Fishtown is an anomaly of a place. To understand it, you first have to understand where it came from.
Way back when, some elders might still remember it, there was a fair sized war. Most of the fighting was done on the water, as it was faster to cross the Belathin Bay then to circle around on land. Blockades were set up, privateers ran rampant, and the whole area became a pretty unsavory place. There was one area in particular, that just came to be known as the graveyard. It was directly between the warring nations, and it was there that the majority of battle happened. The whole war would have gone on for who knows how long, except for the sinking of the ship Galahant. It was a monster of a thing, even using some new weapons, and a hull plated in iron. When this thing hit the Graveyard, it just started to plow through all sorts of ships. Not little ones either, but battleships and raiders. It was going so well that nobody was really paying much attention when one of the guns went. We don’t really know what happened, a stray cannonball or something, but the thing went off like an angry mage. Whatever they had done to those new guns, the things had some explosive force in them. Of course, when it went, it took a fair chunk of the ship with it. Pretty quick, the whole mess was going down to the depths. Now, you’d THINK that would be the end of it.
Now nobody at the time new this, but it seemed that there had been an old religion there a long time back. Silt sorcerers, something like that. At any rate, there are a few things we do know about them, now at least: Firstly, they’d had powerful command over the sea and the sand beneath it. Second, they didn’t feel like dying. They’d put some sort of spell on one of their old temples, and sealed themselves up in it. They slept, or something like it, for what must’ve been many hundred, maybe a thousand years. Well, that ship, the Galahant, it plowed right into that old temple of theirs. Cracked the seals, and woke up the old sorcerers. They of course were some vexed about the ship sticking in through their ceiling, and they set off to do something about it. In a matter of hours, the whole Graveyard lurched itself up from the depths. Those sorcerers might have been old, but apparently they still had might left in them. They hauled the entire seabed up, and it wasn’t shallow there to begin with either. It was still submerged, but not by much. The better part of the ships were sticking out now, piled up on each other just as they’d landed there at the bottom when their time came.
At that point, the war redirected itself to deal with these sorcerers. By the time that they were dealt with, neither side had the strength to keep fighting, nor the funds. In a shot at getting some coin back in the coffers, they started by retroactively removing the licenses of the privateers, making them all honorary pirates, and claiming that all of their goods were to be paid to the crown, else they’d be facing the noose. Those who tried to keep their hard-earned coin became outlaws, and a bounty went out: half of the treasure to anyone who brought them to justice, as well as the ship. The crown kept the other half.
Of course, this sat even less well with the pirates. Being chased by both nations, they went to the only place they could escape to in time: the Graveyard.
All the pirates were used to living on ships, so they pretty quickly got the hang of doing so on the oddly angled wrecks sticking out of the water. There were enough cannons, mortars and other guns on the wrecks to blow just about anything apart, and anytime they downed a ship they just used their own vessels to haul the wrecks from the shallow seabed and tack it on to the growing graveyard. Eventually, the contract on the pirates was removed, as both sides were losing too many ships to the little fortress. By that point though, the pirates had come to live there, growing food in the wrecks they couldn’t live in and fishing for the rest. It had become their home, and Fishtown was born.
That was still a while back, and it’s still changed yet. The location of Fishtown has made it a major trading center, and since it’s not part of any nation people who aren’t welcome anywhere can go there to find refuge. Between what washes up, who washes up and what comes sailing in, virtually anything can be found. Of course, it’s still a town founded by pirates, so the price might be steep and you’ll want to watch your back, more so in some areas than others.
There’s not really any law in Fishtown, just a general knowledge that if you put off the wrong folk, they can and will scuttle your house. Because of this, anyone who misses out on the nuances will think it to be a real friendly place, not picking up on the fact that most of the people are either sizing them up or trying to stay on their good side. The ones who aren’t, well, they’ll probably be waiting for you around the next corner.
Like any city, Fishtown has it’s districts. Unlike any other city, all of them are waterfront.
Generally, the outer edge of the city on all sides will be rife with traders selling whatever they’ve managed to find, buy or steal. The further to the west of the city you go, the more likely the merchandise is to been from that latter one. A few of the more permanent establishments should be mentioned:
Off on the Northeastern rim, one of the more upright ships has had cloth draped down from it’s three masts to cover the entire deck. This is the place run by Khallikan. He’s a trader from distant lands, and he always has interesting goods. He has headgear that you never see around here, it’s a sort of big wrap, he’s always wearing one. He has plenty of vessels in gold and brass, and he has some really nice rugs. The problem with them is that, in Fishtown, rugs tend to get wet and start rotting real fast, so other than trading them to somewhere else they aren’t all that useful.
This is a neat place. It’s run out of a ship that was scuttled at some point, and the entire lower deck is underwater. The guys there go diving down to lower wrecks and find stuff that went down with them, before bringing it back up topside and selling it. They also check newer wrecks, since in a lot of the old ones stuff has started to rot. If you don’t mind some verdigris on your stuff, you can find some great deals there.
The Fish Market
This is the place responsible for Fishtown’s name. As you can probably guess, there are a lot of fishermen living here. This is where they sell their catch.
Taking up the entire Southeastern third of the rim, it’s the biggest district by far. It also sends out a powerful smell that can be detected anywhere else in the city, despite winds. You can find just about any salt water subtropic fish here. There’s also "catch of the hour". Because this, like all places in Fishtown, is located on a number of boats, there’s fish filled water on all sides. While selling, almost all stalls have a few baited lines in the water. Because of this, most of the fish here is fresh, but if you’re willing to wait and be ready to buy at a moments notice, you can wait for a freshly caught fish.
A city has to have people in it, and people have to live somewhere. Most of the interior of Fishtown is residential and recreational, with the districts getting poorer the closer you get to the Fish Market. Anybody with the money buys a boat further away from the ever-present smell of fish.
Most of the taverns and institutes are pretty typical aside from the location, with a few exceptions:
The Holey Ark
Evidently, this ship met it’s end by being riddled with shells. Now, it’s a pub. The drinks are standard, as is the fare, but it’s the only place where you can pay for a fishing pole and then they’ll cook anything you catch through one of the many gaping wounds on the deck. Results vary of course, and you’ll always here the tale of someone catching a leviathan of a fish and getting many times their money’s worth. That might have happened. Once. The fishing is about average here, the size limited only by the fact that the fish would have to be small enough to swim through the network of shattered hulls and have the bad fortune to wind up there.
This bar was in danger of going under, pardon the pun, before they created a novel drinking game: each drinker stands on a plank that has been loosely nailed to the deck, standing far out enough that it threatens to come off. At that point, people start passing the contestants pints of reasonably weak beer. Eventually, someone gains enough weight from the liquid ingested that the protesting board finally gives way and they plunge into the water. They then have to pay for the drinks.
Since it’s conception, this little bar has grown in size and popularity, despite the fact that there’s no real skill or stamina involved in the game, just who has the weaker plank.
A last few things bear mentioning about Fishtown. First off, when you get right down to it it looks like a small armada got thrown together. The ships are by no means level, many of them are at angles steep enough that platforms are built on to them. Also, since they aren’t cubes, there is space between them. It varies how much, but many of them can be jumped across. Despite warnings from mothers, this actually remains a popular game among children here. There are a few ships that don’t have space between them, ones that have crashed into each other and the like.
Second, the sea bed may have risen, but it’s not that high. Most of the boats of Fishtown are resting on other wrecks, and some of those on top of more. Fleets clashed on that spot, and the ships had nowhere to go but down. Finally, almost all of the boats of Fishtown have been sunk at one point or another. There are plenty of rotten boards, and all ships bear some signs of damage, despite unskilled repair attempts.
Keeping all that in mind, enjoy your stay in Fishtown!