“Hoist the colors, boys! Let’s see if this crew of merchants and traders is made of sterner stuff than the last.”
-Hector Berell, captain of the pirate ship Arya’s Jaunt
All one needs is a ship and crew in order to be a captain. But there is more to running a ship than giving orders. It takes experience, know-how and a willingness to pull your own weight. Captaining a ship of rowdy pirates requires a special fortitude that few possess.
Pirate captains are the terrors of the seas. Their reputations are so widespread, their fame (or infamy) so great, that many can strike fear into the hearts of entire crews. Ships often surrender their cargo without chase or a fight rather than risk the wrath of a well-known pirate captain, but a pirate captain is more than just a fearsome reputation. He also knows how to motivate his crew to work harder and faster, giving them every edge possible over their intended targets.
Alignment: Any non-lawful.
Abilities: As with any other pirate, Dexterity is important. A pirate that wears armor is rare, and a high Dex score helps keep a pirate captain from being wounded in the inevitable fighting that comes with his activities. Charisma is also important to a pirate captain, because a higher Charisma score improves his Pirate of Renown ability. Intelligence is also important to a pirate captain, even more so than to the average pirate. Extra ranks in useful skills like Heal or Knowledge (geography) ensure that rebellions and mutinies are few and far between.
Hit Die: d8
In order to become a pirate captain, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.
Skills: Intimidate 8 ranks, Knowledge (geography) or Profession (sailor) 5 ranks.
Special: The pirate captain must own his own ship, whether it was purchased, captured in battle, or stolen.
The pirate captain’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language (N/A), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex) and Use Rope (Dex).
Skill Points at 1st Level: (6 + Int modifier) x 4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 6 + Int modifier.
|1||+0||+0||+2||+0||Pirate of renown|
|2||+1||+0||+3||+0||Burst of speed|
All of the following are class features of the pirate captain class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Pirate captains gain no proficiency with any weapons or armor.
Pirate of Renown: Pirate captains develop a widespread reputation. Each pirate captain has his own personal flag (sometimes referred to as a “Jolly Roger”) that is raised just prior to ordering another ship to stand down. Once per day while hoisting his flag while within sight of a ship he intends to board, a pirate captain can make a special Intimidate check, adding his class level as a bonus. This check is opposed by the modified level check (1d20 + character level or HD + Wis bonus + target’s modifiers on saves against fear) of the captain of the opposing ship. If the Intimidate check succeeds, the opposing captain not only recognizes the pirate captain’s standard, but is affected by it. If the pirate captain has a reputation for sparing his victims’ lives, the captain orders his ship to stand down and allows the pirates to board. If the pirate captain has a reputation for cruelty and murder, the opposing ship may try to fight or flee, but each member of the crew that is not immune to fear effects is shaken, taking a –2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks and ability checks. This condition lasts for as long as the pirate captain is within sight.
Burst of Speed: Pirates are often hunted by the authorities, followed, overtaken and captured or executed. A good pirate captain can help widen the gap between his ship and any pursuers. At 2nd level, a pirate captain can inspire his crew to work harder and faster to increase the speed of his ship. For one hour, the ship’s speed increases by 50% (see table 9-6, Player's Handbook page 164). A pirate captain may do this a number of times per day equal to his class level.
Inspire Courage (Su): Pirate captains know how to motivate their crews, whether by direction or the lash. Once per day, a pirate captain can inspire courage in his shipmates, bolstering them against fear and improving their combat abilities. To be affected, a crewman must be able to hear the pirate captain’s voice. The effect lasts for as long as the crewman hears the pirate captain and for 5 rounds thereafter. An affected crewman receives a +1 morale bonus on attack and weapon damage rolls. Inspire courage is a mind-affecting ability.