Ports of the Shackles
Small Town; Population 425; Neutral
The small port of Colvaas Gibbet is situated on the Mainland area of the Shackles.It was founded in 4674 AR by the notorious pirate captain Colvaas. Colvaas himself came to a bad end, and his remains still hang from a gibbet situated in the town’s harbour (hence the town’s name). The town’s current ruler is the pirate captain Hemdak Wavebaiter, who is actually descended from Colvaas’s first mate. Colvaas Gibbet isn’t actually on the coast. It is situated a short distance up a wide river. Its inhabitants tend to be taciturn and don’t ask questions. As a result, the town is sometimes popular with those who want to keep a low profile for a while.
Small city: Population: 9,690; Alignment: Chaotic neutral
Drenchport is on Tempest Cay in the Shackles. Its proximity to the dreaded Eye of Abendego means this dour settlement is constantly lashed by storms. The town itself is constructed from driftwood and the remains of wrecked ships. The town’s location on the edge of the Eye of Abendego ensures a constant supply of building materials.
Drenchport’s most infamous tavern is the Drowned Dwarf, which is known equally for its cheap and delicious ale and its very high murder rate. It serves surprisingly tasty black kelp beer. The town is the home of the gnome salvager Tho Rimplethember, who is well known as an expert on the currents and winds of the dangerous Eye of Abendego. The ruler of Drenchport is the pirate lord known as the Master of the Gales.The enigmatic druid is a member of the Pirate Council of the Shackles. He captains the xebec Kraken and has won the Free Captain’s Regatta for the last five years.
Small City; Population: 9,230; Alignment : Neutral
The largest settlement on the island of Devil’s Arches, in the Shackles. It is ruled by the pirate lord Arronax Endymion, a member of the Pirate Council. Endymion is a fan of traditional Chelish opera, and the town boasts the Shackles’ only opera house, the Three-Horned Hall. It is not clear whether the other residents share his passion for the arts, but those seeking the pirate lord’s favour make a point of sitting through performances. The town takes its name from the numerous imps which live in the area. Endymion is a mutineer from the navy of Cheliax, and is worried that some of the imps may be Chelish spies. As a result he has recently started trying to eradicate them. Ethnic Chelaxians (apart from members of Endymion’s own squadron, the Devils’ Own) are not welcome in the town, for the same reason. The Devils’ Own are a squadron of Shackles Pirates whose members are mutineers from the navy of Cheliax. They are led by the disgraced Chelish admiral Arronax Endymion from his flagship, the frigate Tyrannous. Arronax Endymion was once an admiral in the navy of Cheliax, but nowadays he is a member of the Pirate Council of the Shackles. It is not known what scandal forced the former admiral to resign from the Chelish navy. Thus far, he has slain at least six people who had claimed to have known specific details of his disgrace.
Small City; Population: 5,230; Alignment : Neutral
Unusually for the Shackles, the city of Neruma is not on the coast. It is one of the few major settlements on the mainland, and is situated in the north east, along the Terwa River and close to the borders with the Mwangi Expanse and the Sodden Lands. Neruma is a centre for trade between the Shackles and those two neighbouring regions. The main trading item purchased here is slaves, but other items of value also occasionally make their way along the river to Neruma.The town’s current ruler is Cousotta Shald. She is assisted by the Steel Cordage, a group of mercenaries supplied by the Shackles’ ruling Pirate Council. The town is built on lizardfolk breeding grounds (although the townsfolk are unaware of this), and is subject to regular attacks by lizardfolk seeking to reclaim their lost territory.
Small city; Population: 7,340; Alignment: Chaotic evil
The town of Ollo is one of the largest settlements in the Shackles. It is ruled by the cruel pirate Avimar Sorrinash, one of the members of the Pirate Council.Ollo is on Shark Island, and is plagued by raids from the sahuagin who live in the sea near the island. The people of Ollo live in daily fear of a sahuagin attack.
Large town; Population: 1,100; Alignment: Chaotic neutral
The port of Oyster Cay is in the Mainland region of the Shackles. It is currently suffering as two Free Captains vie for control of the port, namely Havalas Grudd and his estranged lover Wide Olga.
Large town; Population: 1,225; Alignment: Neutral
The surprisingly welcoming port of Parley Point is on the coast of the Mainland region of the Shackles. It is a popular port of call for merchant captains travelling north, who often stop off here before braving the storms of the Eye of Abendego. It is renowned for its friendly citizens and fine inns (and brothels). The Parley Point lighthouse warns passing vessels of the nearby reefs and dangerous surf. The crews of those vessels that do run aground are rescued by the town’s fleet of galleys. However, what the sailors don’t realise is that the town also has a second, false lighthouse further inland, that is sometimes used to fool captains into running aground. The citizens rescue these sailors in the same way as the others, but also surreptitiously make off with as much of their cargo as they can salvage.
Corruption +4; Crime +0; Economy +6; Law +7; Lore +6; Society +3; Danger +20
Qualities Holy site (Berth of the Sea Wraith), notorious, prosperous, rumormongering citizens, stategic location, superstitious
Government Overlord – Captain Kerdak Bonefist
Population 43,270 (27,636 humans; 3,891 half-elves; 3,496 half-orcs; 2,663 gnomes; 2,230 halflings; 1,798 elves; 1,357 dwarves, 199 other)
Base Value 29,744 gp; Purchase Limit 225,000gp; Spellcasting 8th level spells
South of Jeopardy Bay, Port Peril sits on the mainland outside the frenzied grasp of the Eye of Abendego and west of the mountainous Terwa Uplands. The rocky escarpments and bluffs cup a deep harbor capable of handling heavily laden merchants’ barques and galleys. Convenient access to the jungles of the Terwa Uplands and the Slithering Coast means prospecting teams can easily move inland in search of precious lumber, spices, and exotic fauna for trade in distant ports. Neutral merchants berth here before making the treacherous journey north, but the port’s militia forces ships bearing the flags of Inner Sea nations away. Merchants looking to turn a fast profit have their pick of commandeered goods in the markets of Port Peril, though the wise ones do well to check the provenance before attempting to sell them in northern ports.
Port Peril is the largest port in the Shackles and its de facto capital. It is situated on the mainland, rather than on one of the outlying islands, on the edge of the Terwa Uplands and overlooking Jeopardy Bay. The city is protected by walls, and the stronghold of Fort Hazard. All manner of vices can be found in its twisting streets, and its busy markets thrive on the sale of stolen goods. Rumour has it that the plunder from decades of piracy is hidden in sea caves beneath the city. Despite being the capital of the Shackles Pirates, merchant ships sometimes dock here to trade. Those flying the flags of Inner Sea nations are not welcome, but unaligned vessels are permitted to dock.
The city is ruled by Kerdak Bonefist, lord of the Shackles Pirates. During his frequent absences, the affairs of the city are jointly overseen by Sabas Odabio, harbourmaster Tsojmin Kreidoros and master merchant Pherias Jakar.
The harbour is deep enough to accommodate even the largest and most heavily laden of vessels. Visitors to Port Peril are required to dock at the Crescent Harbour, which is overseen by surly harbour-master Tsojmin Kreidoros. There, their vessels have their cargoes inspected before they are allowed to continue on to the main docks. The city’s poorest (and often, toughest) inhabitants live in the Beggarbriar district. Many of them earn a living crafting ropes, sails and other nautical supplies. Eastwind is another well-known district, and is home to both rich and poor. It is built on the bluffs overlooking the city, and is divided into Low and High Eastwind. Kerdak Bonefist makes his home in the fortress of Lucrehold, on the bluffs above Besmara’s Beacon, the city’s lighthouse.
Humans, half-elves and half-orcs make up the majority of the city’s inhabitants. owever, Port Peril is also one of the main halfling settlements in the Inner Sea region. Here halfling pirates and brigadiers roam the seas freely, many having fought for their freedom from slavery from their previous owners. Halfling captains may offer halflings on captured ships the bloody choice: become slaves again or turn on their current masters and join the captain’s crew as pirates with full rights and equality.
Large city; Population 12,560; Alignment: Chaotic neutral
The second largest settlement in the Shackles. It is on the north coast of Motaku Isle, the Shackles’ largest island. It is known as one of the liveliest and most welcoming of the ports in the region. It is also known for the House of Stolen Kisses, where the sacred prostitutes of Calistria ply their trade; they also double as the Shackles’ most well-informed information brokers.The city is ruled by the pirate lord Tessa Fairwind. Tessa Fairwind is one of the most popular members of the Pirate Council of the Shackles, and is widely expected to be the next Hurricane King. Power-hungry and greedy, she commands one of the largest fleets in the Shackles. She is well known for taking on dangerously reckless raids that seem doomed to failure, yet somehow always snatching victory against all odds.She rules Quent, second largest of the Shackles’ ports, and is captain of the sloop Luck of the Draw.
Small town; Population: 1,400 Halflings; Alignment: Chaotic neutral
A small port on Bag Island in the Shackles. The lord of Bag Island, Jolis Raffles, attacks the slave ships of Cheliax and offers the slaves the chance to live on Bag Island. As a result, Slipcove has the largest halfling population in the Shackles. Jolis Raffles is captain of the galley Chains of Freedom. Raffles was once a galley slave on a Chelaxian warship. It is rumoured that he funds his operations by selling those non-Halfling slaves who turn down his offer to settle here. No one has the nerve to actually approach him with this accusation.
Scuttlecove (the City of Serpents)
Large town; Population ????; Alignment: Chaotic evil
This is a pirate’s paradise of the sort that would grind more virtuous or delicate men to dust, Scuttlecove exists as a tumor upon the westernmost shores of the area of the Vohoun Ocean known as the “Pirate Isles”. More than being the location of the base of the Crimson Fleet, Scuttlecove is home to a gaggle of horrors and monsters unfit for habitation outside of perhaps the hells, and many of them are not mortal. From the yuan-ti cult known as the Seventh Coil to the drug kingpin wizard Kedward Bone (a depraved and cancerous wizard) to the anything-goes brothel of debased sexuality called Porphyry House run by the enchanting Tyralandi, daughter of a succubus and a nymph, Scuttlecove is a wicked man’s playground, a feast of delights that always come at the expense of another. Brave men fear to tread here, and more than one good man has been turned bad to make it on the streets of Scuttlecove. The busiest bar in Scuttlecove, is The Violated Ogre owned and operated by Borsch Dipraft who won the bar after killing the former owner over a poker game. Any children are usually found at the Scuttlecove Workhouse owned by Sornk Ghesterwahl, a vile orc who routinely cuts out the tounges of the children to maintain silence. The Crimson Fleet is the name adopted by a well-organized armada of pirate ships based in Scuttlecove. Known to engage in everything from theft, to kidnapping, to murder, to slavery, to smuggling, to drug running, the pirates of the Crimson Fleet have a well-earned reputation for ruthlessness and cruelty, operating under the banner of the notorious and fearsome Captain Wyther. Cold Captain Wythers’ name is enough to inspire pant-shitting dread in even the most hardened old salts. While the details of his youth are largely obscured, his sixty-year reign over the Crimson Fleet is a curriculum vitae that speaks for itself. A towering figure nearly nine feet tall, Captain Wyther clearly displayed the investments his demonic patron has infused into him, with long, ropelike hair, horns that are a formidable weapon in their own right on his head, eyes that border on serpentine, massive, black, bat wings sprouting from his shoulders, taloned hands, and skin flecked with red scales. He pays no tribute to the Hurricane King in Port Peril and he and his ships raid and plunder as they wish.
Small city; Population: 5,281; Nuetral Evil
One of the few bastions of civilization on the Fever Sea. Bloodcove borders both the trackless Fever Sea and the vast Mwangi Expanse—two huge wildernesses at the very edge of civilization. Its nearest neighbours are hardly much better. To the south there is the former Cheliaxian colony of Sargava, beset on all fronts by its former owner Cheliax, the greedy Shackles pirates who protect it, and its own rebellious Mwangi population. To the north lies the pirate haven of the Shackles, an island chain filled with pirates and the remains of whatever cannibalistic society dwelt there before them. Bloodcove is truly a lone bastion of civilization. Bloodcove is unique in appearance as the entire city is built into and around the roots and trunks of one of the gargantuan mangrove trees that are found only along the Mwangi coast. The whole city is perched atop boardwalks and scaffolding that keep it out of the Fever Sea. The name Bloodcove comes from the reddish colour of the water that pours from the Vanji River into the Fever Sea.
Bloodcove is officially ruled over by just one man—The Grand Admiralty of the Fever Sea, currently Harthwik Barzoni. The Grand Admiralty is a position kept for life, it is elected from amongst the scions of the original pirate founders. While this sounds like an all-powerful position, in reality the Admiralty’s duty extends to little more than making sure that the lawlessness of the town doesn’t get in the way of the trading. To this end Bloodcove has a small force of poorly trained militia. Bloodcove was founded by some of the greatest pirate captains of the Shackles when they realised that they were getting too old for the pirating lifestyle. They saw legitimate trade as the easiest way to keep their coffers full and their lives easy. And so they founded Bloodcove many miles south of the more rough and tumble of the Shackles. Bloodcove heritage shows through the very nature of the town somewhere between a legitimate port and sea soaked pirate city. Despite this, Bloodcove is nowhere near as dangerous as the pirate cities to the north. Trade serves as a stabilising factor in Bloodcove and many prominent trading concerns including the world-spanning Aspis Consortium. The city achieved notoriety in 4696 AR when the Beast of Bloodcove, a froghemoth of immense size, killed 204 victims over the course of an exceptionally hot summer. The Beast was eventually killed by a dozen heroes.
The population of Bloodcove is surprisingly diverse for such an isolated community. Non-humans make up over twenty percent of Bloodcove’s inhabitants. Over half the human population of Bloodcove is of the Mwangi ethnicity. Many come from deeper within the Mwangi Expanse to trade with the outside world, many are just run-of-the-mill pirates. The rest of the human population is made up of various ethnicities most of whom have come to Bloodcove looking to make their fortunes of the rich bounties of the Mwangi Expanse. There are racial tensions between the various ethnicities within Bloodcove but these tensions rarely turn violent.
Trade is the lifeblood of Bloodcove and without it the settlement simply would not exist. It was founded to further exploit the vast wealth of the Mwangi Expanse. Bloodcove is ideally positioned to exploit this being situated where the River Vanji, the only river to emerge from the depths of the Mwangi, meets the Fever Sea. Bloodcove trades in many commodities the most common include rare woods, precious metals, exotic creatures and Mwangi artifacts. None of these are easy to come by but their value keeps a steady flow of traders coming to Bloodcove.
Metropolis; Population 26,430; Neutral
The city of Senghor is a port on the Bay of Senghor, which is part of the Fever Sea. It is on the western end of the peninsula known as the Kaava Lands in the southern Mwangi Expanse. The Kaava are a pygmy tribe of kech.
The city was founded roughly 2,000 years ago, and more or less coincided with the destruction of neighbouring Boali. It is not known whether the two events were linked.
The city’s dominant inhabitants are the Caldaru although they are not actually the most numerous of the various human groups who live here. The city’s harbour is an architectural masterpiece, able to withstand both the very real impact of storms originating within the Eye of Abendego and the unlikely event of a massive naval assault by some as yet unknown enemy.
The city relies on ocean trade, as the nearby Kaava Lands make all land routes dangerous. It is a conduit for a significant amount of the trade from Sargava to Avistan; trading directly with Sargava risks annoying Cheliax, and the more indirect route through Senghor makes it easier to circumvent the Shackles pirates. The city’s market is the major site for the sale of quality goods from the Mwangi Expanse to merchants of Avistan for a fair price; this is in contrast to Bloodcove, where arguably the region’s raw materials are shipped off north in exchange for shoddy goods and cheap alcohol. The local guards, in their distinctive black and scarlet uniforms, make sure that the market is a safe place in which to do business. Cheliax has attempted to establish a trade embassy in Senghor, but has found that communications have been plagued by bad luck and constant pirate attention. So far, none of this has been traced back to the Senghor government.
The Senghor navy boasts several dozen ships, and ensures that no piracy takes place within their territorial waters. However, they are indifferent to what goes on elsewhere in the Fever Sea, making Senghor a popular destination for those who are deemed to be pirates everywhere else.
For some reason, this pragmatism does not extend to the slave trade. Slave ships are not allowed to visit Senghor, and Bekyar vessels are frequently refused entry merely on suspicion of being connected to the slave trade. The Bekyar city-states to the south of Senghor have reacted angrily to this racial discrimination and there have been a number of sea battles. So far, Senghor has more than held its own in these conflict, and some of the city’s leaders are keen to use it as a springboard for extending the city’s sphere of influence – either southwards, or even northwards to the Avistan backed Aspis Consortium’s main base at Bloodcove.
The city is governed by a council consisting of nobles, priests of Gozreh, merchants and the military. Council posts are generally inherited rather than elected, but so long as the city continues to prosper there are few calls for reform.
Small city; Population 8,900; Lawful Neutral
The capital of Sargava and the country’s only deepwater port. Its government remains stable and Eleder’s military is capable of policing the city. Its incredible wealthy trading companies contribute to Eleder’s political value being capable of protecting their investments. Aspis Consortium hold little power in Eleder due to the power of Eleder’s trading companies. At present, Eleder has only three-fourths as many inhabitants as Kalabuto. The overland route between the two cities broke down completely when Kalabuto’s trading companies began shipping goods down the Korir River. Despite Kalabuto’s growing exports trade, Eleder remains a stronghold for the nation’s political structure. Eleder’s economy is divided between its shipping industry and the trafficking, and processing of gemstones, gold, silver, and salt brought in from miners in the Bandu Hills.The city is showing signs of decay caused by the country’s perilous financial position. This decay does not extend to the docks, however, which claim to employ some of Garund’s best shipwrights. Merchants and Free Captains alike use the facilities, and their maintenance is given top priority. t one time the city boasted the Grallus Ball, but all such celebrations have been canceled due to lack of funds
Chelish troops founded the port under the imperialistic expansion efforts of Haliad I at the place of their first landing in Desperation Bay. By 4138 AR Eleder was granted official status as a Chelish colony.4 The site of the settlement was selected by the original founders of the city because it was a natural harbor and in addition to the shelter of the cove, a series of cascading freshwater springs welling up from rocks near the shore, provided the fresh water the settlers needed. The initial stockaded encampment gradually expands to the walled city of Eleder. The upgrade of Eleder’s harbor into a fully equipped shipyard was one of the initial developments. The first several decades there were a lot of violent misunderstandings between Chelaxians and natives. Large numbers of Chelish troops were brought in to put the natives under control and convince them to assist the colonists in bringing “order” and industry to their “savage” land. The colonists named the city “Eleder” after the brave young Eleder, daughter of one of the first colonists, whose diplomacy and efforts to learn Polyglot enabled the colonists to live in peace with the locals.
The city is located between the Laughing Jungle and the Bandu Hills. It is comprised of five districts: Northcoast, Portside, New Haliad, Lower Harbor, and Outerwall, also known as the Zenj Slums. Northcoast, Portside and New Haliad surround the Eleder harbor and are settled by colonials. The Diomar Wall divides these wards from the other two. Lower Harbor is located along the coast just south of the main harbor, naturally separated by the cliff face. It is populated by working-class fishermen, both colonials and Mwangi. The two-thirds of Eleder’s population live in Outerwall. he city is an unusual blend of architecture. The Chelish stoic gothic stonework has adapted to Sargava’s far warmer climate. The buildings are wide and low and usually include a spacious inner courtyard.
Eleder suffers from extreme racial and class division with the colonists dominating the far larger Zenj population. Colonial law provides Zenj very few rights. The colonials live in relative luxury while the native workers dwell in poverty outside the city walls. Though born in Sargava and despite the colony’s 500 years of existence, at heart, most colonials consider themselves Chelaxians and adopt Chelish religion, culture, and clothing styles.
The Grand Custodian Baron Utilinus maintains a personal court of eight barristers as a legal counsel. A large number of clerks handle the mundane responsibilities. The Grand Custodian doesn’t hold much political power in Eleder. The responsibility of city politics falls to the upper classes. The aristocracy operates under a parliamentary high council, whose final decisions are determined by the most influential and powerful families of Eleder. They claim no official titles but they hold the majority of the city’s wealth. Council seats are allotted by heredity. The matriarch of the family of Daugustanas, Lady Madrona Daugustana, is the unofficial city’s leader. She is the oldest living colonial and she upholds the ideals and customs of her ancestors.