3 Municipal Auction House

Many goods pass through Freeport and not all of them end up with their proper owners. When property is captured from thieves, confiscated from prisoners, or remains unclaimed for too long in places like the Vault, it’s remanded to the custody of the Municipal Auction House. Citizens and traders can also put goods up for auction, if they can’t find a private buyer.

In a town as mercantile (and mercenary) as Freeport, some kind of system had to be developed to convert excess booty into cold hard cash. Rather than mess around with marketplaces and the like, the second Sea Lord founded the Municipal Auction House as a way of clearing his coffers of unnecessary goods while making a profit. Decades later, the Auction House has become a pivotal part of Freeport’s economic turnaround; it may not generate enormous profits, but it keeps goods circulating and generating wealth rather than languishing in a warehouse or in yet another chest with yet another sixteen dead men sitting on it.

Auctions are held once a month and have much the air of a flea market or estate sale. Representatives from the merchant houses are always in attendance, as are the general populace. In a remarkable fit of evenhandedness, everyone is given equal access to the auction, no matter their stature or influence. The auctioneer, the man in charge of the whole operation, is appointed by and answerable only to the Sea Lord himself.

Everything at the auctions is sold “as is,” and crates and packages not clearly labeled are sold as “grab bag” items. No peeking inside ahead of time! The list of odd items that have been purchased in these mystery lots ranges from enchanted swords to dead bodies to giant stone eggs to, well, pretty much anything else.

The Auction House squats in the center of the Warehouse District, a low bunker-like building surrounded by a twenty-foot wall topped with spikes. It’s not a prison, though it looks like one. Guards are visible outside at auction time, while they keep a lower profile the rest of the month.

The interior of the Auction House is almost as austere and simple as the outside. The main room houses chairs and tables lined up in front of the auctioneer’s dais and display stage. A second room is used to store the items and lots coming up for auction. When items are held at the Vault, they are normally transferred to the Auction House as soon as their owners miss two payment dates in a row.

Security at the Auction House is tight. Six members of the Watch are stationed here around the clock, while the Wizards’ Guild can be alerted to trouble via an amulet carried by the highest-ranking officer on each shift. The wizards are notoriously cranky though, so the Watch tries to deal with any problems on their own.

Prominent NPCs
Crask Tolberg: The current auctioneer, Tolberg is as tightfisted and officious a dwarf as ever walked Skull Island. While he is incorruptible, the wizened old red-headed dwarf is also extremely unpleasant, foul tempered, and parsimonious to a fault. Not that these are necessarily negative traits in his position. Having spent years in the role of auctioneer, Tolberg is very good at his job—and very, very lonely. He’s not susceptible to offers of money or power, but for love….

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