Calico Jack's Pirate Raiders - the fake history

We already told you about the real history behind Calico Jack's Pirate Raiders, and how it differed from the story presented by the characters' bios. For comparison, here's the story Art Asylum is going by:

The time is the early 18th century, an era of both magic and science, and the golden age of the pirate! The British government is at a loss for answers - pirates are raiding the Caribbean at will, and crew and treasure intended for the crown seem to be disappearing daily. With the king's coffers suffering, as well as an increasingly angry population of merchants, the governors came upon a secret plan to eliminate the pirate threat to England and strike a blow against the Spanish.

Port Royal, Jamaica, was slowly turned into a home to pirates, who were happy to call the port, so close to key shipping lanes, home. Many of them were employed to cause frustration solely to Spanish ships, because at the time there was no way England could openly engage the Spanish empire. The port quickly gained a reputation for wealth and piracy, attracting pirates from far and wide, and it's here that the British launched their plan.

The British pirate hunter Jonathan Barnet had captured the notorious pirate John Rackham, or Calico Jack, as he was known. Calico Jack had decided to turn his attention from the Spanish to stealing a British sloop - a crime not tolerated even in Port Royal. Calico Jack was the perfect pirate for the British plans: he had commanded several vessels in his time and, most importantly, included two female pirates in his crew - a very rare situation for the time. Jonathan Barnet, under orders of the governor of Jamaica, who took his orders directly from the crown, made Jack an offer. Be hung until dead and placed on display for all to see... or turn pirate hunter!

The British plan was simple: with a true pirate on their side helping Captain Barnet hunt down pirates that went after British ships, and with Port Royal a safe haven for pirates that chose to prey on the Spanish, surely more pirates would turn their attention to Spanish ships, freeing the British ships to increase trade and travel. The benefit to Calico Jack was even more simple: he'd spare himself a tar-and-feathering and display at the gibbet.

If only reality was simple and easy, perhaps we would not be hearing the story of Calico Jack's pirate raiders!

While Calico Jack might have seemed like a perfect choice for the crown's plans, he was not without baggage. Calico took his first command by disposing Captain Charles Vanes from the captaincy of his sloop, the Ranger. While he may have sent Vanes and his supporters off the Ranger with food, munitions and longboats, the former Captain Vanes did not fare well. After regaining command of a ship and returning to his pirate ways, his ship was destroyed in a storm and he was marooned on an island alone. While marooned, he was driven mad by the isolation and began to draw upon the dark arts. After his rescue/capture, Captain Vanes was put to death, but not before swearing to take his revenge on Calico Jack - the reason for his misfortune. Aided by dark magics, Captain Vanes would sail the seas again and, with the aid of his undead crew, hunt Calico Jack throughout the seven seas!

Okay, so for the most part that story jibes with history - it's not until the end that it starts to get a little loopy. In the real world, Rackham was already dead by the time Vane (not Vanes, "Vane") was put to death. In this reality, Calico Jack was offered another choice.

There's also more to the pirates' stories than you'll find on the back of the cards. Some have more flavor text in the middle of the bio, others have more added on the end, but none of them are exactly the same. Compare for yourself:

Calico Jack
Once a feared pirate, now Calico Jack fights alongside Captain Jonathan Barnet, against pirates that seek to wreak havoc and prey on innocent travelers. Along with the Spanish and other pirates, Jack must be on constant guard against his former captain and current rival Captain Charles Vanes. How can he defeat a man that has already cheated death?

Tom Brown
Calico Jack's long-time crew member and good friend, Tom holds the position of weaponeer in Jack's crew, but his true job is trusted confidant and bodyguard to the good captain. Friends for years, Jack trusts Tom completely; however Tom has eyes for crew member Mary "Mark" Read, one of the two female members of Jack's crew. Could this lead to some potential issues between the two good friends?

Robert Deal
Robert is Captain Vanes' right-hand man, having worked together up until the shipwreck that lead to Vanes' stay on the island and slow decent into madness. First Officer Deal was, and is now again, a master tactician, and it was his skill and cunning that led to many successful raids for Vanes' crew! Deal was the first former crewman Vanes "contacted" upon his demise.

Nickolaas Vanhoorn
Formerly a privateer, Nickolaas found pirating more profitable - and maybe just a little more to his liking - than the honest trade of merchant. Vanhoorn was a very successful pirate until gripped by an infection that many say was caused by a cutlass injury at the hands of Calico Jack. Vanhoorn was deceased for some time before Vanes "revived" him, and the infection that caused his death continues to wreak havoc with his body as he sails the seas with Vanes' crew, seeking revenge.

Captain Jonathan Barnet
Commander of the British Navy's man-o'-war Albion, Barnet is a very formidable seaman and pirate hunter. Coming from a very well-to-do family, Captain Barnet holds tradition and the crown in very high regard and finds his time with Jack to be very distasteful, but he serves this duty out of his regard for the sovereignty of the crown and unending loyalty to the safety of all her citizens. He and Jack seldom agree on a course of action, with Jack oftentimes barreling ahead, fueled by rum and recklessness.

Nukpana is one of Captain Jonathan Barnet's crew. The struggle against the pirate plague has been a long and deadly affair, and one that at times requires a special skill set. Nukpana came to Britain via the new Colonies. Captured during a trading voyage, Nukpana was exceptional even among his people. His skills at stealth and fighting have made him a valuable member of the crew, but one that you would be hesitant to cross.

Captain Charles Vanes
The evil captain himself. When he is not plundering the Caribbean seas and wreaking havoc on Spanish and English forces, he and his undead crew seek their revenge on the author of their downfall, Calico Jack. And with Jack allying himself with the British forces at whose hand Vanes and crew met their demise, their efforts are sure to re-double. A master seaman and possessing the powers of the dark arts, those that meet Captain Vanes have no choice but to flee. Victory is near impossible, and looking for mercy in those cold dead eyes even moreso.

John Fenwick, a.k.a. "Old Dad the Cooper"
While it was rumored in Port Royal that John was a member of Jack's crew, this was not the case, although that fact did nothing to discourage the Governor of Port Royal from serving sentence on John. Before Jack would even be extended the offer to serve the British Navy, he would have his first enemy. When Vanes found out that Fenwick had been tried and convicted years earlier of being a member of Jack's crew, he knew he would have a willing ally in his quest for revenge. Vanes used his dark power to raise Fenwick from the bottom of Port Royal's harbor, where he lay.

So no one's (pretend) history is changed too drastically, but obviously the copywriter came up with more info than would fit on the back of the cards. And it's nice to see how everything fits together.

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