Down along the cove
The nets had disgorged hundreds of flopping fish onto the deck of the Seagrass - mostly the dark cod common to the waters off the Necropolis coast. Here and there among their number were a dozen or more pale fish with peculiar, whiskery fins and pronounced barbels. Maria crouched, and grabbed one of them in two hands. It was a little over two feet long. She turned the dead animal over, inspecting it, then slapped it down onto the gutting board and sliced it open, examining its guts like a heathen seer.
"It's a moonfish alright." she opined. "And it seems pretty wholesome."
"I know," growled Amos. "It's not as if we haven't caught them before but ... this size? This far north? And so many of them."
"Yes. It's a darn sight more than one or two a year maybe. There must be a score or more of them. How much did we get for the last one?"
"Two crowns." Said the Captain. "Two crowns from that League cook. For one of them."
"If there's a score of them in our nets up here ..." said Maria slowly and carefully.
It was Amos' turn to nod in silence. The two of them stared at the pile of fish. Around them the rest of the crew had stopped working, watching and listening.
Amos clapped his big, callused hands together decisively.
"Right!" he barked. "Everyone stop standing around looking pretty! This is a Highborn ship, not a Sarvosan salon! Peter, Simone, loose the nets and roll them in. James, Andrea get this catch stowed and pull out the moonfish. Maria .... turn the wheel. We're heading out beyond Spivey Point."
Amos paused then, and patted the vicious billhook at his belt."And everyone keep their wits about them," he roared as his crew leapt to their assigned tasks. "Zemress save us, but there are Grendel in the Bay and they would be just as keen for a chance to catch us as we are to catch moonfish!"
In recent years, the Bay of Catazar has been subjected to a significant amount of Spring magic, as well as several large-scale enchantments drawing on Night magic. As the Summer solstice draws near, an unexpected, beneficial side effect rears its fishy head - a population boom among the creatures of the sea. Fisherfolk across the Bay of Catazar are eager to embrace the opportunity this provides - yet ironically that same opportunity is drawing independent Grendel ship captains in droves.
Feroz, Madruga, Necropolis, Sarvos, and (to a degree) Redoubt and Tassato draw at least a portion of their prosperity from the sea. The increase in fish and sea animal populations offers opportunities for enterprising boat captains an opportunity to deliver bumper catches. Those who are prepared to take a few risks - to push out into the deeper, non-territorial waters - stand to make a significant amount of money. This in turn offers entrepreneurs an opportunity for prosperity. Whether they deal in fish, fish oil, whale meat, ambergris, or even ilium, the marine population boom provides opportunities for entrepreneurs..
The problem is the Grendel. While the Grendel navies are engaged in the Spiral campaign, there are a large number of orc captains who are the equivalent of the heroic fleet captains of the Empire - and they also have an eye for the main chance. So many Imperial fisherfolk taking risks provide an appealing opportunity to the enterprising Grendel to seize ships' crews, boats, and hard-earned cargo. While many of them prepare to invade the Isle of Zemress, others must surely be looking with hungry eyes towards the adventurous fishing boats of the Empire.
Protecting the Fishing Fleet
As Imperial fisher folk take greater risks in return for greater profits, so too the Grendel are taking greater risks. They are less interested in the fish that are being dredged up than they are in skilled fisherfolk slaves, valuable boats, and the occasional highly profitable lump of ilium dragged up from the new fishing grounds. As such, there is a real risk that it will be the Grendel who will most benefit from this opportunity, not the Empire.
With this in mind, the Fellowship of Purple Sails (interested as they are in all things nautical), have come together with a several Freeborn corsair families, prominent paradors in Feroz and Madruga, and League guilds involved with fishing and its byproducts. Together, they are offering an additional incentive to protect the entrepreneurial fishing fleet.
The privateering action represents Imperial fleets attacking barbarians who stray into Imperial waters. In the coming season, there will be an additional option accessible through the Privateering dropdown menu - Protect the fishing fleet. This may be taken by any fleet owner, and represents committing a fleet specifically to protect the fisherfolk of the Bay of Catazar.
Each standard fleet assigned to the "Protect the fishing fleet" action effectively adds 100 points toward successful resolution of the opportunity. Each additional rank for an ungraded or enchanted fleet adds another 20 points. Rituals and other effects that increase the ranks of a privateering fleet (such as Blood and Salt) will increase the effective strength for purposes of this special action. In a similar manner to a spy network, the total strength assigned to the opportunity will decide the outcome.
- If less than 1000 points of strength are assigned, the Grendel successfully raid the Imperial fishing fleet. This will result in a one-fifth loss in the production of every business in Madruga, Feroz, Sarvos, Necropolis, Redoubt, and Tassato. Perhaps more importantly, the Grendel are not just interested in stealing the cargo of the targeted ships. They will enslave crews and steal or destroy boats as well. The resulting loss of resources will cause a small but noticeable permanent drop in the tax revenue of Madruga, Feroz, Sarvos, Redoubt, and Necropolis as well. (OOC Note: The loss of fishing boats will mean there are fewer resources in the territories to be taxed; this loss will not effect Tassato directly and will be most severe in Madruga, Feroz and Sarvos).
- If at least 1000 points of strength are assigned to the "Protect the fishing fleet" action, the fisherfolk are protected and the Empire receives a small benefit - every business in Madruga, Feroz, Sarvos, Necropolis, Redoubt, and Tassato will receive an additional 72 rings production.
- If at least 2000 points of strength are assigned, the fisherfolk are protected, the Grendel are driven off, and the Empire benefits as above. Additionally, there will be an increase in the amount of ilium available through the public auction during the Autumn Equinox, dredged up in nets alongside the bumper hauls of fish.
- If at least 3000 points of strength are assigned, the fisherfolk and are protected, the Grendel are driven off, the Empire benefits, and there will be more ilium available through the public auction, as above. In addition, the grateful boat owners of the Bay of Catazar will provide an additional portion of the ilium they catch in their nets to the Broken Shore Bounty, increasing the income from that Bourse seat by 2 extra rings for a year, starting at the Autumn Equinox. This will also send a clear message to the Grendel opportunists - that the Empire's fisherfolk are protected. This is not without a potential downside, however. The Grendel vessels currently looking for easy prey among the fisherfolk are instead likely to turn their attention to ships passing through the southern bay, potentially leading to problems next season for ships engaging in foreign trade.
Any fleet so assigned will also receive the normal benefits of undertaking the privateering action. The additional incentives offered by the loose alliance of maritime concerns around the Bay means that any Imperial fleet that takes the "Defend the Fishing Fleet" action will receive an additional 3 crowns as a bounty from the grateful folk of the Bay of Catazar.
Courage, Prosperity, and Vigilance
The Empire is committed to ensuring the prosperity of the courageous fisherfolk on the Bay of Catazar. The duty of doing so falls on the heads of Imperial fleet captains. The (Assembly) sends X with X liao to encourage those able to do so to embrace this opportunity, secure in the knowledge that the ship captains of the Empire will defend them.synod mandate
Any of the national assemblies, the General Assembly, the Prosperity assembly, and/or the Courage Assembly may all choose to pass this judgement of mandate.
If a national assembly passes the mandate with a lesser majority, and assigns at least 25 liao, any fleet captain from that nation who engages in any action except "Protect the fishing fleet" has their production and effective strength reduced by a fifth. This will reduce their effectiveness when engaging in foreign trade, supporting a navy, privateering, or participating another special opportunity (such as Shelter from the storm).
If the Prosperity Assembly, the Courage Assembly, or the General Assembly passes this mandate with a lesser majority, and at least 50 doses of liao, then all Imperial captains who engage in any other action will suffer the penalty.
While wealth is appealing, it is often dangerous to pursue of it. The Imperial Synod sends X with X liao to encourage the fisherfolk of the Bay of Catazar to be vigilant and cautious, avoiding the perils of foolish bravado and the dangerous pursuit of unnecessary wealth.synod mandate
The General Assembly, or the Assembly of Vigilance may pass this alternate mandate. If the mandate is passed with a lesser majority, and at least 75 liao is assigned, then this entire opportunity is cancelled. Instead of seeking out rich fishing opportunities, fisherfolk are more cautious and stay close to shore. There is no special option to defend the fishing fleet - because it keeps to safe waters and ignores the opportunity to gain additional wealth. At the same time there is no benefit to the businesses of territories along the Bay of Catazar, and no opportunity to secure additional ilium. On the other hand, the Grendel will be denied the opportunity to strike at the fishing fleet, and there will be no risk of damage to the Imperial treasury (however slight it may actually be).
As always, in the case of competing mandates (whether specific to this opportunity or otherwise) the one with the most liao assigned will take precedence. If the second mandate passes, all liao assigned by different groups to the first mandate will be totalled to determine which takes precedence.
This opportunity is available only in the downtime immediately following the Summer Solstice.