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Corsairs of the Great Sea (2e)


Set Sail with the Pirates of Chaos!

A thousand welcomes, noble friend! I see your eye is as keen as the eagle and your mind as sharp as my jambiya, for you hold in your hand a great treasure. This box contains everything needed to launch an epic adventure featuring corsairs and mamluks:

- A stunning poster map of the Corsair Domains and Zakhara's northern shores.

- Six full-color cardstock sheets containing maps and player aids.

- An 8-page booklet filled with new monsters, including the dreaded ghul-kin.

- A 32-page sourcebook detailing the wily pirates of Hawa and their greatest enemies, the stalwart mamluks of Qudra, plus several new magical items.

- A 64-page adventure book presenting a fabulous array of tales set in or near the Corsair Domains. Meet the beautiful and notorious Jayani al-Jasir, called by some the Queen of pirates. Face untold perils to fetch the wondrous waters of the River of Gold. Save Hawa's people from the horrible Soultaker, and much, much more. But beware! Treachery awaits at the hands of those you trust most!

Recommended for use with the Arabian Adventures rulebook.

Product History

Corsairs of the Great Sea (1994), by Nicky Rea, is the seventh boxed supplement for Al-Qadim. It was published in July 1994.

Origins: More Boxes. Though it isn't marked with an "ALQ" code, Corsairs continues with the trends of that series. It's a thin box that combines a 32-page campaign book with a 64-page adventure book and some additional resources.

This is one of the boxes that may have shown that the Al-Qadim line was reaching the ends of its productive life. It's the second nautical sourcebook for the line, after ALQ1: Golden Voyages (1992). However, it's focused on corsairs (pirates) instead of sailors and on the (northern) Great Sea instead of the (southern) Crowded Sea.

Mind you, the whole D&D line was getting pretty crowded. There had been another pirate supplement just two years earlier, with FOR3: Pirates of the Fallen Stars (1992) for the Forgotten Realms.

Adventure Tropes. This anthology of adventures is one of the least cohesive in the Al-Qadim line, with no attempt to frame them as a coherent story. They're all about pirates (sort of), though sometimes the corsairs are enemies and sometimes allies.

The adventures themselves are heavily event-driven, a common trope in the '90s. Some are travel adventures, some exploration, but all involve the players responding to the events laid out for them.

Expanding D&D. Though Corsairs discusses piracy, smuggling, and trade, there's almost no crunch.

Exploring Al-Qadim. This supplement focuses on the Corsair Domains in the Great Sea, including the city of Hawa. It also includes a section on Qudra, a city lying on the south shore of the Great Sea.

Expanding the Realms. Arabian Adventures clearly said that Zakhara was located in an "uncharted territory south of Faerun and southwest of Kara-Tur in the FORGOTTEN REALMS® campaign setting". But, there was no map connecting the different subcontinents.

Fans finally got to see the geographical connections in Corsairs. The map is quite small, depicting 1300 miles per inch and fitting everything onto a single cardstock reference. There are no details. But for the first time ever readers could see Zakhara, Kara-Tur, the Hordelands, the Heartlands, and even Maztica — all on one cardstock sheet.

There are actually quite a few references to the Realms in this supplement, and even to Spelljammer (1990), making it one of the most cosmopolitan Al-Qadim supplements in the line.

About the Creators. Rea wrote a wide scattering of books for TSR in 1993, 1994, and 1996. She'd return to coauthor the RPGA's Al-Qadim adventure, Reunion (1998).

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on July 11, 2017.