Corsair, The Pirate God, Lord of the Pirate Isles, The Holy Captain, The Seldarine Bastard, The Lawful Pirate.
Corsair appears as a half-elf with blue-green hair and silver eyes. His power over the seas, tide and wind are near-absolute in his sacred isles. Outside of them, he is a low-mid tier god of the seas. He blesses those who are faithful to his Laws of Piracy (Corsair’s Law) with good fortune, fair winds and miraculous recovery from wounds sustained in raids. He demands tribute in the form of stolen goods, or ill-gained money. As the bastard son of a major elven deity, Corsair is very antagonistic towards his father’s worshippers. It should be noted that, whenever a Pirate King is active, Corsair’s power is greatly diminished. (because it is vested in his avatar, The Pirate King).
In the age of Titans, when the gods were young, a human privateer Captain Thetis had a chance encounter with a charming elf while in port. Some months later, Captain Thetis gave birth to a half-elf son with green hair and grey eyes. Corsair lived upon his mother’s ship for ten years until a raid went south and Captain Thetis was killed. Having recognized the boy’s divine heritage, the enemy captain decided not to risk the fury of the boy’s sire. He brought Corsair to an elven temple, and comitted the boy to his father’s care. However, the fickle Fey Prince never came to acknowledge his son. Corsair quickly realized how unwelcome he was as a “half-blood bastard”. In a fit of adolescent rage, Corsair renounced his father’s name, and swore an oath of vengeance upon the Elven gods that had decided he was not one of them. Corsair wandered the worlds for a time, and found himself a “master” in the (gnomish) goddess, Arcana. She trained him in the ways of magic, and enjoyed having a studious and talented apprentice. Eventually though, Corsair could not deny his own nature; his very soul ached to be upon the seas, and to fulfill his oaths to his father.
He stole three precious things from his master; the Canvas of Worlds, the Ink of Creation and a pen crafted from the wood of the First Tree. Before Arcana could take these artifacts back, Corsair hastily drew his own domain upon the World Canvas, and brought his Pirate Isles into being.
Pirates, The Sea, Stealing, Trickery, Rebellion, Racial Equality, Wealth, Independence.
Corsair’s Law is a code of conduct that Corsair has decreed for pirates who wish to seek his protection upon the seas. It is a truly Byzantine labyrinth of social mores and traditions that are baffling, complex and often contradictory. This is not helped by Corsair’s decree that his law should never be committed down to paper. Additionally, Corsair’s Law often receives several hasty amendments immediately following the coronation of a new Pirate King.
Despite this, the Pirate Laws can be generally distilled down to the following “rules”.
Corsair’s Law very explicitly states that it is never to be written down with quill and ink. This has not stopped several “secret” codices that were recorded down in other media. A rather infamous volume, the Blood Codex, was created using the author’s own blood instead of ink.
As no one pirate can be certain of knowing all of Corsair’s contradictory laws, and the later amendments added by the Pirate Kings, completer volumes are regarded as absolutely priceless among the faithful. Whenever a codex is rumoured to have shown up, there is often a mad dash to obtain and verify it. Especially if it may be an older volume that contains more complete versions of the more entrenched laws. A captain who owns a verified codex can potentially retire from the dangerous life of piracy, and make a very respectable living as an arbiter of disputes between other pirates.
The dogma, or secret knowledge of the faithful, is simply a more complete understanding of all the nuances of Corsair’s Laws. If you’re running a long-term sea-themed campaign, then adjust the Laws as you need in order to make your seafaring society act as you need it to.
Corsair is not a jealous god, and he respects that his faithful are a superstitious lot. Except for the Pirate King, Corsair does not expect to be the only deity that his faithful worship. Most other deities of the sea are considered “allies” of his, or at least friendly rivals. Corsair especially respects Umberlee, for her chaotic and willful nature. Corsair conducts Umberlee’s priests safely through his seas whenever it is possible for him to do so. He has often tried to court Umberlee, but has had mixed success on that front. The exception to his rule about friendliness to other sea gods does not extend to any of the Elven deities.
Corsair is also friendly to wizards, and any who honor the goddess Arcana. She took him in, when his own blood would not. Although Corsair feels warm affection towards her (and regards his theft as simply a childhood prank), there is still a measure of animosity and distrust on Arcana’s side of things.
Elven deities, especially The Seldarine (if you’re using them). Corsair is eternally furious at his father, and at his exclusion from The Seldarine. Corsair is pleased when Elven temples are raided in his name; favorable winds and tide can almost be guaranteed if plans to raid a holy Elven site are left at a shrine to Corsair. Whichever deity you decide as Corsair’s father should be the chief enemy of The Faithful.
Corsair has very few truly organized temples. Unsurprisingly, they are not wholly welcome in “decent” society, because of the sort of people who worship Corsair. However, there are a few main temples located on remote islands, far from the influence of “civilized” navies. (If your setting has a “pirate island” of any kind, then it would certainly be appropriate to have a temple there). Corsairs temples are ostentatious, flashy and extravagantly decorated. They are displays of the wealth that Corsair promises to The Faithful who follow his code. Pirates who wish to ensure luck and fair travels often make grand offerings of wealth before they set out.
Corsairs temples are also places where pirates may gather to settle disputes, find new crew mates, and take refuge from pursuing enemies. Corsair’s Laws are hotly debated over kegs of sacred alcohol and games of chance.
The clergy of these temples are almost universally retired pirates. Some may have suffered debilitating injuries, while others simply grew tired of a life at sea. They tend to the temples, resolve disputes, brew or distill sacred alcohol, and oversee offerings from The Faithful. A captain who has obtained a Codex of Corsair’s Law may offer their (paid) dispute resolution services. The priests (and anyone who happens to own a codex) schedule when the next Festival of the Pirate King should take place.
In lands where Corsair is not openly worshipped, small, hidden shrines are maintained. It might be a non-descript corner shrine in a seaside dive bar, or it might be an altar of coral inside the hold of a ship. It could simply be a place where treasure can be buried and committed to Corsair; The Pirate God is not all that particular.
The chief festival of importance to Corsair is The Festival of the Pirate King. There are often disputes on when exactly it is to be celebrated (the codices disagree on the exact astronomical signs), but generally, if The Pirate King dies, then a festival should be held once a respectable mourning period has passed. Alternatively, if The Pirate King forswears Corsair’s Law, then they will lose The Amulet of Seas, and a festival will be declared. The Festival of the Pirate King is held in whichever particular port town is decided as the location. It may be held at a “known safe” port, ruled by one of Corsair’s Faithful, or it may be held in a “hostile port” that stands helpless before the unified armada of pirates. It is a week long festival of debauchery, drinking and displays of vast wealth. During this time, the various captains vie politically and debate on who has best upheld Corsair’s Laws. At the end of the festival, a solemn gathering of (hungover) captains elect their king. If they have chosen correctly, Corsair himself will appear to bestow The Amulet of Seas upon The Pirate King. If they have chosen poorly, or if the candidate is deemed unworthy by Corsair, then there is to be no Pirate King until the next festival.
Corsair honors his mother’s birthday. On Thetis’ Birthday (some time during the spring), there is to be feasting in port, and gifts are to be given to family members that are left behind in port.
On the anniversary of Captain Thetis’ death (in the late fall), Corsair has decreed that no raiding should commence. Prisoners are to be released from captivity, and every member of The Faithful should pour out a measure of sacred alcohol (upon an earthen grave, or over the side of the ship) for crew mates who have been lost.
The Pirate King
The Pirate King is a mortal avatar of Corsair. They are revered by Corsair’s Faithful, and regarded as the living flesh and blood of The Pirate God. They speak with Corsair’s authority, and command some level of authority over the weather and the seas (especially near Corsair’s sacred islands). One of the reasons that Corsair’s Law is so convoluted is because each successive Pirate King has seen fit to add their own amendments and opinions to The Law. Most of these amendments don’t last beyond a few generations, which is why older Codexes are seen as more valuable. The Pirate King is regarded as an ultimate authority on Corsair’s Law, but they are also extremely beholden to it. Acting contrary to The Law will see the revocation of their power.
The Amulet of Seas
The symbol of The Pirate King’s authority is a chain necklace called “The Amulet of Seas”. It is bestowed upon The Pirate King by Corsair himself, once the proper rites and sacrifices are completed. The Amulet of Seas bestows half of Corsair’s divine power upon The Pirate King. However, if a Pirate King commits sacrilege against Corsair, or acts in defiance of Corsair’s Law, Corsair is able to revoke it. The Amulet of Seas floats in water.
In times when there is no Pirate King, heretical interpretations of The Law have arisen. When this occurs, Corsair will begin revoking his blessing upon The Faithful until they are in a more correct accordance with his laws. In some cases, false Amulets of the Seas have shown up, and imposter Pirate Kings have attempted to usurp the true King’s authority. Corsair may see fit to correct this, or he may sit back and watch (for his own amusement) to see where this goes.