“Lower your void shields, silence your guns, open your coffers, and be glad that I am as much a gentleman as I am a brigand.”
–Festio Borealis, Lord-Captain of the corsair Falcon’s Grasp
In the distant reaches of the Koronus Expanse, where Imperial authority is weak or non-existent, where the laws of the Empire hold no sway, there is often little distinction between the activities of legitimate merchants and brutal pirates, pioneers and the rapacious architects of pocket empires, explorers and smugglers of ill-gotten treasure. Thankfully, a Calixian Privateer knows where he stands on all counts, in both the eyes of his peers and the law. Bound to the power blocks of the Calixis Sector by special clauses, known as Letters of Marque, buried deep within the punctilious language of their Warrants of Trade, these select Rogue Traders are empowered to prey upon the interests and ventures of their patron’s rivals in the Expanse.
Calixian Privateers are not the snarling lapdogs of their patrons, and take any such assertion as a grave insult and a call to duel. Rather, Privateers protect their benefactors’ interests in the Expanse in exchange for a safe port of call, the political capital that comes from friends in high places, and a certain amount of legal dispensation for their more questionable activities. Officially, a Calixian Privateer’s mission is to protect and defend. The trade routes, outposts, and colonies of the Expanse are all vulnerable to the predations of Freebooterz, pirate fleets, and unscrupulous merchants. However, most Privateers are loath to sit back and wait for these threats to strike. Instead, they forge deep into the Expanse, actively seeking out potential foes and destroying them wherever they are found.
Any salvage and treasure claimed in these forays is carried back to the Privateer’s patron, registered as the spoils of war, and unloaded at a hefty profit. The fact that most Privateers consider the convoys and outposts of their patron’s rivals to be threats worthy of dispatch is not mentioned in polite society, but it is clear to all that the bloody trade wars outlawed by Sector Governor Marius Hax have simply moved outward into the Expanse. The fact that Governor Hax does little to curtail the issuing of Letters of Marque, and has been known to issue them himself, is taken as a sign that he intends to keep such conflicts out of his sector, but within his sphere of influence.
Because Calixian Privateers openly engage in activity that is considered morally unsound at best and outright illegal at worst, they must frequently deal with the dregs of society, from smugglers, criminal syndicates, fallen nobles, and slavers, to entire populations rendered destitute by the actions of other Privateers. By maintaining close ties to these unsavory types, Privateers are able to build sprawling power bases and support networks beyond the influence of their patrons. When times become hard and conflicts arise between a Privateer and his patron, these shadowy allies and reluctant accomplices are turned to for aid. Privateers who cultivate such alliances often find themselves rulers of piratical kingdoms and criminal empires. A wise patron keeps a close watch on their Privateer, lest he become too successful and begins to question the need for his relationship.
There are as many different types of Calixian Privateer as there are Warrants of Trade. For every ruthless brigand there is a gentleman thief, for every raiding marauder, a champion and defender of the people. For every destitute Rogue Trader forced into servitude while seeking an ally, there is a browbeating pirate king with a patron living in virtual imprisonment within the gilded gage of a palatial estate. The two traits all Calixian Privateers have in common are close ties to their patrons and well-earned reputations, both good and ill.
Mordred Drakenholm is a Calixian Privateer, captain of the raider Red Talon, who plies the routes of Winterscale’s Realm, hunting ships and traders allied to House Krin. Once, within the Egarian Dominion, he ran afoul of Lord-Captain Aoife Armengarde, who stalled for time with words. Their battle turned into dinner upon his ship, where Mordred was glad to learn that his intelligence was incorrect and that she was not working for House Krin. She, in turn, was glad that she had tricked him into believing she did not work for House Krin.
Becoming a Calixian PrivateerEdit
All one needs to become a Calixian Privateer is a patron and a Warrant of Trade amended with a Letter of Marque. Viable patrons include corporations, Imperial nobility, merchant houses, Navigator Houses, Planetary and Sub-sector Governors, Rogue Trader Dynasties, and wealthy guilds. The roster of potential patrons is long, giving enterprising Rogue Traders their pick of allies. Attaining a Letter of Marque is more problematic. While some would-be patrons loudly proclaim their ability and desire to issue Letters of Marque to any Rogue Trader willing to pledge their service, most often patrons and Dynasties must petition each other, and the Adeptus Terra, for the privilege. It is for these reasons that many keen Rogue Traders pore over the legal minutia of their Warrants, hoping to find a notation indicating a Letter of Marque that was never rescinded and that they can claim by birthright. Many a well-to-do citizen of the Imperium has been rudely awakened only to find a Rogue Trader’s ship darkening the skies over their estate, her captain demanding the same hospitality once afforded a long-dead ancestor.
Required Career: Rogue Trader
Alternate Rank: 2 or Higher (7,000 XP)
Other Requirements: A Rogue Trader must possess the Renowned Warrant Talent before becoming a Calixian Privateer.