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Friendly Pirate

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"Ahoy there, me hearties! I'm Captain Feathersword, the Friendly Pirate!"

Zoro: Pirates are scum! Who would want to be one?
Luffy: Does it matter? You're known as an evil pirate hunter.
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Pirates are traditionally savage outlaws who reside in the seas. Expect them to Rape, Pillage, and Burn, and consider yourself lucky to survive encountering one. However, due to the popularity of the Stock Character, a different interpretation has emerged in fiction: a pirate who is nice. Meet the Friendly Pirate, a pirate who has no intention of harming others they encounter. They will often adopt many of the traditional pirate mannerisms such as being Dressed to Plunder (Eye Patch Of Power optional), having a Cool Ship, and seeking out treasure. However, any behavior that makes a pirate traditionally dangerous, is virtually absent.

Being friendly allows the possibility of having a pirate in a heroic role, either as the main cast or as an ally of the hero. Some variants may also have a pirate start off as traditionally savage, but they experience a Heel–Face Turn at some stage and transition to this trope. Some pirates choose to remain Lovable Rogues who bend the law, but otherwise are firmly Affably Evil and of no harm to innocent people. At times the Friendly Pirate may even be pitted against the more standard 'evil pirate'.

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Of course the concept of a Friendly Pirate would be very bizarre in reality. Piracy is defined by the act of robbery or criminal violence by ships or boats. So if they aren't breaking any laws then why are they considered a pirate at all? In spite of the fact they are no different from any legal sailor, the commitment to the roleplay is enough for them to be deemed a pirate.

Related to but distinct from The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, as Friendly Pirates can still be fairly active in their piracy, but tend to stick to the less dangerous activities. Even when they do engage in violence and plundering, they may get around the moral issues of their profession by only raiding The Empire, with or without a Privateer license from a "good"-aligned polity.

Compare Hooker with a Heart of Gold, Hitman with a Heart, Friendly Sniper, and Neighborhood-Friendly Gangsters for other types who are friendly despite their professions.

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Subtrope of Pirate. Contrast Ruthless Modern Pirates.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • One Piece:
    • Monkey D. Luffy and his Straw Hat Pirate crew chose the pirate lifestyle, but they do not partake in traditionally cruel pirate behavior and will even fight against it if they ever encounter any.
    • Luffy's role model in piracy, "Red-Haired" Shanks, also leads an entire band of friendly pirates. For the Red Hair Pirates, piracy is about fun and adventure, to be free and see all the world has to offer.
    • The Whitebeard Pirates, led by the World's Strongest Man, are some of the last individuals that you'd want as enemies. Yet they're a close-knit family and are never seen throwing the first punch in any encounter.
    • In the early draft of One Piece, called "Romance Dawn", pirates were known by two classifications. Friendly pirates were known as "Peace Mains", while the Rape, Pillage, and Burn pirates were "Morganeers". Luffy's journey was to find a crew of Peace Main pirates to join while also defeating any Morganeer crews he came across.
    • This is also a plot point concerning the setting and the world's police force, the Marines, and the World Government that they work for. Marines are seen as a Knight Templar army who enforce justice and meant to be defenders of innocents while viewing pirates as Always Chaotic Evil that need to be stamped out — just because they choose adventure instead of regulating themselves under the rule of the government. We're shown very early that some Marines can be corrupt and use their power for their own ends while hiding behind the justice banner. On the flip side, some pirates in the series are friendly and don't wish to cause trouble, usually only sailing for the adventure of it. Essentially, a main Aesop that is frequently shown is "don't judge a book by its cover" and that actions determine if a pirate is evil or not, not the title.
      • Though, the main point is that only some of the pirate crews don't wish to cause any trouble and explore the seas. Majority of the pirate crews in the manga, even in the Seven Warlords crews, are as evil as they come, and terrorize the seas just because they can, ostenstibly to reach the mythical One Piece, Gold Roger's treasure which no one was sure even really existed. In fact, the Yonko's protection only arose due to the slavery and all around chaos committed by these pirates. Shanks, similarly, is the Token Good Teammate of the Emperors, while his peers are the contenders of the Big Bads of the series. Most of the Marines' actions tend to veer towards perfectly understandable hadn't they been indiscriminately trying to destroy all pirates except excluding the good ones, thus turning the good ones against the Marines instead of immensely steadfast allies they could have been.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • Batman: Leatherwing: Applies to an Elseworlds take on Batman who is a pirate named Captain Leatherwing. He plunders ships of rival countries on behalf of English royalty, doing so in the hopes of eventually buying back lands stolen from his murdered parents. Despite his piracy, he is a Lovable Rogue who does not harm innocents and even saves them on occasion.
    • Bruce Wayne himself becomes one in when he gets sent back in time by Darkseid's Omega Beams during Final Crisis and ends up in 18th century North America where he has a run-in with Blackbeard. To escape the legendary pirate, Bruce fakes his own death and then dons pirate gear, where he dismantles Blackbeard's crew before engaging and defeating him in a sword duel.

    Fan Works 
  • Junior Officers: Kwazii's backstory as a pirate is elaborated on more than in the original seriesnote , and he's still as friendly as ever.

    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin and the Adventure of All Time involves Aladdin and Paige having to retrieve the lamp from a pirate ship. These pirates, lead by Blondebeard, are foppish, pacifistic, and overly friendly. However, they're on the verge of being taken over by far more vicious pirates...so Aladdin turns Blondebeard into Blackbeard, at which point he abandons all shades of the trope and becomes fully evil.
  • Castle in the Sky features Dola and her assorted sons, who may be cantankerous and ready to fight, yet still are soft-hearted to Pazu and Sheeta, the two main protagonists. Eventually aiding them and parting on good terms at the end of the movie.
  • The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! has The Pirate Captain, his mates, and basically all of the pirates who are basically glory seeking thieves, who engage in Poke the Poodle piracy.
  • Long John Silver from Treasure Planet. While it's implied that he has done some nasty things in the past, and is fairly antagonistic at the beginning, he proves to be quite an Affably Evil Lovable Rogue who has a lot more moral scruples compared to his fellow Space Pirates, and develops a strong and genuine friendship with the main protagonist Jim Hawkins (whom he treats like a surrogate son of sorts).
  • The LEGO Movie features Captain Metalbeard, who is respected among the generally benevolent Master Builders and seems to be more concerned with opposing Lord Business' tyrannical regime than stealing for profit.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Referenced in Muppet Treasure Island, where Long John Silver and his crew try to present themselves as the friendly kind of pirates in their Villain Recruitment Song "Professional Pirate". While Silver does end up showing some noble qualities, the movie had already established piracy as pretty nasty in its opening number "Shiver My Timbers" and Silver's crew lives up to that.
    "True friendship and adventure
    Are what we can't live without
    And when you're a professional pirate,
    That's what the job's about!"
  • Played with in Pirates of the Caribbean. To most of the world, pirates are considered to be murderous criminals, and piracy is firmly outlawed. However, the films tend to depict many pirates as being Noble Demons with a code of honor. Most notably Jack Sparrow and the second Black Pearl crew fall under this category, as despite all of the unpleasant things they do, they are still considered the good guys and oppose the truly evil pirates.
  • The 1973 Shaw Brothers movie, The Pirate (1973), revolves around the life of 19th-century pirate Cheung Po Tsai, who in the movie is depicted as a diplomatic gentleman and a Robin Hood-esque hero. He only plunders the ships of corrupted governors and often passes himself off as a trader or merchant before deciding whom he should rob, preferring to leave innocent villagers and unarmed sailors alone. Upon finding out a coastal town he intends to attack was actually exploited, Cheung instead decides to stay and help the locals fight against the tyranny of ruling officials. He even became friends with Admiral Wu, sent by the Imperial Court to arrest Cheung, and they end up fighting against a common enemy by the end of the film.

    Literature 
  • In The Chess Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes, Holmes describes Captain Marston as "a sort of Robin Hood type", robbing the rich and giving to the poor. He also never does physical violence to his victims, and always made sure they get to safety. However, Marston is a Posthumous Character and so we only have Holmes's word on this.
  • The children's book How I Became a Pirate tells of Braidbeard and his crew of friendly pirates in need of a digger. They take in a young boy they find on the beach and happily teach him the pirate ways.
  • In the Discworld, a country called The Neverlands is a multi-level layered pun. In Discworld history the Neverlands was originally a land of peaceful and stolid farmers who somehow threw up a series of dikes between islands strung out across a bay, thus creating new rich land for farming. You know — for things like tulips. This works well till the dikes break, swamping the reclaimed land. Those survivors who don't trek to new lands take to piracy, establishing a lair on Barrie(r) Island. Then they have an epiphany — why not take all that hazardous going-to-sea-and-fighting out of the equation and bring the marks to us and make them want to be fleeced? Thus, on Barrie Island, the pirates now run theme parks, amusement arcades, and holiday camps, offering the holiday of a lifetime. note 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: The episode "The Curse of the Black Spot" features Henry Avery, historically a real-life pirate captain. While he turns to piracy out of greed, he is shown to love his son upon discovering the boy has stowed away on his ship and greatly saddened to hear his wife had passed away. When confronted with a Siren who is attracted to shiny objects, Henry throws it overboard but tries to keep one crown, which he will later regret once the Siren uses it to capture his son. Later when it's revealed the Siren is an Auto Doc of an alien spacecraft trying to save his son, Henry gives up his pirate life to stay with them. He later becomes part of the Doctor's cavalry who was called upon to assist in "A Good Man Goes To War".
  • LazyTown: The episode "Rottenbeard" has the Lazy Town kids becoming pirates but otherwise being just as nice as they usually are. They later are joined by Robbie Rotten in disguise (calling himself Rottenbeard), who is up to his usual schemes — but is still a far cry from the traditionally cruel pirate and all the while is quite Affably Evil.
  • The Wiggles: Captain Feathersword is always introduced as "Captain Feathersword, the friendly pirate", and he enjoys tickling people with his Feathersword. Aside from dressing and speaking like a pirate, he's otherwise a very nice fellow.

    Music 
  • Parry Gripp: The song "Pirate Snail on Broccoli Isle" features the titular snail, who wears traditional pirate garb, sails the seven seas with his crew and searches for treasure. He, however, doesn't bury his treasure "Because that's no fun", and instead shares it with everyone.

    Radio 
  • Patch the Pirate: Patch and his crew go on adventures and hunt for treasure, and aside from the eponymous eye patch, that's pretty much the extent of their piratical activities. They're decidedly the good guys of the stories.

    Toys 
  • Lalaloopsy: Patch Treasurechest is a messy but well-meaning pirate lad who likes to sail the seas and share his treasures with his friends. His rival, Peggy Seven Seas, subverts the trope by being hotheaded and argumentative with him, as they both want to be the best pirate in Lalaloopsy Land.

    Video Game 
  • Artix Entertainment: Captain Rhubarb is the franchise's main pirate, featured in all games such as AdventureQuest, DragonFable, and AdventureQuest Worlds. He is generally civil in talking to the Player and will also train them in becoming a pirate. The only unpleasant thing he ever does is throw the Player overboard if they answer the pirate quiz incorrectly, and even then he gives them a second chance once they make it back onto the ship.
  • Captain Rockhopper from Club Penguin is a friendly pirate who likes telling stories about his adventures and engaging in pirate activities with the other penguins.
  • Dragon Age II: Isabela isn't entirely friendly at first, but she's also far from evil. As the game progresses, character progression pushes her further and further into this trope, to the point that if her Companion Meter is maxed out she admits that Good Feels Good and she's happy to have found you and the rest of the party.
  • DragonFable: Osprey Cove is a town full of pirates and most of them set up shops just like any other merchants. Aside from sometimes being callous and gruff, pirates are otherwise mostly allies to the player and have been called upon to assist in wars. This trope is lampshaded by one store that has a sign stating the Pirate's Warrant:
    "If you are unsatisfied with your pirate purchase for any reason... tough luck, pal! WE'RE PIRATES! You're lucky that we didn't just rob you blind in the first place!"
  • Dragon Quest IX: Cap’n Max Meddlin is the resident collector of Mini-Medals in this game. He’ll gladly hand over all the treasure he has in exchange for the tiny collectibles.
  • Drawn to Life: Captain Pirate Beard and his crew initially seem like scary characters and the village is in a state of panic once they're rescued by the player. However, they end up striking a deal with The Mayor to not hurt any of the villagers in return for a ship found off the coast. Pirate Beard even ends up offering Jowee a chance to go adventure with them. In the second game, the pirate has turned into a heroic character, the navigator and captain of the "Turtle Ship" the characters are stuck on.
  • Pirate is a character class in the Fire Emblem series, but as the player characters are almost always heroic in nature, allied pirates cleave to the friendly, if salty, side.
    • Brigid from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War is the captain of Orgahill pirates, who starts off as Sigurd's enemy, but whose honorable ways eventually cause her crew to mutiny against and to oust her, after which she joins Sigurd's army. While she was raised by her crew's late captain, she is eventually revealed to be the long-lost twin sister of Lady Edain of Yngvi, whom the pirates had kidnapped as a baby.
    • In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade we have Fargus and Dart. The former is a jovial but powerful pirate captain who offers you passage aboard his ship if you can beat his crew in a sparring contest and later becomes an important ally. The latter was saved by Fargus as a boy when he washed up unconscious on the shore and went on to become one of his most trusted crewmates. Dart, despite being rough and rude, compared to the lords and more polite party members, nonetheless cheerfully lends his aid to the party, and even asks a woman for help with moving an unconscious girl, as he doesn't "know where to grab her" to avoid impropriety.
  • Guybrush Threepwood from the Monkey Island series is quite friendly with most of the people he talks to. The only exceptions are the ill-tempered and outright evil ones. But he still fits the pirate archetype, engaging in sword fights, searching for treasure, and stealing valuable items. (In fact, he does all three of those in The Secret of Monkey Island to establish himself as a pirate.)
  • Moshi Monsters:
    • The Ghost Pirates, also known as Marooned Five (Captain Codswallop, Jaunty Jack, Mr. Mushy Peas, McScruff, and Handy van Hookz), are a bit uncultured and they do steal, but they're otherwise very friendly and accommodating.
    • Captain Buck is a pirate who's on good terms with everyone and even sells the treasure he steals.
  • On Neopets, Garin and his crew turn into heroic characters after their Character Development in the "Curse of Maraqua" plot. The story kicks off with Garin and crew raiding a wedding, but ends with all of them defending Maraqua from a crew of far more evil pirates and cementing themselves as being Anti Heroes at worst — their pirating ways aren't abandoned, but they're far nicer and more heroic than other pirates in the Neopian lore.
  • Sid Meier's Pirates! pretty much locks you into playing one by default, given the game's light-hearted tone. While you're free to attack and rob ships and do all kinds of piracy, your character is never presented as anything but a Lovable Rogue and any nations you choose not to attack will happily give you letters of marque and give you access to their ports, mercants and governors' daughters.
  • All of the Blue Rogues in Skies of Arcadia qualify, but especially protagonist Vyse. They're so warm, inviting, and generous, the only way you'd really know they're pirates is because they attack a Valuan Empire vessel in the prologue.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: Downplayed with the Sith Inquisitor PC's second companion, Space Pirate Andronikos Revel. He's a revenge-obsessed Hot-Blooded gunslinger who is reputed to have destroyed more Republic ships than half the Imperial fleet put together, but he's pretty easygoing and friendly with his current or former crew members (those who didn't mutiny at least): he's an amicable ex with bit character Casey Rix, and can become close friends with the Inquisitor and is a potential Love Interest for a female PC.
  • Tales of Vesperia: Patty is a granddaughter of the legendary pirate Ainfread who has entered the family business to find her grandfather's legendary treasure. Given she's a growth-stunted 14-year old Patty isn't particularly dangerous to anyone (except during gameplay) and the party spends most of their early encounters rescuing her from various jams she swears she has perfectly under control.

    Web Animation 
  • hololive: Marine Houshou of Generation 3 is a Pirate Girl who is a kind and friendly Genki Girl. She became a vtuber in order to gain enough funding to buy a real pirate ship. Aside from being a Covert Pervert, she does not display any hostile behavior whatsoever and cares deeply about her friends.

    Web Videos 
  • Dimension 20: Bill Seacaster from the "Fantasy High" campaign is an Affably Evil pirate. He has killed and robbed countless people, thinks violence is always on the table, and has no remorse for any of it, but he's also a Doting Parent to his son Fabian and is jovial and friendly to everyone he meets. When Fabian and the rest of the Bad Kids crash at his house after a particularly brutal battle, he has his staff fix them some snacks, joins them in a sea shanty, and then gives them some training so they won't be in such dire straits next time they see him. He also makes a point to be completely egalitarian.
  • Outside X Box's Dungeons & Dragons Actual Play series:
    • Andy's character, Corazón de Ballena, is technically the least ethical member of the party apart from Prudence — but he still comes across as a downplayed example by way of being a Loveable Rogue.
    • Rust-on-the-Harbour from the "The Corn Ultimatum" adventure is a straight example, being a cheerful French-accented tabaxi assassin who agrees to help the party for the princely sum of one gold (and even manages to win over Corazón eventually).

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: Tree Trunks is a tiny yellow elephant with a Southern accent who bakes pies, lives at the edge of the Candy Kingdom, and seems largely aloof of the world, especially in the face of danger or monsters. However the flashback episode "Ring of Fire" reveals she was a pirate captain of a ship known as La Femme du la Mer, which ultimately culminated in her abandoning an ex-lover on a secluded island to die, losing her eye, and blowing the ship up to prevent anyone from stealing it from her. Despite all of this, she is genuinely concerned for the safety and wellbeing of others in the present and is one of the closest friends of the series' main protagonists.
  • In Alphablocks, R is a pirate who is very good friends with the other Alphablocks and sometimes even helps them. She's not seen doing pirate things usually, but in one episode, she does dig up buried treasure.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: In "Time Out for Vengeance!", Pirate Batman is one of the historical Batmen featured. It's revealed he became a pirate to be a vigilante and strike terror upon evildoers while protecting the seven seas.
  • Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom: Red Beard the Elf chose to be a pirate as a career but otherwise is very kind. He's also the son of the Wise Old Elf who humorously is ashamed of his son for becoming a pirate.
  • Chico Bon Bon: Monkey with a Tool Belt: Captain Squirrelbeard is a nice pirate who enjoys helping the Fix-It Force. He has a great friendship with Sprinkles the Sea Monster, and one episode is dedicated to him attempting to deliver a cupcake to her as a testament to their strong friendship.
  • Grojband: Played with in regards to Sky Pirate, Captain Tighty Whitey. In his two main appearances, he and his crew have been antagonistic pirates who plundered Peaceville, however they are still quite Affably Evil and both times are persuaded into Heel Face Turns by Grojband.
  • Zigzagged in Jake And The Neverland Pirates. The eponymous Neverland Pirates are friendly little kids, but Captain Hook and Smee are bad guys.
  • In the Little Princess episode "I Want to Be a Pirate", the Princess becomes a pirate and is just as genial as normal, if a bit mischievous.
  • Davy Jones in Magic Adventures of Mumfie is this, being a good friend to the main characters and even leading them on some adventures.
  • The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: The episode "Rabbit Marks the Spot" has Pooh and co. becoming land pirates for fun, where they sail on a ship with wheels across the Hundred Acre Wood. While they search for buried treasure and annoy Rabbit by digging up his garden, they are otherwise just as kind as usual.
  • The Octonauts:
    • Kwazii is a former pirate, and he's currently an Octonaut who helps save sea creatures. He still talks in pirate slang and is fond of finding treasure when he gets the chance.
    • Kwazii's grandfather Calico Jack from "The Amazon Adventure" is still a pirate in the present day, but he's amiable and loving to his grandson.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
  • Salty from Thomas the Tank Engine is a diesel engine who acts like a pirate captain, calling other characters "captain", "matey", and "me hearties". He spends most of his time working at Brendam Docks and telling tales of the sea to the other engines. He is one of Sodor's friendlier diesels, having no animosity towards steam engines. He even becomes friends with a tank engine named Porter when the latter arrives on Sodor and the two share in their work.
  • VeggieTales: The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything prove they are nice pirates in that their goals in Jonah are to... enjoy cheese snacks, and the entire reason they help Jonah is so that they can afford to purchase more cheese snacks. That, and their pirate ship features ping pong and other toys for goofing around on. They even offer Jonah a refund when God forces them to make him walk the plank.

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