5 Freland Shipyard

Other than the warehouses and storage buildings, the biggest industry in the Warehouse District is shipbuilding. Occupying a large chunk of the shoreline near the border of the Merchant District, Freland Shipping employs almost a hundred workmen in its twin dry docks and other smaller workshops.

Silas Freland is the proprietor of the shipyard, and has dominated the boat-building trade in town for decades. The only other shipyard in Freeport went out of business thirty years ago, after a fire consumed three ships under construction in a single night. The owner of the shipyard, a southerner named T’giri, had neglected to renew his fire insurance, and Silas picked up the assets of the charred shipyard for a song. T’giri was ruined, and disappeared soon afterward; most people assumed the despondent man threw himself into Freeport Harbor and drowned. While rumors persisted that the fires were deliberately set, no one could prove anything—and given Silas’ known ties to the crime lord Finn, no one really tried to prove anything.

Freland is the largest single customer of the Lumber Consortium, and reputedly has a deal with them to be the only person on the Island they sell timber suitable for shipbuilding. Since the ancient forests in the center of Skull Island have some spectacular trees, Freland is able to make ships of a quality no-one else can match.

For decades the Freland Shipyard enjoyed a shipbuilding monopoly in town, and for all Silas’ shadiness, he’s never taken advantage of this to cut corners. The shipyard turns out about five large sailing ships a year and every single one is snapped up by someone almost as soon as it is out of dry-dock. The shipyard also turns out a variety of smaller craft, from rowboats to small fishing vessels. The Freland Shipyard makes good ships and captains from all over the region came to Freeport to buy them—and pay up to fifty percent more than the usual market price for such craft.

Or, at least, they did. The Freland Shipyard no longer has a stranglehold on the local market, and Silas has to actually compete for the first time in decades. T’Giri, Freland’s rival of old, is back in the area—and he has set up a rival shipyard over in Libertyville. The new shipyard is smaller than Freland’s, but T’Giri is an even better shipwright than Silas, and he sells his ships for a much lower price than Freland’s inflated rates. Over the last two years, demand for Freland’s ships has dropped sharply. Silas is scrambling to bring custom back, but it may be too little, too late. He’s had to lay off some of his staff due to the dip in the market, and the remaining workers won’t stand for a drop in wages. Freland’s coffers are emptying fast, and if something doesn’t go Silas’ way soon, the shipyard could end up out of business sooner rather than later.

The Freland Shipyard takes up a wide section of the waterfront. Piers lead up to two dry docks, each containing ships under construction. Small storage sheds, warehouses, offices, and other outbuildings are spaced around the docks. A wooden fence with two large doors surrounds the whole compound; the fence is sturdy, but a skilled thief could easily get over it.

Inside the fence, dockworkers, carpenters, and ship-builders work by day assembling large and small ships. There are fewer workers than there used to be, and the remaining staff have to work a little more for the same pay; it’s common to hear them grumbling to each over lunch. At night, four watchmen patrol the grounds, keeping an eye on the wall and the waterline for intruders.

Prominent NPCs
Silas Freland: Silas isn’t accustomed to being the low-status member in a business deal, and he doesn’t like it. The seventy-year-old patriarch of the Freland family has had his own way for thirty years, ever since T’Giri’s unfortunate “accident,” and damnit, the southerner should have had the good grace to drown himself like everyone thought. Silas is on the losing end of competition now, and he’s not coping with it—or prepared to accept it. The Freland Shipyard will control the market again, no matter what he has to do to make it happen.

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