Heroes & Villains
For more than two hundred years, the Bloods have been “agents extraordinary” for the British crown, given ample (if secret) rewards for spilling blood and sacrificing their own on behalf of the Empire. Thomas Blood, the latest to join his line in service, adventured around the world since he was a child on behalf of Queen Victoria–until the day he tried to kill the queen as she gave her Diamond Jubilee speech to the empire. Captured a year later, Blood argued in court that the Queen herself asked him to stage an assassination attempt to flag her waning popularity. Victoria not only denied the accusation but also denied ever knowing Blood, and personally signed the decree sentencing him to life imprisonment in a British Areium mining colony along the shores of the Crimson sea.
Which stories about this notorious pirate are true? Is she the daughter of a Confederate plantation owner, run away from home on one of her father’s ships after his whip took her eye?Is she a young Irish girl raised at sea, blinded in one eye after too many hours in the crow’s nest? Is she a Tortuga barmaid, who plucked out her own eye to stake her place in the back-room dice game where she won her ship? The stories are many, but they all agree Blackheart is as ruthless as she is beautiful, with a passion that runs quickly to rage.
Growing up penniless within sight of the Atlantic Ocean during the War of Secession, Cordelia dreamed of seeking her fortune at sea–dreams quashed by the English ships blockading Chesapeake Bay. Though she made her way to open water by slipping aboard a smuggler’s skiff, she was about to be hung as a stowaway when the smuggler was attacked by a pirate frigate captained by Blackheart. Determined to prove herself to her rescuer, Cordelia soon showed she had iron will and a knack for seamanship that made her the equal of any two men. In less than a year, Cordelia could assist anyone onboard from the gun crews and the engineer to the doctor and the navigator–but she was still ready, willing, and able to join the corsairs on the front line of a boarding party. Though uninterested in ever adopting a last name, she does hope to someday add a “Captain” up front.
Princess Louise Carolina
Daughter of Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort, Albert, Princess Louise fell into politics at an early age, with the young girl carrying messages from her father’s deathbed as he negotiated the infamous Trent Affair that ended with the British crown providing support to the Confederacy during the War of Secession. Following her father’s death, Louise helped her mother through the period of mourning, then took up a post as the secretary to the queen. Princess Louise has long dreamed of living a life of travel and adventure like those she reads about in the dispatches sent to her mother–particularly those from her childhood friend Thomas Blood. Yet it seems her destiny will be as a political tool in the hands of her mother, sealing the place of the British Empire in North America through an arranged marriage to a minor nobleman with large Canadian holdings.
Michel Rathbone came to the Caribbean aboard the French frigate Playfair, and worked his way up through the ranks escorting Areium convoys across the Atlantic. But eventually greed won out over duty and honor, and Rathbone stole a cargo frieghter away from a convoy he was supposed to be escorting. That ship was the first in what would become one of the largest pirate fleets to sail the Crimson sea. Though brash and full of braggadocio, especially when dueling, Rathbone is careful to stay hidden from the country he abandoned, and maintains hideaways in a number of secret coves across the Caribbean.
Few believe most of the stories about Miguel Semmes, if only because it’s impossible for such a young man to have captained a Confederate ship during the war. But any who have seen him in a portside bar can see that he doesn’t appear to have aged in years, and those who have served on his crew say that he possesses strength enough to shatter a mutineer’s skull with his bare hands. Some whispers call him the “human steam drive” and speculate that he eats powdered Areium to gain his strength–but others say that Semmes has found a much stranger Fountain of Youth to give him his unnatural vitality…
Great People in History
The famous lawman of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral and the Dodge City War, Wyatt Earp seems drawn toward chaos and opportunity. The Caribbean offers both, and drew Earp and his friends away from lucrative possibilities out West to the new wild frontier on the waves. Arriving in New Orleans, he and his friends befriended a roguish adventurer named Thomas Blood, and after Blood saved Earp’s life in a bar fight the pair swore that whomever became a captain first would have the other on his crew.
An infamous Australian rebel, Kelly escaped a continent-wide manhunt by hiding half a world away in the Caribbean. Though he had planned to ask the Confederacy for help in his battle against the British, Kelly has found firm friends and a new home among the pirates sailing the Crimson sea. Rough, tough, and a fearsome corsair, he roars with pleasure when his hobnailed boots strike the deck of a boarded enemy ship, ready to take the vessel or die trying as musket balls bounce off his infamous welded metal armor.
Relentlessly brilliant, Nikola Tesla is best known for his work with electricity but has been hired by companies and countries alike hoping to use his advanced science to solve their most vexing problems. Tesla’s solutions often seem to verge on the impossible, but are backed with keen scientific insight. Though he once worked for American inventor Thomas Edison, Tesla is now a fierce competitor of his fellow scientist, and will sometimes wait for Edison to roll out an invention before revealing a better alternative only weeks later. Rumor says that Tesla’s information from Edison’s secret labs comes from Union spymasters in debt to Tesla for inventing ‘wireless eavesdropping’ technology.
A famous writer and raconteur, dispatches by Mark Twain from his journeys around the world have recently been collected together into a best-selling book called Blowing Steam. Well paid for his words, Twain has put the profits into a steam-drive driven paddlewheeler called the Huckleberry that has become his travelling home on the Mississippi. But even that mighty river isn’t enough to sate Twain’s lust for travel, and he recently fled his fame and accolades, slipping away under an assumed name to explore the shores of the Crimson sea.
A early investor in French dirigible manufacturer Giffard Aerostatique, famed novelist Jules Verne now promotes the company’s products as he researches his novels, travelling around the world by balloon. Recently, a steam-drive equipped dirigible allowed him to match the record set by his fictional creation Phileas Fogg, circumnavigating the globe in eighty days. Recently he has been seen in the skies above the Caribbean, researching a novel about Areium mining.
John Henry Holliday earned his nickname “Doc” as a dentist, but he earned his reputation as a gunfighter and a gambler, standing alongside Wyatt Earp during the legendary gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Though he long made the southwest his home for health reasons, the lure of adventure in the Caribbean proved too strong and he joined Earp’s journey to New Orleans, where the pair set out onto the Crimson sea.
Brother to the infamous outlaw Jesse James, Frank James was a Confederate war hero in their native Missouri, famous for leading his men in raids on payroll trains bringing money for the construction of the Union’s Harding Line. Following the war, James rode as a representative of the Confederacy with those fomenting rebellion in the Texas underground. Finally, when Union bounties for his captured topped more than $5,000, James returned to New Orleans and opened a tavern with an eye toward retiring–but sailors’ stories lured him to undertake a new career at sea.
Heartbroken after the death of her friend and lover Wild Bill Hickok, Martha Jane Burke embraced the nickname “Calamity Jane” she’d been given during the range wars of her youth and left Deadwood for good, riding south and earning money with demonstrations of her prowess and a trick-shooter and a sharpshooter. Prone to drinking away much of her profits, Jane started a combination drinking and shooting contest in Galena, Illinois…and awoke in Havana during the Confederate invasion. Reborn in the chaos of the battle, Jane has found a new home on the ships of the Caribbean, employing her keen eyes and shooting skills as a spotter and sniper for steam vessels of all stripes.
A gunslinger and newspaperman who has ridden with Wyatt Earp and traveled with Mark Twain, Bat Masterson has brought both his gun and his pen to the Caribbean. Though often the hero of his own dispatches, he nearly as often earns the accolades he heaps upon himself, living a life that others want to read about.
Annie Oakley gained fame and fortune as the star sharpshooter with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. “Little Sure Shot” has performed across the Union, the Confederacy, and around the world, including in the court of Queen Victoria, where she famously bulls-eyed a coin thrown into the air by the queen. In recent years, a rivalry with fellow female sharpshooter named Lillian Smith and a disagreement with Buffalo Bill over the show’s profits drove Annie to abandon the show and set out for the warmer climate of the Caribbean. She has thus far ignored entreaties from Buffalo Bill for her to return, putting on solo shows in ports around the Crimson sea and paying for her passage in between by serving as a ship’s sniper.