Afsaana - Crossroads of the World
Characters in Scurvytown
If the stories told in far-flung ports about Afsaana were true, visitors would be gutted like fish the moment they strode down the gangplank of an arriving ship. While newcomers quickly learn Afsaana is far more than a collection of bloodthirsty pirates, one place fits the city’s image like a glove: Scurvytown. This district is officially named the Freebooter’s Quarter in documents, but no one off the boat less than a week uses that name. The decrepit condition, lawless population, and grinding poverty of the place earned it the nickname Scurvytown decades ago, and the name stuck.
Drac’s End is a poor district, but at least the people there try to better themselves. Scurvytown is for those who’ve given up or have no other place to go. It’s a squalid hellhole with appalling living conditions, and those marooned here suffer the worst Afsaana has to offer. In the rainy season, water runs down the hill from the Old City and the Eastern District, turning Scurvytown’s unpaved streets into muddy swamps where mosquitoes breed. In the dry season, the heat dries and cracks the muddy streets, and dust rises in choking clouds when carts and wagons go by. The stench from the fishery and the other aromatic industries in Scurvytown rises to unholy levels.
Only those with a taste for crime, violence, or perversion (or with little regard for their own
personal safety) voluntarily make their home in Scurvytown. Crime is higher here than anywhere else in Afsaana, especially violent crime. Most days begin with a couple of corpses found face down in the gutter or bobbing in the waters of the harbor. Unless the victim is rich or influential, little effort is made to find the perpetrator. Other forms of crime—theft, mugging, smuggling, drug dealing, and cult activity—are just as common. In the warren called the Beggar’s Market, lowlifes from around Afsaana come to buy less-than-legal items and substances. Criminals on the run use the flophouses and decaying buildings of the district as hideouts, and the neighborhood called The Pit hosts a variety of the least savory thugs in the city (not to mention occasional supernatural menaces).
For decades, Scurvytown was home to the few qunari, elves, and other non-human races that dwelt in Afsaana. This changed in the wake of the Great Green Fire, when the council established the new district now known as Bloodsalt was to house the elf and qunari workers of the Reclamation Project.
Many qunari vacated Scurvytown for Bloodsalt, lured by the prospect of work and the company of their own kind. This exodus drained much of Scurvytown’s labor force and economy, leaving the remaining inhabitants resentful. Some of that resentment turned into active persecution of non-humans, and the few qunari remaining in Scurvytown were driven off by racist violence. The modern incarnation of Scurvytown is dominated by humans who have a weird kind of pride in their district; it’s not much, but they need to believe it’s better than Bloodsalt and need to believe they are better than the non-human newcomers to the city.