View Full Version : Creating a pirate 3.5

2009-11-18, 12:42 AM
So while every other week I play my artificer, another friend of mine has started running his own campaign on a desert world.

To get straight to it, my goal is to create an effective agile/dexterous sword fighter. Please bare with me as I'm tired as hell and my thoughts are incredibly jumbled.

I've already done some research on potential classes and what attracts me thus far is as follows:

1) Swashbuckler
2) Scout
3) Swordsage
4) Champion of Correlen Larethian

Now..I know that rogue could combine nicely with Swashbuckler, but I am NOT interested in just making a crazy sneak attack build. I'm trying to walk the line of 'effective' and 'roleplay accurate' which is why scout is much more appealing to me.

I should also note that the DM has offered to pretend there is a feat akin to Daring outlaw which allows me to stack swashbuckler/scout for skirmish/grace bonuses.

I also know that sword sage is good for a variety of reasons. We all know how awesome it is.

Last but not least the champion is there for flavor, I'd have to change a few words here and there but Rply I'm sure my DM would let me make some modifications so it fit, and it has some cool points that give it some flair but still seem useful.

So..my question is...if I am essentially building a finesse fighter and not a hulk smash fighter..these classes/prcs seem the most suiting to me..but I have no idea what the best way to combine them might be.

Any help, opinions, or suggestions are welcome.

Thanks in advance!

2009-11-18, 12:45 AM
Go straight scout (maybe 1-2 levels fighter for feats) and then dervish 10.

2009-11-18, 12:45 AM
Even if you don't want to be the super-sneak-attack guy, I'd still go with a rogue/swash if simply for the skill points.

2009-11-18, 12:47 AM
Oh yeah..good call, Dervish was one of the ones I was also interested in.

Again, tired, heh.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-11-18, 12:50 AM
Swordsage can get you dex to damage. Dread Pirate isn't a great PrC, but it does have the word pirate in it...

2009-11-18, 12:54 AM
Unfortunately, if memory serves, both the Dread pirate PRC and the Scarlet Corsair PRC were both..underwhelming.

2009-11-18, 12:58 AM
Maybe go Rogue/Swashbuckler and see if your DM will let you swap sneak attack for something else, maybe Scout's skirmish?
I think Scout/Swashbuckler could work very well, which really is basically what the above is...

2009-11-18, 05:41 PM
A few levels of Barbarian can actually make for an effective finesse fighter if you choose the right substitutions. Using Whirling Frenzy (from Unearthed Arcana) instead of Rage is more effective in a speed-based melee class, and you can either choose to keep the first-level speed bonus, or swap it out to follow the Lion Spirit divine path (from Complete Champion), which gives you Pounce at first level.

I'd definitely make Scout the main part of the build, with level dips in Barbarian and/or Swashbuckler. For a prestige class, you should strongly consider Thief-Acrobat (from Complete Adventurer). It gives a lot of the benefits Swashbuckler does (though admittedly not the hit die) without the dead levels. Dervish is also an excellent choice.

Can't say much on Swordsage, since ToB is pretty much outright banned in every game I've played in, but I'm currently playing a Pirate-themed speedster in an Eberron campaign, and the above is what's working for me. I won't post the build here, since I don't currently have it and it's an incredibly convoluted build, plus we're playing a modified Gestalt game (ie; we're allowed to Gestalt two prestige classes), so I'm not sure that the full build will help any more than my general notes above. If you're really curious, I'll dig it out, though.

2009-11-18, 05:43 PM
For the stereotypical swashbuckling pirate, Rogue/Swashbuckler with the Daring Warrior feat.

You could also do Swordsage or Warblade for a more exotic type; Rogue/Swordsage offers a lot of options (albeit being MAD).

2009-11-18, 05:44 PM
Dread pirate, but only if you have the leadership feat.

2009-11-18, 05:48 PM
Swordsage, definitely. Shadow blade (?) feat gets you dex to damage, and the Shadow hand school is full of sneaky pirate-y tricks. Diamond mind offers some nice stuff for the dextrous, graceful fighter concept as well.

If you like elf flavor ( as you mentioned Champion of Corellon Whatisface) then the Eternal Blade PrC offers that in spades, as well as being a great PrC in its own right.

2009-11-18, 05:48 PM
I played a pure Swashbuckler for 15 levels, and there was pretty much that there was nothing that I couldn't take in one-on-one combat. Work the dual wield tree, or weapon spec, throw in a good cha-score and some nice noncombatant skills, and you have a decent pirate with not too much work on the planning side.

2009-11-18, 06:22 PM
Two other classes that can also actually make great swashbuckling/nimble warriors are Factotum and Warblade. But it doesn't sound like you're all that interested in being high-Intelligence, so Factotum might not be the best for you; and Warblade isn't particularly skillful like Scout or Swordsage or Rogue.

Scout/Swashbuckler is a little bit weak, even with a houserule-modified Daring Outlaw, just because Skirmish is a lot weaker than Sneak Attack unless you can figure out a way to move and still get a full attack. Scout/Swashbuckler/Swordsage, besides having great alliteration, could pick up a couple handy tricks to bypass Skirmish's limitations, so it might work great ... if you can bypass any multiclassing penalties.

If Swordsage is allowed, you really could probably figure out how to get everything you want just from it. Maneuvers are so crazy-flexible!

Blind Io
2009-11-19, 12:55 AM
Probably the best character I've ever made, roleplaywise, has been a human-who-really-wants-to-be-an-elf in Eberron. Oh, and he's a swashbuckling pirate.

Bard3/Swashbuckler1/Swordsage1/LyricThaumaturge3/Ruathar2/SublimeChord1/Ruathar1/ so far.

Finishing (if we get that far at all) with:

Bard3/Swashbuckler1/Swordsage1/LyricThaumaturge3/Ruathar2/SublimeChord1/Ruathar1/SChord1/Abjurant Champion 5/Eldritch Knight 2.

BAB +16
SChord CL 9th

It's a great build, and a fun character. A real wuss, with combat expertise in the heavens, an amazing AC and some nifty abilities as a gish.

2009-11-19, 12:57 AM
Stormrack PrCs:

Legendary Captain is one of the best if you actually plan on doing ship-to-ship combat (as opposed to just dropping a Fireball on theirs). Leviathan Hunter is pretty sweet too. Scarlet Corsair, oh dear lord are they exploitable at higher levels, but until then they're rather mediocre.

2009-11-19, 01:07 AM
A player in one of my old campaign's had a great TWF Swashbuckler (using the "shield of blades" ACF from PH2) with Two-weapon Pounce for getting more attacks, and that build would be even better with Skirmisher (since 'buckler past 3 is hard to justify). Swashbuckler/Rogue would probably be more "optimized" but hey, what can ya do?

You could ask if your DM would let you trade Sneak Attack for bonus feats, if you really hate sneak attack but really love the skill points, evasion, uncanny dodge, etc. That's an ACF somewhere, right?

Now, if you want more of a fencer build, I'd suggest the "Parry" build that I totally stole from another poster here for use as a recurring villain in a campaign (the swashbuckler's nemesis, actually).

Combat Expertise, Improved Feint, Weapon Finesse, and 5 ranks in tumble as a rogue. The idea is to take a move action to feint, then make an attack at -9 (-5 Expertise, -4 Defensive Fighting) for +8 AC. Combined with decent armor and a high dex score, you would have a very, very difficult to hit AC, and since you get to hit Flat-footed AC, you will still be able to hit for many d6's of bonus damage. Dodge, Skill Focus: Bluff, Improved Expertise, and that one tactical feat that makes people you dodge hit each other would be future feats, and a 7th level human rogue has all the tools to make this build annoyingly deadly while still contributing as party skill monkey.

Finally, obligatory plug for ToB helping players make more effective, awesome, and powerful "graceful blade dancer" types than any of these suggestions.

2009-11-19, 01:15 AM
Another vote for swordsage. Diamond Mind fits 'finding the right place to strike,' and both Shadow Hand and Setting Sun the sneakiness/underhandedness. Don't forget Tiger Claw maneuvers though, they can easily be 'acrobatic' rather than 'animalistic.'

2009-11-19, 01:21 AM
You could just use the feat rogue from UA instead of getting sneak attack if you wanted to use rogue for skill points and the rest of their nice stuff.

But really, any class can be a pirate if played with the right fluff. The stereotype? I'd say Swash/Rogue. Swordsage seems a bit too mystical for the theme to me, as does any kind of class based spellcasting (UMD on the other hand seems to be up the pirate's alley). Definitely go for leadership too, every pirate captain needs a good first mate. Especially if you nickname him "Wiggles."

Bonus cookie if you get the reference.

2009-11-19, 08:49 AM
Pirate is a job, not a character class.

Take ranks in sailing, balance and swim.
Pick light armour.
Acquire ship and scurvy crew.
Job done.

Dragon #318 (Pirates, Ninjas + Dinosaurs theme) may be relevant to your interests.

2009-11-19, 08:51 AM

One player in my campaign with a similar interest once took a dual-wielding rogue/barbarian, but then again there really is no helping some people.

(I kid. The character was disturbingly awesome).