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Character Generation Guidelines

Create first-level characters who want to be pirates. The player character start out having come to Port Peril to seek their fortunes. Each player character gets two starting Traits per the APG (see the the Skull and Shackles Player’s Guide for campaign traits).


Use the 20-point “High Fantasy” attribute buy as per


Generally the core races are allowed. (Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Half-Elves, Half-Orcs, Halflings, Gnomes.)


On the whole, piracy in The Shackles is a chaotic neutral affair, not a chaotic evil one. Players should not choose an evil alignment. There are evil pirates in The Shackles, but they are the bad guys.


Any of the base classes listed in the Core Rulebook or Advanced Player’s Guide are allowed. However, the GM must approve characters and it seems virtually impossible that a paladin pirate or a monk pirate in the Shackles would gain GM approval.

Players who want to explore the newer base classes introduced in the Advanced Player’s Guide (Alchemist, Oracle, etc.) will be taking on the extra workload of having to know the ins and outs of these newer classes.


  • Profession(Sailor) is the skill used to get things done on a ship. Players and their characters will be unhappy if they do not have this skill.
  • Stealing and pilfering happens regularly on a pirate ship. Skills for this are Stealth and Sleight of Hand
  • Ships sail in water. So Swimming is a good idea.
  • If you plan on finding your way with or without maps, Knowledge(Geography) and Survival will be useful.


If you are religious, Besmara the Pirate Queen is probably the deity for you.

Weapons and Equipment

Be sure to look in the Skull and Shackles Player’s Guide for new pirate weapons, like the cutlass, boarding axe, grappling hook, and of course the hook hand.

Pirate Weapons

Additional gear from Pirates of the Inner Sea is also available, though if you don’t have that supplement you’ll need to ask about it.

General advice

There is no great substitute for a copy of the rulebook with your spells bookmarked.

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