The Docks

Locals call the Docks the Door to Freeport because its the easiest place to moor ships. From the pre-dawn light ill after sundown, this is one of the busiest parts of the city. Half of the Docks are the wharves that stretch out into the harbor to accommodate the deeper water vessels. The wooden walks connect to a boardwalk that runs across the entire district, extending from the Warehouse District to Scurvytown. You can find just about anything you'll ever need here, as clever merchants like to get the jump on their customers before letting them move deeper into the city. The rest of the district caters to Freeport's particular breed of clientele: seamen. Pubs, flophouses, taverns, gambling dens and bordellos offer countless diversion in which to sink a sailor's pay. Crime is a constant problem, as brawls spill into the narrow streets, pickpockets and cutpurses worm through the crowds and bravos and tough lurk in the shadowy alleys waiting for the perfect mark to stroll by. Murders happen, not as often as some claim, but a body appears in the harbor often enough for people to think little of it.

The Warehouse District and Scurvytown offer places of port, but most ships dock here. Along the crowded wharves, one can find ships hailing from all over the world, bringing unusual peoples, customs, goods, and animals to this city of adventure. It is here that orc pirates rub shoulders with elven corsairs. Human sailors brawl with those of rival nations, while exotic peoples from as far away as Chi-Cshura stare in wonder at travelers from legendary Sinia.

A number of shops, pubs, and brothels that cater to travelers face the wharves. From the moment a visitor disembarks from the ship, locals assail him with ways to spend his money. Many people are flat broke within minutes of arriving. Behind these initial establishments are more taverns, brothels, apothecaries, and other businesses that cater to sailors. Flophouses are common, offering low-rent accommodations for those who aren’t too choosy about where they sleep. Although most buildings in the Docks are for entertainment or retail, there are some residences. Homes cluster together and form small communities bound by ethnicity. Most folks, though, reside in apartments above their shops, retreating there at the end of a trying business day.

Structures in the Docks are wooden atop stone foundations. Some incorporate stone—mostly near the shore, but even these are few and far between since the material is expensive and rare on the islands. Nearly all the buildings in the Docks have some form of damage or another, incurred by the frequent storms that lash the island. The buildings fronting the wharves form a row all across the district. There are a few wide avenues heading off to adjacent districts, including one crowded road that travels through the Seaside Market. Most streets, though, are narrow alleys that wind into the darkest depths of the district or to nowhere at all. These labyrinthine paths may lead to ambushes, dangerous pubs, or bizarre shops that sell suspect or illicit goods.

As one would expect, the Docks are active. The district is empty in the morning after crews depart for their next destination, only to fill again with another round of vessels in the afternoon. While few ships come to port after the sun has set, the night is filled with raucous laughter, screams, and carousing.

Docks Locations:
1) The Longshoremen's Union
2) The Seaside Market
3) The Black Gull
4) The Rusty Hook
5) The Society of Lobstermen
6) The Freeport News
7) The One Ring
8) The Broken Mug
9) The Diving Fin
10) The Star of the Sea
11) The Dented Helm
12) The Lost Lass
13) The Cracked Pot
14) Kergen's Kradle
15) The Doxies' Lap
16) The Bilge Rat
17) Urian's Forge
18) The Hidden Hide
19) Rose Alley
20) Bliss
21) Eddies
22) The Honey Pot
23) The Freeport Pirate's Museum

Docks NPCs
Kaddaceous Serlin: Freeport Harbor is the greatest source of taxes in the entire city. The Sea Lord’s tax collectors do their best to collect fees from the various property owners in the city, but in a town as corrupt as Freeport, it’s often difficult to do in a fair and timely manner. The people who would pay the most property taxes are, of course, the most powerful souls in town, so collecting anything from them is difficult. The ships sailing in and out of town are another matter entirely. The city doesn’t collect taxes directly from the captains of the ships in the harbor. Instead, they get their cut from the fees the owners of the various piers charge the ships that make use of their services. If the taxes aren’t paid, the piers are closed down and the owners don’t make a dime.

This is clearly extortion, but it’s also a long-established tradition, so the pier owners of Freeport generally hand over their taxes with more-often-than-not forced cheer. It’s not so bad for them, after all. They just pass the costs on to their customers—and then use the taxes as an excuse to jack up the prices further. Serlin, an elf who has had the job since the founding of the city, is the person in charge of collecting all of this money.

Even though his office overlooks Port Square, he makes his home in a fine house in the Merchant District. It’s commonly believed Serlin is skimming a hefty bit off the top of the taxes he brings in, but he’s so good at getting the city the money it needs that no Sea Lord has ever formally complained. In addition, rumors of his cheating on his wife Darlanian have been circulating almost as long as he's had his title.

Serlin can be seen striding along the wharves at just about any time of day, usually accompanied by his personal unit of the Watch. He has the power to collect city taxes from the pier-owners. Since it’s in his best interest to make sure the docking fees are properly collected, he and his guardsmen can be “unofficially” called upon when stubborn ship captains won’t pay the proper fees.

Zach: Zach’s story is similar to many stories told about children born in Freeport. Abandoned as a baby, left on the doorstep of a simple washerwoman, he grew up poor, hungry, and lacking in clothes. As a child, he ran the streets along with a group of children about his age, and took odd jobs for the various folks in his neighborhood. He sometimes acted as a messenger, an errand boy, or even a guide through his poverty-stricken district all for whatever few coins people would pay him.

Last year, Zach’s foster mother died from pneumonia, leaving him alone once more. Although he was grief-stricken, he promised he wouldn’t let his mother down and set out to earn a living. He now works near the Docks, selling his services as a guide. He’s done well for himself, having left the days of running around in a tabard long behind. He still has a long way to go to rub elbows with the pros, but he knows he’s getting there.

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