Saga of the Serpent's Skull
To the sailors navigating the area of The Shackles, there is more danger than just the Eye of Abendego. Indeed, almost as dangerous are the many pirates that prowl the area, brigands who have become adept at surviving the area’s many marshes and the dreaded hurricane which claims the lives of so many. While most of these pirates are little more than sailing thugs, some come to posses a unnatural talent for robbery and mayhem within the sodden depths of the Shackles, the so called Shackles Pirates. These fearsome pirates often rise to prominence amongst their fellow pirates, possessing a talent for moving through the bogs of their home and can even navigate the Eye of Abendego itself. The most powerful even gain strange abilities to craft temporary ships from the ever present mists that settle across the lands of The Shackles.
Once a collection of independent pirate lords, the Shackles Pirates joined together as a single fleet in 4674 AR. They have no true headquarters, operating instead out of the numerous coves and settlements of the Shackles.
In theory, anyone is welcome to join the organisation – including the crew of captured ships. They value their freedom above all else, and as a result are very loosely organised. Individual crew serve a Free Captain, the captains band together in the service of a pirate lord, and the lords serve on the Pirate Council under the leadership of Kerdak Bonefist, the Hurricane King.
The Shackles Pirates attack shipping in the region of the Eye of Abendego, relying on local knowledge and superior seamanship to outsail enemy warships – typically those of Cheliax and Rahadoum. They raid as far north as the Arch of Aroden. They used to raid the shipping of Sargava, but no longer do so; instead they receive a hefty tribute from the former colony in return for protecting it from Cheliax. Currently, the government of Sargava pays annual tribute to the Free Captains. This protection money doesn’t always prevent Sargavan shipping from being raided, but it does use the pirate fleet as a buffer between Sargava and the Chelaxian Navy.