Gaming

Pathfinder – Building a Freebooter (Pirate)

For my next Pathfinder character I’ve created Falken who is one that made the transition from my Lost Lands game (Razor Coast) to my Serpent’s Skull campaign. He is a jaunty pirate who is good with his fists and his ability to escape from prison. I based him loosely on both the Dread Pirate Roberts from the Princess Bride and Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean to make the character more identifiable.

He featured in many sessions including some time as the Pathfinder playtest 2 pirate subclass. This character was a favourite of new players to try out for seeing how Pathfinder worked and potentially joining a game. He was updated to join the Serpent’s Skull adventure path where he died and was reincarnated as a half-elf by the party druid who thinks everyone should have a new body when they die.

Rebuild Options

With rebuilding the character I could have taken the existing stats and class and just added a couple of levels to it but I enjoy building characters for a purpose and wanted to make it unique for my players.

One of my pathfinder resources is “Freeport – The City of Adventure” by Green Ronin Publishing. (See www.greenronin.com). This is an awesome resource as it is based on a town, has 500+ pages of colour and about 200 pages of rules that enhance the game from classes to items.

I selected the Freebooter class from this book and decided to rebuild the character from the ground up and see what I turnout out with.

The last option is to build it by hand or use a tool like Hero Lab. I went with build it by hand as not all the options I was looking for would have been available in the tool and support is not always been there (I have a unanswered support ticket from four weeks ago) so creating my own content has not been worth the time investment. If all the options I wanted to use were in the tool then I would have had to verify it all afterwards as it has been known to make mistakes from time to time (magical buffs added to amulet of natural armour anyone?) and these have caused issues at the table.

Where to Start

Now that I have my rebuild options, I have a few things to keep in mind when trying out 3rd party products and rules I have not used before.

  1. Don’t try and complicate things by using too many supplements – This is a good rule for any game you make characters for. Without being able to show where your ability, feat, spell or item comes from (the web is never a great answer) you can cause issues at the game table if the rule your relying on appears unfair or inconsistent with the game and your interpretation of it had become a critical point in the encounter. An example is an ability that bypasses damage reduction; it might do so with other effects or cost more to use it. Used once its not a huge thing but if overused it can unbalance the fairness of the game if the ability you’re employing is supposed to halve the damage your employing and you skipped that part.
  2. Try and keep a theme – If you have a pirate character then try and choose options that make them fun to play but also highlight they are a pirate. For example the character used a skillet to great effect in the game early on and it has been carried into the character build to be part of the character ongoing.
  3. Make it fun – if it is not fun to play then it is not a good character. It has to be fun for the player, the group and the game master to qualify as fun in my games. Building a character to annoy the other players or just undermine the games master is not a good environment to play in. Part of this is the potions the character has with them are all themed on alcoholic smells and featured in bottle that could have come from a mini-bar instead of the usual potion vials.

Creating a 16th Level Character

To make this character at 16th level I followed these steps.

  1. Gather the basics – Got the Base Attack Bonus for the level, Base Saving throws and listed all the class features, added up the base hit points and skill points.
  2. Simplify where possible – The skill points were easier to work with when I divided the total by 10 and assigned 10 ranks to that many skills to give it a quicker build. While this is not a crafted as it could be it allowed a rapid build that could be tweaked later if needed.
  3. Favoured Class – This could have been extra skill points or hit points so I wrapped it into hit points to make the character more survivable.
  4. Keep feat choices – I have chosen to keep the feat choices from the original concept to help keep the flavour, as well as reduce the time spent selecting options. What this did do was also include the Razor Coast books as part of the resources used to build the character.

House Rules

My games have a few house rules used to streamline the game play and make things more interesting. I have been getting them ready for Pathfinder 2 which is due August 1st 2019 and I feel that some of the changes improved how the game was played though a few did require changes to make them fun at the table.

While using house rules in a home campaign makes the game unique and thematic it also runs the risk of abuse by players who see a loophole that breaks the character builds. These changes are not advisable without thought on their impact.

  1. Attacks don’t degrade with each strike – So when I write up weapon I only need to deal with how a single attack would work and note down which features make items usable in two hands, or with special abilities. So a full round action can just pick any one the weapons and note down how many attacks the player can then use with that item.
  2. Critical Hits – We have a 6 point critical hit option that makes critical hits more likely at higher level, and lead to more fun at the table. Each weapon has a Crit rating and if you equal or beat that over the targets armour class then you critically hit your opponent. If you roll a natural 20 you increase the attack effect by one step, which can make an amazing critical. If you roll 10 less than the targets armour class it is a critical miss, and if you roll a natural 1 you decrease the attack effect by one step, which can make a spectacular fumble.
  3. Innate Item Bonus – This rule comes from the Pathfinder Unchained rulebook and it removes all items from the game that have a primary ability of granting a bonus to attribute, armour class or saving throws. What it does instead is provide those bonuses as enhancements to existing items so there are items used besides ring of protection, cloak of resistance and belt or headpiece of attribute increase. To make this work with the innate item bonus rules I have allowed the combination of items rules from the Core Rulebook (yes its there) to combine a couple of magical items into a single item to meet the cost requirements to then provide the innate item bonus.

Conclusion

This was an exercise to provide a more interesting character to the game that seems to have worked. I like how it turned out the other players at the table like how it plays and is described and the player using it is enjoying the themes that he has seen in play carried into the character build. Here is how the stat block turned out using my house rules as well.

FINAL STAT BLOCK
Captain Falken Drango
Male Half-Elf Freebooter 16 (Dread Pirate Dragno)
CN Medium humanoid (human), Age 20 (second life)
Init +12; Senses Perception +19 (+21 at sea), low-light vision
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
DEFENSE 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
AC 34, touch 25, flat–footed 33 (+7 Armour, +7 Dex, +8 Cha, +1 Natural, 
+1 Deflect) 
hp 164 (16 HD; 16d10+64) 
Fort +13 (Base 10), Ref +17 (Base 10), Will +8 (Base 5); +4 vs. fear, 
+2 vs Enchatnment
Immune magical sleep
Defensive Abilities Damage Reduction (10/Adamantine), flashy fighter 
(+8 AC), Improved Uncanny Dodge
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
OFFENSE
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Speed 30 ft. 
Weapons:
  - Hellfire Skillet (secondary) +24, magic, light, Cold Iron, range 5 ft,
    Thrown 10 ft, Hit: 1d6+5 Bludgeoning + 1d6 Fire, Crit 10; x3 (+ extra 
    2d10 fire on crit)
  - Scimitar (primary) +25, magic, light, range 5 ft, Hit: 1d6+6 Slashing, 
    Crit 8:, x2
  - Unarmed Strike (Secondary) +22, light, magic, range 5ft, Hit: 1d3+5 
    Bludgeoning, Crit 10; x2, lethal or non-lethal
(A) Standard Action
    (A) Attack – make a single melee, thrown or ranged attack
(FR) Full Round Action
    (FR) Full Round Attack – make up to four attacks in a round at same 
    attack value with a primary weapon
    (F) Speed Scimitar – add an extra attack with scimitar
    (F) Two-Weapon Fighting – add three extra attacks with offhand weapon 
(S) Swift Actions – One swift action a round
    (S) Dreadful Gaze +20, range 30 ft vs 10+HD+Wis mod or shaken 1 round 
    (+1 for every 5 over DC) 
(F) Free Actions 
    (F) Ambush - +5 to Attack and Damage is opponent is flanked or 
    flatfooted
    (F) Dirty Fighting (+4d4) when melee target is denied dex bonus or 
    flanked. Not multiplied on a crit, or works on concealed creatures
    (F) Stunning Fist (2/day) declare before attack, Fort (DC 18) or 
    stunned till your next turn. Once per turn.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
STATISTICS 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Str 16 (+3), Dex 24 (+7), Con 16 (+3), Int 14 (+2), Wis 16 (+3), Cha 26 (+8)
Base Atk +16; CMB +19; CMD 35 
Feats: Catch Off-Guard (p), Dreadful Gaze (hr), Improved Initiative (p127), 
Improved Two Weapon Fighting (p), Improved Unarmed Strike (p128), Piratical 
Nerve (rc416), Seaworthy (rc416), Stunning Fist (p135 B), Weapon Focus – 
Scimitar (p136)
Skills: Acrobatics +16 (+18 at sea), Appraise +10, Bluff +21, Climb +12, 
Diplomacy +21, Disguise +19, Escape Artist +17, Intimidate +20, Perception 
+19 (+21 at sea), Profession (sailor) +13 (+15 at sea), Sense Motive +17, 
Stealth +21, Swim +20 
Languages: Aquan, Common, Elven 
Gear: Torn black leggings, leather belt, lockpick (was concealed in lining 
of leather belt) and masterwork manacles. 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
TACTICS
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Falken Drango is one of the most feared pirates on the seas, and he is no 
pushover even manacled and weaponless. He always Intimidates foes within 30 
ft. as per his Dreadful Gaze feat. He Stunning Fists anyone who gets in the 
way of his escape. If aided, he flashes a smile at the PCs saying “Many 
thanks to ye. Apologies sirs and madams, ya ain’t catch’n me at me best, to 
be sure.” If he is apprehended he goes down with a snarl and “I toll ya’ll 
ready I’m not da one a’ put me crew to da sword!” If he escapes (or is 
freed from the brig later), he arms himself with whatever weapons and 
armour are available (though he will not wear armour heavier than studded 
leather).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
FEATS
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catch Off-Guard (p119): Improvised melee weapons don’t have penalties, and 
melee opponents are considered flat-footed.
Dreadful Gaze (hr): As a swift action, Intimidate all within 30 ft (+20 vs 
10+HD+Wis mod) and targets shaken for 1 round. For every 5 points above 
target number they are shaken for an additional round.
Greater Two Weapon Fighting: Gain a third attack with your offhand weapon.
Improved Initiative (p127): +4 to initiative checks
Improved Two Weapon Fighting – Gain a second attack with your offhand 
weapon
Improved Unarmed Strike (p128): Always armed, do not provoke attacking 
while unarmed. Unarmed strikes deal lethal or non-lethal.
Piratical Nerve (rc416): +4 to Will saves again mind-affecting fear 
effects. You cannot be coerced or shaken though intimidation.
Seaworthy (rc416): +2 competence bonus to all Profession (sailor) checks, 
+2 circumstance bonus to Acrobatic checks to balance at sea, and +2 
circumstance bonus to vision based Perception checks made at sea.
Stunning Fist (p135): 2/day declare an attack as a stunning fist. DC 10 + ½ 
level + Wis mod. 1 stun for every 4 levels.
Throw Anything (-): Improvised ranged weapons don’t have penalties. +1 to 
splash weapons.
Two-Weapon Fighting: Gain a attack with your offhand weapon, you add your 
full strength mod to the attack if appropriate
Weapon Finesse – Can attack with light melee weapons, using desterity 
instead of strength
Weapon Focus (p136) +1 to attack with chosen weapon, 2nd attack in round 
with same weapon has no multi-attack penalty
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
FEATURES
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Freebooter Talents: Ambush (12), Improved Ambush (14), Improved Uncanny 
Dodge (8), Nimble Footwork (4), Prenatural Instincts (6), Scrambling 
Evasion (10), Uncanny Balance (16), Uncanny Dodge (2)
Defensive Style – Flashy Fighting +Cha Mod to AC when Dex can be applied
Ambush – Can add Int bonus to attack and damage if opponent is flat-footed
Improved Ambush – May also add Int to attack and damage if opponent is 
flanked.
Improved Uncanny Dodge – Cannot be flanked, immune to sneak attack unless 
opponent is four levels higher
Nimble Footwork – while moving through threatened squares with Acrobatics, 
you don’t lose half your movement. Med or Heavy armour stops this ability.
Prenatural Instincts – Add intelligence modifier to all initiative checks
Scrambling Evasion – When making a Reflex save, can also make an Acrobatics 
roll that if you succeed on both you get an immediate action to move up to 
half your speed.
Uncanny Balance – Has advantage on Acrobatic rolls, never loses Dex to AC 
when balancing, and takes half the penalty for moving while balancing.
Uncanny Dodge – Keeps dex bonus to AC even if flat footed or attacked by an 
invisible foe.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
EQUIPMENT (240,000 gp worth)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Body Slot Item: (131,000 gp)
 - Belt of Stoneskin – DR 10/Adamantine until it takes 100 points of damage
 - Blinkbak Belt – Weapons thrown from the belt within two rounds of being 
   drawn from it reappear on the belt if thrown.
 - Heavyload Belt – Wearer under the effects of Ant Haul
 (Innate Item Bonus) +6 to Dex, +4 to Con
Head Slot Item (72,800 gp)
 - Hat of Disguise – Cast disguise self
 - Storm Lords Helm – Cast control weather, and call lightning
 (Innate Item Bonus) +6 to Charisma
Brawling Glamoured Studded Leather (uc119 – tba gp): Armour looks like  
normal clothing. +2 bonus to unarmed attack and damage, treated as magic  
weapon.
 (Innate Item Bonus) +4 to AC
Scimitar of Speed (ue148 74,500 gp): Weapon has a extra attack without 
multi-attack penalty. Does not stack with other effects giving extra 
attacks such as haste.
 - Efforless Lace – Treat the weapon as a light weapon
 (Innate Item Bonus) +3 to attack and damage
Swarmbane Clasp (5,000 gp) – deal full damage to swarms. Automatically 
succeeds on saving throws vs swarms.
 (Innate Item Bonus) +1 to Natural Armour
Ring of Swimming (4,500 gp) - +5 bonus to swim checks 
 (Innate Item Bonus) +1 deflection bonus to armour class
Onyx Dog – Can summon a celestial dog for 6 hrs once per week
Potions: (all in various alcoholic beverage design)
 - Potion of Pass Without Trace (smells of rum)
 - Potion of Enlarge Person (smells of whisky)
 - Potion of Remove Fear (smells very strongly of pure alcohol)
 - Potion of Protection from Arrows (smells of sweet wine)
 - Elixir of Fire Breath (smells of brimstone)
 - Elixir of Dragon Breath (copper) (smells of tarnish)
 - Elixir of Love (smells of rare flowers)
 - Elixir of Vision (smells of nothing)
Alluring Golden Apple - 

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