Edwin Turner was the dictator of an archipelago of dozens of islands. It was not a bad place to live, like all countries there were problems with crime, but all in all it was good to live in, and made quite a bit of money from tax havens and the oil in it’s waters. All the same, in terms of sheer power it was a weak country. Its army was a few hundred strong, its navy consisted of a few coastguard cutters and a single destroyer, and it had no air force.
With most of the islands being low-lying, Edwin realised that global warming would cause his country to drown if the temperature rose by as little as a degree. He begged the rulers of the rich countries to lower their greenhouse gasses but they refused, so he asked them to take the people of his country into their own countries, promising to help his people so they would not be a burden. When they refused, he wondered how he was going to save his people, and then decided to build an Ark. Luck came to his aid when a liner ran aground on a reef due to incompetents at the wheel, and he was able to buy it and get it refloated relatively cheaply.
He purchased another that was being towed off for scrap, and used it to enlarge the other vessel. He then gave it an offensive capacity, buying some old guns and restoring them to firing order. So when the waters swept in and flooded his islands one by one, he was ready.
Those who were too sick to be moved had to be left to the sea, and, hard-heartedly, Edwin left the prisoners in the prisons to drown as well except for a handful with special nautical skills. He didn’t want criminals on his ship, and political prisoners (not that there were all that many, he was not as paranoid as many dictators) would be a threat to his rule. Nor did he force anyone on board, although the vast majority were happy to join him. When all were present and accounted for he had over three thousand people on board, and enough food and water for only a couple of weeks.
Food was found by dragging a huge net under the ship and taking whole shoals of fish at a time, and by making raids on the coastlines of other countries and larger islands. If possible he paid for what he took, but if they considered his money worthless, he took the food and water by force, staying away from the more powerful countries that had navies that could track him down. He also secretly dropped people off in other countries if they wanted to leave, and in this way lowered the numbers on his Ark by a third.
When fuel became scarce, he made use of oar and sail power. With ten masts and thirty large sails and rows of oars on both sides, his vessel can move faster then you might think, and has limited fuel for emergency use.
As the global temperatures rose and the more powerful countries started to flood, he could venture close to their coasts, knowing that they would be busy trying to cope with the flooding. All the same, he still tends to avoid certain areas. His gigantic ship is deeply unpopular with the people that he passes, because of the amount of the sea’s resources that it uses up, and cannot stay in any place for too long to avoid starvation of the crew. Gold and the like is of no use anymore, the real treasure on the ocean that has swallowed up most of the globe’s land is fresh water, food, clothing and tools, and anything metal, and also women, who are vital in the long term to avoid inbreeding.
He is a hard Admiral, but tries to be a reasonably fair one where possible. Those who commit serious crimes (murder, attempted mutiny, rape, and the like) are thrown overboard and left to drown. Lesser crimes like robbery, brawling, sedition and falling asleep on watch he punishes with flogging and lesser rations. He wears the uniform of an Admiral and his officers wear uniforms as well to mark them out as people to be obeyed. What he wants to find most of all is enough land for him and his people to settle, but the few big areas of land that remain are already thickly populated and see him and his men as pirates.
Plot Hooks-He has kiddnapped the daughter of a local ruler on land, who offers the PCs a huge reward to rescue her.