View Full Version : Pirates!

2007-09-21, 10:02 PM
I'm really wanting to make a campaign of nothing but pirate-theme. I blame Sid Meier's pirates for this.

Is there somewhere I can go for feats, classes, etc., based around a Carribean style setting?

Also, if you've ran a pirate campaign before, please share your ideas. :smallsmile:

2007-09-21, 10:04 PM
Check out the book Stormwrack... it's got evrything for a sea campaign.

2007-09-21, 10:05 PM
Well, you might want to play 7th sea. That's just what you're looking for. Or are you looking for D&D material?

Green Bean
2007-09-21, 10:16 PM
Sounds like fun, but you might want to avoid letting younger players participate, because a campaign like that is rated ARRRR!

2007-09-21, 10:22 PM
Well, it would be a D&D campaign so we can move our PC's over to it.

Most of the stuff I do is completely ad hoc, but it's nice to have a direction to go with everything ahead of time, and some rules to follow.

2007-09-21, 10:53 PM
There was a homebrew contest a while back that had a pirate theme. It generated a lot of good NPCs. Let me see if I can find it...

2007-09-21, 11:14 PM
Ran about four naval campaigns, most of which involved the PCs becoming pirates (all groups seem to enjoy this idea). I recommend Stormwrack as the simple naval combar rules make life pretty easy. I also recomend avoiding large crews because then you run into the mass battle problems. If you keep the PCs on ships they can sail themselves, or with just a few (well developed) NPCs, you can end up with a pretty cool game.

Trying to board a kobold's ship (which patroled the river delta leading to a swamp inhabited by the oldest black dragon in the world) was probably one the most memorable encounters I've ever run. Kobolds with PC levels vs. the PCs makes an interesting game at any level.

One thing I did was buy some of those Pirate card game things and use them for most of the naval maneuvering, then drew out the ships when the players boarded the enemy ship. It really helps if you use miniatures and such to do it that way.

Don't discourage boarding and things as then all of the players can participate and not just the fighter (who can afford to spend feats on being cool with a cannon) and casters (who can just destroy enemy ships better than cannon).

The factotum from Dungeonscape is a great class for being on a ship as you have access to a lot of skills, per encounter abilities, and can select useful SLAs.

2007-09-21, 11:21 PM
As many others have said Stormwrack is a must have for something like this.

Also if you have access to it, there is some good stuff in the Savage Tide campgain.

2007-09-22, 12:05 AM
Another thing about the wonderful Dragonfire inspiration. Dragonfire Inspiration is not a moral bonus to attack and damage like normal Inspire Courage is, it is a flat untyped energy bonus.

This means you can get 5 bards to do this.

Round 1
Bard 1: Gives Sonic Damage
Bard 2: Gives Fire Damage
Bard 3: Gives Cold Damage
Bard 4: Gives Elecriticy Damage
Bard 5: Gives Acid Damage

Round 2:
Bard 1: Uses his traditional Inspire Courage Ability, he is now giving the attack bonus and attack damage to his allies.

Note instead of 5 bards you can have a 6th bard. The one who uses traditional inspire courage though has to delay his initative until after the 5 energy bards use their inspire courage else it is lossed.

Good Catch on the Dread Pirate, I didn't even notice that before but knew of all the other ways to boost a bard.


I can see now great addition to an eberron world. Pirates who fly airships similar to skies of arcadia/eberrron. The most feared pirate group is the 5 dragon clan, who boasts 5 captains who each has a unique dragon as a totem. They are feared all through out eberron. There crews consists of normal bards, variant bards (such as the one who produces fear instead of courage), warrior skallad (imported from Forgotten Realms), Warchanters (who boost the bab of the weaker pirates), Sublime Chord/Virutsos (need magic after all to provide teleport for the pirates), and lowly pirates archers (whose bab are boosted by the warchanters) as well as other forms of variant pirates/bard themes.

Add in some bards who are also paladin of slaughter
lion barbarian subsitution level from Complete Champion
TOB adepts (with song of the white raven)
and/or bards who have taken snowflake wardance.
Also add the feat where you can give DR of 5/- to one person, have the medium level people do it for the captain.

Oh having lowly pirates (bards/crusaders with song of the white raven) using white raven tactics on the pirate captains can get pretty sick real quick.

The 5 dragon clan is so powerful that when the 5 captains work together and are all in one location there power can threaten nations. It is a small organization, small and elite, only boasting about 400 pirates (which is the most Blackbeard every had). They purposefully reduce their numbers, only allowing the strong to join, and sacrificing the weak in battle (or giving them jobs that are non-pirate related such as spies, cooks at the base, merchants who travel and sell there wares in exchange for gold) for each additional man is a smaller share of the bounty.

Note though they are only powerful if the 5 dragon captians are working together, if they aren't working together they are much weaker. Because pirates are naturally looking out for number 1 and they are all captains they are plotting backstabbing but won't do so unless they know it will be safe and they don't expect a betrayl/mutiny of their own.

Only thing you really need to do now is import the exalted feat words of creation to a similar evil feat.

Part of the large CO thread on how to optimize inspire courage

2007-09-22, 12:22 AM
I'm in a Savage Tides campaign right now, and enjoying it, even with the shoujo backstory the DM threw in there...

2007-09-22, 12:23 AM
Unless the PCs are evil, I would recommend against them being the actual pirates. Piracy is an evil act and pirates themselves usually do some very evil things. The PCs can pirate hunters, however, or perhaps privateers. Maybe they were hired to protect a merchant vessel.

2007-09-22, 12:35 AM
The PCs can pirate hunters, however, or perhaps privateers.
Wait, aren't privateers basically pirates with government sponsorship?

I say, let the lads (and lasses) be proper buccaneers. Even if they're 'good' then can be like robin hood and his merry men, but on the high seas.

Shas aia Toriia
2007-09-22, 07:23 AM
You could be CG pirates, or privateers as was mentioned earlier.

2007-09-22, 09:59 AM
Arr! Welcome to the account!
Last year, I finished a pirate-themed game in Birthright 3.5. The party was mostly elf or half-elf female, so it became titled "Feywatch."
"Stormwrack" was a big help, I also picked up a few 3.0 books ("Broadsides" is the only title I can remember right now) that had a lot of feats and spells that I ignored, and some magic items that I used. There have been a few Dragon mags with cannon and gunpowder rules, if that's the way you want to go.

I like to tinker with printed adventures, so I skimmed a pile of old Dungeon mags thanks to one of the players, who had a complete collection. If you want, I could turn up the titles and issue #s, they were all 1st and 2nd ed.

A danger to look out for is that if one side has some serious offensive magic, a battle at sea can get pretty boring. This group had a warmage, so the fights turned into watching her and the archer do lots of damage to the other ship or crew at range, before closing for a mop-up action by the rest of the party. Several encounters with sahuagin fixed that since they approach from underwater, it was much harder to blast them from outside melee.

Complete Adventurer has the Dread Pirate PrC, which we didn't get to really explore (the game ended at 7th level, may resume someday).
Check out the Freeport campaign setting, too, (Green Ronin Pub., I think?)-- that's very pirate-y, I used one of their adventures for pieces of my first adventure. I will probably get more and run them someday, but they have a different feel than the game I wanted-- very dark and gothic.
Pirates of the Sea of Fallen Stars (a 2e FR book, I dunno if there is a 3.5 version) had some NPCs to use.

2007-09-22, 10:52 AM
There are a ton of pirate d20 books. Here are just a few of the ones that I know of: Skull & Bones a campaign setting from Green Ronin. Ronin Arts has many Freeport supplements. Avalenche Press published Black Flags: Piracy in the Caribbean . There are smaller products too: Unorthodox Pirates and Pirate Booty by The Le Games. Mongoose publishing put out Seas of Blood and Ships of the Goblinoids, Fantasy Flight's series Legends & Lairs included Seafaerer's Handbook and Necromaner Games published Dead Man's Chest. I'm sure there are more. Some will be out of print but most are available as pdf files.

People are always posting new pirate stuff (a google search - pirates D20 - should be helpful. There free previews and samples and web extras available for some of these products too so it does pay to spend some time checking out the various sites.

Hope this helps.