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101 Pirates and Privateer Traits (PFRPG) $5.99
Average Rating:4.5 / 5
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101 Pirates and Privateer Traits (PFRPG)
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101 Pirates and Privateer Traits (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/21/2012 14:25:11
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=23037.

From Blackbeard to Cpt. Jack Sparrow, pirates have always been and will always be cool! We even get excited when misshapen but loveable characters like Sloth get in on the pirate action. Playing a pirate at the gaming table is a safe and less expensive way to enjoy the taste of a dagger between our teeth than say dressing up as one at the Ren Fest. (Don’t ask me how pirates got to be part of Ren Fest, I really don’t know….) Confusion aside, 101 Pirate and Privateer Traits is an exceptional product that was done with a tongue and cheek sensibility that is mechanically sound and really interesting.

OVERALL

Wow! The content in 101 Pirate and Privateer Traits might cause your seafaring character to be epic and your GM to run an amazing nautical adventure.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
There were no surprises publication-quality wise from Rite Publishing on this one. All of the art was public domain and had cohesion that I have been hounding Rite Publishing to achieve review after review. Finding Pirate and Privateer art isn’t nearly as difficult as finding art for the more esoteric subjects that Rite Publishing tackled in the past. Even with the “easy” subject matter, Rite did a great job with this one. Not only was the art well selected, it was well matched with the traits. There were a few small editing mistakes and at this stage of the game those are mistakes that I will ding Rite for. The art used for the Undying Curse trait on page 13 blew my mind, subtle and really cool!

Value Add: 10 out of 10
If you are playing a nautical campaign this is a 10 out of 10, if you are playing a swashbuckler of any type this is a 10 out of 10. For you’re a normal, everyday, land-bound heavily armored type there is value, but not Bo Derrick value. This supplement is great for players who need some ideas for character development. The traits, while focused and cleverly named with Pirate and scurvy, sea sodden names, still have value for other types of characters. Each entry is written like a little story and could be altered with minimal time and effort to fit into landlocked campaigns. The naming conventions would be lost but the essence of the entries would still be solid. As a tool for GMs 101 Pirate and Privateer Traits is a must have! These traits will pimp out your PCs and make your NPCs feel less non!

Overall: 9 out of 10
In the beginning of this review I made it a point to mention the designer’s note at the beginning of the book and now I feel I owe it to tell you why. This note lays it out on the line. I have read many designer’s notes that sound more like excuses than information. This note laid out the purpose of this product and let you know that this isn’t your normal 1 or 2 to a stat kind of book. This book puts the traits firmly in the GMs hand while still giving enough mechanics information to make it all work. This is a smart person’s product that is well thought-out and fun to read. This is one of those products that you have to Sea, to believe.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Pirates and Privateer Traits (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/01/2012 06:16:16
Weighing in at 18 pages, the latest installment in the 101 series tackles the traits of Pirates and Privateers with an absolute stroke of genius, not only in the design of the traits themselves, but in many of the names. How can one not love a product filled with traits by such names as Bloodthirsty Pirate, or Crack Jenny's Tea Cup, and of course Fight Like a Pirate.

Pushing the concept of what is a trait further than the same old same old, Steven D. Russell really delivers with this collection. Presenting a collection of traits that will rely upon GM's with a brain, this is not a collection of +1 to whatever traits you might be used to, but rather story based traits, that will bring a new level of depth to the characters they are applied to. Design of this nature is one of the reasons Rite Publishing stands on the frontlines when it comes to 3PP's.

A few choice examples would be Brethren of the Coast, loyalty to your own rings through. Face Death With Dignity, leaves a survivor of a crew of pirates with a new outlook on fear, as long as he kept his cool the first time around. Fight Like a Pirate, demands to be mentioned again, lol, whereas it is in fact a +1 type of trait, it still comes with a great concept, and one that fits the concept of a pirate so well.

Captain's Compact struck me as a great trait to really show off the vast difference in this collection of traits to the majority of what I've seen up to this point when it comes to traits in the Pathfinder system. With Captain's Compact your character has, at some point, cut a deal with a pirate captain. The details are to be worked out between you and your GM (and several options are given), but the benefits of this trait are sheer gold, you essentially get to swap skills x amount of times per week, when you're facing a skill check. Why? Because the pirate captain becomes a resource, that you can tap for information and such. And that folks, is brillaint. Steven could of easily wrote the name of the trait, and the words swap skill in skill check x times/week, and called it a day. But instead he gave us, oh so subtly, an entire hook for further adventures, disguised as a trait. By giving players and GM's traits that are this thought provoking , what he has done is pulled out a few gray crayons from the box, and slipped in a few more colorful ones. He's provided tools to tell a little bit better of a story, before you even get started playing.

I did find myself at a loss over one of the better traits in the book however as far as sheer comical genius goes, Parrot Voice. As it reads, brings to mind the classic wise cracking stereotypical pirate parrot, but how does one use it, when it says whatever it wants, when it wants? And am I just having a truly empty moment, as the wording regarding the monkey totally lost me as to what it meant.

Obviously, this collection of traits is geared toward a certain style of player, and character, now that's not saying that without a few tweaks here or there several of them could not be applied to other character concepts. But, to truly appreciate this collection, I can't help but think that going with using it as it was intended would be the way to go.

Formatting wise, the layout follows the dual column approach, with artwork embedded throughout. I found no grave errors with grammar. The art follows the theme for many of Rite's books, and brings with it very old world feel that works especially well in this PDF. Alas, no bookmarks once again.

And, for my fellow Hero Lab users out there, the files installed without a problem, and yes, it is kind of cool to finally see a massive amount of options when you click the trait tab. This product continues what I am hoping is a growing trend, as I love seeing 3PP's embrace the Hero Lab community, and show us some love. If I could find a negative to say, it would be that nowhere within the book could I find even a mention of what minimum data pack requirements Hero Lab users needed to worry about before trying to load the .HL file. I know the concept of remembering something of that nature is new, but it is an important thing, as not every Hero Lab user has purchased all of the data packs, and they need to know if they can load custom packs or not.

So, final tally... Am going to go with a 4.5, as the entire Hero Lab issue hits home for me, and Parrot Voice really is worded confusingly. So, rounding up, cause this product deserves it, we're going with a 5 star rating on this one.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Pirates and Privateer Traits (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/29/2012 09:14:13
Iron Nugget

101 Pirates and Privateer Traits provides over 100 creative traits for rogues, pirates and swashbuckling type characters. Even if your campaign is landlocked, the writers do an excellent job of making a good many of the traits accessible whether you are on a boat. The 18 pages compacts a decent amount of fluff with mechanics for each entry.

Iron Uses: Great for Players and Dungeon Masters looking to spice up their rogues or add some chaotic flavor to their character. it goes without saying that this is a must have if you are running a sea campaign.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
101 Pirates and Privateer Traits (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/06/2012 07:14:25
This pdf is 18 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of advertisements and 1 page SRD, leaving 13 pages of content, so let's check out these new traits for pirates and privateers, especially useful for the Skull & Shackles-AP or Freeport-campaigns.

Before I get into this review, I have to make something clear: I really like the basic premise of traits - further individualizing characters according to their backgrounds. What I personally always considered balanced, but oh so boring, was the execution of most traits: Let's face it - a minor bonus of +1 or 2 to skills is nothing to write home about. This installment of the 101-series thankfully takes another approach to traits: Essentially, the design-goal of this pdf, according to a side-box, is pushing the boundaries and adding a bit excitement to traits. Essentially, traits in this book are often more powerful than usual for traits, but come with restrictions on their usability.

A neat example for this new approach would be the trait "Balance the Books" - a friend or allied NPC is indebted to you in such a way that they're willing to lay down their life for the PC. This might have them take the place of the character in prison, resurrect the character once or do a similar, significant task on behalf of the PC - but only once. Another rather interesting case would be "Accursed Corsair", which enables the PC to take an oracle's curse, including all penalties and benefits. If you haven't noticed by now, the traits not only go beyond what you'd usually expect, but also provide what I'd consider "background-hooks". In my home game, I tend to give story-awards for good background stories and in-built character hooks and exactly as such can many of these traits be considered. One of my favorite traits assumes that you have made a dark pact that lets you summon a desolate ship/ghost vessel, usable only by you and your first mate, rise from the waves - which might, at least once, save your skin. While not worth anything, the iconic act of raising a ship from Davey's locker is just too cool, even if you cannot sell it for gain.

Of course, more mundane traits are included as well: If you for example want a weaponized peg-leg there's a trait for it, as there's one for having depth-perception in spite of just having one eye and an eye-patch. "By Land or by Sea" is another smart trait, granting your merfolk character the amphibious subtype and the ability to change into biped-form. If you're inclined to play rather a noble and cool commander, "Face Death with Dignity" might be up your alley: Once per week, when being under the effects of fear, you ignore the frightened condition and gain a modified version of the confusion condition, sans "attack self" and "attack nearest creature", but with +2 to Str and Con and +1 to will-saves. The restriction to "usable once per week" is applied in more than one trait, making what would otherwise be too strong for a trait actually work well and more importantly: COUNT. A trait that is integral part of your background story might actually make a DIFFERENCE. This is why I really like this book - it provides traits that deserve the name and re-imagine the rather bland basic concept of traits to a new level that makes them feel more distinct from feats, talents etc.

I also enjoyed a trait that lets you start play as a restless soul (from the excellent RiP-supplement or In the Company of Monsters) or start game with a curse that ensures you becoming one. My absolute favorite of the bunch, though, is the trait "Parrot Voice": You are mute, but gain a parrot-familiar that squawks the somatic components of your spells while sitting on your shoulders. This is genius!

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are slightly worse than I've come to expect from Rite Publishing: Aforementioned Parrot-Voice trait e.g. suffers from 2 minor glitches. While not impeding my ability to understand the content, I think that another pass at editing would have been a good idea. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard and the classic stock-art pictures are fitting. The pdf comes with no bookmarks, which is another minor downer. I'm in a bit of a pinch here: On the one hand I absolutely LOVE the new approach taken to traits herein. On the other hand, this installment of the 101-series is not as stunningly awesome as its predecessor. While still a good book oozing usability and cool options for any Freeport or Skull & Shackles-game, I feel that this book could have used a bit more polish on the side of formal criteria. In the end, though, all my points of criticism have to be taken as nagging on a very high level. My final verdict will thus be 4 stars - a good book that falls a bit short of absolute excellence.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
I wanted to take Thilo, for taking the time to do a review of our product.
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