Portsport is a coastal city in the southeast corner of North Vanil. It is the single most populous Vanilli settlement on the continent, with a population well in excess of half a million, and is in possession of the most extensive and powerful maritime army and trade network on Gymalle. While it projects sizable influence in that respect, it has a comparatively minimalist adherence to patrolling and tending to the area ostensibly under its control; rare is it that Portsport projects land-based power farther west than Gerbod or farther north than Tinder. Its safety and independence is guaranteed through its strategic location on a small peninsula that allows it to bottleneck invading land forces while absolutely dominating marine assaults with their superior navy.
Portsport was founded early in the Fifth Kingdom after worshipers of The Three Sisters were converted to a new religion. Leaving the forested hills and centers of worship to the north, a large migration moved to the south and laid the city’s foundations. This migration was not without its frictions, but by the end of the Fifth Kingdom Portsport was well-entrenched and on its way to becoming a major player in Vanilli politics.
Starting in the Sixth Kingdom, Portsport became the single Vanilli trade partner with a cautious Simoom to the south, and the influx of rare trade goods helped quickly increase its wealth and power. The city funneled a sizable portion into expanding its navy and further ensuring the safety of its merchant fleets. This foresight paid off in the Seventh Kingdom when Simoom fought for independence from its Thean leaders; Portsport commissioned its navy (in exchange for incredibly lucrative trade agreements, some of which are still in effect to this day) to intercept Thean reinforcements at sea.
In more recent times, Portsport maintains a stranglehold on trade goods coming to and from Simoom, and is also a regular stopping point for land-based caravans from Clensa and Kalimaar. Portsport (or, more accurately, the parts of Vanil it is supposed to govern) has been the site of various dangers and upheavals; in addition, the city itself is currently undergoing a low-key civil war between the entrenched Thieves Guild and a surprisingly powerful upstart organization of smugglers known as the Bogy Brothers. This conflict has spilled over to devastating effect; in the winter of 1533, a fire broke out in the city’s poorest district (where the turf war between the Thieves Guild and Bogy Brothers is most often carried out) and resulted in nearly a quarter of the city, including the entirety of the north docks and part of the halfling quarter, burning to the ground. Since then, the ruling elite of Portsport has turned its eyes inward and has focused more closely on the conflict, though they have not yet acted against either group.
Government and Society
Portsport is nominally ruled by a single High Regent who is selected as leader by the various merchant groups active in the city. The position has little effective power; outside maintaining the internal affairs of the city proper, the individual trade consortiums determine overall policy for the city and the areas under its control as a mixed oligarchy/kleptocracy. The most obvious result of this is the lax attention Portsport pays to other settlements under its control. It sends out token patrols on an irregular basis, but it is not interested in expending wealth on ventures seen as ultimately unprofitable. Most areas in Portsport District therefore experience a great degree of autonomy.
Portsport is unique among large cities in that worship of The Three Sisters, and most importantly Harova, is tolerated in the mainstream. In fact, twice annually a celebration is given in Harova’s honor to mark the beginning and close of the sea trading season; for three days each time, the city shuts down for the festivities while residents look forward to the delights known as salt virgins—a naturally salty fish skewered and packed in a thick crust of salt, eaten raw. All churches are expected to pay appropriate taxes to the government and open religious squabbling is not tolerated (this does not, however, mean covert action is not taken. The rivalry between clerics of Casada and The Destroyer is particularly fierce). Likewise, the three main Guilds maintain a presence in the city, though the Thieves Guild is by far the most powerful and influential.
Other races are not actively discriminated against by the ruling elite, though racial frictions are a common occurrence due to a large membership of The Brotherhood. Portsport has distinct halfling and riichna districts (which happen to be adjacent to one another and serving as a buffer between the slums and the sectors of Portsport most visitors frequent); it is not uncommon for human toughs to run afoul of the residents of these areas (and, most often in the case of the riichnas, it is not uncommon for them to fail to return safely). Dwarves, gnomes, and elves reside in large part within the halfling district as well, while half-orcs are forced to maintain a low profile. A minority of the human population is of Simoomese or even Thean ancestry, and both are given small, more-or-less independent, sectors of the city near the South Docks to call their own.
Figures of Note From and Around Portsport
- Drummond the Iceman
- Lena Hopebringer
- The Bogy Brothers
Settlements of Vanil
Dwarven: | Brokenspire | Diremug Lookout | Grazzet’s Pass | Gruffinshome | Hammerstone Keep | Sejlahusk |
Elven: | Carmi | Tesska Forest | Vas Forest |
Gnomish: | Brokenspire | Crumblesbrook | Northtinker | Southtinker | Snabapple |
Human (Portsport District): | Portsport | Suxold | Gerbod | Goblisooth | Tinder |
Human (Clensaba): | Clensa | Welwyn | Onaway | Ironoak Crossing |
Human (Kalimaar District): | Kalimaar | Carm | Fort Vadid |
Human (Simoom District): | Simoom | Ospen’s Culvert | Cill |
Human (Tumish): | Tuma |
Riichna: | Barchil | Derma Juchad | Thyde | Uckala |