1. Glasswright was an infamous alchemist banished from the main island about 50 years ago. Nothing has been heard from him for 20 years, although smoke is occasionally seen rising from the island. Greed has overwhelmed caution, and Her Majesty has authorized an expedition to explore the island.
2. The expedition is under the command of Sir Francis Begbie, Lord High Admiral. Begbie is 30ish, active, and is infamous for his quick temper and sadism. He is rumored to be in search of a relic or artifact of some sort.
3. The captain of the ship is a foreign pirate turned privateer.
4. This is not the first attempt to loot Glasswright's Isle. The previous expedition disappeared, although in the alehouses and innyards near the docks the players can find sailors and adventurers who claim to be survivors of the failed expedition. Most of them have treasure maps they'd be happy to sell for a modest price.
5. The crew is fond of songs like this: