Thursday, 30 June 2016

Black Nails in Devon, being another attempt at a pirate campaign

I started this before the vote, with the intention of having another excuse to buy some of the excellent lasercut buildings out there. This would give the chance for proper swashbuckling. If this goes ahead will probably be the swansong of my pirates. Plus, the creator of Trumpton and Cambelwick Green has just died, please take the usage below as many hours of pleasure in more innocent times.

My loyal readers will have seen several attempts to do a pirate campaign. None of them have worked but Excelcior, onwards and upwards. Lets have another go-.

One of mistakes was limiting it to 2 players. Trying to do multiple sides just doesn't work. The other was making it linear. This needs to be “bang, bang, everything's changed”. Inspiration from Black sails rather than Pirates of the Caribbean.

I've taken Captain Avery as my starting point. Not only was he one of the most successful, he had a fleet of ships and lesser captains under him. He also retired to the West country and was said to have been robbed by those bigger sharks, Bristol merchants.

So let's take the Devon coastal town of Trumpton under Green. Somewhere betwixt here and the parish of Camblewick there be treasures:
Deed box, containing deeds of local manor farm, and coaching inn plus several large properties in Bristol and Boston. Whoever has these can control rents and sell the properties.

Treasure chest containing the jewels of the Sultana of Marmalada.

Treasure map of the Madagascaran Brotherhood.

Lost key to the map.

Now let us look at the key players, all ex captains under Avery:

Vicar the reverant Allbright, with his villainous verger, the murderous Meeps. There is a church upon the cliff, under which caves what are the haunt of local smugglers controlled by the pair. Them who do say talk of secret tunnels.

The Vicar and Meeps have 6 local smugglers to hand. These are always replaced. They are armed with the odd pistol and farm implement, but they have superior local knowledge and can be virtually invisible. The vicar only gets one 1-6 choice in the blind auction.

Rev Allbright Q4 C3, sword, pistol, leader, brawler, danger sense
Mr Meeps Q4 C3, sword, pistol, 2ic, brawler, murderous
Generic local Q5 C2, improvised weapon, brawler,

Squire and Magistrate Kettle and the local militia. The great hall, located in Manor Farm, close by the church, is the scene of much quaffing of illegal brandy by these scions of the gentry sworn to uphold the rule of law.

The Squire has a troop of 4 mounted dragoons always to hand. Plus 1 irreplaceable niece/ward. These are supplemented by stalwart chaps from the estate plus any “visitors” who may happen by. The Squire only gets one 1-6 choice in the blind auction.

Squire Kettle Q4, C2, mounted, sword, pistol, leader
Dragoon, mounted, Q4, C2, Carbine, sword
Niece, Q5 C1 sword, pistol mounted in borrowed Dragoon kit

The Cock and Bottom coaching inn. This establishment, plus a couple of hovels, straddles the road overlooking Trumpton under Green betwixt Camblewick. Here is becalmed old Captain Hook and his cronies, drunkards all.

Captain Hook has 2x 1-6 choice in the blind auction, but does not lose for stepping up or down, but all choices automatically become drunkards.

Cpt Hook Q3 C3, sword, pistol, hook, leader, murderous, danger sense

The Saucy Scullion. Captain Red and his Fanny. There's one tavern on every harbour waterfront that caters for the sort of person who wears too much black leather and hats with lots of feathers. Now it's home to this captain and crew. Deep cellars, private rooms and interesting passages await.

Captain Red gets 2x 1-6 choice in the blind auction. The Scullions are one less OR drunk to this crew-.

Cpt Red Q4 C3, sword, pistol leader, thrower
Miss Fanny Q4 C3, sword, main gauche, dashing, murderous

There is, of course, a 5th force that is spread about the town. This is the remnant of the available. These can be activated under a captain if required.

Blind Auction. Each crew has a limited number of points (1,2,3,4,5,6 x 1or2) to bid for prospective crew. If you want a more quality or quantity you can add bids but you loose 1 (I.e a 2+3 can make a 4 or 2x2). Everyone bids for the available crew, bids are compared and the winner gets. Any left over are out n about in the town and can be recruited using dead mens bids. Alternates may be added. You also get another 1-6 choice if you gain a treasure or you stand in the middle of Trumpton and declare that you have a treasure and you're recruiting a crew.

Here they be:

'Arry Q4 C2 2 pistols, good shot
Becky, Q4 C1 a Scullion, sword & pistol
Cherry, Q4 C1 a Scullion, sword & pistol
Dee, Q4 C1 a Scullion, 2 swords, murderous
Elmer Q4 C2 pistol, marksman
Flag, Q4 C2 sword, strong, dashing
Guido, Q4 C2 sword, strong, passing strike
Hanna, a Scullion
Imogen, a Scullion
Jake Q4 C2 sword, strong, passing strike
Long John
Mister Bates Q4 C3 sword, murderous
Nodbert Q4 C3 sword, strong, passing strike
Queer Thomas
Rodger the cabin boy
Simon Q4 C2 sword, strong, thrower
Violent Bob Q4 C2 carbine, good shot
Xander Q4 C3 sword, murderous
Young un Q4 C3 thrower

This is a selection of my available figures, just to give you an idea. I'm aided by having used letter beads on most of mine so everyone can see who they're dealing with! I've left several and deliberately simplified the rest.

Suggested play. Obviously I'm looking to use Ganesha's Flashing Steel, but you could use Flying Lead. There are other pirate games out there, but I don't know them.

I want to get a “black Sails” type plot twist feel going. To do this I'm going to suggest using the initiative rolls. You could use event cards.

Rather than take turns and to encourage roleplay I'd suggest that a player declares a move on an opponent then both roll for initiative. Fortune favours the brave. One word of warning, this type of play is best suited to a group who agree that the aim is to have interesting games rather than point-scoring.

You can go to extremes, with one faction fleeing with 1 or more treasure then being pursued by 1 or more of the others. I'd suggest that only the captain knows the location of the treasure and a search may be of limited use. Players should aim to have fun! You can take the basic game as season 1 and go from there!

Vicar the reverant Allbright
1) Someone squeals to the Revenue and the winner can swap out for a revenue force
2) Someone squeals to the Revenue, the Vicar can hide (leaving the local to their fate) OR rouse another D6 of locals to come to his aid
5) Choice of ground, can stage an ambush.
6) Can swap out with the Squire.

Squire and Magistrate Kettle
1) All are drunk.
2) Late start. Each rolls D6 indicating turn appearing. If niece rolls a 1, she's been kidnapped.
If she rolls a 6 she's kidnapped one of the Scullions who was in boys clothes.
5) Gains a D6 of Pirate Hunters (Officer+3, Sergeant+ rest)
6) Can swap out with the Revenue.

The Cock and Bottom
1) Everyone is drunk and the place is surrounded
2) Everyone is drunk but Hook & D6 of his cronies (all drunk) have snuck out the back.
5) Hook and a remarkably sober crew set up an ambush
6) Can swap out with the Squire.

The Saucy Scullion
1) The Scullions have got pissed and gone off after someone (winners choice) rest turn up D6 turns later, roll for sobriety
2) Everyone is drunk but gain a D6 of patrons
5) Forewarned, a force sneaks off and sets up an ambush.
6) The Scullions have captured the opposing captain and is demanding ransom. There is talk of a portrait painter

Pirate hunters
Captain Q3 C3 Sword, Pistol, Leader, brawler
Sergeant Q4 C3 Sword, strong, murderous, brawler
Trooper Q4 C2 Sword, musket, good shot, brawler

Captain Q4 C3 Sword, Pistol, Leader, mounted
Sergeant Q4 C3 Sword, strong, musket, good shot
Trooper Q4 C2 Sword, musket

After an engagement. Note the bids of the dead. Add 1 to each of the winners and -1 to the losers. These may now bid for replacements. The dead can be recycled if there's need!