Corsairs! Is meant to be a cooperative, collaborative setting. That means that change and grow according to the decisions players make.
This will be a high RP campaign. The team will be a part of the setting and will want to consider local politics and other factors when making decisions.
Skills will be very important. There will be at least as many if not more chances to earn XP, overcome adversity, or change outcomes for good or for ill through skill checks and challenges as there will be through combat. Skills will be important in other ways as well. for example, at game inception, skills will determine which NPC’s a character knows. Many knowledge checks will be trained-only, so work together to make certain the group has a wide range of skills.
NPC’s The game begins with the team being a newly formed group of adventures and treasure-seekers, who have thrown in together and purchased a small ship with the goal of collecting and selling dragonshards or other valuable artifacts. There are scores of other groups with the same goals, and most fall into 3 categories:
Privateers: These crews follow all the rules and laws of the Aurum fleet and the local authority. Privateers have the fewest enemies, the most competition and limited allies.
Freebooters: While generally law-abiding, these crews operate in restricted waters, in violation of the Treaty of Thronehold. They do this with caution and work hard to cover their tracks. Many buyers don’t care where the shards come from so they will buy from Pirates and Freebooters as long as no wrongdoing can be placed on them. Freebooters have the most allies, least competition and many enemies.
Pirates: Pirates vary, but most have no respect for any law or bond of honor. They are the only group that considers other ships fair game for shard collection. Pirates have the most enemies, most competition and fewest allies.
The team can follow any of the 3 paths they choose and can see success. While I would be willing to run a game where the players live as pirates, what I would hope to avoid is the team becoming branded as pirates without their understanding why or how this has happened.
Three inspirations for this campaign:
Firefly. As in this sci-fi series, the team will have a ship and will make their living by taking on jobs. Just as in Firefly, there is an oppressive agency that makes life difficult for small enterprises like the team. The group will need to decide how closely they adhere to conditions that aren’t entirely fair, and how far their own principals will allow them to go to achieve success.
Tombstone: The ports where the team finds jobs, spend their pay and reequip are frontier settlements where enforcement of the local laws can be spotty but also brutal. The people of Tombstone were lenient about all kinds of sketchy behavior but took their personal safety seriously. The Cowboys weren’t politic in their dealings in town and can serve as an example of how bad things can go for all parties involved.
Indiana Jones films: prepare to find yourselves in ancient ruins, on savage, nameless islands, and confronting sinister evils from the distant past and the war-torn present. There will be snakes!