The Pirate Code

Ships cannot function without order and structure. Every captain has her own preferred rules and enforces those edicts in different ways. While the rules may vary from ship to ship, pirates as a group have developed general codes of conduct.

Most of a pirate’s code focuses on mutual defense and avoiding conflict through equal wealth distribution:

  • Every member of the crew gets an equal share of treasure. Anyone caught taking more than his fair share of loot, or refusing to report its discovery in a timely manner, shall be marooned. The captain receives extra shares of any treasure, as do shipwrights, carpenters, and officers to lesser degrees.
  • Every member of the crew must tend to his own weapons and keep them ready for battle.
  • Anyone who shows cowardice in the face of the enemy or deserts in battle shall have his throat cut or be marooned.
  • No crew member shall hide his abilities from the crew. A sailor who can perform magic shall use his abilities on behalf of the ship.
  • No crew member shall take a position on a new ship or talk of leaving until each crew member has acquired at least 1,000 gp worth of treasure through his labors.
  • No fighting is allowed between crewmates. Quarrels shall be set aside until shore leave, at which point grievances may be settled with violence on shore.
  • All crew members must obey the captain and his officers.
  • Any pirate found stealing from crewmates shall take 30 lashes and be put ashore at port.
  • The person who spots a sail shall have first pick of its loot.
  • Any crew member who loses a limb in service to the ship shall be paid 800 gp for its loss.
  • Every sailor has an equal right to vote in decisions put to the crew by the captain.

Many of the following rules are common sense, and may be enforced on pirate, military, and merchant vessels.

  • Any sailor caught below deck with open flame, magical or mundane, will suffer 10 lashes. All candles and lanterns are to be extinguished at sunset.
  • No sailor is to play cards or dice for money while onboard, nor use such things to take advantage of her crewmates on shore.
  • No sailor is to bring aboard a husband, wife, child, person of ill virtue, or any passenger unbeknownst to the captain. Both sailor and passenger face marooning.
  • Every sailor must do her fair share of work, and neither shirk her duty nor pass off work to another, lest she face 20 lashes. A ship’s bard may rest 1 day per week, but must stand ready to entertain on all others.
  • Every sailor receives an equal share of food and drink, and 1 ration of liquor every day.
  • Any sailor found drunk on duty shall face 10 lashes. Any sailor too drunk to function effectively during battle shall be killed.
  • A sailor who suspects a hazard, be it storm cloud, sea monster, or enemy ship, must raise the alarm immediately. Any sailor who sees an unfamiliar sea creature must inform the captain immediately.
  • A sailor shall not speak to any creature of the sea without the captain’s permission.
  • A sailor must not speak ill of the dead lest they summon restless spirits to the ship.

The Pirate Code

The Pirate Game Darkfool