As Friday, September 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day, and since my current weekly game is also pirate based, it seems only natural to cover that topic. I collected a number of pirate themed game materials over the years. Some of them were excellent. Below are five of the most useful I have found. Since my current campaign is historically based, I am limiting myself to games set in our own past. Green Ronin's Freeport, Frog God Games' Razor Coast, and of course my old favorite Alderac Entertainment Group's 7th Sea are all excellent games with pirate themes set elsewhere, If you need a little more fantasy in your pirate games, I urge you to look to them. For gaming on the Spanish Main, I present these gems:
|This book went through three editions. This is not|
the last, but it is by far the best cover.
Campaign Classics: Pirates
|How dangerous can he be wearing|
pantaloons like that?
Skull & Bones
Skull & Bones is my favorite of the more modern pirate based games. A d20 supplement, Skull & Bones adds elements of horror and supernatural to the Spanish Main. This has some intriguing implications since the work introduces the concept that both voodoo traditions and Christian relics can have power in the Caribbean. As a student of history, I tend to prefer historical campaigns that do not incorporate the mystical, but I do appreciate what the authors are trying to convey. Where I find Skull & Bones most useful, however, is in its organization. Gaming material has undergone a lot of changes since the first two entries were produced, and not always for the better. One of the real leaps forward between the old school and more modern efforts is in the presentation of material. Skull & Bones adds considerable new information to the genre, but it really shines at presenting the material in such a way that the game player can easily access it. A thorough table of contents, index, and logical presentation of material may not seem like that big a deal, but every GM who has ever spent time at the table thumbing through a rule book looking for some obscure rule or table can attest to how useful these things can be.
The Pirate GM's Right Fist
|Not as fancy as the other entries, but just as|
If you want to run a pirate game, but you are cheap, then have I got a deal for you. At a paltry $1.99, The Pirate GM's Righ Fist is just the ticket. Black Shark Enterprises is a new, independent producer of (thusfar) exclusively generic pirate based gaming materials. Right Fist was their first entry on DrivethruRPG. Fourteen pages of tables and a short essay that are worth every penny. Designed for the GM who is either running a game on the fly or just needs a little inspiration between sessions, the tables cover most of the things that GM could need fast. Quick random encounters on land and at sea. What is that merchant ship carrying? Need a ship name fast? Where is that ship headed? Roll some dice and there is the info right at your fingertips. In general, I am not a fan of the whole random table for a dollar part of the field. The amount of thought that went into these tables, however, is enough to change that opinion. Also, the number of interesting details about pirate life that Mark S. Cookman, the author squeezes into the two pages at the end of the supplement make this one of the most useful pirate supplements to be had at any price. He has advertised a product for ship to ship combat to be released later this year. I anxiously anticipate it.
Buccaneers & Bokor, Issue One
|Did I mention it is free?|
These are some of the most useful items in my treasure chest. Got any treasures I missed?