Cutthroat Politics Q&A with Ree Soesbee
I sat down with Guild Wars 2 world designer and Sea of Sorrows author Ree Soesbee to learn more about the Captain’s Council and the role it plays in the city of Lion’s Arch.
Q: What exactly is the Captain’s Council?
Ree: Leadership in Lion’s Arch falls to a group of individuals known as the “Captain’s Council.”
When Lion’s Arch was rebuilt after the great flood caused by the rising of Orr, it was led by the men and women whose ships were the strongest and fastest; the captains who could best defend the city against the minions of Orr. Over the years, as the new Lion’s Arch grew larger and more stable, the Captain’s Council became more of a system of governance than merely an alliance of powerful crews.
The Captain’s Council is led by a Commodore, a member whom the council has elected to be their primary leader. The Commodore remains in the city, governing Lion’s Arch from day-to-day and coordinating the various captains of the council. The Captain’s Council is still comprised of the wealthiest and most powerful individuals in the city, but now that council has been broadened to include merchants and other citizens with a vested interest in Lion’s Arch.
Q: Lion’s Arch hasn’t always had a Captain’s Council. Can you give us a little history of how the Council came to be?
Ree: After the flooding of Lion’s Arch, the Krytan population moved north to escape the catastrophic flooding that saturated the continent’s coastline. For many years, Lion’s Arch was in ruins, covered by the sea. As the waters slowly receded, smugglers and pirates began to use the area as a safe haven. The ruins were a shelter from storms and from attacks by Orrian monstrosities, which had difficulty navigating the shallow, treacherous waters of the bay.
Pirates and smugglers used the area as a harbor, and a rough structure of interaction evolved. Captains made deals with one another, working together while they were in the bay in order to ensure the safety of all. This truce of peace extended as more and more ships became part of the deal.
In time, these positions of authority – the Captain’s Council –solidified, and the city that was established looked to the council for governance.
Q: So how does one become a member of the Captain’s Council? Is it as easy as having a ship?
Ree: Originally, an individual had to be captain of one of the ships that used the ruins of Lion’s Arch as a harbor. As the city evolved, the custom became that you had to possess a ship capable of defending the city, and you had to be invested in Lion’s Arch. That ‘investment’ usually meant a massive monetary bribe to the Captain’s Council, which was used for the betterment of the city as a whole.
In modern times, individuals can’t just purchase a seat on the Council. When a seat becomes available (usually when another Captain dies or retires their city commission), they are voted in by popular acclaim and the majority agreement of the current Captains.
Q: Where would I go if I wanted to learn more about Lion’s Arch and the Council?
Ree: You could read the new Guild Wars 2 novel: Sea of Sorrows, of course!
Sea of Sorrows tells the story of Lion’s Arch, from its destruction by the rising of Zhaitan and the lost kingdom of Orr, to the city we recognize today in Guild Wars 2. It follows a resident of the city, Cobiah Marriner, who becomes a sailor as a young man. After the wave hits Lion’s Arch, he travels the sea as a pirate and leader of a multiracial ship named the Pride. His adventures lead to the re-founding of the city, and the establishment of the Captain’s Council.