The Royal Deadfire Company is based in the aumaua nation of Rauatai but have expanded their empire's reach to their ancestral homeland in the Deadfire Archipelago. While they are interested in the harvest of precious resources from the region, the RDC have a long-term goal of conquering the archipelago and making it an extension of their empire. The Rauataians believe that the native Huana culture is inferior to their own and treat the Huana people accordingly.
The kingdom scrambled to catch up as the ranga nui realized that the fertile volcanic soils of Deadfire would form the perfect breadbasket for Rauatai's growing empire, always plagued by the perspective of food shortage due to the infertile soils of the home islands and much of its conquered territories, despite intense cultivation. The Rauatai fleet was dispatched on a mission to secure the Deadfire before it slipped from the empire's grasp. A mixture of nationalistic pride and propaganda united the people of the Kingdom behind this push, with the campaign beginning in earnest in 2758 AI.
The land grab did not go unopposed, as the encroaching Rauataians clashed with naga and the xenophobic Wahaki of the Huana. The RDC prevailed against its foes, though at a substantial cost in men and material. The naga were particularly aggressive foes, capable of slithering by the hundreds onto the decks of RDC ships, though the superiority of Rauataian firearms decimated their numbers and eventually forced them into retreat. The Wahaki proved to be much more difficult foes. In the same year that the campaign launched, the tribe clashed with the RDC. The bloody conflict came to a head at Nakaro Atoll, where Rauatai's warships decimated the tribal force. In the aftermath, the Huana crown dispatched watershapers to sink Rauatai's most prized vessel, the Tenets of Iron, as a reprisal and a demonstration of power, leading to the subsequent revitalization of the Watershapers guild.
Unwilling to confront the Huana and suffer a war that would risk their foothold in the Deadfire, the RDC turned its attention to islands not claimed by Huana tribes. In 2814, the Company was rechristened as the Royal Deadfire Company and the Rauatai crown poured enormous resources to ensure its success in the campaign. The five naval captains that formed the original Company's council were promoted to the rank of hazanui (admiral) and subordinated to the emperor directly. The reef of Hasongo became a prime target and in 2818 AI, the colonization fleet arrived at the island. The shallow port with a prominent adra pillar was an excellent navigational beacon for incoming ships, while the indigenous naga population was routed in short order thanks to the bloody lessons learned by the Company decades earlier. Soon, Hasongo became one of the most prominent Rauataian settlements and a crucial port for all shipments heading to and from the heartlands of Rauatai.
Rauataians as a cultural group have a long history of trade and conquest. The more hawkish personalities in their government have made steady progress towards a more aggressive "best defense is a good offense" stance in the world, and the leadership of the RDC comes from that mindset. They have flourished through a mixture of intrepid exploration, aggressive conquest, and relentless engineering of their hardscrabble homeland. They believe that through organization and engineering, they can bring civilization to Deadfire. In contrast to the Vailian Trading Company, the RDC is organized like a naval force. Their titles and behavior reflect that view of the world.  Part paramilitary navy and part mercantile trade guild, the Royal Deadfire Company strives to spread Rauataian hegemony throughout the Deadfire Archipelago. The RDC boasts iron-shod ships bristling with heavy weaponry, crewed by loyal and efficient sailors - advantages that help the company maintain an influential presence in the region. The RDC enjoys the full backing of the Rauataian crown as an instrument of its foreign policy. In 2814, the newly rechristened Company received a most tangible example of this , in the form of Royal Bronzers, standard cannons normally exclusive to the Rauatai navy.
In fact, the nominal separation of the RDC from the Rauataian navy is purely formal. Sailors from the navy can be reassigned to the RDC and vice versa, while the entire company is structured like a military, with a clearly defined chain of command, martial law in effect in all of its territories in the Deadfire, and laws of the company patterned strictly off their maritime equivalents.
The Company considers the Vailian Trading Company and its employees to be deceitful, flamboyant, and frivolous, emphasizing form over function. Their pretty words cannot be trusted. Their preference for polymaths over specialists suggests impatience, which can never lead to true mastery.
The Huana are seen as disorganized and passive, traits that seem to explain why they haven't flourished like the Rauataians. They were fractured by the disaster that drove the Rauataians away, and rather than establish a strong nation, most of them drifted from island to island chasing seasonal resources. In RDC's view, they don't solve problems, so they're beholden to them. What they need is Rauataian civilization to set them straight.
What looks like adaptability to the Príncipi looks like haphazardness to the Rauataians. Like the Rauataians, the Príncipi had to leave their homeland. But rather than establishing a stable country (like their cousins in the Republics), they remained shiftless and aimless, living on ships and in driftwood towns that are one squall away from destruction.
Rauatai is known worldwide for its cannons. Gunpowder likely originated there, and they still trade in it as well as raw saltpeter. Those latter two items are the primary staples of their trade economy.
- Fig update #29
- Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Guidebook
- Royal Bronzer description: "Engineered by the Rauatai during the mid-2700s, the Royal Bronzer was equipped with a longer bore to stabilize fire and use the full potential of the explosive power of the gunpowder. While these cannons are traditionally found on ships of the Rauataian navy, some were gifted to the newly rechristened Royal Deadfire Company after the Rauataian government put their full support into the company in 2814."
- Belt of the Royal Deadfire Cannoneer