Group Seed: Zubi Maritime Security.

Zubi Maritime Security – Google Docs

Zubi Maritime Security


Insignia: an eight-pointed star with a red square in the center


This security company is based out of Burgas, Bulgaria: it has satellite offices in Muscat, Ratnagiri, Irem, Aden, and Rotterdam.  Zubi specializes in providing security for ships traveling in the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea, and has been doing so for at least thirty years.  The company currently shows no signs of expanding into different markets.

Zubi would have an excellent reputation for service — if anybody talked about Zubi.  Its customers tend to be the larger shipping companies that also have a tendency to not ask any questions that they don’t already know the answer to; Zubi itself is extremely closed-mouth about their operations and personnel.  It presumably hires former military personnel from Russian and other Eastern European armies, and it certainly pays the requisite amounts of taxes and whatnot, but the security staff it provides have remarkably little in the way of digital footprints.  On the bright side, they never seem to get themselves or the company in trouble, either.


Zubi’s financial records, should anybody ever look at them, are marvels in the way they reveal an almost aggressively normal Balkan security company.  Zubi is neither suspiciously clean nor seriously corrupt; it maintains a believable but not very onerous network of kickbacks, bribes, and ‘considerations’ that one might expect from a company working in a sometimes-grey area of the law.  They’re so good at not standing out that it’s almost suspicious on its own, but that’s exactly the sort of rabbit hole one can fall down by being too paranoid. Zubi is just a naval security company, surely.


But tell it to the Somali pirates.  This company has an evil reputation among them: about six years ago a ship being guarded by Zubi personnel was captured by pirates.  The next morning, the shipping company tersely reported that the situation had been ‘resolved.’ Nothing more was heard of it — and nothing more was heard of the pirates, either.  An Interpol investigation turned up absolutely nothing, either. Not even any evidence that Zubi’s personnel fired their personal weapons. But since that event, there have been only three possible incidents of piracy against Zubi-protected ships. But these possible incidents also closely track to at least three Somali coastal villages associated with piracy burning themselves to the ground, with remarkably few survivors, and no talkative ones.  At this point, pirates avoid Zubi-protected ships like a veritable plague.


Speaking of plagues: Zubi-protected ships are remarkably free of vermin. You never see a rat on any of them.  And it’s downright amazing how many of the crew are devoutly religious.  You can’t throw a rock in one of these ships without hitting a crucifix or other icon.


Customization notes: It would be, of course, trivially easy to make Zubi Maritime Security an organization run by and employing vampires, because that was the original intent of the writeup.  So make them werewolves, instead! Or just make them a cult of serial killers who know that nobody’s going to miss a pirate village or three. That last one requires a little bit more rationalizing, but it can be worth it to have a mundane explanation for something that your players assumed was supernatural.


  • Rockphed says:

    … I must be having an off day because I did not get “vampire cult” out of that write-up. I think I was going to suggest they had a deal with some Red-sea based ocean god.

    • Moe_Lane says:

      Don’t feel bad: neither did my wife, which is why I wrote the last paragraph. 🙂

      • acat says:

        Ships are great for vampires .. especially the big cargo ships. Lots of sunless below-decks space to hang out in .. ‘s almost as natural an environment for ’em as Seattle.
        That said, the trouble with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea is .. *lots* of sunlight. *Not* friendly to vampires at all!
        I do, however, like the idea .. and find it much more believable than werewolves. Cultists could also work .. they wouldn’t have the sun problems, but the villages would need some missing bodies, perhaps…

    • nicklevi86 says:

      I imagine some Zubi operatives are quite sensitive about that matter, like “Why does everyone assume** anything Weird from the Slavs is a vampire? Bloody Romanian Tourism Bureau. There are so many other horrors out there, in our own cultural memory alone.”
      **That feeling when I unwittingly stumble upon the esoteric SJW: “Did you just assume my monstrosity-type?”

  • Jon says:

    Funny, I’d make them an “off books” operation for the Vatican or another religious organization. Maybe something like the Swiss Guards but a naval version.

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