The waterfront area of Cliffhaven is heavily fortified against river pirates, with squat guard-towers interspersed between docks, the gleaming steel of ballista bolt-heads glittering above the battlements, and the river is crossed by heavy booms of iron chains both upstream and down from the town. These booms can be raised or lowered as needed, and the chains are studded with heavy iron spikes, a foot long, designed to snag and impale unauthorized vessels. Residential areas, set deeper within the caves, are accessible via retractable ladders and collapsible bridges built to deny access to marauders, either coming from the river or attempting to climb down the cliff faces to reach the town. Though many have tried, no berserker, dervish, buccaneer or caveman has reached the good people of Cliffhaven yet.
The people of Cliffhaven (primarily human, with some Elves from Illall and Dwarves from Stonefast) are quiet, Law-abiding folk, attending church regularly - the Church of Law holds sway here - and Lord Murdoch's laws are intended to maintain the peace and ensure prosperity and safety for the people under his dominion.
The primary tavern in town, the Wolf and Dragon, is frequented by sailors, dockworkers, traveling merchants and mercenaries passing through the region looking for work. Their braised eel is considered exquisite by those who are connoisseurs of such things.
Some rumors one might here sitting in the Wolf and Dragon on an average night...
- Grover the Slick, a respected honey merchant from the north, has offered a bounty of a gold piece per Giant Frog skin brought to him, hoping to decimate the local population of these monstrous amphibians, after one snatched his daughter off his barge.
- The necromancer who rules Black Forest Keep to the south has been neither seen nor heard from in a fortnight, and it's said the forest echoes with the sounds of his pet boars mauling each other out of hunger.
- Sir Brenton, the Lord of Gryphon Aerie and guardian of the Golden Road through the Gryphon Mountains, seeks challengers against which to test his skill at arms.
- Patriarch Morse of the Church of Law has heard rumors of a cult meeting at a ruined tower to the southeast of town, that their deviltry is insatiable, and is seeking stout men of faith to cleanse the region.
- Quincey Junior, the rug merchant, has seen the griffins of the Gryphon Mountains swooping low over the Sunset Plain, carrying off something glittering. He's offering a reward for information regarding any gold to be had on the Plain.
- The reason there have been so few pirate attacks on the river as of late is because they're organizing under a new leader, a Pirate King, and he's holding them in check.