Help a pirate out!

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Well hello there d&d players of all ages! Long time reader, first time poster!

Now here's the problem, I'm kinda in a pinch. My dungeon master decided to do a pirate themed campaign (who doesn't like pirates?) and while we were discussing, he mentioned that he'd probably remove paladins from the game, since they are always have that "good" flavor stuck to them.

Of course, it had to give me an idea for a character! Picture the guy (Spanish, probably), sword loosely perched on his shoulder, playing with a coin in his left hand (his holy symbol, of course!) dreads with crosses attached to them. This pirate has control because this pirate believes, even though he's involved with the worst humanity can provide everyday.

But there are a few problems with this.

Mainly, if this guy is a paladin of the catholic church, *why* exactly would he spend his life as a pirate? How could he justify his actions?

One thing I thought about is that this character decided to live amongst the rascals of humanity to land a hand to them, to forgive them if they need to be so. That maybe he himself thinks that if he believes enough, he,ll always be able to save himself in the end.

Or something like that.

But I'm not really satisfied by that explanation, and I don't believe our dungeon master will be too.

I'm not really sure what to do...maybe there's some kind of cult or something that would allow a pirate to believe while still being a good ol' scallywag?

Or a way to twist the thinking so it may work?...

Any kind of help would be appreciated, thanks!
one: paladins in 4e are NOT alignment restricted, they're holy warriors for their faith imbued with power by a special ceremony. A 3.5 blackguard is a Paladin/rogue or Paladin/ranger (maybe Paladin/warlock) multiclass.

two: paladin of Umberlee, the ***** Goddess. perfect fit.

three: if you're not playing in a traditional D&D setting but in a Europe with fantasy, then... well... the Catholic Church is/was hardly a paragon of virtue. And you could be a privateer attacking the church's enemies.
You could play something along the lines of Black Bart, a gentleman pirate who was also very religious.

He's not a man of faith that joined some pirates.

He's a pirate who happens to also be a man of faith.
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I know paladins are not restricted by alignement in 4th ed, tell that to my dm, it's hard for him to shake that feeling off..heh.

But yes, it is true that the catholic church was far from a paragon of virtue..

And Zeldafan, I'll do some research on that character, sounds interesting!

Thanks to both of you.
Given the pirate/sea-based theme, a paladin is still pretty viable. I would probably try to barter some sort of class modification where you can swap your armor proficiencies with another class and gain something else, like the Swordmage's Warding ability, since, on the sea, you're just not going to wear plate, ever, period.

In a core setting, play a paladin of Melora. You espouse freedom and self-truth, encouraging others to act according to their true inner natures. The wild beasts of both land and sea fight and kill each other, yet both ultimately live in harmony, and you try to demonstrate this amongst your comrades.

For inspiration, consider Shephard Book from the Firefly series. A man of the cloth, a source of faith and inspiration amongst his peers, who's not afraid to get his hands dirty when he absolutely must. Of course, you'll be a slightly more combative variant, but the concept lends itself.

I like the idea. I'd suggest cross-training into rogue or ranger, just to give yourself a slightly more "rugged" feel to the character.

"Not only are you wrong, but I even created an Excel spreadsheet to show you how wrong you are." --James Wyatt, May 2006

Dilige, et quod vis fac

I know paladins are not restricted by alignement in 4th ed, tell that to my dm, it's hard for him to shake that feeling off..heh.

But yes, it is true that the catholic church was far from a paragon of virtue..

And Zeldafan, I'll do some research on that character, sounds interesting!

Thanks to both of you.

what's his e-mail? I'll be more than happy to.

or direct him to the boards here. look how many unaligned paladins of the Raven Queen there are!

a paladin is a holy warrior for his or her faith. which faith is up to the pally in question.

also, direct your DM to page 28 of the DMG. x2 since the game was designed with non lawful good paladins in mind.

another thing: remember all those PrC in 3.5 made to turn a non-paladin martial character into a holy warrior of their faith? yeah, paladins by any other name, just weaker. Now they're all just paladins.

and "radiant" damage is not holy or unholy, it's divine smotation damage.

[edit]+1 to Cohen95's post. A good trade would be the swordmage warding feature for the heavy armor. heavy armor is double plus ungood on ships. you might also want to look at the sword coast corsair PP (you'll have to multi to fighter, rogue or ranger to get it though).
Given the pirate/sea-based theme, a paladin is still pretty viable. I would probably try to barter some sort of class modification where you can swap your armor proficiencies with another class and gain something else, like the Swordmage's Warding ability, since, on the sea, you're just not going to wear plate, ever, period.

In a core setting, play a paladin of Melora. You espouse freedom and self-truth, encouraging others to act according to their true inner natures. The wild beasts of both land and sea fight and kill each other, yet both ultimately live in harmony, and you try to demonstrate this amongst your comrades.

For inspiration, consider Shephard Book from the Firefly series. A man of the cloth, a source of faith and inspiration amongst his peers, who's not afraid to get his hands dirty when he absolutely must. Of course, you'll be a slightly more combative variant, but the concept lends itself.

I like the idea. I'd suggest cross-training into rogue or ranger, just to give yourself a slightly more "rugged" feel to the character.

Yeah, I've been thinking of cross-training into rogue, as to take the most out of his charisma.

The warding could be a nice idea, yes, although one thing that could be interesting is a charisma, dex and wisdom based paladin that focuses on throwing knives. I won't do much damage, yes, but I'll be able to use some of the rogue based powers that uses light thrown weapons with the proper feats, and the dex would add to my AC, which is not a bad thing.

There is a problem, if I use light thrown blades as my primary weapons. No holy avenger, meaning if I want to wield an implement, I can't use a shield. And a protecting paladin with no shield...

Still, going around throwing blades does have a distinct pirate feeling about it, no?

But enough game talk! More character talk!

Paladin of Melora would fit..if my dm wasn't planning on going with a more traditional kind of setting: we have to use some of the real religions that were present around this time. I probably should have given that information in the first post, sorry.

what's his e-mail? I'll be more than happy to.

or direct him to the boards here. look how many unaligned paladins of the Raven Queen there are!

a paladin is a holy warrior for his or her faith. which faith is up to the pally in question.

also, direct your DM to page 28 of the DMG. x2 since the game was designed with non lawful good paladins in mind.

another thing: remember all those PrC in 3.5 made to turn a non-paladin martial character into a holy warrior of their faith? yeah, paladins by any other name, just weaker. Now they're all just paladins.

and "radiant" damage is not holy or unholy, it's divine smotation damage.

[edit]+1 to Cohen95's post. A good trade would be the swordmage warding feature for the heavy armor. heavy armor is double plus ungood on ships. you might also want to look at the sword coast corsair PP (you'll have to multi to fighter, rogue or ranger to get it though).

This warding thing sounds more and more interesting. I'll have to check how keen my dm is about changing the rule. Generally, he's the kind of guy who goes "stiry trumps rule" so it should work.
what's his e-mail? I'll be more than happy to.

or direct him to the boards here. look how many unaligned paladins of the Raven Queen there are!

a paladin is a holy warrior for his or her faith. which faith is up to the pally in question.

also, direct your DM to page 28 of the DMG. x2 since the game was designed with non lawful good paladins in mind.

another thing: remember all those PrC in 3.5 made to turn a non-paladin martial character into a holy warrior of their faith? yeah, paladins by any other name, just weaker. Now they're all just paladins.

and "radiant" damage is not holy or unholy, it's divine smotation damage.

[edit]+1 to Cohen95's post. A good trade would be the swordmage warding feature for the heavy armor. heavy armor is double plus ungood on ships. you might also want to look at the sword coast corsair PP (you'll have to multi to fighter, rogue or ranger to get it though).

Mechanically, heavy armor is not all that much a burden actually. Especially scale, with no armor penalty, has no impact on your athletics skill and therefore no impact on your ability to swim.
I'm thinking more and more that cleric might be a better choice for the character.

Sure, the whole conversation about "no paladin" spawned the concept, doesn't mean I can't think of something else to make it work.

p.s. I do hope ou DM gives uss all access to the athletic skill, or else some of us won't be able to swim! hehe.
Mechanically, heavy armor is not all that much a burden actually. Especially scale, with no armor penalty, has no impact on your athletics skill and therefore no impact on your ability to swim.

Mechanically, true. However, with this heavy of a theme, and a DM who clearly takes the rules as guidelines (not always a bad thing), heavy/metal armors just aren't really a good idea.

"Not only are you wrong, but I even created an Excel spreadsheet to show you how wrong you are." --James Wyatt, May 2006

Dilige, et quod vis fac

A couple of catholicy ideas for a pirate-paladin type character:

Sees the discrepancy between rich and poor, the merchants who rule with absolute power and the destitute who live in hunger and fear--wants to turn the tables. Like Friar Tuck in Robin Hood, he is a religious zealot out to mash the rich tyrants on the head and take their plunder both to ease the hurt of the commoners and to teach them a lesson.

Sees the riches of the merchants as lining the coffers of enemy faiths, spiritually harmful faiths that seek to supplant the just rule of the church with foreign worship. He's there to fight against his church's enemies by denying them the riches they are hording to sponsor armies and control kingdoms. If somebody doesn't stop these heretics they will have so much power that they will hold everyone in their thrall.

He's a missionary. His real desire is to redeem his fellow pirates, to turn them from the path of sin to virtue. He probably lived a pretty rough life before he found religion, and he understands the carnal appeal of the life of the scallywag. He has to be strong, to surround himself with violence, blasphemy, women and booze, but to rise above it. He does not kill except in self defense or to protect his friends, and never the authorities. It would cost him all he is to do so. He tries hard, in fact, to see that nobody gets hurt on either side, and while criminality permiates his lifestyle he tries hard not to become personally involved in it. Always he's the voice of reason, trying to turn the crew from the pirate life--using each tragedy and horror faced on the high seas as an object lesson, a clarion call to repent their lives of sin and turn away. But, it's not a mission that will be completed in a single sermon, and as earnestly as he wants to change them, he can't do that if he's made enemies of them through his relentless self-righteousness, or if he mouths off enough to be bound and tossed below decks for mutiny. So largely he just tries to be a counsellor to those that want someone to listen, and a friendly voice of reason to those who he thinks he can help. He waits for his moment, the big turning point, for things to get their worst and for the crew to hit rock bottom, for them to finally need him and what he can give them, then he can finally make everyone understand.
Now with 100% more Vorthos!
Someone on the Paladin forums suggested a parrying dagger.

Not a bad idea, but there's still the holy symbol problem.

The shiny coin as a holy symbol is kind of one of the fun parts about this character.

I guess cleric would be a good idea. In the end, the knife throwing is probably a bad idea.
What about a privateer like Sir Francis Drake? You are a pirate that specifically preys on the ships of enemy nations. During their battles for naval supremacy, I can almost guarantee that there were devout Spanish catholic privateers hunting for English ships. Another factor that made this easier to justify (for each country) was that the countries were on opposite sides of the reformation. The Spanish Catholics considered the English Protestants to be apostates and heretics, and vice versa. Your character may have no trouble "liberating" gold and valuables from heathens who would use them to further a heretical cause. Maybe you try to convert your prisoners too.

Also, in general....military ships have chaplains (priests). It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to think that a pirate ship would take aboard a priest/paladin. A pirate sailing in foreign seas is bound to come across various unholy threats from time to time....a paladin could be quite useful.
A couple of catholicy ideas for a pirate-paladin type character:

Sees the discrepancy between rich and poor, the merchants who rule with absolute power and the destitute who live in hunger and fear--wants to turn the tables. Like Friar Tuck in Robin Hood, he is a religious zealot out to mash the rich tyrants on the head and take their plunder both to ease the hurt of the commoners and to teach them a lesson.

Sees the riches of the merchants as lining the coffers of enemy faiths, spiritually harmful faiths that seek to supplant the just rule of the church with foreign worship. He's there to fight against his church's enemies by denying them the riches they are hording to sponsor armies and control kingdoms. If somebody doesn't stop these heretics they will have so much power that they will hold everyone in their thrall.

He's a missionary. His real desire is to redeem his fellow pirates, to turn them from the path of sin to virtue. He probably lived a pretty rough life before he found religion, and he understands the carnal appeal of the life of the scallywag. He has to be strong, to surround himself with violence, blasphemy, women and booze, but to rise above it. He does not kill except in self defense or to protect his friends, and never the authorities. It would cost him all he is to do so. He tries hard, in fact, to see that nobody gets hurt on either side, and while criminality permiates his lifestyle he tries hard not to become personally involved in it. Always he's the voice of reason, trying to turn the crew from the pirate life--using each tragedy and horror faced on the high seas as an object lesson, a clarion call to repent their lives of sin and turn away. But, it's not a mission that will be completed in a single sermon, and as earnestly as he wants to change them, he can't do that if he's made enemies of them through his relentless self-righteousness, or if he mouths off enough to be bound and tossed below decks for mutiny. So largely he just tries to be a counsellor to those that want someone to listen, and a friendly voice of reason to those who he thinks he can help. He waits for his moment, the big turning point, for things to get their worst and for the crew to hit rock bottom, for them to finally need him and what he can give them, then he can finally make everyone understand.

I really like this one. I'm surrounded by throat cutters, but I'll get to them eventually, just not now.

The "I'm not in a hurry" vibes are just what I'm looking for.
Someone on the Paladin forums suggested a parrying dagger.

Not a bad idea, but there's still the holy symbol problem.

The shiny coin as a holy symbol is kind of one of the fun parts about this character.

I guess cleric would be a good idea. In the end, the knife throwing is probably a bad idea.

holy symbols can be worn, they don't have to be carried.

you can wear it as a belt charm, a necklace, tied on to your hand, w/e.

You just can't have two.

another good (FR) deity for a pirate could be Waukeen, especially if you want a coin to be your holy symbol (it's Waukeen's holy symbol). You'd be somewhat outcast from the church though, since Waukeen focuses on trade and piracy is sorta anti-trade.
holy symbols can be worn, they don't have to be carried.

you can wear it as a belt charm, a necklace, tied on to your hand, w/e.

You just can't have two.

another good (FR) deity for a pirate could be Waukeen, especially if you want a coin to be your holy symbol (it's Waukeen's holy symbol). You'd be somewhat outcast from the church though, since Waukeen focuses on trade and piracy is sorta anti-trade.

A coin chained to a necklace wrapped around my wrist could be fun.

I still have to find a way to make a viable build however.

Someone did point out that if I am to wear light armor, the game expects me to keep on pumping int or dex to balance my AC.

Both both as a paladin or a cleric, I can't really afford that.

Although...

Parrying dagger + rapier using the two sword defense makes it that I get a +3 to ac and +1 to reflex. I could cross class into rogue to make the most of my dex.

I'm thinking more and more about going cleric, since I won't need to actually take the damage for the party, I can take more of a backline fighter (using my wisdom to blast the enemy), while I use the rare encounter power to defend myself against enemies that gets to close (shooting off an encounter power that uses dexterity)

How does that sound?

*edit*

I could also go with a parrying dagger instead of a shield (just because it looks awesome) and a hand crossbow (aka, a gun since we're in a pirate setting), to make full use of my dex and be totally badass.
A coin chained to a necklace wrapped around my wrist could be fun.

I still have to find a way to make a viable build however.

Someone did point out that if I am to wear light armor, the game expects me to keep on pumping int or dex to balance my AC.

Both both as a paladin or a cleric, I can't really afford that.

Although...

Parrying dagger + rapier using the two sword defense makes it that I get a +3 to ac and +1 to reflex. I could cross class into rogue to make the most of my dex.

I'm thinking more and more about going cleric, since I won't need to actually take the damage for the party, I can take more of a backline fighter (using my wisdom to blast the enemy), while I use the rare encounter power to defend myself against enemies that gets to close (shooting off an encounter power that uses dexterity)

How does that sound?

sounds like fun. good luck and happy hunting!

also, you should totally have a bunch of brooms (like, regular brooms) and the first time you take a prize after getting underway you should tie one upside-down (bristles up) to your flagstaff on the mainmast.
sounds like fun. good luck and happy hunting!

also, you should totally have a bunch of brooms (like, regular brooms) and the first time you take a prize after getting underway you should tie one upside-down (bristles up) to your flagstaff on the mainmast.

Does it have any signification?

I don't really get it...
Does it have any signification?

I don't really get it...

sorry, sometimes I forget not everyone is in the Navy. ;)

Yes, in USN and, iirc, Royal Navy tradition (though most people don't know it and it's not really used anymore), an upside down broom on the mainmast signifies that "we have engaged the enemy and have sunk her."

I'm not really saying you should directly copy that, but how about you do something like sail into port and if you captured a prize you have a glaive, blade up, tied to your yardarm or jackstaff to signify "we have captured a prize!"
sorry, sometimes I forget not everyone is in the Navy. ;)

Yes, in USN and, iirc, Royal Navy tradition (though most people don't know it and it's not really used anymore), an upside down broom on the mainmast signifies that "we have engaged the enemy and have sunk her."

I'm not really saying you should directly copy that, but how about you do something like sail into port and if you captured a prize you have a glaive, blade up, tied to your yardarm or jackstaff to signify "we have captured a prize!"

That's kind of awesome, I think I'll do that!

Well, so I got my pirate. Spanish seadog who happens to be a man of faith, crosses in his braids, beard shaved neatly. A gold chain wrapped around his wrist from which a gold coin with crosses on it's two faces is dangling loose. He's got a nice carved gun on his right, and a crude parrying dagger on his left. He knows he's got a whole ship to save -one day- but hey, he's not in a hurry, it'll happen when it'll happen. Meanwhile, he can sure do his part by giving some of the swags to the people who needs it.

And of course, god won't be angry if he takes, says, a small percentage of the benefits too.

He's Castel "Grim Eye" Vega.

And he can handle and squid headed, bone bodied, demonic sea scum you throw at him.
That's kind of awesome, I think I'll do that!

Well, so I got my pirate. Spanish seadog who happens to be a man of faith, crosses in his braids, beard shaved neatly. A gold chain wrapped around his wrist from which a gold coin with crosses on it's two faces is dangling loose. He's got a nice carved gun on his right, and a crude parrying dagger on his left. He knows he's got a whole ship to save -one day- but hey, he's not in a hurry, it'll happen when it'll happen. Meanwhile, he can sure do his part by giving some of the swags to the people who needs it.

And of course, god won't be angry if he takes, says, a small percentage of the benefits too.

He's Castel "Grim Eye" Vega.

cool! what class did you settle on? and what initial feats?

this character kinda has me pumped (I always wanted to do a Stormwreak campaign in 3.5 but never had a chance) and I'd like to see what you did with him!

also, check the Ten Minute Background thread (link in my sig) for an easy way to get the creative juices flowing on his backstory.

I expect a full level one stat block :P
cool! what class did you settle on? and what initial feats?

this character kinda has me pumped (I always wanted to do a Stormwreak campaign in 3.5 but never had a chance) and I'd like to see what you did with him!

also, check the Ten Minute Background thread (link in my sig) for an easy way to get the creative juices flowing on his backstory.

I expect a full level one stat block :P

I'm going to post that tomorrow however, I have class in the morning and I've dig quite a lot into my sleeping time already :p.

But the stat block will be here tomorrow, as for the background, I'll write something.

I hope my DM will accept it however.

One thing, my DM decided to go with an all human campaign, but since he didn't want to cut off all the things the races have to offer, he still allows us to use races but it affects how our character look. So let's say I decide to go with elf, it just means that I'm a kinda tall and very skinny man.

As for the class, I've settled on priest with a parrying dagger and a gun (hand crossbow, same thing). Still unsure as far as the Paragon path goes, but epic will probably be either deadly trickster (c'mon, it's a pirate folks!) or eternal seeker (sounds good for a man of faith.)

Demigod sounded fun, but I honestly don't know how to get the catholic church to worship a pirate as a saint.
I'm going to post that tomorrow however, I have class in the morning and I've dig quite a lot into my sleeping time already :p.

But the stat block will be here tomorrow, as for the background, I'll write something.

I hope my DM will accept it however.

One thing, my DM decided to go with an all human campaign, but since he didn't want to cut off all the things the races have to offer, he still allows us to use races but it affects how our character look. So let's say I decide to go with elf, it just means that I'm a kinda tall and very skinny man.

As for the class, I've settled on priest with a parrying dagger and a gun (hand crossbow, same thing). Still unsure as far as the Paragon path goes, but epic will probably be either deadly trickster (c'mon, it's a pirate folks!) or eternal seeker (sounds good for a man of faith.)

Demigod sounded fun, but I honestly don't know how to get the catholic church to worship a pirate as a saint.

watersoul genasi for race might be fun. and I'm tellin' you, Sword Coast Corsair :D

both are in the FRPG, though, and I don't know if that's allowed by your DM.
Hmm, the problem with the corsair is that I'm going to suck in melee.
"radiant" damage is not holy or unholy, it's divine smotation damage.

Sorry, I really wanted to put 'smotation' in quotation...
Hmm, the problem with the corsair is that I'm going to suck in melee.

how are you going to suck in melee? you're, like, all melee, aren't you?
how are you going to suck in melee? you're, like, all melee, aren't you?

Nah, I'm going for a ranged character. Strength is going to be my worst stat.

I decided to go with that because as a two weapon wielding rascal, sure I'd be able to deal decent damage when I shoot off the occasional rogue dexterity based attack, but once I'm out of those my strength won't be high enough to support me. It's going to be a wisdom-dexterity-charisma build after all.

I short, I'll be a gun pirate. Arr.
Nah, I'm going for a ranged character. Strength is going to be my worst stat.

I decided to go with that because as a two weapon wielding rascal, sure I'd be able to deal decent damage when I shoot off the occasional rogue dexterity based attack, but once I'm out of those my strength won't be high enough to support me. It's going to be a wisdom-dexterity-charisma build after all.

I short, I'll be a gun pirate. Arr.

alright then. happy hunting.
Well, it'll have to wait, apparently I have to sort a few things out with my DM first.
Didn't read all the posts, but in short...

Many Pirates were very religious. A number of the more prominent ones had a private pew/box/balcony in the cathedral at their "home port".

A privateer, as many said, is a pirate with a bit of paper making it legal in the eyes of the King/Queen.


I'd say, play him like this.
Moral Rule One: Enimies of the Church are willfully wrong, and I have no duty to make them see right, only to stop them.
Moral Rule Two: Pirates (Which I am not) are bloody murderers and thieves. They deserve punishment, and have no right to the treasure they take. It is justifiable for me to Punish them, and then claim their ill gotten treasure to use for good works.
Moral Rule Three: I spare the Innocent and Misled. In a convenient manner. If I leave them on a desserted island, someone will pick them up. If not, that is the will of the gods, and who am I to gainsay my god/goddess.
Moral Rule Four: I am doing the work of my god/goddess. It is imperitive that I do my work, and do it efficiently. Therefore, it is only proper that I keep anything I reclaim/find/borrow which will Facilitate my doing these good works. Like this magic sword. With the Governers initials on it. He doesn't really need it, and I'm not even sure it's his.
Moral Rule Five: All these things I do to better serve my god/godess and his/her plan. I must, ALWAYS, remember that, and not stray from that path. It is what seperates me from the villians and pirates.
Brew'N Games: A Homebrewing Blog, Both Games and Beer. "The Sky is Falling Like a Sock of Cocaine in the Ministry of Information..." - Man Man, Black Mission Goggles
Great thread, 'tis a pity I didn't spy it before! Thar be very good suggestions so far, ye Ladies an' Gentlemen o' Fortune!

Just a few quick notes, Florean, matey,

Remember that discipline on pirate ships wasn't as severe as on merchant vessels or in the navy, pirates had more leeway, but while there were quite a score of rotten apples, pirates usually weren't the most violent bunch. In fact, they could be quite egalitarian in some ways. Also, pirates 'ad indeed some code of conduct, set down in their articles.

As for a Pirate visionary, there 's Captain Charles Johnson's fictional account of Captain Misson, a pirate who had quite some standards. He believed in humanity and compassion and tried to build a free society on Madagaskar. He and his companion were fed up with the Catholic Church, but that didn't mean that they became demon-worshippin' inhumane monsters, but tried to adhere to the ideals of the Enlightenment. Which, by the way, had a sort of cult in itself, so I reckons there could Masonic Paladins as well, but I 'll keep that for another time.

Cheers!

Captn M.

Better to fight windmills than become a miller!