Give me some pirate ideas to steal!


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  1. #1

    Give me some pirate ideas to steal!

    Okay, so I'm going to be starting a campaign soon using true20. It's going to be roughly based loosley on the PotC movie settings. The group will probably be a crew on a ship at the start of the campaign. I was just wondering what everyone else had done with pirate campaigns, what worked what didn't, what's fun and what's not.

    Thanks,

    ThePunkOrangeCamo
    "It's because you're old. Life's like a roll of toilet paper - the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes." Impeesa
    My name is Jay, and I'm a gamer

 

  • #2
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    1) Its not from a pirate-themed anything, but there was an African Grey Parrot in a movie called It Waits. Not a very good movie at all- the Parrot has all the best lines.

    For example, unlike the humans around it, it can actually tell when the movie's monster is around (and obscured from sight)...and says things like "Uh Oh!" in its cutesy parrot voice. The humans never really catch on- at one point, the heroine actually tries to set him free for his safety...nevermind that he's an ideal warning device! It has other lines as well, but that stood out to me.

    (Personally, I'm dying to use it for a PC of my own some day...but it would be a nice familiar or animal companion for a pirate (N)PC.)

    Other whacky takes on the old parrot-on-the-shoulder pirate schtick would include birds like Ostriches, Axebeaks, Penguins, or even some of the smaller dinosaurs (esp. the raptors and birdlike ones).

    2) I once started a campaign with an interdimensional raider themed twist on the old Against the Slavers modules- the party's transport was attacked by transdimensional pirates and eventually taken captive.

    While it was fun, I'm not suggesting that as a starting point for your campaign.

    What I'm suggesting is that you take a close look at the way pirates capture ships and do at least one attempted ship capture- its a great big melee with 3 dimensional consequences that also involves strictures. Most seamen of all kinds didn't even know how to swim, so once they hit the water...

    3) Use superstitions. There are all kinds of mysterious beasties below the waves and beyond the horizon, and everyone knows about ghost ships and the restless spirits of men lost at sea.
    Last edited by Dannyalcatraz; Monday, 2nd July, 2007 at 08:36 AM.
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  • #3
    Thanks for the quick reply, even if it wasn't purely related I really like the idea of the pirate on the shoulder though and hadn't actually thought of it until your reply.

    One of the group is an adept, I think either a gypsy type, or a voodoo witch. Maybe she might want a bird.
    "It's because you're old. Life's like a roll of toilet paper - the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes." Impeesa
    My name is Jay, and I'm a gamer

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    Well, consider some of the cultures that surround piracy.

    Piracy was most visibly connected with the Carribean and the waters between Europe and Africa. Both regions had a link between piracy and the slave trade, as well as privateers- pirates who were essentially working for a government, be they local or from one of the Empires that were expanding into the area.

    In the Carribean, you'd have all kinds of Voudoun legends & curses...and ZOMBIES! While I personally don't care for the class, a Hexblade might make for an interesting believer in Voudoun. The Oriental Adventures Shaman (updated to 3.5 in Dragon#318) would make a good Voodoo priest (esp. if you open the class up to all the Cleric Domains), especially one who was trained in Capoiera (a martial arts form developed in the islands & South America that was designed to be used even while shackled, and whose moves resembled dancing, and thus could be taught & practiced in plain sight).

    In African waters, you'd have more Sorcerers & Sha'irs- Arabic spellcasters reprinted in Dragon Compendium v1.- than Wizards. Piracy themes could also be gleaned from movies like the old Sinbad films.

    You might also find some useful info in Atlas Games' Nyambe and Northern Crown, and AEG's Swashbuckling Adventures.
    IAAL...and an MBA. No, really!
    Metal School Founder; Campaign Ideas; my 3.X Databases: The Monk, The Martial Arcanist, Aquatic Ideas, The Psychonomicon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz
    Other whacky takes on the old parrot-on-the-shoulder pirate schtick would include birds like Ostriches, Axebeaks, Penguins, or even some of the smaller dinosaurs (esp. the raptors and birdlike ones).
    Dude, Penguins?!? ROTFLMAO... oh god I love it, that's beautiful. hehehe

  • #6
    Binders in the Tome of Magic make a great fantasy voodoo-style magic. They were probably inspired by it, IMO.

    Sorcerer/Wizard magic quickly becomes dangerous to any campaign using ships in my experience, usually from fireballs or flying. Replace it (e.g. with Binding - see above), alter it or eliminate it!

    Good pirates need an evil empire to prey on. Aztec-flavoured might be as interesting as western-flavoured?

  • #7
    I'm using true20, so the only classes that will be available to my players right now are the three core classes from that.

    I think I might start them working on a legit ship that gets attacked by pirates.
    "It's because you're old. Life's like a roll of toilet paper - the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes." Impeesa
    My name is Jay, and I'm a gamer

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    In my sea-based campaigns, nothing was more fun than fully detailing the quirky traits of the entire crew. Use the DMG's d100 traits and let the hilarity ensue as you nickname the NPCs. The players will then get attached to the crew better if they have a hand in it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by punkorange
    Okay, so I'm going to be starting a campaign soon using true20. It's going to be roughly based loosley on the PotC movie settings. The group will probably be a crew on a ship at the start of the campaign. I was just wondering what everyone else had done with pirate campaigns, what worked what didn't, what's fun and what's not.

    Thanks,

    ThePunkOrangeCamo
    DnDChick (known there as True20Chick) posted bunches of information about her True20 Skull & Bones campaign on the True20 boards -- here and here are good starting places to look.
    If that's pure logic I'll take vanilla.

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    For a wealth of ideas nautical - as opposed to things merely piratical - I would recommend reading Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series Master & Commander.

    The first book is quite difficult slogging for the first three chapters. O'Brian uses the language of the upper classes in the Napoleonic era in his novels (thick, Jan Austen like prose) and layers nautical terminology on it very, very thickly.

    It's tough reading, it really is. The prose is intended by the author to be "transportive" so that by the time your brain finally "gets it", it aids in the escapism into that era to a vast degree. And it really does work.

    Once you struggle past that barrier to entry, the series takes on a life of its own and your appreciation for all the issues that faced a warship and fighting on the sea in the Age of Sail will blossom.

    The inspiration that this series will give to your piratical - and privateer - themes into your campaign will pay off a hundred-fold. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

    If you prefer to listen to those books instead - the audiobook versions of the Master & Commander series are brilliantly narrrated and read.
    Last edited by Steel_Wind; Monday, 2nd July, 2007 at 05:59 PM.
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