This massive supplement clocks in at 34 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page how to use AP-plug-ins, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page introduction, leaving us with 26 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?
The very first page herein sports a table of thematically fitting characters provided, conveniently linked to d20pfsrd.com within the pdf to bring you directly to their respective statblocks at a simple mouse-click, where applicable. Beyond that, the handy table sports the class/race information as well as the CR for the respective character, with those ranging from the CR 1/4 drunken fisherman to the CR 16 gunslinger (buccaneer).
So, in case you haven’t noticed – this is pretty much a statblock book, a massive collection of diverse builds, an expansion for e.g. the NPC Codex with ample characters that fit perfectly the nautical theme – and from Freeport to Razor Coast to Skull and Shackles and Savage Tide, there are A LOT of massive sagas in which one can use these guys. Need an artillerist or cannoneer? In here. And no, not via variations of the same stablock: Cannoneers e.g. use the gunslinger (siege gunner)-build, while the artillerist instead is an expert/fighter multiclass. In case you’re wondering, btw. – yes, this supplement is ACG-compatible and sports swashbucklers and shamans amidst the builds it presents.
“But EZG,” you say, “We also want non-standard builds!” – well, what about triton sea-witches? A goblin grenadier? Dual-archetyped Barbarian/Gunslinger rum-runners? Perhaps you want to hire an undine watersinger? Yes, there is quite some versatility to be found and even a new weapon, the belaying pin, can be found within these pages. The Slave Pit Master with its multiclass of brawler and maneuver master monk also should be considered pretty interesting and swashbuckler/warpriests of the Red Mantis in all but name (due to closed IP) should be considered pretty cool, and PCs will remember a nasty piece of hippocampus-riding half-elven cavalier…And yes, this is as good a place as any to mention that familiars, animal companions, etc., when available, have also received full statblocks – kudos!
Some of the statblocks come with tactics for the beleaguered DM and while not required for the simpler builds, providing short pointers for the truly time-starved DM would have been the icing on the cake in my book.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to the beautiful 2-column full-color standard of LG’s Shull & Shackles plug-ins. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and the pdf’s artwork is gorgeous full-color, though fans of Legendary Games may known some of the artworks from other publications. It should also be noted that some pages sport some blank space to avoid spreading statblocks over multiple pages – one might complain about that, but I don’t – why? Because I’d rather have a book that is easy to use than one that looks perfectly seamless.
Jason Nelson, Matt Goodall and Linda Zayas-Palmer deliver one of the humble, yet incredibly useful books that end up being used a lot here. This codex of NPC-stats is thoroughly humble and still impressive. Fans of the ACG will certainly appreciate the supporting builds that are found herein, while groups that have banned this book still get ample bang for their buck -in my book, this pretty much is an all-win situation. This codex provides just what the time-starved DM needs – statblocks for all those NPCs you don’t want to make – for the deckhands and artillerists, the ship-mages and similar supporting cast, leaving all that precious time to properly optimize the nasty BBEG you planned to use as a villain…
Ultimately, the pirate codex is a truly useful, nice book of humble statblocks. While personally, I would have prefered to see more complex statblocks and archetype combos, the overall balance between single-class and multiclass builds is nice and diverse. Having tactics for the more complex of builds would have been nice, but is not required, obviously – personally, I can run them as is without much pondering and for experienced DMs, this is pretty much a plug-and-play NPC-book, but less experienced DMs could probably use some guidance. Now remember that this is pretty much me complaining at a very high level – this is a nice collection of stats and thus, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.