Pirates of The Jewel Archipelago
Kingsport is the seat of Imperial Power in the Southern Seas. It is home to the Navy Admiralty, the Imperial Governor, and the largest port in the area. All trade that goes between the empire and the sea comes through Kingsport and up the Volun River. The city itself is a large sprawl, layered like a cliff face with various strata of society, from the opulence and comfort of Old Town to the shambles and poverty of The Reaches. The population of Kingsport is very diverse, with races from across the continent living together. There are many humans and half-elves, but also a considerable number of halflings, elves, half-orcs, and many of the races from Khitai, the avian Tengu, the feline Catfolk, the elemental-touched Undines, Oreads, Ifrits and Slyphs. There is a growing population of Ratfolk in The Reaches, but their appearance makes most of the Imperial folk shun them.
The town of Kingsport is located at the mouth of the Volun river, the massive estuary that flows across the Auturi Empire and through the Crextec Peninsula. The river is wide and fast, but relatively safe to travel on. There are no rapids and few sandbars to get stuck on. The greatest danger comes from river pirates, wood elven raiders, or the indigenous wildlife of the jungles. There are dire fish that can sink a boat with their iron-hard dorsal spines, there are massive hippopotami that are fiercely territorial and surprisingly fast swimmers, and there are enormous dinosaurs, many of whom are carnivorous.
The jungle surrounding the city is dense and highly populated. There are all manner of beasts lurking in the lush foliage. Dire animals are the most common, large throwbacks to an ancient age, covered with thick hide and bony spikes. Dinosaurs are also common, and they are often hunted for meat and leather. Poison is common among the fauna of the jungle, there are scores of species of snake, spider and even amphibians that carry deadly toxins. The native lizardmen often use frog venom on their blades and arrows, usually causing paralysis.
The sea also features prominently in the geography of the city, as the entire southern face of the city is built on open ocean. The docks extend well over the beaches, and the edge of the city is actually several hundred feet off the shore. Most of the larger sea fauna do not approach so close to the shore, and the sounds and lights frighten away most others, but fishing off the docks is very common, and occasionally dangerous creatures can be found just beneath the water. Sharks are the most common threat to swimmers by the docks, but there are also poisonous water snakes, pikefish, and exceptionally large octopuses that can easily kill a man.
The town itself is comprised of 4 districts; Old Town, Rivermarket, Pub Alley, and The Reaches. The districts are nested together, with Old Town at the center, near the mouth of the river, and radiating out in a semi-circle.
-Old Town is the smallest district, right at the mouth of the river overlooking the sea. The location is where the original settlement was, though none of the old buildings remain. Now it is home to the wealthy and affluent of the city, as well as the finer artisan shops. Many of the great temples are found in Old Town, and on the holy days all are welcome to visit them. These are the only times many common folk will be allowed in Old Town. Nobles and wealthy merchants hire extra guards on these days. The buildings are all built in a “modern vintage” style, meant to reflect the ancient opulence of the noble estates back in the Middle Kingdoms. That means lots of columns and buttresses, marble and plaster, and red clay tiles on the roofs.
-Rivermarket wraps around Old Town, a wide swath of warehouses, merchant shops, crafts people’s storefronts and guild halls. Rivermarket is the largest district, with the most area along the river and the most docks at sea. The buildings in Rivermarket are older than most of the buildings in Old Town, ironically, as Rivermarket was built as the city first started to expand and grow. Rivermarket is filled with storefronts and workshops, and all the Merchant Guilds have guild halls in this district. The Adventurers Guild has a large guild hall here, and many noteworthy heroes visit Kingsport. Few people live in Rivermarket, mostly artisans and shopkeepers with an apartment over their shop, but several wealthy tradesman or guild captains purchase townhouses in the district to stay near their place of business. Several shrines to the more common gods are built into the walls at points. The buildings in Rivermarket are built in an older style, usually with a stone or brick foundation that extends up two or three feet, then wood. The Guild Halls tend to be made entirely of stone. Most of the roofs in Rivermarket have been re-done to match the red clay tiles of Old Town.
-Pub Alley is the next district out, surrounding the bustling trade district with a bustling pub district. There are innumerable taverns, restaurants, brothels and apartments in this district, all competing to draw the attention of customers. This leads to a riot of noise and color, with posters and performers at every door, trying to draw a crowd for their business. Apartment buildings are very common here, and many reach up several stories higher than any of the other buildings in the city. Upper floor apartments, with views over the walls, are the most sought-after, though some tenants desire to be closer to the ground. Many taverns are built into the first floor of apartment buildings, and count on the tenants to make most of their profit. Pubs almost outnumber apartments in this district, and they cater to a vast array of tastes. There are many “normal” pubs, serving ale and rum and providing music for entertainment, but there are many “specialty” pubs as well, some catering to elves or halflings or another specific race, and some catering to adventurers or sailors, some catering to those with particular deviant tendencies (these are often illegal and hidden behind a front). Entertainment is the key commodity in Pub Alley, and there it takes many forms. There are several fine playhouses where acting troupes put on plays ranging from the elegant and artistic to the base and bawdy. There are also many smaller traveling troupes who set up a stage on the street and begin performing, hoping for coins from passersby. Brothels are also found in profusion in Pub Alley, and due to strict city ordinances, they are the cleanest and best in the whole of the Southern Seas. Secret cabals of Hoder’s followers make their home in the back rooms and basements of taverns here. The buildings in Pub Alley are a riot of different styles. It’s rare to find two similar buildings side-by-side.
-The Reaches is home to the poor and downtrodden. The unfinished tenement houses are occupied by squatters, and what buildings are completed are in hardly better condition than the buildings that aren’t. The town guard doesn’t spend much time in The Reaches, except to defend the wall from the threats that lurk in the jungle. It’s an unsaid fact that the occupants of The Reaches are considered an expendable defense asset to the city. This doesn’t stop a community of thriving though, and the population of The Reaches is a large and surprisingly tight-knit one. There are several “tribes” in The Reaches, large groups of squatters and poor who form communities in the safer buildings. The East Docks, The Gatehouse, The Lamplight, The Riverhomes, The Keyholes, and The West Docks are the various areas deemed habitable by the community in The Reaches. Most in The Reaches are those without enough money to afford a home in the better parts of town, but there are also many who are there to avoid the attention of the authorities. Crime organizations have their strong-houses in The Reaches, even if the bosses live elsewhere. Many people in The Reaches work in Pub Alley, and try to save up their wages enough to afford an apartment there.
Leadership – The Imperial Governor of Kingsport is Tomael of House Calvert. He is a second cousin to the Emperor, and in his youth was a classmate and friend of Cristos. He is a tall and regal-looking half-elf, his features favoring his elven heritage. He has the pale blue eyes and bright silver hair of his family. His wife was Lady Margret the Red, a former adventurer, who died several years ago. Their daughter, Lady Kaira, favors her mother, with green eyes and dark auburn hair. The Governor himself is in charge of managing the City Council, made up of appointed officials who arrange the day-to-day workings of the city. The council is made up of four members, the Councilor of Commerce, the Councilor of Transportation, the Councilor of Housing, and the Councilor of Defense.
There is a town guard of trained, full-time men-at-arms who patrol the streets to keep order and patrol the walls to protect from attack. There are several units of irregulars, mostly rangers who go out into the jungle to scout, ambush, and hunt game. These units are led by a yeoman, invariably a member of a lesser noble house but always selected for his merits as a woodsman and a leader rather than by upbringing. In battle, these units are mustered to act as harriers and ambush parties. There is also a sizable civilian militia. Militia members receive 2 silver pieces in pay each month, regardless of whether or not their services were required, and 5 silver pieces per week of fighting. In addition, commendable action in battle is rewarded by a monetary prize. Much of the militia is drawn from the poorer districts as a result, but there are many who feel it is their duty to help defend the city, and a few extra silver a month is not bad either. Militia leaders are nobles, trained in swordsmanship but not necessarily warfare.