Sunday, August 23, 2009

History of Maugre's Port

This port has a short but varied history. Founded by merchants from the league over 100 years ago, it was first nothing more than a landing spot for merchants wanting to trade with natives. Within a few years a permanent settlement began to be formed, with native tribes taking advantage of the ships who landed by setting up crude trading facilities right off the beach. About twenty years later several merchant houses had rough semi-permanent facilities set up, and a wizard’s tower was built by an exiled Blue Necromancer. He disappeared a few years later and the tower stood unused (due to the presence of a demonic being bound to the interior) until Gladstone took it over 20 years ago.
About 70 years ago, several merchant houses from the League formed an alliance and built the first rudimentary wall that blocked off the peninsula from the beach and jungle. For the next 50 years the village went through several masters. First, a Delosian chieftain raided the village and set himself up as the head of the village. He terrorized the merchant houses for many years until his power waned and he was killed by rivals. Then, a succession of merchant houses controlled the village, depending on who hired the most and deadliest mercenaries, or who struck the best deal with the various tribes surrounding the village. Finally, around 30 years ago one Merchant Prince from House Zalos managed to eliminate all other heads of houses in the village, and used ruthless power to enslave and exploit the local native population. He terrorized the coast for many years with his fleet of mercenary pirates and managed to amass a fortune as he had a stranglehold on all trade that went through the port.
Eight years after that, a group of adventurers passed through on their way to exploring the Lost Plateau. Several of the party members had problems with the Merchant Prince and the Taranthian temple outside of town, and eventually entered a pitched battle with the Merchant Prince and his mercenary hordes. The adventurers were almost destroyed and survived only by fleeing into the interior of Delos. Two years later, Maugre and his group emerged from the jungle backed by a large group of native Delosians, mercenaries, and his now highly experienced adventuring group, which surprise attacked the village supported (covertly) by weapons and magic supplied by disgruntled Merchant Costers from the league that the Merchant Prince had exiled. Maugre’s troops killed all the outland mercenaries, slaughtered the Merchant Prince’s servants and allies (who were revealed to be Serpent Men in disguise) and publicly executed the Merchant Prince after the town was taken. The temple to Taranthus was razed, the Taranthian priests and slavelords were put to the sword, and a secret worship cavern to Seth was sealed off after many Yuan-Ti halfbreeds and purebloods were killed. Maugre immediately instigated himself as leader and renamed the village Maugre’s Port, installed his large mercenary band as the city guard, allowed his friend Torath to build a large temple to Akadia outside town, and invited the three merchant houses that supported him to immediately set up trading costers in the town and establish bases. The takeover was so quick and so complete that House Zaros has never mounted a return, and merely wrote off the loses in Delos and established a new coster in Nidik (Citadel of the Taranthians on Delos).
Maugre, with the help of Torath, Gladstone and the High Plutarch, has run Maugre’s Port for over 20 years with very few incidents. He has set up all the profitable enterprises in town, and indirectly gets a piece of the action through all three merchant coasters and the cities inns and taverns. He is retired in a sense, amusing himself with the occasional ferreting out of an underground Taranthian slave ring or Serpent man plot. Mostly he is a figurehead that uses diplomacy to deal with infighting between the merchant costers and the semi-annual native uprisings in the jungle. Although he is black he is not Delosian, being born far to the east in a Taranthian slave camp before escaping to New Emphyria when he was a young boy. To this day he has a fanatical hatred of anything Taranthian, and also of orcs (his parents were killed by orc pirates while escaping the Taranthian empire on their way to New Emphyria).
There have been a few attempts to attack Maugre’s Port the last 20 years, all meeting in failure. This is due to many things, mostly his troops excellent equipment and experience (all are trained by Rhone-worshipping military men and equipped with excellent steel swords, bows, hide armor and shields) and the behind the scenes machinations of powerful spellcasters such as Gladstone, Torath and the High Plutarch. He has a highly elaborate spy system, and every major enterprise in the Port can be said to have an employee in the pay of Maugre or one of his minions (this includes all inns and taverns, all the major temples, all the Merchant coasters, and the City Guard which is directly under his control). It is accepted that within Port Maugre everything said somehow gets back to the ears of Maugre himself, and the natives are in superstitious awe and dread of him. He often strolls the town with his huge cat on one side and the impressive seven foot bodyguard Threespear on the other, causing the villagers to scurry from in front of him as he checks on his troops or meets with the merchant houses. He is a strict man with few vices, and demonstrates only passing interest in women, only consorting with Nann or Henrika (who of course are also his spies and report back to him). He never drinks or uses drugs, and has been known to discipline soldiers that report to duty inebriated or fall asleep at their posts by having them whipped and humiliated in front of the entire guard. However, he has a soft spot for children and the great cats of the jungle (Lions, Tigers, Jaguars, etc). He often chats with young children in the streets and lets them pick fresh fruits from his personal garden. He has been known to personally purchase captured great cats from the Delosian jungle, nurse them back to health or train them, and then release them or present them to his friends as well-trained and faithful guardian pets (both The High Plutarch and Torath are shadowed by fanatically loyal and highly trained cats, a Leopard and Lioness respectively). Unless player characters belong to one of the Merchant costers or catch his attention somehow through an incredible deed, they probably will not interact with Maugre.

House Tarn, House Mith, House Valaryan:
The three main trading costers operating outside the league through Delos, these estates contain the dozen or so employees and mercenaries needed to run the business side from here. By Maugre’s decree, each coster can have no more than 50 mercenaries working for them at one time, and no more than 25 staying at each estate. Usually the number is somewhat half that, as mercenaries are usually hired by the deed and job and then quickly unemployed once the job is finished. Breaking this rule results in the confiscation of all property on the premises, so all three houses use spies to watch the others so as to be ready to report any infractions…so this keeps everyone honest, and prevents any one house from having a great advantage over another.

House Tarn: Gemstones (diamonds), copper
House Mith: Wood (mahogany, cedar), native art items, animal hides
House Valaryan: Ivory, Spices (pepper, cloves, cinnamon)

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