The Floatmarket

Published October 9, 2013 by

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The Floatmarket is a flotilla of dozens of trade ships that have gathered into a loose, mobile town that makes a year-long circuit of the Sere Marica. The town is built around the Fountain, a numenera that forms the crux of the flotilla and which converts seawater from the Sere Marica into fresh, potable water.

The bulk of the Floatmarket’s core is made up of permanent members of the flotilla.The ships that form the town come in all shapes and sizes, from small one person boats to huge cargo haulers. As they draw nearer to ports of call, the boats can be easily lashed together, and wooden walkways are extended to allow easier movement around the town. Several people also make a living ferrying people between boats.

The Floatmarket is a town built on trade with each of the ports it draws close to during its course around the Sere Marica, and its arrival at a port is usually a joyous occasion. Its route is well known, and traders from across the sea make regular stops at the Floatmarket, some joining up with the town temporarily during a leg of its journey. The flow of trade goods into and out of the town is constant, and goods for sale often change from week to week.

The town itself is ruled by a council made up of any ship-owner who has been a member of the flotilla for at least a month, and bothers to show up to meetings. Majority rules in all civic matters. The few laws observed by town are enforced by a sheriff and a group of deputies. The office of sheriff is a year-long appointment made by the town council.

Note: The Floatmarket was featured on Vaux the Jack’s fourth edition of The Signal. You can learn about this location and more at his site, or listen to Signal 4 below.


A council made up of any ship-owner who has been a member of the flotilla for at least a month
The Beyond
The Floatmarket Hearsay:

The Hunter and the Hunted: The Whisperer has been unusually shifty lately. Story has it that at the Floatmarket’s last stop, someone came on board seeking revenge on a supposed assassination committed by him. However several people are certain he was engaged in trade negotiations with a group of cypher hunters the whole time.

Days of Blood: A few visitors to the Floatmarket have disappeared lately. No one is entirely certain what happened to them, but suspicion has landed on the local church of the Challifani, as they are approaching a particularly grim holiday ritual. The sheriff doesn’t have any evidence to pin on them, as the bunch of them keep their noses very clean. Meantime, people passing through town are being warned to watch their backs.

Where the Water Flows: Water output at the Fountain is extremely predictable and regular. Recently, measured output has started dipping, while at the same time, an influx of money has seen unusual activity and improvements being made aboard the Sorcan’s Spore. The sheriff has had an eye to this, but as yet hasn’t been able to connect the two events.

The Weird of The Floatmarket:

The Ghost Ship: On certain nights of the month, the moonlight illuminates the ghostly outline of a small ship in the flotilla that isn’t there. The boat remains intangible, and no one can be seen aboard. When the sun rises, it’s gone.

Old Man and the Sea: For years, a local named Old Man Drolem has openly worshiped the Sere Marica itself as an all-providing deity. Most people write him off as a loon, but recently he’s begun to perform miracles in the name of the sea.

Points of Interest:

The Fountain

The Fountain sits at the heart of the Floatmarket, both literally and figuratively. The ancient sea-going device is surrounded by the other ships in the fleet, who follow it’s year-long circuit around the Sere Marica.

The Fountain is a large numenera made of an unknown, brass-like alloy which never rusts or corrodes. It’s shaped like an inverted cone, with the bulk of the machine sitting below sea-level. The only obvious openings in the machine are eight ports in the base which draw in salty sea-water, and a large spout on top that constantly churns out fresh water, filling a basin on the top and then spilling over the sides.

No one in the Floatmarket has any idea how the Fountain works, even after decades of following it. By long-standing ruling, it is illegal to sell the water from the Fountain, which is considered free to all.

Salty Rose

A vast luxury vessel, the Salty Rose is one of the largest ships in the flotilla, and one of the original boats of the Floatmarket. It’s metal hull is constantly being refurbished and repaired due to the harsh sea water, but the boat is generally kept in good condition, and it’s current captain, Miss Polasya, is one of the wealthiest and most influential members of the town.

The Salty Rose is the heart of entertainment in the Floatmarket. It acts as an inn, a tavern and a brothel. It has lounges, cafes, a small theatre, and rooms to serve well over a hundred visitors. At night, the ship is lit with red lanterns, and people come from around the fleet for entertainment, drinks and dalliances with the staff.

For many ports of call, the yearly appearance of the Salty Rose is the highlight of the Floatmarket’s arrival.

Flint 5

This larger metal vessel is one of the original boats of the Floatmarket. At some point, Flint 5 was some manner of factory ship, and its furnaces still serve as a foundry for the fleet. The current captain, a skilled metalworker named Brae, is known for her temper, her toughness, and the quality of the goods she and her apprentices churn out.

Flint 5 offers fair prices on all manner of metal goods, all with a special finish that helps prevent corrosion caused by exposure to the salty sea. They do very good business.

The Yard

Where does one get fresh fruit and vegetables on the open sea? From the Yard.

The Yard is actually a pair of old barges that have been lashed together. Heavy with dirt, it’s where captain Rolatan and his incredibly large family raise fresh crops using water from the Fountain. Plants from all around the Sere Marica are grown here, making it a place where many ports can acquire exotic fruits and vegetables.

For years, rumours have circulated that Rolatan and his wife, Ismelda, are Sarracenians. There’s scant evidence for this, however, other than the fact that they’re both skilled gardeners.

Green Boat

This smaller boat is only known as “The Green Boat,” due to the colour of its wooden hull. The Green Boat is the home and workplace of a soft-spoken varjellen captain who calls himself “The Whisperer.”

The Whisperer sells a variety of poisons, from merely inconvenient to utterly lethal, from the Green Boat – no questions asked. It’s rumoured he can be contracted to carry out assassinations as well, as the Green Boat will sometimes leave the flotilla for a few weeks at a time, and he always comes back with money his pocket.

The Sorcan’s Spore

Not many people openly talk about The Sorcan’s Spore, which is considered a festering boil on the edges of the fleet. However plenty of people do business here.

The boat looks diseased, with organic growths all along its purple hull. Its owner, captain Fitsh, is a slimy looking mutant who deals drugs – primarily a weak type of mycos which he grows in the filthy bilge.

The boat also acts as a flophouse, for a shin Fitsh will let you sleep on or below deck – but your safety is absolutely not guaranteed. Many drug addicts take advantage of the convenience.

Bloody Heart

The Bloody Heart is a rickety wooden ship crewed by adherents to the Challifani. The current captain is a charismatic and evangelizing Challifani priest named Erilles, and its through his efforts that the religion is becoming the dominant faith in the flotilla. He and his fellow priests are sustained through donations from the faithful.

The local church of the Challifani conducts all of its rituals and rights aboard the boat, and there are plenty of rumours about the debased tortures practiced deep in its holds. So long as they do no public harm, though, the religion is free to practice in the Floatmarket.

4 thoughts on “The Floatmarket

  1. Ryan Chaddock says:

    I might move this to Ghan and use it in my current game.

    1. Scott says:

      The best part of a mobile town is it can show up pretty much anywhere.

  2. Hob says:

    I was heading my party towards the Sere Marica. This is a perfect way to move them around it. Thanks.

    1. Scott says:

      You’re most welcome, sir!

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