Blackwater Settlement in Taeva | World Anvil
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Blackwater is a large port city built on the shores of the Sunless Sea, a large underground ocean within the Dark Hollows. It's also one of the settlements within the Dark Hollows that's the closest to the surface, even having a thriving naval trade with the nearby surface nations. As one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the Dark Hollows, Blackwater has drawn in people of all races and walks of life throughout the Hollows, whether they're seeking fortune or a chance to explore the surface world.


While the Goblins make up the majority of the cities population (about 65%), Blackwater's also home to Ratfolk (20%) and Kobolds (15%). Members of other races can occasionally be seen in the city, though these people tend to be traders and/or travellers passing through. Due to their long-standing animosity with the Goblins, Dwarves are almost never seen in or around the city. Additionally, merchants and fishers make up the majority of occupations within the city, with tavern owners a close second.


The city of Blackwater is run by a governor, with elections taking place every five years. All taxes are collected by the city, and are put to use maintaining the ships and harbour, as well as any businesses and/or infrastructure tied to them.


The entire city is surrounded by tall walls, which are constantly patrolled by armed lookouts. In the event that an enemy should try to invade by sea, the harbour will immediately be locked down, and every ship in the harbour is called on to form a blockade in order to prevent the enemy vessels from docking. Should an enemy attempt a land invasion, the entrance to the city will be barred and the defenders will begin firing on the invaders from the walls. In either scenario, the defenders inside the city will begin fortifying the streets with barricades in order to funnel invaders into disadvantageous positions in the event that the outer defences are breached.

Industry & Trade

The largest source of income for the city comes from its maritime trading with both the surface and other settlements along the Sunless Sea. Materials from deeper within the Dark Hollows (mainly Aetherite, metals, and precious stones) are common exports, and food, materials, and machinery from the surface are common imports.


Blackwater has numerous shipyards for maintaining the ships docked at the harbour, as well as warehouses for storing goods. Aside from transporting goods for trade, the ships that travel to Blackwater also ferry passengers to other settlements along the Sunless Sea.


The Harbour District

Located in the western section of the city, the harbour district contains the harbours, shipyards, and warehouses that play such key roles in the cities naval trade industry. This district is also home to the cities naval travel and fishing industries. If visitors are arriving by sea, this is the first part of the city they'll see (and smell, on account of the fishing vessels docked there).

The Market District

Located immediately adjacent to the harbour district, and covering the western and southern sections of the city, the market district contains the majority of the cities markets, as well as the land gate into the city. One can also find a number of taverns in this area. Due to being the site of much of the cities trade industry, this district is almost always filled with activity.

The Residential District

Bordering the market district, and covering the eastern and central sections of the city, this is where the citizens of Blackwater live. Those who live in the residences near the market district tend to be more well-off than those who live near the walls.

The Coincounters District

Located in the northern section of the city, this is where the residences of the governor and the most influential merchants of Blackwater live (it's this aspect that's given this area the name of the Coincounter district). Whenever important business is conducted in the city, whether it's among the local or with outsiders, this is where it happens most often.


The city of Blackwater has a sizeable harbour and numerous ships, all of which contribute to the cities trade industry.

Guilds and Factions

The Dock Rats: While largely based out of the human city of Carran on the surface, the criminal organisation known as the Dock Rats still has some presence in Blackwater. This branch of the Dock Rats focuses on smuggling items through the city, and hiring out their services to trade ship captains for a variety of services, including security and stealing from surface vessels. While the authorities of Blackwater don't condone their more criminal activities, they have occasionally called on the Dock Rats to provide security against pirates when their own numbers are stretched too thin, and some of the more underhanded merchants have been known to use them to sabotage their competition.

The Blacksails: The Blacksails are one of the wealthiest and most influential Goblin merchant 'Families' in the city. In fact, it was the Blacksails who first began trading with other settlements along the coast of the Sunless Sea, which is also how they earned their Family Name. This history with the city has unsurprisingly given the Blacksails a considerable amount of clout within the government.

Points of interest

The Harbour: Considered to be the most vital part of the city, the harbour is home to the cities naval trade and travel industries. It's here where merchants can get first pick of any incoming merchandise (if they have the coin for it), and where travellers passing through the city board and disembark. It's also home to the harbormasters office, easily identified as the large building by the gate.

The Traveller and Harbour Plazas: Located just beyond the gates, these are the first parts of the city arriving by land or sea respectively will see upon entry. These plazas are surrounded by numerous markets and taverns, providing visitors with plenty of places to spend their coin.


While somewhat better put together than most Goblin cities, the architecture of Blackwater still has a sort of ramshackle quality to it. Most of the structures in the city are constructed from stone and wood, with some bits of metal thrown in as well. Some of the major buildings, such as the harbormasters office and the governors residence, are built to a slightly higher standard than the rest of the city, though they still have a somewhat salvaged look to them.


The city of Blackwater is built along the shore of the Sunless Sea, whose waters appear to be much darker than that of the surface, almost pitch black, thanks to the minimal light of the Dark Hollows (This feature serves as the namesake of both the city of Blackwater and the Sunless Sea). The cave the city is located in is also quite large, with stalagmites and stalactites sprouting from the floor and ceiling, as well as tall stone columns spanning the height of the cavern.

Natural Resources

The waters around the city provide ample fish for eating and trading.
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