Shadows of Empire
Privateer is a rather polite term for what were essentially licensed Pirates. Up until the early 20th Century various elements of the Imperial Government would issue ‘Letters of Marque’ that would allow an individual to outfit a ship for the purpose of capturing enemy merchant shipping. The captured ships, their crews, and their cargoes would then be sold, with a percentage of the profit paid to the Imperial Crown.
The port city of Umbar was notorious for the number of Privateers operating out of it under the watchful eye and protection of the Imperial Navy. Privateers operating out of Umbar often styled themselves as being ‘Corsairs’ rather than mere Privateers motivated by profit and would act in a more flamboyant manner. As a result they gained a reputation for being more romantic and honourable than the typical Privateer.
While the custom of issuing Letters of Marque has officially ceased, rumour has it that some have been discretely issued recently to individuals who have shown loyalty to the Regent.