Captain Ismael Hatch

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In the 35.50's PSSC Captain Hatch began to fly a flag featuring a red harpy on a black background. The harpy, in turn, would rapidly become a standard charge on privateer flags across the Strait of Haifa.

Born in the timber-covered shores of northern Lake Morovia, Captain Ismael Hatch is one of the Strait of Haifa's most prominent and notorious privateer captains, and a symbol of Haifan Nationalism.

Ships

The Seasama

the Seasama
Captainhatch.png
Type: Northman Class Corvette
Place of origin: Passio-Corum

In service: 33.78 - 34.95
Used by:

Captain Ismael Hatch

In service: -
Retired: Destroyed in 35.54 PSSC

Designed: -
Manufacturer: Shirley Stock Fund

Displacement: 1,575 tons (1,810 Tons Full Load)
Length: 98m
Beam: 14m
Draught: 3.75m
Speed: 25+ knots
Complement: 113
Armament:
  • 2 x 26 inch Torpedo Tubes
  • 4 x.50 Cal Machine Guns
  • 2 x 12.7 cm guns (2×3)
Cost: -

The first vessel known to be captained by Ismael Hatch, the Seasama - named after the Seasama-Lisea-Irf - was a Northman Class Corvette originally constructed for the New Zimian Merchant Marines in a shipyard run by the Shirley Stock Fund in the Realm of Alphaville, and captured by Hatch off the coast of Port Solway. The Seasama was scuttled in a battle near the city of Pyrsto, which occurred as part of a military operation overseen by the Lake Morovia Blokade Fund.

Battle of Pyrsto

The event in which Captain Ismael Hatch first rose to prominence, the Battle of Pyrsto occurred as part a military and intelligence operation overseen by the Lake Morovia Blockade Fund, which sought to obtain control of the docks of the city of Pyrsto, an independent city-state which lies to the south of the Haifan city of Minab-Azis. The Seasama was scuttled during the Battle of Pyrsto, when it came under heavy gunfire after running aground in a shallow harbor. For his part Captain Hatch managed to escape from the Seasama, and from the battle, after being rescued by a fellow privateer vessel. This vessel is believed to have carried Captain Hatch to the city of Vaeringheim, on the northern shore of Lake Morovia.

The Nortonian

Pictured: Captain Hatch looks out to sea from the deck of the Nortonian.
the Nortonian
Nortoniansea.png
Type: Bijeko Class Attack Craft (Modified)
Place of origin: Unknown

In service: 35.25 PSSC - Present
Used by:

Captain Ismael Hatch

In service: -
Retired: -

Designed: -
Manufacturer: Unknown

Displacement: 2,050 tons (1,700 Tons Full Load)
Length: 140m
Beam: 16m
Draught: 4.0m
Speed: 20+ knots
Complement: 130
Armament:
  • 2 x 26 inch Torpedo Tubes
  • 4 x 3.7 cm SK C/30
  • 10 x .50 Cal Machine Guns
Cost: -

The second of the vessels commanded by Captain Hatch, the Nortonian was a considerably larger and better equipped ship than the Seasama. Although the ship's design was based upon that of the Pallisican Bijeko Class Attack Craft, it is not known exactly where the Nortonian was originally constructed. All that is known is that the ship was acquired by Captain Hatch, perhaps as part of a commission, during the captain's time in the city of Vaeringheim. Under the command of Hatch, the Nortonian contributed to the rapid expansion of Haifan piracy in the northern Strait of Haifa.

Vaeringheim Campaign

Launched in 35.20 PSSC the Vaeringheim Campaign was a military operation aimed at pressuring the authorities of Vaeringheim to begin selling their valuable timber to Haifan Regional Investors operating out of the Port of Blore Heath. The operation, which was spearheaded by Captain Hatch on behalf of the Lake Morovia Blockade Fund, continued until 35.30, when Hatch and his associates reached an agreement with local authorities which would allow for Haifan merchants to sell their goods in Vaeringheim, and which ensured that Vaeringheim would begin exploring the possibility of selling its precious wood around the Strait of Haifa.

As a leading figure in the the Vaeringheim Campaign, Captain Hatch was able to assume a relatively large fortune during his time in northern Lake Morovia. Using the wealth acquired during the campaign, Hatch was able to upgrade the Nortonian by reconfiguring and adding to the ships arsenal. It was also during the Vaeringheim Campaign that Captain Hatch became acquainted with one Captain Nathaniel King, a ship captain from Mylecia with whom Captain Hatch became rapid friends and close business associates. It was during the Vaeringheim Campaign, furthermore, that Captain Hatch began to keep as a constant companion a pet vulture, which Hatch is believed to have adopted after it landed upon the mast of the Nortonian while the ship was at sea. The image of Captain Hatch, with his pet vulture perched on the masts above him, would help to propel the privateer captain to considerable fame across the Maritime Markets.

Black Hatch Island

Black Hatch Island plays an important role in The Ballad of Old Lake Morovia, an RPG which centers around the rise to prominence of Captain Ismael Hatch.

Motivated by the large sum of wealth which he had acquired as a result of the Vaeringheim Campaign and enjoying the fruits of a newly renewed contract with the Lake Morovia Blockade Fund, Captain Hatch, in 35.35 PSSC, assumed command of a small island off the northern coast of Haifa. Under Hatch's control, the island - known as Black Hatch Island, became the center of operations for what would be the most expansive, and most violent campaign of Hatch's career to date. From Black Hatch Island, Hatch and the privateers under his command would lead a series of ruthless assaults against the various town and communities surrounding Lake Morovia, leaving towns and cities ruined in his wake, and leaving them vulnerable to the ever expanding influence of Haifan merchants who offered goods and security against future attacks.

Diversionary Tactics

It was after becoming established on Black Hatch Island that Captain Hatch established a basic strategy for raiding towns and settlements which would set the standard for piracy along the Strait of Haifa for years to come. This strategy, which relied heavily upon diversionary tactics to achieve its aims, can be understood as having three distinct stages, or components.

The first of these stages involved a disinformation campaign in which privateers working under the command of Captain Hatch would inflitrate various settlements around Lake Morovia, and along the central Strait of Haifa, in order to propagate rumors relating to the whereabouts of Captain Hatch's ships, as well as his plans for the foreseeable future. Under the guise of traveling merchants and pilgrims, Haifan privateers would spread rumors across multiple cities at once, claiming in each one that Captain Hatch and his ships were just over the horizon, and were planning an imminent attack. Once this rumor had been established across a sufficient number of communities in a given region, Hatch would deploy a number of ghost ships - ships which were abandoned prior to discovery or which contained only a few men or prisoners - into the waters near one or two of the communities in which the rumor of his impending attack had taken root.

These ghost ships would almost inevitably be attacked by the city's defenders, thereby providing Hatch's spies with valuable information regarding local defenses, or else they would be left to float in the waters just offshore, to serve as a perpetual reminder of what awaited in coming days or weeks. Those who attacked the ghost ships, or who attempted to capture them, were more often than not attacked. These attacks, which represented the third stage of Hatch's overall procedure for raiding communities, were often led by Hatch himself, and more often than not resulted in the ultimate submission of local authorities. Only those cities which did not respond to the arrival of the ghost ships could hope to be spared, and even then, restraint was not always sufficient to ensure one's survival. Several settlements are believed to have been burned to the ground after refusing to attack one of Hatch's ghost ships, most notably Hengisteed, a town which lies to the northwest of the city-state of Crocker Keep.

Observers have drawn parallels between the military tactics of Captain Hatch and the hunting tactics of the Corumian Bijeko-Lisea-Nas. "Both strategies...the strategy used by Captain Hatch and that used by the Bijeko...are meant to drive to the point of insanity...to disable the essential autonomous faculties of the prey," noted one scholar of piracy in the Strait of Haifa.

Haifan Nationalism

Operating out of Black Hatch Island, Captain Hatch primarily focused his efforts on raiding coastal towns and settlements around Lake Morovia. With that said, Hatch nevertheless devoted considerable resources to attacking other ships at sea, primarily merchant and military vessels which carried goods and defended shipments to and from the embattled region of the former Free State of Haifa, which continued to suffer the dire effects of the ongoing Hammish Civil War. It was on the basis of his attacks against Hammish and Haifan military vessels that Captain Hatch became a symbol for a burgeoning sense of Haifan nationalism in the regions of Haifa still controlled by Hamland. Recognizing his newfound status as a political symbol, Captain Hatch in the 35.50s PSSC led a covert political campaign aimed at attracting young people into the field of piracy. This campaign was largely successful; by 35.63 PSSC all of the major pirate companies operating out of the Port of Blore Heath had begun to report an increase in job applications from people residing in the former Free State. This increase in the number of pirates from cities such as Abeis and Keybir-Aviv contributed to the development of secretive factions, which began acting as local governments and political parties in regions which had lost the apparent support of the Hammish government, and which were fundamentally loyal to Captain Hatch. This loyalty and influence, in turn, allowed Captain Hatch to travel freely around Lake Morovia, without being hindered by the influence of the region's official authorities.

Jangsong Raids

In 35.65 PSSC reports began to circulate that Captain Hatch and his fleet had begun a series of raids against native communities in the region surrounding the ancient Juclandian city of Jangsong. These reports, which could not be independently confirmed by corrupt local authorities, prompted the outbreak of panic throughout the communities of the northern Strait of Haifa, which until now had been spared by the Haifan pirates who tended to sail in the warmer seas of the region's southern reaches. This panic, in turn, resulted in an increased sense of hostility against Natopia, especially to the extent that the people of Jangsong, lacking a strong central government which could protect them, relied upon the nearby Natopian authorities to maintain order in the region at large. This feeling of hostility against Natopian authorities would continue to linger well after reports regarding the presence of Captain Hatch had subsided. By 35.73 it is believed that Captain Hatch had returned to his home in Lake Morovia. The feeling of dread which he had instilled in northern Keltia, however, would remain for much of the following decade.

The Adventures of Marcus Palchae

Published in 35.67 PSSC, the Adventures of Marcus Palchae is a quasi-fictional novel written by Haifan author Imanuel Urasi, which details the adventures and exploits of a fictional character who is marooned in the far north when he is caught attempting to steal from the treasury of The Nortonian in the days after the Jangsong Raids . Palchae, in the novel, survives for several months while living in an ancient, abandoned stone lighthouse. Palchae's ultimate fate however is unclear, as the book ends soon after he is attacked by a wolf while returning to his lighthouse from a successful hunting trip.