On this week Rite Publishing released a new book in their 101 series for the Parthinder RPG : 101 Pirate and Privateer Traits. As you may guess, the book contain 101 traits, suitable mostly for sea-related campaigns. The publisher is well-known for their extensive collection of Pathfinder additions, including not only the 101 Series, but the #30 series and The Secrets of series too, and their free Ezine, Pathways above others.
Designed by Steven D. Russell, the book offers lots of interesting options, and make you think about the Skull & Shackles adventure path, or Skull & Bones from Green Ronin in the instant for your next campaign.
A Treasure Chest of Traits
After reading the first bunch of traits, you will recognize that they are mostly different from the “giving you a class-skill”/”+1 for something” path, most of the official Traits follow in Paizo‘s products. Most of the Traits give you a small benefit as other Traits do, but also offers some story reasons for the offered boon.
Breaking away form the templates have it’s own positive and negative aspects. For example, having a Peg-Leg or a Hook-Hand, or owning a Letter of Marque are both really iconic things for a pirate, and the Traits involving them are nice. You may have your own pet monkey, or use a parrot because you are mute, or you may choose many more character traits you may already seen in pirate-stories. You may even be The Love of the Mermaid which is awesome!
On the other hand, some of the Traits with level based abilities could turn to be very powerful in high levels, which is absolutely not equal in strength with a Half-Feat. The later are mostly balanced by the fact, that they are usable only once a week, but since they could have a major effect in an important encounters I don’t think it’s a good solution. Luckily this involves only about 2-3 Traits, the others are fine as they are presented.
But back on track, there are several Traits I really enjoyed in the book. For example, maybe you are cursed (providing the same “benefits” as the Oracle’s curce do), or maybe you are a Mad Matey who is quite crazy, but somehow your craziness include it’s own benefits. Also, there are several Traits dealing with how bloodthirsty or honorable you are, providing matching benefits.
Some minor problems aside 101 Pirate and Privateer Traits is a very good supplement f you want a lot’s of Traits for your campaign. While many of the avaialble material is bound by the topic, there are several Traits which are easily adaptable to land based campaigns too.
My only concern is the supplement’s cost ($5,99), which is great for those 101 books with materials you could use again and again in a campaign (like the excellent 101 Hazards and Disasters I reviewed earlier), but Traits have a much more limited use. One the other hand, if you plan a long-term pirate campaign, and you are spicing up major NPC-s with Traits than this addition could provide priceless. Taking everything in account I give the book 4/5 stars.
Zoltán “Cain” Mészáros