Due west from the ruins of Copper Falls and across the Chernaal Sea, the town of Freeport
Lagoon is situated on a small island on the eastern side of the Serpant Isles.
When their ship sunk off the coast of an uninhabited island, the Freeman Corps of mercenaries had to put aside their swords and pick up shovels, pickaxes, and hoes to survive. Though several of their numbers died on the day of the wreck, enough of them remained to form a small settlement together. They lived this way, relying on one another and thriving on the island’s bounty, for two years before they were discovered by a passing merchant vessel. The ship’s captain offered them safe passage off the island, but the five Corps lieutenants who had come to lead the settlement decided they rather liked the lives they had and decided to stay.
The lieutenants offered the same choice to the rest of their people, but all of them chose to remain in the town they had built together, dubbing the town Freeport Lagoon and the island Freeman’s Isle. Before she left, the leaders offered a tidy sum to the merchant to come back on her way through with supplies, offering a bonus if they would direct nautical traffic their way as well. The merchant kept to their agreement and she directed many more ships towards the new port, even settling there herself and marrying one of the original lieutenants two years later.
Thus, in the Age of Mists 19 (five years after being discovered by that small vessel) Freeport Lagoon experienced a boom in both population and trade - becoming a must-visit stop for any merchant as a high-risk, high-reward port of call. The lax trade regulations and the chance to acquire goods native only to the island make the potential profits far outweigh any possible dangers from the town itself, according to most maritime traders.
Those original five lieutenants became the current five Port Bosses and, with the help of their Corps, run the town as tightly as only a former paramilitary organization could.
While the town is physically small, the constant flow of visitors and Corps hopefuls trying to claim a foothold in the town’s hierarchy has Freeport bursting at its seams. Due to the difficulty in clearing out the surrounding jungle, the town has opted to build up instead of out to cope with the population boom. Including the base that sits atop the lagoon waters, the town has four levels - the bottom two being made of stone while the top levels are made of flexible wood.
The base level of the town, the Canals, is elevated just enough that when high tide rolls in, it does not flood. Despite it being the foundation layer of the town, it is not the first place a visitor will see, however, as the docks are actually built to the height of the second level. Though the Canals are made of the same stone as the Thoroughfare, due to the moisture, darkness, low ceilings, and unpleasant low tide stink, the rent here is noticeably cheaper and, as such, many new residents end up in one of the many communal living hostels in the Canals.
The main level is called the Thoroughfare. This is where the majority of the shops, bars, housing, and main plaza can be found divided into several districts which are controlled by different Corps. It’s at the level of both the main island and the docks, the latter of which extends far further than that of a typical sea port. This is due to the coral reef at the edge of the lagoon preventing large ships from getting close to the town. In order to ensure continued sea traffic, the town built wooden docks that extend out past the shallows so ships can anchor and the crews can then walk to town.
Above the Thoroughfare is the Canopy, where the more expensive shops and housing can be found. Access to the Canopy is not technically restricted, but there is a much heavier Hound presence and people tend to get thrown back down to the main level if they appear to be too out of place. This is especially true of people who don’t have enough money.
The final level of Freeport is the Corona, which is strictly off-limits for anyone who does not live there. There are are apparently special stores and pleasure halls far beyond what any normal townie could imagine up there, but anyone who isn’t in the upper echelons of a Corps will never know. Access to the Corona is only possible through guarded gates and the few citizens who have managed to sneak their way up there have been found in the lagoon several days later with their limbs broken. It’s rumored that the Port Bosses have spies in the walls, so every time this happens, people go longer before ever trying again.
Numbering at around 150 permanent citizens and an unknown number of travellers, the population of Freeport is the textbook definition of a mixed bag. There are a large number of Feralkyn, especially Aquatic and Avian, as well as several families of Florakyn thanks to the sunny ocean weather. The only race that seems to avoid the town are Gearlings, as the overly humid weather does not agree with their metal bodies.
Commoner jobs in Freeport are not favorable, nor are they easy work. Most of the Unaffiliated work the farmlands or in the mines. Both the farms and the mines are owned by the Redstones and no commoner could ever hope to afford to purchase land for their own. It is a widely
agreed-upon fact, however, that Bjeran Redstone is a very fair Dwarf and that anyone who does the work is paid for it. Despite this, farming is widely preferred to the mines to the point where there is a waiting list to work the fields because of the back-breaking labor required in the caves. Fishing is also an option, but the established market is intentionally hard to break into.
It is very rare for commoners to not have some sort of job, even if it’s just cleaning the windows twice a week. The ones who can afford to not work are the children and spouses of the wealthy.
Freeport Lagoon is currently run by a council of the five Port Bosses from the town’s major section corps. Each Boss controls certain dealings of the town and is given absolute authority over everything falling under that particular aspect of Freeport. Otherwise, meetings between the Bosses are held once a month to discuss important matters that affect the entire town. These meetings include their second-in-commands and are held behind closed doors, with no member of the public allowed to attend. They will also occasionally call emergency meetings when necessary.
There is a weekly town hall held on Sunday mornings which is run by section lieutenants, generally because neither the boss nor their seconds want to run a meeting. Anyone is free to attend and speak their mind, but repeat troublemakers seem to only show up to a few meetings before they magically seem to no longer have issues and stop attending.
The Corps of Freeport
The Blackblood Hounds
Town Role: Law Enforcement
Also Called: Blackbloods, Hounds
The Hands of Mercy
Town Role: Hospital and funerary services
Also Called: Hands
The Briartown Dealers
Boss: Jeremiah Jameson “JJ” Buttonbraider
Town Role: Mercantile services
Also Called: Dealers, Braiders
Boss: Cybine de Psilo
Town Role: Entertainment - Gambling dens, pleasure houses, music halls, dining, etc.
Also Called: Bachs, Hedonists, Grape
Boss: Bjeran Redstone
Town Role: Laborer Management - Agriculture and Mining
Also Called: Stones, Reds
There is no formal military, but only a fool would think Freeport Lagoon is an easy target. The island itself is naturally defended thanks to its large cliffs all around with very little access aside from the lagoon. The lagoon’s coral shelf makes it impossible for any large ships to dock directly next to the town, and the dense jungle to the back of it prevents anyone from approaching from the opposite side of the island.
Even with all these natural defenses, however, Freeport Lagoon is always ready for anything thanks to almost every member of every Corps knowing how to fight. If there were ever to be a situation necessitating naval warfare, both the Hounds and Redstones own ships of their own, the former of whom are always itching for a good fight.
Freeport Lagoon answers to no one but their own authority. All laws are set by the Port Boss council, but enforced by the Blackblood Hounds. The punishments in Freeport Lagoon are harsh, but you can buy your way out of almost any situation. If someone can’t pay the fees, then it’s off to the mines with them until they’ve paid back their debt - the length of time to be determined by whomever is in charge at that moment. See Court section for more information. Almost all punishments for any crime have a scaling fine associated with them. These scale values are to be determined by the arresting authority. There is also a difference in the punishments for most crimes committed against Commoners versus any Corps members. The following list is not all-inclusive, but covers most situations.
Theft: Fine equal to thrice the value of the goods stolen (this covers attempted thefts)
Assault Against an Unaffiliated: Scaling fine
Assault Against a Corps Member: Scaling fine, public beating, scaling mine duty
Murder of a Unaffiliated: Scaling fine
Murder of a Corps Member: Resurrection, all assets seized for Corps of murdered party
Obstructing the Guard: Public beating, fine (if the obstructed party so decides)
Impersonating a Corps Member: Scaling fine, public beating
Sentencing for most crimes is almost instantaneous, as criminals sitting in jail would be better served breaking rocks instead of getting free food and lodging. Sentencing will be held off if a party requests a formal trial. This process generally involves paying off or otherwise managing to sweet-talk the arresting guard into holding off sentencing.
Once a formal trial has been agreed to by the arresting guard, the accused criminal is put in a jail cell in the Hounds’ headquarters. The accused is advised to acquire their own lawyer, as the Blackblood-provided defenders almost never win in the court. Lawyers can be paid for now, or on loan, but they will always collect in the end. The accused can sit in jail for several days, depending on how busy the Corps Lieutenants are. Once one is available, there will be a public trial during which the defense lawyer will attempt to convince the lieutenants of their client’s innocence. If the lawyer is good, they’ll have already talked to the lieutenant council beforehand.
There are no age limits for crimes. In fact, a favorite mantra of the Blackblood Hounds is that if you’re old enough to commit a crime, you’re old enough to face punishment for it. Parents can take the punishment for their children, as long as someone pays for the crime.
Tax is a word that is never uttered by any member of the Briartown Dealers. They, instead, refer to “membership fees” which are percentages paid to the Dealers for the privilege of operating as a merchant in Freeport Lagoon. Visiting merchants are given a stall in the Thoroughfare plaza, the cost of which is included in their membership. Fees are paid weekly, collected on Sunday mornings, and are equal to 15% of earnings for Cap-Tier Members, 10% for Mark-Tier, and 5% for Crown-Tier. Fee Tiers are assigned by the Dealers and can be inquired about daily at their dock office.
Owners of taverns, taphouses, and inns may arrange for a yearly fee if they so desire. As for anyone else not selling a good or service, there is no fee associated with their day-to-day. They do pay rent on a weekly basis in the Canals, monthly everywhere else.
Any and all worship is allowed in the town, but there are no public temples. Some townsfolk will have personal icons in their homes or set up small places of worship, but most of the town seems averse to religion in general so most of the faithful tend to keep to their small circles.
Freeport’s resurrection area is located in the main plaza and is maintained by the Hands of Mercy who have a clinic nearby to take care of any pesky soul sickness for a nominal fee. There is no graveyard, so unless other arrangements are made, all bodies are cremated. Families can
pick up the urn containing their relative’s remains from the Hands and do with them what they please.
Many sailors opt for a burial at sea in which they are wrapped in several layers of cloth, weighted at the ankles with a stone, and thrown off the lighthouse cliff into the waters below. Regardless of the how, all funeral services are handled by the Hands of Mercy and all funerary services beyond being dumped in the communal furnace cost money.
Main Plaza: Located in the Thoroughfare, the Plaza is where all of the visiting merchants set up shop. This is also where the town’s main Inn, the Sleeping Siren, is located.
The Docks: There is a small Briartown Dealers’ office on the western docks for ease of checking in to the town. The eastern docks are close to the pleasure district and lighthouse.
The Mines: The eastern mines mainly deal in salt, as they lead down to the ocean. The western mines contain a variety of precious gems including aquamarine, diamond, and moonstone.
The Farms: On the west of the Isle, they grow cassava, sugar cane, yams, rice, beans, and barley. There are also native trees being cultivated to harvest coconuts, bananas, and cocoa.
The Jungle: The majority of the Isle is comprised of dense jungle with several hot springs and a large geyser deeper in. The jungle’s full of dangerous monsters and, allegedly, ancient ruins. Unfortunately, most would-be adventurers never come back, yet the rumors of treasure persist. According to some, there’s also an entire village full of children not too far outside of town.
Shipwreck Day - Held in the Fall, usually around a full moon, Shipwreck day is the anniversary of the day the Freeman Corps were first stranded on the island after their ship sank. There is no exact date due to the nature of the originating event, so the day is announced several months to a year ahead of time by the Port Boss council.
Available Shops and Resources
As to be expected from an island town, there are no farriers or wainwrights. Bookbinders and bakers are mostly absent from Freeport, the former due to the climate not agreeing with books in general and the latter due to no wheat being grown on the farmlands. Anyone with skills in either tend to be in the employ of another and do not operate on their own. Other than those specifically, just about everything and anything can be purchased in Freeport from artifices to processed tapioca flour.
The Bilge: Located in the Canals. A community hostel for the commoner.
The Gangplank: Located in the Canals. A hostel with a bar.
The Sleeping Siren: Located in the plaza. The main inn and pub in town for visitors.
The Velvet Oyster: Located in the Canopy. A house of pleasure, serves excellent drinks
Creatures from the jungles will wander into town occasionally, but they are generally not too much of a problem. The real threats are much deeper into the heart of the island. Occasionally, some pirate will attempt a hostile takeover but they usually never get further than trying to rally supporters in one of the bars before being beaten and thrown into the sea. Other than the critters in the jungle, the only real danger is poverty and perhaps someone sheathing their knife between your vertebrae for safe keeping.