The Most Ancient and Venerable Order of Sir Walter Raleigh

Privateer is one of those irregular nouns. I am a privateer, you are a pirate, he is a thieving cur who should be hanged by the neck until he is dead. The Order is a loose coalition of privateers and explorers which exists to explore the new world, defend English shores and redress grievous wrongs that other countries have done to our nation - such as insufficiently defending ships transporting their gold.

They have a good reputation in general, and close ties with the Merchant Companies. Tensions are growing with the Army and Dragoons, however, as they are increasingly providing their own sea transport. Whilst the Dragoons claim there is little overlap, the Order are wary of any more organised attempt to control the seas, particularly as the Horticulturalists move in on more unusual operations.

Their main area of action is the Americas, in particular the Carribean and have control or influence over most of the English colonies there.

Important - Allowed targets, or the difference between a privateer and a pirate

Privateers only attack pirates and ships belonging to hostile nations. If captured they are treated as prisoners of war, and should be returned (eventually, and after a few accidental falls down the stairs) to their own country. They have a Letter of Marque from the King to prove this.

Pirates, on the other hand, attack whatever they please, but can expect to be hanged (at best) if caught by pretty much anyone.

If a privateer gets caught attacking the ships of a neutral or friendly nation, then they can expect to have their Letter of Marque revoked, be pronounced pirates and expelled from the Order. This is not recommended if you wish to continue attending court.

Joining the Order

Why join?

The Order generally lets members do whatever they want, though generally does hunt down ex-members turned pirates particularly enthusiastically, in order to maintain its reputation as good guys. It can be very useful to ensure that you are informed of any recent changes in diplomatic status of nations (i.e. before you blow up one of the ships of the nation King Matthew just signed a treaty with), pirates and any particularly interesting looking treasure convoys which would require more ships than whoever spotted them has to take out.

Members of the Order also often use recommendations from each other to fill out their crews and officers, so if you are a Lieutenant on a privateer ship but fancy going off to explore the Americas then a transfer can probably be arranged. If you are a Captain you can expect to be able to find replacements for your skilled officers who had unfortunate accidents in the last engagement with a relatively low chance of them turning out to be totally incompetent.

The Order also provides a good chance for someone without money to get it, and make a name for themselves. Positions on a ship are chosen democratically, rather than by buying commissions, so those with skill have the chance to shine and gain ships of their own.

Ranks and Requirements

Seaman (Rank 1)

Requirements: The Commoner quirk or a very good reason.

You work as either a lowly guy-with-a-sword or sailor - quite possibly both - on board someone else’s ship. You may have been press ganged, persuaded more diplomatically or just thought it sounded like a good idea. However you ended up here, you now have little say in where you go or what you do and slim chance of advancement.

Notes: This rank really isn’t meant for PCs, but could be taken with something like the Favoured of the King quirk and is included for completeness.

Lieutenant (Rank 2)

Requirements: Letter of Marque quirk and rank 2 Navigation or Fighting.

You are an officer on board someone else's ship. You have a group of sailors or thugs under your command and lead a relatively privileged life aboard ship, though are expected to lead boarding actions and set a good example (though good is entirely subjective).

Please describe what the Captain of the ship you sail on is like, or if you're currently without a ship.

Captain (Rank 3)

Requirements: Own a ship as an investment or have rank 3 Navigation and the Letter of Marque quirk

You have a ship of your very own, and enough men to crew it. If you own the ship as an investment then you can afford to pay the men when pickings are slim to keep them happy. If, on the other hand, you are just a very good sailor then the ship is one you currently have command of because the men think you're going to bring in lots of prizes…and if you don't, they'll be on the look out for someone better to be Captain.

Admiral (Rank 4)

Requirements: Letter of Marque quirk, own several ships as an investment or have rank 4 Navigation.

You have several ships, each with their own Captain, all reporting to you. Aside from that this is very similar to Captain - just far more prestigious.

Leader (Rank 5)

This is a unique rank, only achievable in game.

The leader of the Order is more a herder of cats than a commander in chief, however the position is still considered prestigious.

It gets you a better class of girls for a start.

They Know Who You Are

Membership with the Order can only be Public.

History of the Order

The Order, despite its name, was founded shortly after the Spanish Armada, in order to prevent similar occurrences in future and to get revenge, though then it was known as the Most Honourable Order of Privateers. In practice it has made being a privateer appear rather more dashing than it was, and communication between individual privateers more common.

Women were allowed into the Order in theory from the beginning, in memory of Queen Elizabeth's actions in defence of the country, however the Order is still not entirely equal - individual Captains have final say on who they allow on their ships, and some refuse to hire women.

After Sir Walter Raleigh's death in 1591 the Order's name was changed to the Most Ancient and Venerable Order of Sir Walter Raleigh, to commemorate his actions in both the interests of his country and its defence.

The search for El Dorado has continued ever since, though the leader of the Order is now forbidden to partake in it personally, after it claimed two leaders and one retired leader in quick succession.

Area of Operation

Around Albion the Privateers have some treasure-hunting operations, however mostly leave the treacherous water to the Guild of Navigators. Their main base of operations is Penzance, an island in the south west of the Albion archipelago. This is mostly composed of a port where ships can refit without too many questions being asked.

Currently the Privateers control (yes, via piracy) the Americas, in particular the Carribean, as well as European waters occasionally extending their reach to areas beyond including Africa. They have control, direct and indirect, over many English colonies in the Americas and constantly fight the Spanish (and to a lesser extent the Portugese) as their main competitors though of course the Privateers prefer to capture their trade mid-journey off other ships as opposed to go through all the effort of loading it from the docks. They have rarely operated extensively in Africa and India.


The current leader of the Order is Samuel Allen, a rather quiet and studious gentleman, an excellent hand with a sextant. He has continued the work of previous leaders in strengthening the relationship of the Order with the trading concerns of Albion, and preventing the “accidental” looting of their ships.

It is to him that many look for a solution to the growing tensions between the Horticulturalists and Order, as many privateers resent the use of sea-serpents, their former foe, and invasion of their waters by the riders.


I hear the Connaught Brethren put the word out that any ship of the Order going into their territory wouldn't come out again. Yeah, the Connaught Brethren.

Right calm one, that Samuel. Even when he's ordering someone's eyes out. Especially when he's ordering someone's eyes out.

What is in El Dorado?

Don't want to go too far out. Little merchant boat, in the open ocean, just looking for trouble from the Order.

privateers.txt · Last modified: 2007/10/03 16:51 by innokenti