Monday 31 December 2012

Pirate Game Character Creation

1. Create a fighting man with the DnD of your choice.

So for Labyrinth Lord:
  • 3d6 in-order OR 18d6, assign 3 to each stat.
  • 1d8 HP, modified by CON
  • Base AC=10, modified by DEX
  • Due to the more focussed mechanics, I'm tempted to use 5 ability scores, but do whatever you want:
    • PHS(combined STR/CON)
    • DEX
    • INT(combined INT/WIS)
    • CHR
    • LUCK

2. Give them an Occupation

3. Equipment

  • Roll 1d10 SP for starting money
  • Starting equipment is:
    • Clothing of your choice
    • Missile Weapon(choose 1) plus ammo/powder for 10 shots
      • Musket/Blunderbuss
      • 2 Pistols or Dragons
      • Bows
    • Hand Weapon of your choice
    • One Occupation-related item of your choice(thieves' tools, doctor's bag, compass, rope, dice...)
    • 25% chance of animal companion(monkey, parrot, dog, etc.)

Sunday 30 December 2012

Seafaring Rules

Here are some basic rules for getting around the overland map of your saltbox in a boat.

1. Visibility at Sea

Spotting objects at sea depends on the viewer's height and the objects heigh, object size, as well as the lighting.  Here are basic guidelines for the GM to determine what PCs can see.  This is perhaps most relevant in enabling the PCs to discover new islands to explore.  Note that I'm assuming a map with 12 mile grid squares.

Height Definitions(where the character is standing)

  • Sealevel: Deck Height/Beach
  • Elevated: Ship Rigging/Land
  • High: on hill or mountain

Size Definitions(object being viewed)

  • Tiny Ship: skiff/canoe
  • Tall Ship: Cog/Caravel/Carrack
  • Small Island: 3 squares thick or smaller
  • Large Island: more than 3 squares thick

Daytime Visibility

  • Sealevel->Tiny Ship: same square
  • Sealevel->Tall Ship: 1 square away
  • Sealevel->Small Island: 1 square away
  • Sealevel->Large Island: 2 squares away
  • Elevated->Tiny Ship: same square
  • Elevated->Tall Ship: 1 square away
  • Elevated->Small Island: 2 squares away
  • Elevated->Large Island: 3 squares away
  • High->Tiny Ship: same square
  • High->Tall Ship: 1 square away
  • High->Small Island: 3 square away
  • High->Large Island: 4 squares away

Spotting hidden reefs/whirlpools before it's too late

Same square and skill check

Nighttime Visibility:

Sealevel->Ship: same square and skill check

Sealevel->Small Island: same square and skill check or coming quite close without check
Sealevel->Large Island: 1 square away and skill check or same square without check
Sealevel->Hidden Reefs/Whirlpools: same square and skill check
Anywhere->Light Source: similar to daytime visibility i.e. what are the relative elevations

2. Daily Weather

Weather effects sailing movement and can sink ships.  The previous day's weather will have a score between 1 and 10.  Each day, roll a d3-2 and add to previous day's weather value to determine this day's weather.  If you get a result below 1, the result is 1.  If you get a result above 10, the result is 10.

Rainy Season Weather

1: Still
2-9: Favorable
10: Stormy

Dry Season Weather

1-2: Still
3-10: Favourable

3. Movement in the Ocean

So you want to go somewhere in your boat.  There are a few possibilities how to declare this:

  • You see target ship/island and you want to sail to it.  This is pretty basic and you just need to determine your speed.
  • You don't see your target.  Instead you want to sail a certain distance or time period in a given compass direction.  In this case, your Navigator must roll a skill check against his intelligence.  On failure, the DM privately rolls a random direction to displace boat by.

Determining Speed:


  • Still/Favourable Weather: fixed movement rate
    • Skiff 1/2 square per 8 hour day
  • Stormy Weather
    • the boat will move 1d3-1 squares in a random direction


  • Still Weather: 0
  • Favourable weather: depends on wind/load.
    • Skiff: 1d10 squares
    • Carrack: 1d8 squares or 1d4 if loaded with heavy cargo
    • Caravel/Cog: 1d6 squares or 1d3 if loaded with heavy cargo
  • Stormy Weather
    • If continuing to sail, boat gets maximum movement rate (roll your movement die to see how far you get before the storm hits!)
    • If Riding out Storm, the boat will move 1d3-1 squares in a random direction

4. Seaworthiness Checks

If your ship is caught sailing in a storm, roll the Helmsman's Skill.  To determine the severity of the storm, roll 3d6 to determine the DC of the skill check.

Modifiers to roll:

  • Add the seaworthiness of the craft
  • Continue to Sail with low sail: -1 for each movement that day attempted within storm
  • Ride it out with minimal sails: +2
  • Protected Bay: +5
  • Anchored(shallow water): +4
  • Docked: +6
  • Beached: +8

Friday 28 December 2012

Uncharted Isles: a Saltbox Generation Toolkit

So here is a Saltbox Generator, usable with this starting scenario for a Pirate Campaign.  Basically, this generator is a toolkit for helping a GM quickly and randomly produce a Pirate Sandbox, in the spirit of WFRP's Border Princes.

This toolkit will produce a cluster of island along a trade-route, populated with people, monsters, and ancient ruins.  I'll post a sample Saltbox generated with this tookit in the near future.

1. The Grid

Start with a blank 39x39 grid/hexmap.  You can make the scale of this grid whatever you want.  I prefer a grid rather than hexes since it makes navigating with the 8 basic compass directions a little easier.  Hexmaps look nicer, but anyway I don't show the players the game map(though I'll help them map as they explore).

I like 36 mile grid-squares for this.  This puts the islands close enough together to allow travel-by-sail between them, without making the overall map too small.  When I actually run the game, I'll use a 12 mile grid.  This should make the map feel pretty big to the players.

In general I'll say that 120ft movement on a dirt road allows for 24miles travel in an 8 hour day.  Sea Travel will be much faster, since the ship can potentially move faster and sail round the clock.

2. Islands

Generate Islands and draw them on the grid.  Number them so you can make a key describing their details.

2a. Number/Size

1+1d4 Large Islands (4d6 squares)
1+1d4 medium Islands (2d4 squares)
3+3d6 small (1d2 squares)
1+1d4 tiny (1d4 tiny islands in a square)

2b. Location(per island)

If you land on an existing island, skip this one
x: 2d20-1
y: 2d20-1

2c. Special Features(per island)

Size<=10: %chance of having a feature=size*10
Size>10: roll for two features, with each having %chance of size*5
Size>20: roll for three features, with each having % chance of size*10/3

1-2 Freshwater Lake or river
3-4 Protected bay
5 Hidden Reefs 1 square away, 1d6 squares total
6 Surrounded by Hidden Reefs
7 Extensive Caves
8 Volcano
9 Whirlpool(1d2-1 squares away)
10 Roll twice for two features

2d. Primary Vegitation

1 Rocky
2 Sand
3 Salt-Swamp
4 Tall Grasses
5 Jungle

3. Ancient Ruins

Place 1d6 ruins on the islands.  Use the modules of your choice or roll on the tables below for some ideas.  Mark ruins on the map with a simple X and put the details in the key.

3a Ruin Form(per ruin)

1. Fortress
2. Temple
3. Settlement
4. Tomb
5. Industrial/Scientific complex
6. Other

3b Who built it?(per ruin)

1. Technologically Advanced ancient race
2. Pagan ancient race
3. Wizard
4. Humanoid Race(Elves, Dwarves...)
5. Monstrous race(Goblinoids, Deep Ones...)
6. Giant Race(Giants, Cyclopses...)
7. Space Aliens
8. Inhuman things from another dimension

3c Main thing left(per ruin)

1 Weapon
2 Plague/Curse
3 Monster(s)
4 Technology
5 Treasure
6 Ancient Race Survivor

4. Persons of Note

Describe 3-10 persons of note, generally leaders of Human Settlements

4a. Background(per person)

 1-5 Native Islander
6-7 Colonial
8 Pirate
9 Naval Officer
10 Escaped slave

4b. Give each a Name/Title

4c. Relations

Record which are allies, which are enemies, which are rivals, which don't know each other exist, etc.

5. Human Settlements

Place settlements wherever you see fit.  Generally the more habitable islands should get priority.  Mark them with circles, or dots of varying size and put the details in the key.

5a. Size/Number:

1d2 Towns(roll 3 features)
2d3 Villages(roll 2 features)
2d4 Homesteads(roll 1 feature)
1d4 Individuals(50% chance roll 1 feature)

5b. Who lives there(per settlement):

1-5 Native Islanders
6-7 Colonials
8 Pirates
9 Naval Outpost
10 Escaped slaves

5c. Features(Settlement size determines number of features)

1-2 None
3 Fortified(Stockade, Wall, etc.)
4-5 Dark Secret subtable
6-10 Economic Resource subtable

5c-1. Dark Secret(for large settlements, may only be a small cell)

1 Cultists
2 Cannibals
3 Pact with Monsters

5c-2. Economic Resource

1 Mine/Quarry(pick type)
2 Market
3 Gunsmith
4 Weaponsmith
5 Armoror
6 Bowyer
7 Brewer
8 Carpenter
9 Goldsmith
10 Shipwright

5d. Roads

If multiple settlements co-exist on an island and are in contact, feel free and add dirt roads between them

6. Monster Lairs

Place 2d4 monster lairs on the map.  Mark them with the letter L and put the details in the key.


1 undead
2 degenerate humans
3 huge monster
4 smaller monster
5 sea monsters(lair is underwater on an ocean square)
6 space aliens

7. Trade Route

Draw the trade route between Old and New Worlds as a path through the sea across the map.  This is where the party is most likely to encounter large ships, etc.

  • You can have it stop at a settlement or two along the way
  • The route should generally avoid reefs and other hazards
  • Draw it up-to several squares thick, since courses tend to vary.

8. Compass, Key

Add a compass direction to your map(Up=North).  You may also want to add a key with the symbols for settlements, lairs, ruins, etc.

9. Random Encounter Tables

Now make random tables for various locations on the map.  Here are some general ones you may want to use:

Ocean, On Trade Route

1 From nearby Monster Lair
2 From nearby settlement
3 Wandering Seamonsters
4-10 Wandering Ships(see subtables)

Ocean, Off Trade Route

1-4 From nearby Monster Lair
5-8 From nearby settlement
9 Wandering Seamonsters
10 Wandering Ships(see subtables)

General Island

1 Dangerous Animal
2 Wandering Cannibals
3 Wandering Pirates/Bandits
4-10 From a settlement/lair or near the island

Wandering Ship Subtables:

Wandering Ships number

1-5 one ship
6-7 two ships, same type
8 two ships, different types
9 three ships, same type
10 three ships, different types

Wandering Ships type

1 Merchant
2 Pirate
3 Naval Patrol

Wandering Ship size

1 Cog
2 Caravel
3 Carrack

Monday 24 December 2012

Pirate Starting Scenario

The Hook

How pleasant the long journey to the New World started out.  The calls of the gulls, the rocking of the ship. The fresh salt air itself seemed full with new potentialities.

And how awkward it was when the Squire who owned the boat found out you were fugitives from the law.  The quick skirmish ended in an extended draw, with you barricaded in the ship's cabin.  After a long, tense night, an agreement was reached.

And so you find yourselves at dawn rowing the ship's longboat toward a nearby island.  As you near, a quaint seaside village comes into sight, the locals just starting to set-out in their fishing skiffs.  It seems tranquil enough, but you suspect that the Squire might send someone looking for you before too long, so you'd better not be too complacent.

The party has been left with just a row-boat and their personal belongings in a cluster of tropical islands on the trade route between the Old and the New Worlds.  They left the Old World as fugitives, hoping to make a new start.  Now, it seems their reputation has followed them, and even if they manage to gain passage to the New World, they are in danger of being recognized by one of the many witnesses to the recent shoot-out aboard the ship.

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Pirate Crawl Classics Occupations

So I've been thinking more about seafaring skills and I think I have a better solution.  I recently got to browse through a copy of Dungeon Crawl Classics and I liked the skill system, so I'm using something similar for the Pirate game:

  • Characters have an occupation from before choosing a life of adventuring
  • Tasks requiring a skill check have a DC between 0 and 20 depending on difficulty
    • Character with relevant Occupation roll 1d20
    • Characters without relevant Occupation roll 1d10
    • Roll is modified by ability score modifier where relevant
      • Blacksmith making a battle axe uses STR modifier
      • Blacksmith making a tiny key uses DEX modifier
  • Simple career tasks may not require a skill check for a trained character.  If an untrained individual attempts these, the DM can decide on a case-by-case basis if a check is required.  For example:
    • taking the helm of a ship for simple manoeuvres in fair weather- no check
    • managing the rigging for simple manoeuvres in fair weather- no check
    • firing a canon at a target- modify attack roll by DEX bonus if DEX was half of current value
  • If a character spends a long time doing a particular career action they may gain an additional career.  The DM and players may negotiate this, but in general, it should be quite rare.  For example:
    • If the ship's carpenter takes the helm on a regular basis for a year of game-time, he may add the Helmsman career
    • If the ship's carpenter is constantly having to treat other wounded characters in the absence of a Doctor, over the course of years, he still is probably not going to add a Doctor career without years of study.  But maybe the DM will invent a Medic career which is more limited.
  • If you want an Occupation that doesn't appear here, invent it.


Here are some occupations and some of the things they can do:
  • Seafaring Occupations- all know the basics and can serve as riggers, powder monkeys, lookouts, helmsmen in favourable conditions
    • Sailor- tie knots, fix sails, traverse rigging even in foul weather
      • as lookout, skill check to see underwater reefs 
    • Helmsman- pilot a large ship or command an untrained person at helm
      • manoeuvre ship effectively in combat
      • skill check to traverse narrow passages through straits, reefs
    • Navigator- read/draw maps, get boat from point A to point B
      • skill check to go to particular hex(failure means ending-up travelling to an adjacent hex)
    • Ship Doctor- know how to set broken bones, install peglegs, care for wounded crew
      • skill check to double patient's healing rate
    • Ship Carpenter- fix boat parts
      • fix damage from canons, storms
    • Ship Gunner- fire a heavy gun and oversee it's maintainence
      • skill check to hit particular target
    • Ship Cook- create a meal out of nearly anything
    • Fisherman- catch fish
    • Marine- soldier stationed on ship
      • no penalty fighting on ship during high seas
  • Other Occupations(what are you, a landlubber?!)
    • Noble- member of noble class
      • begin with more starting funds
    • Smith- make simple things from metal
    • Gunsmith- make/fix guns
    • Leatherwork- make complex things from leather
    • Performer- entertain people
    • Professional Gambler- gamble
    • Pearl Diver- swim, hold breath

A Word on Character Class

This skill system gives you a good deal of flexibility as far as what character classes you want to allow.  

  • For Pirates in the line of Treasure Island you may only want to allow Fighting Man
    • in this case you may want to add a Burglar Occupation who makes skill checks when thief skills are needed
  • For more fantastical Pirate adventures like Adventures of Sindbad, you can just use standard DnD classes with the above occupations

Monday 17 December 2012

Naval Combat Sample

So let's give this Naval Combat a whirl with Naval Hardware, small arms, and death and dismemberment.  The encounter:

The party(a Captain, a Ship's Doctor, a First Mate, and a Duelist), in their Cog, go looking for a ship to overwhelm.  They're lightly burdened, but have a crew of 20 pirates, a small cannon, a Heavy Musket mounted on deck, and a minimal cargo so their ship will be unencumbered and move fast.  They also have a small sailing skiff.

A couple days in they encounter a heavily-laden Caravel moving slowly, with a crew of 12, a standard cannon on each side, as well as a Swivel-Gun on the poop deck.

So here's how the party chose to split-up command between the 4 PCs, and the Merchant's command groups(used for initiative):

Pirate Cog

  • Pirate Captain/Navigator(2nd level) flintlock pistolsx2, sabre
    • Pirate Helmsman sabre
    • Pirate Sailor sabre
    • Pirate Carpenter sabre
    • Pirate Canon Gunner sabre
  • Pirate Mate/Swordsman with 2 flintlock pistols
    • 4 Native spearmen with short bows
  • Pirate Doctor 2 flintlock pistols, Musket, rapier
    • Pirate Heavy Musket Gunner sabre
    • 2 Pirate Musketeers sabre

Pirate Skiff

  • Pirate Duelist 2 Flintlock Dragons
    • 5 Crossbowmen, sabre

Merchant Caravel

  • Merchant Captain(2nd level) 2 pistols
    • Merchant Helmsman
    • 2 Merchant Sailors
    • Merchant Carpenter
    • 5 Merchant Gunners
  • Merchant Mate(2nd level) Musket, sabre
    • Merchant Musketeer, sabre


We'll have each of the commanders roll initiative.  The order is:
  1. Merchant Captain
  2. Merchant Mate
  3. Pirate Captain
  4. Pirate Mate
  5. Pirate Duelist
  6. Pirate Doctor

Ship Turn 1:

Phase 1: Crew Assignment

  • Pirate Helmsman, Pirate Sailor-Rigger, Pirate Canon Gunner-at their stations
  • Pirate Carpenter, Captain, Mate-At Ready
  • Duelist- Helm of Skiff
  • Merchant Carpenter, Captain- At Ready
  • helmsman, 2 sailors, 5 gunners- at their various stations

Phase 2: Individual Combat, Phase 3: Heavy Guns

None of this yet, not in range.

Phase 4: Ship Control

  • Pirate Cog: Captain orders to engage the Caravel
  • Pirate Skiff: Mate engages Caravel
  • Caravel's Captain: Chooses to Evade the Cog, try to deal with the skiff first
So So the Skiff and Caravel will be ENGAGED next turn(i.e. in heavy gun range)

Ship Turn 2:

Phase 1: Crew Assignment

same as last

Phase 2: Individual Combat

None of this yet, not in range. 

Phase 3 Heavy Guns

  • The Merchant Swivel Gun and one of the canons fire at the small skiff(needs 17-1(gunner skill)) aiming for it's hull.  The other canon cannot fire at the skiff since guns on opposite sides of the craft cannot both fire at the same ship.
    • both miss

Phase 4: Ship Control

  • Pirate Cog: Captain ENGAGES caravel
  • Pirate Skiff: pulls ALONGSIDE caravel
  • Caravel's Captain: not wanting the skiff with it's crossbowmen to get within range, he EVADES the Skiff
So all three ships will be ENGAGED next turn.

Ship Turn 3:

Phase 1: Crew Assignment

same as last

Phase 2: Individual Combat

None of this yet, not in range. 

Phase 3 Heavy Guns

  • Roll initiative(1d6+Helmsman skill).  Merchant wins.
  • The Merchant Swivel Gun and one of it's canons fire at the small skiff(needs 17-1(gunner skill)).  Both aim for the hull hoping to sink it.  The other canon fires at the Pirate Cog's hull(needs 10-1)
    • swivel-gun misses
    • Canon hits skiff for 4 Hull damage(it will begin shipping water next Turn).
      • Crossbowman 3 is chosen randomly, but makes his save so does not take damage
    • Canon hits Cog for 4 Hull damage
  • The Pirate Cog fires on the Caravel's deck(needs 7-1=6)
    • Hits. 12 crew, 2 masts, helm, 3 Heavy Guns, 3 powder barrels. 21: swivel gun powder barrel.  Ship is on fire.  Gunner: Hit an artery: -1HP and bleeding

Phase 4: Ship Control

  • Pirate Cog: Captain orders to pull ALONGSIDE  Caravel
  • Pirate Skiff: Mate attempts to pull ALONGSIDE Caravel
  • Caravel's Captain: not wanting the Cog to get any closer, EVADES the Cog
So all three ships will be ENGAGED next turn, with the Skiff and Caravel ALONGSIDE one another(small arms range).

Ship Turn 4:

Phase 1: Crew Assignment

  • Pirate Helmsman, Pirate Sailor-Rigger, Pirate Canon Gunner-at their stations
  • Pirate Carpenter- Repairing hull damage
  • Pirate Doctor and 3 musketeers- bailing water from Cog
  • Captain, Mate-At Ready
  • Duelist- abandons helm to participate in combat
  • note the skiff crew is not bailing, so their ship will sink at the end of this turn!
  • Merchant Carpenter- putting out powder fire
  • Captain- At Ready
  • Rest except for Mate's group- at their stations

Phase 2: Individual Combat

Round 1

  • Merchant Mate & Musketeer fire at Duelist and Crossbowman 5(need 11+1-1=11 and 11+1=12 to hit)
    • Crossbowman 5 hit, Killed Horribly
  • Duelist climbs aboard Caravel(needs to roll DEX=11 or lower to succeed)
    • Climbs onto deck of Caravel
  • Crossbowmen 1-4 fire at Mate, Musketeer(need 11)
    • all miss

Round 2

  • Merchant Mate & Musketeer draw swords and attack Duelist(need 10, 11 to hit)
    • Musketeer hits for 8 damage, Dies Horribly
  • Crossbowmen 1-4 reload

Round 3

  • Merchant Mate & Musketeer reloading
  • Crossbowmen 1-4 fire at Mate, Musketeer(need 11)
    • both die horribly

Round 4

  • Crossbowmen 1-4 reload

Round 5

  • Crossbowmen 1-4 fire at Merchant helmsmen and 3 of remaining 4 gun crew
    • Helmsman hit, Killed instantly(Captain takes his place at helm)
    • Canon 1 Gunner hit, 0HP and falls unconscious for 5 rounds
    • Canon 2 Gunner hit 0HP and falls unconcious bleeding.

Round 6

  • Their gunners unconscious, Powder monkeys 1, 2 abandon their posts to bandage the two bleeding gunners
  • Seeing their skiff is about to sink, Crossbowmen 1-4 jump aboard the caravel
    • 3 of them make it aboard
    • 1 of them falls overboard!

Phase 3 Heavy Guns

  • The Merchant Caravel's guns are unmanned
  • The Pirate Cog fires on the Caravel's deck(needs 7-1=6)
    • Hits. 6 crew, 2 masts, helm, 3 Heavy Guns, 2 powder barrels. 5: Powder Monkey 1 is killed horribly!

Phase 4: Ship Control

  • Pirate Cog: Captain orders to pick-up Crossbowman 4 who is OVERBOARD
  • Pirate Skiff: takes on 4 water units from hull damage.  Sinks
  • Caravel's Captain: not wanting the Cog to get any closer, EVADES the Cog
So ships are not engaged this turn

Also, hull damage to Pirate Cog has been repaired.

Ship Turn 5:

Phase 1: Crew Assignment

  • Pirate Helmsman, Pirate Sailor-Rigger, Pirate Canon Gunner-at their stations
  • Pirate Carpenter, Captain, Mate- AT READY
  • Merchant captain orders all hands to repel boarders, so the ship is UNMANNED

Phase 2: Individual Combat

Round 1

  • Merchant Captain approaches Crossbowman 1 and fires pistol(needs 11+1-1=11)
    • grazes him(2HP)
  • Merchant Carpenter, 2 sailors, Powder Monkey attack the 3 Crossbowmen with their sabres
    • Crossbowman 2 killed horribly
    • Crossbowman 3 is slashed but it's just a flesh wound(2HP)
  • Crossbowmen 1,3 attack Carpenter, Powder Monkey with their sabres
    • Carpenter slashed in stomach, falls to floor bleeding, unconscious
  • Crossbowman 4 is fished out of the water, his weapons left on the bottom of the sea

Round 2

  • Merchant Captain, 2 sailors, Powder Monkey attack the 2 Crossbowmen with their sabres
    • Crossbowman 3 takes two more fleshwounds(1 and 2 HP)
  • Crossbowmen 1,3 attack 2 sailors
    • both take fleshwounds(1HP each)

Round 3

  • Merchant Captain, 2 sailors, Powder Monkey attack the 2 Crossbowmen with their sabres
    • Crossbowman 3 takes a fleshwound(1HP)
  • Crossbowmen 1,3 attack 2 sailors
    • sailor 1 takes a fleshwound(1HP)

Round 4

  • Merchant Captain, 2 sailors, Powder Monkey attack the 2 Crossbowmen with their sabres
    • Crossbowman 1 killed instantly
    • Crossbowman 3 takes a fleshwound(2HP)
  • Crossbowmen 3 surrenders and is bound and taken below

Round 5, 6

canon 1 gunner awakens

Phase 3 Heavy Guns

  • ships not engaged

Phase 4: Ship Control

  • Pirate Cog: Captain orders to engage skiff
  • Caravel is UNMANNED
So the Cog and Caravel will be ENGAGED

Ship Turn 6:

Phase 1: Crew Assignment

  • Pirates
    • Pirate Helmsman, Pirate Sailor-Rigger, Pirate Canon Gunner-at their stations
    • Pirate Carpenter, Captain, Mate- AT READY
  • Captain- At helm
  • 2 sailors at stations
  • Powder Monkey, Canon 1 gunner- man a canon

Phase 2: Individual Combat

None of this yet, not in range. 

Phase 3 Heavy Guns

  • Pirates win initiative
  • The Pirate Cog fires on the Caravel's deck(needs 7-1=6)
      • Hits. 5 crew, 2 masts, helm, 3 Heavy Guns, 2 powder barrels. 6-mast goes down.  Caravel now only has 5/10 sail points
  • The Powder monkey fires the Swivel Gun at the Cog's hull
    • hits, 2 hull damage

Phase 4: Ship Control

  • Pirate Cog: Captain pulls ALONGSIDE caravel
  • Caravel EVADES cog
So both ships will be ENGAGED next turn.

Ship Turn 7:

Phase 1: Crew Assignment

same as last except Carpenter and 2 musketeers set about fixing hull/bailing

Phase 2: Individual Combat

None of this yet, not in range. 

Phase 3 Heavy Guns

  • Pirates win initiative
  • The Pirate Cog fires on the Caravel's deck(needs 7-1=6)
    • Hits. 4 crew, 1 mast, helm, 3 Heavy Guns, 2 powder barrels. 5-mast goes down.  Caravel is at 0 sail points and is DISABLED!
  • Merchant cannot fire canon since disabled ships don't get to shoot their fixed guns at moving ships

Phase 4: Ship Control

  • Pirate Cog: Captain pulls ALONGSIDE caravel
  • Caravel is DISABLED
So both ships will be ALONGSIDE next turn.

Ship Turn 8:

Phase 1: Crew Assignment

  • Pirate Helmsman, Pirate Sailor-Rigger, Pirate Canon Gunner-at their stations
  • Pirate Carpenter, Captain- AT READY
  • Captain, 2 sailors, powder monkey abandon stations since ship is disabled
  • Canon Gunner- man's the swivel gun

Phase 2: Individual Combat

Round 1

  • Merchant Captain fires pistol at Pirate Captain(needs 11+1-1)
    • flesh wound(5hp)
  • Pirate Mate fires pistol at Merchant captain
    • Killed instantly
  • 4 Native spearmen with short bows fire at 2 sailors
    • miss
  • Pirate Doctor,Heavy Musketeer, 2 Pirate Musketeers fire at powder monkey, 2 sailors
    • miss
  • Crossbowman throws a boarding hook to disabled Caravel

Round 2

  • Sailor 1 fetches fallen pistol from captain
  • Pirate Mate fires pistol at sailor 1
    • DEAD
  • 4 Native spearmen with short bows fire at sailor, powder monkey
    • sailor killed instantly.
    • powder monkey's left arm lamed.  Falls unconscious and bleeding
  • Pirate Doctor,Heavy Musketeer, 2 Pirate Musketeers wait
  • Crossbowman makes fast the boarding hook.  Ships are now MOORED
  • Pirate Doctor & musketeers board the Caravel and attack Canon Gunner with sabres
    • killed instantly


The battle is over.  The Pirates lost a PC, the duelist, and 3 NPC crossbowmen.

The merchant ship was taken with 7 dead crew and 5 wounded and unconscious

I was pretty happy with how the naval combat system worked in practice.  Despite a combined roster of 32 crew-members, the rules meant that only small sub-groups could attack on any given round, which kept it manageable.

Also, the combat was fun and strategic, with ships trying to sink each other, board each other, evade each other, with ranged gun-battles going-on throughout.

Now to try it on actual players...

Saturday 15 December 2012

Pirate Small Arms(Revised)

After play-testing the Naval Combat Rules with the Naval Hardware and the Small Arms, I realized that the reload times were a problem.  Having every gun and canon with it's own reload-time is just too much bookkeeping.  In fact long reload times in and of themselves require a better memory(how many rounds ago did I start reloading?)

This may be less of a problem for a small skirmish(where everyone shoots the first round, then draws their swords) but for naval combat, where missile fire can continue for several turns before one ship manages to pull alongside the other, it's a real problem.

I simplified this by giving all canons one shot per Ship Turn and by having all firearms reload in 2 rounds(ROF: 1/3).  If you want, you can take this a step further by taking a tip from OSRIC and giving bows ROF: 2, crossbows ROF: 1, and firearms ROF: 1/2.

With that preface, here is the revised list of Pirate Small Arms:

Typical Hand Weapons: Dagger,Cutlass,Sabre,Falchion,Rapier, Hand Axe

Short Bow 1d6
Range: 50ft/100ft/150ft
ROF: 1

Long Bow 1d6
Range: 70ft/140ft/210ft
ROF: 1

Crossbow 1d8
vs. UAC(Unarmoured Armour Class)
Range: 80ft/160ft/240ft
Reload: 1 round
ROF: 1/2

Pistol 1d6 per FDM(Firearm Damage Multiplier) of Target
vs. UAC
-1 to hit(due to misfires)
Range: 20ft/40ft/60ft
ROF: 1/3

Musket 1d8 per FDM of Target
vs. UAC
-1 to hit(due to jamming/misfires)
Range: 50ft/100ft/150ft
ROF: 1/3

Blunderbuss 1d6 per FDM of Target
vs. UAC
+1 to hit(due to multiple projectiles)
Range: 20ft/40ft/60ft
ROF: 1/3

Blunderbuss Pistol(Dragon) 1d4 per FDM of Target
vs. UAC
+1 to hit(due to multiple projectiles)
Range: 10ft/20ft/30ft
ROF: 1/3

Heavy Deck-Mounted Musket 1d10 per FDM of Target
+0 to hit(mounting increases accuracy)
Range: 50ft/100ft/150ft
ROF: 1/3

Career Skills

PCs don't have a class.  Instead they start with a career skill.  The maximum number of career skills a character can have is 1 plus their INT bonus plus their DEX bonus.  Each time the character gains a level, they can add 1 career skill relevant to their experiences, up to the maximum number of skills.

Some skills are also associated with an ability score for performing checks.  A character can attempt some actions without having the skill, in which case they should use half the value of their ability score.

Some typical Career Skills:

  • Navigator(INT)- navigate a boat
  • Helmsman(INT)- pilot a large ship
  • Able Sailor(DEX)- tie knots, fix sails, traverse rigging
  • Doctor(INT)- know how to set broken bones, install peglegs, care for wounded crew
  • Carpenter(DEX)- fix boat parts
  • Smith(DEX)- make simple things from metal
  • Gunshmith(DEX)- make/fix guns
  • Leatherwork(DEX)- make complex things from leather
  • Gunner(DEX)- fire a heavy gun and oversee it's maintainance
  • Burglar(DEX)- typical thief skills
  • Performer(CHR)- entertain people
  • Professional Gambler(LUCK)- gamble
  • Duellist(DEX)- +1 to hit with pistols
  • Sharpshooter(DEX)- +1 to hit with muskets
  • Swordsman(DEX)- +1 to hit with swords

Friday 14 December 2012

Death & Dismemberment Table

Death and Dismemberment tables make for An Interesting Death.  A Pirate Death & Dismemberment table should make for eye-patches, peglegs, and hook-hands.

As soon as a characters takes damage that puts them at 0 or negative HP, they should roll 1d6+(number of negative HP) on the Death & Dismemberment Table.

Death & Dismemberment Table

1 Now You've Made Him Mad: +1 to victim's strength bonus for remainder of fight
2 That'll Leave a Scar: gains or loses 1d3 CHR
3 A Stunning Blow: character is not killed, but falls unconscious for 1d10 rounds
4-5 Hit an Artery: Unconscious.  Lose 1 HP per rounds until bandaged.  If reaches -10 is dead
6-7 Maiming Locational Hit(see sub-table)
8 Death Defying Stand: lose 1HP per round, cannot be bandaged.  When reaches -10 is dead.
9 Killed Instantly
10 Horrific Demise: It's going to take a Resurrection spell to bring them back.

Maiming Locational Hit Sub-Table

For these, weapon type matters(heavy gun, slashing, piercing, small firearm, bludgeoning).  Roll area of the body and then see the details below.

1 Right Leg
2 Left Leg
3-4 Right Arm
5-6 Left Arm
7-8 Torso
9-10 Head

Arms & Legs

These all result in -1d3 STR and -1d3 DEX for legs
  • heavy gun/slashing- severs the limb.  Also see Hit an Artery.
  • piercing/small firearm- lames the limb(due to nerve and other tissue damage). Also see Hit an Artery.
  • bludgeoning- breaks the limb


  • heavy gun- see Horrific Demise
  • other weapons- see Hit an Artery


  • slashing- lose nose or ear(-1d3 CHR)
  • piercing- lose eye(-1 to hit with missile weapons)
  • small firearm- see Killed Instantly
  • heavy gun- see Horrific Demise
  • bludgeoning- see A Stunning Blow

Thursday 13 December 2012

Naval Crafts & Heavy Guns

Following-up my post on Naval Combat, here are some stats to get that working.


Each ship is unique, but here are some typical numbers.  Note that a fully-laden boat travels at 2/3 speed and an overloaded boat at 1/2 speed.  Also, boats can be loaded to double their standard crew capacity, though it's by no means comfortable.

Jollyboat or Sailing Skiff
Crew: 1-6
Sail Points: 0 or 2
Masts: 0 or 1(doesn't need seperate helmsman and rigger to sail)
Typical Speed: 60ft/round sailing, 30ft/round rowing
Water Units to Sink: 2
ShipAC: 17
Seaworthiness: 3 or 6

Crew: 3-10
Sail Points: 5
Masts 1
Max Heavy Guns: 1
Typical Speed: 90ft/round
Water Units to Sink: 10
ShipAC: 10

Seaworthiness: 8

Crew: 6-20
Sail Points: 10
Masts: 2
Max Heavy Guns: 3 (2 canons on each side of deck, 1 swivel gun on poop deck)
Typical Speed: 120 ft/round
Water Units to Sink: 30
ShipAC: 7

Seaworthiness: 8

Crew: 8-30
Sail Points: 20
Masts: 3
Max Heavy Guns: 6 (4 canons split between two sides of deck, 2 swivel guns on each side of poop deck)
Typical Speed: 120 ft/round
Water Units to Sink: 60
ShipAC: 5

Seaworthiness: 10

Heavy Guns

Swivel Gun
Hull/Sail Damage: 1d2
Crew: 1

Small Cannon(Biggest gun you can put on a Cog)
Hull/Sail Damage: 1d4
Crew: 1

Standard Cannon
Hull/Sail Damage: 1d6
Crew: 2

Heavy Cannon
Hull/Sail Damage: 1d8
Crew: 2

Huge Cannon(Carrack only)
Hull/Sail Damage: 1d10
Crew: 3

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Abstract Naval Combat Rules

Naval Combat with wind-powered boats is complex.  There are different ships with different capabilities, different manoeuvres that can be done, and wind plays a major role.  Evil Stevie does a good job of capturing the experience while simplifying it somewhat, BUT at the same time I'm looking for something even more simple and, by necessity, abstract. I should also mention that I'm assuming fairly small ships, certainly not 28-gun frigates!

I want to have ship-combat, but at the same time, I don't want to lose focus on the individual party-members' actions.  So combat will have Ship Turns, which last a fixed number of rounds.  Each Ship-Turn the relative position of ships can change for the remainder of the Turn.

Ship Status

In this system, any two ships in a particular action have one of the following relationships to one another:

  • NOT ENGAGED-cannot fire fixed guns/board one another
  • ENGAGED-can fire fixed guns on one another(note that if Ship A is engaged with B and B with C, then all three are considered engaged with one another)
  • ALONGSIDE- holding parallel course alongside another ship.  Can attach boarding hooks, board each other, fire small arms

Additionally, a ship's sailing ability depends on the following statuses:

  • ABLE
  • DISABLED- sails are too damaged to effectively move
  • STOPPED- sails are down and ship is stationary--effectively Disabled
  • UNMANNED- not enough crew manning it--still moving, but effectively Disabled
  • MOORED- attached to one or more other ships(similar to UNMANNED)
  • If one ship is faster than the other, the faster ship may FORCE ENGAGEMENT or FORCE ALONGSIDE.  This means that the slower ship cannot evade, but it also means the faster ship is pointing straight at the slower one, not manoeuvring, so it will not get to fire heavy guns this turn.

The Ship Turn

The Ship Turn lasts 6 combat rounds, but it also has a few other ship-related phases that happen only once per Turn.

Phase 1: Crew Assignment

For the ship to function, some of it's crew need to be assigned duties.  These duties keep them busy and they will not be able to take other actions during the Combat Rounds.  If they do abandon their posts during the Combat Rounds(by choice or due to injury) then it is considered as if no one was assigned the duty that Ship Turn.  Duties include:

  • Helmsman and Riggers: a ship must have a Helmsman and one Rigger per mast or the Ship will be considered UNMANNED.
  • Gunner and Powder Monkey: for a Heavy Gun to be reloaded and fired it requires a gunner and possibly one or more Powder Monkeys(see Heavy Gun descriptions)
  • Bailing water from a hull-hit: at the end of the Individual Combat Phase, subtract 1 units of water from the damaged ship at end of turn
  • Fixing hull damage: at the end of the Individual Combat Phase, subtract 6 points of hull-damage(Carpenter Only)
  • Repair sails: at the end of the Individual Combat Phase, subtract 6 points of sail Damage
  • Putting out fire from exploded powder barrel
  • At Ready: sailor is waiting ready to take someone else's place if they are unable to man their post(by choice or due to injury)

Phase 2: Individual Combat

Six consecutive combat rounds.  Each crew members may engage in a number of actions during a round:
  • Throw a boarding hook at a ship ALONGSIDE their ship(thus keeping the ships alongside as long as someone is holding onto the rope)
  • Convert a boarding hook into a Tie, thus making the ships be Moored together
  • Cut-off a boarding hook or Tie using a knife, sword, axe
  • Fire small arms at another ship's crew(For ENGAGED assume 300ft range.  For ALONGSIDE, assume 30ft or use combat grid, miniatures, etc.)
  • Standard combat actions, including crossing over to a MOORED ship or jumping/swinging/climbing over to an ALONGSIDE ship with a successful ability check(fail by more than 5 and you're in the water!)

Phase 3: Heavy Guns

After the 6 combat rounds, the gun crews have had time to reload their Heavy Guns. During this phase, the gunners can fire their heavy guns.  Each ship should roll it's initiative as 1d6+Helmsman Skill Bonus to see who shoots first.
  • Heavy Guns can only be fired at ENGAGED ships
  • If a ship has Heavy Guns on both sides, only one side can fire on any one particular ship
Firing Heavy Guns works as follows:
  1. Choose a target ship
  2. Choose a target area: Rigging, Deck, Hull.  (ALONGSIDE: relative deck height determines which.  MOORED: aim at specific thing opposite the cannon, generally hard to hit moving crew-members this way)
  3. Roll an attack die to see if you hit(1d20+gunner skill vs. ShipAC).  Bonuses: +4 stationary ship, +8 alongside, etc.
On a hit, depending on where you aimed:
  • Rigging: Roll for damage, subtract from ship's Sail Points.  Speed is reduced proportionally. Once Sail Points reach 0, the ship is DISABLED.
  • Deck: list the significant items on deck and determine one at random.  Typical items include:
    • Mast- hit means it falls down.  Sail points reduced proportionately.
    • Helm- hit means ship cannot be steered, only started/stopped.  Helmsman takes 1d4xHD damage from shrapnel.  This will take the Ship's Carpenter a long time to fix.
    • Heavy Gun- gun is disabled.  If it had powder, it explodes and anyone manning it takes 1d4xHD damage.
    • Powder Barrel for a Heavy Gun- ignited.  Anyone manning the gun takes 1d4xHD damage.  Ship is now on fire.
    • Character- takes 1d10xHD damage.
  • Hull: ship takes hull damage according to cannon.  Ship takes on water-units at the rate of Hull-Damage at the end of each Ship Turn, starting next turn.
    • A hull hit on a small boat like a skiff will result in one occupant, chosen randomly, taking making a saving throw or taking 1d10xHD damage.

Phase 4: Ship Control

Since ship's manoeuvre slowly, so navigation actions happen once per Ship Turn.  As such, at the beginning of each Ship Turn, the Helmsman of an Able(or Alongside) ship should declare one of the following manoeuvres(usually at the Captain's orders):
  • ENGAGE with another ship for the remainder of the Ship Turn
  • PULL-ALONGSIDE an already Engaged ship for the remainder of the Ship Turn
  • EVADE another ship(Counters that ship's attempts to engage.  If the ships are already Engaged and the other ship is attempting to pull alongside, they remain engaged but not Alongside)
  • FLEE(must be Disengaged from all opposing ships, though faster ships can still engage it)
  • GET UNDERWAY if the Ship is Stopped, hoist the sails and get sailing
  • HOLD COURSE, don't engage anyone. Just keep sailing, others may engage you if they want
Now determine which ships are ENGAGED or ALONGSIDE each other for the next Ship Turn.

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Suggestions Wanted!

I'm trying to think of a name for the Pirate retro-DnD mod I've been working on.  Any ideas?  So far I've got:

  • Pistols and Peglegs
  • Parrots and Peglegs
  • Buckaneers and Bravos
  • Muskets and Mainmasts

Pirate Small Arms

Well, now that I'm making progress on my goal of designing a Pirate Sandbox, I might as well stat-up some small arms, as per my post on the FWT System for DnD.  Note that the damage is calibrated for Labyrinth Lord, where Fighters/Monsters use a d8 hit die.  I decreased the range of the crossbow to bring it in line with Backswords and Bucklers.  That seems OK anyway since we're increasing it's power overall.


vs. UAC(Unarmoured Armour Class)
1d8 damage
Range: 60ft/120ft/180ft
Reload: 1 round

Flintlock Pistol

vs. UAC
-2 to hit(due to jamming/misfires)
1d6 per FDM(Firearm Damage Multiplier) of Target
Range: 20ft/40ft/60ft
Reload: 3 rounds for MuzzleLoader (2 rounds for rare Breachloader)

Flintlock Musket

vs. UAC
-2 to hit(due to jamming/misfires)
1d8 per FDM of Target
Range: 50ft/100ft/150ft
Reload: 3 rounds (2 rounds for rare Breachloader)

Flintlock Blunderbuss

vs. UAC
-0 to hit(due to multiple projectiles)
1d6 per FDM of Target
Range: 20ft/40ft/60ft
Reload: 4 rounds

Flintlock Blunderbuss Pistol(Dragon)

vs. UAC
-0 to hit due to multiple projectiles
1d4 per FDM of Target
Range: 10ft/20ft/30ft
Reload: 4 rounds

Matchlock Weapons

For Matchlock versions of the above weapons, a round must be spent before firing, lighting the match.
Note that this effectively adds 1 round to the reload time, for getting of a second shot.
For the first 3 rounds after the match is lit, the weapon can be fired.  After that, the match has gone out and round must be spent putting a new match and lighting it.


Treat as a Matchlock Musket

Heavy Deck-Mounted Arquebus

Same as arquebus, except:
-0 to hit because it's mounted
1d10 per FDM of Target
Range: 70ft/140ft/210ft because it's mounted

In Pursuit of a Better DnD Firearms Houserule

So traditional DnD doesn't do firearms.  And when it does, it doesn't do them well.  I've been thinking about how to include them in my DnD, and I think that there are two main problems: Hitpoints and Armor.

Problem #1 Hitpoints

The hitpoints problem, as I see it, is that guns are the ultimate equalizer.  Any unskilled loser can get-off a lucky shot and kill a Hero.  But in DnD, hitpoints grow proportionally to level while weapon damage is fixed.

Problem #2 Armour

The other problem is that the DnD armour system doesn't make sense for firearms.  Firearms are the reason why armies gradually abandoned traditional armours.  So AC modifiers don't make sense when speaking about firearms.

Solution: Firearms Weapon Type(FWT)

Broadswords and Bucklers solves the Hitpoints Problem by making firearm damage proportional to the shooter's level.  In that DnD mod, level dictates the number of damage dice.  That solves the problem of high level characters gun-fighting, but not the "Firearms as Equalizer" problem.  My preference therefore would be to make damage proportional to the target's level.  This makes firearms VERY POWERFUL, though they have a slow reload time.  I think that actually makes a lot of sense and reflects what happened historically, though it changes the game considerably, since any other weapon is now merely a backup.

As for the Armour Problem, the natural solution is to say that AC bonuses don't count when talking about firearms.  This apparently has been done before in AD&D.

What about Monsters?

Okay, so these house rules basically say that there are two classes of weapons, each with it's own mechanic.    Now the DM needs to give monsters two AC values: one for normal weapons and one for firearms. The one for Firearms or UAC(Unarmored Armor Class) takes into account how much of their AC is due to tough skin vs. how much is due to dexterity.

The DM also needs to give monster a FDM(Firearms Damage Multiplier) i.e. the number of dice that a firearm does to it.  For an Orc or Goblin, FDM=Monster HD, but for a large/tough monster, you have to differentiate between HD due to Size/Toughness and HD due to Martial Skill.  So for instance, a 9HD elephant get's it's HD from it's size/toughness, so FDM=1.  A 9HD Blue Dragon, on the other hand, gets it hit dice from both size/toughness and martial ability, so FDM=2.

Of course, this might be less of a problem, since a campaign with a more modern arsenal may be less Fantasy-focussed and thus have fewer monsters.

What about Crossbows?

Also, what about armour-piercing missiles like Crossbows?  Are they like firearms or like normal weapons?  My tendency would be to make them ignore armour like firearms, but not give them proportional damage, since an experienced fighter might partially parry the shot, thus taking less damage.

Sunday 9 December 2012

Time Raiders

This is a campaign idea I had, inspired partly from XCOM, and also probably from watching too much Sliders back in the day.  It's system-neutral, though I think that CyberPunk 2020 is a pretty-good fit for it, both in terms of mechanics and in terms of mood.

The Company

The place is Earth.  The time is today.  A brilliant scientist has invented a working time travel machine.  Knowing that as soon as his discovery becomes public, the government will take it away from him, he has resolved to see some benefit from his invention before that happens.

As such he has founded a company, taking in a small number of scientists and hired-guns as partners, each for 10% share of the ultimate profits.  Together, they arrange for-profit expeditions to the distant past and far future.

The company begins with up to 10 Partner Characters, some of which must have the tech skills needed for running the time machine: Physics, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering etc.  They also start with a warehouse in the location of their choice to be used as a base, and one million Dollars starting capital.  They can hire perimeter guards, etc. for a fee, but these employees must be kept in the dark as to the true nature of the business, otherwise they will surely sell the company out to the highest bidder.  New Partners can be taken-on, but 10 is the maximum.

Time Travel Machinery


The time machine itself cannot be set to a specific date/location.  Rather it gives a peek at a "random" location and the team must decide whether to go there, or look for  another location(takes 1d10 hours, costs $10,000).

Once an expedition has been launched, and some of the team members have been sent to the location, they must check their Chronotracker to see where and when to be for transfer back to their own time.  If they miss this Retrieval Window, there will be another, but the windows will eventually run out and the team will be lost in time.  Sending a team through time costs $100,000)

To determine the Retrieval Window, roll 1d8 for compass direction, 1d10 for number of miles, 1d10 for number of hours.  Each time the party misses a window, multiply the time d10's by 10.  i.e. (1d10 hrs/1d10 mi), (1d10x10hrs/1d10 mi), (1d10x100hrs, 1d10 mi)... Any given expedition will have 1d6 retrieval windows before they run-out.

Making Money/Discovering Technology

Players will need to come up with discreet methods of making money from the artifacts their expeditions bring back.  They need to be able to benefit from them without revealing that they have a working time machine.

  • The expedition brings back a dinosaur freezes it, and claims they found it on an Antartic expedition
  • The expedition brings back a ray-gun and it's schematics.  Their scientists research how it works and they bring-in a new partner to manufacture more in-house
  • The expedition brings back a new type of genetically modified grain, researching it's properties, and patenting it's Genome.  It brings-in good money each month in licensing fees

The company has a Publicity Score, which begins at 0.  Whenever the company sells/patents some artifact, their Publicity Score increases by an amount determined by the DM and the DM rolls a percentage die against the total score.  If he rolls the score or lower, then some corporation or government suspects the Company has a Time Travel device.  This makes them subject to spies, raids, etc.

The Publicity Score is cut in half if the company relocates to another country.  It can also be reduced in other ways(if a corporation knows about the technology, but you assassinate their executives, etc.)

End Game

There are a number of ways the game can end:
  • The Government shuts you down and takes your technology
  • All Partners are killed/lost in time
  • The Company runs out of funds for running expeditions and cannot borrow/steal any more

Tone in Gaming


Seigwart Murders a Dude

Well Seigwart got to play in his first WFRP 1e session.  His fellow party-members were an Elven Noble and his bodyguard, a Dwarf warrior.  Seigwart was their streetsmart guide to the ins and outs of the city.

The mission: retrieve some chaos-tainted artifact from the thieves who stole it for a local Oligarch, but then refused to deliver it.  The party quickly located the gang's lair, but then found that the entire gang had been savagely murdered by a rival gang, and the artifact was gone.  This segment didn't yield much for the party, except information and a few still-usable crossbow bolts.  But the tone, of brutal, no quarter-given, gang warfare, really set the tone for what was to follow.

The party proceeded to the rival gang's headquarters and succeeded in gaining entry, by impersonating some new hires of that gang.  But then, when the 3 guardsmen went back to their dice game, the party decided that we couldn't afford to leave these guards at our flank.  Seigwart, blocked the door while the other two party members initiated a surprise-attack on the unsuspecting guardsmen.  The quick battle went our way, no thanks to Seigwart's unremarkable martial abilities.  When one guardsman managed to flee past the Bawd, the Noble, despite his ostensibly Good alignment, threw a spear into the fleeing man's back!  And when the final guard surrendered, Siegwart drew his dagger and slit the man's throat, since a prisoner would only hinder our infiltration of the Gang's base.

This episode stood in contradistinction to our previous DnD sessions, where quarter was generally given(at least to Humans) and the unspoken assumption was that "We are the Good Guys".  And I think that it was the tone of the DM's material that made all the difference.  In those games, I was often a Neutral character who "went along" with his good teammates lead.  In this WFRP session, even the "Good" character got swept-up and forgot he's not supposed to just murder anyone that gets in his way!  Atmosphere really matters.

Thursday 29 November 2012

Meet Seigwart

So, a friend of mine started running a WFRP game for us a little while ago, using pre-gens.  I think it's WFRP 2e.  We started out with some breaking and entering in a city-of-thieves type location, fought-off a burglar from the room we were squatting in, then hired-out to a noble to retrieve some artifact for a local robber-baron.

Anyway, I finally got to roll up a character(I wonder if the DM will let me play both him and the pre-gen, until one of them bites the dust).  I didn't really realize just how complex WFRP character creation is until now.  I once played in noisms' WFRP PBP, but he limited the character creation to a few basic questions.  The basic stats seem to be a combination of in-born abilities(Dex, Int, etc) and general skills(weapon skill, ballistics skill).  But then, there's also a separate skill system.  Anyway, meet Siegwart the Bawd.

By the way, is there a more Picaresque character class than Bawd?  I sort of doubt it.  He's not even a proper thief.  He seems to be more of a serial lounger with vaguely criminal tendencies.  I'm sure he's going to be fun to play.

My Starting profile didn't contain anything too remarkable, but at least his dodge blow, high initiative, and very resilient should make him hard to hit.  Also, I rolled him some nice starting funds, so I got him a crossbow.

Name: Siegwart
Race: Human
Gender: M
Alignment: N
Age: 28
Height: 5"6
Fate Points: 3
Career Class: Rogue
Current Career: Bawd
Career Exits: Bodyguard/Fence
Starting Profile:
M: 4
WS: 29
BS: 29
S: 2
T: 4
W: 7
I: 30
A: 1
Dex: 33
Ld: 33
Int: 37
Cl: 28
WP: 27
Fel: 34

Current Profile:
I: 40

dodge blow
street fighting
very resiliant
scale sheer surface

Languages: Old Worlder, Thieves' Cant

Leather Jack
Sturdy Clothing
Secret Purse
Steel Bar Mace
5 bolts

Seigwart does quite well for himself hanging around the bars, the gambling halls, and the houses of ill-repute in the city.  He knows many underworld characters and may act as messenger, informant, negotiator, or spy, despite not being a member of any particular gang.  Though not a hired killer, he grew-up on the mean streets and is tough and knows how to take care of himself.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Treasure Time

I recently got a shipment of goodies, care of Amazon.  Here's the goods:

1. Chessex Pound of Dice

I have to say, this is the way to buy dice.  Yeah, it's nice having a matching set, but this is both more economical and more fun!  There were some really weird ones included too, particularly among the d6's.  I was a little nervous about the quality, since they are supposed to be Factory Second, but besides a couple wonky-looking d12s, the vast majority look fine.  I split this 3-ways with my gaming group, which left me with 33 new dice.
2. GameMastery Flip-Mat: Basic from Paizo

We already got to try this out in a recent session.  I like it much more than our other two option: drawing on a small piece of paper and passing it around, or using cardboard dungeon-tiles.  Being able to draw on a large scale allows the DM to set-up encounters quickly and so that everyone can easily see.  I also got a set of wet-erase markers to go with these, and I already have dry-erase ones.

3. Chronicles of Amber, Volume 1

This was to complete the set, since I recently bought volume 2 at a used book store.  I started reading these and am loving them(though it's started to slow down a bit towards the middle of the second volume).

4. The Best of Robert E. Howard, Volume 1

 I bought Volume 2 over a year ago and loved it, so I decided to get Volume 1 too.  I really enjoyed the variety of stories: not just Conan, Kull, and Solomon Kane, but boxers, pirates, cowboys, etc.

Saturday 24 November 2012

Polish Resistance Character Generator

Combat Cybermodem: never write code without it!
Well, I put those Netrunner skills to work and made a character generator for Polish Resistance.  All it took was a bit of elbow grease and 450 lines of JavaScript.  The link is here(it's a little slow, give it a few seconds to run):

And if WWII era Poland isn't your thing, but you'd still like to use CP2020-light to run a game, the generator is configurable.  First make a copy of the generator to your own Google Drive.  Then, in your copy modify the skill and equipment lists to fit your game--no additional programming required :)

Here are the character creation rules for comparison.

And a couple sample characters I generated: