This site is games | books | films


Mary Read

By Unknown author -,-une-pirate-des-caraibes-sur-france-inter,n6019701.php, Public Domain,, Mary Read
By Unknown author –,-une-pirate-des-caraibes-sur-france-inter,n6019701.php, Public Domain,

Mary Read was born in London to the widow of a sea captain. When Mary’s older brother, the legitimate child in the family, died, Mary’s mother began to disguise her as a boy, so as not to lose the financial support the child received from his paternal grandmother. The grandmother was apparently fooled, and Read and her mother lived on the inheritance into her teenage years. Still dressed as a boy, Read then found work as a footboy but became bored with the position and instead found employment aboard a ship.

However, excessive amounts of abuse led her to jump ship and join the British military. Read proved herself through battle and fell in love with a fellow sailor. She and the sailor married and, with his military commission, opened an inn named “The Three Horseshoes”.

For the first time in her life, Read lived life as a woman. She and her new husband lived happily until his tragic death, at which time Read again returned to military service disguised as a man, using her husband’s clothes. But the military had lost its sparkle to Read, so she quit and boarded a ship bound for the West Indies.

Capture by pirates, and becoming a pirate

While at sea, Read’s ship was attacked and captured by the notorious pirate “Calico” Jack Rackham and his companion, the female pirate Anne Bonny. Read, still dressed as a man, was soon recruited to Rackham’s crew where she became familiar with Bonny. She and Bonny became close companions, and one day Bonny walked in on Read undressing and thus accidentally discovered her secret. At first their companionship was of a romantic nature and the two women did quickly become close friends, and Bonny swore not to reveal that Read was really a woman. However, Read’s true sex did not remain hidden for long. Rackham became suspicious of Bonny’s close relationship with the new sailor and demanded an explanation, whereupon Read confessed that she was actually a woman, and proved this fact to him by revealing her breasts. Rackham allowed her to stay on as a member of his crew.

Rackham shortly thereafter revealed to his crew that Read was female, but it seemed to have had no negative effect on her service on board the ship. While touring the Caribbean with Rackham’s crew, Read became interested in a fellow pirate and soon found herself in love once more. Read and her pirate lover married, and Rackham’s crew did have many successes during a period of about three months. However, they began to lull into a lazy, party attitude, spending much of their time drunk and lounging.

Capture and imprisonment

The troops of pirate hunter Captain Barnet took them by surprise, and captured Rackham and his crew on behalf of the governor of Jamaica. Rackham and the majority of his crew were extremely drunk, and didn’t put up much resistance, many being passed out in the ship’s hold. Read and Bonny, however, did resist. But outgunned, their resistance did not last long.

Rackham and his crew were sentenced to hang for acts of piracy, but Read and Bonny both “pled their bellies” (claimed to be pregnant) and received a stay of execution. It is unknown whether they were really pregnant or if they invented the story to delay their executions. Read was believed to have been pregnant by either Captain Jack Rackham or an unknown pirate who was a love interest and member of Rackham’s crew. Bonny was believed to have been pregnant by either her long time lover Captain Jack Rackham, or by Doctor Michael Radcliff, a former victim of one of their raids who was saved from death by Bonny.

D&D 5E Mythological Figures: Mary Read

By Unknown author - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs divisionunder the digital ID cph.3a00980.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information., Public Domain,
By Unknown author – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs divisionunder the digital ID cph.3a00980.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information., Public Domain,

D&D 5E – Mythological Figures: Mary Read | EN World | Dungeons & Dragons | Tabletop Roleplaying Games

Born in 1685 in England and the daughter of an extramarital affair, from the start Mary Read was presented as if she were a boy (the son her mother lost just before her birth) to gain access to her grandmother’s money (the old woman is said to have greatly disliked girls). It worked and the two collected inheritance for over a decade, and Mary kept the ruse going, first as a foot-boy then as a sailor, and then as a proper soldier in the British military (either in the Nine Years War or the War of the Spanish Succession). Although a talented combatant she leaves the military to marry a Flemish soldier, the two acquiring the ‘De drie hoefijzers’ (The Three Horeshoes) inn in The Netherlands. When he dies however, she dons her disguise again and briefly signs up with the Netherlands military before jumping on a ship headed to the West Indies.

Pirates take the vessel and she joins them! This continues for a while until she takes the King’s pardon (in 1718 or 1719), becoming a privateer for a short time before engaging in mutiny. By 1720 she—still disguised as a man—joins Calico Jack and Anne Bonny’s crew, stealing the sloop William from Nassau. Later that year a pirate hunter (Captain Jonathan Barnet) ambushes Calico’s crew when they’re drinking it up on Negril Point off Jamaica. The pirates make a poor show of it and only Mary and Anne put up a fight, Calico eventually surrendering and asking for quarter. He and his crew hang for piracy but the women reveal their genders and that each is pregnant (‘pleading the belly’), convincing the court to stay their executions. Fever is said to have overtaken her in April of 1721, and with no record of birth its thought that Mary was buried with her unborn child.

Mary Read
Medium humanoid (human), neutral rogue (genius) 6/fighter (champion) 5
Armor Class 17 (studded leather, shield)
Hit Points 76 (6d8+5d10+22)
Speed 30 ft.

12 (+1)​16 (+3)​14 (+2)​13 (+1)​10 (+0)​14 (+2)​

Saving Throws Dex +7, Int +5

Skills Athletics +5, Deception +10, Insight +8, Perception +4, Sleight of Hand +7, Stealth +11; disguise kit +9, forgery kit +5, thieves’ tools +7
Senses passive Perception 14
Languages Common, Thieves’ Cant
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)

Background – Imitator: Duplicate Persona. Mary has the papers, clothing, and contacts required to justify an entirely different identity. When Mary has access to an official document or example of a creature’s handwriting, she can make forgeries of similar papers (whether personal or official).

Action Surge (1/Short Rest). Once on her turn, Mary can take an additional action on top of her regular action and a possible bonus action.

Cunning Action (1/Turn). Mary can take a bonus action to take the Dash, Disengage, Help, or Hide action.

Evasion. When Mary is subjected to an effect that allows her to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, she instead takes no damage if she succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if she fails.

Feat: Acting. Mary has advantage on Charisma (Deception) and Charisma (Performance) checks made to impersonate. In addition, she can mimic the speech of other creatures she’s heard speak for at least 1 minute. A suspicious listener can see through her mimicry by succeeding on a Wisdom (Insight) check opposed by Mary’s Charisma (Deception) check.

Feat: Soldier Tactics. A creature hit by Mary’s opportunity attack reduces its speed to 0 until the beginning of the next round and disengaging from her still provokes opportunity attacks. In addition, Mary can use her reaction to make a melee weapon attack against a creature within 5 feet when it makes an attack against a target other than her.

Improved Critical. Mary’s weapon attacks score a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20.

Second Wind (1/Short Rest). On her turn, Mary can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+4 hit points.

Sneak Attack (1/Turn). Mary deals an extra 14 (4d6) damage when she hits a target with a weapon attack and has advantage on the attack roll, or when the target is within 5 feet of an ally of Mary that isn’t incapacitated and she doesn’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.

Tactician. Mary is able to use the Help action to aid an ally attacking a creature as long as the target of the attack is able to see and hear Mary and is within 30 feet of her.

Extra Attack. Mary attacks twice.

Saber. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d6+5) slashing damage.

Dagger (4). Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft. or thrown 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4+3) piercing damage.

Pistol (4). Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 30/90 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d10+3) piercing damage.

Uncanny Dodge. When an attacker Mary can see hits her with an attack, she can use her reaction to halve the attack’s damage against her.

Scroll to Top