Located about 2500 mets north of the equator, Port Haven is a city that never sleeps. It is sitting on an island that was once the southern tip of Lojem Isle. The city was at the beginning of the canal that ran to Lake Alfrego. After the destruction of Karfelon, Port Haven has become the center for trade and commerce for the communities of Lojem.
Port Haven has a population of roughly 18,000 people. Being a major center for trade, the population fluctuates frequently, depending on the amount of trade. About 30 percent of the population are orcs. Some of these are refugees that fled from Karfelon and Sovaga before the flood in 10,012 SF. Another 50 percent are humans and half-orcs, while the remaining inhabitants are dwarves, elves, and lizards.
The climate in Port Haven is much the same as that of the entire Lojem Archipelago. The summers are very warm and humid, and the winters tend to be mild. Periodically the island is raked by severe spring storms, but the inhabitants have learned to expect this and have altered their building construction accordingly.
There is almost no plant life on the island of Port Haven. It is almost entirely covered by city; what isn’t covered by city is uninhabitable rock. The animal life on the island is mainly the cities inhabitants. Any rogue animal that might wander onto shore from the waves is usually slain by adventurers or the city guards.
Originally, Port Haven was nothing more than a convenient location to trade at the base of the canal that raised ships from Lake Alfrego to the surrounding ocean. Inns and taverns were erected to cater to the port’s temporary residents.
In time, people started settling the land surrounded by the port. Lots of money and goods were exchanged between merchants. This money is what brought people to the port. The population soon flourished because everything a person needed was available at Port Haven.
Port Haven is ruled by the city’s guild masters. Collectively, they are known as The Council. It is widely believed that The Council is influenced by organized crime.
At the end of each month, the guild masters discuss trends in the commerce and trade. After analyzing the demand and availability of goods, they would decide the base prices for the popular goods being traded. Typically, prices are set 20 percent higher than their value in other cities. These base prices are set to ensure everyone in the mercantile chain makes a profit.
Each merchant must purchase an operating permit to do business within the city.
There are not many laws in Port Haven. Other than the Council setting the minimum prices on popular goods, people are basically allowed to do what ever they want. The role of a barrister is to document certain events such as trading property, inheritance claims, and other related business transactions.
Only a small portion of the crimes are investigated and taken care of by the Enclave. The T’orites usually arrest small time offenders such as pickpockets and muggers. Usually, a victimized merchant will hire some thugs to injure or kill the person that robbed them. The Enclave usually doesn’t get involved in gang wars or feuds between crime families because they think the involved parties will kill each other off. This makes it safer for the T’orites.
A number of gangs will force the residents of their turf to pay a “protection” fee. This means that the gangs won’t harass or injure the person or business until the next pay period. Some merchants will pay the gangs extra to provide some actual protection. For example, if someone is ripped off, then the gang will hunt down the criminal and take care of the problem.
Morality has almost no meaning in Port Haven. Almost everyone is willing to swindle, hurt, or kill someone for a profit. The “moral” people are those who are only willing to profit at the cost of certain people, not everyone. Most people ignore violent crimes as long as they are not directly affected by their results.
Most merchants are corrupt or shady. It is not uncommon for them to increase the price of a good by up to 200 percent, depending on the availability and demand. Miss-calibrated scales or incorrectly labeled weights are also used when changing one type of currency to another.
The barter system of trading and exchanging goods is becoming more popular because it is too easy to mint fake currency. It is also one method of avoiding the greedy moneychangers.
A lot of the businesses are controlled by organized crime. Illegal or shady goods are bought, sold, and traded on an hourly basis. Highly desired goods are also exchanged for premium prices. For example, one ounce of teresium is worth about 50,000 silver pieces. Poisons, secret information, and rare metals are all examples of goods being exchanged.
The people of Port Haven vary in affluence and wealth. The town is sectioned into three distinct social classes. Most of the inhabitants make up the middle class.
People of the upper class live in the northern part of town. There are only a few businesses located in this part of the city. One of the more notable restaurants is Vinny’s. At night, lamps are lit to illuminate the streets. This makes it safer for people to walk around without being violated. People have been hired to keep out the undesired people of the lower class.
The middle-classed people take up the western half. Many of these people are business or ship owners. Most of the people live in apartments, and run their businesses in leased out buildings. The famous Fifth Street Auction House is located in this part of town.
People that make up the lower class can be found on the eastern and southern portions of Port Haven. This includes laborers, sailors, and thugs. They live among the businesses, docks, and warehouses that make up most of the area of trade.
Since the fall of Karfelon, Port Haven has become the major center of trade in the Lojem area. Cargoes from all over Jaern are shipped in and out of the city 24 hours a day. The docks cover roughly half of the city’s coastline, stretching from the northeast to southwest.
For the most part, anything and everything can been found in Port Haven. The city’s motto is “Everything is for sale…for a price!” Precious materials, gems and jewelry, weapons and armor, and even people are available. Although most goods are readily available, there is usually a healthy markup on their prices, even after the Council sets the base prices.
The organized guilds of craftsmen and merchants hold much power. Aside from providing a standard of goods and services, the guilds also function to protect its members from unscrupulous employers. Each member pays an annual fee to the guild, and in return he is listed on the guild’s roster. This roster is examined by potential employers who are looking for craftsmen to hire or contract.
The guilds currently organized within Port Haven include:
The Council controls all the real estate available in the city; and it is a precious commodity as on any other island city. Prices can be exuberant, depending on the desired location. Anyone wishing to open a business must either purchase or lease the building they wish to use from The Council and maintain their payments vigilantly. Failure to do so can result in dire consequences for the lessee, including repossession of the sum total of the lessee’s property.
Investment opportunities abound in Port Haven if one has the proper connections. The local guilds control all businesses that fall under their area of expertise, and require some form of payment for the newcomer to continue providing services in the area.
Other area businesses, while they may not be organized into guilds, may not be appreciative of the newcomer taking their customers. This lack of appreciation could be expressed in a number of ways; see the Morality section above.
New businesses may also be required to purchase “protection” from a number of providers.
There are three basic kinds of people in Port Haven, the laborers, merchants, and priests. The laborers usually work five days a week, working at almost any hour. Most commercial shops are open by noon and close between 10 p.m. and midnight. Many establishments dealing with entertainment open in the late afternoon or early evening, and close sometime before dawn.
Payment for work varies from job to job. Dock workers usually get paid 40 to 50 silver a day. Food service employees are usually paid 20 to 30 silver plus tips. Merchants typically don’t have a set income because their goods could be valuable one day, and useless the next.
Slavery is legal and quite profitable. Merchants, temples, and wealthy families use slaves to perform boring, menial, or filthy tasks. Some of these include construction, farming, and housework. Over the past couple of decades, slaves’ bodies have been used as replacements for people who believe in “body hopping”.
Traders specializing in peddling slaves can regularly be seen at the Fifth Street Auction House. Slaves suitable for unskilled labor are usually purchased for 600 to 1200 silver pieces. Trained slaves such as cooks and gardeners usually cost between 2500 and 5000 silver. Other highly trained slaves, such as gladiators and courtesans can sold for tens of thousands of silver pieces.
Orus is the most commonly worshipped deity. Rudri is also a popular deity to worship because she stands for personal gain and power. Ra and T’or are fairly unpopular due to their relationship with laws, order, and regulations. Worshippers of Orus can be seen on street corners preaching their views on life and society. Most people ignore them, but will react violently if greatly offended or business is affected adversely.
A – Broken Leg Collection Agency
The agency is run by an aggressive orc named Rok Pigfukr. If a merchant’s client is late on paying a bill or refuses to pay the fee all together, then Rok will send out some of his bruisers to hunt down the unlucky client and beat the money out of them. In the past, the Agency has also been known to offer their services as bodyguards.
B - Fifth Street Auction House
This large, three-story stone building is located on the western side of the city. Each floor has a number of rooms used for auctioning off different kinds of goods. Jewelry, magical items, property deeds, and high quality or rare furniture are just some examples of objects being purchased. For the safety of the patrons, most financial transactions are performed later in the day and through representatives. Due to the great value of some of the goods, armed guards are posted all over the building. In the case where the buyer either refuses or is unable to pay for the desired object, the officers of the House hire collectors from the Broken Leg Collection Agency to visit the deadbeat buyer. The buyer is usually beaten until half the value of the desired object is collected.
C – The Harbor Master
This wooden building stands two stories tall. A large lamp is mounted on its roof to attract ships coming into the city. At any one time, there are 20 to 30 men working to schedule arrivals and departures, route cargo, and collect dock fees. All records of incoming and outgoing ships are kept in a logbook. This office is a center for marines looking for work.
D – Pensilhalo
The school of auging was established in the early years of the new millennium. Most people go there to learn how to run a business or how to steal from the customer. The Pensilhalo also acts as a science academy for those who wish to learn about astronomy, material science, plant science, medicine, etc.
E – Triabla Halo
Like most large cities, Port Haven has a government building that keeps records about the city’s citizens. Birth certificates, death certificates, property deeds, etc. can be found in this building. Due to this wealth of information, highly trained and armed guards keep watch over the building and the transactions that occur inside.
F - Armorers’ Guild
This one story stone building is located on the south side of Port Haven. Headed by a dwarf named Wulfram Petriov, the guild is comprised of about 30 members. They discuss ideas about material experimentation, armor styles, and material prices. Methods of constructing arms and armor are recorded in books and kept in a library. Any merchant wishing to set up an arms or armor shop must join the guild. As a guild member, the merchant must pay an annual fee of 1000 silver pieces and share any new knowledge he has gained regarding his craft.
G - Builder’s Guild
This three story wooden building is located on the western side of the city. Headed by a human named Bob Taylor, the guild is comprised of about 200 members. Most of the members are architects, carpenters, masons, or surveyors.
H - Financiers’ Guild
This guild is responsible for loans to individuals wishing to start new businesses in the city. There are rumors that this guild does a little more than finance local businesses, but it is mostly idle speculation. It is currently run by one Jamkas Fletcher, a human merchant of the noble class. Most of the loans have a reasonable interest rate if the borrower’s credit is acceptable, but woe betide any who default their payments.
Outstanding accounts are typically sold to the Broken Leg Collection Agency.
I - Jewelers’ Guild
This wooden one story building is located on the north side of the city. Headed by an orc named Narl Assreevr. There are a total of 20 guild members. Anyone wishing to become a jeweler in the city must pay an annual fee of 500 silver pieces to join the guild.
This group determines the carat, clarity, and cut of gem stones that are brought into their possession. They also discuss the going value of gems. Most of the members are specialized in a particular aspect of jewelry work. This includes gem cutting, mounting the gems, working obsidian, etc.
J - Mariner’s Guild
This guild is responsible for all the movement of goods into and out of Port Haven via ship travel. They control all aspects of shipping in the city. They do not tolerate competition, and anyone that expects to ship goods into or out of the city is expected to pay dues based on the amount of cargo moved to the guild.
The Mariner’s Guild is also responsible for the sailors available for hire in the city and maintaining the city’s small harbor patrol. Those sailors wishing to hire themselves out to potential employers within the city are expected to be members of the guild.
They are concerned with the number of portals that have been appearing around the city lately, and it probably won’t be long until they have a hand in those as well.
The guild is currently run by a large Orc named Gork Detaliano.
K - Miner’s Guild
An unusual guild, the Miner’s guild following is comprised almost entirely of Lizards that mine and control about half of the flow of Pho’dite into and out of the Lojem archipelago.
L - Slaver’s Guild
This guild deals with the slave trade in Port Haven. It has dominated the market in the Lojem Archipelago ever since the destruction of the old slave market in Rougtero due to the massive conflagration of 10,042 SF. It is rumored that most of the funding for the slaver’s guild comes from the Detalianos, but anyone that knows for certain is smart enough to not talk.
There is a large, well guarded platform in the marketplace where some of the lesser slaves in the city are shown for auction. Most of the best slaves are shown at the Fifth Street Auction House. Slaves from all over Jaern can be purchased at these locations; from captured pirates from the Southern Pirate Isles to local businessmen who have defaulted on their “payments”.
M – Canal
The old remains of the canal can still be seen in the center of the city. Today, it is used to move goods from the docks to the businesses located in the center of town.
N – Tunnels
These passageways run under the city and connect to a number of important buildings. The tunnels are used primarily as escape routes for members of the Detaliano family, but some resourceful people have gained access to them.
O – The Brass Gnome
This fine establishment is located on the north side of town, not far from Vinny’s. It is owned and operated by a well-build human name Kevlamin Chorste; he goes by “Kev”. He is a walking example of “ham hands”, and has proven his abilities in the boxing rings of the city. He brooks no mischief in his establishment.
P – The Dew Drop Inn
This inn is located in the dock area. The atmosphere is surprisingly calm, considering the number of drunken sailors and violence in the area. Until his untimely death, Jimmy Detaliano used to do business in one of the corner booths. The inn has two passageways that access the secret tunnels that run throughout the city.
Q - The Donkey
Although filthy and rundown, this bar has one popular attraction. One of its “clients” is a three-legged donkey with a patch over one eye. It is widely believed that the donkey can drink anyone “under the table.”
R - The Pit
This tavern is better known for its arena than for its food or drink. In the center of the building is a circular pit approximately 30 feet across and 20 feet deep. Patrons wishing to fight will enter the pit and fight anyone or anything else that enters the pit. A fair amount of money is exchanged during the matches. Most matches only last until someone collapses into unconsciousness.
S – Vinny’s
This fine restaurant was established by Vinny Detaliano. It specializes in exotic foods and wines. A group of musicians are usually playing in the center of the restaurant. Only the important and wealthy dine here.
A number of criminals talk business in this restaurant. One of the regular patrons is an orc merchant named Niki Perrucci, an old business partner with the Detaliano family.
AA – Convent
It a small, but well know temple located on the eastside of the city. The Readers study Port Haven’s businesses and society to determine when the next economic depression or renaissance will occur.
BB – Enclave
The temple of T’or is located near the center of the city. The Enclave is lead by a human named Kavilir Hans Gutenheim. It has holding capacity for about 50 criminals. Due to the society’s general hatred toward T’orites, the temple is constantly being vandalized.
CC – Erection
The temple of Scrogg stands about three stories high, and is located on the south side of the city, between the docks and the market. Most of the Erection’s business is handled by a large number of “street walkers”.
DD - Sanctuary
This is a well-protected temple because the priests can heal the victims of all the violent crimes. It is also the location for ordaining the Holy Warriors of Isis. For some time, the Sanctuary has been under the protection of the Detalianos.
EE - Sanctum
The temple of Orus is the largest one in Port Haven. It is lead by an orc named Beacon Twarg Kuntshankr. Four buildings of orcish construction make up the entire compound.
FF – Sepulcher
The temple of Anubis is fairly small, and acts as little more than the city morgue. Due to lack of space for a cemetery, the priests have built a crematorium. Unless instructed otherwise, the priests perform the proper ceremonies to the dead body, then cremate it.
Listed below are some of the more commonly known people in Port Haven. Most of them are merchants or politicians.
Niki is a small, greasy orc in his late 20’s. He is typically dressed in expensive suits and accompanied by at least two bodyguards. Most of his business deals in real estate, owning a few warehouses on the docks and a couple of other businesses on the western side of town. It is widely rumored that he is a member of the Detaliano family.
Barrister Thomas Fischer
Barrister Fischer is a nicely dressed human in his late 40’s. He is practically the only good, honest lawyer in Port Haven. His area of specialty deals in handling people’s wills and estates. Fischer has performed his duties for many prominent merchants and politicians.
Nikol is a sleazy half-orc in her early 20’s. She typically wears tight-fitting leather clothing and lots of make-up and jewelry. During the day, Nikol helps her father run the Good Shit Trading Post, located near the eastern docks. At night, she enjoys Port Haven’s nightlife.
Twarg Kuntshankr is a female orc in her mid-20s. Like most priests of Orus, she can be seen wearing dresses of all colors, but crimson seems to be her favorite color. Kuntshankr has been the Beacon of Port Haven for the past five years.
Rok is the ill-tempered orc marine who runs the Broken Leg Collection Agency. There have been only a couple of cases where he has turned down a fight.