Daydreaming about Pirates

Daydreaming about Pirates

Justin Alexander


“We’re going to do a campaign where everyone’s a pirate! So the first thing we’ll need, of course, is an adventure explaining how the 1st level PCs get a ship and then encourage them to become pirates by–” Stop. Just say, “Everybody make a pirate.” #rpg #dnd

I don’t want to make a map and outline a world made of countless islands. I am already doing this in my head but I don’t want to make anything official until the players starting rolling up characters.

Dungeons and Dragons but pirate-y

Here’s what I know about what I want in a pirate D&D game:

  • No real world analogues: No British Empire but they’re elves, no Portugal but dwarves, no New World filled with orcs. NO NEW WORLD BUT ORCS. This leads us to my next thing…

  • No Colonialism as we know it: Sure there will be political battles for resources and power dynamics in play but nothing analogous to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade nor the way Europe treated the New World with noble savages…

  • Dungeons might be:

    Islands shaped like skulls

    Abandoned ships from the Sorcerer-Kings’ ancient fleet

    Corrupt merchants’ ships in need of pirating

    Fire Vikings’ volcano barrows

    Etc. (you get the idea)

  • Start with a ship: Name it, come up with the story of how you got it. Classes of ships are named after monstrous beasts (manticore, dragon, hydra, griffon, tarrasque).

    Also, the ship has a character sheet. I’m not sure what this will mean yet but we’ll figure it out.

  • Wierd fantasy: Tiefling Altar Ships, Dragonborn Lair-ships, Elf Druid Ships made of Living Mangove Forests, Foating Mountain Dwarf Ships.

    The Scar as inspiration.

    Conversation worth having – should we ditch this water and just play Spelljammer?

As the Alexandrian said, “Everybody make pirates.”