6 Freeport Pilots Guild

The sand bars and reefs off the coast of Freeport are treacherous and ever changing. Captains that are away from Freeport for any significant length of time can never be sure if the clear channel that they embarked from remains the same when they return. Approaching the port can be a slow and deliberate affair, sometimes taking an entire day from the sighting of the city to final docking. Enter the Pilots’ Guild, which monitors and charts the ever-changing sea approaches to Freeport’s harbor, and sells that information from its guildhouse in the Warehouse District.

The Pilots’ Guild was established more than a hundred years ago to counteract the increasing dangers of the shifting sea topography. A fleet of ten small ships constantly sails around the city, checking for shifted reefs and sandbars, and greeting any ship that approaches the city. The Pilots’ Guild maintains a private pier in the Warehouse District for its survey and patrol vessels. For a relatively small fee, a guild navigator will come on board and pilot a customer’s ship quickly and safely into the docks of Freeport. The guild also offers current charts of the waters around the city for sale—but only on shore. These precious charts are quite expensive and rarely remain accurate for more than six months.

The Pilots’ Guild doesn’t take any offense to those refusing their services—they don’t need to. The treacherous barrier reef surrounding the Serpent’s Teeth ensures business is always brisk. Sailors making Freeport a regular port of call know better than to refuse the “reasonably priced” services of the Pilots’ Guild. The best they can expect without it is a slow approach to shore. The worst is a big hole in their ship’s hull.

Some wonder why the Captains’ Council and the Sea Lord allow the Pilots’ Guild to operate what is essentially an elaborate shakedown operation. The answer lies within the tall tower of the guild’s compound. The Pilots’ Guild maintains an observatory, providing the best data on tides and weather that one can get in Freeport. This information is posted and disseminated throughout the city on a daily basis.

The walled compound of the Pilots’ Guild is one of the few distinctive places in the sea of blocky buildings that make up the Warehouse District. The facility is easily identified by the large observatory tower jutting into Freeport’s skyline. It is the tallest free-standing structure in the city, dwarfed only by the walls of the Old City on the hill above.

Inside the compound’s low stone wall, located around the observatory tower, are a number of other buildings. These include offices, living quarters, workshops, and meeting places. While the Pilots’ Guild is hardly as luxurious as the Merchants’ Guild House, many captains find it a very pleasant place to come for a drink or eight in the evening. Outside the observatory tower is a large board, on which tide and weather information is chalked several times per day.

Prominent NPCs
Captain Lars Manreel: The current head of the Pilot’s Guild, Captain Lars is a former privateer brought low by a nasty and venomous leg wound that went gangrenous. His left leg had to be amputated from the hip down. Captain Manreel will not speak of whatever it was that took his leg. Manreel has made the best of his disability, using his experience, knowledge, and solid instincts to rise to the head of the Pilot’s Guild. Manreel could easily have a seat on the Captains’ Council if he wanted it, but he has a great love of the seas—and no love at all for politics.

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