Rime of the Restless Mariners
The Third Great Maelstrom has wrought great changes in the Underworld. In place of the Sea of Shadows there is a raging Tempest. Stygia is no longer connected to the Shadowlands by bridges across the River of Death; instead meandering Byways must be navigated through the Tempest. Stygian outposts in the Shadowlands are almost completely cut off and must form their own leadership and defences, waiting for episodic and confused instructions from the Deathlords or the Guilds.
The Guilds may have been banished from Stygia, but they are still strong in the Shadowlands and few measures have yet been taken against them. In the Dark Caribbean they control who communities of Wraiths and supervise the lucrative trade in souls and the smelting of soulsteel. Their Ghost Ships, called Argosies, ply the waters.
The Legions, on the other hand, are weak, battered by the onslaught of Coldheart’s Spectres and the fight to save Stygia itself. Their military outposts in the Shadowlands are few; there are no true Necropoli yet, only armed camps. Only a few Ghost Ships are loyal to the Deathlords. AS a solution, the Deathlords offer Letters of Marque to Wraiths who own a Ghost Ship, to harry the Argosis of the Guildmasters, steal their wealth and deprive them of their slaves. Privateers bearing Letters of Marque can expect succour and reward at Legionary outposts, but are considered pirates and thieves by the Guildmasters.
The Great Maelstrom is blowing itself out, but still rages out in the Atlantic, making communication with the Old World problematic. The Legions are creating their new Necropoli in London, Paris and Rome, but are cut off from the New World except through Byways. The Harbingers’ skills mean that the Guilds have better communications and they use their wealth and arms to support the Renegades and Heretics fighting against the nascent Hierarchy in war-torn Europe. This commitment is what prevents them from crushing the Privateers in the Dark Caribbean.
A huge Nihil opened out in the Atlantic during the height of the Maelstrom. This wound in the Shadowseas moves about between Bermuda, Puerto Rico and Florida. Coldheart’s spectral fleet ailed from here spectral Ghost Ships plague seagoing Wraiths in this area, adding to the risks for those trying to enter or leave the Dark Caribbean through the Shadowseas.