You’ve run out of money, friends and options. Fortune (mostly bad) has left you on the doorstep of Haven, an unfriendly town, where gold rules and the most commonly offered greeting is “Your money or your life.” And they usually plan to take both.
If you’re like most of Haven’s residents, you’ve found yourself in Haven rather than come here intentionally. Nothing mystical about the travel, it’s just that most people don’t choose to come to Haven so much as end up here at the end of long string of bad luck and poor decisions. Some have run out of money to get any further away from their troubles, some have escaped shipwreck or pirates, others have woken up in a seaside tavern unable to remember the night before or what happened to their belongings.
A desperate few have come here by choice—if you call it a choice. They have come across the Eastern Desert braving intense heat, sand storms, ruthless bandits, hungry predators and the maddening call of the desert wind. These few found hundred-to-one odds of survival an improvement to their survival chances.
But Haven doesn’t welcome visitors without means. Limited resources drive a desperate citizenry to do anything to pay their citizenship fees. It’s 100 gp’s a year, or your choice of a swim across the Bay of Eels and out into the open ocean, or a hike across 200 miles of barren desert. Non-citizens have to pay the visitors tax of 10 gp’s a week or it’s the Bay for them. Membership has its privileges.
Lacking the means to pay your visitors tax, your options are few. Fortunately, you have managed to get a public service position that delays payment of your citizenship fee for up to one year. Of course it doesn’t pay much and it doesn’t have a very high survival rate, but those are minor disadvantages compared to the alternatives.