims cowering in the dark, waiting for the axe to fall.

Bloodsalt Points of Interest:

Warehouse District:


The Docks may serve as the primary point of entry into Freeport, but that district is only one important component of the city’s trading economy. The Warehouse District plays an equally vital role in the commerce (and piracy) that keeps money pumping through Freeport. All that cargo and booty has to go somewhere before it’s shipped out again or sold in town. That somewhere is the Warehouse District, which covers the western shore of Freeport.

There are a few private docking facilities in the district (still controlled by the Harbormaster, of course), along with some offices, taverns, and other facilities, but unsurprisingly warehouses and storage facilities dominate this area. Most structures in the district are large storage houses, used to contain the huge amounts of cargo and purloined materials that enter the port. The standard warehouse is older and constructed of sturdy timbers. The threat of fire is very real in this district—dozens of warehouses have been destroyed by fire over the last twenty years, and the city’s firefighters worked overtime trying to protect the warehouses during the Great Green Fire. When new warehouses are built (or old ones rebuilt), they must be made from stone, thanks to a mandate from the Captains’ Council, in order to reduce the risks from fire.

The Warehouse District has few permanent residents—the exceptions usually live in the rooming houses or inns scattered around the area—but the streets are hardly empty. During the daytime, carts and porters from the Docks scurry back and forth, retrieving and stowing cargo for their employers. It isn’t easy to oversee this tangled mass of people, and more than one cargo load ends up making an unscheduled detour, during which it is lightened a bit by Freeport’s criminal elements. At night the District is much quieter, but there’s still some activity, much of it illegal.

Warehouse District Points of interest: