1 Tent Town

Tent Town isn’t a place, exactly, or at least not a single place. The locals give the name to the pockets of tents, lean-tos, and squatter habitats that appear and disappear through the district. Scattered along the southern edge of Drac’s End, the ever-changing territory of Tent Town plays home to transients, sailors, the homeless, and the very poor. These shanties are also the focus of Drac’s End’s criminal activities, a hideout for thieves, and a place where richer citizens can come to buy drugs, stolen goods, or information.

There have always been stretches of open space in Drac’s End without any buildings at all, and squatters have claimed these areas over the years. They camp out there under the stars, right in the shadow of the walls of the Old City but afforded none of its protections. The Watch rarely patrols these areas, and the Captains’ Council occasionally makes noises about cleaning out the “transient problem,” but for the most part Tent Town is left alone.

The population of Tent Town varies radically with the seasons. During the dry months, when the weather is pleasant, Drac’s End is packed to the gills. It’s difficult to find a clear patch of ground to lie down on, much less pitch a tent. The only areas that are regularly clear are the roads, thanks to the regular traffic of carts and pedestrians. During the rainy season, Tent Town shrinks, as no one likes getting caught out of doors during a monsoon. Every year, though, the poorest residents are rained out; people can find some shelter in the kinder parts of the Temple District, but even these places are quickly packed to overflowing.

Many residents of Tent Town are sailors that abandoned their ships, seeking a new berth or different purpose in life. Others are transients who came to Freeport and ran out of money, thieves in hiding, itinerant laborers doing their best to stay out of the sinkhole of Scurvytown, residents left homeless after the Great Green Fire, or anyone else down on their luck. A few rare souls are those who choose to live a bohemian, outdoors existence, but for the most part no one lives in Tent Town who doesn’t have to do so.

Crime is more common in Tent Town than anywhere else in Drac’s End; it’s the frayed edge of the district, where the sense of community and solidarity is weak or nonexistent. Drug dealers, thieves, smugglers, and pirates set up shop in the roughest areas for a night or a week and then move on before the authorities catch them. Tents are hard to defend or lock up, so thefts and robberies are common—not that many residents have much worth stealing. Fights—over territory, resources, or anything else—are not uncommon and the losers of such conflicts might have to pitch their tents in some of the least desirable places.

Walk around any corner in Drac’s End, and you may find yourself in Tent Town. Rough tents made of canvas or burlap are the most common “buildings,” but there are other, even less respectable accommodations—shacks assembled from driftwood, lean-tos that incorporate packing crates and barrels, or simple mounds of blankets and refuse. There are definite “neighborhoods” within Tent Town, better or worse territories; the least desirable locations are located around ditches, common privies, and refuse areas, while better locales have less traffic, access to clean water, and the occasional protection of the Watch.

The external cleanliness or squalor of a Tent Town neighborhood tends to mirror the interiors of the residences as well. Those in the less-desirable areas are usually dirty and squalid; the residents have few possessions and no luxuries, and the tents stink of unwashed bodies and abandoned hopes. Residents in better areas are still poor, for the most part, but may have retained some of their belongings from better days, along with some sense of domestic pride.

Prominent NPCs
Dirk Haslinger: Dirk Haslinger remembers better days— days when he was a big fish in the small pond of crime in Drac’s End. A drug dealer (and user), he staked out a territory along the border of Drac’s End and the Eastern District and lived inside a ramshackle mansion on the north side of the district. The good times didn’t last; the Great Green Fire destroyed the mansion, and the drugs destroyed Haslinger. Now he drifts around the worst neighborhoods of Tent Town, living out of a tent that’s little better than a canvas sack and surviving on what he can steal or scrounge. A burned-out wreck, Dirk still hears a lot of what’s going on in Tent Town and the underground of Freeport, and he might provide information to anyone prepared to pay him in drugs, money, or even a decent meal.

Irene Miggins: Irene Miggins is one of the best known faces in the better parts of Tent Town. This cheerful, middle-aged woman does her best to look after the transients and poor families living rough in Drac’s End; she organizes communal cooking facilities, gives shelter to children in her large, dry tent and gives what she can spare to those with nothing. Mrs. Miggins truly cares about her neighbors and sees her work as protecting the poor of Drac’s End from the dangers of the city.

The Blooms: Palatella and Lozenkranz Bloom are a couple of passionate idealists, fond of writing florid, long-winded pamphlets decrying the corruption in the city and the evils of the Council's campaigns against snakeweed. Palatella is a short, plump woman, while her husband is tall, lean and blond. Palatella dresses in lively colors and plenty of cheap and flashy jewelry, while Lozenkranz prefers simple, dour outfits. The couple love to argue, with each other or with people they meet, and always have plenty of emphatic suggestions and demands for ways to improve the city.

Captain Spooky: Gaunt and hollow-eyed, with blotchy and sallow skin covered by dirty, ragged clothes, Captain Spooky can sometimes be found wandering through the tents. He evinces no passion, emotion or ambition, and is very obviously a severe drug addict. Despite that, he seems to have no shortage of visitors seeking him out at odd hours.

Arena Quen: Lacking the funds or desire to erect an actual temple, Sister Arena Quen maintains a shrine outside of the city, deep in the heart of the jungle, where she and a handful of other priests serve Firiel. Quen comes to the city, pushing a cart full of dirt, grass, and dung. She sings hymns to Firiel, extols the virtues of proper respect for the natural order, and whenever she sees someone being wasteful or dropping rubbish to the city streets, she picks up a clod from her cart and expertly flings it at the offender. For her troubles, Quen has earned no shortage of cuts, scrapes, and death threats.

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