Pirate, Variant (3.5e Class)
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Pirates. Swarthy, scurvy, seafaring scalliwags seeking sunken or stolen silver and gems. Playing a pirate may seem fun, but without the high seas to sail, a pirate loses his knack for sailing, his adventuring spirit crushing against the rocks of the land. Without a ship and a crew, a pirate is nothing more than a brigand with a blade and a desire for the sailing life.
Making a Pirate
Pirates can be dual-wielding killers, sword and board-using tanks, two-handed weapon handling meat-shields, or the crossbow sniper picking off leftovers on the battle field. They work well with healers, other pirates and tanks, healers, spell slingers, and did I mention healers?
A Pirate's most important abilities are Strength and Dexterity for damage and AC, then Constitution for hp, and finally Intelligence for skills.
Any race with any sort of seafaring aspect to their culture can have pirates, and even some cultures without a well-developed seafaring culture can have pirates that prey off of and interact with other races. Most commonly humans, half-elves and half-orcs are pirates for either their versatility or their lack of acceptance in their own cultures.
Any. Pirates can be freelance corsairs, scurvy buccaneers, or government-employed privateers.
5d4×10 gp (125 gp).
|4th||+3||+4||+4||+1||Evasion, Improved Feint|
|5th||+3||+4||+4||+1||Low Blow +1d6|
|7th||+5||+5||+5||+2||Improved Sea Legs|
|10th||+7/+2||+7||+7||+3||Bonus Feat, Low Blow +2d6|
|11th||+8/+3||+7||+7||+3||Improved Low Blow|
|13th||+9/+4||+8||+8||+4||Improved Uncanny Dodge|
|15th||+11/+6/+1||+9||+9||+5||Low Blow +3d6|
|20th||+15/+10/+5||+12||+12||+6||Low Blow +4d6, Greater Low Blow|
Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the pirate.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency
Pirates are proficient with all Simple and Martial weapons, with Light armor, and with shields excluding tower shields.
Pirates gain combat expertise as a free feat, even if they do not meet the requirements. This allows a characters to forfeit anywhere from +1 to +5 (or whatever there total base attack bonus is) and apply the same amount to their AC when fighting defensively.
Beginning at 2nd level and at every 4th level after, pirates get a bonus feat selected from the pirate bonus feat list.
Sea Legs (Ex)
At 3rd level, a pirate has spent so much time on a rocking boat that she gets a +3 inherent bonus to balance checks and a +2 on saves to avoid being knocked prone or to stay upright on an undulating surface.
At 4th level and higher, a pirate can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the pirate is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless pirate does not gain the benefit of evasion.
At 4th level, pirates gain Improved Feint as the feat, even if they do not meet the requirements. This allows characters to feint in combat as a move action rather than a standard action.
At 5th level or higher, if a pirate successfully feints against an opponent, any attacks she makes in the same round deal an extra 1d6 damage. This damage increases by 1d6 every five levels. If a pirate can attack multiple times in the same round, the damage is applied to each attack separately.
Improved Sea Legs (Ex)
At 7th level or higher, a pirate has spent so much time on the rigging of a ship that she gains a +2 inherent bonus to climb checks, does not lose her dexterity bonus to AC while climbing, and can climb unhindered while holding something in one hand.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex)
Starting at 8th level, a pirate can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She retains her Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if she is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, she still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. If a pirate already has uncanny dodge from a different class she automatically gains improved uncanny dodge (see below) instead.
Improved Evasion (Ex)
Starting at 10th level, this ability works like evasion, except that while the pirate still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks henceforth she henceforth takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless pirate does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.
Improved Low Blow
At 11th level and higher, a pirate can feint as a free action once per round. This means, among other things, that a pirate can make a full attack action and apply her low blow damage to every attack involved.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex)
A pirate of 14th level or higher can no longer be flanked. This defense denies an enemy the ability to sneak attack the character by flanking her, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target does pirate. If a character already has uncanny dodge (see above) from a second class, the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead, and the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum rogue level required to flank the character.
Greater Low Blow
Beginning at 20th level, when a pirate uses low blow with a full attack action, the additional damage dealt by the low blow is increased by 2d6 for each attack that is part of that action.
Pirates' Feat List
Pirates choose their bonus feats from the following list:
Combat Reflexes, Hold the Line, Crossbow Sniper PHB II, Dodge, Mobility, Shot on the Run, Spring Attack, Whirlwind Attack, Endurance, Exotic Weapon Proficiency, Improved Critical, Improved Disarm, Improved Initiative, Improved Shield Bash, Improved Trip, Knock-Down, Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Grapple, Lightning Reflexes, Multiweapon Fighting, Improved Multiweapon Fighting, Greater Multiweapon Fighting, Multiweapon Defense, Point Blank Shot, Far Shot, Precise Shot, Improved Precise Shot, Sharp-Shooting, Rapid Shot, Manyshot, Greater Manyshot, Power Attack, Cleave, Great Cleave, Improved Bull Rush, Awesome Blow, Improved Overrun, Improved Sunder, Quick Draw, Rapid Reload, Run, Fleet of Foot, Skill Focus, Superior Expertise, Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Two-Weapon Defense, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus, Power Critical,
A pirate becomes an Ex-Pirate whenever she has not been on a sea voyage for over six months. This is not because of a violation of some code of conduct, but because of a lack of recent information from the pirating world. The only way to regain pirate status is to complete a sea voyage of at least one month with either one or more pirates or three or more other ex-pirates, possibly longer or with more fellows for longer absences from pirating at the DM's discretion.
|22nd||Pirate Bonus Feat|
|23rd||Epic Level Bonus Feat|
|25th||Low Blow +5d6|
|26th||Pirate Bonus Feat, Epic Level Bonus Feat|
|29th||Epic Level Bonus Feat|
|30th||Pirate Bonus Feat, Low Blow +6d6|
6 + Int modifier skill points per level.
The extra damage from the Low Blow class feature continues to increase by one die every fifth level.
Pirate Bonus Feats
The bonus feats enjoyed by the pirate continue into epic levels, and are still selected only from the pirate Feat List.
Epic Bonus Feats
The epic pirate gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic pirate bonus feats) every three levels after 20th.
Epic Pirate Bonus Feat List
Combat Archery, Distant Shot, Leadership, Epic Reputation, Epic Skill Focus, Epic Toughness, Epic Weapon Focus, Improved Combat Reflexes, Improved Manyshot, Instant Reload, Legendary Climber, Multiweapon Rend, Overwhelming Critical, Devastating Critical, Perfect Multiweapon Fighting, Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting, Polyglot, Spellcasting Harrier, Superior Initiative, Two-Weapon Rend, Uncanny Accuracy.
Shoal Halfling Pirate Starting Package
Rapier, Short Sword, Light Crossbow, and Dagger.
Pick a number of skills equal to 6 + Int modifier.
Studded Leather Armor, a backpack, a bedroll, a crowbar, 50 ft. of hemp rope, a full waterskin, 10 days of trail rations, a bottle of rum, and a shovel.
Playing a Pirate
Pirates do not commonly worship, but if they do they usually revere gods of thievery, treachery, wealth, water, the seas, luck, war, and evil.
Pirates work well with other pirates, quickly forging comradery, especially on longer sea voyages. Healers are also a great asset to pirates and often respected. Although pirates may be comrades or buddies, that does not prevent them from stealing from, backstabbing, or betraying fellow pirates for a profit or anyone else for that matter. The only person a pirate might hesitate to steal from would be his healer.
Pirates work well as tanks, meat shields, and archers or snipers.
Pirates, having no magic casting of their own, can multiclass with a spell casting class for spells. A skill-focused pirate works well with rogue. And, fighter or barbarian increases the pirate's potential in combat.
Pirates in the World
My ships! Those blasted pirates sunk all my trading ships! I'm ruined!
Pirates are the robbers, vagabonds, rogues, and raiders of the seas, ransacking port-cities, pillaging merchant vessels, and buying wenches and ale at every opportunity before starting a tavern brawl.
A pirates day begins on the sea and ends on the sea. Pirates eat, sleep, drink, and think sailing. Whenever in a town, pirates are free to eat, sleep, and work anywhere they please on their free time. When on duty or watch on the ship, however, they must stay there. Of course, even while in port, a pirate could probably get lunch free on his ship, but he could get a better tasting meal just about anywhere else in town.
Black Beard Rogers, Pirate-Lord and commander of 100 ships, 5,000 men, and every merchant's trade route from here to tomorrow.
The most common pirate assemblies are pirate ships, pirate fleets, and pirate-lord councils. Pirate ships form as profit-making ventures, ransacking merchant ships and even opposing pirate vessels. Pirate fleets come about when a particular pirate assembles a number of pirate ships under his direct command as a Pirate-Lord, usually to dominate an area in piratical tyranny. Pirate-Lords may also assemble to discuss common threats and plans to suppress the intervention of government officials in their businesses.
NPCs are quite often intimidated by and afraid of pirates for their swarthy looks and horrible reputation and smell. (Showering doesn't become a habit on the open seas.)
Characters with ranks in gather information can research pirates to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
With a check that beats a DC of 5 or more, PCs learn that pirates are feared by most every sea-trading merchant.
With a check that beats a DC of 10 or more, PCs learn of any Pirate-Lords in the region, and which merchants are particularly targeted by piracy.
With a check that beats a DC of 15 or more, PCs learn the size of the Pirate-Lord's fleet.
With a check that beats a DC of 20 or more, PCs learn the location of the Pirate-Lord's hideout.
Pirates in the Game
PC pirates can function as tanks and weak skill ponies in a party. Their versatility in weapon specialization and capability of using terrain, especially a pirate ship, to their advantage can make a pirate crew very effective and lethal in combat.
Feats can be added to or removed from the pirate bonus feats list to accommodate different views on the stereotypical pirate.
Pirates, for obvious reasons, fit well in ocean-going adventures and campaigns. Whether its the pirate organization in a region terrorizing a group of merchants or a shifty mate on a freelance vessel that the party is buying passage on, pirates are all over the seas like syrup on pancakes.