Golden Sea Corsair
The seas of Thule are plagued by fleets of pirate gal- leys. Preying on merchant shipping, coastal settle- ments, and sometimes even large cities or barbarian tribes whose lands are exposed to raids from the sea, these corsairs pose a major threat to any unfortunate enough to cross their paths. Of all the pirates to plague the waterways of the primeval continent, none are so widespread—or so bold—as the corsairs of the Golden Sea Brotherhood.
As a corsair, you live outside the law. You are rec- ognized by all civilized lands (and more than a few of the tribal peoples) as an enemy of all mankind, deserving of nothing less than a swift execution should you ever fall into the hands of the authori- ties or tribal elders. Even if you are not personally a vicious brute, you understand that the day you show weakness is the day you die, whether at the hands of your would-be victims or under the knives of your own comrades. Yet, despite the enmity of all good people and the fellowship of brutes and murderers, you have something beyond price: Absolute freedom. You kneel to no one.
Corsair fleets are made up of the dregs of humani- ty—thieves and murderers who fled their homelands to escape justice, mercenaries too lazy or cowardly to find paying work, and brutal savages greedy to plun- der the riches of more developed peoples. Any char- acter who joins a corsair crew needs to be handy with a blade, not only to make herself a useful member of the crew, but also to have a chance of defending herself against the scum and villains who surround her. Few spellcasters are desperate enough to consider becoming corsairs.
Key Identity: Barbarian, fighter, rogue, warlord.
Golden Sea Corsair Benefits
Corsairs are exceptional seamen, skilled at navigation, rope handling, sailing, and naval tactics—after all, pirates who can’t handle their ships effectively can’t catch prey or get away from the warships sent to hunt them down. Terror and intimidation are your weap- ons in combat; your headlong assaults strike fear into the bravest foes. Individual corsairs often crossdeck to other ships, turn smuggler, take up slaving, or even become honest traders, so over time your network of former shipmates comes to include hundreds of pirates and sailors throughout the harbor districts of Thule—you have contacts in every port. Sooner or later, the day comes when you command a corsair galley of your own, and you will find a rough and ready crew eager to sail at your side.
Golden Sea Corsair in the World
The corsairs of Thule are universally reviled by all other people. The city-states hate them for the destruction they wreak on merchant shipping, while all but the strongest and most fierce tribal peoples suffer from corsair raiding and slaving. Despite this universal hos- tility, corsairs are sometimes hired as seagoing merce- naries—many merchants find it easier to buy protec- tion from corsair fleets than to risk the loss of an entire cargo, and city rulers who lack strong navies sometimes bribe corsair lords to join them in war. Unfortunately, corsairs have a habit of not staying bought for long.
You can pass yourself off as a seaman or mercenary when you are not surrounded by other pirates, so it’s not overly dangerous to visit civilized ports when traveling alone or with a small group of companions who don’t look like a gang of pirates. However, there is a price on your head in most cities—if the authori- ties find out who you really are and what you’ve done, you’ll likely face the executioner within the day.
Personalising the Golden Sea Corsair
The iconic pirate of Thule is, of course, a corsair belonging to the Golden Sea Brotherhood. This seagoing horde plagues the Kalayan Sea from one end to the other, fearing nothing except the war-navy of Quodeth. However, characters who sail with different pirate groups have similar benefits and drawbacks.
Golden Sea Brother
You belong to the corsair fleet known as the Golden Sea Brotherhood, a bloody-handed sea-horde that plagues the Kalayan Sea. The corsair brotherhood is based in the hidden city of Rime, and often hires out its services to nobles and monarchs in need of fleets. Golden Sea corsairs have more loyalty to the Brotherhood as a whole than any particular ship or captain, and have a habit of abandoning unsuccessful commanders to sign on with the captains who lead them to the richest prizes.
Thousand Teeth Raider
The northern coast of Thule is home to countless islets and headlands known as the Thousand Teeth. Here scores of Nimothan chief- tains and jarls measure their strength by the number of longships they command. To become a chief that other warriors will follow, you must first captain a longship, and to captain a longship, you must prove that you are a fierce and cunning warrior. What will you do to win fame and respect?
You are a stranger to Thule. Your home is the wide land of Umn Tsav to the west, and your people are simple by the standards of Thule’s great cities. Instead of galleys or longships, you sail in boats of skin and hide, and you fight with weapons made from bone and wood. Each year the bravest Umni warriors launch raids against the western coasts of Thule, landing savage war-parties to seek captives, plunder, and trophies from the civilized peoples. Were you left behind by such a raid, or did you come alone to see for yourself the wonders you have heard about from other sea-wolves?
You are at home on the sea, the wind at your back and your plunder in front of you. A pirate through and through, you find solace in the freedom and lawlessness of the seas. It’s only a matter of time before you capture a ship, win the loyalty of a crew of cutthroats, and set your own course.
D&D 5th Edition
Cutthroat Strike (1st level): When you attack a creature that is threatened by at least one of your allies (in other words, it’s within your ally’s reach), you can choose to perform a cutthroat strike. You gain tactical advantage on the attack, and if you hit, the target becomes frightened of you until the end of your next turn. You can use Cutthroat Strike once. You must take a rest to regain the ability.
Infamy (6th level): As word of your exploits gets around, you gain the respect of other pirates, mer- chants, and outlaws of the coastal regions around the Kalayan Sea and along the Atlantean Ocean. You gain tactical advantage on all skill checks made to interact with people familiar with your reputation.
Pirate Terror (10th level): Your former shipmates make you captain of your own ship. You can sail with them whenever you need sea transportation, since your crew keeps your ship in a nearby port or will readily steal one if you need something sooner. Your crew provides you with raiders any time you are aboard your ship, and the spoils your crew obtains provides you with a moderate income (see Followers and Income, under narrative benefits). Your raiders are equivalent to bandits. Once per three years, you can summon an army in the form of a corsair fleet.
Skill Bonuses (1st level): Your experience as a pirate on the high seas grants you a +2 bonus to Climb, Intimidate, and Profession (sailor) checks.
Browbeating Action (1st level): You can spend a hero point on your turn to deny a target its Dexterity bonus against a single attack you make that turn. If that attack hits, the target is also shaken and staggered for one round.
Hero points you spend to perform a browbeating action are not permanently expended, and are regained at the end of the day.
Infamy (6th level): As word of your exploits gets around, you gain an additional +2 bonus on ability and skill checks made to interact with other pirates, merchants, and outlaws of the coastal regions around the Kalayan Sea and along the Atlantean Ocean.
Dread Pirate (10th level): Your former mates make you captain of your own ship. You can sail with them whenever you need sea transportation, since your crew keeps your ship in a nearby port or will readily steal one if you need something sooner. Your crew provides you with raiders any time you are aboard your ship, and the spoils your crew obtains provides you with a moderate income (see Followers and Income, under narrative benefits). Once per three years, you can summon a corsair fleet equivalent to an army.