Yar! Welcome to the Seven Principalities, Matey!
Sorry, there’s islands, jungles, ships, talking parrots, sugar-cane, and spices – I felt obliged.
But in all seriousness, let’s talk about dangerous men (and women) on ships sailing from isle to isle in the Seven Principalities , but before we get into the nitty-gritty I want to address a few things.
If you like me, your players sometimes get strange off-the-wall ideas. If you’re even more like me, you even indulge them occasionally. Who hasn’t had PCs who have wanted to go rogue, buy a ship and sail the high seas? But much like the difference between mercenaries and adventurers can be the difference between saving a village and razing one, so too can the nomenclature of the sea be treacherous.
So what is a Pirate? from Greek peiratēs, ‘to attempt, attack.’ Pirates, buccaneers, and freebooters function much the same way, and their names are derived from specific locals in the real world. Pirate is the most generic term, used to describe anyone on the high seas, who commits theft. Buccaneers comes from a French description of free (non-Spanish) traders in the Caribbean during Spanish colonization. A freebooter is of Dutch origin, and is an adventurer who pillages, plunders or wages ad-hoc war on other nations, making a more akin to the privateer. Privateers act on a writ in the name of a monarch, and act to cut off supply of goods. There’s also the Smuggler who is engaged in clandestine business of black market goods or for goods he did not pay taxes or customs on.
Now that we’ve addressed few things up in the waves, I’m going to leave sea thievery for now. There’s plenty of material online about pirates and when adding in minotaurs, parrotfolk, lizardfolk, and crabfolk you’ve already got a recipe for adventure. Or a very gamey stew.
So, let’s yell timber, because we’re going down.
Take for instance, the Kanseeran. the crab-like dwarf-kin who have adapted to island life in a unique way. Along with the Kanseeran who have dwarf blood as their lineage, so too are the less respectable offshoot, Kanseeran who are cursed with the blood of duergar coursing through their chitinous veins. Whether these cursed Kanseeran are a strange offshoot of the original dwarf blooded purists, the result of interbreeding with duergar, or a curse to serve as punishment for some long-forgotten crime is a debate for scholars and fools. What we do know is that they are even more ill-tempered than standard kanseeran, just as well armored, and gifted with psionics.
These cursed kanseeran carry on their ancestral loathing of sahratan, as well as kanseeran, and are often hostile to outsiders. They prefer to live in small clusters of their own kind, and resort to piracy and looting. As is also true of their kin, these twisted creatures are interested in the sunken ruins of the island of Torl, as a great deal of potential magic and wealth sunk along with the ancient princes, who knows perhaps some of the have even begun excavating the ruins.
Cursed Kanseeran Racial Characteristics:
Cursed kanseeran player characters are defined by class levels— they do not possess racial hit dice. All cursed kanseeran player characters possess the following racial characteristics.
- +2 Strength, +4 Constitution, -2 Charisma, -2 Intelligence:
- Medium: Kanseeran are Medium creatures that have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Slow Speed: Cursed kanseeran have a base speed of 15 ft. on land. They also have a swim speed of 20 ft., can move in water without making Swim checks, and always treat Swim as a class skill. A kanseeran’s land or swim speed is never modified by armor or encumbrance.
- Amphibious: Kanseeran can breathe air or water.
- Chitinous Plates: Kanseeran have a +2 natural armor bonus.
- Dwarf Blood: Kanseeran are an aquatic offshoot of the dwarven race. They are humanoids with the aquatic and dwarf subtypes. Creatures with the dwarf subtype have 60 ft. darkvision.
- Pincer Claws: Kanseeran possess two pincer claws in place of hands that can be used as natural attacks. These claws deal 1d4 piercing, slashing, and bludgeoning damage as if they were a bite. Because of the nature of these claws, kanseeran are unable to wield light or one-handed melee weapons. However, they have a +4 racial bonus to CMD against disarm attempts when wielding two-handed melee weapons.
- Sahratan Foe: Kanseeran are natural enemies to sahratan and have a +2 dodge bonus against sahratan natural attacks and a +4 racial bonus to saves against a sahratan’s lure ability.
- Psionic Aptitude: Due to their duergar blood, whenever a cursed kanseeran takes a level in a favored class, he can choose to gain an additional power point instead of a hit point or skill point.
- Cursed Karseeran Psionics: Gain the following psilike abilities: 1/day—expansion. These abilities affect only the caster and his gear. The manifester level for these effects is equal to the duergar’s level (minimum 3rd). The DC for cloud mind is equal to 10 + the power’s level + the caster’s Charisma modifier.
- Sideways Gait: Kanseeran walk and run sideways. This curious method of moving grants them a +1 racial bonus to attack and damage rolls when charging.
- Languages: Kanseeran begin play speaking Common, Dwarven, and Aquan. Kanseeran with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Draconic, Undercommon, Old Porphyran, Partatingi, or Aklo
- Kanseeran Aging and Physical Statistics Kanseeran use the same tables as dwarves do for height, weight and aging statistics.
- Racial Traits: May select any Karseeran racial traits.
These poor Cursed Karseeran can make an excellent addition to a game, as a potential strange PC, intriguing NPC, or an entire over arching series of villains as they excavate ruins and claim sunken treasure, ramp up slaving activities, and menace the entirety of the Seven Principalities. Or not. It’s up to you.
If you want to explore the Seven Principalities you can find more information in Heroes of the Seven Principalities.