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Heroes of Saltmarsh I - martial archetypes for 5th Edition
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Heroes of Saltmarsh I - martial archetypes for 5th Edition


Heroes of Saltmarsh I is the first installment in a series of player compendiums tailor-made for groups playing through Ghosts of Saltmarsh. Here you'll find six archetypes, all of which are heavily inspired by classic tales of the seas and ships, and the fantastical characters who inhabit these stories: from Jack Sparrow and Ahab to Odysseus and the feared Black Beard. But fret not – while inspired by the aquatic, the subclasses and character options in this document are not defined by them – each will be just as useful on land, as they are on the deck of a ship or deep under water. And, while published with Ghosts of Saltmarsh in mind, characters using these archetypes can fit into any campaign.

In this document, you'll get complete rules detailing six maritime martial archetypes:

  • The Shark Totem Spirit – a Primal Path option that infuses a barbarian with a shark's ruthless bloodthirst and near-supernatural ability to stalk wounded prey.
  • The Corsair – a Martial Archetype for fighters who've learned how to fight in the close-quarters of a ship's deck – fast, messy, and ultimately lethal.
  • The Way of the Kraken – a Monastic Tradition that teaches dutiful students to fight like the mythical kraken, grasping and smothering foes in an unbreakable grasp.
  • The Oath of Freedom – a Sacred Oath sworn by paladins who value freedom – their own and others – above all else, allowing them and their allies to break chains, while moving swiftly and freely.
  • The Tidal Hunter – a Ranger Archetype for rangers who've learned to hunt on – and in – the seas, granting them the ability to move and fight like an unstoppable tide.
  • The Reaver – a Roguish Archetype for rogues born to the seas, who use terror and cruel efficiency to strike fear into the hearts of their enemies.
Looking to spice up your nautical campaign? Check out Daerdan's Tall Tales: 101 Seafaring Encounters!


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Reviews (0)
Discussions (2)
Customer avatar
May 27, 2019 4:05 pm UTC
A few typos. Needs editing. example: "by turning any disadvantage into a disadvantage." Pg. 2.
Customer avatar
Valeur R June 03, 2019 7:47 pm UTC
Fixed the typo, thanks for letting us know (and we'll make sure to scold the editor!)! :)
Customer avatar
Enevald V May 22, 2019 9:33 pm UTC
Great as always, you do amazing work and i love every single pdf i have bought from you.
The archetypes look really fun and they have amazing flavor while still being mechanically satisfying. I do have some concerns however.

The barbarian level 3 feature makes reckless attack 90% of the time useless, i see you pulled it from the sahuagin feature which i appreciate, but i would change it to a bloodied creature instead of a damaged creature.

The fighter level 18 feature makes it so the fighter can make a feedback attack loop if attacking a paralyzed creature. I would change it to specify on a d20 roll.

Im not too familiar with playing a ranger but the tidebringer feature seems a little strong to me, i would make it so that the extra 1d6 can be triggered a number of time equal to the rangers wisdom modifier (minimum of 1).
Customer avatar
Enevald V May 22, 2019 9:48 pm UTC
New thought about the tidebringer feature:
You could make it an active ability that you can use a number of times equal to your wisdom modifier (minimum of 1) per long rest.
Customer avatar
Valeur R May 23, 2019 4:19 am UTC
Hi Enevald

Thanks a lot for taking the time to give such thorough comments :)

Regarding the barbarian – I don't think that's an issue. You'll still get to use reckless attack when you're going up against an enemy in full health, and I think it's preferable to using bloodied (which as far as I know isn't a proper state in 5E, so you'd put a lot of math on the DM).

Regarding the fighter – you're absolutely correct. I'll fix that ASAP! Thanks :)

Regarding the ranger – it's only the next time for each creature (meaning each other creature can only benefit from it once). I fear that weakening it would make it comparably worse, but I think you might be right that it could be abused. We haven't had any issues in playtesting, but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen. I'll have to think about that one a bit more.

Again, thanks for your suggestions, input and support! :)
Customer avatar
Valeur R May 23, 2019 6:47 am UTC
Just wanted to let you know that we've updated the product using your ideas for the fighter and ranger feature. It's not a big change, but it'll certainly make the features more robust and less abuseable. Thanks again for the great input and your kind words! :)
Customer avatar
Enevald V May 23, 2019 1:55 pm UTC
Its a pleasure to be able to help such a great content creator as you, and i look forward to your next installment!
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File Last Updated:
June 03, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on May 21, 2019.