Chapter Three: Forces Within Port Verge

With the end of open hostilities in the Last War, political pressure from many of Port Verge's rivals has only increased. Karrnath and Q'barra both have increased their naval patrols in the Lhazaar Sea which impedes both piracy and legitimate trade, and High Prince Rygar in Regalport is eager to become the sole ruler of the contested waterways. With so many pressures directed on it, Port Verge is a city rife with danger, intrigue, and opportunity for adventurers to take advantage of.

Prince Kolberkon

The prince of Port Verge is wily and crafty statesman, something which has spelled the difference between life and death for him in the past. Facing the more powerful fleets of High Prince Rygar and the stronger armies of the Five Nations, Kolberkon has turned to other allies and played them off each other. Currently, the Prince has agreements with the Blood of Vol and House Lyrandar which both are well-integrated into the city life.
A decade of careful balance and diplomatic feints have created a growing paranoia in the Prince. He has become increasingly conspiratorial and the Diresharks patrols under his commands walk the streets of Port Verge with renewed purpose. The Prince expects an attack from a dozen sources any time and his handling of all of these is masterful, but it is the threats within his own city that are the most pressing and the most mysterious. Unknown to most, the Prince has even taken in several "pet" changelings who he employs as decoys. These changelings pose as the Prince, even to the point of attending parleys and banquets on his behalf. To those who do know about the trick, the consequences of launching a plot against Prince Kolberkon when the target is uncertain are too great for many to take.

direshark-pirate.jpg

Diresharks Pirates

The Diresharks began as a small group of ships under the control of Prince Kolberkon's father. They were officially unaffiliated with the city under Galifaran rule to avoid charges of piracy, but since the independence of the Lhazaar Principalities they are the police force, navy, and chief mercenary service of the city. The Diresharks are only loosely governed and the Prince doesn't require much in the way of oaths other than loyalty to him and to his city. Despite this, infractions agains other Diresharks, against Port Verge, or against Prince Kolberkon himself are met with severe punishment often including hanging. Likewise, any Direshark foolish enough to antagonize another Lhazaar Prince may be cast aside as easily as a pawn if it will save retribution aimed at Port Verge. Membership still carries many advantages, though, and Diresharks are well protected if they respect the brotherhood.

lemmet-firecloud.jpg

Lemmet Firecloud

Prince Kolberkon's personal librarian and a notorious supplier of all things exotic, immoral, or both in Port Verge. Firecloud is originally from Aundair where he once served as a pyromancer in the the Arcane Congress in Arcanix, but no one is quite sure why he left. Though he is an information trader, Firecloud never trades in information unless he gets an equally valuable secret in return. As such, the title of "librarian" probably refers to the man's role as spymaster and secret-keeper for his prince more than to the paltry collection of books which Kolberkon keeps in his manor in the middle of town. Like many in the Lhazaar Principalities, Firecloud is probably loyal to the prince because he is paying the most at the moment, rather than out of a sense of duty. To whit, many wonder if the pyromancer might be bribed by Prince Rygar of Regalport who has made no secret of his disdain for Port Verge's influence in the northern Lhazaar waters. If the High Prince has attempted such a plan, he is keeping his secret well and the outcome would be far from certain in any case. Possessing large quantities of both intelligence and avarice, Lemmet Firecloud could use such an offer to leverage more influence from Kolberkon, use his position to work himself close to Rygar, or play both off each other as a double- or even triple-agent.

Utha Gargass

The Prince's pirate forces are under the immediate command of Utha Gargass, Kolberkon's cousin. She is a hard woman, tall and thick-set with grey hair cut short against her skull. Her arms bear dragonborn tribal tattoos from Q'barra where she spent most of her youth and where she learned to fight. Though she enjoys commanding the Diresharks, Utha longs for the days of raiding on the high seas and would love to see a return of hostilities that opened avenues for her cousin to negotiate privateering contracts with the Five Nations. She would never betray Prince Kolberkon but she has begun to meet with High Priest Rannut of the Blood of Vol to come up with methods for changing the Prince's mind.

Blood of Vol

The Blood of Vol gained influence in Port Verge soon after its rise to power in Karrnath and it remains strong among Karrnathi expatriates in the port despite the faltering loyalty of King Kaius. The Shrine of Promise in Upper City, known locally as the Bonehouse, is a cultural center in Port Verge and a religious site which draws pilgrims from across the Lhazaar Principalities.

High Priest Rannut

This Karrnathi man is the spiritual leader of the Seekers in Port Verge. He is a powerful man, arrogant and quick to anger, and his political bluntness has landed him in trouble with Port Verge's complex political scene. When Rannut took the position of High Priest from the last Blood of Vol leader his thirst for power immediately made itself known. Over the last decade of the Last War, the Blood of Vol and its knighthood the Order of the Emerald Claw grew bolder and bolder and as Prince Kolberkon was forced to contend with increased pressure from the Five Nations he came to rely on the order for law enforcement against his better judgment. This position of power ended abruptly six months ago, however, when a band of Emerald Claw knights confronted a group of adventurers in the hallways of the Maw, largest of the arenas known as the Teeth. In the ensuing melee, a fire broke out which severely damaged both the Maw and surrounding areas as it spread wildly. The resulting public outcry was more than enough for the Prince to demand an apology from the Blood of Vol clergy. Rather than try to smooth over the incident, Rannut responded with a sermon condemning temporal powers for interfering with matters of spiritual importance. While the Blood of Vol remains in a position of some authority, its position is precarious and the relationship between the church and the throne is growing more charged with each passing week. A nudge from any of the city's other power groups could cause it to explode but everyone is looking for the best direction to push so far.

Etyas Salavrin

Arguably the power behind the throne, Etyas Salavrin is an ageless death knight who controls interests of the Blood of Vol in Port Verge. Born centuries ago in Aerenal among the Tairnadal nomads, Salavrin discovered through communion with his ancestral spirits that he was distantly related to the line of Vol. Considering this information, Salavrin was seduced and converted to the Blood of Vol and came to Khorvaire as a holy warrior for the still marginalized church. A skilled warrior, he he was made into a death knight to serve Lady Vol eternally. From his position in Port Verge Salavrin hopes to increase the Blood of Vol's influence in eastern Khorvaire, especially given the religion's faltering fortunes in the stronghold of Karrnath, but he has a very poor instrument for such ends in High Priest Rannut. The Karrnathi is a crude and unsubtle man, the exact opposite of the careful and patient Tairnadal death knight. Etyas Salavrin has been frustrated with Rannut almost since the man took up the position of high priest. This frustration has quickly surged to white-hot rage with the man's destructive handling of recent events and Salavrin has thought more than once of dispatching the man to save the Blood of Vol's standing in Port Verge. Aside from the inconvenience of explaining such a disappearance, though, and the chaos it would create among the city's Seekers, Rannut has powerful friends among the more hot-tempered lords of the Blood and they would look poorly on his death. But Etyas Salavrin is everything that High Priest Rannut is not, purposeful and clever, and this makes him well-suited for waiting for his chance to strike unseen.

Ragos Hearthstone

This hard-nosed Mrorian dwarf has been a Blood of Vol worshipper for all of his considerable life. He is the captain of the Order of the Emerald Claw knights in Port Verge and so backs High Priest Rannut whole-heartedly. As a soldier and stereotypically stubborn dwarf, Hearthstone pushes Rannut to be even more blunt if anything. He thinks like a warrior as well and Hearthstone is one of a number of Seekers in the port who would love to see the Blood of Vol in a more powerful position overtly as well as spiritually. He would never act against the high priest, but there are a number of situations which might force Ragos Hearthstone to react on Rannut's behalf without having time to consult with him.

House Lyrandar

Along with the Blood of Vol, House Lyrandar is one of Prince Kolberkon's staunchest supporters. The House of the Storm is intersted in Port Verge purely as an economic location and those house scions who work here are either in search of adventure or a chance to prove themselves. More than one Lyrandar heir who has seen a stellar rise through the house's echelons has earned their first notable appointments through exemplary service at Port Verge. Elders in Stormhome watch the tiny port closely and elemental galleons are an unusually common sight in the harbor.

Guildmaster Naevos d'Lyrandar

Ostentatious and usually dressed in a foppish costume with lace and a hat out of a copper novel about pirates, Naevos d'Lyrandar hardly looks like he warrants a second look. Those who can't look past this costume, however, are sure to underestimate this clever leader. Which is just how Naevos likes it. The half-elf has been in charge of the Lyrandar enclave in Port Verge for twelve years and has shown no intention of relinquishing the position. Part of the man's look is honest: Naevos originally accepted a position in Port Verge because he craved adventure and loved the idea of becoming like one of the characters in a high seas story. He is a cunning business man, though, and a former partner of the Raincaller's Guild before his dragonmark manifested in his early adulthood. This makes Naevos an ideal representative of House Lyrandar to the skilled sailors that frequent Port Verge and Naevos is a common sight at the nicer bars in port, buying drinks and making friends. He is very successful in marketing House Lyrandar in this way but if he has any weakness, this image as "one of the locals" would definitely be it. Naevos is a skilled swordsman but the only times he has actually tested his blades are non-lethal duels to answer some insult about being a land-loving aristocrat. No self-respecting pirate can stand for such things.

Maer Vueln

This exacting Aereni serves as a scribe and assistant to Guildmaster Naevos but in reality he is much more. Vueln grew up in Aerenal but he left early on to travel to distant lands throughout Eberron and he has extensive knowledge of foreign locales, most of it firsthand. The elf speaks a half-dozen languages fluently and knows many more in passing and he is familiar with customs as well, greeting every foreigner like they were childhood neighbors. As a resource to House Lyrandar Vueln is invaluable and his expertise and charm can make in-roads where Naevos's ostentatious approach cannot.
Despite his value, Vueln has a secret that just may prove a liability to the house. The Aereni line that Maer Vueln belongs to is one skilled in psionic power, and Vueln himself is descended from one of the ancient elves to first accomplish becoming an elan. This has infused Vueln with great potential in psionics and it was partially because of this that he began to wander the world in the first place. In decades past the elf was fortunate (or unlucky) enough to spend time in Riedran territories where he learned ancient psionic techniques and he has renewed his conversations with the talented Lord Qen-tass of the Riedran embassy in Port Verge. Vueln is still loyal to his Lyrandar employers but the Riedrans are nothing if not persuasive.
See Also: This description considers elans as described in Psionic Power, pages 124-125. For a 3.5e game, DMs may instead consider making Vueln's line part of one of the Six Hidden Houses described in Complete Psionic, pages 141-144, particularly House Novar.

Kaelan

The quartermaster of the Lyrandar docks is a quiet and focused half-elf. He does not have a dragonmark and has not earned the right to use the house surname yet, but he is well respected by Lyrandar agents throughout eastern Khorvaire. Kaelan's mother was a Lyrandar heir and his father a Tairnadal, making him an apt choice to work on the house's behalf in the wild waters of the Principalities. It also makes him a susceptible target of the death knight Etyas Salavrin as well, however. Kaelan has converted to the Blood of Vol and secretly attends services at the Bonehouse as well as swordfighting lessons with Salavrin in hidden sewers of the port. Salavrin is polite and accepting of Kaelan and the half-elf does not see his new-found religion as a betrayal but rather as an opportunity. There would be great potential in an alliance between House Lyrandar and the Blood of Vol and Kaelan is looking for a way to create this situation, unknowingly setting himself against the secret allegiances of the scribe Maer Vueln.

Riedran Enclave

Already with bases of power in Regalport and Newthrone in Q'barra, the Inspired of Riedra are attempting to gain some influence in Port Verge as well. The trifecta of power between Prince Kolberkon, House Lyrandar, and the Blood of Vol has left little room for a new group in the city but this has changed with the fire in the Teeth.

lord-qen-tass.jpg

Lord Qen-tass

The Inspired who resides in the House of Calm Waters in Upper City serves as the de facto Riedran ambassador to Port Verge. He is a soft-spoken but intense man, known for saying far more with a look than he would with a speech, and dresses in severe robes of Riedran style. Despite his decades living in the Principalities, Lord Qen-tass shows no signs of adapting to Khorvairian ways most obviously because the ship captains he deals with are all Riedran or from other Sarlonan nations who are impressed by a Riedran lord in Khorvaire.
The other reason that Qen-tass has avoided adopting local customs is that he spends only part of his time present in Port Verge. The quori spirit that inhabits the vessel in Port Verge also has vessels in Dar Jin and Dar Ulatesh in Riedra. A subcommander in the Iron Gate of the Inspired nation, Qen-tass shares the beliefs of his mentor Eidolon Lady Tureya that Riedra should take a more active role in Khorvaire. To this end, he has begun to extend his subtler influences on Prince Kolberkon to turn the Prince into a pawn for Riedran influence to enter Khorvaire. Fifteen years ago, Qen-tass lived in Regalport and attempted the same trick with Rygar ir'Wynarn but as the scheme failed with that man as he became High Prince and looked more critically about who he let be close to him. That same ambition works to Qen-tass's favor in Port Verge where the Inspired can use it to fan the flames of Prince Kolberkon's paranoia and fears about invasion. The more private teas that Lord Qen-tass shares with Kolberkon the more powerful his pull on the Prince's emotions become.

Char

The creature known as Char is a changeling agent working for Lord Qen-tass at the House of Calm Waters. He serves many guises at the house, including Gar Artul the Inspired lord's major domo, but his real use to Qen-tass is much more sinister. Char is a servant of the Dreaming Dark and orchestrates operations throughout the Principalities, even posing as one of the Prince's "pet" changelings to gain political secrets. Qen-tass is aware of Gen's affiliations with the group but he maintains the traditional separation between Riedran leaders and the Dreaming Dark. Though Lord Qen-tass behaves suitably superior to his servant Gar Artul, as Char the changeling is fairly autonomous and often considers himself an equal to the lesser noble with a little-desired position outside of Riedra. Lord Qen-tass does not know about Gen's missions and so the two do not always work as effectively in harmony as they might. Compounding this divide, Char does not share Qen-tass's belief that the Inspired Unity of Riedra should be more active in Khorvaire and the changeling sees himself as a bulwark against the barbarism of the West. If Char had his way, trade between Khorvaire and Riedra would be only in one direction. There is nothing but raw materials that Gen sees of value in the Principalities, although one would hardly suspect so when he welcomes guests to his master's richly appointed house as Gar Artul.

Other Forces

Besides the major factions listed above, there are many smaller groups which hold only a little bit of influence or are powerful only in a strong area. Some streets or harbor slips are controlled by those who restrict it to one nationality or religion or who openly discriminate against group and Prince Kolberkon does little to stop it. Only a few people, though, command the respect of a number of people and could potentially upset the established order in Port Verge, especially in such uncertain times.

elder-amaussu.jpg

Elder Amaussu

In the muddy, unpaved streets of the Reaches a small community of humans and kalashtar from Adar. These expatriates are very tightly knit and many residents of Port Verge uncomfortably think of the community as a unified force with some selfish agenda. This is mostly just intolerance standing up false threats, but there is a charismatic leader in the community who could create trouble if he wished. Elder Amaussu is a skilled martial artist who trains one or two students at a time, including many well-known kalashtar adventurers. He is not a kalashtar himself, however, but a deva born to kalashtar parents who has lived many lines among the psionic-using people of Adar. Through meditation and psychic delving, Amaussu has uncovered memories from lives stretching back millenia. He remembers the rise of the Inspired lords in Sarlona amid decades of war, the arrival of the quori spirits to Adar, and even the repercussions of the quori invasion of Xen'drik which destroyed the ancient giant empires there. During this period he also remembers meeting and working with an elf of the now-extinct Vol line, giving him some inkling of the relationship between that dead lineage and the Blood of Vol as it exists today. As a result, Amaussu has an unusually complex view of the Blood of Vol and is not immediately repulsed by them, even seeing them as allies against the Riedrans. At the same time, the mysterious Vyssil of the Bilge Market has reportedly been trying to win over the deva elder but without success so far.

Vyssil

An enigmatic half-elven woman, Vyssil has lived in Port Verge for at least thirty years, though she looks hale and young still. The woman's origins are shrouded in mystery, even what part of Khorvaire she comes from, but she maintains a fiercely loyal following of a dozen individuals throughout the city's infrastructure whom she can turn to in need. Vyssil is a regular, if reclusive, fixture at the Bilge Market and will take just about any type of job asked of her as long as it fits her own, curious sense of interest. Her assistant, Roe Farwynd, seems to share her unconcern for consequences and threats. No one remains unconcerned about these things for too long in the underworld of Port Verge, however.
See Also: The truth about Vyssil's past can be found on pages 99-102 of Dragons of Eberron.

Port Verge: City of Sharks
Geography Upper CityLower CityThe Reaches
Power Groups Prince KolberkonThe Blood of VolHouse LyrandarRiedran EnclaveElder AmaussuVyssil
Life in the City Why Come to Port Verge?History of Port Verge

Leave Comments Below

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License