Waterdog Port [Pirates of Pugmire]

Pugmire

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Waterdog Port charts its own course, owing allegiance to none. Those calling it home may pursue their dreams and fortunes with little hindrance, even from the monitors enforcing the city’s laws. Economic opportunities abound for those with entrepreneurial spirits, and new businesses and attractions frequently arise. The port accommodates numerous ships, many with plastic hulls, ready to launch new expeditions at a moment’s notice. A haven for pirates, Waterdog Port serves as a base of operations for local crews and a common destination for foreign ones. A murky and almost perpetual fog drifts over the western sections of the city, providing cover for many criminal acts, and only the brave or desperate dare to tread where the fog shrouds the city. Whether someone is seeking a fresh start or looking for trouble, Waterdog Port welcomes all with open arms.

History

Constructed as a center for shipping and exploration, Waterdog Port has been coveted since its inception. Pugmire and Mau each attempted to claim the city for their own, igniting the War of Dogs and Cats. When holding it overburdened each power, they withdrew, abandoning the residents to continue the fight alone. The brutal Alleyway Skirmishes, though largely unheard-of outside Waterdog Port, were some of the bloodiest battles in the War. After the assassination of the Mau-appointed Lionel von Korat, Samantha von Rex — better known as the pirate captain, Calico Sam — assumed mayorship. But even her practical wisdom proved unable to calm the unrest or stanch the flow of blood in the streets.

Following a particularly savage clash, the heads of each faction in the city met secretly one night seeking a truce. Recognizing the current course of events would lead to mutual destruction, Calico Sam and Axel Bull-Terrier, a disgruntled Pugmire patriot, contrived to disrupt the cycle of violence and forge a new system of government. The two met with their most avid supporters, declaring that for the good of the city, the other empire must rule. In the ensuing confusion, the two agreed to rule jointly, declaring independence from Pugmire and Mau.

Each chose their four most charismatic supporters to act as assistants, effectively preventing them from forming new factions. Together, they declared every citizen of the city would vote in favor of Axel or Calico Sam to rule the city, not as a mayor but as Governor. The others would act as a Council of Luminaries to rule alongside them, ensuring both species would be equally represented in the government. The first Council laid down the Great Laws, and while tempers still flared, the two sides learned to respectfully work together. In the following years, the Council would open their ranks to other species, seeking to promote harmony in the city.

Species of Waterdog Port

While every species is welcome in Waterdog Port, dogs maintain a small majority of the population. Most Luminaries and Governors have been dogs, ensuring dog interests frequently take precedence. While most dogs are content to be free of Pugmire’s rule, many maintain cordial relationships with family and friends in Pugmire and Houndton. Dogs own more plastic-hulled ships than any other species, benefiting more from the city’s lucrative economy.

Second only to dogs in population, the cats maintain a strong presence. While some retain their loyalties to Mau, most cats are moggies, and renouncing one’s house is mandatory for cats to hold positions of authority in the city (although many cat patriots still proudly hold their allegiances in their surnames). Cats own almost as many plastic-hulled ships as the dogs, gaining similar benefits from the shipping industry. They enjoy significant influence in government, although other species are frequently relied upon to settle differences when dog and cat opinions clash. The cats constantly watch for signs of Unseen activity, ready to pounce at any moment to preserve the security of their home.

The traditionally nomadic lizards have found a niche in the city, and their authority far exceeds what their population would indicate. When tempers flare between cats and dogs, geckos are quick to defuse the situation with engrossing tales. Serpents and turtles utilize these opportunities to share advice, steering cooler heads towards mutually beneficial conclusions. As a result, lizards have become mediators, ensuring the interests of all species are considered, even if they’re unable to ease individual prejudices. Many hibernal lizards become monitors, proactively seeking to maintain both order and freedom within the city.

Birds find themselves in an interesting position. While their population has grown large enough to exert influence in the city, they end up clashing most often with themselves. Other species don’t distinguish between sparrows, crows, and parrots, lumping all birds together. Traditionalists don’t approve, while those rebelling against bird norms are delighted at the greater freedom and authority they enjoy. Regardless of neste, birds find their knowledge in high demand, and many find a place for themselves in positions requiring keen memories.

With rumors of equality and opportunity for all spreading, rats and mice swarm to the city in the hopes of building a happy life for themselves. While some find success, most quickly find the reality doesn’t live up to their dreams. A lack of resources force many to live in the worst sections of the Haze, squatting in deteriorating buildings and competing for necessities. Rodents readily take to the sea, but the frequent prejudices experienced often lead them to band together into rodent crews. While seldom able to afford plastic-hulled ships, their patchwork wooden ships are frequent sights in Seaport.

Few badgers call Waterdog Port home. Most who do live solitary lifestyles, seldom meeting with others of their kind. The exception are members of the otter tribe, who frequently cluster in crews to intimidate rivals. Otters take well to the pirate life, often hiring out their services as muscle to other species taking to sea. With the brutal reputation held by the badger tribes, many are surprised to discover the fierce loyalty and camaraderie of their otter crewmates.

Laws of Waterdog Port

While hosting many individuals of questionable morality, Waterdog Port does maintain its own laws. The monitors, warriors and observers working to preserve a semblance of order and safety for the people, are charged with arresting those who flout them. At their discretion, the Council and the monitors enforce the laws, and it isn’t uncommon for favored citizens to get away with violations that would see others imprisoned or executed. Any Luminary may pardon a criminal, but the pardon can be overturned by a majority vote of the Council. While lesser laws and regulations change regularly according to Council decisions, the Great Laws are considered to be inviolable.

Loyalty is Freedom

Waterdog Port glorifies freedom, priding itself in owing no allegiance to Pugmire or Mau. Every citizen chooses their own destiny, reaping the rewards and facing the consequences of their own actions, and the Council makes it abundantly clear where this freedom comes from. Any allegiance greater than family or guild must be sworn to Waterdog Port and no other. Conspiracy with other nations or organizations to undermine the city’s independence is among the most harshly punished crimes. On a more personal level, gaining the favor of the monitors or a Luminary permits more leeway in behavior, allowing for greater gains and diminished punishments in exchange for loyal service.

Business is Business

Plastic shall eternally flow to the citizens, and through them, to the coffers of Waterdog Port. The Council recommends every citizen pursue a healthy livelihood, encouraging creativity and entrepreneurship. In exchange, every transaction should benefit the city. Interfering with the business of another is strongly discouraged, although competition is considered appropriate. Inadvertent harm to others is often overlooked when resulting from business endeavors. While smuggling contraband is officially illegal, rampant bribery ensures the monitors turn a blind eye to such business. In practice, even crime is condoned, provided one has the decency not to be caught. The exception to this is trade in people, as slavery in any form is never tolerated within Waterdog Port.

All Are Equal

Every person is equal in value, regardless of resources, social standing, or species. Every citizen votes for Governor. Every vote is weighed the same. Anyone may become a citizen simply by taking up residence in the city, and many in untenable situations flee to Waterdog Port in search of acceptance or new opportunities. While the Council includes members of other species besides cats and dogs, however, individual residents retain their prejudices. Citizens often side with each other against outside threats, but in the absence of such things, old grudges prevail. Only cats and dogs have acted as Governor, and barring large population shifts, this is unlikely to change.

Violence is Personal

Violence isn’t forbidden in Waterdog Port, but it’s expected to involve only the clashing individuals. Causing harm to other people or property is unacceptable. The monitors are slow to enforce this law, and brawls in the seedier sections of town are common. They step in only when making an example of someone, or when the violence threatens to fray the fabric of their society. Attempts to stir up large-scale trouble are harshly punished when discovered, but personal vendettas are tolerated.

  2 comments for “Waterdog Port [Pirates of Pugmire]

  1. ThomasM
    June 19, 2019 at 9:23 am

    Love it, love it, LOVE IT! I need me some Otter rules.:)

    • Jason Inczauskis
      June 19, 2019 at 10:18 am

      I’m glad to hear you love it so much! This is the first time my writing has appeared as a preview on the Onyx Path site, so I’m pretty excited myself.
      As far as otters go, they’re not added to the playable species in this book, but there are a couple otter characters mentioned (one of which holds a lot of power in Waterdog Port) and I also included an otter in the enemies chapter.

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