Pirate Rules (Apath)

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Unofficial rules compendium

The acquisition of wealth and the spread of grim reputations motivate pirates to deeds of daring and depravity. This is a supplement and modification to the "Pirate's Life" rules from Pathfinder #54.

Community Table

This table is used to see how much plunder can be sold, how hard it is to sell, what maximum infamy value can be gained in the community, and how many able bodies can be mustered in the community at any one time.

Community Size Max # Sales Sale DC Maximum Infamy Maximum Muster
Thorp 1 25 10 1d6
Hamlet 2 20 20 2d6
Village 4 15 30 4d6
Small town 8 10 40 8d6
Large town 15 5 50 16d6
Small city 30 (lots of 5) 10 60 32d6
Large city 60 (lots of 5 5 70 64d6
Metropolis 120 (lots of 10 10 80 128d6


Plunder

Value of Plunder

Plunder is valuable for three reasons: It can be sold for gold pieces, it can be used to modify your ship and pay other expenses associated with pirating, and it helps you increase your Infamy (Infamy is further detailed below). In general, 1 point of plunder is worth approximately 1,000 gp, whether it be for a crate full of valuable ores or a whole cargo hold full of foodstuffs. Regardless of what the plunder represents, getting the best price for such goods is more the domain of merchants than pirates, and just because cargo might be worth a set amount doesn’t necessarily mean the PCs can get that much for it.

Exchanging 1 point of plunder for gold requires a PC to spend 1 full day at port and make an applicable skill check. Regardless of how much plunder the PCs have, one PC must spend a full day trading to exchange 1 point of plunder for gold. The PC trading also must be the same PC to make the skill check to influence the trade. The larger the port and the higher the skill check, the better price the PCs can get for their plunder.

The normal sell price of plunder is 50% of the nominal value, that is 500 gp per point of plunder. To sell a point of plunder, the PCs must make a skill check matching the sale DC of the community. The number of skill checks that can be made in a given community is also given by the size of the community. Skill check attempts count against this limit whether successful or not. For every 5 points above the minimum roll required, the price increases by 5% (25 gp).

PCs seeking to win a higher price for their plunder can make one of the following skill checks and apply the results to the table below: Appraise, Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate.

Spending Plunder

In addition to its value in gold pieces, plunder is vital to increasing a pirate crew’s Infamy. Plunder is also spent, at the basic rate of 1,000 gp per point of plunder, to build and furnish ships, purchase supplies and crew weapons, and so on. See the Infamy subsystem for more details.

Buying Plunder

Although gold typically proves more valuable and versatile than plunder, some parties might wish to exchange their traditional wealth for plunder. In any community, a party can buy 1 point of plunder for 1,000 gp. What form of goods this plunder takes is determined by the GM.

Infamy and Disrepute

Some pirates only do what they do for the promise of wealth, being little more than brigands of the waves. Others do it for the reputation, fearsomeness, and power that comes with numbering among the most notorious scallywags on the seas. That’s where Infamy comes in. Numerous times over the course of their careers, the PCs—as members of a single pirate crew—will have the opportunity to recount their victories, boast of the treasures they’ve won, and spread tales of their outrages. All of this has the potential to win the PCs Infamy, but that alone isn’t the goal. At the most basic level, infamous pirates have the potential to press-gang unfortunates into their crews, get repairs to their ships in nearly any port, and win discounts from merchants they’d prefer not to rob. As a crew becomes more and more infamous, however, its legend stretches across the seas, allowing it to garner support from other pirate lords, win more favorable vessels, and even rally whole pirate armadas under its flag. This system allows characters to track how their legend is growing over the course of the campaign, along with providing them tangible rewards for building appropriately piratical reputations.

Infamy and Disrepute Scores

In a method similar to the tracking system for Fame and Prestige Points detailed in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Pathfinder Society Field Guide, a party has two related scores, Infamy and Disrepute. Infamy tracks how many points of Infamy the crew has gained over its career—think of this as the sum of all the outlandish stories and rumors about the PCs being told throughout the Shackles. Infamy rarely, if ever, decreases, and reaching certain Infamy thresholds provides useful benefits and allows others to be purchased using points of Disrepute. Infamy is limited by actual skill, however, and a group’s Infamy score can never be more than 4 × the PCs’ average party level.

Disrepute is a spendable resource—a group’s actual ability to cash in on its reputation. This currency is used to purchase impositions, deeds others might not want to do for the group, but that they perform either to curry the group’s favor or to avoid its disfavor. This score will likely fluctuate over the course of a pirate crew’s career and can go as high as the group’s Infamy (but never higher), and at times might even drop to zero. This isn’t something to worry about, though, as a low Disrepute score has no bearing on a crew’s overall reputation—on the contrary, it merely means they’re making use of the benefits their status has won them. However, it does represent that even the PCs’ legend can only take them so far, and if a group’s Disrepute drops lower than the Disrepute price of a benefit, the crew must spend time building its Disrepute back up before it can purchase that benefit.

Winning Infamy and Disrepute: A few things are required to gain Infamy: an audience, a deed to tell about, and a f lair for storytelling. Proof of the group’s deed in the form of plunder doesn’t hurt either.

To gain Infamy, the PCs must moor their ship at a port for 1 full day, and the PC determined by the group to be its main storyteller must spend this time on shore carousing and boasting of infamous deeds. This PC must make either a Bluff, Intimidate, or Perform check to gauge the effectiveness of her recounting or embellishing. The DC of this check is equal to 15 + half the group's Infamy score, and the check is referred to as an Infamy check. Other characters can assist in this. If the character succeeds at this check, the group’s Infamy and Disrepute both increase by +1 (so long as neither score is already at its maximum amount). If the result exceeds the DC by +5, the group’s Infamy and Disrepute increase by +2; if the result exceeds the DC by +10, both scores increase by +3. The most a party’s Infamy and Disrepute scores can ever increase as a result of a single Infamy check is by 3 points. If the PC fails the Infamy check, there is no change in her group’s Infamy score and the day has been wasted. Occasionally, deeds of exceptional daring or depravity might win a party increases to its Disrepute. This sort of discretionary bonus to Disrepute is noted in the context of an adventure or determined by the GM.

'Infamy and Disrepute per Port: No matter how impressionable (or drunk) the crowd, no one wants to hear the same tales and boasts over and over again. Thus, a group can only gain a maximum of 5 points of Infamy and Disrepute from any particular port. However, this amount resets every time a group reaches a new Infamy threshold. Thus, once a group gains 5 points of Infamy and Disrepute in Quent, it can gain no further points of Infamy from that port until it reaches the next Infamy threshold, though the crew can travel to another port and gain more Infamy by boasting to a new audience.

There is also a limitation based on the size of the port. No matter how infamous their deeds, telling of them in a thorp will never win more than local recognition. If an infamy increase would place the players infamy score above the allowed maximum, there is no increase.

Plunder and Infamy: Plunder can modify a PC’s attempt to gain Infamy in two ways. Before making an Infamy check for the day, the party can choose to spend plunder to influence the result—any tale is more believable when it comes from someone throwing around her wealth and buying drinks for the listeners. Every point of plunder expended adds a +2 bonus to the character’s skill check to earn Infamy. The party can choose to spend as much plunder as it wants to influence this check—even the most leaden-tongued pirate might win fabulous renown by spending enough booty. Additionally, if a PC fails an Infamy check, the party can choose to spend 3 points of plunder to immediately reroll the check. The party may only make one reroll attempt per day, and spend the plunder even if the second attempt fails—some people just aren’t impressed no matter how much loot you throw at them.

Recruiting

A pirate ship needs a crew, and nothing helps influence potential recruits like infamy. To recruit, make a Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check, and add half the crew's Infamy to the result. The DC is 20 and lets you recruit 1d6 potential crewmen. Every 5 points of margin on the roll recruits an additional d6 crew. The maximum number of crew that can be recruited in any one port is given in the community table, above.

There are numerous other modifiers to the recruiting roll, depending on the captain's requirement.

Condition Modifier
Special requirement, such as race (Other than human), gender, religion, and so on -5
PC class crew -5
Trained crew (level 2) -5
Veteran crew (level 5) -10
Elite Crew (level 10) -20

Crew can never be higher level than half the captain's level, or the captain's level -5, whichever is higher.

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