Skull & Shackles
Adrift: Floating loose at sea. Can also mean someone who
has run away or gone missing.
Anchor: A person who wears heavy metal armor.
Besmara’s Fingers: A-cat-o’-nine-tails.
Binnacle: A glass-topped box fixed to a stand on the
deck. The binnacle houses a compass.
Bubbles: A person who can’t swim.
Cannon: A spellcaster with flashy offensive spells.
Captain’s Dance: When two ships meet in open water and
wish to parlay, each ship sends out a boat. The two captains
meet on one ship; the two first mates meet on the other.
Chase: A ship that is being pursued by pirates.
Coaming: A raised lip around a hatch to keep water
from spilling belowdecks.
Fancy Jacket: Someone who dresses and talks like a
pirate but has no real sailing experience.
Fast Colors: A country’s flag. Privateers sometimes fly
pirate or merchant flags to lure pirate ships close,
then raise their true flags when combat begins.
Fishslicer: A small blade, like a dagger.
Following Sea: Waves going in the same
direction as a ship.
Frenzy: A fight, particularly a tavern brawl.
Gallows Jumper: Someone who has
died and then come back to life, such as
through a raise dead spell.
Holystone: Bars of sandstone used to
scrub the deck.
Jack Tar: A pirate.
Lights: Lungs. (The “lights” in famous
exclamations like “I’ll have your liver and
lights!” actually refers to lungs, rather than
eyes, as landlubbers often imagine.)
Lubber: A clumsy or stupid person,
often a “landlubber.”
Paying Cargo: Passengers.
Running Lunch: A rat or large insect.
Sailors sometimes joke that a new crewman
must “catch himself a running lunch.”
Scaly: A fish. Can also refer to a sea monster.
Sea Legs: The ability to maintain balance on a
The Sweet Trade: Piracy.
Windbound: Unable to set sail because of
wind conditions. Can mean any situation in
which a person cannot act because of outside circumstances.
Windspinner: A spellcaster, specifically one
who possesses weather magic.
X-er: A treasure hunter—someone always
looking for “the X that marks the spot.”