Campaign of the Month: June 2012
Corruption +4; Crime +4; Economy +5; Law –6; Lore +3, Society +0
Qualities notorious, prosperous, strategic location, rumor-mongering citizens
Government secret syndicate
Population 5,281 (4,200 humans [2,000 Bonuwat, 500 Bekyar,
1,700 other], 475 dwarves, 250 elves, 150 halflings, 75
gnomes, 131 other)
- Harthwik Barzoni, Grand Admiral of the Fever Sea (CN male human aristocrat 4/rogue 11)
- Tybalt Crow, Militiamaster of Bloodcove (N male human fighter 15)
- Tesha Umbertine, Dockmaster (LN female dwarf fighter 5)
- Dibwurd Mupkin, lighthouse keeper (LE male human ghost expert 3/sorcerer 6)
Base Value 6,800 gp; Purchase Limit 50,000 gp; Spellcasting 6th Minor Items 4d4; Medium Items 3d4; Major Items 1d6
Officially, Bloodeye, also called Bloodcove, takes its name from the iron-rich waters that spill out of the Vanji River, staining the waters red. Unofficially, everyone knows that the name really refers to what the settlement’s wealth is built on—blood. For if the foreign exploitation of Mwangi is a living beast, as its victims sometimes imagine it to be, then Bloodcove is its beating heart, feeding on the grief of both the Mwangi people and the land itself. Within Bloodcove’s twisting boardwalks, rafts, and stilt-houses, all resting on the intertwined roots of massive mangrove trees, the civilized world has come to the Expanse, with all the joy and suffering that entails.
Though Bloodcove has its share of unaffiliated merchants and pirates, the amount of wealth f lowing through it is due mainly to the presence of the Aspis Consortium. Agents of the Aspis Consortium hide in every shadow in Bloodcove— as well as preen in every spotlight—and they manipulate trade, orchestrate raids, and keep a close eye on anyone who might affect the bottom line. In Bloodcove, business is everything, and while the enmity of an Aspis Consortium agent or affiliate might not be personal, it’s still exceedingly dangerous. Though most traders understand that for better or worse, Bloodcove is the best trade nexus in the Expanse, of late several new and independent settlements, such as Freestation farther east along the Vanji, have been springing up in hopes of facilitating trade (and perhaps to splinter off their own piece of the action). Though these other townships are generally run by the Aspis Consortium as well (either overtly, or via infiltrated agents), there’s no question that the elite of Bloodcove have mixed feelings about any hint of competition.
The Grand Admiral of the Fever Sea, Harthwik Barzoni, styles himself the official ruler of Bloodcove, though the Grand Admiral position appears to be that of an official elected for life by the scions of the original pirate founders. In truth, the trading consortiums that siphon their goods
through Bloodcove have considerable say in who is chosen to serve as the Grand Admiral and what power the position holds. Barzoni maintains the Bloodcove militia and ensures that the periodic violence that sweeps the settlement does not disrupt trade. In return, all businesses and permanent residents of the cove pay Barzoni a small monthly fee to help “maintain order”—and his position.
Locations in Bloodcove
Below are several prominent locations in the dock city of Bloodcove, both those familiar to all regular visitors—such as Free Trade Square—and those like the Pathfinder Lodge which, despite their significance, keep their identities shrouded from all but a trusted few.
Warehouse Row: The docks area known as Warehouse Row is one of the most important locations in Bloodcove. The rust-red waters that emerge sluggishly from the river here channel immense wealth, most of it looted from ancient tombs by treasure seekers or plundered from the land itself by loggers and miners eager to exploit the region’s bountiful natural resources. The Aspis Consortium oversees the movement of goods through Bloodcove via its agents on the Row. Most of the dockworkers are Mwangi humans who earn a decent wage by hauling crates, mending hulls, and maintaining storage areas, but those in charge report to the Aspis Consortium.
Tesha Umbertine, one of the rare dwarves in Bloodcove, serves as the port’s Dockmaster. Unlike many of her race, she loves boats and ships of all types and is fascinated by sea travel. Umbertine has a vast knowledge of different ship types and can recite the name and dock number of every boat to ever enter Bloodcove during her time as Dockmaster. She is one of the wealthiest citizens in Bloodcove, and her family operates a reputable armory in addition to working on the dock.
Umbertine reports her activities and those of all ships entering Bloodcove to the Aspis Consortium. She’s a pragmatic sort who sees no reason to cross the Consortium and has no particular bias for or against the group, though their funds certainly go to pay her salary. Umbertine knows that any perceived betrayal on her part could cause the Aspis Consortium to take action against her, perhaps even kill her. For this reason she is very hard to bribe.
A series of long piers juts from the central dock area in southernmost Bloodcove. In addition to housing the Dockmaster’s Office and various storage areas, Warehouse Row is home to one of the oldest and most profitable inns in the city, the notorious Witchlight.
The Witchlight: Most new visitors to Bloodcove stay at the Witchlight, a prominent inn on Warehouse Row. The inn’s original owner built the large, comfortable building out of wood from the same twisting mangrove trees over whose roots Bloodcove crouches. Moss hangs from the inn’s eaves and glimmers in moonlight, giving the inn the eerie appearance from which it takes its name.
In recent years, the Witchlight has gained a reputation for being unlucky. The last two owners ran the inn for less than 2 years each before disappearing. Some claim that the wispy balls of swampfire that sometimes hover around the inn are sentient and believe the property is theirs, and that the witchlights slowly sap away the life energy of anyone else who tries to claim ownership of the inn.
In reality, the Aspis Consortium realized the utility of controlling and monitoring the inn where so many of Bloodcove’s traders stay. They placed their own agent in control of the inn, but later reassigned him and replaced him with another. The second owner proved untrustworthy and tried to abscond with some of the Consortium’s funds. After dealing with their unfaithful member, the Aspis Consortium placed a third agent—the current owner, a human man named Byshek Obeil—in charge. Obeil uses his staff to spy on guests and collect information on the Consortium’s behalf.
Free Trade Square: Free Trade Square is the financial heart of Bloodcove. The famous plaza sits on an elevated platform level just north of Warehouse Row, looking down on the harbor full of ships and traders. When cargo—or more often, hard currency—leaves those ships, it comes to Free Trade Square, where the citizens of Bloodcove barter and trade bales of valuable raw resources for all the riches of the Fever Sea.
Shacks, stalls, and more established stores ring the oblong landing. While shops open and close in predictable patterns, Free Trade Square never closes. When new cargo enters the city, as it does almost every hour, in most cases it goes straight to the square. Visitors to Bloodcove can find quality weapons at midnight, bolts of cloth at sunset, and narcotics at breakfast.
Explorer’s Society Lodge: Bloodcove’s Explorer’s Society lodge sits at the end of a narrow pedestrian street known as the Drop-Off. The relatively small building affords a good view of the harbor and holds an office and two bunks. Malika Fenn (N female human ranger 5), a Bonuwat Pathfinder venture- captain, lives in and maintains the lodge, investigating interesting rumors passed along by those aboard the ships stopping in Bloodcove. She follows up on some rumors herself and imparts the others to Pathfinders traveling through the area. Malika is willing to provide food and lodging for visiting Pathfinders, but she lacks the resources to provide for more than a few people at a time. On the whole, though the Consortium doubtlessly knows of her presence, Malika is wise enough to keep her head down in public and makes sure that those Pathfinder investigations she fosters happen far from Bloodcove itself, hopefully allowing her enough plausibility to avoid a turf war she can’t hope to win.
Aspis Consortium Headquarters: The official Aspis Consortium headquarters for its Mwangi Expanse operations sits at the western end of Corsair’s Way. While not the grandest building in Bloodcove, the Consortium headquarters has a dignified, mercantile look to it, much like merchant houses in more civilized regions.
The building serves as the ostensible headquarters of the Aspis Consortium and holds copies of mundane files, a small treasury, maps, shipping manifests, and the like. Most
people in Bloodcove presume that the Consortium keeps its important documents and the bulk of its wealth— that not already funneled north or into Consortium businesses—divided among its prominent members and well hidden.
The Castellany of the Fever Sea:
Built into the trunk of the largest tree in the mangrove, the Castellany of the Fever Sea is a series of chambers and lodgings belonging to Grand Admiral Harthwik Barzoni. From this location, the department of the Grand Admiralty (as Barzoni refers to himself and his cronies) oversees the day-to-day business of Bloodcove.
Both his offices and living quarters occupy the Castellany, and numerous enthusiastic but ill-trained guards serve as a militia, protecting both the Castellany and the city.