Andaram Piracy Revisit - Better Explanation of Idea

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azeis's picture
azeis
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    During the Sunday Meet, we discussed the plans for the Andaram conflicts, in which House Hlaalu founds a stronghold at a place close to the Dres border regions, as well as an important trade route. The Dres rightfully feel uncomfortable at having such a military presence at their door, on their throat no less, and conflicts start to birth, with the player in the middle who must work to avoid a great housewar.

      During the meet, I suggested the possibility of a sort of side conflict for the player in the mid of his regency of the stronghold, however do to the somewhat tangential nature of the meet, my general inability to explain things well on the fly out of general nervousness, and the youth of the idea’s development, one wise forumer said there would be problems with the conflict, problems that I had actually thought of, that were actually a part of the intention, unfortunately I do not think i was able to convey this for the aforementioned reasons. I have decided that after some more thinking on the idea, I would write it here with some explanation and additions.

The Conflict:

     The conflict idea was that during some point of the questline, the player would hear somehow, either through house Hlaalu or his own subordinates, of piracy of ships coming and going through the river and lake areas surrounding his stronghold, prefereably from Lake Andaram to the tributaries just below Almas Thirr, could be more or less depending on the size of the operation. The problem mentioned by the wise forumer was that these waters would be too well patrolled and maintained in security for such things to be any sort of problem, that however, was the intention. Firstly, I would recommend having it be the House itself who suggests this to the player if he is to not discover it on his own through investigation, bloodshed, or other means; that someone within Hlaalu may have betrayed the interests of the House to turn his own profit, and is working his own band of criminals to do so.

    The reasons for this are as follows

  1.     Patrols, despite their efforts, are unable to find the criminals. Historically pirates have always been the ones to avoid fights they can’t win when possible, instead striking and robbing hard and then hiding either in some kind of port, tributaries, or clusters of islands. Their ability to avoid patrol routes and law enforcement suggests that they have an informant. (Note: in real life piracy, this is indeed a common thing, pirates getting their targets straight from informants within the businesses sending the ships out, or some other kind of informant.)
  2.     The timing of the pirate problem could coincide with the timing of the recent increased Hlaalu presence at the lake. This would imply that someone within Hlaalu brought the problem.
  3.    This depends on if there are survivors or not, or if they are sold into slavery or ransomed, (very rarely are pirates eager to kill captured hostages, more money to be made selling them for ransom,) but the idea is that the player one way or another learns of the style and method of the robberies and of the pirates a little bit. What he may learn is that they are unusually well armed and well maintained, with fast, small, and efficient ships holding groups of armed pirates who hijack the target vessel, and from there on take it to an unknown location. The organization and efficiency of the operations suggest these men are not common Bitter Coast Smuggler types, but are well trained sailors, and possibly veterens. The implication here is that these men may have been hired by some sort of outside party, or for more intensity, they may be Hlaalu soldiers in on the job, I do not know however if House Hlaalu has any kind of navy, or if they leave that job to the empire or another house.

    Deeper into the conflict, the player might even have multiple ways of going about the issue. Perhaps he is advised that he might find some info at the local docks and ports around the waters, and through them (and maybe some persuasion) can learn that some of them have been getting strange people, but were paid well to be silent for the time being by a strange benefactor? Maybe the player searches the last known locations of some of the ships, finds the pirates, slaughters them like cattle, and on their corpses, he finds a letter, and learns they have been recieving orders from, again, a strange benefactor.

     The investigation continues on from there. He may also learn there that the men use Hlaalu equipment (assuming the traitor is from Hlaalu and not some third party or someone from one of the other houses acting in a similar manner.) It can also be revealed, if one wants to go in an even more conspiritorial path, that they were Hlaalu men using the Hlaalu sigil and equipment to carry out their crimes, hence their inability to be captured as effectively, as one is not as likely think them to be the criminals when passing them by on the seas, for they looked just like Hlaalu.

The Resolution

     The player may eventually track the paper trail back to the corrupt individual, and expose him to the house (or if you wanted to be counterproductive, the Dres, the primary victims of the pirates, more on that later.) Primarily, it may be learned that the plan of the culprit was such: commit the robberies with either subordinate or paid off soldiers and sailors, then steal some ships using a mix of House position and coin. From there on, rob Dres trade ships, and sell the slaves and hostages, as well as the ships and cargo; he would use his position to gain information on security routes when possible, and if that failed, use his position to feign authentification for the ships somehow so as to avoid suspicion, maybe through papers of some kind. If the pirates were caught by the Dres, it would cause confusion and conflict between the two Houses long enough for him to grab as much money as he can, and make like the wind while they go at each other, blaming the house if need be, making the situation worse and giving him more time to escape, as the house would be too busy with the Dres to go for him.

    Now on to the largest and most important question regarding this idea in my opinion: why? What would this add? I feel it would add to the feeling that the player is in the middle of a powder kegged situation, that he is in the middle of a losing battle, and that forces all around him conspire to his failure. The Hlaalu, upon learning there is a possibility that one of their own is behind the attacks, want the problem solved swiftly, and discreetly, and since the stronghold of the player is at the center of the pirate activity in terms of timing and location, they want the player to solve the issue. If the pirates were to be caught robbing Dres ships looking like Hlaalu soldiers following orders, it would certainly jeopardize any chance at peace, they would assume the Hlaalu were behind it all along. If the Dres learn it was a corrupt membor of the Hlaalu, but not the house itself, that would also probably damage their relations severely because Hlaalu should have a better handle on its own people. The player needs to end the pirate problem before it gets discovered by the Dres, and before news gets out by even mere hearsay that Hlaalu ships are attacking trade vessels belonging to them. Add the fact that the culprit could be anybody within the stronghold that the player has gotten previously aquainted with, and you have a well off recipe for tension, paranoia, and best of all, suspense.

    Sidenote: I 100% totally remember the name of the wise forumer. (No I don’t, I call myself Ol’ Aze for a reason, my memory only seems to get more diluted every day.)
Kevaar's picture
Kevaar
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Hmm. I think my issue is still the same, that the Lake is just too small and well-patrolled to be used by pirates, or at least pirates in the traditional sense. It’d be more likely that the raiders are land-based as well as water-based, and instead of the wheeling-tilting high-seas battles you might be picturing, they only make use of various barges or rafts to traverse the rivers of the area, hiding them under mud and leaves when not in use.

Or heck, maybe they use riverstriders or silt striders. Wouldn’t that be an interesting twist?

sirrah's picture
sirrah
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Would the Dres really have much of a naval presence in Lake Andaram? I would have assumed most of the water traffic around Dres Horak would actually be Hlaalu shipping saltrice and whatnot back to their own territory. The Dres themselves probably wouldn’t need to send ships out of their territory but would just be using Dres Horak as an exchange point.

azeis's picture
azeis
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Oh no, that is what I am meaning. I am not talking a high seas adventure pirate type of thing, I’m thinking more raiders hiding in caves that need to be tracked down sort of fare. Using only various barges and rafts to traverse the rivers and lakes was exactly the line of thinking I meant by their use of fast and small ships, though I do love the thought of the use of riverstriders for the job as well. Basically the thought is that they aren’t actually on the water that long, they’re fast acting, professional, efficient; the player needs to somehow go against the odds a bit to find them. The idea of a mix of landraiding and searaiding is good too.

Ol’ Aze