101 Pirate and Privateer Traits (PFRPG) PDF

4.30/5 (based on 3 ratings)

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Avast! This be about campaigning with the scourges o' the seven seas, matey.

All o' history since the dawn of time, thar be pirates. Julius Caesar fought 'em, and ta this day pirates be takin' ships off the coasts of lawless kingdoms. But here we be speakin' about the campaign traits of pirates and privateers of yar realm of fantasy. Arrh, they be dashing villains and heroes who live free on the open sea, with a parrot (or monkey) on the shoulder and a chest full o' gold, along with letters of marque. They be fond o' drinking and prone ta fights, out to live "a short life and a merry one."

Brought ta ye by the same landlubbing author o' such critically acclaimed works as 101 New Skill Uses and The Secrets of the Gunslinger, 101 Pirate and Privateer Traits provides ye an armada o' new options ta sake the thirst of the most fervent corsair while allowing ye ta keep ta yar vision of a character upon the high seas!

101 Pirate and Privateer Traits includes the data files to use with HeroLab!

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4.30/5 (based on 3 ratings)

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3/5 short term, 4/5 long term

4/5

This supplement clocks in at 18 pages, including 13 pages of content. I should start by saying that I dislike traits as they are presented in Paizo products. But this supplement isn’t full of Paizo traits, so I will try to assess it on its own merits, rather than on my dislike for the subsystem it is based on.
After a brief introduction, we dive right into 101 traits. There is no table of contents or bookmarks, though they are not strictly necessary for a PDF of this size. One thing that makes these traits different from those in Ultimate Campaign is that these traits do not have categories (they are not combat traits, magic traits, etc.), meaning they can be taken alongside each other or any other traits.
The effects of the traits are diverse. For example, False Flag allows you to disguise the flag (and hence allegiance and purpose) of a ship using the disguise skill. Hung From the Yardarn makes it easier for allies to raise you from the dead. Keep to the Code gives you a daily-use bonus against others who have broken codes of conduct.
Many of these traits are much more powerful than standard traits, but come with extra restriction. For example, Hornswaggled Davy Jones allows you to negate a character death, but it only works once. One of my favorites is Parrot-Voice, which grants you a free Parrot familiar (with the same stats as a raven), but makes you permanently mute. Several traits have abilities that work once per week rather than once per day, which may contribute to ‘nova’ play, but they do allow those traits to do more.
Small color illustrations are sprinkled throughout this PDF.
Short Term Use: If you are running a pirate-heavy game, you will most likely want to add some of these traits to NPCs, and your players will likely want to take some of them as well. The use-per-week effects, however, make many of them harder to use on short-term NPCs. A lot of the traits have somewhat ambiguous effects, and the editing is worse than Rite Publishing’s usual standard, so you may need to consider what a trait does or should do before adding it to your campaign. Even with those problems, though, there are enough interesting effects to warrant a short term rating of 3/5 stars.
Long Term Use: If you plan on running a campaign with a lot of pirates or privateers, you can get a lot of milage out of these traits. While they do require more work to utilize fully than other traits, they are a lot more interesting, and there is little to complain about for such a low price. Hence, it gets a long term rating of 4/5.


5/5

Weighing in at 18 pages, the latest installment in the 101 series tackles the traits of Pirates and Privateers with an absolute stroke of genius, not only in the design of the traits themselves, but in many of the names. How can one not love a product filled with traits by such names as Bloodthirsty Pirate, or Crack Jenny's Tea Cup, and of course Fight Like a Pirate.

Pushing the concept of what is a trait further than the same old same old, Steven D. Russell really delivers with this collection. Presenting a collection of traits that will rely upon GM's with a brain, this is not a collection of +1 to whatever traits you might be used to, but rather story based traits, that will bring a new level of depth to the characters they are applied to. Design of this nature is one of the reasons Rite Publishing stands on the frontlines when it comes to 3PP's.

A few choice examples would be Brethren of the Coast, loyalty to your own rings through. Face Death With Dignity, leaves a survivor of a crew of pirates with a new outlook on fear, as long as he kept his cool the first time around. Fight Like a Pirate, demands to be mentioned again, lol, whereas it is in fact a +1 type of trait, it still comes with a great concept, and one that fits the concept of a pirate so well.

Captain's Compact struck me as a great trait to really show off the vast difference in this collection of traits to the majority of what I've seen up to this point when it comes to traits in the Pathfinder system. With Captain's Compact your character has, at some point, cut a deal with a pirate captain. The details are to be worked out between you and your GM (and several options are given), but the benefits of this trait are sheer gold, you essentially get to swap skills x amount of times per week, when you're facing a skill check. Why? Because the pirate captain becomes a resource, that you can tap for information and such. And that folks, is brillaint. Steven could of easily wrote the name of the trait, and the words swap skill in skill check x times/week, and called it a day. But instead he gave us, oh so subtly, an entire hook for further adventures, disguised as a trait. By giving players and GM's traits that are this thought provoking , what he has done is pulled out a few gray crayons from the box, and slipped in a few more colorful ones. He's provided tools to tell a little bit better of a story, before you even get started playing.

I did find myself at a loss over one of the better traits in the book however as far as sheer comical genius goes, Parrot Voice. As it reads, brings to mind the classic wise cracking stereotypical pirate parrot, but how does one use it, when it says whatever it wants, when it wants? And am I just having a truly empty moment, as the wording regarding the monkey totally lost me as to what it meant.

Obviously, this collection of traits is geared toward a certain style of player, and character, now that's not saying that without a few tweaks here or there several of them could not be applied to other character concepts. But, to truly appreciate this collection, I can't help but think that going with using it as it was intended would be the way to go.

Formatting wise, the layout follows the dual column approach, with artwork embedded throughout. I found no grave errors with grammar. The art follows the theme for many of Rite's books, and brings with it very old world feel that works especially well in this PDF. Alas, no bookmarks once again.

And, for my fellow Hero Lab users out there, the files installed without a problem, and yes, it is kind of cool to finally see a massive amount of options when you click the trait tab. This product continues what I am hoping is a growing trend, as I love seeing 3PP's embrace the Hero Lab community, and show us some love. If I could find a negative to say, it would be that nowhere within the book could I find even a mention of what minimum data pack requirements Hero Lab users needed to worry about before trying to load the .HL file. I know the concept of remembering something of that nature is new, but it is an important thing, as not every Hero Lab user has purchased all of the data packs, and they need to know if they can load custom packs or not.

So, final tally... Am going to go with a 4.5, as the entire Hero Lab issue hits home for me, and Parrot Voice really is worded confusingly. So, rounding up, cause this product deserves it, we're going with a 5 star rating on this one.


Very cool ideas of making traits more than paltry bonuses herein

4/5

This pdf is 18 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of advertisements and 1 page SRD, leaving 13 pages of content, so let's check out these new traits for pirates and privateers, especially useful for the Skull & Shackles-AP or Freeport-campaigns.

Before I get into this review, I have to make something clear: I really like the basic premise of traits - further individualizing characters according to their backgrounds. What I personally always considered balanced, but oh so boring, was the execution of most traits: Let's face it - a minor bonus of +1 or 2 to skills is nothing to write home about. This installment of the 101-series thankfully takes another approach to traits: Essentially, the design-goal of this pdf, according to a side-box, is pushing the boundaries and adding a bit excitement to traits. Essentially, traits in this book are often more powerful than usual for traits, but come with restrictions on their usability.

A neat example for this new approach would be the trait "Balance the Books" - a friend or allied NPC is indebted to you in such a way that they're willing to lay down their life for the PC. This might have them take the place of the character in prison, resurrect the character once or do a similar, significant task on behalf of the PC - but only once. Another rather interesting case would be "Accursed Corsair", which enables the PC to take an oracle's curse, including all penalties and benefits. If you haven't noticed by now, the traits not only go beyond what you'd usually expect, but also provide what I'd consider "background-hooks". In my home game, I tend to give story-awards for good background stories and in-built character hooks and exactly as such can many of these traits be considered. One of my favorite traits assumes that you have made a dark pact that lets you summon a desolate ship/ghost vessel, usable only by you and your first mate, rise from the waves - which might, at least once, save your skin. While not worth anything, the iconic act of raising a ship from Davey's locker is just too cool, even if you cannot sell it for gain.

Of course, more mundane traits are included as well: If you for example want a weaponized peg-leg there's a trait for it, as there's one for having depth-perception in spite of just having one eye and an eye-patch. "By Land or by Sea" is another smart trait, granting your merfolk character the amphibious subtype and the ability to change into biped-form. If you're inclined to play rather a noble and cool commander, "Face Death with Dignity" might be up your alley: Once per week, when being under the effects of fear, you ignore the frightened condition and gain a modified version of the confusion condition, sans "attack self" and "attack nearest creature", but with +2 to Str and Con and +1 to will-saves. The restriction to "usable once per week" is applied in more than one trait, making what would otherwise be too strong for a trait actually work well and more importantly: COUNT.

A trait that is integral part of your background story might actually make a DIFFERENCE. This is why I really like this book - it provides traits that deserve the name and re-imagine the rather bland basic concept of traits to a new level that makes them feel more distinct from feats, talents etc.

I also enjoyed a trait that lets you start play as a restless soul (from the excellent RiP-supplement or In the Company of Monsters) or start game with a curse that ensures you becoming one. My absolute favorite of the bunch, though, is the trait "Parrot Voice": You are mute, but gain a parrot-familiar that squawks the somatic components of your spells while sitting on your shoulders. This is genius!

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are slightly worse than I've come to expect from Rite Publishing: Aforementioned Parrot-Voice trait e.g. suffers from 2 minor glitches. While not impeding my ability to understand the content, I think that another pass at editing would have been a good idea. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard and the classic stock-art pictures are fitting. The pdf comes with no bookmarks, which is another minor downer. I'm in a bit of a pinch here: On the one hand I absolutely LOVE the new approach taken to traits herein. On the other hand, this installment of the 101-series is not as stunningly awesome as its predecessor. While still a good book oozing usability and cool options for any Freeport or Skull & Shackles-game, I feel that this book could have used a bit more polish on the side of formal criteria. In the end, though, all my points of criticism have to be taken as nagging on a very high level. My final verdict will thus be 4 stars - a good book that falls a bit short of absolute excellence.

Endzeitgeist out.


Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Another Howard Pyle illustration! I love that you guys use his work.


Callous Jack wrote:
Another Howard Pyle illustration! I love that you guys use his work.

I am a big fan. Its should always remind everyone that talent is not limited by time, His images are over 100 years old and they often times are still better than anything I could commission.

I hope you enjoy the traits!

Here is a full-sized preview


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

So is this just traits then? No feats or things like that?


Ævux wrote:

So is this just traits then? No feats or things like that?

Yes. Its exactly what it says on the Tin :)


Reviewed here, on DTRPG and sent to GMS magazine. Cheers!


Thanks end I am glad I hit the target and the risks I took paid off.


I have a question for Endzeitgeist and the publisher: while these traits are of course optimized for pirate characters, is it safe to assume that many of them can also be used in more usual land-based games with some work? I ask because I was thinking of giving it a pass for a while, but End's review has really stoked my interest.


Yeah, I think so. Especially traits like "Accursed Corsair" or the ones that grant access to the restless souls template are predisposed to working just about everywhere. Several traits might also be fitting for commanders of e.g. military units etc. with a fluff redress. HOWEVER: Some of the traits are also deeply entrenched in pirate-lore and style, thus don't expect that to work for all of them seamlessly. Hope that helped! :)


If you don't mind reworking them for swashbuckling brigands like robin hood, and bands of mercenareis it might work though the names of the some of the traits are going to be a bit odd.

Eric if you look at my first post there is the first page there which give an example of the traits.


Endzeitgeist, Rite_Publishing, yes, a look at the preview showed me how some of these can be reworked for other settings. Thanks for the help.

Contributor

Okay, I like this a lot. but since I am an author of nautical "pirate" fantasy, no surprise there. BUT, if you are going to delve into nautical terminology, learn it. It's not hard. Use the Internet... it's your friend.

It's not "Heave Too" it's "heave to" Here's the wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaving_to

I admit, I am a mariner of 35 years, and find attempted nautical prose from non-nautical persons as offensive as bodice rippers written by chaste monks...

Do love the art work, though...


Chris A Jackson wrote:

Okay, I like this a lot. but since I am an author of nautical "pirate" fantasy, no surprise there. BUT, if you are going to delve into nautical terminology, learn it. It's not hard. Use the Internet... it's your friend.

It's not "Heave Too" it's "heave to" Here's the wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaving_to

I admit, I am a mariner of 35 years, and find attempted nautical prose from non-nautical persons as offensive as bodice rippers written by chaste monks...

Do love the art work, though...

Apologies.

Contributor

The product has been updated to include the HeroLab file for the traits.


Review up here and at RPGNow/DTRPG, I loved the concept of many of these traits, as well your take on what a trait can be, as opposed to what they are usually presented as.

And, whereas I had no issues installing the Hero Lab files, I couldn't help but notice that nowhere in the synopsis for this product is it mentioned what the minimum HL requirements are for your custom files. This is the type of thing I would love to see become a standard habit for 3PP's to add right under the words includes Hero Lab files. If folks know what minimums they need it keeps them from buying a PDF only to discover they may not be able to use the full support files.


And once again, a well-written review, KTFish7! I agree, btw.: The monkey-typo in Parrot-Voice is annoying...


Thank You Endzeitgeist

I picked up a small trove of books last night, so I am planning on getting a stack of reviews up throughout the next few days.


You're quite busy! I'm looking forward to reading your opinions! Any spoilers on what you picked up?


will kick you a PM


Steven...I just realized I failed to ask something earlier, after I installed the Hero Lab files, my source menu had a lot more than just this PDF for options from Rite, is this a hint at what's to come? Are we going to see some retro support for the rest of the line? As well as for further releases? Or, we're you guys just being nice and helping us custom file builders organize? lol


We have someone working on these, he works at his own pace, and when they come is when they come, my bet is that its and example of what he is working on. I have just gotten the file for The Secrets of the Luckbringer, which we will update probably tomorrow.


Rite Publishing wrote:
We have someone working on these, he works at his own pace, and when they come is when they come, my bet is that its and example of what he is working on. I have just gotten the file for The Secrets of the Luckbringer, which we will update probably tomorrow.

looking for more folks to help get these done? I'm constantly adding my PDF's to my own Hero Lab..


Joshua, Shoot me an email we will talk and try to coordinate.

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