Cult of the Shark
"We are the masters of our watery domain, like the great sharks of the open ocean all who cross our path are our rightful prey." –– The Book of Truth
The Cult of the Shark is a semi-religious piratical remnant from the Corinesti Trade Wars, which opposes non-Corinesti use of the Sargassi Sea for purposes of trade or travel. The cult consists of rogue Corinesti and a small number of Gildanesti of Corinesti descents. Although Gildanesti of Corinesti lineage are allowed into the cult they are always fringe members and never part of the upper echelons of the cult.
Joining the Cult
The cult recruits disaffected coral elves and half-elves who fear the eventual dominance of the Sargassi by non-elves. It accepts only those who have proven themselves the enemy of other seafaring races.
The cult is lead by a cabal of five. The members of the five are unknown to anyone, including other cabal members. Magical hoods conceal the identity of the cabal's leaders. Each member of the cabal shows some measure of magical aptitude either divine or arcane in nature.
Affiliation and Association
Symbol: A Stylized Shark or Sharks tooth are the recognized symbols of the cult.
Background, Goals and Dreams: The cult was founded at the height of the Corinesti Trade Wars, when the Speaker sought outside help (humans mostly) in to curb the excesses of the rouge guild and to prevent further escalation of hostilities. Pander Thrash, a Gildanesti who could claim distant blood relations with the Speaker, had for years made his living as a guild sponsored privateer. In this his preferred line of work Pander and his crew would board any ship not flying a Corinesti tithe flag and confiscate all goods, of which Pander was required to give 50% to the guild. Seeing his way of life about to be destroyed, Pander and a few like-minded captains' with him, rebelled and fled to one of the many unoccupied Esorucak Islands. From these islands Pander and his associates continued to raid ships and confiscate their goods but while no longer bound to the guild's rules their tactics and treatment of defeated crews became much more bloody and cruel.
Before his death Pander chose his successors with care. Unable to decide on a single heir he secretly trained five of the most ruthless and dedicated of his followers to lead after his passing. These five would become the cabal or the Hand of Pander. The cabal's members are to forever be unknown so that any one captain who would plot treason against the cabal would never know if one of his coconspirators is a member of the cabal and thus spell his doom.
Panders vision for what would become the Cult of the Shark has changed very little in the 400 years since his death, although his philosophy has taken hold with an almost religious fervency among the pirates of the cult. Panders book, the Book of Truth outlines the philosophies and eventual goals (the complete destruction of the Corinesti shipper's guild and the reestablishment of the Trade Wars) of the cult, many have come to ascribe some religious significance to the book do to the large number of prophecies which Pander penned into it as justification for his actions and beliefs.
Enemies and Allies: Non-Corinesti who seek to use the Sargassi sea lanes for trade and travel as well as the Corinesti Shippers guild constitute the enemies of the Cult. However the church of Ve'co Mori (Zeboim) is openly hostile to the cult, as it does not pay special homage or tribute to the dark sea goddess. The cult has few allies other than the occasional corrupt merchant or ships captain who seeks to make a profit from stolen goods.
Scale: Regional, the Cult has no influence outside of the Sargassi Sea.
Titles Benefits and Duties: As you rise through the ranks of the cult you gain certain preferences and privileges in the lands surrounding the Sargassi Sea, however well known affiliates may find themselves wanted for their crimes in the various ports of call.
Executive Powers: The cabal has the following executive powers:
Assassinate: The Cabal can when needed hire the services of a professional assassin (5th -8th level Fighter-Rogue with a minimum of 2 levels in the Assassin PrC) or a freelance (8th -10th level hire sword with no levels in the Assassin PRC) max combined level of the assassin is 10th.
Plunder/Raid: The Cult can plunder other organizations such as the Seafarers Guild. Permission when granted will supply the captain with a 2d6 x 1000 gp but the captain becomes a marked criminal.
Terrorize: The cult is known to use its influence and perception to extort goods and services from weaker organizations. The Cult will use this when it seeks to collect a special tax or to blockade an area to outside trade.