Base Requirements

  • Races: Any
  • Sub-Classes: Any
  • Ability Requirements: Fitness 11
  • Alignments: Any
  • Starting Cash: By class

Weapon Proficiencies

  • Weapon Slots: By class
  • Bonus Weapon Proficiencies: none
  • Required Weapon Proficiencies: Cutlass, Belaying Pin
  • Allowed Weapons: By class
  • Allowed Armors: Studded Leather or lighter, no shields

Non-Weapon Proficiencies:

  • Non-weapon Slots: By class
  • Available Categories: By class, plus Larceny
  • Bonus Non-weapon Proficiencies: Navigation, Rope Use, Seamanship, Swimming, Two-weapon Style
  • Required Proficiencies: none
  • Recommended Proficiencies: Alertness, Appraising, Astronomy, Boating, Boatwright, Cartography, Direction Sense, Engineering, Fishing, Gaming, Haggling, Intimidation, Literacy, Looting, Naval Combat, Navigation, Set Snares, Signaling, Survival (aquatic), Swimming, Tightrope Walking, Tumbling, Weather Sense.
  • Forbidden Proficiencies: Agriculture, Riding (any), Charioteering, Mountaineering, Running, Survival (any land)

Overview: Pirates are warriors born to the sea, unencumbered by bulky armor, accustomed to swift moves and running battles over open water. She is the daring merchant-princess, he the cunning rogue; together they are bold explorers.

Description: Pirates dress themselves as sailors, and carry about the same equipment when at sea. Also, like sailors, they will avoid armor—it gets in the way of climbing around the rigging, and also presents a problem for someone unfortunate enough to find himself overboard.

Role-Playing: Pirates cooperate for survival and success. They also have sordid pasts—pasts which will often bind them together. Many a pirate ship used to be put to legitimate use, but its crew rose in mutiny, took the ship, killed everyone not party to the act, and turned to piracy. Mutiny and piracy are both punishable by death, and on the high seas the warship or merchantman of any state will gladly carry out that sentence, if given a chance. Pirates will therefore fight to the death, against all odds, rather than face capture and inevitable summary execution.

Sometimes groups of pirate ships will even make alliances, and cooperate to raid richly-laden (and therefore well-defended) merchantmen. There may also be rivalry among pirate groups—especially when one of them carries a healthy cargo of booty that has not yet been hidden in a safe sanctuary. Pirates like to have secret sanctuaries, probably in a secret cove or on a tiny island. There they rest between raids, store treasure and provisions, and plan their activities. Such sanctuaries will have the best protection available to the Pirates, possibly including magical defenses.

Related to but distinct from Pirates are Privateers. These are “legitimate” Pirates. Privateers have received the sanction of some nation to practice piracy on the merchantmen of another nation. While Privateers are sanctioned by one nation, those on whom they prey certainly regard them as pirates and will treat them as such if they are captured.

A group of Pirates should include a healthy number of warriors, thieves, swashbucklers, and even a renegade mage might be found among them. (Privateers are even more likely to have the services of a wizard, especially one with talents in the manipulation of water and wind.)

Special Abilities:

  • A pirate receives a +1 bonus on Seamanship and Swimming proficiency checks.
  • Because of their familiarity with ropes, much used in the nautical arts, Pirates gain a bonus of +2 on climbing rolls if ropes are involved.
  • Pirates also can fight from a rope (usually on a ship), so long as the feet and one hand can grasp it, and they are much better at this than other types of characters. They get +1 on attack and saving throw rolls in rope combat, +2 on such rolls in shipboard rope combat. Note that these adjustments should be added to all the other modifiers—which are usually negative. For instance, a climbing character would normally get a -2 penalty on attacks; so the pirate’s +2 bonus merely negates this.
    Use common sense when applying the saving throw bonus for a pirate in rope combat; while it would apply to dodging a lightning bolt, it would not apply to saving against a charm or hold spell.
  • A pirate wizard (including spellcasting rogues) has the option of using his ship as a spellbook. Such “spellships” are covered with intricate carvings, lacquers, paintings, murals, strange arrangements of ropes, etc. The carvings and decorations make up the spell information that a mage would normally record in a spellbook. A normal mage cannot read spells recorded in this manner. The cost of recording the spell is the same as if the pirate mage had recorded it in a spellbook. The spellship is a very visible sign of pirate mage’s presence and provides the mage with extreme motivation to protect the ship.
    The advantage of this form of spell recording is that the spellship is more robust than a normal spellbook. The spells are damaged only if the ship is, and they can be “repaired” just as the ship can. The disadvantage is that it is difficult (but not impossible) for the pirate mage to transfer to a new ship. Pirate wizards who do so lose 5-25% of their spells in the process. In addition, the transfer takes one week per level of the wizard.
    In addition, the Pirate wizard with a “spellship” gains access to the Corsair’s Path as a bonus path.
  • A pirate wizard also has the ability to conduct spell research aboard ship, which would normally be nearly impossible. The pirate’s lab is apt to be a corner of the cargo hold, a cabin, or perhaps even the deck of the ship. In a sense, the entire ship is part of the mage’s lab. To reflect this, 10% of the value of the ship counts toward the value of the pirate’s lab.
  • Pirate priests (including Rangers and Paladins) gain minor access to the Elemental (Water) sphere, in addition to any other spheres they normally have access to. If the priest would already have minor access to this sphere, he instead gains major access. A priest with major access to the Water sphere gains no additional benefit.

Special Disadvantages:

  • As their expertise lies in rope-climbing, pirates suffer a penalty of -2 when they attempt to climb without one.
  • Pirates are marginal members of society-even those Privateers that operate within the bounds of the law are generally mistrusted by most folk. Pirates suffer a -2 penalty on NPC reactions against any character that is not a rogue, pirate, or Outlaw.
  • Obviously, a “beached” pirate without a ship cannot make use of his special advantages.

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