SKULLS AND SHACKKLES

All of the following traits revolve around characters that have a reason to be in Port Peril—the unruly capital of the Shackles—and the circumstances that brought them to the notorious dockside tavern known as the Formidably Maid, where they ran afoul of a press gang from the pirate ship Wormwood. You can take a look at these traits to get a general, spoiler-free idea of the types of foes and challenges your character might encounter over the course of the Adventure Path. Knowing that there are going to be elements of piracy, sailing ships, ancient cyclops ruins, and both jungle and underwater adventuring should help you build a character that fits more organically into the campaign you’re about to join.

Ancient Explorer: You are a student of the ancient history of Golarion, and you’ve come to the Shackles to explore the crumbling and vine-choked ruins of the cyclops empire of Ghol-Gan, which have lain abandoned among the isles of the Shackles for thousands of years. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (history) and Knowledge (local) checks, and one of these skills is a class skill for you. In addition, you gain Cyclops or Polyglot as a bonus language.

Barroom Talespinner: You grew up listening to tales of adventure and piracy on the high seas and the seachanteys of old salts in dockside dives. You learned all about what it’s like to be a pirate by talking with the sailors on shore leave, and learned how to tell a tale (or perform some other pirate entertainment) yourself. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Diplomacy checks and one category of Perform checks, and one of these skills is a class skill for you. In addition, once per week you can make a DC 15 Knowledge (local) or Intelligence check to see if you know a popular legendary pirate tale, the telling of which grants you a +1 trait bonus on checks made to influence NPCs on the Wormwood.

Besmara’s Blessing: You were born aboard a ship at sea or down by the docks in a port city on an auspicious day. Old salts and sea dogs nod knowingly and say that Besmara the Pirate Queen, goddess of piracy, sea monsters, and strife, has marked you for a greater destiny. You don’t know anything about that, but you’ve always felt more at home on the sea than on land, and your keen eyes can easily pick out a sail on the distant horizon. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Perception and Profession (sailor) checks. In addition, once per week you can reroll a Profession (sailor) check and take the higher result (you must announce that you are using this ability before the results of the check are known).

Buccaneer’s Blood: One of your ancestors was an infamous Free Captain of the Shackles, whose very name struck fear in the hearts of those who sailed the seas in search of an honest living. Piracy is in your blood, and you’ve always longed to follow in your forebear’s footsteps and plunder the shipping lanes. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Intimidate and Profession (sailor) checks. In addition, you gain a one-time +1 trait bonus to your Disrepute and Infamy scores (see “The Life of a Pirate” in Pathfinder Adventure Path #55 for details on the Infamy system).

Dockside Brawler: You grew up on the dangerous docks of one of the Shackles’ numerous ports or anchorages, and quickly learned that fists often make a better point than fancy words, especially when used the right way. You’ve always preferred action to talk, anyway. You gain a +1 trait bonus on damage rolls with brass knuckles (Advanced Player’s Guide 176) and improvised weapons.

Eye for Plunder: You’ve always had a keen eye for the glitter of gold or silver, and you’ve robbed enough rich merchants and raided enough ships to have a feel for where the most valuable plunder is hidden. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Appraise and Perception checks to find concealed or secret objects (including doors and traps). In addition, you begin the campaign with a selection mundane trade goods worth 50 gp that you were able to scrounge together during your first day on the Wormwood.

Ilizmagorti Native: You grew up in the city of Ilizmagorti on Mediogalti Island, a pirate port infamous for both the scoundrels who visit it and the feared Red Mantis assassins who run it. You’ve been around pirates all your life, but you’ve learned to be wary in your dealings with people, as there’s no telling who might be a Red Mantis in disguise. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Sense Motive checks, and Sense Motive is a class skill for you. In addition, your familiarity with the pirate’s life allows you to make untrained Knowledge (local) checks regarding pirates or the region of the Shackles.

Peg Leg: One of your legs was bitten off below the knee by a shark when you were just a child, and was replaced with a wooden peg leg (Pathfinder Player Companion: Pirates of the Inner Sea 20). You’ve long since gotten used to your prosthesis, however, and take none of the normal penalties from having a peg leg. You’ve had to learn to deal with the pain of your injury as well, and you gain a +1 trait bonus on Fortitude saves. Ever since your accident you’ve hated sharks, and you also gain a +1 trait bonus on damage rolls against sharks and other animals with the aquatic subtype.

Ship’s Surgeon: On a ship, a sailor often has to learn multiple skills, and this rule certainly applies to you. Your father was a woodworker, and you learned your first trade from him. But on your first voyage at sea you quickly found out that a carpenter is often a ship’s doctor as well—after all, who knows more about sawing off limbs than someone who saws wood for a living? People are a lot bloodier than wood, that’s for sure, but you haven’t had many complaints—those sailors who have enjoyed your services are either happy to be alive or dead, and there’s old salts who swear the peg legs you made them are better than the real legs they used to have. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Craft (carpentry) and Heal checks, and Heal is a class skill for you.

Touched by the Sea: You’ve always felt the call of the sea and your blood surges with the ebb and f low of the tides. Perhaps one of your parents was a sailor or pirate, or maybe one of your ancestors had a bit of aquatic elf or undine blood in them. Whatever the reason, you’re as comfortable in the water as you are on land. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Swim checks and Swim is a class skill for you. In addition, penalties on attack rolls made underwater are lessened by 1.

Skulls and Shackles

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