A Brief History of Freeport
During the latter years of the 10th century of the Age of Might, piracy ran rampant throughout the Coastal Kingdoms. Two of the most predominant pirate captains were Captain Jacob Drac and Captain Silas Francisco. The Kingdoms organized a weak resistance, but the pirates continually escaped their grasp. In the 986th year of the Age of Might, Captain Drac and Captain Francisco joined forces and organized an event known as the Great Raid.
The Great Raid was a synchronized effort by dozens of pirate captains to raid not just ships at sea, but also to come into some of the lesser guarded ports to raid, loot, and pillage. The Great Raid was an overwhelming success, the pirates took in thousands if not millions of coins in treasure. The rendezvous point for all of the pirates was a small town of buccaneers in the Kraken-Tooth Islands, then known as Rum Reef. With all the gold flowing through town, Captains Drac and Francisco decided to invest in the town, making it a port that was free for all to enjoy. They called it Freeport.
With all the gold that was stolen, the Coastal Kingdoms declared war. On the mainland this was known as the Pirate War, but the pirates simply refer to it as the Retaliation. The war raged for 10 years. The reef of Freeport was difficult enough to navigate, that none of the navies of the Coastal Kingdoms were able to stage any sort of attack directly on the city. Also, the Coastal Kingdom has had a history of not working together, and the Pirate War was no different.
The war lasted for 10 years, until 996. The Coastal Kingdoms were not getting anywhere near Freeport, but the pirates were also having a difficult time at sea. In the 996th year of the Age of Might, Captain Drac made an arrangement with the Kings of the Coastal Kingdoms. He would give them Captain Francisco, and they would declare an end to the war. Captain Drac held up his end of the bargain, betraying Captain Francisco, who was hanged for his crimes. In return, Freeport was acknowledged as an independent city-state, with Captain Jacob Drac as its ruler. He agreed to not take the title of King, and thus named his position Sea Lord.
After Captain Drac’s betrayal, he had to work fast to unite the remaining captains of Freeport. He announced his intention to go legitimate, and to keep him in balance, he created a council of the six most influential captains of Freeport. This was known as the Captain’s Council. Spreading the power amongst the other captains saved Freeport, and the city survived, and actually thrived under Captain Drac’s time as the Sea Lord.
As Captain Drac grew older, he knew that his son would not withstand the men of the Captain’s Council, so he announced that Captain Cromey would be his successor. He wanted Freeport to survive long after his rule, and Captain Cromey was tough enough, and wise enough to carry on. In the 1026th year of the Age of Might, Captain Drac died of natural causes, and Captain Cromey became the second Sea Lord of Freeport.
Captain Cromey’s rule was prosperous and the city grew during his time. He followed suit and named Captain Corliss as his successor, and in the 1050th year of the Age of Might, Captain Corliss became the third Sea Lord of Freeport.
During Captain Corliss’s rule as Sea Lord, a war raged on the mainland, and it hampered the trade that Freeport had enjoyed. He had several ships that were bound by treaty to assist in the fighting, and with less gold flowing through the streets, there were riots. Captain Corliss needed to assert more control, but he had to rely on several of the more influential captains in Freeport to assist with their private militias. To gain their favor, he increased the size of the Captain’s Council to 12 (though the Sea Lord gets two votes and breaks all ties). The extra forces brought Freeport under control again.
Captain Corliss was often at odds with the members of the Captain’s Council, who thought that they had the power to control him, and even though they often did, he didn’t want that trend to continue. He broke the pattern of naming a pirate Captain as his successor and instead chose a woman named Marquetta. She was a privateer from the Kingdom of Andor. She had retired from her profession and lived in Freeport for several years. There was much debate, but the laws of Freeport indicated that the Sea Lord could choose their successor. In the 1081st year of the Age of Might, Marquetta beame the fourth Sea Lord of Freeport, the only woman to ever hold that title.
Marquetta took a keen interest in the welfare of the city. She uncovered a slave ring operated by the Thieves’ Guild in conjunction with a gang of orc pirates. She attempted to deal with the problem diplomatically, sending word that slavery would not be tolerated in Freeport, as the basic premise of the city was that all men were free. The guild apparently assented to the request, but several months later she learned that the slave ring was still quite active. She took action against the Thieves’ Guild in what became known as the Back Alley War.
The Back Alley War began in year 1082 and continued to year 1085, when Sea Lord Marquetta was finally victorious and all the leaders of the Thieves’ Guild were killed or imprisoned, and slavery was snuffed out of Freeport. Marquetta had earned the respect of the Captain’s Council and the people and she is remembered as one of the greatest Sea Lords the town has known.
In the 1108th year of the Age of Might, Marquetta’s successor, Captain Tanzer became the fifth Sea Lord of Freeport. He was one of Marquetta’s greatest allies in the latter years of her rule. His rule was largely uneventful. He proclaimed Marten Drac as his successor, a descendant of Jacob Drac himself. And, in the 1136th year of the Age of Might, Marten Drac became the sixth Sea Lord of Freeport.
Marten Drac is considered the worst of all the Sea Lords. It is suspected that he used assassination and blackmail to achieve his position of power, as well as to maintain it. He raised taxes and fattened the Sea Lords coffers, but drove away a lot of merchants. He also instated a law that declared that only a descendant of Jacob Drac could be the Sea Lord. He got this law past the Captain’s Council. His decisions and leadership nearly bankrupted the city. He declared his youngest brother, Anton Drac as his successor, and Marten died after only 14 years as Sea Lord.
In the 1150th year of the Age of Might, Anton Drac became the seventh Sea Lord of Freeport. He repaired much of the damage done by his older brother, but he saw Freeport as his family’s legacy and did not repeal the law declaring that only a Drac may be the Sea Lord. Anton Drac further defined the relationship between the Sea Lord and the Captain’s Council, and the laws for how new members are chosen.
Tragedy struck in the 1175th year of the Age of Might, when Sea Lord Anton Drac was assassinated by an arrow to the heart while he was standing on the docks. The assassin was cornered and killed before he could talk, and for the first time, Freeport had no clear successor. Milton Drac, a distant cousin of Anton, stepped forward as the only reasonable descendant of Jacob Drac, and by the laws set in place by Anton Drac, Milton Drac became the eighth Sea Lord of Freeport.
Milton Drac was not a captain, nor was he a member of the Captain’s Council, but he had surprising support from the Council. Those most likely to oppose him were strangely silent, as if they feared the consequences of such an action. Milton Drac canceled all military aid to allied Kingdoms. He took the money spent on the Freeport fleet, and used it to build a monument to his ambition, the Lighthouse of Drac. It took ten years to complete and nearly bankrupted the city. Most citizens now refer to the lighthouse as Milton’s Folly.
Milton’s rule came to an end in the 1186th year of the Age of Might. Upon the completion of the Lighthouse of Drac, he arranged for ships from all over the world to witness its unveiling. However, he had concocted a sinister plan to unleash a deadly curse upon all who gazed upon the light from the Lighthouse. However, the plan was foiled by a group of adventurers and Milton Drac was slain, along with two members of the Captain’s Council, who were in on the plan.
The Captain’s Council was short two members and without a Sea Lord. There was no obvious member of the Drac family present, so the Council was in the position to repeal the law of succession demanding that a descendant of Drac be the Sea Lord. Learning from their last mistake they changed the law such that the Sea Lord no longer be a descendant of Jacob Drac. Since there was no successor named upon Milton Drac’s death, in the 1186th year of the Age of Might Lady Elise Grossette was selected to be the ninth Sea Lord of Freeport.
After the madness of Milton Drac’s reign, the city streets had become too lawless, and Lady Elise lured an old friend of hers from the Kingdom of Lurg to take the position of Commissioner of the Sea Lord’s Guard, Xander Williams. Xander was the Watch Commander of Maraka for several years and was known for taking a heavy-handed stance against criminals. He immediately hired more guardsmen, and rooted out those who were part of Milton Drac’s organization. Then, he began a massive clean-up of the city streets, rivaling that of the Back Alley War.
Commissioner Williams was able to take down Finn’s Syndicate from the Eastern District, capturing Finn himself and hundreds of his associates in a massive raid upon the Halfling Benevolent Association, which was the front for his operations. He also made a lot of headway against the two major gangs of Freeport, the Cutthroats and the Buccaneers. Rumors have it that the leaders of those gangs have left the city to set up their gangs somewhere else.
Commissioner Williams’ actions have earned him a lot of credit with the Captain’s Council as well as with the law-abiding citizens of Freeport, but he claims that after he deals with the violent criminals he wants to shut down the brothels and gambling establishments as well. Many fear that he is attempting to go too far.
In the 1190th year of the Age of Might, Captain Dante Francisco organized a coup. All of the non-active captains on the council were murdered. Commissioner Xander Williams was also murdered, leaving the city under completely new leadership. Assuming the title of Sea Lord, Captain Francisco empowered the middle and lower class to rise, bringing more balance to the city. It still remains a safehaven for pirates, but no longer has the extreme differences in class between the merchant district and scurvytown.