HOW TO START!   Posted by The GM.Group: 0
The GM
 GM, 2 posts
Fri 21 Aug 2020
at 19:40
1. Choose Crew Type:

Your characters will be greatly influenced by which crew playbook you select, so discuss your choice of crew type before you start building individual characters.

The three choices are:

--Marauders: Badass fighters of the high seas!
--Phantoms: Lost souls on a damned ship!
--Renegades: Free-spirited adventurers!

Once you choose one, then choose one special ability for your crew, and one contact:

Maurauders special abilities (choose one):

--Butchers: Your crew is particularly good at violence and intimidation.

--Armed and Ready: When you execute an assault plan, take +1 to the roll.

--Black Sails: When you attack by night, you gain +1 on rolls involving stealth. When you attack by day, your crew gains +1 to intimidate its targets.

--Fiends: When you're at war with a faction, you get +1 on Vice rolls.

--Loose Cannons: Your sailors are nigh-unstoppable in combat, but they can be hard to control. Add the savage, unreliable, or wild flaw to your crew to give them +1 in general.

Jameson, a powder fiend (expert with gunpowder)
Old Thom, a beggar
Annika, a bounty hunter
Gaspard, a bounty hunter
Nohemi, a physicker
Matthias, a blacksmith

Phantoms special abilities (choose one):

--Bound in Darkness: You can send a whispered message that will be heard by the whole crew.

--Derelict: Rotting cargo and remnants of sunken ships have a way of washing up around you. When you roll to acquire supplies, take +1.

--Seven Seas: You know the hidden secrets of the ocean, and no storm can harm you. You may ignore the Weather for any region you travel through.

--Skeleton Crew: Your ship is crewed by the undead. Crew members do not need to eat or breathe (though they most likely still can't swim), and they heal as normal even after being destroyed.

--Sworn to Service: Your crew are bound to the ship, and to each other. They will perform any task, no matter how dangerous or strange, and they gain +1 when acting to protect the ship.

PHANTOM CONTACTS (choose one):
Ignasi, a shaman
Yasmin, an emissary
Cassius, an astrologer
Ianthe, an ocean spirit
Anhsa, a siren
Lynn, an antiquarian

RENEGADES special abilities (choose one):

--All Hands: your ship's crew gets +1 when working on acquiring an asset, reducing heat, or repairing the ship.

--Devil's Own Luck: Each PC gets +1 to resistance rolls.

--Scavengers: You know how to strip a vessel down to its bones. When you plunder a ship, you gain 2 extra supplies.

--Silver-Tongued: When you execute a deception or social plan, take +1 to the roll. You gain +1 to impersonate a navy or merchant vessel.

Trelawney, a businessman
Hayward, an inkeeper
Delia, a ransom broker
Killigrew, a fence
Steepleton, a magistrate
Barrett, a privateer

2. Choose a Playbook:
Your playbook determines your character’s specialties and their special abilities.

Your two main choices are:

Captain: You're having adventures on a boat!

Occultist: You're a dabbler in strange magics! And you're on a boat!

Captain has four sub-choices. In short:
--Commander: You're the captain, and you're the leader, too!
--Skipper: You're the captain, but it's kind of a democracy, and no one can say you don't pull your own weight too-- you've got practical, useful skills just like the rest of the crew! (You're expected to listen to what your crew wants more, though.)
--Reaver: You're just a tough badass fightin' captain!
--Scoundrel: You're a daring and charismatic swashbuckler! And still the captain!

3. Choose a Faction!

--England: You're a privateer for England! Your home port is the island of Nevis.
--France: You're a privateer for France! Your home port is the island of Guadeloupe.
--Spain: You're a privateer for Spain! Your home port is either Havana, on the island of Cuba, or Santo Domingo, on the island of Hispaniola.
--Dutch: You're a privateer for the Dutch! Your home port is the island of Curaçao.
--New World: You're a privateer for the New World! Your home port is the city of St. Augustine (Florida coast).
--The Trading Company: You're a privateer for The Trading Company! Your home port is the island of Saba.
--Pirate: You're just a pirate, not tied too closely with any faction right now! Your home port is Port Royal, just south of Jamaica (unless you happen to be black, in which case your home port might be Key West, ruled by the former pirate Black Caesar).

4. Choose a background:

--Academic (the GM might give you a bonus on stuff involving being smart.)
--Labor (the GM might give you a bonus on stuff involving actually getting ordinary day-to-day stuff done, like loading cargo in a hurry or building fortifications.)
--Military (the GM might give you a bonus on stuff involving combat.)
--Nobility (the GM might give you a bonus on stuff involving impressing people.)
--Trade (the GM might give you a bonus on stuff involving trade.)
--Underworld (the GM might give you a bonus on stuff involving being sneaky.)

If you'd rather roll for it randomly than choose, then roll 1d20 and use this:

--Academic      1
--Labor         2-8
--Military      9-11
--Nobility      12
--Trade         13-17
--Underworld    18-20

Also, IF you are an Occultist, then choose a source of your magics:
--You are under a draconic curse (any faction). Your eyes glow strangely.
--Fey blood (Any, but especially England, Pirate): Your ears are pointed.
--Troll blood (Any, but probably Dutch, Pirates): Your skin is greenish, and/or you have a tail (cow's or lion's)
--Knowledge of Voodoo (probably Pirates, New World)
--Old World Magic, or Other (pitch something to the GM)

If you'd rather roll for it randomly than choose, then roll 1d10 and use this:
--Draconic:         1
--Fey:              2-3
--Troll:            4
--Voodoo:           5-7
--Old World magic:  8-10

5. Assign your three stats:

--Commander: Body: +1  Mind: either 0 or -1.  Words: whichever one your Mind stat wasn't.

--Skipper: Body: +1   Mind: either 0 or -1.  Words: whichever one your Mind stat wasn't.

--Reaver: Body: +1   Mind: -1  Words: 0

--Scoundrel: Body: +1   Mind: either 0 or -1.  Words: whichever one your Mind stat wasn't.

--Occultist: Body: -1   Mind: either 0 or +1.  Words: whichever one your Mind stat wasn't.

(Troll Occultist: Arrange +1, 0, -1 however you want.)

6. Choose one Special Ability from your playbook (Occultists choose two):

----Nobody's Fool: You can usually tell when someone is lying to you.
----Sharpshooter: You get +1 when firing firearms (not cannons though).
----Resilient: You get +1 on rolls to heal up.
----Master and Commander: Those under your command are extra-tough.
----Ready for Anything: When you gather info to anticipate possible threats, you get +1.

----In Fine Condition: Pick one aspect of the ship that you're personally in charge of (cannons, sails, charts, weapons, tools, supplies). They'll always be in excellent condition.
----Saboteur: When you circumspectly cause damage to a ship, building, or other structure, the work is much quieter than it should be and the damage is hidden from casual inspection.
----To The Brink: You can push yourself to make an action using a ship even when it's in rough shape, or to ignore the difference in quality between your ship and an enemy's.
----Shipshape: You pay one less supply in travel costs.
----Sawbones: You can Patch up your crewmates to let them temporarily ignore harm penalties. The crew gets +1 to recovery rolls.

--Savage: When you unleash physical violence, it's especially frightening. When you deal with a frightened target, take +1.
--Bodyguard: When you protect your Occultist, take +1 to your roll.
--Fearsome Reputation: For good or ill, everybody's heard of you. You get +1 when you intimidate someone who only knows you by name.
--Not Without a Fight: When you take Harm, you may retaliate against any and all enemies within range. Say how you bring ruin to your foes before they take you down. You may mark a Harm prematurely to use this ability.
--Resilient: You recover from harm faster. You get +1 to healing rolls (involving yourself getting healed).
--Right Bastard: You get +2 when you exploit a target's vulnerability or weakness. When you blatantly violate the rules of engagement - killing an enemy during negotiations or surrender, cheating in a duel, holding a weak person hostage, etc - you also get +1 (does NOT stack with "exploit a target's vulnerability or weakness).

--Daredevil: When it seems that if you do a certain thing, you are certain to take Harm, but you do it anyway, take +1 to do it.
--Heroic: When you act to save someone else, take +1.
--Cloak & Dagger: When you use a disguise or other form of covert misdirection, you get +1. When you throw off your disguise, the resulting surprise gives you the initiative in the situation.
--Reflexes: When you have to act fast, you get +1.
--Against the Odds: You can push yourself to perform a nigh-impossible feat of acrobatics, or to engage a small mob of enemies on an even footing.

--From the Deep: You can attune yourself to the ocean's currents to force a nearby sea creature to appear before you and obey a command you give it.
--Born in Brine: You can swim with uncanny grace, regardless of your current load, and dive to great depths. You can breathe normally underwater.
--Familiar: Your pet is imbued with magical power. It gains potency when observing or manipulating the supernatural, and gains an arcane ability: shadow-form, mind-link, or lightning-swift. Take this ability again to choose an additional ability for your pet.
--Iron Will: You are immune to the terror that some supernatural entities inflict on sight. You gain +2 to resistance rolls with Mind.
--Ritual: You know the arcane methods to perform ritual sorcery. You can learn occult rituals (or create new ones) to summon a supernatural effect or being. You begin with one ritual already learned (what exactly will it do?)
--Tempest: You can conjure a storm in your vicinity (torrential rain, roaring winds, heavy fog, whirlpools, etc), or to unleash a stroke of lightning as a weapon.
--Black Spot: You can place a mark on someone, binding them to a task you set. If they fail to complete the task, they take harm and are accursed.

7. Choose a Close Friend and a Rival:

Mark a contact who is a close friend, long-time ally, family relation or lover.

Then, mark another one from the same list who is a rival, enemy, scorned lover, betrayed shipmate, etc.

Hiram, a governor
Constance, a soldier
Barnes, a privateer
Castleton, a preacher
Chandler, an admiral 

Lucy, a tavern owner
Munroe, a deckhand
Barlow, a midshipman
Greene, a mutineer
Heather, a street hawker

Morgan, a pirate hunter
Agwe, an informant
Vance, a pirate captain
Dante, a rebel
Underwood, a mercenary

Flint, a dashing rogue
Arabella, a noblewoman
Byrne, a former spy
Derrick, a smuggler
Bellamy, an old flame

Sarissa, a mermaid
Jansen, a drowned sailor
Sapphire, a witch doctor
Gregor, a storyteller
Hex, a tomcat

8. Choose Your Vice

Pick your preferred kind of vice, and detail it with a short description.

--Faith: You are dedicated to a god, spirit, ancestor, etc.
--Gambling: You crave risky decisions and games of chance.
--Luxury: Expensive and/or ostentatious displays of opulence.
--Obligation: You’re devoted to a family, cause, charity, etc.
--Pleasure: Gratification from lovers, food, drink, drugs, etc.
--Stupor: You seek oblivion in the abuse of drugs, drinking to excess, getting beaten to a pulp in tavern brawls, etc.
--Weird: You experiment with strange rituals, observe bizarre taboos or customs, consort with spirits, etc.

9. Pick a Name and a Look:

Clothing-- pick any of these you want:
Bone Necklace
Bulky Coat
Elaborate Dress
Fine Jewelry
Heavy Cloak
Heavy Jacket
Hooded Coat
Hooded Cape
Knit Cap
Light Tunic
Long Coat
Long Scarf
Loose Silks
Tattoos (Nautical? Otherwise?)
Ostentatious Jewelry
Plain Tunic
Polished Rings
Rags & Tatters
Rolled Sleeves
Scavenged Uniform
Sharp Trousers
Soft Boots
Tall Boots
Tricorn Hat
Waxed Coat
Wide Belt
Wide-Brimmed Hat
Work Boots
Worn Trousers
Vest or Waistcoat

LOOK-- Pick any you want:
Affable, Athletic, Bony, Branded, Bright, Brooding, Calm, Chiseled, Cold, Dark, Delicate, Fair, Fierce, Grimy, Haggard, Handsome, Huge, Hunched, Languid, Lovely, Open, Sad, Scarred, Slim, Soft, Squat, Stern, Stout, Striking, Tough, Twitchy, Weathered, Well-Fed, Wiry.

NAMES: Pick whatever you want, or make up your own:

Abdul, Acanorex, Adelaide, Ahari, Albin, Amani, Amira, Antoni, Aramoca, Archibald, Areida, Arunei, Atuadi, Bagamu, Baruna, Bashir, Bastien, Belen, Benjamin, Bianca, Biautex, Brigid, Brooke, Bryson, Cacimar, Canimao, Carina, Casiguaya, Daguao, Charles, Charlotte, Conrad, Constance, Dante, Derrick, Edward, Eleanor, Emeni, Emma, Eregu, Faisal, Farida, Florian, Gari, Guaraca, Guruna, Gwendolyn, Heather, Henry, Horace, Imotonex, Irichau, Isaac, Isabelle, Jack, Jameson, Kariun, Khalid, Layla, Leonard, Lynn, Mabo, Macuya, Malena, Maniquatex, Marion, Marise, Miranan, Mireia, Nohemi, Numan, Nuria, Orrin, Sagana, Saragu,
Sebastian, Shaheen, Sibyl, Stefan, Sumadi, Susanne, Theresa, Tobias, Toussaint, Uganu, Urayoan, Victor, Wagundan, Yabura, Zahra

Family Names:
Barnes, Brown, Byrd, Campbell, Carver, Castria, Chandler, Cole, Corrigan, Cormac, Drake, Fielder, Frakes, Gates, Greene, Hardy, Harland, Harrington, Hayward, Jansen, Levine, Mallory, Manderly, March, Morgan, Neilson, Nelson, O'Malley, Redd, Rivers, Ryder, Schmidt, Shepherd, Shrike, Singer, Starr, Underwood, Vance, Waller, Waters


Commander Items:
--Fine rifle: A finely crafted rifle, accurate at long range but slow to reload and relatively useless in close quarters.
--Fine pistol: A handgun crafted for accuracy and efficiency. Quicker to reload than
normal, and it almost never misfires.
--Fine navigational tools: Tools crafted by a master cartographer, with a much higher
degree of accuracy than normal instruments.
--Documents & Books: A document is a writs of sale, an important correspondence, a royal
proclamation, or other papers - forged or otherwise (you start with one document). Books are heavier volumes, usually hardbound (you start with two books).
--Personal memento: A memory of your life before you turned to the seas. A locket, a
signet ring, an old diary, a unique piece of jewelry.

Skipper Items:
--Fine carpenter's tools: A finely crafted set of sturdy and reliable tools.
--Fine bottle of rum: A much better vintage than the swill most crew members drink.
--Fine explosive: A ceramic grenade, with a more precise fuse and a bigger blast.
--Trained Pet: A small animal, perhaps a monkey or parrot, trained to respond to commands.

Occultist Items
--Fine whalebone knife: A razor-sharp blade, made from the bones of some long-dead sea creature.
--Fine warding talisman: Warding Talisman: A bracelet or amulet, strung with beads, feathers, and bits of gold. Superstitious types say it wards against the strange things that dwell in the depths. One can buy these elsewhere if one knows whom to ask, but yours, while not necessarily of exceptional craftsmanship, is certainly more effective than the usual trinkets.
--Voodoo doll: A small humanoid doll, made from whatever material's around. Useful for
cursing an enemy, or for scaring them if they're a superstitious type.
--Fanciful map: An old map that charts out impossible locations, pointing out creatures
and treasure that can't possibly exist. (Can they?)
--Trained Pet: A small animal, perhaps a monkey or parrot, trained to respond to commands.

Reaver Items:
--Fine hand weapon: A finely crafted one-handed melee weapon of your choice. Perhaps a brightly sharpened cutlass, a trusty hammer or axe, or a sharp dagger?
--Brace of pistols: A staggering quantity of guns - you won't need to worry about reloading.
--Scary weapon or tool: A scary-looking hand weapon or tool. This item grants
increased effect when you intimidate, not increased harm in combat.
--Manacles & chain: A set of heavy manacles and chain, suitable for restraining a prisoner-- or as an improvised weapon in battle.

Scoundrel Items:
--Fine blade: A sword crafted by an expert smith, whose hilt fits your hand perfectly.
--Fine set of clothes: A well-tailored outfit, fine enough to impress common folk or pass
you off as a wealthy noble.
--Loaded dice: A set of bones subtly altered to favor particular outcomes.
--Lockpicking tools: Picks, skeleton keys, and assorted other devices to disable and
circumvent locks.

When you leave the ship, you can take-- in addition to the stuff you own-- any one of these with you (two if you've got one or more NPCs to help you carry stuff):

A Blade or Two: A standard set of one-handed melee weapons. A heavy cleaver, a rapier and dagger, a pair of cutlasses, a serrated knife.

A Firearm: A heavy gun, meant to be held in two hands. A musket or rifle, with slightly
greater accuracy; or a blunderbuss, with slightly greater stopping power.

A Pistol: A heavy, single-shot firearm. Slow to reload, but still useful as a club once it's
been fired.

A Large Weapon: A melee weapon meant for two hands. A battle-axe, a pike, a big hammer.

An Unusual Weapon: A curiosity or tool turned into a weapon. A whip, an oar, a belaying pin, a length of chain, an anchor, steel-toed boots.

Armor: A thick leather tunic, worn under a coat or shirt.

Navigational Tools: A sextant, a compass, a spyglass, a collection of maps.

A Bottle of Rum: Good for celebrating victories, steadying nerves, or drowning sorrows. Safer to drink than water, in most cases.

A Crude Explosive: A simple grenade that generally explodes when you want it to. Suitable for throwing in combat, or hiding somewhere with a timed charge.

Climbing Gear: Rope, grappling hooks, iron pitons. Nothing too fancy, but it'll get you up a cliff or over a wall.

Carpenter's Tools: A hammer and nails, a saw, a small coil of rope, a jar of pitch. Good
for repairing a ship, or sabotaging one.

Bandages: Enough loose cloth to stop a wound from bleeding. A needle and thread for stitching up cuts.

A Torch or Lantern: A simple oil lantern, or a torch. It's held in one hand, it burns
slowly, and it gives off light.

Now that you know what your character is like, you and your fellow player need to discuss your ship:

--Edges (pick 2): Fast — Inconspicuous — Large — Turns Easily — Lucky
--Flaws (pick 1): Slow — Distinctive/Memorable — Cramped — Stubborn — Fragile

--What does the figurehead look like?
--What flag do you fly?
--What's the ship's name? (This can be the name it had when you got it, or a new name it was given when you got it.)

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:56, Fri 06 Aug 2021.