The Freelancers of the Waves: Pirates
Date: Sat, March 21, 2009
Topic: Peoples & Culture

To sail forth seeking fortune is a grand idea; provided you survive to spend the plunder.

--- Pirate Esumund Soarick

The Freelancers of the Waves: Pirates

By Crag

Oerth has an abundance of navigable expansive bodies of water hence no singular fleet has emerged capable of the imposition of naval dominance. Endless financial opportunities abound for the freelance sailor to seek their fortune and escape the labour of the land. Far from shore awaits freedom and wealth enough to satiate the most gluttonous of appetites but it is not for the timid. However freelance mariners must still abide within understood codes of conduct to be successful. Freelance mariners regardless of their expertise prefer to achieve their objectives through the threat of violence rather then costly conflict. Most freelance ships choose to use personalized emblems rather than the more ostentatious methods associated with some national navies. Some affluent naval powers emblaze their heraldry within vibrantly coloured sailcloth however even the most destitute national fleet proudly hoists its colours aloft.

Pirates are the most free of all the freelance mariners and refuse to accept patrons or limit their potential victims based upon external criteria. Pirates have rejected all societal and moral restraints except those they impose upon themselves. Of course the remarkable freedom pirates enjoy does have a high cost for those living outside of the restraints of society are denied its protection. However codes of behavior are devised and enforced even for those outside the morals of society. Pirates have retained the least emotional investment of the seabourne communities which operate outside of societal law. Buccaneers and Privateers must be concerned about their patrons’ reaction to their activities. Corsair tradition acknowledges baklunish societal codes of behavior despite their defiance. Slavers establish mercantile sources to procure profitable slaves and reliable markets to sell the slaves. Sea Rovers use violence to lash out at their society but also to affect changes within it. Pirates refuse patrons, societal codes of behavior, mercantile oversight and the society that has cast them aside.

The motivations for piracy are as limitless as the freedom pirates enjoy but avarice tends to be a prominent factor for most pirates. The ship is home and its crew functions as a floating thieves guild. Most crewmates fled societal rules and responsibilities on land but grudgingly submit to the authoritarian structure found aboard ship to acquire wealth. Pirate captains retain their authority by means of an unspoken but understood crew consensus; if the captain fails to find profitable prizes, the captain will be marooned or murdered. Successful captains must instill confidence to maintain crew camaraderie and fear to maintain discipline. Lax discipline on board ship loses the respect of the crew increasing the prospect of mutiny. However severe discipline on board and the crew will soon mutiny to remove the object of their torment – the captain. Few pirate captains can strike a successful balance for long as paranoia and avarice often doom them eventually. Pirates have traditionally hoisted their own personal emblems however this could be changing as the Nerull rune is gaining popularity within the Azure Sea.

The unrestricted life of the pirate is a powerful lure; a pirate has no restrictions on his behavior or purse. The plunder obtained does not have to be shared. Pirates sail every body of water on Oerth; none of the other freelance mariners that operate outside of society can claim a greater potential for profit then the pirate. However few pirates survive to spend their plundered fortunes because civilized societies often have little interest in their return once the pirate succeeds. The reason for their success; a lack of respect for societal rules and established relationships within society often condemns even the successful pirate to an isolated demise. Those pirates that choose to persevere with their efforts to gain societal forgiveness often find the price for their dubious respectability is purchased with much of the fortune the pirate left society to acquire.

The Lament

The Lament is a successful pirate ship that hoists the Nerull rune. This galleon prowls the Azure Sea in search of prey regardless of its colous. Under the command of Lirnalent “The Lash” Mellenzia, she has an exceptional reputation for cruelty and the harsh discipline meted out aboard her ship. Lirnalent “The Lash” truly seems to have no loyalties beyond the purse as the Lament has attacked merchant ships from many different nations. As proof of the generous nature of the Lament; the crew proudly boasts anyone wishing the reward would die on the trail traveling to collect it. Given the rumoured harsh discipline, some wonder at the loyalty of the crew, although the heavy purse each crewmate carries should be answer enough. Rumours persist of a fabulous hidden treasure, although no reliable information exists as to its location.

The Crew of the Lament

Lirnalent “The Lash” Mellenzia, Captain of the Lament
Vannell Becchin, First Mate of the Lament

Possible Adventure: Although many would pay well to be rid of the Lament; the gossip within the seaside taverns is “the Lash” wishes an audience with the leaders of the Onnwal rebellion but distrust is high. Many on both sides suspect betrayal; some suggest at this late date “the Lash” can see which way the wind blows and seeks to make amends with the victors of the Onnwal rebellion. The cynical scoff and suggest a trap to wipe out the leadership of the rebellion; obviously “the Lash” has finally sold herself to the Scarlet Brotherhood.

The Setting Sun

The Setting Sun is an old carrack which continues to hoist the crowned caravel, although it is stowed while in port. The Setting Sun prowls the southern Azure Sea preying upon the Amedio trade of the Scarlet Brotherhood. At sea during the fall of the Hold; the Setting Sun now seeks to disrupt trade from the Amedio Jungle. Under the command of Brelle Ansoete, this reformed slaver seeks to weaken the Scarlet Brotherhood through the loss of southern revenue. Although the situation is risky, some still desire gold more then fear the red monks. Now most of the valuable cargoes sent to the coast are other then slaves. The cargoes of rare spices and jungle tribute do still turn a healthy profit. The Setting Sun has found a berth and market within southern Keoland (saltmarsh). Brelle Ansoete for his daring jungle escapades has become a saltmarsh celebrity of sorts and his company is sought by citizens that wish to socialize with the criminal element.

The Crew of the Setting Sun

Brelle Ansoete, Captain of the Setting Sun
Legiard Delin, First Mate of the Setting Sun

Possible Adventure:
The Setting Sun will undertake reasonable risks to disrupt the Scarlet Brotherhood efforts within the Amedio. Brelle Ansoete has intercepted merchant shipping and raided the coastal trade forts. Some crewmates have extensive knowledge of amedio survival which they would share with fellow comrades. The first mate Legiard Delin has some Onnwal ancestry and encourages Brelle Ansoete to abandon the amedio trade routes and harass the more lucrative eastern tribute routes. Brelle Ansoete is unsure, convinced powerful Scarlet Brotherhood fleets must protect the home waters.

This article comes from Canonfire!

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