“To sail forth seeking captives is a grand idea; provided you do not sample the merchandise too much.”
--- Slave Master Teneld Embri
The Freelancers of the Waves: Slavers
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.
Slavers are mariners that view themselves as entrepreneurial merchants and their sentient cargo merely as another marketable commodity. To practice their trade; slavers must establish mercantile sources to procure profitable slaves and have access to reliable markets to sell the slaves. These procurement sources and reliable markets can be openly supported or clandestine affairs within various societies. Slavers can operate opportunistically but most are members of established organizations that facilitate the purchase and sale of the sentient merchandise. Seaborne slavers like other merchants seek profitable trade routes between prospective buyers and sellers. Fortunately for the slave trade the outcome of the continental conflict provided an expansion of compliant powers willing to provide access to abundant slave resources for exploitation. The horrendous casualties have also stimulated demand within traditional markets and created the climate for possible acceptance within previously hostile societies. Slavers have exploited the diverse demand within the slave trade to specialize their merchandise to maximize slave appeal before being offered to prospective buyers. Some sophisticated slave organizations even provide advanced medical treatment and specialized training to further increase the value of their merchandise.
Slavery has been an accepted cultural and economic practice since the birth of the sentient species. Regardless of their societal status, enslaved sentient beings provide societal benefits. Whether used as forced labour, pleasure purposes, breeding stock, spiritual sacrifices or sources of entertainment; the value of the slave trade is undeniable. Slaves have economic value and are considered a legitimate source of wealth within many societies. Slavers within societies which openly practice the slave trade are valued members of the mercantile community. Slavery is openly practiced within the bitter north, the tropical south, the former Great Kingdom and the Baklunish Basin. Elsewhere the ambivalent legal status of some individuals allow for legalized servitude under certain conditions. The population losses experienced due to the continental conflict as well as universal societal vices ensures clandestine slavery exists within most societies. Of course the more hostile the societal opposition to slavery the more risk involved for the slaver and the higher the price of the sentient merchandise.
Acknowledged freelance seabourne slavers are scarce as most seabourne mariners refuse to openly acknowledge their profession. Most seabourne mariners would rather be consider plunderers rather then slavers. Renowned seabourne slavers are the pomarj slavers and the pre-conquest sea princes’ slavers. The seabourne slavers of the pomarj and the former sea princes’ both used force to seize sentient beings which were transported to the home ports for sale. Individual freelance slavers also use force but some prefer cunning to entice prospective merchandise into the slave collar. With romantic tales and boundless promises some sentient beings eagerly follow such duplicitous slavers to the auction block.
The Merry Maiden
The Merry Maiden is a duplicitous slave ship, known for its transportation of exotic luxury goods and charming crew. This cog sails the far north seeking mercantile opportunities. Under the command of Mikan Lertin, this charming captain is welcomed within the far north due to the exotic luxuries peddled. Mikan Lertin claims to be a native of Ratik with extensive clandestine connections within the former Great Kingdom. Caravan tales and the occasional rare gift of esteem ensure the Merry Maiden, a warm welcome in most of the halls within the northern barbarian lands. As the captain distracts the barbarian nobles with rare finery which he exchanges for fine furs, some of his crew entertains the common ale hall with lurid caravan stories of luxurious baklunish harems. The more charming crewmates regale northern maids with the comforts and ease of harem life. Often a mere handful of northern maids disappear, occasionally enough maids are missing to cause dissention within the north. Few of their claims are true; Mikan Lertin is actually from Dyvers and has few contacts clandestine or otherwise within the former Great Kingdom. The “caravan tales” are so vivid because Mikan Lertin actually does business with several baklunish merchants. These hopeful harem girls are taken to Dyvers and handed over to various baklunish caravans who treat the harem hopefuls as exquisite treasures. The barbarian maids are rare northern sweets eagerly sought within the baklunish slave bazaars. Given the blockade some within Dyvers wonder how the Merry Maiden can trade within the far north but the truth is rather simple. Not all of the barbarian maids reach Dyvers; in return for safe passage the scarlet brotherhood claims the purest suel maid among the harem hopefuls.
The Crew of the Merry Maiden
Mikan Lertin, Captain of the Merry Maiden
Goluch Menet, First Mate of the Merry Maiden
Possible Adventure: King Hundgred Rälffson of the Frost Barbarians refuses to endanger the lucrative trade brought to the far north over a few missing maids but the kin of the maids have offered a reward for their safe return. Anguished fathers seek to inflict their grief upon foreign shores when the spring raiding season arrives. Some northern relatives have already hired agents to tentatively seek out trustworthy southern mariners willing to find and return their missing kin. Many of the families believe the maids have been forcibly taken and enslaved within the lands of the former Great Kingdom. If the maids are returned; the people responsible would win both friends and enemies within the far north.
The Free Spirit
The Free Spirit is a Rhennee barge in the service of the Rhennee clans, known for its bold and arrogant crew. The Free Spirit sails the Nyr Dyv and its tributaries seeking Rhennee servants of Iuz. The Free Spirit is known throughout the empire of Iuz but is often sighted near the Bandit Kingdoms seeking to board the Rhennee servants of Iuz and free “Enemies of the Empire” offering transportation to the Shield Lands. Under the command of Rhennee Lord Agost Keszo, this barge seeks not only profit but prestige to combat the vile corruption of Iuz before it spreads throughout his people. Unfortunately mistrust and prejudice has stifled cooperation among the parties south of the Nyr Dyv. This lack of respect has hurt the prestige of Lord Agost Keszo which hampers his efforts to build a consensus against Iuz among the Rhennee clans. The status conscious nobles within the surrounding nations refuse his offers of friendship; Lord Agost Keszo hears much among the clans and is no fool. Although none among the southern nobles will listen; he knows of Iuz agents within Furyondy and the County of Urnst.
The Crew of the Free Spirit
Agost Keszo, Captain of the Free Spirit
Zseny Keszo, First Mate of the Free Spirit
Possible Adventure: Rhennee Lord Agost Keszo is willing to provide information regarding agents of Iuz within Furyondy and the County of Urnst working with Rhennee barges. He is willing to provide this information and transportation provided certain conditions are met. Rhennee Lord Agost Keszo will scrutinize all who seek his aid and react accordingly; if they appear to have noble support he will demand some sort of official acknowledgement and 25% share of the spoils. However if they appear to be mere adventurers he will demand 50% share of the spoils. One universal demand he will insist upon is that all captured Rhennee be turned over to him to face “Clan Law” and not to the land authorities. If this last demand is violated he will consider it an affront to his dignity and seek revenge sometime in the future. If their collaboration goes well and the adventurers observe his conditions, Lord Agost Keszo could become a valuable friend within Rhennee society.