Galbarrow is a mid-sized port town several days southeast of Agalla, the largest town in Ungoza after Cratera, and perhaps the oldest permanent settlement in the region.
According to town legend, Galbarrow is so named because Arqua dan Gal, a famed old seadog from Solaris, was buried here. Arqua dan Gal had acquired quite the reputation as both a gentleman smuggler and foe of pirates when Ortia was incorporated into Cirsova’s dominion three hundred years ago. Wanting no longer to be Ortians or Cirsovans, Arqua dan Gal, who was a wealthy ship captain, his wife, crew and their families set sail north from great port of Solaris across the Dawnsea. Dan Gal offered free passage to anyone who wished to join him in his journey. A few other “noble smugglers” heard of dan Gal’s plan, joining the exodus. Along the way, Arqua dan Gal fell ill and died. His final request was that his ship and wealth be used to build a haven for nationless sailors. Today, a statue of Arqua dan Gal, facing south toward the sea, and his wife, looking inland, stands in a square just beyond the harbor.
For many decades, Galbarrow had a reputation as a haven for pirates on the Dawnsea (ironic, considering dan Gal’s own feats against piracy). It had been nearly forgotten about, save for the rumors heard in the alehouses, inns and docks of Korsha and Diirdec. Even the relatively peaceful conquest of Ungoza failed to betray the location of Galbarrow to the Empire. As the Marshfolk had amicably traded with port for many years, though, its discovery was only a matter of time. The Cirsovan army, upon learning that the legendary pirate stronghold had been found, bore down upon Galbarrow. What they found was a quiet fishing village with maybe a dozen ships. Following Galbarrow’s rediscovery, a road was built from Agalla and sailors from Korsha and Diirdec began an influx of trade and persons to the town. Much of this growth was fueled by the stories of Arqua dan Gal and his idea for a free port, which appealed particularly to captains who wished to reap rewards of trade between Korsha and Solaris in a less-than-legitimate manner. Would-be pirates who had been driven to near extinction in other cities along the coast of the Dawnsea suddenly found a new home in this frontier port.
Though nominally under Cirsovan rule, Galbarrow operates under supervision of a dockmaster, harbormaster, and captains’ council which together keep the peace. The rule of thumb in Galbarrow is ‘what happens at sea stays at sea, and the land shall be no wiser”. Violence and vice are not welcome on the streets and docks of Galbarrow, and are met with swift retribution. By keeping the streets clean and remitting taxes (often paid from booty) to Ungoza’s autocrat in Agalla, the Captains’ Council has kept the Empire satisfied and Galbarrow left be. Off the streets, anything goes. Galbarrow’s gambling and drinking halls are said to be second to none; though blood sports are officially frowned upon by the Captain’s Council, they are not forbidden, provided they do not interfere with smooth operation of the docks.
Today, Ortians make up only a small percentage of the population. It is they who put up the statue of Arqua dan Gal and his wife.