Fort Port is a small and unsavory town. The large more permanent buildings are run down and in poor repair. The smaller buildings are practically ramshackle and have a "thrown up" or "made with spare materials" look. Some buildings are boats that are no longer seaworth brought to shore and modified slightly. The streets are alley like - small, unpaved, unplanned, and usually quite mucky. The boardwalk sidewalks in the better parts of town are narrow and uneven, being made of scavaged planking from ship decks. If it was not for the lack of germs on Arth, the smell here would be attrocious.
The docks however are a thing of pride. They are strong combinations of stone pilings and wood planking. The dozen or so piers can accomidate everything from a river flatraft to a SeaClanner HomeShip (not that many dock here given the difficulties between SeaClans and the River Clan. A few of the better kept buildings are the warehouses adjacent to the docks.
While the Rats, the River Clan, are in charge here. The entire "town", to use the best word, has a decidely "no one in charge feel". It is like the town is one large tavern, filled with public intoxication, fights, wenching with Courtisans (as nobody does anything in Fort Port for free), and random acts. The party runs day and night.
Those working on the docks are fairly sober, as working as a longshoreman is dangerous enough without being "in your pots".
The Clan Hall of the Rats is in the Old Fort. The Lower floors are an actual tavern where only River Rats can go. The upper floor has more private rooms where "The Big Rat", the head of the clan, lives and conducts what could loosely be called business. The basement bunkers are where the "wealth of the clan" is kept. It should be noted that there are still a couple of catapults in working order here on the top of the fort. "Just in case," is the common response to why.
Normally, the Rat Clanners are a hard working and fairly honest lot. They work the docks and the rivers in Thirdland and the docks in some ports of SecondLand. The works is hard and does not pay well. Sure they are known to grumble and be difficult, but they do the work.
Here, they also do the work. But here, they are in charge. No longer under the thumb of others they feel more free and are willing to take their due (or what they see as it). The cargos occasionally "slip off" the decks or docks, only to be found after the craft has left. A few Rats do some piracy. That is where the real money is.
In these waters, pirates seldom do an outright attack. They sneak abord rafts or ships at night, knock out the crew on watch, steal what they can quiety, and sneak out. Unless the prize is great, they mostly just flitch some supplies and goods, and return to the waters. While this seems hard to believe, remember that many of these crews are filled with Rat Clanners.
Ships have large crews. Rafts are manned by just a few. Many a raft has been hijacked by "pirates". The crew is normally just tossed over the side by a rush of pirates. They either take the raft (often selling it back to the hijacked crew for a price) or transfering the cargo and heading off. Every now and again a ship with a good prize will be taken with the same technique. People thrown over the edge rather than killed… the ships ransomed back to the crew floating in the water.
Pirates and dock thieves (also called pirates around here) take their "fee" and turn most of the goods and money over to the Rat Clan itself. (Of course, the Rat Clan denies this happens). That money flows back to the individual members of the entire clan: more to the local rats, but some gets sent "up river" to other clan docks. That easy money is responsible for the never ending party of Fort Port.
Given the atmosphere of Fort Port, it attracts any number of less savory individuals to its shores. Gamblers, con-men, assassins, and those on the run find haven here. As long as you pay The Clan their due, you can run your "business" here. (If you are on the run, you need to pay a "benevolence", a price in silver or gold for the amount of trouble those chasing you cause. If you are "more trouble than you are worth", they simply let those others extract you.) It should be noted that businesses that would be considered "legitimate" in most areas still must give their due. To be fair, that due is less here than it is in most places.
It should be noted that the Rat Clan pays it due to The Imperial Government on all its gains - legal and illegal. They are actually quite honest on this front. (Note: When the Imperial tax collector is a master of mind magic and can see the past… it is always a good call to be honest). By paying their due, it makes any "less than respectable transactions" a "local squawble" and avoids Imperial entanglements. In truth, the losses to businesses is actually quite minimal so only a token effort to root out the pirates is ever mounted.