This isolated village nestles in a small deepwater cove on the coast about a third of the way south from the mouth of the Winding Water toward the city of Baldur’s Gate. Like Lathtarl’s Lantern (see that entry), this is a pirate hold, but unlike the Lantern, the reputation of bold, lawless Roaringshore has spread far up and down the length of the Sword Coast. Though such tales have grown in the telling, this is still a place raided at least once summer by mercenary armies of 70 or more lancers or horse archers, hired by Amn and Baldur’s Gate. As a result, prominent folk and businesses here tend to be (literally!) short-lived. Even so, two establishments of note have lasted long enough to garner well-deserved reputations: the Swordarm and the Broken Goblet. The traveler should be aware that many pirates here are runaways, local thieves, and adventurers all out to make an impression, and perhaps attract some business as mercenary hirelings. A lot of posing goes on. This can make Roaringshore a very dangerous place for the visitor who isn’t in a large, well-armed group, or obviously powerful. I had to flee it abruptly, but I did manage to learn the details about the two main attractions first.
When pirates and lawless folk come to brawl and carouse, their first thought is to roll into the Goblet. swords drawn, and swagger as they promenade along the raised entry dais and down toward the bar. It’s the place to be seen, and the place to be killed in, if the body count of the last few years is any indication. Don’t go here unless you’re very good with a blade, alert, have a lot of well-armed friends with you, and are protected against poisons. A spell such as ironguard(which renders one immune to metal bladed weapons for a time) is an ideal protection here, but beware, this place is strongly warded, and the defenses permit only existing defensive spells to continue. Newly cast spells are twisted and lost, without effect. The defenses also whisk all missiles (hurled glasses, daggers, darts, bolts, and arrows alike) up into gentle contact with the ceiling. This prevents broken glasses, for drink is served here in ornately carved and blown glasses, some of which are exquisitely beautiful, and rather more of which are simply rude. There are constant rumors that the staff and ownership of the Goblet are not human, and consist of beings far more deadly than the doppleganger “wenches”. Most folk believe that some fell power runs the tavern. Its wardings are certainly strong, and spells have been deflected from them that hurled back or slew large mercenary attacking forces sent to cleanse or raid Roaringshore. (Those bearing a ward token can cast spells within the tavern.) The truth, according to one Harper I spoke with, is that … Volo, ye can be so prudent sometimes it amazes me still. Just avoid the tavern and ye will be fine - Elminster
You’d expect the only inn in a pirate hold regularly rocked by brawls and open fighting in the streets, and often raided by mercenary armies, too, to be a crumbling, filthy, vermin-infested ruin of a place, on the verge of falling down. Well, the Swordarm was, until a powerful evil wizard decided to make it an investment. He devised a mysterious spell of great power that entrapped his three apprentices, binding them in a mystic web of forces linked to the old stone-and-timber inn building. Their life forces hold the inn together and convert spells cast within it into raw power that binds together and repairs the place, and makes guests safe from hostile spells. The unfortunate apprentices can be seen to this very day, two young men and a young woman clad in dusty, dangling tatters of robes, floating face-down near the ceiling of the lobby and staring down in frozen, endless horror at folk who pass below. After they were trapped, their captor and master, the mage Aulyntar Cowlsar, pierced the walls with many new windows, added an ornate balcony and hanging staircase, and cut a pool now full of hot tingling waters into the floor of the lobby. (This pool would be a delight to bathe in were it not for the continuous feeling of being watched, due to the unfortunate apprentices, no doubt.) These changes probably mean that should anything befall the apprentices, the Swordarm will undoubtedly collapse. Until then, it’s quite an impressive place.
The Swordarm has housed many powerful and dangerous pirates and adventurers over the years. They have come to expect, and depend on, a place that is clean, quiet, and safe. On the rare occasions when guests have offered violence to anyone, swift and sure spells (presumably those of Aulyntar, who prefers to remain unseen) have lashed out to end the matter, usually by destroying the belligerent guest, although there have been some reports of such individuals being teleported abruptly into the depths of far-off Skullport, beneath Waterdeep, or the heart of the jungles of Chult, or into the midst of Icewind Dale. So this inn has become a neutral meeting place for deadly enemies, uneasy rivals, and swaggering folk-of-danger alike. If guests intend to do business together, however, they tend to arrange to meet elsewhere, no one is free of the feeling that Aulyntar or his frozen apprentices are always watching and listening. Some folk are so sensitive to this feeling that they cannot stay in the inn for more than a few breaths. On the other hand, it is the safest haven in Roaringshore, unless one is a wizard. There are several tales of mage guests disappearing here over the years.
Maecius wrote:Roaringshore probably does not have codified laws or courts, in the traditional sense.
The town isn't even really "led." Rather, it's "controlled."
There is a pecking order among the Captains, with the High Captain(s) at the top, and in combination these figures enforce a sort of order on the community.A powerful cartel and crew of pirates and smugglers have a little fleet all their own, and make frequent use of Roarinshore as a base. Collectively they present enough of a threat to make the situation a stalemate with the local powers. So long as they don't get too greedy, businesses can write off piracy as a form of taxation.
On the shore, ship captains are the laws of the streets. Roaringshore needs them to bring in plunder and sailors to survive, so a Captain's word is often law... not the least because he likely has a crew at his back and a ship in the port.
It's not a haven for evil, as evil is often destructive. Profitable evil? That's welcome. But evil for the sake of evil? It's probably not going to survive the far-less-fair-than-Baldur's-Gate enforcers of Roaringshore.
It's not a place where "goody-two-shoes" characters are going to be very welcome, either, though. Those who shine with righteousness are likely to be walking around with a big target sign on their back -- first of all, they're probably rich (just look at that shiny armor), and rich people are targets; and second of all, they're liable to insult someone important with their moralizing ways.
In terms of Roaringshore's "street justice," we should stress that we don't want open warfare. The odd brawl or shady murder can pass beneath notice or care, but when you damage the commerce and trade you're likely to get beaten by all available drunken sailors.
The main difference between Roaringshore and the southern centers of law is that troublemakers in Baldur's Gate are liable to be thrown into a jail cell ... while troublemakers in Roaringshore are more liable to be crossbowed, execution-style, in a dark alley.
Assuming they're not hoisted onto the gallows first to dance the hempen jig.