Saturday, May 5, 2012

A "Friendly" Letter

What is it that makes a pirate a "pirate"? In Pirate101, well, we'll *all* be pirates, in one fashion or another, true. Some may even choose the Privateer class. However, we're not, atm, talking about what's coming up, instead, we're delineating what has already past.

License to plunder.
What's the (historical) difference between a pirate, and a privateer? Only 2 things: Paper and Perspective.

Let's start with the "Paper". In the Fighting Age of Sail, when wars were fought among Nations at Sea, a privately-owned (non-military) ship could be enticed to attack the enemy for profit. Of course, Nations being the bureaucracies that they are, one had to have a license, known as a Letter of Marque and Reprisal. Say that "Nation Evil" was at war with "Nation Friendly". Of course, each nation would bring it's military Fleets out to beat each other up. However, back in those days, strategy and tactics also demanded stopping the opponent's supply lines, as well, and a Military can be *everywhere, all the time*. So, we'll say there's a third Nation involved, "Nation Neutral", not involved in the war.

"Seems Legit."
Now, say a private citizen, Captain Duskhunter, of Nation Evil, wanted to get in on the action. In exchange for a License, Cap'n D would have to (usually) agree to split the profits with Nation Evil. Fair enough, I guess.
So, with Letter of Marque in hand, Cap'n D could now go out actively hunting down ships of Nation Friendly, but *not* Nation Neutral. Cap'n D is now a Privateer for Nation Evil.

This is where "Perspective" comes in. Although Nation Evil is A-O-K with Cap'n D's actions. Nation Friendly isn't very likely to acknowledge Cap'nD's "license". To Nation Friendly, Cap'n D is just a non-uniformed combatant performing robbery on the High Seas, a.k.a. a "pirate", and will likely deal with Cap'n D in a manner most unpleasant.(Probably denying episodes of "MyLittle Pony:FIM has unicorns.) ;)

And let's say that Cap'n D just so happens to plunder a Nation Neutral Ship. Why, even Nation Evil itself may (attempt) arrest of Cap'n D for piracy, because attacking Nation Neutral ships was outside the parameters of the Letter of Marque. A wise privateer *always* confirms the target's national flag before beginning an attack. This is also why many a pirate carried, in their holds, more than one Nation's Flag. 

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