May 30, 2024

The Helm

What is the Helm?

And what if we talked about the Helm? We've not really touched on the topic yet, have we?

With Season 2 bringing the next stage of our empire building/end game loop, you might have some questions about the organisation that's behind it all, and the role you play.

While some captains will create their fearsome reputation through the survivors they leave in their path, some, on the contrary, will choose to go further and create their own Empire.

When you think about it, you started as a half-drowned shipwrecked bilge rat with little more to your name than the rags on your back.

By the end of Season 1, you are a reputable Captain with multiple ships to your name, connections with some of the more infamous pirates/powers around here and you've been hand-picked by the Helm. Not bad for a survivor, no?

Making a profit from your pirate activities is not something you do easily. So, play your cards right, who knows where it might lead you.

A Smuggling Empire

To build your empire, you need a network, the right connections, and it goes without saying, the logistics behind it are crazy... and this is where the Helm comes in.

The Helm, a formidable, well-connected organisation, oversees the movement of all the Indian Ocean's contraband. Though, little is currently known about it and why it came into existence.

You may ask yourself, why do you need the Helm? Well, it holds the monopoly on the know-how of any smuggling operation taking place in the Indian Ocean.

Afterall, everyone knows "The Helm steers all'"  If you think you can make your mark without them, think again.

Their bases of operations are positioned in strategic locations, hidden in plain sight, making them very attractive when you want to build an empire. Bear in mind that a different currency is used, as the Helm aims to remain independent from all governing bodies such as the megacorporations.

Their reach extends far beyond the Pirate Round... it's quite simple really, if there is illicit business going on, there are good chances they have a hand in it. They have eyes everywhere after all.

They might trade with the warring faction on one hand and on the other hand they could be smuggling riches for the corrupt officers of the megacorporations.

What is the Pirate Round you ask?

It's a global network which links different parts of the world through trade - legal or otherwise. Essentials such as clothes, weapons or food are traded for gems, silks, spices and so much more through this very lucrative network perpetually looping round the world.

The popular expression used is "To service the Pirate Round" which means you are participating in the smuggling trade. Many have set up their smuggling networks, making themselves Pirate Lords, some in the Indian Ocean, a few in the Caribbean, etc. Many Pirate Lords cooperate to some extent for better profit or to fulfil their own objectives. However, others, in their quest for power and riches, choose to take on the Helm with the might of their fleets.

[SnB] Helm - narrative aspect of the Helm - Map of the Pirate Round?

For example, during Season 1, you met Philippe La Peste. This Legendary Pirate Lord was cursed with agonising pain by Voodoo sorcerers in retaliation for his brutal tactics. When he comes to the Indian Ocean looking for a cure, he relies on the smuggling network he established in the Caribbean named The Emerald Coast to both build his operations off the Coast of Africa and finance his goals.

If you listened enough to Scurlock, Sainte-Anne's Kingpin, you will have heard the name Teuling.
Frederick Teuling is a power broker based in New York and he is the one who established the smuggling arrangements between New York and Sainte-Anne.

Teuling puts pressure on Scurlock to deliver more goods across the Indian Ocean and beyond, all in the name of expanding his own influence. He's even dispatched William Blackwood to the pirate dens, to recruit pirate Captains who can fulfil his clients' rapidly growing demands.

The Helm brings profits that Scurlock can't ignore and Teuling cares more about profits than about the Helm's operations for the moment. Thanks to that, Yanita was able to establish her Helm office in the heart of the Lion's den.

To the displeasure of Scurlock, the Helm aims to remain independent from all governing bodies. You are becoming competition in his eyes; particularly once Yanita expands the services available to you and enhances your Office. If you investigated a little, you'll know what he does to his rivals.

In the East Indies, Admiral Rahma relies on the Pirate Round and the Helm to service her rebellion. Her goal is not to join them, but to use them as a means to an end, or at least that's what she tells us, and herself. There are many reasons to join the Helm; you have the freedom to be as involved as you wish with the Helm - they might make use of you, but you use them as well.

Meet the Gatekeepers

While you might come across agents of the Helm as you explore the Indian Ocean, they guard their secrets closely and as such it is through the Gatekeepers that the Helm will decide to extend you an invite.
The sisters are the face of the Helm. They have public-facing businesses in dens such as Sainte-Anne and Telok Penjarah where nobody looks too closely at what's happening in the back.
Behind the cover of their - let's say legal - fronts they identify worthy Captains who might benefit their smuggling organisation.

Yanita Nara, in Sainte-Anne, would be the one to reach out to Captains like yourselves showing potential and going places.
She's the owner of Le Pont Muet, the local tavern. Her wit is sharp and as you can guess from the scars she sports proudly, she's not one to be trifled with.

Her business acumen lies in rum-making and smuggling. It's a good starting point, and as such, you will be introduced to the basics of smuggling thanks to her guidance. From how to use the network to taking care of your competitors.

[SnB] Helm - narrative aspect of the Helm - Pont Muet

As Yanita puts it:
"Now, everyone has a chance. You might still get eaten, mind. But you might get fed too, and fed well."

Once you have gained a little experience and know how to deal with some of the gangs of the Helm, Yanita - that you've impressed to an extent  - will send you to her sister Houma Nara.

She's a little quieter than her sister, but as Yanita sometimes says, she's a smart businesswoman who will be able to help you expand your influence far and wide.

Through Yanita's older sister you'll gain access to a new set of services helping you increase your empire.

[SnB] Helm - narrative aspect of the Helm - The opium den in Telok Penjarah

"No matter how much you seek wealth, don't let it be your downfall" - Houma

As you will know the ropes by the time you come to Houma, you'll be left to your own devices a lot more. After all, even if the Helm is helping you set up, this is your Empire, it'll grow and fall to your own effort.

All the Nara Sisters serve as guardians, guides, and stewards of the Helm and while you need them now... who knows what hides behind their carefully crafted façade? After all, nothing comes for free, does it?


We've talked a little about gangs looking to gain the favour of the Gatekeepers so let's dive into it a little.
You might have heard about the Rogues, they, like you, are members of the Helm, competitors trying to make a profit around the Indian Ocean.

They're often organised into gangs, both to make it easier to defend themselves and to work as a group to take on bigger targets. They are dangerous but not without weaknesses.

Four gangs are known:

  • Orcas - They are equipped with lethal fin torpedoes, so you better have sturdy armour equipped.
  • Wyrms - As their name suggests they are devotees of flaming weapons. Avoid turning into ashes by sinking them first.
  • Eels - They are formidable at close range, so you better be sure your close-combat is on target.
  • Gannets - Sharp-eyed shooters equipped with long range weapons; they will target your weak points if you are foolish enough to expose them.

Taking them on can be a challenge, and like you, they are well informed by the Helm, so better be ready to defend yours and yourself in this dog-eat-dog world.
You now have an idea of what the Helm is, what they can bring to the table, and how they can help you, but we only scratched the surface. Who knows what secrets will be uncovered with time. Keep your friends close, galbi, but keep your enemies even closer.

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