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Stede Bonnet

Print engraving of Stede Bonnet in Charles Johnson's A General History of the Pyrates Date circa 1725, Stede Bonnet
Print engraving of Stede Bonnet in Charles Johnson’s A General History of the Pyrates Date circa 1725

Major Stede Bonnet, the “gentleman pirate,” is one of the most interesting but unsuccessful sea pirates.

Stede Bonnet was an educated land owner in Barbados, owning a profitable sugar plantation near Bridgetown. Well into his middle-age Bonnet decided to become a pirate. This unheard-of move, which scandalized Bridgetown’s polite society, was one for which Bonnet’s mannered upbringing had poorly prepared him. Other than a few government backed privateers, all pirates had either stolen their ships or obtained them by mutiny, but Bonnet bought his legally. He named the ten-gun vessel Revenge and hired about seventy sailors on salary.

Bonnet enjoyed some modest success taking vessels off Virginia and the Carolinas, despite his total lack of experience at sea. Off Carolina, he came upon Edward Teach (Blackbeard). Teach took a liking to Bonnet, invited him on his ship (Queen Anne’s Revenge), then took Bonnet’s ship. Bonnet is said to have been content aboard Teach’s ship, reading and wandering the decks.

Likely as a spectator, Bonnet was with Teach for a siege of Charleston, South Carolina. Teach decided to seek a pardon at that time, and Bonnet (who would have been hanged too had they been caught) hoped to be pardoned at the same time. Teach then conned Bonnet out of his share of the bounty and left under mysterious circumstances. Rather than take a pardon, Bonnet set off after Teach, but was unsuccessful. Returning to piracy, Bonnet again managed to fare remarkably well given his abilities.

The Flag of Stede Bonnet is known as "The Pirates Scale." It represents the balance between life and battle. 
The Flag of Stede Bonnet is known as “The Pirates Scale.” It represents the balance between life and battle.
Stede Bonnet
Human CR 2


XP 600

Any Medium Humanoid

Aristocrat level 6 (skill points 48) Aristocrat

Init -1; Senses ; Perception +4

AC 11, Touch 9, flat footed 11 ( Leather, Shield, none)(-1 Dexterity, +2 armour)


hp 27 (0d8+6d6+6);

Fort +2, Ref +1, Will +4

Speed 30


Melee Single Attack(+1/+0) Rapier +7 (1d6+1/18-20) or (+1/+0) Pistol +5 (1d8 X4)

Full Attack (+1/+0) Rapier +7 (1d6+1/18-20) or (+1/+0) Pistol +5 (1d8 X4) range 20

Space 5ft.; Reach 5

Special Attacks

Strength 12, Dexterity 8, Constitution 10, Intelligence 16, Wisdom 9, Charisma 11


Base Attack 4 CMB 5 ; CMD 14

Feats: Armour Prof Heavy, Armour Prof Light, Armour Prof Medium, Exotic Weapon Prof, Martial Weap Prof, Mounted Combat, Shield Proficiency, Simple Weapon Proficiency, Tower Shield Proficiency, Weapon Focus, Weapon Focus(Ranged);

Skills Appraise 11, Bluff 0, Diplomacy 9, Disguise 0, Handle Animal 8, Intimidate 9, Know Geography 3, Know Nobility 12, Linguistics 3, Perception 4, Perform Oratory 0, Ride 8, Sense Motive 6, Survival -1, Swim 9

Languages Common

Environment Any


Organization Company 10-20, Band 30-100, Squad 4-8

Treasure Standard

MAGIC ITEMS (max value 780) Total Value = 600
Masterwork Rapier (300gp), Masterwork Pistol (300gp), Leather Armour

Bonnet’s Wedding Band

Henri Lehmann (1814-1882) Portrait of Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
Henri Lehmann (1814-1882) Portrait of Franz Liszt (1811-1886)

Throughout history, pirates have turned to life ‘on the account’ for a variety of reasons. Some were ordinary sailors who grew tired of the strict discipline and Spartan living conditions aboard Navy or merchant vessels, while others were privateers who could not give up the life of adventure and plunder when a war ended. Stede Bonnet’s motivation was something else entirely; he sought at escape from his troublesome marriage.

Just what his wife did to make him abandon her and three young children is not known. What is known is that he did turn to piracy in order to be free from her. From the life of a wealthy plantation owner on Barbados, he fled to the Bahamas, where he met up with the likes of pirates such as Benjamin Hornigold and Edward ‘Blackbeard’ Teach. This led him to be involved in taking a variety of prizes, earning him a criminal reputation. In the end he was captured at Sullivan’s Island and hanged at Charleston. Although his accumulated spoils were reclaimed by the powers that be, however, one of his personal possessions went unclaimed – his wedding ring.

This ring is a simple gold band without adornment. In game terms, however, it provides the wearer with a +1 circumstance bonus to saving throws against magic used by females, and a +2 circumstance bonus to opposed skill checks made against women.

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