Skyships of the Wastes
The Shipyards is the name of a small oasis that is run by the Society of Airship-wrights and Engineers. It is the largest producer of airships. Only people involved in the design and construction of airships can join the Society, and only members of the Society can be citizens of The Shipyards. There is a small quarter, called the Merchant’s Quarter for merchants, customers, cooks, servers, maids, and other non-creators, but such people can only stay there at the pleasure of the Society. Many doing that sort of work are the spouses and children of a Society member, who live outside the Merchant’s Quarter. Airships are, of course, produced in many other places, such as the military facilities of The Empire, but the finest and most advanced are produced here. The Society has many of the best men, and non-men, in many fields, including everything from sail weaving, to chemistry, to carpentry, to logistics and procurement. It is an efficiently run city, which does cut down on personal freedom some, but everyone always has the freedom to leave if they find living the Society life to constraining (and other, smaller, shipyards are always pleased to hire a Society member). City life is organized around the mess halls for pleasure and the construction hangers for business. The mess-halls provide meals, ale, and occasional music at all hours. Construction goes on day and night in shifts, and designers tend to work odd hours. A skilled laborer who saves his money can often retire fairly young, though many waste the money on finery bought in the Merchant’s Quarter. The oasis is too small to support agriculture, and all food is imported at the Society’s expense. The Shipyards would make a fine addition to a country’s holdings, but several factors have so far prevented any attempts to take it by force. One is that the Society has made it widely known that they just wouldn’t be able to make such fine ships if some government is in charge of them, but the main reason is that no nation could allow any other to attack them, for fear of losing access. It probably also helps that the Empire is too far away to effectively rule them. Also of note is the Gnomish enclave of Little Sparkledelve, where all the Gnomes in the Society live. It is the largest population of gnomes away from Sparkle-Delve.