Archives of Nethys

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Deities | Systems & Settlements

Broken Rock

Source Pact Worlds pg. 83
CN asteroid base
System The Diaspora
Population 45,600 (41% human, 23% android, 22% ysoki, 14% other)
Government council (Pirate Council)
Qualities insular, notorious, secret location
Maximum Item Level 15

Known as the stronghold of the Free Captains of the Diaspora, Broken Rock is a 450-mile-wide asteroid with a large, prominent crevasse dubbed Besmara’s Smile by the locals. The space pirates discovered and colonized the rock at some point during the Gap, building a sprawling settlement of docks, taverns, and warehouses around the crack. This city has continued to grow over the centuries, and it remains a haven for Free Captains and their crews, offering merchants who purchase their illicit goods, mechanics who can repair their starships, and gambling halls where they can throw away their credits. To keep law-enforcement organizations such as the Hellknights and the Stewards off these ne’er-do-wells’ backs, only Free Captains and those they vouch for know the exact location of Broken Rock. In the event of an attack, an array of automated capital laser weapons known collectively as the Broadsides defends the asteroid.

In addition to being a guaranteed safe harbor for the Free Captains, Broken Rock is also where the Pirate Council—the organization’s elected leadership—meets to discuss matters of import and occasionally modify the Free Captains’ pirate code. The Pirate Council determines which megacorporations’ vessels are off-limits (thanks to exorbitant protection fees) and which are viable targets. They also settle disputes between Free Captains, usually decreeing the wronged party is owed a monetary sum from the party at fault; rarely do these disagreements end in formal duels to the death anymore. Finally, the council resolves what to do when marauders, smugglers, and other extralegal groups begin to infringe on the Free Captains’ territories; this often involves putting bounties out on these rival factions.

When a pirate lord leaves the council—whether through misfortune or retirement—all Free Captains are invited to return to Broken Rock to nominate and elect a replacement. This period of open application lasts for 1 month, which usually ensures that only the pirates with the fastest Drift engines and those who happen to be on Broken Rock at the time make it onto the ballot. Voting lasts for an additional 3 months and is open to all Free Captains, but all votes must be cast in person. Following ancient tradition, votes are cast manually using goldplated plastic tokens, and the collected tokens are guarded around the clock by a roster of Free Captains who directly serve the current Pirate Council. Candidates frequently remain on Broken Rock during the voting period, many of them bribing incoming voters with drinks, goods, or promises of both.

The longest-serving member of the Pirate Council is Ceris Hightower (CN female human mechanic/soldier), a toughas- nails engineer with little patience for tomfoolery and even less mercy for those who cross her. Ceris was born on Verces, the daughter of a climate scientist and a factory worker (now both deceased). She lived a solidly middle-class early life, occasionally trekking out to relatively safe areas of Fullbright and Darkside for tastes of adventure with her friends. When she came of age, she sought out the Vercite citadel of the Hellknight Order of the Furnace and enlisted as a trainee. Ceris spent several months in hard training, but she couldn’t master the level of discipline and respect for the chain of command required to become a Hellknight. Instead, she used the martial skills she learned to good effect in several mercenary groups and eventually joined up with the Free Captains. She worked her way up to the rank of pirate lord, aided by her strength and willpower, before becoming a member of the Pirate Council soon thereafter. She is well respected, if not exactly liked, by the majority of the other Free Captains, and she has a reputation for getting things done. Now at the age of 88, Ceris has resorted to cybernetics to extend her life so that she can continue leading the Free Captains. But as she continues to advance in age, other Free Captains are maneuvering to sweep in and fill the power vacuum when she passes on, or to nudge that event to take place sooner rather than later.