Coldforged Civilizations: The Brokensail Fleets Pt 1

I’m rushing headlong into the second year of writing Coldforged Material, and this year I hope to cover enough topics in preparation to print as is possible. I hope we’re in the home stretch. This week we’re going to cover some of the Fleets of the pirate city Brokensail. So, with that, let’s dive in.

The Pirate Fleets

Brokensail, the city that resulted from the destruction of Jeslith, has become over the last two decades, a haphazard city serving many people of different backgrounds, all without much questioning their history.

The majority of the people here are smallfolk, and halflings, goblins, and gnomes all ply their trade here. Most of that trade is illicit dealings and back market procurements, though there are few who engage in legitimate business as a cover for others.

Enabling all of these dark dealings are the Pirate Fleets, each commanded by a captain, regardless of the number of ships under their command, with the use of Admiral limited to those who are on the Council of Fleets. Though there is a multitude of captains, not all control fleets, and not all of them are wealthy enough to join the Council. The fleet composition can change at a moment’s notice, with ships breaking off to form their own, alliances being formed and broken, and betrayal sending once-popular Captains to the deep.

In this ever-shifting landscape, there are 14 fleets that stand above the rest. 10 of these are part of the council of fleets, two are upstarts vying for a spot at the table, one is completely unconcerned with leading, and one has been ousted through a masterful political stroke and seeks to return to leadership. This week we’ll cover 6 of the council seat fleets, and next week we’ll cover the other 8.

Fleets of Brokensail

The Rabble Fleet

Captian: “Jolly Brute” Edgar Tarsian
Flagship: The Bastard
Composition: 10 Ships: 6 Junks, 2 cogs and 2 cutters

Captain Jolly Brute is the holder of the Iron Chair and commander of the Rabble Fleet. He, like his namesake states, is Brutal and Jolly captain who clearly is having fun doing what he does. A captain in the Jeslith war against Killbar, he holds great enmity towards anyone from the republic, and raids their ships and towns at all cost, including losing ships if he needs to. He tries to ply his trades along the coast north of Brokensail and up to the Undine Bay and has made compacts with a number of the more brutal and savage coastal species, using their island reefs and underwater lookouts to scout raids and ships when necessary.

His crew is, unsurprisingly, a rollicking and rowdy bunch. They suffer from poor discipline, but this isn’t anything that bothers Jolly Brute, as the poor folk under him are no more than pawns and expendable. Even those captains who do report to him are nothing more than replaceable fodder for the next fight, for the next raid, for the next plunder.

He’s kept his grip on the Iron Chair, mostly, for the better part of a decade, and has become a staple in the upper echelons of Brokensail. He sees this as justification and vindication of his style of piracy, his treatment of the crew and captains, and the generally lazy stance he takes with everything related to captaincy. It couldn’t be further from the truth. The Rabble Fleet is a dumping ground for the worst offenders from the rest of the fleets, with captains sending their sailors there as punishment and exile, knowing that many of them have no life to return to. The Rabble Fleet is the unwittingly the refuse heap of Brokensail.


The Versus

Captian: Aarmand del Marvay
Flagship: Versus
Composition: The Versus

Captain Aarmand del Marvay is an older woman who has lost much of her former wealth and estates when the Killbarans razed Jeslith. None the less, she has made do with what has come her way over the following decades, including rasing a terrible pirate son, losing the majority of her fleet, and a mutiny that put her life in extreme peril, though she did manage to overcome that crisis and execute the instigators.

Her crew, at the moment, is fiercely loyal to her, and willing to go to the ends of the earth to accomplish her goals. Just under a year ago, her fleet of 6 other ships was caught in a storm while the Versus was getting repairs. the ships were then attacked by a Kraken who took advantage of the storm, sinking all the ships and consuming the crews. The only way that Aarmand learned was through a hefty sum to a diviner, who was able to share the visions of the last moments of the ships. She mourns the loss of her crews but has pledged to rebuild and become stronger before she finally dies.

Aarmand was with the first fleet that landed in Brokensail and helps found the city itself, pressing to accept jets offer. She has a vast stockpile of wealth and has held numerous chairs over the course of her years. She currently holds the Copper chair with designs on silver next year. Her single ship, what shouldn’t even be called a fleet, is looked on in pity and shame. She is actively recruiting for a new ship, which she intends to call Rebirth once she is able to take a prize and claim a vessel. The crew on the Versus is already larger than it needs to be, pushing the capacity of officers and crew alike, but she is determined that this very next outing will be the one she nets her new ship and is able to begin rebuilding.

The Fleet of Thorns

Captian: Captian Kala Yussien, the Bloodbramble
Flagship: Wakerider
Composition: 4 Ships: 3 Junks and 1 cutter

Though each ship in the Fleet of Thorns is rather small, the Bloodbrambe has honed them into an elusive and dangerous force that prowls the coastal waters of southern Tyndaria. She’s come to grips that she won’t be the largest and most powerful force in the ocean but has decided that her force will be one to be reckoned with no matter what. They will hunt in a pack, trailing and hunting prey for days at a time if needed. Alongside her 3 other captains, all of which she considers her consorts, she is able to plan and execute flawless assaults on prizes much larger than her own ships.

The Fleet of Thorns is a strongly disciplined, well-drilled and fearless crew, composed mostly of goblins and gnomes, that has trained together for months and years at a time. It is rare that once joined, a crewmember desert or simply leaves the ships to compliment because of the bond of camaraderie, the ample pay when times are good, and the absolute carnage that they are able to partake in when unleashed. Thorns are trained fighters in both close-quarter combat and their crossbows, able to unleash a barrage of posioned and deadly bolts into their enemy, keeping them pinned while the boarding crews prepare. Their status is legendary among those who live in Brokensail, and is one of the few that is likely to be known outside of her claimed waters.

Holding the Bronze chair is a matter of pride to Bloodbramble, as her father held it before her, and after he met his untimely death she was both able to avenge the killing and also buy back the chair he sat in at the time of his death. She now refuses to give up the bronze and has done everything in her substantial power to maintain a stranglehold on bronze coming into the city, ensuring years of overwhelming tribute for the seat.

The Inferno Force

Captian: Verin “Firejack” di Salmine
Flagship: Skirmish
Composition: 7 Ships: 4 Junks, 2 Cutters and a Schooner

Captain Firejack has his name for a reason. While many of the fleets are content to take plunder and capture ships, ransoming the fleet and its sailors back to the home Kingdom, Firejack has no use for such difficult tactics. Instead, he uses his reputation to ensure that fights are short, to the point and often avoided.

The Inferno fleet often gets a reputation for being weaker or somehow less competent than most of the fleets because they are generally unwilling to engage in hand to hand with the enemy. The crew knows that this isn’t correct, and often find it a boor to explain to outsiders. They know that the value of a good, well-trained soldier is higher than that of some ship bounty. Well, that and they have an alliance with a group of merfolk that salvages the treasure no matter what, ensuring that, at all times, the bounty of their victims is confiscated.

The Inferno fleet is crewed by stout and stalwart folk, mostly halflings and goblins, who know the value of fear and panic. Instead of being extremely trained hand to hand fighters, the fleet is trained to avoid combat, if possible. Risking damage to the ship and crew is unacceptable, unless unavoidable, and it is much preferred to take the crew, bounty, and ship intact unless proven impossible. While The crews are trained to fight when needed, if a ship refuses to be boarded and continues to fight on or run, they are to be burned and sunk, no exceptions. It is this reputation that follows the Red Brand flag that almost always results in a surrender of ships once raised.

The Yellow Fleet

Captian: Captain Daskan Yelloweye
Flagship: Relentless Pursuit
Composition: 8 Ships: 5 Junks, 2 Clippers, 1 Cog and 1 Caravel

Captain Yelloweye is a young and impetuous goblin captain who has only recently taken up her mantle on the Admirals Council. a refugee from Thrax, she was captured at a young age aboard a Thraxian trading vessel by the pirates, and taken in by the cook as a scullery maid and potatoe kid. She quickly rose in the ranks, volunteering for dangerous duties and earning respect through violence and fearlessness. Now, she is in charge of a crew she hesitantly trusts and who hesitantly trusts her.

The Yellow Fleet is competent, if hesitant, using the cities wolf pack tactics to wear down and board larger ships. While there are always losses in such situations, those who follow her directions and instincts tend to make it out alive, while those who go on their own happen to encounter much worse outcomes more often than not. While some fleets have their own territories or preferred targets, Yelloweye prefers to wait out and hunt down ships, no matter their whereabouts or kingdom, that make for ripe pickings and heavy bounties, though this hesitation often ends up chaffing her crews before long, it is her right as Captain to make the choices for the fleet.

The Yellow Fleet is large because Yelloweye knows how to treat people, and has a keen eye for danger, risk, and desire. She’s often able to see through people’s charades and provide them what they want. Her fearless captains get the spotlight, her hesitant ones hold rearguard, and her merciless ones get the lions share of combat. Its a delicate balancing act that she is improving each and every expedition. the fleet is held together through her personality, but also through her absolute brutal outlook on justice. Few who cross her survive the ordeal, and none who do the same to her subordinates. Knowing that you’re protected behind a strong shield from mutiny and betrayal helps many of the sailors on her ships stick around for longer than would normally seem reasonable.

The Heretic Squadron

Captian: Redscar the Blasphemeous
Flagship: Phalanx
Composition: 12 Ships: 5 Junks, 3 Clippers, 2 Caravels, 2 Corevettes

Redscar is an irascible, murderous and irreverent goblin who’s made his living and his name defying all possible odds. Unlike many across the world, he holds no respect for those who worship gods and accursed alike and plunder their holds and monasteries and ships like any other. The blessing of a deity or a warning of protection means little to the Captain, and he burns the church alongside all the rest. Though Physically weak, Redscar is a powerful arcanist that has studied storm magic, becoming proficient in its use and worth. He’s held the Ruby seat for nearly a decade now, and prioritizes its repurchase, confiscating any rubies found in the loot he acquires, though there are also whispers he came across a great trove of amethyst recently and may seek to upset the balance of the gemstone chairs buy purchasing out Liza Locke’s seat when the next cycle comes up.

The heretic squadron is a very large fleet among the pirates of Brokensail, composed of a majority of goblins and gnomes, and Redscar seems ill at ease with so many individuals to command. However, he’s vowed not to turn anyone away who wants to work, from captain and crew down to the lowly cabin scrubbers, and many have flocked to him as a proven source of plunder. Though he does not go out of his way to choose targets with religious significance, he doesn’t shy from them either, and those who sign aboard his crew must also be willing to sack the religious sites if called on and given the order. There are some among the squadron that relish it, many individuals simply performing their task with stoic necessity.

The Heretic squadron is tough and large and takes on more than the normal share of big folk to crew some of the larger ships that Redscar has acquired. Their ships bring to bear intense firepower with massive ballista and massed crossbow volleys before the hordes of the boarding parties enter the fray. Their prey is indiscriminate, and they prowl the eastern coast for as long as possible prior to returning to Brokensail, given their reputation as outcasts and their vile deeds. Its a strong and powerful fleet, outsized for its influence, and only kept in check by the believed lack of ambition of its leader.

And that’s it for the first set! we’ll take a look at the remaining one’s next week, with all of the Admirals Chairs and a couple of other fleets. This isn’t a complete list, but instead the ones that have the most influence in the city.

Until next time!