Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sloop Deck Plan

For today's post I have a deck plan for a small two-masted vessel, akin to a sloop. This could serve well as a small merchant ship or the first prize pirates claim after going on the account.


The ship's wheel is located on this raised platform at the aft of the vessel; it is generally from here that the captain issues orders while sailing.

2. Main Deck
The main deck is a broad, open space, although usually it is filled at least in part with ropes, the ship's anchor, a lifeboat and that sort of thing. In between the two masts is the hatch providing access to the cargo hold below.

3. Private Cabin
For important passengers or, at least, those who can pay for it, this cabin boasts a bed and perhaps a table or a storage trunk. It can also be used for a first mate, if appropriate.

4. Private Cabin
This cabin is laid out in the same manner as the other one, above.

5. Captain's Cabin
By far the most elaborate quarters on the vessel is this small room. It has a table with four chairs for holding meetings, along with a bed, a wardrobe, a chest and a barrel of liquor.

6. Crew Quarters
Ten hammocks are arrayed in this area, in two tiers. The crew members sleep here, usually in shifts. In addition there can usually be found a number of sea chests, one per crewman, arranged beneath the hammocks.

7. Cargo Hold
This space could contain just about anything, provided it can fit in through the cargo hatch.

8. Crow's Nest (Not pictured)
A small platform high on the ship's foremast provides a place for the lookout to stand.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Feat

Here's a short entry, a feat to which I've previously alluded.


Bonded Pet
You have a pet that is particularly loyal to you and that possesses abilities beyond those of a normal animal. Think of the monkey Jack from Pirates of the Caribbean, the parrot Captain Flint from Treasure Island and the dog Dundee from Robinson Crusoe for examples of such extraordinary creatures.
Prerequisites: Dog's Best Friend, Monkey Magnet or Parrot Perch fortune.
Benefit: Your selected pet gains two bonus hit dice, a +1 bonus to two ability scores and one bonus trick.
Normal: Your selected pet has no unusual abilities.
Special: You may select this feat multiple times; its benefits stack for that pet.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Legendary Treasures

I'm still working on the next adventure in the Come Hell and High Water campaign. In the meanwhile, here are some items that could be added to a pirate's treasure hoard. The Skull & Bones book introduces a few magical items inspired by real-world history, but that list is by no means comprehensive. Detailed here are three new relics, the first in a series for use with a campaign during the Golden Age of Piracy.

Legendary Treasures
The history of piracy is filled with stories of bold and bloody action. On occasion, these tales also tell of wondrous items—weapons and otherwise—that are used in pivotal moments. Detailed below are some such relics, ones that have powers beyond normal reckoning.

Captain Kidd's Hanging Rope
The story of Captain William Kidd could serve as a lesson in integrity. Ostensibly he was a pirate hunter, hired by English merchants to hunt down those scallywags who preyed upon trading ships around the world. At first he seemed dedicated to that mission, seeking out pirates and bringing them to justice, but eventually he wavered in his intentions. Some say his motives were questionable from the outset; others argue that the “no prey, no pay” arrangement for privateering led his crew to mutiny against him and attack innocent vessels. However it happened, his ship, the Adventure Galley, began to confront targets for whom he had little or no justification.

Eventually Captain Kidd was called to account for his actions. Despite his arguments that his targets were legitimate ones, and that his crew did not heed his commands, he was condemned as a pirate and sentenced to hang. The once respected captain was marched out to the gallows; the rope was placed around his neck, and he was dropped to what should have been his death. He gained a temporary reprieve, however, when the rope broke. Had he not been drunk at the time, he might have seized this opportunity to escape or, failing that, to plead for mercy. Instead he was walked back up onto the platform, a new one was placed around his neck and he was executed.

Captain Kidd's hanging rope appears as nothing more than a short length of rope, frayed at both ends, suitable for use as a belt or for similar purposes. In game terms it lets a character reroll one attack, saving throw or skill check, or force another character to do so, once per day.

The Highlander's Broadsword
Among the legends of the sea, few are better know—or more dramatic—than the tale of how Captain Maynard and a loyal crew of sailors and soldiers defeated the dreaded pirate Blackbeard. For years he had terrorized the people of the Atlantic coast, but eventually he was called to account for his misdeeds. Even so, the story holds that he was stabbed and shot dozens of times before he fell. In the end, it was a might blow from the broadsword of a mercenary highlander that finally separated his head from his shoulders. Even then, some claim that his body swam around the boat a number of times before sinking into the depths. They say that Captain Maynard hung the grisly trophy from the prow of his boat as he sailed homeward, a grim testament to the battle that had been fought.

The Highlander's Broadsword looks like other weapons of the kind, but those who are aware of such things can recognize its true power. In game terms it functions as a Broadsword +1, Bane against pirates.

The Skull Cup
While the origins of this item are contested by scholars, the effect that it has are not doubted by any who have experienced it. Some claim that it was made from the head of Blackbeard the pirate, made into a drinking cup by the triumphant Captain Maynard. Others argue that it is too bizarre an item for such a respectable servant of the king, but there is little proof to settle the matter.

Whatever the truth, the cup is made from an actual skull, with a gold stem attached to it. If it is filled with wine, the person who drinks from it gains the benefits of the Heroism spell, caster level 20. This can only be done once per day.