A few notes people might find interesting:
WOLF PIRATES OVERVIEW
In 1621 there are some 60+ Wolf Pirate ships, before Harrek’s circumnavigation. Let’s say that losses get replaced and by 1625, we have 60+ ships operating in the Choralinthor Bay, which comes out to about 3100+ Wolf Pirates.
The average Wolf Pirate ship has on average 50 warrior-rowers, 1 captain, and 5 officers. Each ship has a small Dormal shrine and a protective spirit housed in the figurehead on the prow.
<For comparison purposes, this is comparable to the total number of pirates in the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy and comparable to most of the Viking fleets that operated around the North Sea.>
Although they started in the Yggs Islands, by 1625 the Wolf Pirates are multi-ethnic, as soldiers, refugees, outlaws, and adventurers have joined Harrek’s fleet. Yggs Islanders now form a relatively small minority of the Wolf Pirates.The lingua franca among the Wolf Pirates is a Theyalan creole made out of a simplified Ygg Islander with strong influences from Rathori and Jonating, Many Wolf Pirates also use Tradetalk.
WOLF PIRATES NATIONAL ORIGIN
No. Origin %
- 620 Yggs Islands 20%
- 620 other Fronelans 20%
- 155 Malkioni heretics 5%
- 310 Maniria 10%
- 310 Sartar 10%
- 310 Holy Country 10%
- 155 Teshnites 5%
- 310 Fonrit 10%
- 310 Other 10%
The basic unit of social organization for the Wolf Pirates is the ship crew. Joining a ship’s crew is an initiation into that community – the crew worships the spirit of their ship. Every crew elects its own captain and officers. Every Wolf Pirate is entitled to an equal vote when choosing their captain and officers; but once chosen, the captain and officers must be obeyed unless replaced or personally challenged. Every crew member gets an equal share of any plunder, except that the officers get two shares, and the captain three.
The Wolf Pirates welcome anyone into their society who is willing to live by their rules. Captives are offered this opportunity if they have the skills, and many folk seek them out when they are in a neutral port, or even raiding the mainland. Others take ship or boat and sail to Three-Step to join.Despite this, Harrek the Berserk is the unquestioned Sea-King. Although all have the right to challenge his decision, none dare contradict the savage demi-god.
The Wolf Pirates do most of their fighting on land. In sea battles, they try to board enemy ships and use their superior numbers of warriors to overwhelm their victims. On land, the Wolf Pirates use a variety of arms and armor. Wealthy pirates often wear corselets of bronze and linen, or just out of boiled leather. They are famed for their horned or feathered helmets. They use javelins as distance weapons, and engage with sword and shield.
The most important cults of the Wolf Pirates is Orlanth (more than a third of all Wolf Pirates are initiates of Orlanth) and Ygg (about 20% of all Wolf Pirates are initiates of Ygg). The next most important cults are Dormal (more than 10% of all Wolf Pirates are initiates of the Sailing God) and Humakt (nearly 10% worship the God of War). Gods of lesser importance include Valind, various Sea Gods, Hrestol, Arkat, the Two Brothers, Abdamedric, and Tolat.
YGG The North Wind
Ygg is a rapacius son of Vadrus, and brother of Valind. He is one of the Vadruding, the terrible sons of Vadrus. He raged across the land and water, bringing death and destruction in his wake. Ygg took many hostages from the sea gods until Neliomi submitted to him. Ygg plundered and pillaged the Western Lands and aided his brother the Winter God in his attempts to conquer the world.
Rune Spells: Increase Wind, Shield, and Sleet, and Wind Warp. He can command up to Medium Air Elementals. Ygg has a subcult (Wavebeater) that can summon and command enslaved Small and Medium Water Elementals. Ygg is served by Rune Priests and is associated with Orlanth and Valind.
The Wolf Pirates originate on Yggs Islands, a small chain of forested islands off the northern coast of Fronela. They were visited by Dormal in 1583, and the Islanders returned to the seas. The Yggs Islanders fought a long war with the Kingdom of Loksalm.
About two dozen Wolf Pirate ships left Yggs Islands in 1598, and defeated the Loksalmi fleet. For a dozen years, these pirates plagued the West. Many settled on the island of Ginorth, in Old Seshnela. In 1607, Gunda the Guilty, a Jonating warrior-woman became a Wolf Pirate ship captain, and within a few years, made herself one of the leading Wolf Pirate leaders.
In 1610, the Wolf Pirates settle on Three Step Isles, barren islands south of Kethaela that had been abandoned since the Dawn. This has became the main base of the Wolf Pirates. In 1615, Harrek was chosen by the god Ygg to lead the Wolf Pirates and be their Sea-King. He led the Wolf Pirates to raid the Genertela coast from Fronela to Prax, sailing as far abroad as Jrustela. In 1621 Harrek led his Wolf Pirates on a three-year voyage around the Homeward Ocean, raiding Teshnos, Teleos, Font, Umathela, Jrustela, and Seshnela, before returning to Kethaela in early 1624. Surprisingly, he allied with several Kethaelan leaders to fight the Lunar Empire at Pennel Ford. Later that year, he received his reward and plundered the magical City of Wonders.
For the next several years, the Wolf Pirates raid Kethaela with impunity. The Kethaelans agree to follow Argrath of Sartar if the new Prince can get rid of Harrek and the Wolf Pirates. The Prince achieves this by allying with Harrek, and that year, half the Wolf Pirates follow Argrath over the Dragonspine into Tarsh. Although Harrek later quarrels with Argrath and leaves Dragon Pass altogether in 1631, many of the Wolf Pirates that followed Argrath into Dragon Pass remain.
A substantial island-bound population has settled on Three Step Islands now. These are wives, concubines, and families of the pirates, as well as refugees, merchants, shop-keepers, and fishermen who make the pirates lives bearable upon the isle. There are even a few farmers and a large number of sheep-herders.
The only sizeable settlement is Skullport, which serves as the main port of operations for Harrek’s fleet. Given that the Wolf Pirates themselves are transient, Skullport is normally populated largely by slaves capture by the Wolf Pirates, and by those foreign merchants (including Vadeli), shopkeepers, wine sellers, entertainers, and prostitutes who live of the pirate’s plunder. It is estimated that there is at least one drinking house for every ten residents.
LEADERS OF THE WOLF PIRATES
Harrek is king of the Wolf Pirates. His authority is supreme and unquestioned. He is also a demigod, and doesn’t really care about administrative matters. Gunda is the military brains behind the Wolf Pirates. She leads the battles, as Harrek just kills.
Gold Gotti is the organizational brains behind the Wolf Pirates. He keeps the food and supplies flowing. He organizes the efficient plunder of everything.
Notes from 12 October 2022 Repost
It is hard to really appreciate how much the average Wolf Pirate circa 1625 has seen. They’ve traveled around the entire Homeward Ocean, fighting everything from shovel-tuskers to heavy cavalry. They’ve fought the Lunar Army, Afadjanni, and even Red Vadeli. They are fast moving, opportunistic, and pragmatic veterans. And there are three thousand or so of them.
The Wolf Pirates need a lot of resources to keep going. Probably a minimum of 1500 talents a year just to hold the feet together, and they want a lot more. Remember that is almost 10% of the Lunar Imperial revenues! So they are voracious band that needs to pillage and plunder to keep going.
If we think about the sacking of the City of Wonders, it likely was enough to relieve the pressure for several years, giving Harrek the chance to probe Nochet’s defences and try to take that city. Most of the raids in the Holy Country are now likely for gathering of food and provisions. Nochet is of course the prize, with enough wealth to keep the Wolf Pirates together for the foreseeable future. But it is a tough nut to crack – as the Lunar Army learned a few years ago.
And that is what gave Argrath an opening – he showed Harrek another rich target, and one that he hated with a passion. And promised him great riches if they were successful.
If you combine this thread with the threads on Nochet’s finances and Sartar’s finances, you basically can see key macro-motivations for many of the key players in the Hero Wars.
As a finally aside, the Wolf Pirates are called that not because they look like wolves, have wolf magic, or anything along those lines.
They are called Wolf Pirates because they are voracious and dangerous, and attack other ships like a pack of hungry wolves.