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Paladin on a Pirate Ship (Spoiler Free)

Skull & Shackles

Liberty's Edge

So you know how it has been said numerous times that a Paladin was the toughest class to play in this AP? Well, guess what I ended up playing...

It wasn't by design. I didn't sit there and go 'oh, we're playing Skull & Shackles? I'll be the pain in the ass that plays the paladin in the campaign where paladins don't mesh real well.' I'm not that guy. We started a completely different campaign based in the American southwest in the 1850s only as a Pathfinder-style fantasy setting. For various reasons I ended up making a paladin who was a cowboy, sporting cowboy wisdom and following the cowboy code (Gene Autry style!). Well, the GM decided to roll our characters back and reboot the game and start on the Wormwood after a rough night in Port Peril.

So I ended up being a paladin on a pirate ship.

It's been an interesting challenge so far and I have become 'a dangerous man to be keepin' company wit'' what with all the kicking in the captain's door and demanding he return to Port Peril to face justice for his crimes that I have been doing. Okay, I only did that once and I got a poisoned dart in the chest from which I am still recovering, but you get the point.

So far we've got quite the mutiny stirring on board the Wormwood and a band of cut-throats rallying under the banner of the Andoran (I'm Andoran now) cowboy, even if they don't understand what I'm talking about most of the time.

Has anyone else had the interesting experience of playing a paladin or running a group containing on in this campaign? We've just finished part one of the Wormwood Mutiny so no spoilers please.

Liberty's Edge

I also feel I should point out that I don't play my paladins lawful stupid. Yes, I did kick in Captain Harrigan's door but only after he refused to come out on deck and speak with me and his First Mate and Boatswain refused to bring him a message and instead acted like first-rate slave masters.

I even had a heart to heart conversation with Scourge about how much he didn't like me. It was quite interesting.

I lead the group into the planning of a mutiny only after giving the villains the opportunity to face their crimes openly. I won't take unfair advantage but if they won't do the honorable thing, I'll still see justice done. Now, freedom and justice requires a mutiny.


I like stories of non straightjacketed paladins.

difficult to do. balancing between RP LG and being a pirate. I wish you luck.
I had a similar probelm in another AP.

Something tells me the AP is not very well suited for Paladins.

Icyshadow wrote:
Something tells me the AP is not very well suited for Paladins.

Like the sentence in the player's guide that mentions it might be a little tough for a paladin?

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Icyshadow wrote:
Something tells me the AP is not very well suited for Paladins.

It's not his fault, he got shanghai'd into it! And by "he" I mean the player, not the PC, well, him too!

Liberty's Edge

I had the option to make a new character knowing that it was going to be tough for a paladin but I went with it anyway. Last night we were forced to attack another ship, a free trade vessel flying a neutral flag. We refused to attack, instead opting to attempt to use the chaos of the battle to claim control of the Wormwood. It didn't work out so well and we almost had a TPK and now we're in chains on our way back to Port Peril.

Our enemies have been given the opportunity to surrender. Their fate is now on their heads.

Liberty's Edge

this whole AP is about becoming pirates. building up INfamy points not fame points. You dont want to pirate, than GM will have to change alot. If had been my game the pally would have been keelhauled. Instead of impossible they should probably say "no Way".

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At this point, i think the paladin is going to die....

Die well. Forshadow the doom of the crew of the ship. Pray for their souls as your character is being whipped to death.

Enjoy the role playing oppurtunity.

So I guess books 2-6 where a bad investment on your GMs part. It is more the matter of Paladins do not raid merchant ships for profit, but that is almost exclusively what pirates do. With some tweaking you can probably still do the AP but it puts a lot of extra work on the GM.

Liberty's Edge

We be free men of the sea.

The GM knew the party and knew the AP so I'm guessing he knows exactly what he has gotten himself into.

Do a Reverse AP where you invade The Shackles to cleanse it of pirates?

Liberty's Edge

I had a TPK in book 2, so starting book 3 with new characters. one is an anti-pally. he wants to help the bbeg's.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Pirates of the Inner Sea makes it clear that NG pirates exist around Andoran that are devoted (like everything else Andoran) to eliminating slavery.

I've not read the AP, as it's unknown if I will play or GM it, so I can't say if that breed of piracy can work for you?

If the problem is that there is no way to profit off of freed slaves, perhaps your GM an throw you a bone and give you a well funded Andoran contact in the Shackles, who "purchases" your freed slaves, and Underground Railroads them back to Andoran. That is, those who don't choose to join you in your noble endeavor.

Depending on how its done. I think a Pally could be interesting. Looking at things historically Black Bart had daily mass aboard ship. Many of the Muhajadeen of the Barbary pirates considered themselves warriors for Allah. Also it should be noted that many of Histories infamous pirates were privateers who viewed themselves at war not at rape, pilliage and plundery. Prior to the creation of the Navy/Mariens by Thomas Jefferson the US issued Letters of Marque to go after European powers that were raiding our ships and to harrass the North African Barbary pirates. We tend to think of the actions of Pirates as murderous and beyond the law, but some of that was just the way war worked durring that age. How is this different than the way we view the average adventurer in other APs. I think the OP has behaved hilariously great. I wish him luck. Where a Paladin is going to run into trouble is associate with evil people. Here is where it gets interesting and potentially game breaking for the Paladin. However if everyone is going for CN pragmatism than the Paladin just needs to do a good job of steering things so that he keeps his nose clean.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think that a paladin with the proper backstory that followed Sarenrae or possibly even Abadar could make it work. An Andoren connection would also help: after the Wormwood Mutiny, you could still be Raiders of the Fever Sea, but oned that only preyed on other pirates and/or other "bad guys:" slavers and ships flagged with your country's enemies. Thus, you could still maintain a LG alignmnet while being a "privateer."

After all, the Grey Corsairs regularly attack Chelish and Katapeshi slaver ships, according to Andoren maritime law. Under Chelish or Katapesi law, this action is piracy! And there are a lot of paladins in the Eagle Knights!

So, yeah-- nautical-themed paladins could make a very good sea captain in Skull and Shackles! The motivation could be "clean up the Shackles, and make it a legitimate place of commerce." Imagine all the good a paladin could do as a Hurricane King!

You would need a GM friendly to the idea that could make a few necessary changes to the plot.

Liberty's Edge

Now that we have a new ship the GM extended an invitation to retool our characters if we wanted. I asked him if he wanted me to switch it up but he encouraged me to keep right on with the paladin and said that my attitudes and party direction were in no ways hindering the game or his style. So the Andoran cowboy is keepin' on keepin' on as it were.


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Joshua Goudreau wrote:
Now that we have a new ship the GM extended an invitation to retool our characters if we wanted. I asked him if he wanted me to switch it up but he encouraged me to keep right on with the paladin and said that my attitudes and party direction were in no ways hindering the game or his style. So the Andoran cowboy is keepin' on keepin' on as it were.

That's good news! I'm glad you're all having fun!

The problem is that there are entirely too many encounters central to the plot in the various modules that require a Paladin to do things that are strictly against his code. He cannot act with honor while raiding a merchant vessel, and he cannot attempt to associate with the Pirate Lords of the shackles, or serve under them, because many are of evil alignment. It will basically derail the rest of the campaign to the point where later on, you will not be playing Skull and Shackles any more. If that's what your group wants, and your GM is alright with it, then by all means keep on doing it. But if you actually want to play out the modules, there will come a point where you will either have to die, leave the party, or have the party go off and do something else because you cannot willingly aid and abet them and keep your Paladin abilities.

I have to agree, that a Paladin really can't play S&S as designed. It also shows the confused nature of the AP where the pirates are called 'Freedom Loving' which really clashes when they enslave,rape,murder,steal,etc just as much as other nasties. It is mor e'Freedom to do whatever I darn well want.'

Liberty's Edge

I guess we shall see what happens as the campaign progresses. As of now we are scheming to take over the ship we are on and then be free men intent on combating piracy and slavery wherever we find it. Someday maybe have an entire armada of ships under a single banner of freedom.

Liberty's Edge

The campaign is progressing pretty normally. Of course, we are exploring an island in hopes of finding fresh water for the ship so there isn't much opportunity to violate my code.

Hmmm, maybe your DM might allow a conversion of the following PrC for you:

Grey Guard

Other link

As these were written for 3.5, the class feature to make atonment easier should be changed, probably to remove the "willing" evil act gp cost, making it like an unwilling act (free).

Note this still wouldn't allow for slavery and pillaging of innocent merchant vessels, but makes associating with evil and doing some dishonourable actions easier to bear.

Liberty's Edge

I appreciate the suggestion, however my character is pretty unwavering about evil actions so I don't expect to ever break my code. Especially in the realm of slavery or any kind of indentured servitude. He was already staunchly anti-slavery before the reboot on Golarion so I made him Andoran to match that spirit of liberation and freedom. Also I did a build that runs all the way to 20th level for the character and reworking it will throw off my delicate balance of feats and such.

As far as play, there has been little to update in the last several weeks. We have been running about on an island looking for fresh water and enjoying the opportunity to stretch our legs and do our own thing for a little while. We will be returning to the ship soon and we have a firm plan in place to take both Scourge and Plugg into custody and claim control of the ship, establishing ourselves as free men (or people I suppose, since half the part are female in both player and character) of the sea.

I will be sure to update as interesting things develop and we can see how a freedom loving cowboy paladin deals with the pirate life.

Liberty's Edge

The mutiny finally has come to pass. The Man's Promise once a humble Taldoran merchant ship turned freebooter has been claimed in the name of freedom. Plugg and Scourge refused to stand down and relinquish control of the vessel. The battle was pitched as those for freedom clashed with those for oppression and much blood was spilled upon the deck, but justice prevailed.

Plugg went down fighting and Scourge surrendered after it was clear the fight was against him. The dead were given a burial at sea and the newly christened Freedom is in port undergoing refitting.

Many of the men chose to stay on while others took the opportunity to disembark at port. Scourge will face trial and his punishment will be decided. As for now, the crew, free men one and all, are enjoying some much needed time on land.

The mission is a simple one, the Freedom will become the flagship of a fleet of free men of the sea, fighting to end oppression, disorder, and lawlessness in the Shackles.

Just a note that you may want to remove the "(spoiler free)" tag from the thread title. In my opinion there are some spoilers contained in the thread. They are mild, and certainly a little bit changed due to your unusual circumstances, but spoilers none the less.

Liberty's Edge

Good point. When I made the thread I put that there so people wouldn't give me any spoilers. You are absolutely correct that there are spoilers in thread. I wonder if one of the mods could correct that for us.

We have taken a break from this game and I am running Rappan Athuk for a bit. When we return with part two of Skull & Shackles I will be updating again.

Grand Lodge

I GM Skull&Shackles but I have a similarly amusing experience playing a paladin in a party full of very roguish PCs doing plenty of rather roguish things.

The important thing is to remember that while being lawful good, not every paladin has to be sanctimonious, stuck-up, holier-than-thou party-pooper and that also the pole that most of them tend to have up their backs is completely optional. There is no reason a paladin could not muster a little tolerance.

There are no paladins on my S&S party (barbarian, oracle, corsair/smuggler and sorcerer), but I would definitely let a player who knew what he/she was dong play one.

I GM Skull and Shackles and see no problem with a smart Paladin. There are plenty of ships in the sea- only attack the evil ones. That's what flags are for. Most of the pirates listed have preferred targets so there's no reason for a paladin not to.

The only issues with being a paladin are taking the evil actions you are forced to do. The rules have always been a little fuzzy on this, but as long as the paladin tries to find alternatives (whether they're there or not), a good GM shouldn't punish punish him for forced actions, and should allow plenty of opportunity for atonement and redemption afterwards.

Liberty's Edge

My character is a pretty nontraditional paladin but that being said he still has his code and is unwavering about it. The plan right now is that we will be taking our new ship and using it to hit slavers and pirates in open waters in hopes of bringing some peace and freedom to a land known for the opposite so much it is actually called 'the Shackles.'

Ultimately I would love to have the opportunity to clean up the waters and make it safe for everyone. People should not be afraid, even when on the waters.

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