Shadowport
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Shadowport is a dismal and dangerous domain populated by the most vile beings the Underdark has to offer.


In this underworld city far beneath Atharavon; mercenaries gather to sell their swords and lives to the highest bidder, Drow shade their sensitive eyes from glowing fungus, drift-globes and braziers of glow-worms; and pitiful slaves go up on the blocks to feed both human and mind flayer demand for labor and food.

Here, anything and everything can be bought, sold, or traded for a price. Slavers, smugglers, mercenaries, and black-market merchants operate openly in Shadowport. In fact, the economy of the underground port is dependent upon the despicable practice of buying and selling sentient beings.

The enigmatic Dark Maidens rule and maintain order in Shadowport. These powerful female wizards wander about Shadowport, tending to goals only they can fathom and enforcing their sometimes whimsical and often harsh will through the use of cryptic magical abilities and the help of their Iron Golem guards.

But so long as the actions of a being do not inhibit trade, cause mass destruction, or attempt to wrest control of the Port from the Dark Maidens, his or her actions are ignored by the Dark Maidens and overlooked by the populace of the city. Shadowport is a haven for underworld and illicit activities, especially the most dangerous ones.

Smuggling and smugglers, piracy and pirates, slavery and slavers, drug-running and those who concoct drugs and poison all thrive and dwell cheek by jowl in the Port of Shadow. Most folk in Shadowport are either hiding from, or trying to avoid the forces of the law of the surface world, or are simply poor folk trapped here because of personal misfortune.

Strangely, almost everyone from Atharavon has, at one time or another, heard rumors of this infamous settlement located far beneath the surface; populated with strange beings and catering to the most despicable of trades. Some parents use the threat of being kidnapped and taken to Shadowport to frighten children into behaving, but the truth is that most surface-dwellers, although intrigued by the possibility of such a lawless place under their very feet, simply dismiss the rumors as little more than idle gossip.

ACCESS VIA THE SEA-CAVE & FINARFEN'S PORTAL


Shadowport is relatively easy to find; assuming one knows how to get there or knows someone who does. But this comes with no guarantee of safe passage. Most surface visitors either use the sea-cave near Atharavon, enter the town from the Catacombs or the Underdark, or travel from elsewhere in the Underdark, via the Krandar River.

The most reliable method of travel to Shadowport is through a hidden cavern located two miles east of the city of Atharavon. The existence of this route is not common knowledge in Atharavon or the Lands Above. The City Leaders have taken every step to quash rumors of the existence of Shadowport, including convincing cartographers to permanently erase all mention of the subject on maps of the region. The doubt as to whether the caves exist coupled with the possibility of being dashed against the rocks around the sea side of the mountain is usually more than enough to deter all but the most dedicated of explorers from trying the caves. Still, with a few carefully worded inquiries, one can find safe transport through them, usually on board a trade vessel.

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The price for passage is usually 50 gp per person, and most Ship Captains request it in hard currency. However, unscrupulous folk traveling to Shadowport are the norm; so travelers must use caution. More than one intrepid explorer has ventured on board a vessel headed for Shadowport only to be slapped into chains and sold into slavery by the ship’s captain at the first opportunity. Some folk make a fair living this way, so it is wise for adventurers to be prepared to leap overboard and swim if they do not want to risk a lifetime in chains.

A vessel using the sea-cave entrance first heads for the largest of the caves on the north-facing cliffs, located east of the city of Atharavon. A vessel navigating into the cave must be carefully piloted between both jagged rocks and swift unpredictable currents to avoid overturning or being crushed against the cliffs. Once its entrance is cleared, the cave is well over 90 feet in height and a little over half that in width. The interior is unlit day and night, and the only sound one can hear within is the crashing of waves on its walls. Vessels must provide their own light sources or risk grounding themselves or crashing into the cave walls.

At the rear of the cavern is Finarfen's magical portal; which all ships must pass through. But before entry, the Ship's Captain must pay the "Gatekeeper;" an un-dead guardian who appears on board and takes a payment of 100 GP. If the fare is not paid, a vessel is turned away. If for some reason the Gatekeeper believes a ship is hostile, he will swiftly flood the chamber with water in an attempt to force the ship backward and against the jagged wall of rocks. This fate has met more than one vessel, who tried to force of bluff their way through Finarfen's portal.

Once the fare is paid, the vessel goes through the portal, and is deposited into "Skull Pool;" a water-filled underground channel, whose currents will lead the ship down the subterranean Krandar River, which leads directly to Shadowport. The vessel then docks in the Shadowport harbor.