Random things you might see in a strange port

Our random things articles are designed to give quick hits of inspiration for time-pressed GMs who want to inject some additional details into their game, when you’re stuck for a detail roll 1D20 on the table below for an idea. Although these articles are mostly fantasy-based in nature we’ve strived to keep them generic enough that they can be used with most games.

Lloyd and myself are currently gearing up to start work on writing up the version of our Storm & Sail Fate Accelerated game that will go to those involved in our second-stage playtest so my mind is naturally turned to pirates and swashbuckling deeds at the moment. Presented below are twenty strange ports that your ship might weigh anchor at.

1The port has a strong smell of rotting fish in the air, the locals are all glassy eyed and play host to all many of strange deformities.
2This port is a bastion of draconic law and order, the corpses of pirates and criminals hang from cages over the harbour, gibbets line the roadside and the sound of a gleeful crowd is often heard from the town square where public executions are held.
3The port is entirely deserted, the homes are empty and ships lie unmanned in the harbour, however food adn gear is untouched, the place looks as though all of the people simply vanished.
4The port is home to a natural spring that is reputed to have healing properties, a shrine has grown up around the spring to provide aid to pilgrims.
5Whilst once a legitimate port, this place has long been claimed by pirates, no deed is illegal here as long as you respect the Pirate Lord who runs the place and make sure that he gets his cut. The taverns resound with gunfire and bawdy laughter, although serious battles in the port are rare since they tend to get broken up by the Pirate Lord personally.
6This port is part of a major trade route carrying spices and precious raw materials back from the colonies, heavily laden galleons regularly leave port hauling precious cargo, rich-pickings for any pirate crew brave or foolhardy enough to risk the well-armed vessels that defend them.
7Originally this port was planned to be the start of a burgeoning colony on a dense jungle island, the workers cleared the trees near the coast, building a stone fort and sundry other buildings, however a series of disasters lead to the place acquiring a cursed reputation. It has been mostly abandoned and re-claimed by the jungle.
8This port is little more than a watch-post for one of the larger nations, consisting of a stone tower equipped with signal beacon, a single cannon and half a dozen men.
9During it's first winter the inhabitants of this port were near starvation, they were rescued by a friendly tribe of natives and have since adopted many of their ways and customs.
10This port is populated by a religious sect of people who eschew the use of gunpowder and many more modern inventions, despite the fact that this would seem to make them easy prey for pirates they seem blissfully unaffected; the local priest puts this down to the strength of their faith.
11The governor of this port is a worldly man who is fond of his wealth and position, he can often be persuaded to look the other way when a bit of smuggling takes place as long as he gets appropriate inducement.
12This port makes a brisk trade transporting gold and native goods back to their home nation in return for glass beads and other traded items, a good portion of the populace are fairly wealthy.
13There is a strong weaving trade in this port, producing garments and excellent sails for ships, the sails you can acquire here are expensive but they are believed to be the best on the seas, holding strong against even gail-force winds.
14An eccentric inventor lives in a hut on a hill overlooking the port, he is greatly respected and his eccentricities tolerated since the port benefits greatly from several of his inventions.
15This port is being used as a military outpost, gathering troops and equipment prior to an invasion or attack, their is a standing army slowly being built-up in the port.
16Recent terrible weather has resulted in the crops used to sustain the population of this port failing, they are currently getting near the end of their reserves and their Governor is considering desperate measures to feed his people.
17Many people originally came to this place following rumours of a pirate treasure buried here, although no-one has ever found it, hopefuls continue to flood to the island, many eventually settled and founded the port town.
18The people of this port all seem friendly, almost too friendly and eager to help assist strangers, they attempt to persuade visitors to join them worshipping their sea god who they claim brings forth gold from the waves.
19An old family of aristocrats governs this port, they are rarely seen abroad by day and all who do see them remark on their beautiful, pallid complexions; the family seems almost obsessed with the well-being of their people, although recently people have started to go missing.
20This port regularly faces hostilities from a savage tribe of natives that populate the island, guards remain on duty with weapons ready at all time and their is an air of constant tension as they wait for the next attack.

Skull image taken from Pixabay, designated CC0 Public Domain.

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