Patron: The Maggot Queen (Drakainia)
Primary Race: Half-Orc, Human, Orc
Primary Language: Orcish
Suggested Traits: Child of the South, Gambler, Ignorance is Bliss, Islander, Poor Hygiene, Sea Legs, Sneaky
Regional Feat: Day by Day
It's amazing how much cheerless misery can be crammed into such a small area. Little more than a small city and several surrounding villages, Barren Haven has the rare distinction of being the scavenger's paradise. Some trick of the current means that nearly everything that washes into the Galecage will eventually end up on the southern shores of the Tempest Rock. Barren Haven's entire economy comes from the gangs who patrol these vast, shallow pans for whatever wealth they can scrounge. They fight and die amidst ancient wreckage, bloated corpses, and unidentifiable carrion in hopes of finding some piece of rare art or lost magic. Most prized are those items swept up from the Unknown South by the Great Equatorial Storm.
Fittingly enough, the ruler of this nation of parasites is the Maggot Queen, whose bloated body pulsates with tumorous growths that will bud off to create her spawn, the enforcers of her will. She does not rule Barren Haven so much as terrorize it, seeming to drain life and color from the entire island simply by her presence.
Unsurprisingly, Tempest Rock was a much different place during the Age of Heroes. Magic manipulation of the weather and ocean currents meant that they were a delightful tropical getaway while numina still flowed freely. When it failed, however, the weather came surging back with a vengeance. Following the destruction of the Well, half the island was flooded by powerful tides and a monstrous storm hovered over Tempest Rock for the better part of year. When the madness finally settled, what remained was a changed place.
Even that might have not been enough to break the locals, except that the currents that now bring them such wealth also brought their damnation. No one is sure where she came from before her arrival, but one day the island was besieged by waves of maggot spawn that started at the southern shore and slowly worked their way north, slaying everyone in their path or, far worse, dragging them to their queen to be impregnated with more of her foul brood. It is one of these victims that is responsible for saving—and dooming—Barren Haven, for they begged the queen to spare them and instead proposed a new system: instead of killing the residents, breed them so that the Queen would always have a fresh supply of hosts for her young.
Though this traitor to humanity died with a maggot spawn bursting from their guts, the Queen heeded their advice and stopped her advance with half the island her property. She approached the terrified leaders of the island and told them how the future would be operating from now on: they were her property and she was their master, every bit as much as a man was master to the cattle he slaughtered for food. They would be permitted to live, but she would harvest their ranks whenever and however she saw fit.
In an attempt to keep from being selected by her cullings, many residents of the island have taken to praying to the Maggot Queen, begging for any signs as to what they must do to curry her favor. Though no one is sure what it means, the Queen occasionally grants some of these seekers a taste of her magic.
Barren Haven has open ports, but they are considered among the least welcoming in the world, with many a ship stranded because they lose too many crewmembers to muggings or bar fights. The only reliable visitors are merchants from the Tide Princes, who always bring heavily-armed escorts and rarely leave their ships, instead inviting contacts aboard with lists of wares.