To Sail A Bloody Sea
World of Freeport
Freeport is sometimes called the crossroads of the world, and its central location to the major shipping lanes is the key to its power as a both a pirate haven and a merchantile power. The major regions of the known world are briefly described below.
The Serpent’s Teeth
The Serpent’s Teeth are an archipelago of four islands located to the east and slightly south of the Continent, about two weeks’ sail from the Ivory Ports.
A’Val is the large central island, about four miles long north to south. Freeport is built around a natural harbor at the southern end of the island, while the northern end is home to Mount A’Val, a volcano. The island was once covered in jungle, but three years ago, the Great Green Fire turned the eastern half of the island to barren ash. The Wizards’ Guild is now using alchemical processes to transform the dead ash into fertile soil, which will gradually reduce Freeport’s dependency on imported food.
Freeport lacks room for burials, so a small atoll between A’Val and Windward houses the city’s Crematorium. A daily ferry carries the city’s dead from Scurvytown to these furnaces for safe disposal.
Leeward is the easternmost island, with a small harbor of its own.This is the site of the small town of Libertyville, founded as a rival to Freeport and its laws and corruption. No settlement on the site has survived more than a couple of years, but two years ago, the charismatic pirate Masson Francisco took over the town with the intent to make it a “pirate utopia,” where the only rule is the Pirate’s Code, and the port still thrives today.
T’Wik is the smallest of the islands, barely a mile long, and located half a mile from Freeport’s harbor. During Milton Drac’s reign, the Freeport Lighthouse was built here as a symbol of the city’s (and Drac’s) power.
Windward’s rocky cliffs protect the other islands from the full brunt of the tropical storms that batter the Serpent’s Teeth each year. Most of the island is inhospitable rock and jungle, but the eastern shore has wide, sandy beaches that are a favorite site of picnickers and tourists.However, the resort was sacked during the Succession Crisis, and the pirate Andrea Blax has claimed the island for herself.
The Bone Lands cover the northern reaches of the Continent. These lands were laid waste in ancient wars against the powerful necromancers who once ruled the Continent. Now they are home to savage humanoids, the most powerful of which are the hobgoblins.
Druzhdin is a large island off the northeastern coast of the Continent. Human barbarians from the Bone Lands fought the native trolls for possession of the island, then became a nation of sea raiders feared throughout the coasts of the Continent. A fleet of Druzhdin warships invaded Freeport a few years ago, but was repelled.
Hexworth covers the western half of the Continent. After the defeat of the Necro-Kings nearly a millenium ago, Hexworth was the dominant human kingdom. Necromancy and its trappings were promptly outlawed, and an Inquisition founded to stamp out the practice wherever it was discovered. However, this obsession soon spun out of control, costing the lives of thousands of innocents, and Hexworth’s neighbors wanted no part of it. After 200 years, the kingdom was pronounced cleansed, the Inquisition was made permanent, and Hexworth turned its paranoid eye on its neighbors. During the next 300 years, the Wars of Unity turned Hexworth into a colossal empire controlling a bewildering array of provinces and free cities.
Iovan, the home of the crag gnomes, lies isolated at the center of the Continent. While other nations united against the Necro-Kings, the gnomes fought their own war with the kobolds. The gnomes finally drove the kobolds into the forests to the south, and the sorcerer Iovan magically enslaved the native gargoyles to lead a campaign of conquest. This expansion stopped when the gnomes attacked the dwarves of Vorizar, who crushed their army. Since then, the crag gnomes have largely kept to themselves.
The Ivory Ports (Blackburn, Grenato, Pikebridge, Silverus, and Thalburg) are a loose coalition of five city-states in the southeast of the Continent. While the Continent was embroiled in war with the Necro-Kings, these cities looked outward and established trade routes with and founded colonies in the wider world. The Ivory Ports (named for the ivory trade with Khaeder) are the most diverse cities on the Continent, filled with members of all the civilized races; in fact, more halflings are found here than anywhere else.
Between the Ivory Ports (and their protective coastal mountains) and the interior of the Continent is the Broken Land, which includes the Carrion Swamp. This region is home to orcs, goblins, lizardfolk, and other savage humanoids.
Kizmir is a young kingdom founded a little over a century ago. A massive azhar fleet invaded and easily conquered the southern coastlands, changing the political balance of the Continent. Tagmata, Hexworth, and the Ivory Ports fought a series of wars with the new nation, most of which ended in stalemates. However, about fifty years ago, Kizmir sacked and destroyed the Ivory Port of Newtown, which remains a ruin.
Rolland, located in the east between the Bone Lands and Ivory Ports, is one of the oldest nations in the Continent, and led the resistance against the Necro-Kings. Since then, the biggest threat to the kingdom has come from within: several centuries ago, when a werewolf warlord nearly tore the realm apart. Rolland is home to most of the world’s elves, who are divided into three groups: high elves (ruling class), wood elves (rural inhabitants), and sea elves (who control sea trade). The current Moon King has recently become enamored of the new invention of firearms, and has founded a regiment of Royal Musketeers.
Tagmata, a seafaring country in the southwest, is the one human nation who has defied the Empire of Hexworth, due in large part to its excellent navy. The nation is now an oligarchy ruled by its High General, High Priest, and High Wizard. The Tagmatans worship the ideal of light rather than a god per se, which puts them at odds with the polytheistic lands of the Continent.
Vorizar is the homeland of the dwarves, located between Iovan, Hexworth, the Bone Lands, and Rolland. It controls the trade routes through the Continent’s central mountains, and is known for its own master craftsmen. While a gnome invented firearms, it was the dwarves who have perfected cannon.
The lands to the south of the Serpent’s Teeth and the Continent are distant (a month’s sail or more) but are rich in exotic goods. Humans (and near-humans) from these lands are distinguished by their bronze, brown, or ebony skin.
Khaeder (aka Nyambe) is located a month’s sail due south from the Ivory Ports, whose merchants trade for the ivory, gold, exotic pets, and unusual plants found there.
Mazin, a major port of the southlands, is a center of the slave trade. The capture and enslavement of a Freeport convoy a century ago led to a long bloody war, but the two cities have had little contact since.
Naranjan*, an island continent about a month’s sail south and east of Freeport, is famed for its “Spice Coast.” The Naranjani also export ivory, gemstones, pearls, perfumes, and fine woods.
Numerous legendary lands lie beyond the regions described here, including the Eastern Empire to the far east and Khemti to the distant west. However, the farther one sails from Freeport and the Continent, the stranger the seas become, requiring mystic navigators to safely pilot those waters (and even then, many ships simply never return).
*Note: Naranjan is a Psionic setting from Green Ronin’s Mindshadows. However, I’m not using Psionics (Psychics from Occult Adventures are used, but are not the same thing) but I will be using setting background (with some mods). I only bring this up in case you recognize the setting, and I want to say no to an psionic requests in advance.