Skull and Shackles
Distant Tian Outpost
Notable Settlements: Cho-Tzu (1,230), Haigui Wan (995)
Dominant Denizens: Humans (primarily of Tian-Shu and Tian-Sing ethnicity)
Other Denizens: Tengus
Resources: Bullion, fresh water, safe harbor, slaves
In the years before the collapse of its hegemony in Tian Xia, the empire of Lung Wa sent forth many ships to explore Golarion’s oceans, seeking new trade routes, markets, and goods. Some of those expeditions made their way to the Shackles. Seeing the relatively free lives of the Shackles pirates proved an enormous temptation for the brutalized sailors of the Tian fleets, and many crews mutinied, hanging their former officers from yardarms or running them through if they were lucky; those less fortunate were usually keelhauled. The newly liberated sailors took to piracy with aplomb, and could soon be found on ships across the archipelago, though many remained with others from their own native land. Some established a pirate base on an island between Dahak’s Fang and the rocky shores of the mainland, which they named Shenchu Bay (“freedom” in Tien).
The island is ruled by a group of elected Free Captains known as the Wise Council of Three. Council members serve a 3-year term before submitting themselves again to the votes of all Shenchu captains. The current council members are Jieh Hui, the body’s leader — an ancient man thought to already have one foot in the grave; the devious Lo Shei Wen, captain of the frigate Serpent’s Tongue, which specializes in the capture and sale of slaves; and finally, Chan Ai-Huao, a half-elf whose elven father, a buccaneer known as Laleu the Rapier, won the respect of these insular people and married a Tian-Shu woman in the process. Chan is greatly favored by the voteless common sailors of the island’s pirate fleets, but barely secured a council seat in the last election. Lo Shei makes no secret of his animosity for the “half-breed shark,” as he calls Chan in very public conversations. These feuding council members are known to hire outside agents as pawns in their internal conflicts — it is not uncommon for a foreigner to be approached dockside with offers of rich payment to perform a task that seems innocuous enough, but often before long these outsiders find themselves embroiled in local politics not to their liking.
A major part of Shenchu Bay’s inland territory is swampy and well suited for rice paddies, which are tended by slaves and peasants, many from other Tian ethnicities. To this day, rice and fish are staples in the diets of the islanders, and Shenchu is almost completely self-sufficient. The slaves who work the paddy fields live in tents and huts and are overseen by neh cang, a class of cruel freepersons unafraid to apply the whip to any who slack off from their duties.