PTBC - Pirate's Honor


Tales

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

Pirate's Honor...wow. I'm trying to find a way to communicate my first impressions, and I can't help but refer to Black Sails. (If anyone reading this hasn't watched it, they should.) My first thoughts about Captain Vin were that he has a Captain Flint quality to him that I really like. There's even a slight physical resemblance on the cover. At first I thought we were headed for another anti-hero story, but similar to Flint in Black Sails, Vin is actually a good guy in bad guy's clothing. I think he's a fantastic protagonist with a lot of potential, and with an equally engrossing supporting cast, including Celeste...a lunar naga as a navigator is just brilliant, no pun intended.

Two years ago I ran the Skull & Shackles AP (almost to completion, but the PCs only made it to part one of module six) which is what initially got me watching Black Sails, but it also paid off in helping me read this novel without having too look up all the sailor jargon. (I'm expecting a lot more yelling about focs'ls and tops'ls to come.) Naval combat aboard the Stargazer read just like many of the encounters went in the AP - I could almost sense the boarders being flat-footed, the use of archetypes from Pirates of the Inner Sea, crew members making Profession (siege engineer) checks to reload and aim the ballistae, etc.

I genuinely appreciate the author's intent on making that apparent, his foreword to the gamers really hit home as I was consistently able to notice the game mechanics behind his writing. Great stuff so far!


I will have to watch Black Sails...I have heard good things about it.

I generally agree with everything you say...but Captain Vin was my least favorite character at first in the book. I don't know far you have gotten but he had something about his personalty that I did not like...or more to the point I find it inconsistent. Though I really do like the character now...mostly because of his relationship with Celeste...and in the second book what I did not like was really toned down.

I will wait for you to finish the book so I can bring it up for discussion without spoiling anything for people who are reading the book now.


Pathfinder Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I have read the book and just picked up the second book at Paizocon but as far as the first book pirate honor I love that book. If you say black sails is good i will give it a shot; and I got my copy sign by the Aurthur oh yea!
Respect


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Not gonna lie, the only reason I picked up this book was because how up-front it was in the description that Captain Vin had a lunar naga girlfriend. And then the story cut right to the chase and Captain Vin has a lot of hang-ups about having a snakenoid creature that could probably solo him pretty easily for a romantic partner! I really look forward to discussing this one.

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

xeose4 wrote:
Not gonna lie, the only reason I picked up this book was because how up-front it was in the description that Captain Vin had a lunar naga girlfriend. And then the story cut right to the chase and Captain Vin has a lot of hang-ups about having a snakenoid creature that could probably solo him pretty easily for a romantic partner! I really look forward to discussing this one.

I found Torius and Celeste to be a strange couple, but also strangely likable. His addiction to her venom adds a unique dynamic to their relationship - between his mental/physical weakness and her resulting guilt, I’m finding it difficult to predict how they're going to end up, but I like that about their relationship too. I remember one of my friends joking about how he was "addicted" to his girlfriend, but in this case it's actually true! Although, like real addictions can be, I just hope this one isn't fatal…


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hah, strange, really? I thought that Celeste was quite the catch. I mean she's a little different, but she's still really pretty. For those of you who do not know what a lunar naga looks like, they're not at all hard on the eyes (pic here) and, I mean, compared to normal naga. DnD naga are very strange in general to me since I grew up on the naga-with-arms versions from Five Rings or the Xanth novels

A lot of my excitement for this novel came from just how awesome it was to see Celeste demonstrate non-magical divinations as well as be this strange fish-out-of-water despite her arguably being the most powerful creature on the ship. From a mechanics standpoint it was also interesting because it was clear that she wanted to hone her magical abilities (I mean from the start it's obvious that Vin needs this potion/alter self spell in order for their relationship to deepen and it's not UNHEARD of for sorcerers/sorcerer-like casters to develop or learn a spell if they desire it hard enough). She's going to focus on advancing her spellcasting somehow; for me it was a tough struggle to decide whether, mechanically, HD advancement would work best for her (since naga typically cast as sorcerers of their HD-2 in 3.5 and that hasn't changed much in Pathfinder) or if actually just straight leveling as sorcerer by itself would be a better gain.

I also enjoyed just wondering how different the story could have gone if Celeste had been one of the more powerful/more useful nagas (at least in terms of their spellcasting ability), like a water naga that can at least cast buff spells - allowing her to feel a part of more battles without having to cast burning ray from the shadows all the time.

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

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xeose4 wrote:
Hah, strange, really? I thought that Celeste was quite the catch. I mean she's a little different, but she's still really pretty.

Yeah, I guess it took me awhile to understand how human-like Celeste really is; regardless that she actually has no arms or no legs, but the body of a snake that could crush a man in her coils, etc. Not that I have anything at all against interracial relationships, - considering most of mine have been - so I guess interspecies (with a little magic to make it work) isn’t too much a stretch, haha. But you’re right, she is quite attractive, and with Vreva helping her to be even more human-like it’s definitely getting more interesting as well. Talk about flirting with disaster…

I think the last lines of Chapter Fourteen sum everything up perfectly:

”He tried to dismiss the distraction from his mind; he still had to find a halfling thief, scam a merchant prince, make some money, and keep his people alive while doing it. Right now, however, those plans seemed less complicated than trying to understand two women.”

Sczarni

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
xeose4 wrote:
For those of you who do not know what a lunar naga looks like, they're not at all hard on the eyes (pic here) and, I mean, compared to normal naga.

If you're going to show the lunar naga, you might as well actually show Celeste

Silver Crusade

I had a couple different theories going through the book about the necklace that Ekhan was wearing. I thought he might be some sort of Outsider who was using it to appear/be humanoid for deception purposes, but the way the spells were affecting him didn't seem right.

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

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Kryssa Lightbinder wrote:
I had a couple different theories going through the book about the necklace that Ekhan was wearing. I thought he might be some sort of Outsider who was using it to appear/be humanoid for deception purposes, but the way the spells were affecting him didn't seem right.

Hey, you were almost right! The necklace wasn't concealing the identity of an outsider, it was containing one! The final battle was great, I didn't expect that to happen...an efreeti bottle!? I've only seen one in 25 years of gaming [can't remember what module it was in] but it was never opened so I got to live vicariously through Ekhan for a bit, despite its use not going his way. He may have been a scumbag, but in the end I honestly felt a little pity for him. He got played. Hard.


All right since most people are probably done with it...I don't have to worry about giving away spoilers...

I really liked this book because it was not what I expected from a book about pirates. It was more of a caper novel than what I would think of a traditional pirate novel. Which I liked.

My one issue with Captain Torius was I find his hatred for prostitutes a bit...unbalanced. I can certainly understand it from his background...but should he not have dislike for pesh? I mean his mother did not sell him into slavery so she could continue being a prostitute. Yet we really did not see that. I found it just odd and it kept me from liking the character as much as I would.

Which is why thinking about his reaction to Vreva betrayal I actually felt more sympathy for her. I mean how can you expect loyalty from someone when you can barely conceal your contempt for them. Besides I liked Vreva better as a character.

The relationship between Torius and Celeste though was really well done and was one of my favorite things about the book. The relationship with it's problems was very well handled and sweet.

Though some of my favorite parts of the book was the interactions between Vreva and Celeste. The ladies in the book was definitely my favorite characters.

Anyway...the next book in my opinion is even better.

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

John Kretzer wrote:
I really liked this book because it was not what I expected from a book about pirates. It was more of a caper novel than what I would think of a traditional pirate novel. Which I liked.

I thought the same thing as I started comparing parts of the plot to several heist films, although the word “caper” definitely captures it better because they weren't stealing anything, rather giving something back! To be so bold as to involve so many nefarious characters in the plan - any one of them who could’ve easily betrayed them at any time. At one point I was expecting Thillion, who devised most of the plan, to pull a double-cross, like maybe he was the father of the former first mate who was half-elven...after doing everything possible for Torius to trust him, that level of treachery would've been devastating, but gladly I was wrong about that since I really liked Thillion. I liked the entire crew, really, and how they all came together to take the “high-risk, high-reward” concept to a new level, which really did make a book about pirates more unique than expected, and more enjoyable because of it. Thanks for the great story, Chris!

John Kretzer wrote:
Anyway...the next book in my opinion is even better.

Let’s get started on the next book then, Pirate’s Promise, and read from Chapters One through Nine for discussion next week. Like we did with Death’s Heretic and The Redemption Engine, then Nightglass and Nightblade, I thought it was a lot of fun to roll between the two novels back-to-back as it kept the characters fresh, which also allowed the compare and contrast with them to really surface in discussions. From all the great characters in this novel, I’m sure the same will hold true in the next...

Scarab Sages

Pirate's Promise is definitely fresher on my mind. Looking forward to it!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kryssa Lightbinder wrote:
I had a couple different theories going through the book about the necklace that Ekhan was wearing. I thought he might be some sort of Outsider who was using it to appear/be humanoid for deception purposes, but the way the spells were affecting him didn't seem right.

No lie, I honestly thought it was a dang amulet of spell turning/spell reflection and the entire time Celeste was just charming herself. I don't know if I was more or less surprised to find out that it was something completely unrelated in the end? It would have been pretty great if that had been what was going on, but I get that her naivete was supposed to be part of her character arc too.

Darkborn wrote:
Hey, you were almost right! The necklace wasn't concealing the identity of an outsider, it was containing one! The final battle was great, I didn't expect that to happen...an efreeti bottle!? I've only seen one in 25 years of gaming [can't remember what module it was in] but it was never opened so I got to live vicariously through Ekhan for a bit, despite its use not going his way. He may have been a scumbag, but in the end I honestly felt a little pity for him. He got played. Hard.

I didn't feel bad at all! In fact I was a little perturbed at how willing he was to toss away everything - dude had wisdom as a total dump stat and all his luck bonuses must have worn out super quick because he failed the diplo checks from Torius, the will saves from Celeste, the FURTHER diplo checks from Torius, and then didn't have the good sense to flee from the whole situation (things that, honestly, even Vera and the halfling rogue were smart enough to do).

I will say that the battle at the end there was B to the A - I don't think I will ever forget the scene of Vera being menaced by the efreet. Her clutching the divan while her cat ran away was iconic as all get-out. Stellar surprise there.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
John Kretzer wrote:

All right since most people are probably done with it...I don't have to worry about giving away spoilers...

I really liked this book because it was not what I expected from a book about pirates. It was more of a caper novel than what I would think of a traditional pirate novel. Which I liked.

My one issue with Captain Torius was I find his hatred for prostitutes a bit...unbalanced. I can certainly understand it from his background...but should he not have dislike for pesh? I mean his mother did not sell him into slavery so she could continue being a prostitute. Yet we really did not see that. I found it just odd and it kept me from liking the character as much as I would.

Which is why thinking about his reaction to Vreva betrayal I actually felt more sympathy for her. I mean how can you expect loyalty from someone when you can barely conceal your contempt for them. Besides I liked Vreva better as a character.

The relationship between Torius and Celeste though was really well done and was one of my favorite things about the book. The relationship with it's problems was very well handled and sweet.

Though some of my favorite parts of the book was the interactions between Vreva and Celeste. The ladies in the book was definitely my favorite characters.

Anyway...the next book in my opinion is even better.

I also really liked reading your comments here because I was also a bit perturbed by Torius having such a strong hatred of prostitutes - and really, I mean, Vreva is nothing at all like his mother, in pretty much any way? It also was a bit of a black mark for me on his character because it seemed really out of place in many ways, not the least of which being he should hate slavers, drug dealers, and slavery, not... a self-made woman who is able to bend slavers to her will and exploit their decadence for her own gain. I guess I'm fine if it's irrational, even, but it felt like everyone was too understanding of Torius and was like "oh yeah no I get that" when I would have had a very different response for him. Even Vreva was like that which was just... a little sketchy to me.

Speaking of the dark horse character, I enjoyed her a TON. Some of the most memorable imagery from book involved her. I mentioned the scene at the end with the efreeti menacing her, but another scene that still stands out to this day was her wearing a slip of a robe and just completely not reacting when Torius slashed her wineglass from her hand. The fact that she just glanced at where it struck the wall and continued on like nothing happened sold me on her character more than anything else. She also ended up being just as integral to the plan as Torius, and while he did a bunch of legwork in simply getting Ekhan to the place in the end (and saving the day), she did an equal amount in preparing for any number of contingencies (and seducing the guard captain in the process!). By the end of the book, I was just like "Dang Vreva, for a side-character you sure take up a LOT of spotlight!"

Celeste rocked the show too. I also thought her relationship with Torius was cute and there was some genuine emotion there connecting them; that doesn't always happen with fantasy books (much less DnD-related stuff where sometimes the romance consists of "well you're the only woman in the party and I'm the only moderately attractive human male so I guess we're an item"). There were quite a few times that I was actually siding with one or the other in their spats and really pulling for them to make up by the end of it.

If there were a negative point (other than the issue I took with the way people reacted to Torius's antipathy towards female sex workers) I will say reading the reviews for it is kind of fun, if only for some of the things the people who disliked it a little more point out. There is a LOT of double-double crosses and even while I'm usually pretty generous for the sake of the plot... it did stretch it juuust a little bit. At times, I mean, only at times, and in the end I decided that it could easily work that Torius treated all the enemy agents well enough to diplo-check them while Ekhan only had their loyalty through intimidation, so it actually worked out well enough in Vin's favor. I thought it was a very enjoyable book and a fresh take on a pirate adventure too!

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

Okay, sorry for the delay, let's move this onto our next thread, shall we?

Pirate's Promise


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@xeose4: About Torius...I get why he would developed those issues. I mean he had a very rough childhood(which is probably putting it mildly) so I expect there would be some transference of his anger with his mother with people that reminds him of her. What did not seem right about it is the fact that he did not to this to people who also should remind him of his mother...like a pesh user.

As to people's reaction to it...I think he kept most of it internal...except for when it seemed comes to Vreva...which Celeste did not like her because of jealousy issues.

Also I think Vreva teasing of him was in part in reaction to his disdain for her.

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