Skull & Shackles
Gladiatorial Gambling Paradise
Notable Settlements: Arena (1,190), Falchion Point (975), Myscurial (780)
Dominant Denizens: Humans
Other Denizens: Dwarves, half-orcs, orcs, wildlife
Resources: Blood sports, fresh water, gambling, safe harbor, slaves
Named in part because of the convoluted maze of sandbars and extensive colonies of jagged coral ringing the island’s perimeter, Widowmaker Isle was once revered by pirates for its lush forests and plentiful game. Originally settled over a century ago by a small group of retired pirates whose reputations forbade them from returning to more civilized lands, the first denizens of Widowmaker Isle quickly grew tired of their humdrum lives on the verdant paradise, and set about making their settlements more to their liking. In their lifetimes, they managed to transform Widowmaker Isle from a tropical paradise into a tourist attraction unlike any other, and it has remained much the same way they envisioned it all those years ago.
Since the efforts of its early settlers, the island has become known as the best spot in the Shackles to indulge in a variety of vices, most notably all manner of gambling activities as well as violent blood sports. Each of the small cities on Widowmaker Isle possesses a somewhat unf lattering reputation, and it is said that in these settlements, one can gamble on virtually anything for the highest stakes, whether that means treasure, slaves, or life itself. The towns’ mayors oversee the gambling opportunities and contests that take place year-round on the island, and are awarded their extremely lucrative posts by winning a series of popular but deadly gladiatorial games called the Carnival of Kurgess, a bloody week-long affair named after the god of competition himself that is held every 2 years. Most such governors are able to hold office for only one or two terms, as competition for the elite positions is stiff. Oftentimes a ruler will simply relinquish her crown rather than risk her life at another Carnival, though particularly strong individuals have been able to maintain their authority for up to a decade.