Monday, February 27, 2012

Review - Pirates of the Inner Sea

Pathfinder Player Companion
Pirates of the Inner Sea

Pathfinder Player Companion: Pirates of the Inner Sea (PFRPG)

Draw your cutlass and set sail for adventure! 
For thousands of years, pirates have captured the imagination, their rough-and-tumble lives filled with a boundless lust for blood, gold, and glory. Being a pirate is the ultimate freedom—freedom to take what you want and never apologize. Whether from the decks of massive slave galleons or beneath the sails of swift ships, pirates hunt the seas, singing chanteys and hoisting the Jolly Roger as they seek out the next unsuspecting merchant. They are the wolves of the sea, and their hunger can never be sated.
Whether you want to abandon the life of a landlubber to join a pirate crew, hunt down their murderous ships in the name of justice, or simply follow a mysterious map to buried treasure, Pirates of the Inner Sea has everything you need to know about piracy on Golarion, all of it one hundred percent player-friendly and ready to guide you on your journey.

    Inside this book, you’ll find:
  • In-depth overviews of six major pirate organizations in the Inner Sea region, including the government-backed privateers of Andoran, the slavers of Okeno, the high-seas buccaneers of Riddleport and the Shackles, and the quick-moving brigands of the River Kingdoms. Each entry details the pirates’ history, notable captains, activities and hideouts, preferred ships, and more.
  • Pages of new pirate weapons and equipment, from hook hands, cutlasses, and tar bombs to peg legs, treasure chests, and grog.
  • New pirate archetypes for several different classes, including the buccaneer bard, the freebooter fighter, the corsair ranger, and the smuggler rogue.
  • The Inner Sea pirate prestige class.
  • A detailed look at the faith of Besmara the Pirate Queen, goddess of all those who make their living spilling blood on the water.
  • New pirate-themed spells for casters of numerous types and faiths.
  • New character traits to help you customize your pirate character mechanically as well as thematically.
  • Sample pirate codes, minor pirate groups, a timeline of important pirate events, and more!
This Pathfinder Player Companion is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Pathfind  er campaign setting, but can easily be used in any fantasy game setting. In addition, it is particularly useful for players of the Skull & Shackles Adventure Path.
Written by Amber E. Scott

First Glance:  Nice little supplement for players who want to play a pirate, or a complete pirate adventure, like the Skull & Shackles AP. This is a 32 page supplement for the Pathfinder Role-playing Game. Full color . The book is organized into fluff and crunch sections effectively, though the organizations include one of my favorite aspects of Pathfinder...traits, 4 per each of the six organizations; NOW, many of these are just the standard rewritten intimidate, with over a dozen traits that grant intimidate bonus/class skill available, shouldn't be hard to intimidate in Pathfinder....heh. Anyway, I digress. The art is great as always, Paizo always tries to have the best artwork for their products. After the organizations comes the crunchier bits, from pirate gear and archetypes, to a new prestige class, magic, and then some fluffier info on Besmara, the pirate goddess, and pirates codes.

Full Review: 12 pages cover six pirate organizations, more like loose affiliations; Andoran, Mediogalti, Okeno, Riddleport, River Kingdoms, and The Shackles. Each organization gives a history, notable captains, ships, hideouts, activity, and four traits. Each one has its own feel, and goals. The next two groups cover minor groups. The next four pages cover pirate gear, from cutlass to boarding axe, 10 weapons are covered, some new, others, revamped such as the harpoon. Then additional equipment from such consummate sailor gear as astrolabes and sextants, to the cliche peg leg and grog. Finally you can't have a pirate campaign without ships.

The four archetypes follow.
    The Buccaneer for the bard is a non-lethal specialist. Hilt Bash lets the bard make a non-lethal attack with lethal weapons, he gains song of surrender and mass song of surrender, and knock out though this is a weak ability as its usable a limited number of times per day.
    The Corsair is an archetype for Fighters, including a pirate weapons group, deck fighting in which cleave replaces the 2nd level bonus feat, but without penalty to the cleave attack; which improves at 6th level to great cleave. Armored Pirate is a scaling ability that eventually grants heavy armor with no penalty to acrobatics or swim checks.
   The Freebooter ranger archetype is probably the best of the four archetypes, granting bonuses to his allies, with Freebooters Bane and Freebooter's Bond, finally finishing with Fast Swimmer, granting much improved swim speeds.
   The Smuggler is a primarily role-play oriented archetype for rogues. With Bribery, Conceal Item and Distraction, allowing them to move items though checkpoints with ease. It doesn't have any offensive power and gives up trap sense, trapfinding and evasion.
   The Inner Sea Pirate prestige class takes up two pages and is a rogue-like 10 level PrC. It grants sneak attacks and pirate tricks, strangely it doesn't include a blackpowder trick or access to actual rogue talents. There's a typo in the pirate tricks description that contradicts the table. (Use the table).
  The Faith section covers Besmara, the Pirate Queen and her faithful, lots of fluff but the only crunch is 2 religion traits, Cheat Death, and Expert Boarder.  I would have liked to seen a Besmara based spell here.
   The Magic section presents six new spells, from the insidious Black Spot to an actual Skeleton Crew spell which makes skeletons from corpses that possess profession (sailor). The other 4 spells are Buoyancy, Salvage, Track Ship and Unseen Crew.
   The final pages for the Social section, including the Pirate's Code, Privateer's Code, Shipboard Conduct and Pirate Slang (though there are only 27 expressions for the slang, so it's a bit light).

Artwork: 13 pirates adorn the pages with a dynamic illustration on page 2, with the cover illustration repeated on the inside back cover; all very well done. Cover illustration by Kieran Yanner, interior art by Dmitry Burmak and Michelle Chang.

Cost: $10.99 for the print copy and $7.99 for the PDF.

Value: This is one of those small books that provides a lot of information. If you're looking to play a pirate in your Pathfinder role-playing game, pick this up.

Rating: 18 of 20