Quote: “Well, now I tell you, I never seen good come o’ goodness yet. Him as strikes first is my fancy; dead men don’t bite; them’s my views– amen, so be it.”
Israel Hands: Treasure Island
S. Versatile, not constrained to convention, can leverage weak spots in others
W. Shifting loyalty, repetitive tasks,
O. Can take advantage of inconsistencies in rules, staff, or situations, can get the “dirt” from other division to leverage.
T. Direct combat, highly structured environments, trained specialists
The pirate is a skilled navigator of both the open sea and back alleys. She is a master of trade, disguise, and subtlety. She can pick lockboxes, walk tightropes, and slide a dagger between the ribs of unexpecting opponents.
The pirate is a powerhouse of diversity. She has picked up skills from every port and quickly mastered those she knows will help her gain the upper hand in the future. She probably has the widest of range of skills that directly relate to accomplishing the goal. Pirates practice these skills diligently during their travels because they never know when a particular trick will be needed to save their lives. They know that if they are not always at their best, then they will be rewarded with a “short drop and sudden stop.”
Pirates constantly sidestep authority and rules, viewing them as unnecessary obstacles to getting things done. They are extremely practical problem solvers. For example, why spend 100 coins if 50 can produce the same outcome? In this way, pirates are wonderfully frugal with their resources.
A pirate will almost always know a guy who knows a guy who can get the job done. Sometimes, this will give others access to resources that just “fell” off the back of the boat. At other times, it will open doors to powerful people… after all, the doorman may owe the pirate a favor.
Pirates understand that the world is not fair, and they view it as their responsibility to even the odds a bit. If the rules keep you down, change them, avoid them, or break them- just don’t get caught. Pirates keep complex networks, webs tied together with coin, favor, and blackmail, which keep them informed on which way the tide has turned. In this way, pirates almost always end up on the winning side.
Pirates have the unique ability to strike at precisely the moment when their opponent is least expecting it, causing massive amounts of damage. They analyze their prey, study it’s weaknesses, wait for the right timing, then deliver this blow to be most effective. It will catch their opponent completely off guard, and leave them unable to react.
2. Traps and Snares
Pirates are not a direct-combat class. They don’t have the stamina or training to go head-to-head with martial classes for long. As a result, they are adept at laying traps for others that stack the odds in their favor. The pirate is adept at setting traps for any of the encounter types and using them effectively to overcome other classes. Because of this keen awareness of the environment, they are also masters of avoiding such entanglements directed at them by other classes.
3. Pistols and Poison
When cornered, the pirate will always have some trick up her sleeve to turn the tide of battle. In an encounter where the pirate can’t win fairly, expect her to fight dirty. If the enemy is better at swordplay, use a pistol. If the enemy uses pistols, use cannons, etc. The pirate can always be counted on to have some unexpected resource to tilt the odds in her favor.
4. Slippery- (evasive)
Pirates are slippery characters. They are able to slip shackles, pick locks, and out-talk authority figures in their near-miraculous feat of getting out of tight spots. These are essential skills when the pirate’s other alternative is to be caught and sent to the gallows. The pirate is wary of his environment and is careful to give herself a variety of ways out of a situation. She never knows when she will need to make a hasty retreat.
5. “Quid pro Quo”
Pirates always have friends in high places- and in low places. Life as a pirate is risky, to say the least, and one needs connections in all levels of society who will keep an eye out for the authorities… even if it costs the pirate something in return later. Pirates always have a network of people from all walks of life whom they can draw upon in times of need. This gives her access to unexpected resources and knowledge not normally associated with the pirate’s usual circles. This network can make a pirate extremely valuable to an organization.
Many are likely to look down their noses at the pirate and disdain her methods. The pirate’s effectiveness in an organization can not be overstated.
The pirate is excellent at getting things done, and for getting it done at a good price or with an economy of resources. Pirates are aware of the shortcuts available, how and when to use them, and how to not get caught in the act.
Not trapped in the realm of theory as wizards often are, pirates are likely your best practical individual contributors in the company. They are resourceful, effective, and focused, and their diverse skill set will enable you to get an amazing amount of progress done. Pirates may be equally skilled at navigating company terrain, throwing client events, or finding the exact right metric to watch to affect change in your company.
Second only to the bard in networking, the pirate will always have someone in their circle to ask for advice or lend a hand (for a price, of course.) You would be wise to let a pirate have a crack at problems that have you stumped. If they don’t know how to solve it, they are likely to know someone who will. Be prepared, however, to pay for these favors in one way or another.
Pirates partner with many other classes well. They understand that every class is gifted differently and will let others do what they do best. Why try and do something that another class can do more effectively? The pirate will know how to use each person around them to their utmost in the organization, though it is usually so it will make less work for themselves.
Pirates make excellent companions to gladiators and sorcerers because of their complementary temperaments and methods for completing work. Of course, supervisors would do well to isolate pirates from classes that are purpose- or structure-bound.
1. Pirate Code
Though many will think the pirate is an unscrupulous team contributor, it is likely that she is simply following a different set of rules. Pirates understand the rules that are truly important, like sticking together to overcome adversity, and those that aren’t. Pirates will find shortcuts in processes and loopholes in regulations to get the job done as fast as possible. The pirate sees nothing wrong with these methods; in fact, she regards it as necessary behavior for business as usual.
2. Pyrite Plated
Pirates are amazing at getting things done quickly, effectively, and more often than not, cheaply. He focuses on facts and actuality rather than concept and potential. Why worry about tomorrow when there is a problem today? While the work may be held together with duct tape and bailing wire, it will definitely get the job done until another class can do the deeper work needed. She is likely to turn in work that is good enough to pass inspection, but just barely. Any work that appears to sparkle is likely to be “fools gold”.
3. Pilfered Personas
The pirate has an extensive and deep skill list which enables her to perform in a variety of different roles in an organization. As an individual contributor, the pirate can appear as any other class, although unlike the Bard, she is less inclined to assume these roles for long. The pirate is proud of her independence and will only don these personas for a short time in order to achieve the immediate goals.
4. Pirated Talents
Pirates embody what it means to be an expertise-based class. There is no other class that has as deep an understanding on how to get things done. They are master appraisers, strategists, and entrepreneurs. They know how to get resources and information cheaply and know how to use them to high effect. Many admire the pirate for his effectiveness in the workplace, although they may not necessarily admire his methods.
5. Pleasurable Ports
Pirates live for experience and adventure. They want to see what life has to offer and will go to great lengths to explore new things. Repetitive tasks and processes will bore the pirate, who will, in turn, respond by either acting out or venturing into new activities to stay entertained. It is wise to find what motivates a pirate and make sure she gets plenty of treasure for the work he does. It is worth the price… usually.
Working in Groups
1. Breasted cards
Pirates will interact well with others but are careful not to give too much of themselves to the interaction. They are careful with their words and make sure not to be too direct with the truth. The truth they do share they is carefully measured and offered in exchange for valuable information the pirate can use later. She will always seek the upper hand in social interactions.
The pirate is not a “fight-to-the-finish” type of character. The moment she sees the battle is not going his way, she will start to look for likely paths of escape. Her philosophy is “She who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day.” The pirate can be a useful weathervane to determine how the battle is going. Pirates are among the first to know if/when something is going to fail and will be the first to withdraw. If the objective is worth the fight, the pirate will find some other means of winning it. Pirates do not go down with their ship.
3. First Strike
Pirates are not the type to sit on the their hands and wait for trouble to find them. They will not be caught off-guard in a situation and will instead look for an opportunity to act. A pirate assesses the situation and acts in the way best suited to get his target. For example, a pirate may quickly strike at scholarly classes before they can prepare their research, or he may set up elaborate traps for martial classes he can’t overcome in direct combat. Pirates will always be poised to act first.
The world is set against the pirate. Members of “civilized” society generally don’t appreciate the pirate’s talents or methods. Pirates are accustomed with this and comfortable with being the underdog in any given situation. The know how to navigate against unfair odds, unrealistic expectations, unjust rules, and inflexible procedures. They will only appeal to someone’s sense of fair-play if they know their opponent holds to these standards. This can be a particularly effective strategy against paladins and clerics.
Others may not appreciate the pirate’s methods or apparent work ethic, thinking the he is evasive and unfocused. While this is certainly not the case, it affects how others regard the pirate and his suggestions. Over time, this can cause groups to exclude pirates from sensitive situations and view them with distrust. It is important to be aware of this potential in a group dynamic and plan accordingly.
Management and Motivation
1. Treasure Map
Pirates work well with objectives and an awareness of the terrain in which they will be working. Having a map of some of the hazards along the way will allow the pirate to bring her extensive resources to bear on the problem. Further, a map of what your expectations are with regards to work quality and requirements will be essential. By doing this, you will ensure the pirate includes the basics needed for the work product. Pirates will get the job done but will use as little energy as possible to do it.
2. Wind in the Sails
Give pirates a chance to explore new things and new people during the course of their work. Their skills are grown from networking and a thorough study of various and diverse abilities. It is important not to constrain the pirate too tightly in how he does her work. She will be comfortable working around the rules to get the job done. You are best suited to focus on the results rather than the method of achievement.
3. …Two if by Sea
The pirate’s diverse skill set, mobility, and connections makes her ideal for scouting and intelligence-gathering activities. The pirate reports this information to the rest of the group, which has the dual effect of giving the group what they need to make good decisions and increasing the pirate’s standing in the group, thus making internal interaction easier. Using the pirate in this way is an ideal fit for all parties involved.
4. Web of Deceit
Pirates see plans within plans. They thrive in environments that have complex power-plays within hierarchies, veiled threats as subtext to conversations, and favors traded to unlock locked doors. Managers would do well to use pirates to their full potential and allow them to become involved in these aspects of the company or negotiation. One must exercise caution, however, as the pirate may use their skills to further their own goals over that of the manager.
5. Law of the land
Much has been said about the pirate’s unique skill set; however, it is important to consider how the rest of the organization will interact with someone who is comfortable in the grey areas of business. It is important to keep lawful and strong-willed classes away from the pirate, as they will inevitably cause strife in an organization due to their violated sense of fair play. Managers face the challenge of walking the tightrope between the needs of the company and needs of the team when using the pirates methods.
Jes had been hired by the Duchess Paloma D’Arcy Dowager to retrieve a stolen locket from her rival, Marquess Elvira Paisley. “Ah, aristocrats. What a waste of money,” thought Jes as she fiddled with the safe.
The sisters had been feuding for decades, ever since Paloma was given the higher office by the emperor. It had long been rumored that the Duchess had many a secret fling with the emperor before her ascension and that proof of her dalliance was contained in the locket.
The owner of this locket would be able to destroy the Duchess’s reputation and influence in court. This was something Paloma could not allow. Jes was a pirate, and not one to turn her nose up at such an easy score.
Click. The final tumbler slid into place on the wall safe and the door swung open. Jes peered into the cabinet and her eyes danced as she surveyed the sparkling gemstones and precious metals. The kaleidoscope of colors boasted great wealth, enough to keep the pirate in mead and men for a lifetime, but the locket was nowhere to be found.
“Where is it?” Twizzle whispered. Jes’ halfling first mate was an excellent cat burglar and a welcome companion in any caper.
“Patience,” Jes murmured, mouth puckering with concentration. “These are just a decoy. The true prize is here somewhere.” Jes expertly felt the inside of the cabinet, her fingers seeking out crevices and ledges for a secret latch or trigger.
And then… there. Jes’ fingers found a small depression in one of the wooden side panels which gave way under slight pressure. Small gears made a fast mechanical noise, and Jes snatched her hand away from the darts which shot out of the from behind the depression. They made a sharp thud on the opposite side of the safe, and Jes could see the projectiles were coded in deadly mamba venom. The poison would instantly kill anyone of Twizzle’s size, and paralyze even the stoutest man.
“These royalty folks aren’t a trusting lot, are they, Twizzle?” Jes remarked. Past the trap mechanism, Jes reached in and found a small latch which released a secret compartment. The back wall of the safe folded away. Upon a crystal pedestal stood a large ring. Thick bands of platinum circled each other and clasped a large ruby the size of a canary’s head. The inside of the band had the word, “Tretum,” set in brilliant yellow gold.
But, where is the locket?” Twizzle gasped. “We won’t get our payday if we don’t have the locket.”
“I’m sure we will be able to work something out,” Jes replied laconically. “But since we have come this far…” Jes slipped the ring off of its perch and into the pouch at her hip. Looking down at a battered gold pocket watch she wore around her neck, Jes remarked, “Not too far off schedule, Twizzle. Still, it’s time to go. Quickly, now.”
The two quickly traversed corridors, ran passed countless suits of armor, and slid down what seemed to be dozens of staircases. They finally skidded to a halt in front of two huge oaken audience chamber doors. Slowing only a little, Jes leaned into the right door and pressed on. With the faintest squeak of hinges, the door lazily swung open.
“You’re late!” The Duchess barked.
“A thousand apologies, your highness. I much regret the two extra minutes you were forced to wait.” Jes smiled and feigned a sloppy bow in the direction of the Duchess.
“Enough of that, you skulking dog! Did you find locket?! My spies say that there was no disturbance at the Estate of the Marquess. That would indicate that that you are either extremely good at your job, or that you are trying to cheat me. I pray for your sake that it isn’t the latter.”
Cool as a cat, Jes swaggered to the front of the chamber. From the vest pocket of her overly-loose jacket, she withdrew a serpentine silver chain. It ended in a petite oval locket. She held it up jauntily as she walked.
Twizzle shot a surprised look at Jes, who promptly glared back to ensure his silence.
The Duchess hungrily clawed at the locket when Jes brought it close to her. She snatched it from Jes and held it close up close to her face, inspecting every scratch and blemish. After a period of time, she appeared satisfied it was genuine and turned her gaze to the pirate, who stared boldly back.
“Well, it looks like you lived up to your end of the bargain. Take your money and get out of here.” The Duchess threw a large bag of coins toward the pirate and gestured peremptorily. “…No one must know that I have consorted with someone in your station.”
“I wouldn’t want that either, M’Lady,” Jes grinned wolfishly. “It was a pleasure,” she drawled, elongating the last word, “doing business with you.”
Later, in the alley, Twizzle couldn’t stand it any longer. “Okay, what just happened? Where did you get that locket? I thought she would have us in the gallows in a heartbeat when she found us sneaking around on her grounds.”
“Who do you think stole the locket in the first place, you twit? How else was I to get access to the Dowager Estate?” Jes smiled craftily. “Now, I wonder how much the Emperor Tretum will pay to get his signet ring back?”