Stuff and Shackles
United Pirate Lords
Capital: Port Peril (43,720)
Major Races: Humans, half-orcs, halflings, tengu
Major Religions: Besmara, Calistria, Cayden Cailean, Gozreh, Norgorber, Pharasma
Languages: Common, Polyglot, Tengu
Flag: Skull over crossed shackles on a red-and-black quartered field
Leader: Captain Kerdak Bonefist (Filthy Lucre)
Active Regions: Nidal, Sargava, The Shackles
Open Ports: Port Peril, Hell Harbor, Quent, Drenchport, Ollo
When most people think of pirates, they think of the Shackles. Not only do the fiercest and most bloodthirsty pirates call the Shackles home, but the region’s prosperity relies on piracy. Those who aren’t pirates themselves support the pirate trade with inns, shops, warehouses, and a variety of other services.
The pirates of the Shackles have tradition and experience on their side. The concentrated piracy of the area has allowed captains to maintain impressive ships and hardy crews, and would-be freebooters compete to crew the most well-known ships. The cooperation of the Free Captains
allows information and plunder to move from port to port, creating a network of pirates who can ally in times of need.
The pirates of the Shackles bear no love or trust for each other, but support each other when called on by a Free Captain or the Hurricane King.
When the perpetual hurricane called the Eye of Abendego appeared and devastated the region now known as the Sodden Lands, it took a great toll on sea trade in the region. In the wake of its destruction, most sailors fled the area. The only ones to remain were the bravest and, in many cases, those with the least to lose, who formed isolated pockets of brigands and buccaneers.
The pirates fought among themselves for a time. The strongest emerged as influential leaders, and eventually agreed to work together to consolidate piracy in the area. [[:Kerdak Bonefist | Captain Kerdak Bonefist]], the terrifying captain of the Filthy Lucre, took the crowning position of Hurricane King by virtue of commanding the strongest fleet and holding Port Peril. Under his leadership, the captains with the largest fleets formed a pirate council and installed themselves as governors of various ports.
In 4674 ar, the Hurricane King and his pirate council began coordinating raids up and down the coast. With each passing year, the Free Captains have celebrated their successes with more and more daring raids, venturing farther than ever to extend their reach and avoid competition, while the plunder flows through the Shackles and out to neighboring territories.
Shackles pirates use whatever ships they can claim. Sloops and schooners, galleons and galleys, and more are all found in ports up and down the coast with midsize ships being most popular. Shackles pirates look for a balance between small, light ships with low drag—capable of great maneuverability and speed along the oft-treacherous coastline and between islands—and larger, deep-water ships with a longer range and more cargo space to hold plunder. Too-small ships require pirates to leave some of their haul behind, while too-large ships struggle to catch merchants unaware and require enormous crews. Ship preference is a hotly debated personal matter, with several competing theories regarding how best to handle the high, rough seas near the Eye of Abendego.
Free Captain Satekai brought one of the first Tian ships to Jeopardy Bay. Red Fortune is a light, narrow ship boasting a red wooden sea-serpent figurehead. Red Fortune inspires admiration and jealousy, and several pirate lords would pay handsomely for a Tian ship of their own.
Most ports in the Shackles are governed by pirate lords. A pirate with a particular allegiance prefers to visit her pirate lord’s port to sell, trade, and to repair her ships. However, weather and circumstances often force pirates to dock in unfamiliar ports, and most of the pirate lords are happy to conduct business with unaffiliated buccaneers, with varying levels of hospitality.
Some pirates make a habit of trading in a variety of locations, while others prefer to conceal their treasure until they can return to their home port.
The Shackles are studded with hundreds of islands: major islands with established ports and harbors, unsettled jungle islands, rocky crags without a water source, and exposed reefs that almost disappear when the tide comes in. In addition to their home ports and favored trading
posts, all pirates have a few secret hiding spots among the unsettled anchorages. Some brave pirates favor the dangerous Cannibal Isles, home to the legendary kuru warriors, while others let jagged reefs or hungry dinosaurs be their guardians. Some even stash their goods in the ancient cyclopean ruins of Ghol-Gan, hoping that restless spirits will keep all others away.