In February Paizo released a new Player Companion product, partly to support their new adventure path Skull & Shackles. The new Pathfinder Player Companion : Pirates of the Inner Sea is providing both background information and in-game support for pirate campaigns.
The book is divided into two discernible part : the first chapter Dangerous Waters is occupy the first half of the book, and it’s contain details about the various pirate groups in the Inner Sea, including their history, motivations, and notable captains. This chapter also include the avaialble Traits for the various pirate groups.
The other chapters contain game information about archetypes, equipment, combat, and other things related to a sea campaign. The book ends with a chapter about pirate codes, finishing the product in a proper manner.
I think the background chapter is detailed enough to give an overview about the various pirate factions, but it’s thankfully short, and not over-detailed. This includes 2-page articles for the six main pirate groups (which are ranging from anti-pirates to ruthless slavers), as well as some notes on smaller ones.
The equipment chapter holds everything a good pirate needs, including weapons and sailing equipment. This (of course) include iconics like the hook hand, peg leg, eye patch and the grog. I think what we get here is what we need, not more, and not less.
I we take a look at the archetypes we find much more interesting stuff, as we received four new archetypes including the Bucaneer (Bard), Corsair (Fighter), Freebooter (Ranger) and Smuggler (Rogue). The Bucaneer’s main strength, that he don’t have to kill to win over his foes, and can force them to surrender. The Corsair is used to fight in a crowded deck, and he stays mobile, even in armor. Freebooters are useful as leaders, and they could increase their allies combat prowess. The Smuggler receive some nice abilities to hide goods from inspection on his ship.
In my opinion both the archetypes are very useful, both for player characters and NPC-s. A Freebooter for example could turn an otherwise easy fight with lower-level enemies into a much bigger challenge by providing bonus attack for flanking and even more against a targeted foe.
The book also contain a new prestige class, Inner Sea Pirate, which features sneak attack, /3int skill points and several pirate tricks as it’s main strength. The tricks are ranging from combat tricks to some helping in usual “skill challenges” like swimming or appraise.
We also receive details on the faith of Besmara the Pirate Queen, as well several new spells, and the already mentioned Pirate Code chapter. I think the new spells are very interesting, including the Skeleton Crew (which enables you to create skeletons to sail a ship) and the Salvage 9th level spell, which could turn a shipwreck into a brand new ship.
I really think that the Pathfinder Player Companion : Pirates of the Inner Sea supplement is a great addition to the game, and a must-have for the Skull & Shackles Adventure Path. It seems perfect in all regard, so I give it 5/5 as a final score.
Zoltán “Cain” Mészáros