Across the backwater of Barge End sprawls an unsightly collection of shanties, huts, tents, and other miserable housing. Shacktown is the slum of Greyhawk City, too miserable even to be granted a place in the Old City.
Shacktown, as a rule, is inhabited by the rejects of the lowest levels of Greyhawk society. A few families live here, but most of the inhabitants are alone. Often these unfortunates are hiding from enemies the city but are too frightened of the outside world to flee far from their home.
During and after the Greyhawk Wars, Shacktown, began to grow beyond its typical 500 inhabitants to about a thousand poor immigrants who came to Greyhawk, though the number declines in winter.. They hail from places as far away as the Shield Lands, the Wild Coast, Nyrond, Furyondy, and even Tenh. Most inhabitants are loners, and many are fugitives, criminals, and outcasts. Any families that came to Greyhawk have long since moved away to local farms or in the city itself. The City Watch almost never, goes into Shacktown, less out of fear of inhabitants than complete disregard for their condition and any crimes committed here. Shacktowners occasionally get into fights with local Rhennee, but the two groups usually leave each other alone. Shacktowners sometimes hunt animals in North Hills Park for food, but this is a crime punishable by a long term in a Greyhawk work house. The nearness of Shacktown the High Quarter and the vast differences between the two are noted by many visitors to the city. Chickens and goats roam the paths of Shacktown; dogs are driven off.
Notable locations in Shacktown:
- Shacktown Pier
- Shacktown Shrine of St. Cuthbert
- Dockers’ and Wharfmen’s Union Hall
- Snagtooth Shipbuilding
- Alliance of Tenha Workers
There are no business establishments here, and only one shrine: a small place kept by a devoted follower of St. Cuthbert. Father Nicholi Nortoi (N male human Cleric of St. Cuthbert L3), and a few devoted followers give what comfort they can to the residents of Shack Town. While he cannot alleviate all of the suffering here, at least he prevents the outbreak of dread diseases such as the plague, and keeps the few children in Shack Town from starving.
The collection of shanties is squeezed into a narrow and marshy stretch of land. The river crowds it, and even fills the muddy streets of Shacktown during rainy springs, washing many of the crude structures away. Away from the river, the town presses against the steep bluff leading upward to North Hill Park.
A sturdy wooden dock, called simply the Shacktown Pier, stands at the waterfront of the squalid community. Shacktown’s most magnificent edifices, many of them actually possessing four walls, stand (or lean) in a row behind the pier. The rest of the town straggles away along the riverbank.
Access to Shacktown from the city of Greyhawk is gained via boat from the wharf, except when Barge End is crowded with 30 or more barges. In the latter circumstance, there are enough barges to bridge the open water, and a comer of the barge-raft anchors at Shacktown Pier. Those on agreeable terms with the Rhennee can step across the barges from wharf to Shacktown. Otherwise, boaters are always waiting about, willing to ferry characters across for a few coppers.
Shacktown is a perfect place to remain unnoticed, so some of the men living here are doing just that. These men include agents of each of Greyhawk ‘s foreign ambassadors as well as refugees from the Thieves’ Guild and the Beggar’s Union.
Shacktown is considered beneath the notice of even these guilds. Only in extreme circumstances will the Thieves’ Guild, for example, seek an enemy among the shanties. Normally, the fact that the miserable scum has been driven to take refuge in Shacktown is considered humiliation enough. Of course, if that enemy should return to the Free City and be recognized, the chase is on again.