The docks of the Free City lie outside the city wall, below the noble mansions of the High Quarter. Access to the city is provided, for pedestrians only, through the Wharfgate into the High Quarter. Access for freight and livestock, as well as some of the foot traffic, is through the Cargo Gate into the River Quarter.
The wharves are primarily rickety wooden docks extending into the muddy waters of the Selintan River. The river sweeps through a gentle curve here, and this has deepened the channel right up to the sides of the large docks, enabling the seafaring vessels from Woolly Bay to embark and debark goods and passengers. Countless smaller docks accommodate the shallow-draft river boats that ply their way between the Nyr Dyv and Woolly Bay, as well as the barges of the Rhennee and the numerous pleasure boats of the well-to-do.
The wharf is a relatively narrow strip, bounded by the water and the city wall. The High Quarter of Greyhawk rests on land more than 100 feet above the river, so for much of its length the wharf runs at the foot of the sheer bluff. The face of the bluff is precipitous, requiring a someone with a dexterous climbing ability, a rope from above, or a tall ladder to scale. Small patches of brush cling to its ledges and chimneys. The city wall runs at the top of the bluff, at the very lip of the precipice.
The wharf offers a couple of filthy taverns and some roach-infested eateries, but no other amenities. Space here is constricted, and hence too valuable for such frivolities. Instead, most of the landward side of the wharf is a continuous line of storage buildings, mingled with a few residences.
These warehouses hold cargo on its way into or out of the city, as well as cargoes merely undergoing transfer from one vessel to another. The Cargo Inspectors must appraise each lot of items, collecting the cargo tax that adds such a significant amount to the city treasury.
Every cargo of greater than 50 gp value must receive an entry stamp before being passed through the Cargo Gate and into the city. Obtaining this stamp can take 2-9 days, though the only actual cost is the payment of the Cargo Tax. It just seems to take the inspectors a long time to get around to the stamp.
Of course, a few gp in the right place — the palm of the cargo inspector, for those who still do not get the picture — can dramatically hasten stamping of the cargo approval. Such inspectors become virtual whirlwinds of efficiency when the bribe exceeds 1% of the cargo value. Otherwise, the bribe simply hastens the approval by a day or two.
In addition, the inspectors serve as the unofficial bouncers of the wharf district. Regular patrols of the watch are rarely summoned here. The inspectors reign as virtual dictators, and they are brutally effective in maintaining order.