Buccaneer’s Den

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Buccaneer’s Den (City of Pirates, Isle of Rogues)

“Pirates of the Den… like cockroaches they gather in great numbers, scuttling about at the edges of civilization, and melt into the forest when the exterminators arrive…”

Location: Southeast of Britain, south of Cove, two large tropical islands.

Virtue: I beg your pardon?

Government: None, rule is typically by clans, the strongest gangs who can unite the most under them dominate the isle. Battles are frequent and bloody, and the head of the clans change from year to year.

Imports: Stolen goods

Exports: None


A silver skull-and-crossbones on a black background


Buccaneer’s Den is located in the Great Ocean, east of the Fens of the Dead and south southeast of Britain. It consists of two islands, the larger of which is known as the Den. The Den is shaped roughly like an ‘L’, with two large peninsulas jutting east and north, the former forming the well-protected harbor. The north and south halves of the isle rise slowly, making the center a lowland dip, where the bulk of the town lies. The entire isle is raised slightly on a plateau, and consists of harder stone, which allows for the web of caves to exist beneath.

The smaller isle is Dead Man’s Island, which creates a natural barrier for the harbor. This allows the pirates to trap enemy ships in the harbor if they can muster enough forces to swing around the isle and block off the north and south straits. The harbor itself is quite deep, and the bottom is rumored to have numerous rotted hulks and lost treasure, beyond any hope of retrieval. Herds of wild swine and cows are common on both isles, and also the primary staple of the pirates, in addition to the native fruits and stolen food.


Although it’s latitude is more temperate, the prevailing currents and winds make the islands hot and humid. The vegetation is predominantly tropical, and very thick, it took the native inhabitants many years to hack most of it away so the town proper could be constructed.


The island that would become Buccaneer’s Den formed during the Cataclysm, the two at the time were connected, allowing only one entrance to the harbor. It’s early history is little known, the first recorded mention of the isle comes from a Vesper ship’s log dated 42 A.C., noting the island as a potential useful way point between Britain and Vesper.

The isle was not uninhabited, however. A primitive but simple tribe lived upon the isle, which bore a resemblance to the tribesman of the Samlethe. (Some researchers have speculated that the energy that twisted Samlethe may have transported one of the tribes to the island during the Cataclysm.) A few bad incidents between them and the Vesperian captains led to Vesper abandoning the idea of taking the isle after a disastrous diplomatic incident in 51 A.C.

The Great Earthquake in 101 A.C. had subsided to a tremble by the time it reached the island, but it was enough to cause the long southern peninsula to pull apart from the greater part of the isle, to form Dead Man’s Island. The natives took this as a sign of ill omen for a few decades, and became increasingly hostile to passing ships, giving them a dark reputation as savages.

In 133 A.C. the crew of the V.S. Destiny, sick of their greedy and cruel captain, staged a mutiny while the ship was moored offshore of the island. Realizing they would find no sanctuary in Britain or Trinsic, the crew decided to bargain with the native tribe for protection. Although the tribe’s shaman warned against trusting the foreigners, the many strange and wonderful things the newcomers offered in exchange was too much to pass up.

Word slowly and discreetly spread about the island, and as Vesper grew increasingly oppressive with their dealings with Magincia, more and more crew defected and found their way to the isle. Over time the crews took native wives, and adopted many of the native customs, while the natives themselves grew dependent on steel and other luxuries only the mainland could craft. The name “Buccaneer” derived from the practice of the tribes to roast the wild swine and cows that roamed the isle on a fresh wood spit which barbecued the meat. (At the time, most meat in Britannia was stewed.) The buccaneers became so enamored of the diet they were well known for the stink of their clothes.

By 145 A.C., however, the island’s population had begun to feel strain. The natives were increasingly aware that they were outnumbered almost two to one, and were no longer in control of their homeland. In addition, the chief of the tribe was ailing from excesses, and his son was only a young boy, unfit for leadership. The natives feared that the buccaneer’s would take over when the chief died, and their fears were not unfounded. The strongest and most influential Buccaneer, Darvos, sought to take control of the tribe and the island, and arranged for the boy’s murder.

The shaman, however, was aware of Darvos’s ambitions, and quietly organized other buccaneer’s against him, promising them all total control of the isle. The result was three assassination attempts upon Darvos at his coronation ceremony, all of which failed. The result was a bloody war, as numerous factions and sides formed.

The Culling, as it became known, was a brief but horrific period in the history of the isle, as the buccaneer’s and tribesmen chose sides and did battle. For three years the chaos continued, even weathering an invasion fleet from Trinsic in 147 A.C. whom against all the clans, as they had become, united and drove from the island. The Culling ended in 148 A.C. when Darvos died at his drink, the victim of an insidious poisoning.

Over the next three decades the various pirate clans bickered and fought, but more or less kept to their part of the isle. The population grew slowly, governed by autocratic hereditary rulers of the clans, who kept power only so long as they could keep their enemies from stabbing them or poisoning their food. One of the clans managed to develop a more long-range version of the native ships in 169 A.C., which was capable of sailing to the mainland and back with incredible speed. The result was an increase in piracy over the period, which led to numerous raids upon the island by forces from Vesper, Britain, or Trinsic. However, the clans, divided, were difficult to hunt, and often retreated into the caves, frustrating the intruders who never could find them. This led to the isle’s name “The Buccaneer’s Den”, in reference to the difficulty in finding them there.

In 175 A.C., Magincia began the Embargo, which cut all the ports and cities of the world off from it’s incredible source of income. The result of this was a huge loss of trade, but it also isolated the city-states, which sought no cooperation with each other, and often sent their merchant vessels out alone without military escort. The result was a boon upon piracy, as the various cities began issuing Letters of Marque to privateers and merchant craft. The pirate clans were more than adequately suited for the task.

The Golden Era of Piracy (175-223 A.C.) was a troubled era for the world, but a boom time for the Buccaneer’s. Pirate crews and clans swelled in size with new recruits from the mainland who had no money to buy food, and had only a strong arm to offer. Raids were so common that merchant trade almost ceased, although the clans were clever enough not to slay the golden goose. Vesper, choking on the threat of piracy, began paying ransoms to pirates to leave their ships alone, a tactic which soured quickly as the pirate clans each started demanding a share.

The Embargo ended in 190 A.C., which restored Magincian wealth to the world, but it did not end the ascension of the pirates. Raids upon Magincian trade earned greater wealth than ever, usually in the form of ransom, and were far safer than raiding Ocllo. (A disastrous raid in 189 A.C. led to the pirate clans establishing a ban upon raiding the island nation.) Even as Britain, Trinsic, and the other port cities struggled to restore their economies the pirates continued to prosper.

In 187 A.C. the head of the largest and most powerful clan, Lucius the Large (known for his great size and fearsome strength) had quietly and nearly bloodlessly united the clans under his firm but mostly beneficial rule. His most notable accomplishment was the creation of the Contract, the system of law that rules the Den to this day. In addition, many of the permanent buildings upon the island were built during this period, making the Den seem a far more civilized place than before.

During this period they began to gain a more romantic image in the minds of many Britannians as dashing rogues and rebels, who followed their own rough but simple code of honor. This was partly due to the play The Buccaneer, which debuted in the King’s Theatre of Britain in 191 A.C. The simple story of a farmer who joined a group of pirates fighting against a tyrant lord (Often portrayed as Lord Robere) appealed to many of the people, and piracy became a slightly more tolerated practice in the hearts and minds of the populace. Vesper further developed this image by officially recognizing Buccaneer’s Den as a sovereign nation and kingdom in 198 A.C., which secured them against attack. Britain initially didn’t seek to overcome this, as they saw the Den as a potential block to the growing power of Jhelom in the Great Ocean. (See the entry on Jhelom for further details.)

In 209 A.C., however, a terrible truth was discovered by a bard of Britain, who spread the tale far and wide before dying upon a poisoned dagger. The pirates of the Den had been operating a slaving ring for many decades, taking the criminals of Vesper and Magincia and selling them in the markets of NuJel’m. Lucius’s death at the hands of his son Guy in 211 A.C. did not help matters; Guy was a cruel and demanding ruler who massacred of a ship of colonists from Britain in 212 A.C. This led to Vesper withdrawing recognition of the kingdom, and Trinsic, Britain, and Serpent’s Hold declaring war upon the Den.

Despite the division of the Den into clans once again, and the death of Guy in 215 A.C. at the hands of Kahz, his chief lieutenant, the buccaneer’s fought superbly against the Alliance, as the union of the city-states against the Den were known. Years of theft and work had gained the Den an enormous fleet, and the knights of Trinsic in particular were not used to battles at sea. The war ground on for eleven years, but the Den slowly deteriorated as the three city’s navies became increasingly experienced and better equipped. The Battle of the Dagger’s Edge in 217 A.C. prevented an invasion of Moonglow from the north, and the Battle of the Barrier in 219 A.C. prevented an attack upon Trinsic and depleted the Den of the necessary men and resources to invade the city.

The nail in the coffin of the Kingdom of Buccaneer’s Den was the joining of Jhelom into the Alliance in 221 A.C. The warriors of Jhelom were more than familiar with piracy themselves, and were astounding warriors, within two years the tide had turned against the Den. However, the clan heads, led democratically by Kahz “The Ravager”, still believed they could break the enemy navy once and for all, by trapping them near Ocllo by combining the clan fleets into one. The Battle of Ocllo was long and uncertain, but the with the aid of the Jhelomites the navy broke through the pirate lines and recreated the trap. Out of nearly 150 pirate vessels, less than 30 escaped, some led by Kahz, who sought political asylum in NuJel’m. (See the entry on NuJel’m for further details.) Others fled to Vesper, who closed their port to pirates in 224 A.C., forcing most to relocate.

A few of the remaining ships fled to the Den, and most of the populace managed to hide or fight a guerrilla war against the Alliance. The Alliance ships burned most of the structures on the island, and maintained a military occupation until 235 A.C. During that period most of the remaining populace was forced to live in the caves, many perished of lingering illnesses or inadequate nutrition. The island was considered “uninhabited” by the time of the departure of the Alliance forces.

Slowly, though, the island has rebuilt. Kahz of NuJel’m had kept supply runs going to the island during the Occupation, and secretly aided the buccaneer’s in rebuilding. Although Serpent’s Hold and Trinsic conduct to this day periodic raids, none ever doing more than token damage. Kahz created the organization known as the Underground before his death in 236 A.C., which discreetly began to use the pirates as a force of thugs, and a source of smuggling. The Society of Thieves was established on the island in 278 A.C. as a means by which to train the natives in the finer arts of crime, including assassinations.

The people of today’s Britannia consider pirates to be little more than thugs, and the Den a disgrace that would take little effort to wipe out if the situation demanded it. However, like their isle, the Buccaneer’s are people of hidden places, unknown goals, and secretive operations… It remains to be seen if the island’s true nature will ever be unmasked.


The People

The Buccaneer’s are descended from two major stocks, the native tribesmen who inhabited the isle previously, and the numerous rogues and villains from every port on the sea over the last century and a half. As a result ethic makeup is widely varied, although dark or tanned skin is usually mandatory, due to the climate.

The Clothing

The Buccaneer’s enjoy clothing fashions, the flashier the better. Since most clothing is stolen, and some are too lazy even to dye them, odd clashing costumes, and even gender crossings, are not uncommon. Typically though, loose clothing and light armor are favored, as they are easy to obtain, and easier to fight in.

Arts and Entertainment

Crafts and Trades


Buccaneer’s Den has very little in the way of magical training or support, the original Buccaneer’s were suspicious of mages, and the trade is difficult to support. Magic is not frowned upon, many of the best pirates are mages, but the training and resources are difficult to obtain, most pirate magi are recent immigrants. The native tribe that inhabited the islands had a form of primitive magic, based upon totems, which later formed the base symbols of the pirate clans, but the original form was no match for the mainland magic, and eventually was lost.

Last modified: December 30, 2011

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