I'm liking the "Move 5ft for every attack" thing GeckoGuy mentioned. Seems like it'd give people some maneuverability, but at the same time - you wouldn't be able to easily run down ranged fighters and casters. I'm thinking run it as 5ft of movement instead of a 5ft step, so you still have to think about where you're moving (also Acrobatics). So you could attack, move 5ft, then take your 5ft step.
A thought - If everyone could full attack and move the archers would be more vulnerable, but at the same time it would change the NPCs tactical considerations - They could bum-rush the archers but the fighters could catch up to the NPC as well.
Basically - Combat is getting kind of static, and part of that seems to be a strong incentive against actually moving. Or throwing things at people. Or swinging from light fixtures. Part of that seems to stem from Full Attack - To get their damage output Martials and archers pretty much need to pick a spot and stay planted.
So how bad does the game break if they can just full attack as Standard action?
What I'm trying to get away from is players standing adjacent to an enemy rolling D20s at it until it runs out of hit points. Honestly, I'd like to get more action movie stuff going - Throwing weapons, throwing people, rolling around, shoving people into furniture.
So, uh... Help plox?
You've got to ask yourself if you're thinking Eldritch Abomination enough. Lamashtu's attitude towards sex is "Yes, and I don't care if you want to or not". And she'll make it work. And that's horrifying. You know why there are all those weird chimeras and half-this and half-that's out there? Lamashtu makes it work. You know why you can stick a template on anything and turn it into a variant monster? That's Lamashtu. You know where dire critters come from? Lamashtu out cruising for booty on a saturday night.
Lamashtu is *horrifying*. It is a monster in every sense of the word. It exists to create and foster abominations in violation of what would otherwise be the laws of nature and reality.
Basically - When Lamashtu is involved there is no such thing as non-procreative sex. It'll work, even when it shouldn't. Even when it physically can't. The words "Midwife to the Apocalypse" spring to mind.
So yeah, in my game world? There's always a chance, maybe not a good chance, but a chance, that anything can produce fertile offspring with anything else. And, you know, most of the time that just results in weird chimeras and hybrids - cat-people, half-elves, ligers, centaurs. Sort of weird, and it'd probably be impolite to ask "So how did your parents meet?" at dinner, but nothing to really worry about. Unless Lamashtu actively takes notice. Because the passive "surprise fertility" thing, you know, it's strange, but it's not really insidious. But when Lamashtu takes an interest, that's when things get proper horrorshow. That's where dire creatures come from, and why they never seem to die out despite having tiny populations. It's why most breeds of monsters never die out even though they don't have enough numbers to maintain population and they're so psychotically violent they rarely live long enough to meet a possible mate. Lamashtu is out there, somewhere, making more of them. Personally. Squick.
Speaking of "50 shades of Grey" there's actually a holy book kicking around my version of Golarion called "The Three Hundred and Nine Children of Lamashtu". It's... well... 309 religious stories or parables about the origins of different kinds of monsters. And it's illustrated. And if you try to read it you're going to be making a lot of will saves to avoid the "Sickened" condition. There are only a few copies and due to the book's value as a treatise for monster hunters they tend to change hands between Lamashtu cultists, Hellknight monster hunters, and various other monster-killing orders on a fairly regular basis. Rumors that the book is cursed and can engender horrific mutations in those that read it are just probably just rumors, but it's still recommended that pregnant women stay away.
I asked a Besmaran. He said he'd explain the whole thing, but I'd have to pay for the room at the inn *and* the rum.
I asked the Calistrians. One of them nearly fainted from laughing so hard.
I tried to ask the Lucky Drunks. I think I asked them. I don't actually know. I lost a few days and woke up in a pigsty wearing someone elses' pants.
I asked the Asmodeans. They asked if I was legally married to my partner or had entered into a legally binding contract for services.
I asked the Pharasmans. They shrugged and said it wasn't their problem.
I asked Desna's people. They found the idea amusing and invited me to dance with them under the moon.
I asked Sarenrae's adherents. They said that there are many ways to find peace and redemption.
I asked the Magistrates of Abadar. They provided me with the necessary forms and a list of chapels that perform marriages in the city.
I asked the Erastilites. They have strong views about the value of marriage. Very strong views, about which they are happy to discuss at excruciating length.
I asked the Gozrehns. They told me that the meeting of the wind and the waves is a sacred form of union.
I asked the cultists of Lamashtu and what they told me was horrifying. I barely escaped with my life.
I asked the clerics of Torag. They explained the process by which marriages are planned and arranged early in life to produce strong alliances between families and households.
I asked a guru of Irori. They told me that the Enlightened Being walks many roads.
I asked the warcryer of Gorum. She told me that soldiers will always be soldiers, for good or ill.
I asked the cultists of Zon-Kuthon, but I was unwilling to pay the price they named.
I asked the Iomedaens. They said that to protect and defend those you love is a holy duty, and love is the defense of life itself.
I asked a cleric of Shelyn. She smiled and told me a parable of four loves.
I asked a Magician of Nethys. He had views about certain charm magics that were disturbing and, thankfully, proved theoretical.
I sought priests of Norgorber but could not find one.
I sought no cleric of the Rough Beast and I hope never to meet one.
You should read up on medieval justice systems. Torture wasn't necessarily the default mode. A lot of the times a trial would involve some kind of magistrate or headman or other mediator calling for witnesses to whatever crime was committed. In a lot of societies punishment would involve a payment in cash or kind to the party that had been wronged. In other cases there would be a fine and the guilty party would be put in stocks or otherwise humiliated, but generally left unharmed. Prisons and jails weren't really common - Who can afford to lock up peasants and commoners? Capital punishment was generally reserved to murder, rape, treason, arson, and other very serious crimes. If torture was used the crime at hand was usually something like treasont or blasphemy, and as often as not it was politically motivated.
Hellknights don't necessarily have to be scary because they torture people. Assuming they're as lawful as they're supposed to be they could even be respected, albeit respected from a distance, by commoners.
I'd imagine Hellknights are almost exclusively concerned with major, serious crimes - Treason, Heresy, Murder, Arson, Rape, Kidnapping, Dissent, Sedition, Tax Evasion, and maybe magical crimes like summoning dangerous critters. They wouldn't necessarily have the man power or the interest to be chasing after every petty street criminal or brawler or sheep rustler - Town magistrates and guards could handle that in towns and peasants can handle minor crimes among themselves or with the assistance of a district magistrate.
You might consider looking into GIMP. It's a free, open source graphics program. It's not equivalent to Photoshop, and has very different workflow and such, but it is quite powerful and you don't have to pay for it.
I like your maps, and your concept. I don't think my players care overmuch, but I definitely want things to be believable and the Shackles are just far too small to take the place of the Carribean. Shame I already gave them the 36'x36' map I printed up at Kinkos. : )
Why are they steadfastly loyal if they're not getting paid?
@Subzero - Ask your GM if you can have some say in what your crew spend their money on. I, sure, you can go through 500gp in a night of whoring and drinking if you really put your mind to it and know a wizard with a hangover cure spell, but it sounds like they've still got 1,000gp left that they could put towards masterwork gear, magic consumables, and other equipment.
Also, when word gets out that you came back from an enterprise sharing out ONE THOUSAND FIRE HUNDRED GOLD to even the able seamen you should be absolutely flooded with people who want to join your crew. A little accounting on your GMs' part could easily make those people of equivalent worth to equipment you might otherwise be purchasing. If my players shared out that much cash they'd have a half a dozen captains greeting them at the docks begging to join them in their next enterprise.
And with a little legwork you could possibly leverage that fame and reputation to pull off some insane enterprise, like Morgan's sack of Portobello, that came away with 300,000gp in real life!
Hitting 5th level and the party is still broke. The only reason we have any magic items in the party Is i took craft wondrous on my sorcerer.
Something's off about that. Just going by what's in the books you should have 3 +1 weapons, all with their own special properties, two sets of magic bracers, a magic amulet (though my party doesn't because Sandara is better at dice than one of my PCs!), a few wands, and a couple of other random bits of magical junk. And that's by the end of book 1, I don't even know what craziness happens in book two. On top of that they have a fair amount of gold and luxury items to sell off. I actually audited my player's inventories twice and figured they were well under WBL on account of having 6 players instead of four, so I ended up adding a bunch of random stuff - Plugg and Scourge's share of the take from the Man's Promise, a pay chest off the Infernus, various other things.
I don't get it. Why can't you shoot, but not load, a musket or rifle with only one hand, when you can shoot a light or heavy crossbow?
Because the rules say so.
Firing that one-handed would be damned near impossible. Crossbows didn't have dainty little pistol grips with triggers. They didn't even have proper stocks in the sense that modern firearms do. I wouldn't think about it too hard. It's not a huge deal.
It is definitely on the reading list. But from what I understand it mostly deals with planetary romance, whereas thus far we're focused more on the mechanics of Spelljamming ships, with fluffy stuff to be dealt with once that is hammered out. I could be wrong, though, I haven't had a chance to look at it. Does Distant Worlds have rules for sailing ships in space and ship combat? That's the focus of the crunch so far.
Part of the problem is just gathering up all the information to date. All the Spelljammer stuff and the Spider Moon stuff is under copyright and out of print, which makes it hard to get hold of and impossible to share among contributors (legally). Beyond the Moons is a good resource, but it's spotty and hasn't been updated in years.
/r/Pathfinder_rpg was talking about Spelljammer and the idea came up to try to convert it to work with the Pathfinder rules. Thus /r/Pathjammer was born. If you've got fond memories of Spelljammer or just like the idea concept of an adventurer standing on the deck of a tall ship sailing through space you should come over and help us figure this thing out.
And tell your friends! It'd be nice to get the various D&D/Pathfinder communities worked up about this. The more brains we bring to bear on it the better the results should be.
Joshua Goudreau wrote:
Dolphins in power armor isn't uncommon. It shows up in the Uplift Saga and Traveler off the top of my head. They don't have thumbs or fingers so they pretty much need prosthetics to interact with technology. Might as well strap some armor and a grav drive on to the prosthesis rig. Pretty much anything you uplift is going to end up in power armor at some point - gorillas, dogs, octopi, whales.
Eitherway, you could bung in a couple of jungles at the bottoms of some giant canyons. Just pick a big canyon system and declare "Here be Jungles". One moment you're crossing trackless arid badlands and then the ground falls away before you and you're looking at a lush purple jungle winding through a river-cut canyon.
Huh. I think it'd mostly be a spiritual catastrophe. An outsider becoming mortal suddenly has a soul (as opposed to being a soul), free will, their connection with their plane is gone, they may lose some or all of their inherent magic, they need to *eat*.
For a less convention example - Arwen Undomiel. Elves are truly immortal and incapable of dying. When Arwen chose to be mortal she was in effect losing all of her family and relatives forever. All of the elves except Arwen and Tinuviel will always go to the halls of Mandos when they "Die" and eventually leave to live in Valinor until the end of Arda. Arwen is cut off from that and joins the unknown fate of Men after death. In her case she retains all of her knowledge, wisdom, and preternatural grace. What she's losing (or gaining) is entirely spiritual in nature.
I just use 4d6 drop low with one complete re-roll if your first roll is awful. Not for any particular reason. It's just what I'm used to. And point buy... I dunno, It just seems less interesting. You're always going to get an average character and never have anyone out of the ordinary. Sure, sometimes rolling leaves you with a totally crap character, but sometimes you've got an 18 to give to int so you put a 17 in str, a 17 in con, a 15 in dex, put a 12 in wis and make cha your dump stat at 11... and have Mike the Murderous Melee Magician, The Wizard with a Maul.
At some point my players are going to ask me what in the world posessed me to run a game of Paranoia with a "Giligan's Island Meets Cyberpunk" theme.
And I'm going to tell them it was you. Then I'm going to tell them they need to figure out how to make a datadeck out of coconuts and sea shells and do it quickly because the minigun equipped giant stone head is coming for them.
I dunno, man. For Skull and Shackles I told my players "Hey, spoilers? You're all going to end up being pirates. So make characters who would take the chance to become pirates if it was available to them. Also no Paladins unless you really, really, really want to and then we're going to have to talk about how you're going to make that work without getting keel-hauled the first day out."
So everyone has at least one rank of Profession Sailor except for the bard. And the bard is a circus acrobat/aerialist, so she can tie all the knots and is perfectly comfortable running around in the rigging. Everyone's new at this and pretty focused on fluff over crunch so they're not super optimized or anything.
It hasn't been an issue for me yet, but when my players get to the point that they have enough cash to buy high level magic or have magic items to sell they're going to run into serious problems of finding buyers or finding anyone who wants to sell.
Bilbo's Mithril shirt might have been worth more than the entire Shire. That doesn't mean he could by the Shire with it. To the average Hobbit it was just a pretty shirt. So if they want to buy a magic item or something they'll probably have to do a whole mini-adventure of sending agents out to find if anyone has one to sell, setting up a meeting with the sellers agents, travelling to an agreed on place to actually make the exchange, and so forth. The sheer scale of the transaction is such that it will be very involved. Less running down to the five and dime and more trying to buy a briefcase nuke from the Russians, with all the financial cloak and dagger that would entail.
After they do it a few times they'll probably be able to hire an agent whose job is to take their shopping list and make inquiries while they're out adventuring but they'll still have to put in some legwork to actually travel around getting the gear.
I really, really, really dislike the way Pathfinder handles magic equipment by default. It sucks all the magic out of Magic and just makes it into a stack of bonuses. I mean, sure, you might have two and a half tons of gold and be in Absolom but you still have to find someone who has what you want, is willing to sell it, and trusts you to buy it.
I dunno, it hasn't come up yet, I'll see what happens when it does.
You know that's an excellent point? I really like the idea of just pooling the combat maneuver feats, or setting it up so that when you get an advanced combat maneuver feat you get two free combat maneuver feats of one level lower. So that you could keep up, you know? Who ever heard of a martial art style that requires years of study but only teaches tackling?
I like combat maneuvers a lot. I like the idea of having non-magical means of battlefield control and having non-lethal or less lethal ways of resolving fights. I like the idea of people and creatures throwing each other around rooms, wrestling, ground fighting, and so on. So generally speaking anything that makes combat maneuvers viable is Okay in my book. I mean Gilgamesh wrestled the Bull of Heaven. He didn't hit it with a sword.
RE: Fliers and Trip - Instant house rule. If you successfully trip a flier then it is knocked prone and has to get up next round. In game this represents hitting or grappling the flier in such a way that it is not able to maintain flight and falls to the ground. Basically you're tackling the Harpy and knocking it down. It has to get back on it's feet before it can take to the air again.
I'd like to voice support for this project. The use of gold as a measure of character power irks me to no end. I'd rather that characters be special and equipment be optional, so something like this, that separates most character power from actual economics would be welcome. It would also make economics possible in Pathfinder and get us away from that damn Wish Based Economy.
"That magic iron of yours is crap. Far too many impurities in it to make it worth anything. It's impossible to heat up to forge temperatures and when you do it tends to shatter the first time you hit it with a hammer. And smelting it to remove all the slag and dross and what have you is much harder than just smelting the same amount of iron from ore. Takes much more fuel, too, on account of something in the alloy just don't want to heat up. So it's a good trick for closing up a hole in a fortification or something but as a source of iron it's worse than useless - More work than just mining the real thing and smelting it properly." - Ningol Ironwright, Dwarven Foundryman
Do you use hero points? Maybe you could set things up so that if they threaten, then confirm with a role that would also be critical they can spend a hero point for a "Super crit" where they just keep rolling a d20 until they role something that wouldn't deal a crit. Then add up whatever the mutliplier is apply damage. Since its tied to hero points and randomness it wouldn't happen very often at all, but when it did happen you could potentially do a tremendous amount of damage in a single blow for a nice cinematic kill.
Okay, yeah, I'm getting rid of the botflies and replacing them with mosquitoes that cause a maximum of 1 con damage and force concentration checks. My players are all doing a ton of character development and I really, really don't want them getting eaten by flies. Add to that we have one sorcerer and all of the healing is coming from a bard and a druid. I don't know what I'll do with the Grindylow tunnels. Someone mentioned the Queen using speak with animals to talk to the moray. The party druid has speak with animals and Aquan as a language so they might be able to finesse their way out of that fight
I might have Ivy be alive and possibly have one or two other survivors to make up for the losses on the way over. The party is going to have a very, very hard time getting the Promise to Rickety's with the number of people that are likely to be left alive when this is all over.
Lem the Halfling wrote:
I made it out Alain's dignity! (which is why I had to wear it myself, not enough material to make one for Seoni or Valeros)
"You must gather three impossible things. The love of a devil. A whisper from space. And the dignity of a wild ass."
"Okay, let's see. Falls From Grace's first edition signed copy of Man and Superman. That counts, even if she's technically a demon. And the golden Voyager record... How did you even get this? Fine, fine, I won't ask, and it does count. And the last bit, the dignity of a wild ass. This is a photo. Is that Alain... passed out drunk in bed... With... Oh... oh sweet gods... Is that an avatar of Lamashtu? Fine. You win. Three impossible things. Take your damn coat. I need to go cast mind blank on myself until I can't detect the memory of that photo anymore."
Depending on my mood
Good mood: The explosion disrupts the dimensional interface ending the spell. Everything in the pit is now on the deck of the ship. Critters in the pit when the spell was disrupted do not take damage from the cannon shot.
Not good mood: The explosion disrupts the dimensional interface. Everything within a 1+d6 square radius has to make a reflex check or be ejected into a random adjacent plane.
Bad mood: The explosion disrupts the dimensional interface. Everything in the pit collapses instantly into a sphere of annihilation which appears at the center of the dimensional interface
Very bad mood: Everything in the pit, including air, is collapsed instantly into neutronium and ejected from the center of the dimensional interface. the resulting blob of degenerate matter is so dense that it immediately collapses into a singularity. Assuming there are a couple of ogres worth of mass in our new black hole it falls directly towards the center of the planet at terminal velocity, incorporating all matter that crosses its event horizon on the way, then slingshots through the center of the earth to almost but not quiet exactly the same altitude as it initially fell from. Then it starts on its path back. Due to the rotation of the planet it traces curves on its path through the world and will eventually incorporate all matter composing the planet into itself, ultimately forming a small singularity in orbit around the local star. I then give the player responsible a meaningful look as if to say "This is what happens when you try to abuse extra-dimensional spells. The world is being eaten by a black hole and it is all your fault"
If you're working as a courtesan and only making half your profession check in gold you really need to build your skillz and get higher quality patrons. Historically courtesans with the right reputation and a good head for business became some of the wealthiest independent women in the world at various times. Being able to gain and keep the attention of rich patrons was key.
There is some basis for the "Pay by level" thing in the real world. Mercenary captains negotiated their contract. The better your reputation - i.e. the more skilled and dangerous - i.e. the higher your level - the better the pay they could negotiate. A group of mercenaries with a fearsome reputation and the skills to back that up simply merit better pay than green troops.
Add to that - individuals within the company had varying rates of pay. Specialist troops like two handed swordsmen, artillerists, engineers, and what have you drew twice as much or better pay than common soldiers.
So, in game, you could fairly easily gloss levels as being that soldier's experience as a soldier. The guy's stats say he's a third level warrior but in universe he participated in both of Lord Avilard's campaigns against the White Prince, was distinguished for his valor at the fall of Archingale Castle, and has proven himself as a soldier of considerable skill and long experience. Meanwhile the level one warriors have some training but this is their first campaign and as green troops they don't merit the same pay grade as the seasons veterans or NCOs.
No, but it shouldn't be overly difficult. A lot of them could be redone by simply having different flavor.
Walk the Plank could become We Shall Avenge Him. The captain calls on the memory of a fallen sailor to spur the crew on. "What would old Nine Finger's Jack think of us if we couldn't even outrun one lousy Chellish Brig?"
Chum the Waters might become Friendly Fins and call up dolphins to aid drowning swimmers
You could replace all of the Lashings! line with Spur them Onward and flavor it as exhorting your crew to rise to their fullest. If your character is a good guy then inspiring people to their best effort should be pretty in character.
I wrote up twenty-odd rumors. I mean to print them out, cut them up, and hand a few of them out to my players whenever they happen to go ashore and visit a tavern. If you want to use them then it's up to you which of them, if any, is true. Or even remotely accurate. They are sailor's stories, after all, so you can bet half are lies and the other half exaggerations. You might have your players make the appropriate knowledge check to decide whether the rumor is plausible or utter wash.
Also: this is massive three or four page wall of text. And the grammar is atrocious.
They say Three Tongues Laschey managed to take a Slaver's Tradesman bound for Egorian with two hundred halflings in the hold. Well they cut the crew's tongues out, finished the voyage, and sold the whole lot for 130 gold Thrones a head! Course they only got 50 each for the crew on account of their tongues being cut out and their hands all mangled!
Tale is there's a bay near Long Dog Island what holds a who village of beautiful sirens. Any who find it are lured beneath the waves, but they don't drown! The kiss of the Siren fills their lungs and gives them life and they live in luxury beneath the waves with the comely sea women. And after a few years they're let go with a kiss and a wink and a string of fat pearls! Probably all rot, butwouldn't that be a fine thing?
Word's come that the Devil B#$%~ has sent a pair of pirate-hunters down into the Shackles to bring her own vision of hell to honest pirates. Captain's said to be a Hellknight name of Ardas and rumor is she's got a flock of harpies or some-such that flit about the rigging of her ships. And that's not all. Barley Finger's Bill was boarded by the Hellknight. She didn't find Bill's smuggling holds but he got a good look at her ships. Two cannons! Great bloody long ones, finest make with snarling devil's heads on each! Aye, that Hellknight Ardas will make a right mess of things until some Free Captain sorts her out.
I heard from me mate Rum Ron who had it from the carpenter's hand on the Red Aquila that he saw a whole island rise up out of the ocean! The Aquila's captain just had to have a look and hove to to send a boat over. Couple of sailor's alight on the strange island and it's all covered over in seaweed and slime. Naught of interest to honest sailors, y'see. But 'twas so big they spent half an hour exploring the nooks and crannies. Then the whole island shudders and there's a terrible scraping racket so they all scarper back to their boat. As they're paddling back to the Red Aquila a great cloud of scalding fog overtakes them! Cooks everyone on the boat stone dead and even burns some of the crew aboard ship! Well, the captain he don't like that one bit so he orders them to let out all sail and be away as fast as they're able. So me mate's mate, he's up in the rigging and he looks back the way what they come and he claims the islands all gone save for one great bloody huge rock standing up out of the ocean. And no get this, get this... he says the island has an eye! Tall as a man and staring back at them! Well he didn't want none of that so he fixes his eyes on his lines and when he chances to look back there ain't nothing behind them but their wake.
They say another ship turned up broke by a kraken. Masts ripped up, hull holed, and no crew to be found. I ain't even want to put to sea if such a beast is out there. Mayhap it's all hogwash and them ships was just beat up in a storm, but it puts the chill in me thinking about it.
That so called dragon pirate's been seen again in Port Peril. They say he comes over the horizon seated atop his ship rowing it like a holly boat! Just sculling along, happy as you please, and when the dockmaster finally bullies a pilot to go out and meet him the dragons just as pleasant as can be, doesn't even argue about his docking fees and pays up for a plum berth full in advance! Well me sister was down at the docks that day and she says the dragon's crew hauled out eight chests, each as big as a man and packed with silks stole off from who knows where! Imagine that, a dragon pirate! It'd be a sight to see, though I wouldn't sign with him for fear he'd just eat me up!
Aye, the Eye of Abendego is as bad as she ever was. Ain't natural, a hurricane that goes for a hundred years round and round one spot. And her daughter storms are worse this year than ever. Three mean hurricans spun down towards the shackles, two into the coast of Rahadoum and that was a fine mess with flooding and whole towns washed to see. And one spun up Cheliax way and damn near drowned Corentyn. They say water was standing in the streets for near a week and it was mud for three weeks after. Ain't natural, I say.
Banana crop is expected to be good this year. Me sailing masters planned the whole summer's voyage around being in Sargova at just the time to take on breadfruit and sail for Absolom. Winds willing we can bring em in for the noble's dainty dishes before they all go to rot and make good for the whole year.
I hear Sargovas in a bad way. Them inland Mwangi is forming up an army lead by some demon child to batter down the gates and cart all the Sargovans away as slaves or sacrifices. Awful thing really. The Free Captains squeeze them for protection from Thrice Damned Thrune while them jungle nations is pushing in from the interior. If there's still a single Taldane in Sargova in ten years time I'll eat my shoe
Goblin sailors, they say! Aye, search me how any goblin could belay his love of fire long enough to build a wood ship, but that's what they say. First ones were sighted off Wizard's Quay ten or twenty years back. Ain't seen much of them but once in a while, but now ships say they're coming across great mucking long sailing canoes with a hundred goblins in each one. Ship sails too close to a river mouth and these canoes just come dartin out at them, trying to take them at anchor. Course they is goblins, so half of them wants to steer right and the other half left, but apparently they do a good clip when they're all of a mind for it. And the stories come from the ships that got away. I don't like to think about what happens to the ships that don't.
Aye, more Hadozee in the Shackles than ever. Didn't used to see ought of them in me da's time but now it seems every fifth ship has a few. They're proper sailors, they are, and with those wings they can get about the rigging faster'n almost anyone else. Real dedicated, too. Once they sign on with a ship they stick wither til the ship drowns or the monkey drowns. Course you can't call them monkeys. They don't like it at all.
They say the Red Mantis whacked one of the Beys of Botosani. Strange thing is everyone thought he was the Bey's nephew til he puts his hood back and everyone see's that creepy mantis head of theirs. Kills the Bey in two flicks of his saber and disappears in a blast of smoke. Later they find out what ship he'd come on on by account of everyone on the ship was dead. Shame, really. Word is the Bey had a bit of a business on the wayside smuggling this and that. Some smuggler's purse is going to be thin til they can find a new contact.
Speaking of which Botosani's still caught up in famine. Damned fool atheists, what should they expect but to go hungry if they shun all the Gods. Even Erastil, and you'd never find a more pleasant bunch of priests nor ones better suited to lift a famine. But that's not here or there for us sailors. For us the word is that grain is worth its weight in gold, and the nobles are paying thirty golden Hands a head for beef on the hoof!
No, see, one Cheliax Throne weighs as much as two Taldane Royals, unless the Royals' been clipped. And each Royal is as much as three silver Pearls, which isn't the same as real pearls, except when it is. And them Rahadoumi Hands is as much as a Throne and just a bit more, so they're right fine to get paid in, but don't spend them in Cheliax on account of the moneychangers got a law says you can't spend ought but Thrones and they only pay one Throne for one Hand. And then you got the Shackle's own press, the Anchor, but you'd have to be a fool to take pay in Anchors on account of no one trust's the King's mint not to skimp on the gold for them. But if they was all gold they'd be seven Anchors to one Throne. Course you can use Taldane royals in Cheliax, some legal exemption or somesuch, so they're a good piece to take your pay in. And if you ever come across an oblong coin with a bug on one side and some funny little pictures on it you hold on to that. It's a Osirion Scarab and it's said they're the purest gold in the Inner Sea. It's five Scarabs to seven Thrones by weight, though you'd best be watchful for fakes and forgeries, for there's always some rascal forger that means to cheat a soul. And of course you should never take Sargova scrip unless you got no choice or they're having a plum hear for bananas and slaves. In a bad year that paper ain't worth anything but to roll up and smoke, but in a real good year they'll honor the face weight in Sargovan gold Reals, and it's eight Thrones make ten Reals. Ain't many Reals around so them Sargovan's make a point to keep the gold in them.
Aye, so the Master says to teh Captain we're putting in at some God's forsaken little spit of a village in the Sodden Lands to take on a lot of rice. And the Captain, he thinks the Master's gone mad and it's clear on his face, but he's no fool and knows who holds the purse strings. So we sail up the coast til we find the place and we put down anchor. The boats go out with the Master and they come back and say all's well and the locals start rowing out their scows loaded with rice. We're loading it into the hold and tying it down, all very nice and how does it please. You. Well we don't have the last crate in the hold when someone starts calling out "fire, fire!" from the rigging. And sure enough on the far side of town there's a lot of smoke coming up and a great ruckus. Master says he wants not part of it and we haul up anchor and let out some sail to be away from there. Well, later I hear the whole town was run down by Boggarts and they put everyone they found to the slave's chain and ate the dead! Horrible thing, and I'm glad we were clear of it.
Don't pass it around too loud, but I heard a rumor that big ugly lad who was in here last week was a scout for the Grey Fleet. They say he broke into Cut-eye Mag's place, killed her in her bed, and rifled all her papers. Which means he's got the schedules for at least a few month's voyages of half a dozen companies. On his way out he breaks the locks on the slave pens and he' vanished by morning. Only way they know it was him is they get the priest of Asmodeus down to do some magic on a spot of blood. Well, no need to say there's a price on his head and another on those papers. But if he is what they say he is then there's a Grey Fleet Squadron somewhere in the Shackles. I wouldn't want to be caught up with slaves in the hold by them.
Aye, sea turtles. Word is he straps one of them on each of his feet and rides them all the way back to Port Peril. Of course it's wash, you oaf, but wouldn't that be a funny sight to see?
Aye, White Pensheaf found his brother all right. Still know one knows what happened to the Flying Maiden, but Black Pensheaf he found marooned on a tiny island out near the tip of the shackles. I guess the seer's word was true, for all the good it did. Whoever put Black Pensheaf off left him with a dozen of his crew and officers. When White Pensheaf rowed ashore he found Black Pensheaf stark mad and surrounded by gnawed bones. Black Pensheaf rushed him with a bent cutlass and White Pensheaf had to cut down his own brother what he spent near a year and a hell of a fortune to find. They say the last Pensheaf ain't come out in public since, but he's laid out a good price for any information what lead's him to them as took the Maiden and drove his brother to madness.
Nah, I'm telling you, I saw a mermaid. Aye, I know we've all seen mermaids, but this one was different, right? She ain't got the back end of a fish, you see, but a whole great striped shark's arse! Aye, and a her face was too long and full of teeth. Like a mermaid is half a woman and half a fish but this one was like as half a shark! Well we were in the boat when she came up and thought she maybe wanted to do a bit of trade but when she got close she lunges at poor old Olaf and chomps off his hand! Jari clocks her in the gob with an oar and she dives down, but Olaf near bled to death and then near died again when he took a fever. He'll be wearing a hook for the rest of his days. I hope to never meet one of them shark-maids again, I tell you.
I heard the ropeworks in Bloodport burned down to ashes, and a few blocks of warehouses as well. Aye, it's a shame, they made damned good lines and hawsers. It'll be a year before they're all up and running again. Price of lines and rigging will go up, mark my words. You had best look over your books and make sure you spot a bit more for keeping up your ship if you want to make it through next year.
One of my players took this because Errol Flynn, right? And now I'm trying to figure out just what he can and can't do with it. For instance - Can he swing from the rigging down to the deck as a charge? And I am requiring an acrobatics or profession Sailor check to use the swinging reposition since he literally swinging from place to place and crossing open air as he goes.
I guess I'm going to allow him to swing down from above and swing across distances. I'll have to figure out just how that's going to work. : |
The NPC wrote:
You should look up Sufi mysticism, Christian mysticism, read The Four Loves by CS Lewis, and read up on the meaning and symbolism behind the Song of Songs in the bible.
This is the document I threw together to introduce my players to the Skull and Shackles AP. We're all new to Pathfinder so some of the information is probably hilariously inaccurate. Four page wall of text follows.
wall o text:
You've worked as a sailor before and seen a bit of the world in your time. Your world calls itself "Golarion". Golarion's history stretches back more than ten thousand years. Here's what you need to know
The history of Golarion as you know it begins many thousands of years ago. The mighty human Empire of Azlanti was the center of power and culture in the world. In time Azlanti was brought low; The sky fell to earth in a cataclysm now called "Earthfall". This incredibly destructive meteor storm utterly destroyed the continent of Azlanti, blasting it apart and sinking much of it beneath the waves. The fires of this destruction blackened the skies for almost a thousand years. This Age of Darkness saw the first emergence of the Orcs and the Dwarves from beneath the earth. During the thousand years of darkness, warfare, and strife much of human civilization was destroyed.
The Age of Darkness ended when a man – Aroden – the last living Azlanti, raised a great meteor call the Star Stone from the depths of the shattered Azlanti continent. The stone held power – Aroden was elevated to godhood and took on the mantle of patron of humanity. Aroden travelled to the Inner Sea and founded the city-nation of Absolom. For almost five thousand years he guided and protected humanity.
The world changed again a hundred years ago. After a few centuries of absence from mortal affairs Aroden was prophecied to return to the world to usher in a new golden age. Instead he died. The cataclysmic results are still echoing around the world. Aroden's entire priesthood lost their divine magic in the course of a day. In the far north the trauma of the God's death ripped a tremendous gash in reality – The World's Wound – And the demons of the Infinite Abyss spilled out like blood. To the south west the Bay of Abendego was consumed by a massive, permanent hurricane. This Eye of Abendego drowned entire nations and continues to spawn destructive daughter storms. In the East of the Inner Sea the ancient human Empire of Cheliax, shocked by the death of their God, descended into civil war. The war ended when the noble House Thrune entered into a bargain with the devils of the Nine Hells and fought their way onto the throne with the aid of devlish armies and fell magic.
A hundred years have passed and the world has calmed, somewhat. For your own reasons you have travelled to the Shackles. The Shackles are a chain of islets and islands that stretches out from the face of the continent of Garund. The Eye of Abendego directly to the north shelters the seaward approaches to the Shackles. The entire region is thick with pirate bases.
Shackles Pirates will sail north, hugging the coast or heading out to sea to evade the Eye. From there they can hunt shipping traffic off the coast of Cheliax or bound north to Varisia. Closer to the Shackles they may prey upon ships returning from the profitable colonies on the Garundi mainland. Captains often have to choose between sailing close to the blasted, haunted ruins of Azlanti or chancing the attentions of the Shackles pirates; Most choose the pirates.
The Shackles aren't completely lawless. There exists a loose federation of powerful individuals – the Free Captains. Lead by the Hurricane King of Port Peril they spend most of their time engaged in piracy or bickering amongst each other. When an external threat looms the Free Captains will put aside their quarrels and meet it together. No one pirate fleet can challenge the national navies of the Inner Sea but the combined might of the Free Captains, combined with the protection of the Eye of Abendego and the natural maze that is the Shackles, is sufficient to keep the pirate nation free of most external meddling.
The Hurricane King rules by having the mightiest fleet and the most political connections. Each Free Captain holds a letter of Marque from the Hurricane King that gives them the thinnest legal pretext to "Protect and Patrol Ye Seas of Ye Shackles". Merchants that ply the Shackles will often simply pay protection to a Free Captain or to the King himself and fly under that Captains flag. Attacking such a flagged ship is tantamount to declaring war on that Captain. Any who do not sail under a Free Captain's flag are considered fair game for any who can take them.
Having found yourself in Port Peril you may be close to achieving your personal goal. Unfortunately your choice of drinking companions leaves something to be desired – After becoming far too drunk from far too few pints the last thing you remember seeing is a cosh swinging towards your head.
Nations of Inner Sea
Absolom – A massive, powerful city state on it's own island in the Inner Sea. Absolom is home to the Pathfinder Society – A vast network of explorers, spies, adventurers, merchants, and agents that roam the entire world seeking knowledge and working to the advantage of Absolom. Absolom is an important center of trade.
Taldor – A large empire on the north shore of the Inner Sea. Like many of the nations of the Inner Sea it is falling on hard times in the wake of Aroden's death
Andoran – Another nation on the Inner Sea. Andoran is a powerful republic with a radical abolitionist mission. It seeks to export it's ideals of egalitarianism, trade, and freedom. Notably – They f@~@ing hate Cheliax.
Rahadoum – South across the sea from Cheliax the nation of Rahadoum is notable for being agressively secular. Founded in the aftermath of devastating religious wars Rahadoum forbids the worship of Gods within it's borders.
Thuvia – Another Inner Sea nation. Primarily desert and notable for being the only place in the world that produces, and exports, a functioning elixir of youth. Within the nation all respect the will of Pharasma, the death goddess, and resist the temptation of the elixir. The sale of the elixir to outsiders supports the entire nation.
Osirion – Another Inner Sea desert nation. Currently experiencing something of a rennaisance.
Sodden Lands – Formerly nations, now swamps and marshes innundated by the Eye of Abengego
Geb, Nex, and Alkenstar – Geb and Nex were ancient sorcerors or demons or something of that sort. Enemies since time out of memory each built a nation around himself to wage war on the other. The blasted wasteland that formed between their two nations became known as the Mana Wastes and is a nearly uninhabitable region of dangerous wild magic full of monsters and undead. Alkenstar is the only settlement in the Wastes. Well fortified and with adequate resources it is known as the birthplace of the gonne – A new form of weapon that can place the power of a wizard in the hand of a commoner. With guns, mortars, and cannon Alkenstar protects itself from the Wastes and buys what it needs from it's neighbors.
Garund is the continent on which Geb, Nex, Alkenstar, Osirion, Thuvia, and Rahadoum stand. It is a continent of many radically different cultures from the populous and urban Osirion to small, nameless villages and petty states in the jungle interior. Imperial exploitation of middle and southern Garund, a region knowns at the Mgwani Expanse, is currently an important source of weatlh for the Inner Sea nations. All of the Inner Sea nations have some colonies on Garund. They extract many things from the continent – Fruit, spices, ivory, slaves, ancient artifacts and powerful magics. Many a pirate's plunder was taken from a ship plying the waters between the Garundi coast and the Inner Sea.
Various Races Live on Golarion. Expect to see:
Gnomes, Elves, Halfings, Orcs, Men, and Dwarves. Less common are Hadozee (Half organutan half flying squirrel),
The Goblins: Goblins, Hobgoblins, Bugbears, Barghests, Ogres, and other such creatures
The Lizard Peoples: Lizardfolk, Kobolds, Troglodytes, Feathered Raptors, and others
Giants of all sorts, including Ogres, Ettins, Trolls, Jotuns, and others
Dragons of all sorts
The Sea Peoples: Undines, Gillmen (water breathing humans), Locathah (fish-men), Mermen, Tritons, Sea Elves, and more sinister creatures – Grindylows, Sahuagin, Eelmen, and others. Kraken, Dragon Turtles, Leviathans, Whales, and many other creatures live in the seas.
Abominations – Ancient, terrible Aboleths are said to dwell in the ruins of Azlanti ruling kingdoms of Gillmen and mutants.
Plane Touched: There is only one thing that the angels, devils, demons, devas, gith, slaad, azata, azir, and other creatures of the inner, outer, and elemental planes hold in common – They all love to visit the prime material plane and f~ the locals. Almost any mortal creatuer may carry the blood of the planes within them. Perhaps the most common plane-touched are Tieflings of Cheliax – A rare few Chelaxians have a devil somewhere in their ancestry and manifest certain devilish traits as a result. Much less common are Aasimar – The scions of mortals and angels or deva. Adventurers often report encountering monsters of the wild that seem to have a touch of the planes in them and many suspect that the so called "Dire" creatures are the offspring of lesser demons and mortal beasts.
And a vast assortment of other speaking peoples.
I. Your Character
If you have any questions please ask me!
Paizo (The guys who publish pathfinder) have a huge amount of information posted their wiki! Pretty much anything you want to know about the rules or the setting can be found just by searching. For instance if you wanted to know more about Cheliax just type "Pathfinder Cheliax" and a wealth of information will pop up. Please do look at things that interest you and use them to come up with a backstory for youre character! Who knows – If you write an interesting backstory then people from your past might show up during the adventure! Your lost lover might turn out to be crewing another ship or you might be forced to work with your bitter enemy to survive some quest!
My players are going to get to the Promise tomorrow or next session. So far
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- I've forgotten about the rum as often as not. I downplayed the Con damage and played up that it tastes like turpentine mixed with kerosene. People have been consistently getting rid of it, spelling it, handing it off to Rosie (who apparently has a cast iron liver) or otherwise disposing of it when it comes up. Because dying of liver failure isn't very heroic
- My PCs ended up with weapons more or less from the get go. Plugg runs the crew on what he thinks of as "Discipline" which amounts to being a petty bully and has very little to do with actual discipline. Pretty much everyone was armed within the first five days simply because none of the officers beside Plugg actually consider the crew a threat.
- The Officers are totally ambivalent to the crew. As far as they're concerned the crew are there to be used up until they can get together enough ships and money to hire a proper crew of seasoned pirates.
- Half my PCs joined a few sessions in. They were found drifting in a ship's boat after a "Kraken" attacked their ship. Harrigan, on a hunch, followed the flotsam to find the drifting ship. The PCs were sent over to "Check out the wreck" and bait the squid out of hiding. When they returned to the Wormwood the "Kraken" attacked. The PCs and crew various tentacles on the deck. Longfarthing takes to the air, grabs Harrigan off the deck, then goes into a power dive and sends him diving into the water at high speed. A few rounds later the tentacles start convulsing withdraw from the ship. Then Harrigan pops up, covered with squid blood, and tells Longfarthing "you were right! It's just a giant squid!". From that point on the PCs were properly terrified of their captain. "Just" a giant squid?! Then I made them do all the worst jobs stripping the stricken ship of sails, lines, timber, and fittings.
- My PCs haven't made any effort to explore the ship in detail. I think it's because they're all new and don't have that Murderhobo larceny in their hearts yet. Upshot is no one has died to any traps.
- When the Carpenter went overboard one of the PCs immediately starts running for the railings to jump after him. The bard uses animate ropes and manages to get a rope around him more or less the same moment he goes diving off the railing. Then the three biggest PCs spend several rounds trying to hauling him back on deck.
- I expect my PCs are going to mutiny against Plugg the moment the Wormwood's sails are over the horizon. I'm going to have Plugg and Scourge confiscate all of their weapons first thing. We'll see how that goes.
For the Island
- I'm going to downplay the swarms drastically. I'm thinking that if they move into the PC's square that PC has to make a fort save or become sickened and remain so until they can disperse the swarm. The swarms will cause disease as usual. Should make the swarms a significant nuisance without being deadly. The PCs have a good motivation to get rid of the swarm but they're not going to all die because no one has AOE damage.
- I'll probably run with Arron Ivy being alive and available as a carpenter.
- Not sure what I'll do about the caves, we'll see how that goes.
Territoriality is another good factor for justifying monster attacks. Unintelligent monsters could view the ship as an intruder in their territory.
I've come up with the idea that in a world where sea monsters are very real every ship has a couple of water breathing crew who can provide some kind of early warning, at the very least. Even if it's just one half-sea-elf or a barbarian who is really good at holding his breath they'd need someone who can take a look under the water to make sure they don't have a pack of Tojindas swimming silently in their wake forty feet down.
Eitherway - I did a giant squid attack on the Wormwood as a way of demonstrating how dangerous Harrigan is. I ran it as a bunch of tentacles, each treated as an individual creature, flailing around trying to grab people off the deck to eat them. The body of the creature was directly under the ship while the tentacles came up on both sides to create the classic image of the Kraken dragging down the stricken ship. The PCs fought off a few tentacles until Harrigan went underwater and just gutted the thing.
I'd suggest watching 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea for a great depiction of a "sea monster" attacking a tall ship. The Nautilus attacks ships by getting up to speed and ripping through the target ship's keel using a large ram prow. A monstrous dire shark could do something similar - Have horny growths or bone ridges on it's back that it uses to rip out the bottom of a ship.
Intelligent critters could also attack the rudder to disable the ship. Something smart like a Kraken could get something sharp and actually drill through the bottom of the ship, or use magic to shatter the hull from a safe distance.
And for a twist you could have sea monsters that aren't actually hostile, but are simply approaching the ship out of curiosity. Of course curious large predators tend to explore new things with their teeth...
Have your Grindylows try to "Help" their divine patrons by bringing them useful things. Like viable dragon-turtle eggs or baby Kraken. Of course given their divine connection to Lamashtu they'll be able to raise the monsters as powerful allies of the tribe, right? Right? Oh, and did they mention that the Dragon Turtle they stole the egg from maybe kinda sorta could have possibly followed them home?
Yeah, the idea of having a bunch of sociopathic monsters with the mindset of six year old's trying to impress their beloved big brothers/sisters just tickles me in the cold, twisted, burnt parts of my heart.
I'd probably play it for laughs in a kind of scary way. The Grindylows are really enthusiastic about helping their new prophets and are always trying to outdo each other to be useful. Their idea of "Useful" includes
- Capturing feral monsters and leaving them lying around the ship or the hero's living quarters as gifts
- Helping to recruit "Crew" without any concept of what a ship's crew does, leading them to pressgang small children, animals, and bits of driftwood.
- Waging bloody war against their hated enemies - Various totally inoffensive species of squid. Nonetheless they treat what are essentially fishing expeditions as major military efforts requiring provisions, leadership, blessings, and so forth.
- Taking initiative to stage raids against various ships and settlements. Of course if captured the poor grindylow will begin calling for help from their prophets. By name. And if pressed will gladly lead the heretics back to the prophets confident that the prophets will easily dispatch the unbelievers.
- Taking it upon themselves to decorate the PCs ships to make it suitably fearsome in Grindylow eyes.
Basically - They have a warped view of the world. They want to help. And aside from a genuine and heartfelt desire to aid their beloved prophets they are hilariously sociopathic. They'll gladly and enthusiastically try to help with everything. If they don't understand the thing they'll just try that much harder to make up for it.
I'm treating it as a feudal system as well. The Hurricane King is the feudal chief of the entire region. All the Free Captains have individually sworn fealty to him and agreed to pay tributes, provide ships at times of war, and to abide by whatever treaties he negotiates (Sargova). In turn he agrees to protect the Shackles from outside interference (Cheliax), resolve disputes brought before him, and grants each of his captains a "fief" in the form of the Letter of Marque and maybe a small port.
The King or the Council handle legal and other disputes among the pirates in cases where they don't want to come to blows. Most of the pirates smart enough and dangerous enough to become Free Captains recognize that it's better to abide by the Council's decisions than to let petty disputes evolve into open warfare between fleets. If they have a disagreement over, say, which of the ships in a battle has first claim to prizes they can take it to the Council and either work out an arbitration or settle it with a duel or something. You might not get what you want, exactly, but you can expect more or less fair compensation and also that the situation won't escalate into a destructive conflict where everyone loses money.
The Free Captains system also helps clamp down on disruptive minor pirates. Each Free Captain has a bunch of lesser captains who work for them under the terms of their letter of Marque. The Free Captain is entitled to a share of their booty but is also responsible for disciplining them. The King expects the Free Captains to keep their vassals in line. The Free Captains are also expected to shut down unlicensed pirates that they encounter either by destroying them or pressing them into the fleet so they can be controlled.
Basically the goals are the same as feudalism - To corral a bunch of dangerous independent war bands into a cohesive whole, to minimize internal conflict, and to coordinate defense against external threats. When the system works everyone is left free to go raid the Inner Sea knowing that they can find a safe harbour and a ready market for their plunder once they return to the Shackles. They can also be confident that their own ships won't be molested by other Free Captain's ships and that their bases and forts will be left alone. And if they Cheliax navy stages a significant incursion the Free Captains will band together to kick them in the teeth.
In practice there's certainly a lot of harassing, skirmishing, "accidental" boarding actions, and so forth, but the system usually keeps things to a dull roar.
Guys like Harrigan are quite dangerous to the system. With significant power all by himself and a steady following he could upset things sufficiently for Cheliax or another outside threat to make a solid go at invading. All of the Free Captains together have more than enough ships and skill at arms to crush all but the largest multinational fleets. But without that unity they're vulnerable to being drawn into an extended conflict that the chaotic Shackles aren't well equipped to sustain.
Most straightforward answer I can think of - Sure, you can create water. But what are we going to drink if you get killed?
Alternately - Creating a bunch of water for pirates to drink is not why your God gave you those powers. It's for emergencies and trying to cast it constantly is abusing the power invested in you. Wasting your divine powers on trivialities may get them stripped from you.
Or - Just house rule that you can only create one casting worth of water at a time and if you create more before the next dawn the previous batch will poof back wherever it came from. So you can create up to 10/gallons of water at 5th level. But you can only have 10 gallons at a time. If you fill an 8 gallon pot and then try to fill a four gallon put you'll lose two gallons from the 8 gallon pot. It's still enough water to be useful for an adventuring party but not enough to get up to shenanigans like "I'm going to spend the whole day casting "Create Water" and fill a couple of Olympic swimming pools".
Actually, my quick and dirty math suggests a level 5 cleric could do 144,000 gallons per day if he cast the spell continuously every six seconds, so he'd need three days to fill an Olympic pool.
I know my PC's would just go with it, but why would my team want to be Free Captains? What reason is there for this? If I can get what I want at another grocery store without a membership fee then why would I become a member of Costco?
In my game? If you're not a Free Captain, or flying the flag of a Free Captain, then you're fair game for anyone who can take you. Free Captains take on lesser captains as vassals. The lesser captain is given a battle ensign to fly from the mast identifying them as part of the Free Captain's fleet. It doesn't exactly provide protection, but it does tell any prospective assailant that they're risking the wrath of the Free Captain by challenging that Captain's authority.
Likewise Free Captains issue letters and flags of safe conduct to merchant ships. A merchant ship flying such a flag turns over sizable fee to the Captain (Who turns over a portion to the Hurricane King) and is entitled to the protection of that Captain's fleet - Any ship of the Captain's fleet is obligated to render aid and forbidden from attacking flagged ships.
So the upshot to joining a Free Captain's fleet is protection and having a posse. It's not a sure fire thing, but a ship from a rival Free Captain's fleet will think twice about attacking you for fear of starting a war. Likewise anyone attacking a flagged merchant ship can expect to be hunted diligently.
And if you're enough of a badass to stake your own claim as a Free Captain it gets you vassals, income, prestige, and legitimacy. You're essentially claiming a title of nobility then backing it with force.
Eitherway, back to the "Why would I want to be". It's not so much "Why would you want to be" as "If you expect to make it you're going to be". If you're not a Free Captain, or working for one, you'll be preyed on by them. If you ever become powerful enough to become one you'll be forced into it - It's that or fight their combined fleets because you're becoming a threat. It's really just politics. Free Captains are the nobs of the Shackles. If you're one of them they can keep an eye on you and exert a certain amount of control over your activities. If you're not then you're an outside threat to be eliminated.
I'd suggest just hanging him and burying him in a shallow grave. Seriously - Throw a rope over a tree, hang him until he dies, player rolls a new toon. Assuming he's mature about it then his toon made a play, got some people killed, and lost. Oh well, s~+@ happens, he screwed up, and he's paying for it with his life.
And of course you pass him a note that less than a week later he's dug up and turned into some kind of gribbly undead by a Necromancer who needed the body of a hanged traitor, with the character set aside to be brought in as an antagonist at a later date.
At various times both elephants and lions have lived in Europe and similar climates. Pathfinder and D&D settings typically throw every species that ever lived in a box and pull them out more or less at random so having temperate forest elephants or lions, while strange from the perspective of Earth, is not without Earthly precedent. The last Mammoths almost survived to the beginning of written history!
TLDR; I whip my Holocene back and forth!
Okay, so something that hasn't been brought up much - There's a lot of angst about alignment and RAW and paladins and anti paladins.
Forget all the RAW. Forget alignment.
You are a Paladin (or Antipaladin). That means that you, personally, have been chosen by a God as an individual who is an exceptional representative of that god's beliefs and ideals. Iomedae personally looked down from Heaven and said "I like you. If you ever go fight a dragon or something I have your back and will provide you with a portion of my divine power." You are a mortal custodian of the power of the divinity you worship. You are fully committed to living as an exemplar of that divinity's philosophy through a lawful and good lens. You're not a cleric - Clerics are functionaries. They're office workers. They're clerks. You're the select special forces front line commandos of your deity. Clerics minister to the faithful. You go out into the world to set a living example of the best possible aspects of your deity in a very kick the door in and slay the dragon sort of way.
That really, really, really needs to be emphasized strongly. Doesn't matter what the player thinks is lawful good or what the Paladin thinks is lawful good or what the GM thinks is lawful good. It matters what GOD thinks is lawful good. If Iomedae thinks you're not living up to HER ideals then she's going to shut off the tap. And she's watching you. You, personally. She has a lot invested in you. And if you, her chosen, her actual chosen divine warrior on Golarion, do anything that would make her feel embarrassed or ashamed? She will kick you out into the cold. You didn't betray some abstract code. You betrayed your real and living goddess. The goddess who invested you with extraordinary trust and power. The goddess who thought you were good enough to act as her representative in the mortal world. The goddess who believed that you, you personally, could make a difference in the balance between good and evil. She was pulling for you and you let her down. You cad!
For all this emphasis on Rules As Written and differing interpretations of what Lawful Good means this argument has forgotten what Paladins actually are. What they represent. Who they represent.
Anti-Paladins, by the way, are the same thing. No less a creature than ploughing Rovagug itself looked out through a crack in its prison, saw you, and said "I like that guy. He's my kind of guy. I'm going to give him power because he fully represents my ideals!"
Rovagug's ideals are the omnicidal destruction of everything that exists up to and including the Gods and itself. And you're the living exemplar of that destruction.
Orcus is the demon lord of Undeath. You are so good at killing things and turning them into twisted mockeries of unlife that he personally decided to make you his poster boy.
Lamasthu's entire shtick is having kinky sex with monsters in order to create more monsters. And she thought you would make a great champion. And that's really, really gross.
Urgathoa is all about disease and gluttony. All about it. And you are the cursed, self indulgent pustule that he chose to make his champion.
Anti-paladins aren't forced to be twisted monstrosities by the RAW. They're forced to be twisted monstrosities by the fluff. The first thing you have to do when you create any kind of Paladin, anti or otherwise, is create a character who can believably have attracted the attention and patronage of a god. You have to walk the walk before you can lay on the hands. That's relatively easy for a Paladin - Be a really good person who believes in the law and you're half way there. It's a bit harder for an anti-Paladin. You might end up having to do the bad thing with an Avatar of Lamashtu, or something equally horrifying. Paladins are almost alien in their genuine devotion to ideals to which most people only pay lip service. Anti-paladins are alien. Full stop. There is nothing comprehensible about the mind of someone who could attract that kind of attention from an evil god. If you are sane enough to be playing Role Playing Games then you're probably too sane to fully appreciate the mind of an Antipaladin.
Paladins and Clerics do not wield their own power. Their power is on loan. They're borrowing it. It can be taken away if they do not use it responsibly and appropriately. They're both really freaking powerful, able to strike down monsters and raise the dead to life. But that power comes at the cost of living up to someone else's ideals. Clerics have it pretty easy - They're expected to stay more or less on a straightish path. Paladins must maintain a much stricter unity of vision with their deity.
So yeah. There's my piece. Arguing about the specific grammar of the Code or what the RAW does or doesn't say is totally missing the point of the entire concept of a Divinely Empowered Warrior. The important part is "Divinely Empowered".
Oh god, gag me with a +2 spoon of nausea. I firmly believe diplomacy should be the first resort for everyone and folks should treat killing NPCs with at least some amount of gravity. If you ever get to the point where you can murder someone (even if they have a different skin color. Especially if they have a different skin color!) without the least amount of self-doubt you've hit the deep end of the alignment pool without even realizing you were slipping.
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
BRB statting Bad Ass Grandpa Aquaman.
What is the will save on a Megaladon?