The harbor city of Okeno, located on the southern coast of Stonespine Island off the eastern shore of Katapesh, is the third-largest city in Katapesh. Also known as the Yellow City, its bustling slave markets host up to 1,000 slavers, buyers, and travelers at any given time1 and is the largest slave market in the Inner Sea region.2
Nestled beneath the imposing Stonespine mountains, Okeno boasts no towering walls or fortifications, as it relies on a potent mixture of intrigue, bribery, and espionage to defend itself. The natural harbor, formed at the foothills of the mountains, provides a tranquil anchorage, even during the fiercest monsoons. The bay is approximately 700 yards across and offers sufficient depth to accommodate the grandest of warships. A vast ashen stone district named Stonetown emerges from the waters crafted seemingly from its solitary bedrock. Stonetown is the city's beating heart, a hub of bustling mundane markets where most commonfolk, artisans, and merchants live and trade.3
Above Stonetown, the city's wealthy reside in the elevated district of Bowsprit. The infamous High Road, leading to the upper mountains, is patrolled by vigilant guards keen to safeguard the nearby pesh fields and the mountain trails leading to secret slaver strongholds. This district exhibits superior upkeep, boasting broader streets compared to the rest of Okeno. While visitors are welcome in places like the Black Circus and the lower streets of this district, those venturing higher fall under close scrutiny.3
The remaining expanse of Okeno forms a labyrinthine maze of winding alleys and streets, a confusing network of sunless cul-de-sacs and corners where cutthroats eagerly await those with bulging pockets. Nevertheless, all paths lead to the grand fleshfairs, seemingly endless auctions where the trade of slaves unfolds. The most significant among them, the Old Fleshfair, hides within the city's meanderings, bearing witness to the passage of hundreds of thousands of lives.3
Scores of lesser fleshfairs dot the rambling district that shares their name. In truth, all that's necessary is a pit with a viewing area and a supply of slaves to initiate trade. Unfortunately, such commerce is capricious, with owners and fairs emerging and vanishing on an almost daily basis. The Laughing Fleshfair accommodates most of Okeno's native gnolls, and many slavers maintain townhouses with concealed courtyards—sometimes of enormous proportions—lurking behind their splendidly carved doorways.3
The oldest section of the city, the Harbor District, encompasses two distinct areas: Yellow Harbor (the original slave dock) and New Dock. The Harbor District clings to the rocky shoreline that is crowded with structures offering amusement to visitors. This strip of land, often only 60 yards wide, occupies the flat ground at the edge of the shore. Its narrowest point is where it traverses the Shipyards, rising above the docks on a series of boardwalks. The amusements found here are brutal, costly, and perilous. Rogues find a prosperous hunting ground in the Shipyards, but they are cautious to steer clear of the grinning gnolls, a part of the local watch, who are smarter than their kin, mostly female, and perpetually eager for entertainment.3
A district known as the Ships' Graveyard is primarily constructed from shipwreck remnants, stolen portions of vessels, and various flotsam and jetsam. In its more extreme segments, it resembles a ship stranded on land; in others, it mimics a seaside township. This district, one of rougher trades, industry, and alchemy, stretches away from a focal point just behind the harbor district at the disorganized plaza referred to as the Shipwreck.13
Okeno originally began as a convenient spot for pirates to stop and collect water and provisions without relying on the ports of the mainland nations. This location became an official settlement in 3496 AR when Captain Ilmatis Okeno declared herself lord of the port. After her death, Okeno continued to serve as a pirate port without centralised leadership, despite various attempts to unify the pirates under a single banner. This state of affairs ended in 3721 AR when an organised group of Taldan sailors from the province of Andoran grew tired of slave-trading pirates, and took it upon themselves to sink the vessels and rescue their living cargo. This conflict, and the inevitable retaliation, became known as the Year of Rent Sails. During the conflict, a captain by the name of Lash-Handed Neguli blockaded Okeno harbor, sinking any ship (regardless of affiliation) who refused to ally with him. The result was the creation of a new organisation, the Okeno Slavers, who held control of the city and the slave trade.3
Ten years later, the recently arrived Pactmasters imposed order upon the pirate haven by incorporating it into the greater nation of Katapesh. They allowed the Okeno slavers to persist in their trade under the condition that a Katapeshi governor supervised the city's activities and ensured that taxes were remitted to the Pactmasters. The governors have Okeno have kept control over the city and its slave trade in the intervening millennium.3
Up until 200 years ago, the Okeno Slavers were the de facto rulers of Okeno, but this arrangement dissolved with the appointment of an official governor in the city. Okeno's current ruler, Governor Morio Midasi, enforces the few laws intelligently and with ruthless consistency.14 The captain of the Okeno Slavers often meets with the city's mayor to discuss the slave trade and identify problems. The current leader is Captain Xiren Bhey.4
Okeno is home to a profitable slave market known as the Fleshfairs. The slaves are transported to and from Okeno by the well-known yellow-sailed slave galleys.56 They are then brought to and from the Skindock via underground tunnels called the Sweatways.2 Criminals in the city are usually sent to the slave markets, hence the city's low crime rate.1 empyreans are particularly valued as slaves for their physical features and regularly fetch higher prices.7
Places of interest
- See also: Category:Okeno/Locations
A shrine of Gozreh is maintained by the siblings Niharo and Owayu in the city. Owayu spends most of her time at the docks to provide blessings and to advise sailors of approaching storms while Niahro dispenses information to travelers heading to Katapesh and advice about cross-country travel.8
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- “Land of Adventure” in Dark Markets, A Guide to Katapesh, 12. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Golden Road” in World Guide, 52–53. Paizo Inc., .
- “Okeno, The Yellow City” in The Whisper Out of Time, 63–67. Paizo Inc., .
- “Dangerous Waters” in Pirates of the Inner Sea, 8. Paizo Inc., .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 93. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Katapesh” in Legacy of Fire Player's Guide, 17. Paizo Inc., .
- “Blood of Angels” in Blood of Angels, 10. Paizo Inc., .
- “Land of Adventure” in Dark Markets, A Guide to Katapesh, 22. Paizo Inc., 2009 .