Port Blacksand, once named Blacksands Town and now also known as the City of Thieves, is a busy port and notorious den of thieves on the north-western coast of Allansia, ruled over by the mysterious Lord Varek Azzur.
Blacksand is built at the point where the Catfish River meets the Western Ocean upon the ruins of a much larger ancient city called Carsepolis, which itself dates back to 1408 OT but was destroyed in 1999 OT/1 AC and abandoned. In around 121 AC, the ruined docks of Carsepolis began to be used as shelter for pirates and brigands. It gradually became a thriving community. In 171 AC Prince Olaf Twohorse proclaimed himself leader of Blacksands Town and under his leadership walls were constructed and the city began to take shape. In 201 AC the pirate Daggerface deposed Prince Olaf but died in 202 AC at the hands of Jonjo Ruby in a knife fight. Ruby herself was poisoned three months later by a jealous suitor. Port Blacksand was leaderless for two years until Marak Greysteel, a mighty northern barbarian chieftain, seized power in 204 AC. In 211 AC Baron Illios Valentis deposed Greysteel. Under him trade was encouraged and Blacksand grew prosperous. In 219 AC Valentis established the city militia under his brother, Drakna.
Blacksand Under Lord Azzur
On Windsday 17th of Locking, 252 AC, the bold pirate captain Azzur stormed Blacksand, blockading it by sea with a pirate armada, and also assaulting the city walls with mercenaries. His job was made easier by the poisoning of Drakna, the head of the militia. Valentis was hanged from the highest tower of his palace, which was later torn down. In 254 AC, Lord Azzur's new palace, which to this day dominates the Port Blacksand skyline, was completed, and since then he has rarely left it. The Blacksand City Guard were formed from the remnants of the city militia and strengthened by the inclusion of Ogres and Trolls. They are loyal to Azzur and ruthlessly impose his laws.
After Azzur took over the city, Port Blacksand adopted the Azzur family crest as its new coat of arms. This crest is a kite shield with a picture of a ship on it, flanked by the sun and moon, and with a Red Dragon behind the shield. This crest is now depicted on all the flags of Port Blacksand, and the Azzur crest is also used on the front of Gold Pieces minted in Blacksand.
Port Blacksand sits at the point where the Catfish River meets the Western Ocean. It is the home of many pirates, thieves and brigands, and is divided into a number of Districts:
North of the Catfish River
- This district is named after the bleak windswept square at the top of Gallows Hill. On the south side of the hill the buildings are tightly packed together and roads turn into step flights of steps.
- This is the oldest district in Port Blacksand with winding, narrow streets and ancient, weather-beaten houses. The narrowness of the streets and overhanging nature of the upper stories of buildings make the streets dark even in the day. Lobster Wharf and Harbour Street are the main thoroughfares.
- This district is named after the public gardens which dominate this area of the city. It is a wealthy district with many private houses, some of which are the offices of professional people, including court officials, musicians and artists.
South of the Catfish River
- In this district the smell of raw fish permeates the air, worsened in foggy weather. The buildings near the wharf are warehouses with many exotic goods stockpiled in them.
- This is the heart of Port Blacksand's business district. It runs between the southern side of Market Square and the city walls. Here, you can buy anything. Approaching the royal palace, the small gloomy shops are replaced by large houses in which dwell the city's richest and most devious merchants.
- This is the most notorious district in the city named after its most notorious street. It is most famous as the home of the powerful Guild of Thieves. An atmosphere of crime and decay pervades the area. The area has many beggars. The Noose is also the site of the Market Square and during the day this is bustling with traders and customers.
- Here are most obviously many of Port Blacksand's temples situated on or near the Street of Temples, a wide, pleasant street. Most of the city's armourers and weapon makers are to be found in this same district, found in the block of buildings formed by the Street of Knives, Cutlass Alley and Dagger Lane. The rest of the area is made up of twisting back streets and alleys.
and outside of all districts:
- This ediface dominates the Port Blacksand skyline and is visible miles away.
The majority of Port Blacksand's population are Humans, Orcs and Goblins. Trolls are also fairly common, and many Trolls work for the Blacksand Watch. Small groups of Dwarves and Elves dwell here. Some of the more unusual humanoid species also dwell in the city, including Gnomes, Pixies, Sprites, and even Lizard Men.
The architecture favours overhanging upper storeys and many strange decorative follies like towers, bridges and interconnecting passages above the ground. The buildings of Blacksand are painted many colours and most shops have signs indicating their trade hanging outside. The streets are unclean, covered in mud and droppings. Back streets in the older parts of the town tend to be cobbled and some of them are stepped. Each district, with the exception of the Garden District, has its own City Guard detachment and blockhouse.
Politics and Economics
The impromptu taxes imposed by Azzur frustrate his citizens but they pay. Blacksand continues to prosper and its markets thrive.
Blacksand is a complicated city politically. Although ostensibly ruled by Lord Azzur and his City Guard there are a great many powerful factions which pull the city this way and that. These include the Guild of Thieves and the infamous Kobassi brothers. The four Noble Houses of Blacksand (the aristocratic elite of the city) are House Hadrak, House Kobassis, House Sturtz-Chenser and House D'arrago.
- Midnight Rogue - ???; Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World - p.??/??; Blacksand! - p.??; City of Thieves - "Background"; Temple of Terror - ???; Night Dragon - "Background"; The Fighting Fantasy 10th Anniversary Yearbook - p.??; Out of the Pit - p.??; Deathtrap Dungeon - ???; The Port of Peril - para 1; The Gates of Death - para 1.
- The Fighting Fantasy 10th Anniversary Yearbook - 219
- Midnight Rogue - Cover Map.
- Blacksand! - p. 131
- Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World - pp. 106, 121
- Blacksand - pg. 35
- Blacksand - pp. 47-48