The shipping lanes of Golarion’s seas and oceans are filled with fat merchant vessels laden with trade goods both mundane and exotic, as well as the pirates and freebooters who prey on them. Under the banner of their Hurricane King, these buccaneers sally forth from that archipelago of lawless pirate ports and anchorages known as the Shackles, plundering the shipping of countless countries and trade consortiums, then vanishing back into the maze of islands and reefs they call home. The nations of the Inner Sea would like nothing more than to end the pirate menace once and for all, but the eternal hurricane known as the Eye of Abendego has thus far shielded the Free Captains of the Shackles from the threat of retaliation.

In the Skull & Shackles Adventure Path, the PCs take on the role of pirates, but they must make a name for themselves in piracy, plunder, and disrepute to truly become infamous Free Captains of the Shackles. The most important thing to keep in mind when creating your character is that piracy plays a significant role in this Adventure Path—your character should want to become a pirate, or at least not be opposed to the idea. This guide offers some tips about the types of characters that will be best suited for adventuring in the Shackles, as well as campaign traits to flesh out those characters’ backgrounds. Finally, it provides rules for ship-to-ship combat (including sample ships) that will play a major role in the Skull & Shackles Adventure Path as the PCs captain their own ship in search of plunder and infamy!