The next stop on my exploration of the major ports of the Isles of the Saharan Sea setting is Ortugos.
Location Name: Isle of the Dragon Turtle, or Port of Shadows
Ambiance: A pirate stronghold that grew into a port, Ortugos has all the unruly chaos of a city run by thieves. Even buccaneers and renders keep an eye on their personal possessions and walk warily past shadowed alleyways. Buildings in Ortugos generally appear ramshackle, and rise up several floors above the streets below. Banners and awnings block out the harsh sun overhead, giving the streets a very shadowy appearance.
History: Founded five generations ago by a renegade Serpentfolk pirate, Speaker For Dragon Turtles, Ortugos has been a particular thorn in the side of the Atlantican armadas. When Speaker For Dragon Turtles passed, the reins of power were seized by the Rogues' Guild of Ortugos, where they still reside to this day. One generation ago, many pirates reported that a dragon turtle entered the bay during a monsoon and apparently settled into the mud of the floor of the harbor. Sadly, no one has proved the existence of the dragon turtle, making the sightings an unexplained mystery.
Encounters: Dragon turtle monster cults are prevalent in Ortugos, as well as pirates, renders, corsairs and privateers of all origins. The dragon eels that dwell in the harbor are vicious, bloodthirsty beasts whose meat is eaten in the finer inns and taverns of the Port of Shadows.
Treasures: The plunder of a thousand ships is said to lie within the walls of Ortugos. The Guildmaster of the Rogues' Guild, Grandmaster Sylvas the Mariner, is rumored to possess a wondrous cloak which is said to grant its wearer mystical power over shadows.
Hooks and Hotspots: The Dark Oubliette (nicknamed the Pit of Shades by the locals) is perhaps the most feared underground prison in the Isles, as its many tunnels and chambers permeate the depths of the island. Prisoners cast into the Pit of Shades rarely return. A great statue of a dragon turtle is the largest work of art on the island. Indeed, any other effort to erect a larger statue often leads to sabotage and wanton destruction at the hands of monster cultists.