[HR: Campaign Class] Corsair

For your enjoyment (and critique, if you like), I present the Corsair class.

The idea here was that I wanted a pirate warrior class for the Hyborian Age and maybe an Al Qadim -style setting; a sort of Explorer of the high seas, with some thief-like abilities. An assassin (or a thief) could easily fit the bill, but I wanted to specialize them (Climb Walls seemed essential for a pirate) and give them the Seafaring proficiency for free as well.

Sorry for the lack of an actual table; trying to format things in Markdown Lite just seems to be impossible, and the Filtered HTML doesn’t have a lot of versatility.

Prime Requisite: STR and DEX
Requirements: None
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: 14

Corsairs live by the sword, and are excellent warriors. They can use any one-handed melee weapons and all missile weapons, and wear chain mail armor or lighter. They may fight wielding a weapon and shield or a weapon in each hand. At first level, corsairs hit an unarmored foe (AC 0) with an attack throw of 10+. They advance in attack throws and saving throws by two points every three levels (as fighters). Corsairs also increase their base damage roll from successful missile and melee attacks by +1 at 1st level and by an additional +1 at 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th level. They may use any magic item usable by fighters.

A corsair can climb walls, hide in shadows, and move silently as a thief. He can also backstab like a thief.

Corsairs are also experts at acrobatics, as per elven nightblades.

Corsairs are able seamen, and gain the Seafaring proficiency at 1st level, and again at 5th level (Sea-Raider) and 9th level (Pirate Lord).

At 5th level (Sea-Raider), a corsair’s frightening reputation inspires others to follow him. Any henchmen and mercenaries hired by the corsair gain a +1 bonus to their morale score whenever he personally leads them. This bonus stacks with any modifiers from the corsair’s Charisma or proficiencies.

At 9th level (Pirate Lord), a corsair can build or conquer a pirate fortress. This fortress must rule a coastal or island domain. When he does so, up to 1d4+1×10 0th level mercenaries and 1d6 corsairs of 1st – 3rd level will come to apply for jobs and training. If hired, they must be paid standard rates for mercenaries. Pirate fortresses are otherwise identical to fighters’ castles, as detailed in the Campaign chapter of the ACKS Rulebook.

Corsair Proficiency List: Alertness, Bargaining, Berserkergang, Blind Fighting, Bribery, Cat Burglary, Combat Reflexes, Combat Trickery (Disarm, Incapacitate, Wrestle), Command, Disguise, Eavesdropping, Fighting Style, Gambling, Intimidation, Mapping, Military Strategy, Navigation, Precise Shooting, Running, Signaling, Skirmishing, Skulking, Sniping, Swashbuckling, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus

Corsair Level Progression
Experience | Title | Level | Hit Dice | Damage Bonus | Backstab
0 | Pirate | 1 | 1d6 | +1 | ×2
2,300 | Freebooter | 2 | 2d6 | +1 | ×2
4,600 | Buccaneer | 3 | 3d6 | +2 | ×2
9,200 | Sea-Rover | 4 | 4d6 | +2 | ×2
18,500 | Sea-Raider | 5 | 5d6 | +2 | ×3
37,000 | Old Salt | 6 | 6d6 | +3 | ×3
75,000 | Corsair | 7 | 7d6 | +3 | ×3
150,000 | Terror of the High Seas | 8 | 8d6 | +3 | ×3
270,000 | Pirate Lord | 9 | 9d6 | +4 | ×4
390,000 | Pirate Lord, 10th level | 10 | 9d6+2* | +4 | ×4
510,000 | Pirate Lord, 11th level | 11 | 9d6+4* | +4 | ×4
630,000 | Pirate Lord, 12th level | 12 | 9d6+6* | +5 | ×4
750,000 | Pirate Lord, 13th level | 13 | 9d6+8* | +5 | ×5
870,000 | King of Pirates | 14 | 9d6+10* | +5 | ×5
* Hit point modifiers from constitution are ignored

Use the Fighter Attack & Saving Throw Progression Table from ACKS. Use the Thief and Nightblade progressions from ACKS for the thief skills and Acrobatics, respectively.

Delightful class! Henceforth Pirate/Buccaneer NPCs in my campaigns will be using this class.

Now that is an endorsement and an honor. Thank you!

Awesome class. Thanks for sharing.

Having seen this, and it being really neat, it’s made me consider an alternate hideout type; call it a ‘Pirate Cove’ for lack of a better word.

Assume for the purposes of hijinks, this cove, which must be island or coastal, can perform hijinks in water-adjacent settlements within water trade distance of the cove dependent on the value of the hideout (so a Class VI hideout could reach settlements 8 hexes away, a Class I hideout could reach 80 hexes.) These hijinks may not actually take place in the settlement, but represent interdiction of maritime trade to/from those settlements - interception of a garrison payment, the sinking of a ship carrying a specific important person, etc. and furthermore.

I’m unclear how to balance that out right now. My first thought is to limit it to Smuggling, Stealing, and Treasure Hunting hijinks, but I doubt the real value of losing the other three.

Alternatively, and I prefer this conceptually, it could require to have a sub-syndicate presence in the target settlement first, perhaps just a Class VI hideout (regardless of settlement size), to represent the establishment of relationships with less-than-honest portmasters, traders, shipwrights, and the like.

The kicker to that might be that in order to leverage your highest level followers on hijinks (as if we respect the Class VI implied limits, you’ll have nothing but low level members out in the ports) you’ll need ships to transport those members or perform the hijinks on the open sea, and that’s a bit of an expense (that I haven’t worked out yet).

Plus it lets you build up conflict or alliance with the existing settlement’s syndicate full of lily-livered landlubbers.

Anyway. I’d have to see about ship/crew costs and maintenance to see if this is ultimately doable…I wonder, though, if we treat the pirate’s ships as part of the hideout cost (more ships == more crew, so it stands to reason, lose a ship, lose the crew, reduce your follower capacity?) we can perhaps fold a lot of that up into the existing hideout system, and instead of a lavish silk-lined grotto in the sub-sub-basement of the classiest inn in town, it’s a somewhat ramshackle tropical-tree-top treehouse or a cave behind a waterfall, and all the money’s in various gaudily/erotically-figureheaded ships.

Once I run some numbers perhaps I can figure out if we can just increase the default hideout cost per-market-size to account for the costs of running a pirate flotilla, slap down the water-route based hijinks and extra syndicate requirements and call it a day.

That seems doable, yes? Conceptually and ACKSually?

This is an awesome idea!

You forgort an important option for Proficiencies:  Familiar.

There's usually at least one pirate in a group that has his parrot.

So, having just now finished Season 2 of Black Sails, I have rushed here to say that it occurs to me that what I wrote there is wrong, wrongy wrong wrong. Also, if you haven't watched Black Sails, remedy that.  

Eleanore Guthrie is a type of market-stronghold-venturer who is underlevel for the size of Nassau's markets, having inherited it - Nassau's the pirate cove, and it's her domain. Max is a type of soft-hijink-specialized-hideout thief. Charleston, or other civilized ports, are the classic strongholds.

Pirate strongholds - that Flint or Vane or Rackham hold -  are not buildings, or a location. They're the ships. 

Being a pirate captain or the quartermaster or other elected position is an inversion of the "change of management" table in ACKS - you're elected and you get morale checked often to keep it. Say each pirate cove can support some population of "ship's crew" that can be recruited and whom, as a nebulous group, elect a captain et. al. to form a "domain" on a "ship". Let's say there's a constant table of eligible captains, and they each have some standing - their relative popularity means that each one of them will be getting some percentage and quality of the "ship's crew" in market - where the higher level individuals gravitate to the captains at the top of the table.

We invert the market availability of mercenaries and recruitment methods and such so that the mercenaries/pirates pick the leader/captain.



Wouldn't animal handling get you the perks w/out the risks?

Well constucted class... Kudos

I like the idea of the ship being the stronghold. Some really cool stuff could be done with that.