The Pirates were one of the first two factions of the Pirates theme. They were the only faction not to change over time, but they expanded with more and more sets added with each change of the good faction. Their symbol was the Jolly Roger, a black flag with a skull and crossbones.
The Pirates boasted four of the largest ship sets, Black Seas Barracuda, Red Beard's Runner, Skull's Eye Schooner and Brickbeard's Bounty. They operated out of the Forbidden Island, Rock Island Refuge, Skull Island, Pirates Perilous Pitfall and Shipwreck Hideout sets.
The intial release of the Pirates was hugely popular. The sets released in this era were some of the largest in the theme, including 6285 Black Seas Barracuda, 6270 Forbidden Island, and 6273 Rock Island Refuge. The Pirates were initially pitted against the Imperial Soldiers.
In 1992 the blue Imperial Soldiers were phased out and the Pirates' main adversaries were now the red Imperial Guards who resembled Redcoats of the British Army of the colonial era. The Black Seas Barracuda was replaced by the Skull's Eye Schooner, and the Rock Island Refuge was replaced by the Skull Island.
Around late 1993 to early 1994, there was a minor split in the Pirate faction. Another captain emerged as the leader of the new Renegade Pirates faction. The two sides were not enemies, nor were they friends.
After more than ten years without any new Pirates releases, the theme was relaunched with visually upgraded minifigs. This time the pirates were pitted against a faction that resembled the Imperial Guards from 1992.
- Captain Redbeard: Famous pirate leader, distinguished from all the others by his bright red beard and a patch over his left eye. His right leg was a wooden peg-leg and he had a hook on his left hand. He often carried a pistol and a sword, and was hardly seen without his pet parrot, Popsy.
- Captain Brickbeard: The captain of pirates after the theme's relaunch in 2009. He largely resembles his predecessor, but consists entirely of newly printed pieces and wears golden epaulettes and a golden hook.
- Bo'Sun Will: The youngest pirate and crush of Camille, the Governor's daughter. He is friend to Capt. Redbeard, and has some skill with a sword and pistol. He wears a red bandana around his head, a red and white striped shirt, and red pants. He has no distinguishing features.
- First Mate Rummey: First mate of the pirates, Rummey was a cut-throat pirate through and through. He wore a blue jacket over a red and white striped undershirt, gray pants, and a brown tri-corner hat. He also had a patch over his left eye.
- Anne: Also known as the Wench.
- Flashfork: He's a crewmember of Captain Redbeard and sometimes served as second mate. He's a very poor sailor because he always shipwrecked.
- Spinoza: the monkey.
- Popsy: the pet parrot of Capt. Redbeard.
Ships and buildings
In total, the pirates had six ships that made use of the new large boat pieces. the first one was 6285 Black Seas Barracuda, which is still one of the most popular LEGO sets ever. It was replaced in 1993 by the 6286 Skull's Eye Schooner, which was, until January 2010, the only ship of the Pirates theme that had three masts and was also the biggest to that date. 1993 also brought a smaller one-masted ship, 6268 Renegade Runner. In 1996 the second two-masted ship was released, the 6289 Red Beard Runner, followed by another small one-masted ship in 1997, 6250 Cross Bone Clipper, which was the smallest of the six bigger ships and would also be the last ship for the next years. The newest ship is 6243 Brickbeard's Bounty from 2009.
The first pirate base was 6270 Forbidden Island, a simple outpost on a flat baseplate. It was replaced in 1991 by 6273 Rock Island Refuge which was considerably bigger and constructed on a raised baseplate. The next one was 6279 Skull Island, released in 1995. Smaller installations include 6296 Shipwreck Island from 1996 and 6249 Pirates Ambushfrom 1997. The biggest fortification of the pirates, considering the number of pieces, was 6281 Pirates Perilous Pitfall from 1997. The latest pirate base is 6253 Shipwreck Hideout from 2009.
There were also numerous smaller islands, boats or rafts.
- 6251 Pirate Mini Figures (1990), contained three pirates, including Captain Redbeard
- 6204 Buccaneers (1996), contained two pirates, including Captain Redbeard
- 6276 Eldorado Fortress (1989, Imperial Soldiers), included a boat with Captain Redbeard and Flashfork
- 6259 Broadside's Brig (1991, Imperial Soldiers), included an imprisoned pirate
- 6267 Lagoon Lock-Up (1991, Imperial Soldiers), included an imprisoned pirate and a sailing boat with Captain Redbeard
- 6247 Bounty Boat (1992, Imperial Guards), included a captive pirate
- 6277 Imperial Trading Post (1992, Imperial Guards), included a pirate with a sailing boat
- 6266 Cannon Cove (1993, Imperial Guards), includes a pirate with a boat
- 6246 Crocodile Cage (1994, Islanders), included an imprisoned pirate
- 6262 King Kahuka's Throne (1994, Islanders), included two pirates with a sailing boat
- 6264 Forbidden Cove (1994, Islanders), included two pirates with a boat
- 6278 Enchanted Island (1994, Islanders), included two pirates with a sailing boat
- 6263 Imperial Outpost (1995, Imperial Guards), included a pirate
- 6239 Cannon Battle (2009, Imperial Guards), included a pirate
- 6242 Soldiers' Fort (2009, Imperial Guards), includes a boat with Captain Brickbeard and an imprisoned pirate