The Fkashdad War
Carved out of a seaside cliff along the Bakuulco coast, Xalthuga is a haven for criminals of all walks of life. While the mines and fishing yield some export, the main draw is its natural defenses; a barrier reef dotted with rocky outcroppings which have been fortified with cannon towers (accessible by gondolas). Xalthuga has more fences than all the farms in Darkiristan, and all manner of other thieves guild merchants.
The town is made of a haphazard collection of caves carved into the rock and wooden platforms and buildings tacked onto the cliff face. While there are plenty of stairs and lifts, many natives or visitors who’ve got a great set of sea legs take the option of climbing the nets and lines that rig the hodgepodge together.
Xalthuga is split into Uptown and Lowtown:
Uptown doesn’t have that much better decor, but it is something of a DMZ. Plenty of business goes on here, and weapons are permitted (just ‘cause no one would trust leaving them at the door), but anything further than fisticuffs will result in immediate, permanent, expulsion (often over the railing onto the docks or depths below), and theft is frowned upon. To gain access to Uptown, you require either invitation or a reputation. Minions/servants are also allowed access, but not with the same freedoms. Pirate lords and mafia dons alike may have safe houses here, but they certainly won’t be headquartered here; real estate is slim, expensive, and not at all lavish.
Conversely, Lowtown is where your common criminals do their shopping, drinking, whoring, backstabbing, etc. You can buy or sell damn near anything. There’s ne’er-do-wells for hire, there’s shipyards specializing in combat modifications, and plenty of lost souls who’ll go to sea for a barrel of grog and a sack of apples. What you can’t find is a quiet place to eat and drink or an inn where you can sleep with both eyes closed.