The corsair is a fierce rover of the seas, attacking ships and coastal communities for treasure. Most corsairs prefer ships loaded with coin, jewels, exotic goods, or other portable wealth, but many will make do with trade goods, weapons, or passengers. Some corsairs operate as slavers as a sideline, while others dabble in kidnapping and information brokering. Rowdy, tough, and rather ruthless, corsairs are used to living outside society. Although not all corsairs are evil, they tend toward a very pragmatic viewpoint. At best, those who face them can expect a reasonable chance to surrender. While most corsairs are pirates, through and through, some may be described more precisely as privateers, if they are members of a government’s irregular military forces, or marines, if they are concerned with military objectives rather than lucre.
Role: Corsairs are much like barbarians, relying on their might and athletic prowess to defeat foes. However, their combat skills are a blend between the fighter and the rogue. Although tough enough for hand-to-hand combat, the relatively unarmored corsair prefers to strike with surprise. He excels at singling out tough opponents and delivering grievous wounds to them. After the battle, a corsair’s various talents come in handy when appraising treasure, surviving in remote wilderness camps, or, naturally, sailing ships.
Hit Die: d10.
The corsair’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (engineering) (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).
Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
|1st||+1||+2||+0||+0||Rugged sailor, sneak attack +1d6, sea hunter
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+0||Uncanny dodge, throw the bones
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+1||Sneak attack +2d6, blind-fight
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+1||Sneak attack +3d6
|7th||+7/+2||+5||+2||+2||Sneak attack +4d6, damage reduction 1/-
|8th||+8/+3||+6||+2||+2||Improved uncanny dodge
|9th||+9/+4||+6||+3||+3||Sneak attack +5d6
|10th||+10/+5||+7||+3||+3||Damage reduction 2/-
|11th||+11/+6/+1||+7||+3||+3||Sneak attack +6d6
|12th||+12/+7/+2||+8||+4||+4||Improved vital strike
|13th||+13/+8/+3||+8||+4||+4||Sneak attack +7d6, damage reduction 3/-
|15th||+15/+10/+5||+9||+5||+5||Sneak attack +8d6
|16th||+16/+11/+6/+1||+10||+5||+5||Damage reduction 4/-
|17th||+17/+12/+7/+2||+10||+5||+5||Sneak attack +9d6
|18th||+18/+13/+8/+3||+11||+6||+6||Greater vital strike
|19th||+19/+14/+9/+4||+11||+6||+6||Sneak attack +10d6, damage reduction 5/-
|20th||+20/+15/+10/+5||+12||+6||+6||Crippling strike, dread pirate
All of the following are class features of the corsair.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency
Corsairs are proficient with all simple and martial weapons. They are proficient with light and medium armor, but not with shields.
If a corsair can catch an opponent when she is unable to defend herself effectively from his attack, he can strike a vital spot for extra damage.
The corsair’s attack deals extra damage anytime his target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the corsair flanks his target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and increases by 1d6 every two corsair levels thereafter. Should the corsair score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet.
With a weapon that deals nonlethal damage (like a sap, whip, or an unarmed strike), a corsair can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. He cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual –4 penalty.
The corsair must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A corsair cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment. This is the same as the rogue ability.
The corsair gains a +2 bonus on Bluff, Knowledge, Perception, Sense Motive and Survival checks against creatures with the aquatic subtype. He also receives a +2 bonus on attack and damage rolls against them. A corsair may make Knowledge skill checks untrained when attempting to identify aquatic creatures.
Starting at 2nd level, a corsair can react to danger before his senses would normally allow him to do so. He cannot be caught flat-footed, even if the attacker is invisible. He still loses his Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. A corsair with this ability can still lose his Dexterity bonus to AC if an opponent successfully uses the feint action against him.
If a corsair already has uncanny dodge from a different class, he automatically gains improved uncanny dodge (see below) instead.
Adept at taking advantage of foggy conditions or twilight, the corsair receives Blind-Fight as a bonus feat at 3rd level. If he already has this feat, he may select another feat for which he qualifies.
The corsair receives Vital Strike as a bonus feat at 6th level. If he already has this feat, he may select another feat for which he qualifies.
At 7th level, a corsair gains damage reduction. Subtract 1 from the damage the corsair takes each time he is dealt damage from a weapon or natural attack. At 10th level, and every three corsair levels thereafter, this damage reduction rises by 1 point. Damage reduction can reduce damage to 0 but not below 0.
At 8th level and higher, a corsair can no longer be flanked. This defense denies a rogue the ability to sneak attack the corsair by flanking him, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target has corsair levels. If a character already has uncanny dodge (see above) from another class, the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum rogue level required to flank the character.
The corsair receives Improved Vital Strike as a bonus feat at 12th level. If he already has this feat, he may select another feat for which he qualifies.
The corsair receives Greater Vital Strike as a bonus feat at 18th level. If he already has this feat, he may select another feat for which he qualifies.
The corsair receives a +2 bonus to save versus any enchantment.
A corsair with this ability can sneak attack opponents with such precision that his blows weaken and hamper them. An opponent damaged by one of his sneak attacks also takes 2 points of Strength damage. This is equivalent to the rogue talent and follows the same general rules.
As a free action once per round, a corsair of 20th level can attempt to frighten enemy creatures with 30 feet who can see or hear him. Each creature must make a Will save with a DC of 10 + ½ the corsair’s level + the corsair’s Cha modifier or become shaken for one minute. A character who makes their save is immune to that particular corsair’s dread pirate ability for 24 hours. Foes with more HD than the corsair’s level are unaffected. Additionally, the corsair no longer takes penalties to his Leadership score for cruelty, moving around a lot, or causing the death of other cohorts and followers.
Adventuring Classes: A Fistful of Denarii