Pirates off the Starboard Bow!

Pirate ship fantasy map packThe latest installment in the Fantastic Maps series takes us to the high seas with pirate ships! I’ve always enjoyed sailing and the tales of dashing captains and dastardly pirates, and when running my home game I decided it was time to get them onto a heaving deck. As Ben McFarland once said to me ‘nothing good ever comes from getting on a ship’. That turned out to be true, and the ship in question ended up on the floor of the bring deep (in this shipwreck map).

Now you too can have your players adventure on the high seas. This map pack has two ships. The first is a modest 35′ two masted pinnace (25′ without the bowsprit) suitable for green adventurers starting out island hopping in an archipelago, or for sneaking up on a larger vessel silent-like:

Pinnace ship map for fantasy map packThe second map is a different deal entirely. This is a four masted, square rigged ship of the line. An ocean going galleon that would be the pride of any corsair’s fleet. If your world has a Blackbeard then this is the ship for him. In my game I lined the rails with ballistae, and crewed it with a war wizard but how you use it is up to you. As a side note, characters balancing on a deck are flat footed, and I’d say pirate crew should have a few levels in rogue. Your players may see the crew as minions they can cut through, but sneak attack them with a ballista and they’ll change their tune pretty fast.

Pirate ship for fantasy map pack
I had a ball making these maps, and using them in my home game. I hope they come in handy to you too. I hear there’s a piracy adventure path looming on the horizon for Pathfinder – Skull and Bones. I know I can’t wait.

The map packs are designed to be as flexible as possible. The packs contain:

  • multi-page pdf scaled to print at 1 inch=1square, in both letter format and A4 with full colour and printer friendly greyscale.
  • High resolution jpgs of the ships for home printing and for use in virtual tabletops (vtts) – with and without grids.
  • pngs of the two ships with semi-transparent rigging, so that they can be used in mobile ship combat within a vtt.
  • Ballista and ladder pngs to kit out your tall ship with the paraphernalia of war.
  • Maptool map files that can easily be imported into any campaign with vision set up, for quick use in any OGL, 4E of PFRPG game. The files require maptool 1.3.b84 or newer to work.

So you can print off the battlemap of the square rigger and then cut out the pinnace as and use it as a mobile ship token, or you can import the whole lot into maptool or another vtt and have both ships work as mobile tokens. Finally you can have a fully dynamic ship combat! Grab your marlin spike, hurl the grappling hooks and prepare for boarding!

You can pick up the map pack on RPGNow and Paizo.

And if it all (inevitably) goes horribly wrong, there’s a ready made shipwreck map pack for your players to explore, once they’ve been sucked down to the briny deep by the tentacles of the kraken.

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