Okeno

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OKENO THE YELLOW CITY

The city, my home, is clad in yellow like the joyous sun. The endless slavers’ galleys parade in and out of the shimmering  harbor, their billowing, buttery sails bringing their flesh cargoes all  day and night, keeping the pits and auction fairs flled with new  stock to be bought and sold. On quiet nights when the wind is  low, you can hear the whimpers and sobs of the slaves waft across  the bay. Despite their cries, those who thrive here call it the city  of joy and laughter. Some say the laughter belongs to my gnoll  sisters as we flaunt our strength in a city of humans or to those  slavers who grow fat as they gorge on the profts of the fleshfairs.
Unlike many places in this world, we are welcomed in Okeno. Here  we are many. Here we thrive. We must always be wary, of course;  slavers have many enemies, and gnoll slavers even more.”
 —Ruuthan the Spotted, gnoll slaver .[1]

OKENO, THE YELLOW CITY

NE large city Corruption +7; Crime +1; Economy +8; Law +5; Lore +3; Society +0 Qualities notorious, prosperous, racially tolerant (gnolls), slavers’ haven, strategic location Danger +25

DEMOGRAPHICS

Government overlord Population 13,700 (5,200 humans, 1,400 gnolls, 440 halflings, 380 ratfolk, 220 halforcs, 150 elves, 80 half-elves, 830 others, plus 5,000 slaves of varying races)

NOTABLE NPCS

Governor Morio Midasi (NE male human rogue 9)

Harbormaster Permelia “Peg-Leg” Cockle (N female human swashbucklerACG 7)

Hyena Princess Njano (NE female gnoll aristocrat 1/bard 12)

Justice Hanbal (LN male human cleric of Abadar 14)

Master of Auctions Sarfaraz al-Qoor (LE male human aristocrat 2/ranger 6)

MARKETPLACE Base Value 14,872 gp; Purchase Limit 112,500 gp; Spellcasting 7th Minor Items 4d4; Medium Items 3d4; Major Items 2d4

SPECIAL QUALITIES

Racially Tolerant (gnolls) Okeno is notorious for its large gnoll population. The hyenafolk are unruly and ruthless, but their profciency in the slave trade brings steady business to the Yellow City’s fleshfairs. (Corruption +2, Danger +5, Economy +2) Slavers’ Haven Okeno is among the few ports in the Inner Sea region where the slave trade not only is permitted but serves as the core of the local economy. Fleshpeddlers of all sorts are welcome here and bring with them both their coin and a severe adherence to the laws of the trade.

(Economy +2, Law +2) .[1]

INTRO

Okeno towers above the south shores of Stonespine Island. Roiling mists hang above the Yellow City and occasionally descend to hide its tortuous streets. Okeno is called the Yellow City because of the yellow sails of the slavers’ ships that flock here. Slavery is why the city exists; it is Okeno’s trade and life’s blood, which still pumps, despite the harassment of Andoren Eagle Knights and abolitionist privateers who forever seek to drive a lance through its heart.

Okeno has been likened to the scattered pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, its mazelike alleyways and haphazardly constructed districts seemingly jumbled around each other without thought.[1]

HISTORY

The breathtaking waterfalls that tumble from the Stonespine Mountains were the reason pirates frst used the area just west of the Yellow Harbor as an anchorage.

The many coves and natural harbors across the island also served as excellent cover for the visitors’ activities.

However, it wasn’t until 3496 ar that the lawless shambles attained a ruler. Captain Ilmatis Okeno proclaimed herself lord of the port and offered protection to those who came to the settlement that soon bore her name. Okeno was something of a genius, a charismatic leader who ruled the port for a decade before her misguided attempt to unite pirates under her banner resulted in her death.

For the next few centuries, the port of Okeno thrived, steadily growing despite the lack of centralized leadership. In 3721 ar, Okeno experienced the frst major resistance to its trade when an armada of privately owned Taldan ships from the region now known as Andoran attacked slavers between Okeno and ports in Cheliax and Taldor (this was an early appearance of the abolitionist spirit that would come to defne Andoran a millennia later when it became an independent nation).

To defend against the Andoren attacks, a pirate slaver named Lash-Handed Neguli took control of the city and ruthlessly sank any ship to enter the port without declaring allegiance to him. The months-long conflict became known as the Year of Rent Sails, afer which Neguli maintained loose control of Okeno through the newly established Okeno pirates’ guild.

A decade later, the Pactmasters, recently arrived in Katapesh, brought order to the pirate haven by annexing it into the larger nation of Katapesh. They permitted the Okeno slavers to continue their trade so long as a Katapeshi governor oversaw the city’s operation and kept taxes flowing into the Pactmasters’ coffers.

In the intervening millennium, Okeno has remained unifed, its raiding carefully targeted and its friends carefully assessed. The present governor of Okeno, the pragmatic and unscrupulous Morio Midasi, has learned well from his predecessors; he uses his brains rather than his rapier to enforce the few laws Okeno has.

Midasi has allies across the city; his eyes and ears slink around every corner, lean against bars telling tall tales, and lurk at the shoulder of strangers. Midasi keeps one of the most exotic creatures ever to be sold at Okeno’s fleshfairs as his personal bodyguard—a charmed gug (Pathfnder RPG Bestiary 2 151), for which he is believed to have paid 23,000 gp.[1]

OKENO GEOGRAPHY

Huddled beneath Stonespine’s imposing mountains, Okeno has no walls or fortifcations. None could be as strong as its defenses: intrigue, bribery, and espionage.

The natural harbor that forms at the foothills of the mountains offers calm anchorage even during the worst monsoons. The bay is roughly 700 yards across and deep enough to allow even the mightiest warships. A vast district of ashen stone rises out of the waters. Carved seemingly from a single piece of bedrock, Stonetown is the thriving heart of the city, where mundane markets bustle and where most of the commonfolk—artisans and merchants—live and trade.

Beyond and above, the lords and ladies dwell in lofy Bowsprit. The notorious High Road, which leads toward the upper mountains, is patrolled by guards eager to keep the nearby felds of pesh and the mountain tracks leading to slavers’ secret strongholds secure. This district is better maintained and has broader streets than the rest of Okeno, and while visitors are welcome at the Black Circus and the lower streets of this district, anyone venturing higher is subject to close scrutiny.

The rest of Okeno is a slippery mass of alleyways and streets, a confusing maze of sunless dead-ends and corners where cutthroats happily welcome those with bulging pockets. However, all roads lead to the great fleshfairs, the seemingly endless auctions where slaves are bought and sold. The greatest of these, the Old Fleshfair, lurks within the city’s windings, and hundreds of thousands of lives have passed this way.

There are scores of lesser fleshfairs in the rambling district that shares their name. In truth, all one needs is a pit with a viewing area and a supply of slaves to begin trade. Unfortunately, such trade is fckle, and owners and fairs come and go on an almost daily basis. The Laughing Fleshfair houses the majority of Okeno’s native gnolls, and many of the slavers have townhouses with hidden courtyards—sometimes of enormous size—lurking behind their magnifcently carved doorways.

The oldest part of the city, the Harbor District, features two distinct areas: Yellow Harbor (the original slave dock) and New Dock. Between the two harbors, the Harbor District grips the rocky shoreline, which is smothered by buildings offering entertainment to visitors. This strip of land—in places barely 60 yards wide—occupies the flat land at the shore’s edge. The strip is at its narrowest as it passes over the Shipyards, where it rises above the docks on a series of boardwalks.

The entertainments offered here are brutal, expensive, and dangerous. Rogues fnd a happy hunting ground in the Shipyards, but are careful to avoid the grinning gnolls who form part of the local watch; these gnolls are smarter than their kin, generally female, and always eager for amusement.

The portion of the city known as the Ships’ Graveyard is built primarily from parts of shipwrecks, stolen sections of vessels, and other flotsam and jetsam. In its more extreme sections, it resembles a ship on land, in others a seaside township. The district, one of rougher trades, industry, and alchemy, draws away from a focal point just behind the harbor district at the haphazard plaza known as the Shipwreck.[1]

THE SWEATWAYS

The sweatways—so named because of the stifling stench of slave stock confned therein—are the nickname given to the tunnels connecting the Skindock to the various slavers’ warehouses (often called fleshpits, sweatvats, or black holes). These tunnels, being uniformly white below their flthy coatings, are carved from the same local stone as Stonetown, and are barely larger than a stooping human. The walls bear a patina of human waste—a taint, some say, that takes on a monstrous form of its own.

Fortunately, this twisted creature, known as the Wreakling (N corpse orgy; Tome of Horrors Complete 121), rarely awakens, usually only after some terrible injustice or act of cruelty. When roused, the revenant aberration seeks out the wrongdoer, as well as his family, friends, and associates; it abducts them, and then absorbs them into itself. That done, the vengeance begins properly. The victims, now dismembered and incorporated into the orgy’s amalgamated body, are force-fed the flesh of those they love or respect, only to be ripped apart and reassembled again in an endless cycle of misery and punishment. [1]

NOTABLE SITES

Many of Okeno’s most notable locations are listed below.

1. Yellow Harbor: A vast wall of yellow slavers’ sails greets visitors to Okeno. The Yellow Harbor (sometimes called Skindock) is formed from ancient stone and is the oldest part of the city. The docks are built upon two levels: the lower level is used to transport slavers and the slaves in their charge through the countless sweatways (see the sidebar above), while the upper piers (usually built from timber) allow trade goods to be taken off the ships—as well as any crew and passengers. Okeno hosts a thriving tourist trade, and the countless merchants, aristocrats, and foreigners who come here to buy slaves make this portion of the city remarkably cosmopolitan compared to the rest.

A band of quarrelsome gnoll guards tend to the slaves under the expertise of Nexor Halfhand (NE male gnoll brawlerACG 6/rogue 3), the enormous right-hand man of the master of auctions, Fleshlord Sarfaraz al-Qoor, who oversees all the city’s slaving operations.

Yellow Harbor teems with laborers for hire, all Theoretically these laborers are free people, although most work like slaves on behalf of greedy masters. While these employers acquire most of their slaves through fleshfairs, many scheme to snatch the odd slave through various nefarious methods, especially scams involving fake escapes.

Among the more noted slavers and pirates that are regulars at the docks are Captain Xiren Bhey, captain of the Undertow, and Brelitt Vinneau, a Chelish slaver who captains the Sea Gargoyle. For more information on these and other notorious captains of the Okeno slavers, see Pathfnder Player Companion: Pirates of the Inner Sea.

2. New Dock: Once a ship is emptied of its cargo, it is towed to anchor at New Dock. Here, a framework of wood rises from the sea, a confusing mass of piers and walkways, cranes and rope, seemingly nurturing the ships gathered about it. It is by now far from new, and vast and ancient ship’s timbers make up its skeleton. Lashed by storms and eaten at by the frequent mists that fall from the mountain of the Stonespine, the framework truly appears like bones. The entire dock is under constant repair, but the endless demands of arriving ships makes proper repair impossible. New Dock is therefore the result of hundreds of years of making do and improvising, and, as a consequence, is a surprisingly dangerous place in a dangerous city. According to Okeno legend, a visitor is far more likely to die because of a loose nail upon arrival than with a knife in her back—hence the phrase, “A rusty nail is the deadliest weapon in the Yellow City.” Governor Morio Midasi’s most trusted advisor, Captain Permelia “Peg-Leg” Cockle—the one-legged former pirateturned harbormaster—collects taxes from visiting ships.

She has one of the hardest jobs in the city, and has a nest of wererat helpers (known locally as the Moles) to locate and open up the endless secret holds hiding goods from taxation. Her lieutenant, Akall ni Hatrass (NE female halfling natural wererat rogue 5), is a legend at snifng out such goods and secrets. That Peg-Leg Cockle is the easiest person to bribe in Okeno is a poorly kept secret, even to her employer (and likely his Pactmaster overlords), but Midasi knows the harbormaster is no worse or better than anyone else to have held the post in his tenure, so he allows her to think she is fooling him, fully intent upon taking everything she has when the time is right.

3. Ratstails: Surrounding by a hundred gaudy signs, this ramshackle gambling house made of old ship parts leans over the calm waters of the bay. The owner, Ritheeri Halmas (NE male halfling natural wererat alchemistAPG 6), smiles the widest smile in Okeno—as well he should—for rumor has it he’s the richest person in the city and that he’s eyeing Morio Midasi’s position as governor. Halmas is dangerously charming and has an uncanny memory for detail. Visitors might spend a few minutes in his company and not return for months, but when they do, Halmas remembers them and the conversations they had. A particular friend of the gnoll slavers and an ardent admirer of the Hyena Princess (see page 39)— despite his wish to poison her someday— Halmas cunningly engages the gnoll’s inherent cruelty in special games. He avoids the brute entertainments of the Black Circus (see page 67), preferring to confne his nastiness to sadistic bets involving animals.

4. The Fleet: If sailors are lucky, their captain lets them stay aboard ship during a stay in Okeno. Most do not, however, and so those who seek a night’s sleep head for the Fleet, one of the most disgusting, flea-ridden pits in Golarion.

A vast maze of old ships partly floating in the harbor, the Fleet is a bewildering fusion of flophouse, tavern, bathhouse, and slum rolled into one endless shambling structure. However, the Fleet has one luxurious area, known as the Stern. This more sedate and refned area puts most visitors off with its high prices (10 times those listed on page 159 of the Pathfnder RPG Core Rulebook), to the relief of those few who can afford them. It’s run by Admiral Dziban Menkent (LN female undineB2 bard 5), who controls an army of servants, slaves, and guards with her quick temper and the ever-present whip at her side. Menkent can be a delight, a terror, or an enigma; interactions with her are perilously unpredictable.

5. Shrine of Thaffaar: Named for the architect who carved the great dome that crowns this temple to Gozreh in Stonetown, the shrine sees more activity than nearly any other religious institution in Okeno save the bank of Abadar. The aged Tian priests, brother and sister Niharo (N male human cleric of Gozreh 8) and Owayu (N female human druid 8) are held in high regard by most locals, in no small part because, despite their feisty and argumentative natures, they bless so many ships set to depart the Yellow Harbor.

6. Slaver’s Vault: A huge tower winds its way up from this squat marble building, whose ornately decorated interior is formed about a central opening, where an astonishingly large golden candelabrum said to be worth 40,000 gp hangs. The vault, the largest bank of Abadar in Katapesh aside from the grand temple in the capital itself, is the most admired and visited place in Okeno. The original candelabrum was actually stolen by a master thief called Pherkad almost 300 years ago, but the forgery is so perfect that no one has ever noticed (a successful DC 40 Appraise check is required to note it is a fake, and even then only upon close examination). The present priest and local judge, Justice Hanbal, sits as the appointed ofcial on all matters from thef to murder. Harsh and humorless, Hanbal takes his duties very seriously, and is perhaps the only person in Okeno who cannot be bribed.

7. Okeno Tanning Pits: The tanners of Okeno maintain this open courtyard, which is 100 yards across and houses the tanning vats and pits of local traders. Immediately behind and around this district, huge piles of animal feces are mounded against the back walls of buildings; their stench ofen wafs across the whole city.

8. Shipyard: Lurking below the entertainment district of the Ships’ Graveyard—which is suspended here at least a dozen yards above on timber boardwalks—the Shipyard houses artisans who repair and enhance vessels.

Falak Tubaa (N female human expert 9) is regarded as the most successful and gifed shipbuilder in Okeno. Sadly, gnoll slavers hold her only daughter, Zahwah, hostage, and occasionally force Falak to sabotage vessels so the gnolls can overtake and rob them later.

9. The Shipwreck: A juddering mass of ship’s timbers have been lashed together in this portion of the Ships’ Graveyard to form an open plaz.a A series of towering houses, many of which are modifed sterns from large ships, overlook this broken place. A recent spate of tremors in the Shipwreck’s supports has lef the structures contorted and largely abandoned, but criminal elements have taken to using the somewhat luxurious, if dangerous, residences as bases of operation, banking on the area’s instability to keep the law from meddling in their affairs.

10. The Old Fleshfair: A snaking maze of alleyways meander through this portion of the fleshfairs, an area of exposed paths set above sandy pits between 10 and 30 feet below. These pathways are governed by a strict hierarchy system, formed out of respect—and ofen enforced through violence—with the oldest and most established traders getting the best and safest viewpoints, while lesser slavers or those who prefer to operate anonymously are given dangerous perches. The Old Fleshfair is linked to the docks by the various sweatways of the city.

The auctions do not follow set timetables, although some religious days of Abadar are used as excuses to hold enormous slave markets; a notably vast slave market is held each Market’s Door, during which the population of the city has been known swell to nearly twice its normal size as slaves and traders flow into the fleshfairs.

The master of auctions, Fleshlord Sarfaraz al-Qoor, a diminutive man with an incredibly deep, far-reaching voice, hosts the auctions, and has been known to take bribes to hear certain bidders above others. He runs a downtrodden staff of 20 and is infamous for his affection for attractive women. An experienced lothario, he nonetheless remains particularly cautious when in the presence of highranking gnoll females, having heard rumors of their sexual insatiability.

Fleshfairs do not always deal in humanoid wares alone; the monsters that pass through the fleshfair ofen appear later in private menageries or are used as guards for wealthy foreigners seeking unique defenders.

11. The Laughing Fleshfair: Gnolls have their own fleshfair, where they can trade with each other. Although non-gnolls do come to this place, they tend to attract attention, particularly if they are not accompanied by gnolls.

Nervous guards are everywhere, but those brave enough to attend these auctions sometimes fnd bargains on certain slaves, as gnolls are generally far more interested in flesh or entertainment than brains and artisans.

12. The Black Circus: The infamous and enormous Black Circus is the main entertainment in Okeno, putting on a show every week and during important festivals or religious days. For bigger shows, everyone flocks to the circus, where the emphasis is all about putting on a bloody spectacle, something the master of ceremonies, Ictarias (LE female tiefling necromancer 14), is always keen to do. The show requires a small army of slaves, performers, animals, and victims, and Ictarias is ofen seen in the fleshfairs of the city, shopping for new acts.

13. Palace of Waterfalls: One of many homes of the most famous gnoll slaver, the Hyena Princess Njano (see page 39), this palace is graced by spring water falling from high in the Stonespines. The water is used to great effect here, with a whole wing built above a lake. The paranoid Njano changes her home from time to time, even taking quite humble lodgings on occasion—providing each can offer her daily baths in milk.

14. Palace of Honeyed Stone: The Palace of Honeyed Stone houses the governor of Okeno, Morio Midasi. The golden palace was originally built in 3499 ar by Captain Ilmatis Okeno, although each lord since has added to the structure. Heavily patrolled, hideously trapped, and beautifully decorated, the palace is a series of towers built around a central fragrant garden. The present governor prides himself on his exotic slaves, and boasts among his captives a number of monstrous creatures, including his gug bodyguard. Midasi welcomes many visitors, but always in small, easy-to-repel groups. Rumor has it that the Pactmasters are displeased with his service for unknown reasons and wish to replace him soon, but further details into this affair are as secret as the mysterious masked overlords themselves.

Références

  1. 1,0, 1,1, 1,2, 1,3, 1,4 et 1,5 Pathfinder - [EN] - Adventure Path - (PZO90112] - 19 - Strange Aeons - 04 -The Whisper Out of Time