Pirates wear jackets with two rows of buttons, bandanas around their heads, long-sleeved shirts, and belled trousers. For most of the game, Pirates appear in red bandanas spotted with white; in Chapter 9, pirate bands may include more heavily armored Pirates whose primary bandana color is blue.
Pirates rove in groups of three to five, sometimes including Pirate Archers or Pirate Mages. While Pirate Archers are not visibly different from regular Pirates, Pirate Mages carry staffs. All pirates carry Swords. Red-kerchiefed pirates usually wear Leather Armor and carry Chailan Cutlasses, while blue-kerchiefed pirates may wear Montari armor or Breastplates and carry Onyx Blades or Malachian Bores, as well as Banded Shields. Pirate Archers usually carry Grrrlf Bows and Grrrlf Arrows.
While groups solely composed of Pirate Archers are difficult to fight, as they simply stand back and shoot, the Armorlight spell can turn the tide.
This article contains plot or ending spoilers.
Pirate activity increased alongside the shipping strike affecting Antara's east and south coastlines. When the Fair Current put out against the strike, carrying William Escobar and the joyman Gregor, it was attacked by pirates. Its crew fought back and would have won the day, but a griffin dropped a firebomb on the ship and attacked the passengers, and the ship was lost. Much later, it emerged that the pirates had been hired to kill Gregor in return for salvage rights on the Fair Current.
Overall, the pirate activity, among other factors, acted to depress the business interests of the governor of Januli, Lord Sheffield, as well as plaguing travelers up and down the Antaran cosatline. The mayor of Balmestri, a Piandan coastal town, was found to be taking bribes to allow the pirates a foothold on his coast; he fled overseas when the plot was revealed. The pirates were also revealed to have been allowed into Lord Sheffield's private coves, apparently by Sheffield himself, in exchange for a fee paid into a private account at Sheffield's bank in Havesly.
When the agreement was revoked, the pirates attacked Sheffield's estate. It then emerged that someone else had engineered the agreement with the pirates for the financial benefits, but had revoked it upon learning details of their depredations.