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Mary Read, the Pirate

Mary Read, the Pirate
  • Alias: Known aliases include Mark Read during her time disguised as a boy.
  • Gender: Female
  • Race: Human
  • Occupation: Pirate, former British military member
  • Religion: No specific religious affiliation noted
  • Allies: Anne Bonny, Calico Jack Rackham, and other pirates during her time as a pirate.
  • Enemies: British authorities and those who sought to apprehend her for piracy.
  • Abode/Base of operations: Nassau (Republic of Pirates) however primarily based on pirate ships in the Caribbean, with no fixed abode.
  • Nationality: English
  • Languages: English, Pirates Cant
  • Alignment: Chaotic Neutral, given her life as a pirate and disregard for conventional laws.
  • Affiliation(s): Affiliated with various pirate crews during the “Golden Age of Piracy.”
  • Significant others: Engaged in a romantic relationship with Anne Bonny during her time as a pirate.

Mary Read, an Englishwoman shrouded in the mystique of the high seas. She’s an enigmatic character, driven by profound motivations. Her life is a testament to the human spirit’s unyielding thirst for freedom and the pursuit of one’s own destiny.

Born in England, Mary’s early life was marked by deception. Her mother, desperate for financial support, concealed Mary’s identity, presenting her as her deceased son to maintain a stream of income. This early experience shapes Mary’s distrust of societal norms and her yearning for autonomy.

As a young girl, Mary discovers the liberating power of disguise. At just thirteen, she dresses as a boy and secures work on a ship, savoring the first taste of the freedom she’d longed for. Later, she joins the British military, a realm where she can embrace her fierce independence. Her career in arms, though commendable, is limited by a society biased against women.

Following an ill-fated love affair, she embarks on a new journey, moving to the West Indies. Here, fate leads her onto a pirate-infested ship, where her concealed identity as a British male serves her well. It’s a life she adopts willingly, a life untamed by societal conventions.

The crux of Mary’s character is her fear of a constrained existence. She loathes the idea of being confined to the roles society prescribes for women. This fear propels her to become a pirate, a profession dominated by men, where she can be the master of her own destiny. She yearns to seize the freedom that eluded her throughout her tumultuous life.

Yet, Mary Read’s ambitions reach beyond mere rebellion. She aspires to transcend the limitations placed upon her gender, to prove that women can be just as formidable and audacious as men in the perilous world of piracy. Her ultimate goal is to etch her name into history as one of the most feared and respected pirates to have ever sailed the Caribbean.

In the annals of pirate lore, Mary Read’s story unfolds as a testament to the relentless pursuit of liberty, a narrative of a woman who defied convention, conquered the high seas, and sought to redefine her place in a world that sought to confine her.

  • Mary Read, the Pirate 5e
  • Mary Read 5e
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,

Medium humanoid (human), neutral

Armor Class 14 (leather armor) Hit Points 78 (12d8 + 24) Speed 30 ft.

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

Skills Athletics +3, Deception +4, Perception +2, Sleight of Hand +5 Senses passive Perception 12 Languages Common, Pirate Cant Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)

Background: Pirate. Mary Read has the background feature “Bad Reputation.”


Multiattack. Mary Read makes two attacks: one with her cutlass and one with her flintlock pistol.

  • Cutlass. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 3) slashing damage.
  • Flintlock Pistol. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 30/90 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d8 + 2) piercing damage. After firing, the pistol must be reloaded as a bonus action.
  • Parry. Mary Read adds 2 to her AC against one melee attack that would hit her. To do so, she must see the attacker and be wielding a melee weapon.


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

Evasion. When Mary Read makes a Dexterity saving throw to take half damage from an effect, she instead takes no damage on a success and half damage on a failure.

Legendary Actions

Mary Read can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. Mary Read regains spent legendary actions at the start of her turn.

  • Cutlass Attack. Mary Read makes one cutlass attack.
  • Flintlock Shot (Costs 2 Actions). Mary Read makes one flintlock pistol attack.
  • Daring Maneuver (Costs 2 Actions). Mary Read performs a daring maneuver, making a Dexterity (Acrobatics) or Dexterity (Athletics) check contested by a target’s Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check. If Mary Read wins the contest, she can either disarm or grapple the target.


Mary Read carries a cutlass, a flintlock pistol, leather armor, and a tricorn hat. She also possesses a locket containing a portrait of Anne Bonny, her fellow pirate, and companion.

Lair Actions

Mary Read’s lair is a hidden cove on a remote Caribbean island. While in her lair, she can use the following lair actions:

  • Wave of Deception. Mary Read can create an illusory ship or crew to confuse and disorient intruders. Each creature in the lair must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be charmed and incapacitated until the end of its next turn.
  • Hidden Arsenal. Mary Read can summon hidden weapons and ammunition for herself and her crew. She and her allies gain advantage on their next attack rolls.
  • Pirate’s Escape. Mary Read can create an illusory escape route, allowing herself and her allies to move without provoking opportunity attacks for one round.

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.

Currently in the World

Mary Read, dressed in worn and tattered sailor’s attire, wears loose-fitting trousers and a rough linen shirt, her attire mostly dark in color from long days at sea. Her cropped brown hair peeks out from under a tattered tricorn hat, and her piercing eyes, a shade of deep green, scan the horizon with a determined focus. She clutches a rusted cutlass tightly in her calloused hands, a testament to her life of plunder and adventure.

Currently, Mary stands on the weathered deck of a pirate ship, the salty sea breeze ruffling her clothes. The wooden planks beneath her feet creak with the rhythm of the waves as they gently rock the ship. She appears vigilant, her eyes squinting against the sun’s glare as she keeps a watchful eye for any signs of approaching vessels, ready for whatever dangers the high seas may bring. Her mood is one of wary anticipation, always prepared for the next adventure or threat that may come her way.

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