There’s a difference between plunder and the gold pieces in
a pirate’s pocket. While gold doubloons and fabulous jewelry
can be plunder, pirates are rarely lucky enough to encounter
a ship with a hold full of such treasures. Typically, there
are trade goods, foodstuffs, spices, and valuables of a more
mundane sort. Such takes can fetch significant prices, but
for scallywags more interested in looting than the specifics
of what they loot, this system provides a way for parties to
track their plunder without getting bogged down by lists
of commonplace cargo and their values down to the copper
piece. Aside from streamlining the collection of riches,
this system also allows characters to increase their infamy,
paying off crew members and spreading their wealth with
more appealing dispensations of loot than what was aboard
the last merchant ship they robbed.

Winning Plunder

What gains a group plunder is largely
decided by the GM or is noted at the relevant points
throughout the Skull & Shackles Adventure Path. Typically,
at any point the PCs claim a ship’s cargo, conquer an enemy’s
hideout, or find a significant treasure, there’s the potential
for a portion (sometimes a significant portion) of that
wealth to translate into plunder. Plunder means more than
five wicker baskets, a barrel of pickled herring, three short
swords, and a noble’s outfit; it’s a generalization of a much
larger assortment of valuable but generally useless goods
(and serves to help avoid bookkeeping on lists of random
goods). Rather, a cargo ship carrying construction timber,
dyed linens, crates of sugar, animal furs, and various other
goods might equate to 4 points of plunder. Just as when
awarding more standard forms of treasure, a GM doling
out plunder should consider the challenge of winning the
plunder and the actual value of the plunder if the PCs cash
it in (see below). As a rule of thumb, GMs seeking to give
the characters a minor reward might give them 1 point of
plunder, while a major reward would be 5 points of plunder.
Plunder is not meant to serve as a replacement for
more standard forms of treasure. GMs should still award
characters gold and magic items to keep them prepared
to face new challenges, whereas plunder serves as a
useful shorthand for what varied mundane treasures are
discovered and can be sold for values in gold. Characters
can also buy plunder if they wish, though those who do
so risk becoming known as merchants rather than pirates.

Value of Plunder

Plunder is valuable for two reasons: It
can be sold for gold pieces, and it helps you increase your
Infamy (Infamy is further detailed below). In general, 1
point of plunder is worth approximately 1,000 gp, whether
it be for a crate full of valuable ores or a whole cargo hold full
of foodstuffs. Regardless of what the plunder represents,
getting the best price for such goods is more the domain
of merchants than pirates, and just because cargo might
be worth a set amount doesn’t necessarily mean the PCs
can get that much for it. Exchanging 1 point of plunder for
gold requires a PC to spend 1 full day at port and make an
applicable skill check. Regardless of how much plunder the
PCs have, one PC must spend a full day trading to exchange
1 point of plunder for gold. The PC trading also must be
the same PC to make the skill check to influence the trade.
The larger the port and the higher the skill check, the
better price the PCs can get for their plunder. At smaller
ports there’s little chance of getting more than half value for
plunder, unless a PC can employ a skill to make a better deal.
At larger ports, the chances of finding a buyer willing to
pay a reasonable price for cargo increases, and PCs can still
employ skill checks to make even more lucrative bargains.
PCs seeking to win a higher price for their plunder can make
one of the following skill checks and apply the results to the
table below: Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, or any applicable
Profession skill, like Profession (merchant). A poor result
on a skill check can reduce the value of plunder. If the PCs
are not satisfied with the price they are offered for their
plunder, they need not take it, but a day’s worth of effort is
still expended. They can try for a better result the next day.
The table below explains how much PCs can expect
to get for their plunder in communities of various sizes,
the skill check DC required to increase this amount by
a set percentage, and the maximum amount buyers in a
community can be convinced to buy plunder for. Each
column is explained in brief here.

Community Size
The size of a community is determined
by its population, noted in every community stat block and
further detailed in the Pathfinder RPG GameMastery Guide.

Base Sale %
Every community is willing to buy plunder
from the PCs, but not necessarily at its full value. This
column lists the percentage at which a community is willing
to buy 1 point of plunder (along with that percentage’s
expression in gold pieces).

DC to Increase Sale
This is the skill check DC required
to increase the sale percentage a community offers for
plunder. Every community can be convinced to offer more
for plunder (to a maximum sale percentage listed in the final
column of the table below), but this requires the PCs to make
a skill check. The DC of this skill check is 10 + an amount
determined by how much the PCs are trying to increase
the sale percentage. For example, if a PC is unwilling to
accept a mere 20% of the value of his group’s plunder when
attempting to sell it in a hamlet, he can attempt to increase
this percentage by 5% by making a DC 15 skill check. If he
wants to attempt to increase the percentage to 30% (the
maximum amount the hamlet can possibly pay), he must
make a DC 20 skill check. Failure results in no increase, and
this skill check can only be made once per day. In larger
communities, the DC to increase these percentages rises,
but the percentage also increases, as does the maximum
percentage buyers can be talked up to.

Maximum Sale %
This is the highest percentage at which
a community can be talked into buying 1 point of plunder.
Merchants in a community will never buy plunder for a
higher price than this. Additionally, this column lists the skill
check DC required to haggle buyers up to this percentage,
and how much the percentage is worth in gold pieces.

Spending Plunder
In addition to its value in gold pieces,
plunder is vital to increasing a pirate crew’s Infamy. See
the Infamy subsystem for more details.

Buying Plunder
Although gold typically proves more
valuable and versatile than plunder, some parties might
wish to exchange their traditional wealth for plunder.
In any community, a party can buy 1 point of plunder
for 1,000 gp. What form of goods this plunder takes is
determined by the GM.

Community Size Base Sale % (GP for Plunder) DC to Increase Sale Maximum Sale % (Max DC & GP for Plunder)
Thorp 10% (100 gp) 10 + 5 per 5% 20% (DC 20; 200 gp)
Hamlet 20% (200 gp) 10 + 5 per 5% 30% (DC 20; 300 gp)
Village 30% (300 gp) 10 + 5 per 5% 40% (DC 20; 400 gp)
Small town 40% (400 gp) 10 + 5 per 5% 60% (DC 30; 600 gp)
Large town 60% (600 gp) 10 + 5 per 5% 80% (DC 30; 800 gp)
Small city 80% (800 gp) 10 + 10 per 5% 90% (DC 30; 900 gp)
Large city 90% (900 gp) 10 + 10 per 10% 120% (DC 40; 1,200 gp)
Metropolis 100% (1,000 gp) 10 + 10 per 10% 140% (DC 50; 1,400 gp)


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