Welcome to Freeport’s Scandal.
Freeport is a port city in the island chain known as the Serpent’s Teeth. The original settlement was founded centuries ago, and soon became a haven for pirates. The town thrived because of a simple pirate code: Do whatever you want on the high seas, but don’t go against your brothers in port. Pirates ruled the waves until about 200 years ago, when the mainland navies began to hunt down ship after ship. The men of Freeport needed a navy of their own, so the captains united their forces. Leadership of this Great Raid was shared between the two greatest captains, Drac and Francisco, and after its success, both declared themselves Sea Lord. (The holiday of Swagfest celebrates the Great Raid to this day.)
The other maritime nations united in an attempt to crush Freeport. This war lasted for ten years, before Drac hatched a new plan: He made a bargain to betray Francisco in return for a truce and recognition of Freeport as a sovereign city-state. The city went legit. Many surviving pirate captains left rather than work with Francisco’s betrayer, but others stayed and helped Drac turn Freeport into a major trading center. Rather than claiming a title and starting a dynasty, Drac chose another old sea hand, Captain Cromey, as his successor, and gave the Captains’ Council the right to approve future successors.
Over the next hundred years, various crises resulted in the Council gaining more power. Sea Lord Marten Drac nearly bankrupted the city. He also instituted a succession law: Future Sea Lords had to be descendants of the first Sea Lord Drac. His successor, Anton Drac, repaired much of the damage, but did not repeal the succession law. He was assassinated 11 years ago, as Freeport prepared to join in a war on the mainland. His successor, the nearly unknown Milton Drac, cancelled all military aid and spent the war chest on a monument to Freeport’s maritime power: The Lighthouse of Drac, called “Milton’s Folly” for its extravagant expense.
Milton Drac died the night of the inauguration of the Lighthouse [May 30, FY 203]. Rumors abound that Drac was part of an evil cult attempting to destroy the city, but was thwarted by a small band of adventurers. One thing is certain: Drac left no clear heir or clear successor. The city has no Sea Lord, and is short one Councilor as well (two died with the Sea Lord, and one was assassinated three weeks before then).
The Docks: This area includes the majority of the city’s waterfront. It is one of the roughest parts of town, largely filled with taverns and inns with such apt names as The Broken Mug and The Rusty Hook. It is also home to the Seaside Market (an open-air bazaar) and the Shipping News (the town newspaper).
Drac’s End: This area was once jungle, cleared for more living space. Expansion ended prematurely, and the area remains the poorest in town—but one of the most honest. It is also home to the Freeport Institute, the city’s only school.
The Eastern District: This is the home of Freeport’s middle class—those who have escaped Drac’s End or Scurvytown but haven’t yet achieved the luxury of the Merchant District.
The Merchant District: The wealthiest people in Freeport live here, in large townhouses, on well-maintained, paved streets. The top address here is Wave Avenue, which runs the length of the district. Businesses here include the finest in dining and entertainment, and the merchants’ and jewelers’ guildhouses.
The Old City: The original city wall still stands, pierced by five strong gates. The neighborhood is a bit shabby in places, but the seat of power is still here: the Sea Lord’s Palace, the Fortress of Justice (courts and jails), and the Wizards’ Guild.
Scurvytown: The “Freebooters’ Quarter” is the meanest part of town, filled with flophouses, weapon shops, and the lowest sort of taverns. “Bad neighbor” businesses, such as tanneries and the town dump, are located here. Crime is rampant, and the Sea Lord’s Guard only attempts to curb the worst excesses.
The Temple District: Freeport has no official religion, but the pirate god Harrimast has more worshippers here than any other place in the world. There are many other temples to the Gods of the world (D&D PHB Gods).
The Warehouse District: Unlike the Docks and Scurvytown, this part of the waterfront is well guarded and maintained, for it serves to store and move the goods of the adjacent Merchant District’s residents. The Municipal Auction House, Rhodes of Freeport (insurance), Office of Public Records, and Pilot’s Guild are located here as well.