Skull & Shackles
Temples and Shrines
Given the small numbers of Besmara’s priesthood, there are few with the time and interest to build temples to her. Most of her temples are repurposed buildings or shipwrecked hulls, some of which are half-submerged. A public temple always displays a jolly roger flag, and— much like a thieves’ guild providing services—its priest sells healing, local nautical charts, and hideout tips, or fences goods. In places where piracy is frowned upon, the temple has a public purpose (such as selling rope or barrels), and knowledge of its true nature is shared among pirates by word of mouth.
Far more common than temples are shrines to the goddess. In port towns, these shrines may be little nooks between buildings with a pirate f lag and a carving of Besmara’s face or an old ship’s figurehead, a carved mast jutting from a pier, or a whittled idol of a woman holding a cup. These shrines usually have a place to hold a stick of incense or a match, or a place to pour a cupful of rum or grog. The shrines with cups are designed so that when the visitor pours the drink into the cup, it trickles out of a hole in the bottom or through a channel in the figurine’s arm so it appears the goddess is drinking the offered beverage. A priest living on a ship usually owns a portable shrine that doubles as an altar, and may store it in her quarters or display it on the deck where suddenly pious pirates can mutter a prayer mid-battle.