WorldEmber2018

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Raiders of Śaba

We thought it another creature of the Abyss at first, right before the quarrel hit Sangeh. I've never seen a fish use a crossbow before, but I couldn't figure out how the pirates had gotten that thing to float.  
— Cerrone, Dūbavian Ranger
  The Raiders of Śaba are a vicious gang of pirates and murderers that prowl the Abyss on a craft made from the corpse of some massive leviathan. Much of its flesh have long since rotted away and been replaced with planks of hattick, plates of metal and carapace, but its bones still serve well as the frame. Much larger than any boat fielded by the city-state of Dūbavum, the pirates force the carcass to move by means unknown to seek plunder and pillage across the Abyss.    
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Corpse-Borne Raiders

  A crew of pirates and raiders that operate out of a reinforced corpse, roaming the Abyss to raid and pillage. By means unknown, they compel the carcass to move through the water, supplemented by steady rowing by the crew. Since their beginning nearly a decade ago, they have grown infamous across the Abyss as terrifying raiders and slavers. The bounty on the raider rise with every fresh attack and every new terror, but the raiders have eluded every hunter so far.    

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Structure

  The Raiders of Śaba only really have two distinctions between the crew-member; common crew and those with specialist skills or tasks such as navigation or manning the ballistae at the ships front. There are far more of the common crew than there are of the specialist and the division of both spoils plundered and disgusting labor required fall squarely in the favor of the specialists. There is no single leader, but the warlord of the ship earns his or her position by majority vote and maintains until challenged.   The Raiders more-or-less function on votes, with every member of the crew save for the unions entitled to a vote on any issue. The specialists each two and the warlord has three. Even with these advantages, the common crew outnumber both together when it comes to vote and any warlord who wishes to remain so must make sure to be at least tolerable to the crew.  
No matter what votes are cast and goals decided, whatever power it is that enabled the corpse-ship to move where they want can make or break any decision.
  Beneath even the common crew are the juniors. Apprentice pirates, fresh boots on the boat, these unfortunate souls suffer the burden of the worst jobs of the ship with the fewest reward. There is no set period for when a junior can ascend to join the crew at full, but such a promotion usually comes at their first bloody encounter or other accomplishment. Beneath even those are the captives that the Raiders take during their bloody raids. While no active abuse is meted out upon the captives (at least not most of the time), they can expect little in the way of comforts or food. They are kept in the lowest bowels of the ship until their ransom is paid.      

History

 
No one is quite sure how the Raiders began or who it was who first found the corpse of the great beast, nor what madness gripped them that saw it turned into a vessel. The first raid telling of a great beast carrying pirates came a decade or so earlier, devastating the village of Śaba and giving the pirates their name. Since then, the raiders have grown in boldness and infamy, even raiding the Old City in Dūbavum before it sunk beneath the waves.   This act brought them the animosity of the Dūbavian Rangers and a dawning realization around the Abyss that there were no place truly safe from the Raiders of Śaba

Infamy and Awe

  As the rotting hulk of a once might leviathan breaks through the mist and smashes into the dock, its maw locked in a hideous hungry grin and its dead eyes frozen forward, one can forgive the stories that tend to follow. Across the Abyss and in Dūbavum in particular, tales the raiders are spoken in hushed tones.   "They are devils from the deepest reach of the Abyss" or "the corpses of the dead, infested by malevolent fish out for revenge for all the nets and fishing lines" are popular myths that revolve around the raiders, particularly among those who have never actually suffered a raid. In theatre and plays, the pirates are played up as inhuman creatures of blasphemous intent and temperament.  
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  The popular image of a Raider in theater plays
  The raiders encourage this belief. They beat drums and light fires behind the hollow eyes of the leviathan, blowing horns that echo in the caverns. The more terrified their victims, the more likely they are to simply hand their goods over without a fight and despite their depiction in myth, such a bloodless resolution is very much what the raiders would prefer.  
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  An actual raider of Śaba

The Captive Poor

  Some captives have no relatives or friends capable (or willing) of paying the ransom required to see them freed. These unfortunate souls languish in the prison-hold until such a time that the Raiders see there is little reason to keep them and are usually just dumped on the first shore the pirates come across.    

Joining the Crew

  The raiders do not all spend their entire life on the ship. Many go ashore in smaller crafts and spread out to a number of villages and settlements to enjoy the benefits their plunder or resupply their comrades. It is during trips like these when fresh raiders are brought back to the ships. There is no one method sanctioned by the crew with which to draw new members, but is left to the crews discretion if they run into someone they think has what it takes.   There is one rule: the recruit must come of their own accord, without compromise. This has less to do with empathy and more to do with fear of treachery from coerced, unwilling crew seeking escape.

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Comments

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2 Dec, 2018 10:22

Hi!   The first quote is not using the [quote]...[/quote] bbcode. And I think that the sentence "There is no set period for then a junior can ascend to join the crew at full" should be "There is no set period for when a junior can ascend to join the crew at full" instead.   That being said, it's a cool article! A crew that uses a corpse of a dead monster instead of a ship? Hell, yeah! I don't understand that "I've never seen a fish use a crossbow before" sentence, although the image of Nemo shooting a crossbow is quite interesting.   It has everything I wanted to know about them. Structure, history, social perception, and even how to join the crew! Maybe expanding on the History section would make it more complete, but it's not a big deal.   Great article, see you around!

2 Dec, 2018 10:33

Whoops, fixed the missing BBCode and the when/then! Thanks for catching it! <3   I'll look into tightening up the first quote. See what I can think of for the history bit! :D   Thanks for reading!! <3

2 Dec, 2018 11:51

I like the imagery that's already present, and like said before the idea of a ship built from the corpse of a fish, that sounds like the most badass thing one can come up with. Even how they're portrayed in theatre is a nice touch. Though I'm only curious about who is all part of the Raiders... Perhaps some infamous names amongst the crew?

2 Dec, 2018 13:23

Firstly, I'd like to quickly point out that your header font seems to not support the Ś symbol - not sure if you've noticed it yet!   Onto actual comments: The idea of using a floating corpse as a boat is intriguing, yet I have to imagine the smell is horrific. How do they handle the pungent aroma? Is it simply a matter of getting used to it?   I seriously love the way you've laid out the structure of the crew. The idea that even a warlord has to maintain favour is pretty cool; there'll be no abuse coming from that quarter unless they manage to maintain a pretty big powerbase, then, yeah? Do apprentices also have votes, or are they not permitted until they become full members - or is it different for them, in that they decide on one vote together?   Related to the poor sods who have no relatives/friends and are dumped on land: have any ever asked to join the Raiders, and have the Raiders accepted? It seems that might run the risk of them changing their mind, or joining simply to practice treachery upon the crew.   (Also, you may want to nudge the colour of your comment button - I can't really see where to click against this background!)

2 Dec, 2018 22:44

Thanks for pointing that out; I fixed to comment button. As soon as you mentioned it I realized it was nearly impossible!   And yeah; the smell is probably atrocious. I have a few idea about it and I am definitely going to have to dig into that.   Apprentices get no votes at all. I thought I mention that but missed it! But I really like the idea that they get a single vote as a group; reminds me of how the Romans used to do it. Great idea!   And yeah; that probably happens, but I imagine it will be extremely rare. Still, maybe worth mentioning? :)

2 Dec, 2018 23:14

Malevolent fish will be the name of my Beck cover band. XD