Freeport
“Steer towards crystal and hold fast the sails; nothing but a pirate’s life will do for me…” – Nesteruk ‘Nobeard’ Noss, Freeport smuggler

Capital: Freeport
Settlements: Farthing’s Deep (550), Freeport (9,500), The Withering Isle (2,000)
Ruler: The Sea Lord
Government: Bureaucratic monarchy
Races: Grindylow, Half-Human, Human, Orc, Sahaugin, Serpentfolk, Undine, Zif
Faiths: Aleria, King in Yellow, Lyvalia, Nise, Poison Wave, S’sluun, Yig
Resources: Plunder, seafood, ships
Languages: Aquan, Common, Orc, Old Porphyran, Symbolics
Border Conditions: Restricted (full porphyrite border)

History
In the time before The Calling in a world far separated from Porphyra, Freeport was a trading and sailing port city with a reputation for violence and avarice in a nation called Valossa on The Serpent’s Teeth. This nation was one of the largest land masses on a world slowly being flooded by its oceans.

The nation was ruled by serpentfolk overlords and sahaugin, savages with dark magic and a penchant for sacrifice. Flesh fueled their necromantic studies and warm blood fed their unholy appetites. The humans and other ‘lesser’ races lived in constant terror.

Much as the elves and the orcs of Porphyra called the gods to relieve their oppression by the Elemental Lords, the serfs of Valossa called on the ancient wargod Braal to aid their cause. Though an underground of guerilla warfare began to break down the serpentfolk’s stranglehold, and the godling Nise taught shipcraft to the dock-slaves, it was Lyvalia who spread the dark seed of treachery among the educated servants of the cold-blooded bureaucracy, in an irony of using evil to destroy evil.

The Great Serpent of Yig, motivated by whispered rumors from fawning human slaves, summoned vile creatures from dark dimensions and set them against its serpentfolk patrons in a soul-fueled rite of cataclysm that sent the servant races fleeing to the boats and the sahaugin enforcers returning to the safety of the depths. The serpentfolk’s dark capital of Vsstak’koll was extirpated. The extra-planar rifts opened by Yig began to consume the land itself, to the alarm of the deific trio. To save her dire works, Lyvalia removed Valossa from the watery world, severing the rifts and keeping it in a demiplane of water for many years. This act brought about the condemnation of Braal and the start of the tragic epic of love and hate brought to Porphyra from long ago. When The Calling came to Lyvalia, she did not forget Freeport, and brought it as the jewel in her dark crown.

After subsisting on the leavings of the serpentfolk and fighting fiercely with the sahaugin for nearly a decade, a new culture had been created from that subservient colony-Freeport had been born, from the ashes of Valossa. Seeking to have a place in the new world, the elders of the growing town declared their home an open sanctuary for any traveler, regardless of race or creed. This carried Freeport though the NewGod wars, but the taste of money and blood was not to be forgotten by the privateers—now pirates—of the coastal port. Pirate gangs, all seeking to seize the port for themselves, began vicious battles just off shore. The conflicts spilled into the streets of Freeport, and the ‘Wartime Peace’ came to an end.

The new order came when Captain Velun Drac defeated or betrayed all his rivals and allies, rising to the fore as the city’s first Sea Lord. His was a reign of balance—as he was a murderer and a scoundrel with a true gift for statecraft, forging the Captain’s Council, an advisory panel filled with seafarers, leaders and quite a few clerics of the Lyvalia. Backs were stabbed, and the shipping news ran on time.

The Drac bloodline has been the most prevalent one sitting the Coral Throne, neither has it been the best, as the recent aborted reign of Milton Drac has shown. Corruption, disease and poverty has taken its toll, and the city has survived, though sometimes only by the leanest of margins.

Current Events
There have been several swells in the undersea population since the coming of Freeport and the New Gods. The energies unleashed with presence of submarine porphyrite did not stop at the surface; as chunks of the strange, charged crystal sank into the oceans, races long thought lost became risen again, and new ones emerged from the lightless deaths. Though the tales are old and forgotten, the name of serpentfolk has appeared on the lips of some sailors lost in drink. Rumors abound that sigils of the King in Yellow and S’sluun, the Naga Empress, have been appearing around Freeport with alarming frequency.

Despite their differences, the pirate alliances usually cooperate against undersea threats such as sahaugin, kraken, and grindylow, if only because slaying them with help means fewer of them to fight when no one else is around later. This common purpose has actually helped some alliances grow larger, to the benefit of all. The roughly-annual presence of Nise’s landed squall of islands and storms, The Haunted Sea, is always an occasion for opportunity and fear in Freeport. Nothing is so brutal as pirates fighting freebooters, and with the occasional contingency of their godswall borders, the southern seas breathe a sigh of relief when Freeport and Port Calist go to war.
The Coral Throne currently sits empty with the premature, but much-welcomed, death of Milton Drac.

SETTLEMENTS
The major settlements in Freeport are:

  • Freeport is a vast port city with most of its industry centered on its harbors and dry docks. Shipbuilding and all things nautical are the pride of Freeport; everything else is a secondary concern. As conditions in some of the city’s smaller wards can demonstrate, life can be very hard for those who come to Freeport poor or end up that way due to the designs of others. Slavery, while not entirely approved of here, is not illegal and press ganging is commonplace.
  • Farthing’s Deep is a sunken city built entirely of shipwrecks and the shells of thousands of crustaceans, both tiny and gargantuan. The whole place is home to a tenuous alliance of undersea creatures, primarily the grindylow and the sahaugin, both of which fight constantly for supremacy. Undines fill positions for both sides, surviving by their wits and will. As they frequently take ships that stray from the policed lanes, no one knows what the rulers of this motley fortress intend to do with the wealth taken –though there are hundreds of theories.
  • The Withering Isle is a barricaded village on an island just barely within sight of Freeport. While its purpose is not a pleasant one, it serves admirably for what it is—a leper colony. Its founding was a matter of necessity a hundred years ago, when the sick outnumbered the healthy and contagion threatened to end Freeport. Nowadays, its population is just low enough to make it easily ignored, and just high enough to keep the priests of Aleria there busy.

Intrigues

  • The Onyx Claw has been a scourge on the open seas for years, especially under the command of Captain Suffer, a hobgoblin mariner with a flair for the violently dramatic. After months away, the Claw has been seen again- changed. The ship’s crew lookhaggard and sickly and they have started eating the crews of ships they take. The curse of undeath is suspected… and the price on their heads is uncollected.
  • The empty Coral Throne of Freeport has allowed the Captain’s Council more and more power, and the Lyvalian patrons and supplicants even more. Geranites working out of Alerian missions on The Withering
  • The aquamancers in the Undine’s Quarter have definitively said that The Haunted Sea will be in station on the next Vaar’s Moon, the godswall will join, a once-in-a-decade phenomenon. All able-bodied adventurers will get the call to boats, and use all of their skills to repel the inevitable attack of Nisians and ne’er-do-wells.

See Also