Thuria and Beyond
Not far off the coast of southern Zingara lies the volcanic archipelago of the Barachan Isles. These islands are outside the control of both Zingara and Argonia and are overrun with bands of renegades pirates. Over decades, the most powerful Pirate Kings have amassed small fleets of vessels and considerable private armies to defend their island strongholds. The pirate bands tend to be highly diverse in their make-up, consisting of Zingarans, Argonians, Shemites, Stygians and even exiles from distant Vanahem and from the dark lands of the distant south.
On the largest island of the archipelago, the city of Tortage remains the only large settlement of the Barachan Isles – a roaring town of carousing and warring pirate factions which is frequented by fences from all over the Thurian kingdoms and the lands of the south. Reputedly, anything imaginable can be bought or sold among the ramshackle shanties of Tortage.
Conditions on the islands are affected by the same warm ocean current which gives southern Zingara a distinctly more pleasant climate than the cooler north of the country. So the makeshift villages and the strongholds of the Pirate Kings are built among palm trees and lush vegetation. But each island is rocky, with precious little flat land around the beaches and bays where settlements have sprung up.