Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Pirates of the Spanish Main VENUS Packages

from left to right: Pirate Officer (bo'sun) and Swashbuckler (Davenport's Academy)
Sailors can be seen in the background

 
With the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and the impending publication of Buccaneer: Hell and High Water, it seems a good time to revisit my favorite Savage Worlds publication – Pirates of the Spanish Main – and put together some V.E.N.U.S. (Venturers, Experimenters, Navigators, and the Unusually Skilled) packages. Any references to unfamiliar Edges and Hindrances should be assumed to refer back to Pirates of the Spanish Main.


The Nautical Ranks section of Pirates of the Spanish Main also breaks down different shipboard roles and their associated suggested Traits and Edges. Game Masters interested in incorporating Savage Rifts®-style packages into their PotSM games may also consider adapting those sample options as a basis.
 
Master Gunner or Gunner’s Mate
  • Bonus Attributes: +2 dice Smarts
  • Bonus Hindrances: the player’s choice of Hard of Hearing [Minor] and one other Minor Hindrance AND Branded or Vow [Major; serve the Crown] depending on whether the character is a pirate or a naval seaman
  • Bonus Skills: +3 Repair; +4 dice Shooting
  • Bonus Hindrances: the player’s choice of Hard of Hearing [Minor] and one other Minor Hindrance AND Branded or Vow [Major; serve the Crown] depending on whether the character is a pirate or a naval seaman
  • Bonus Edge: Cannoneer or Gunsmith
  • Bonus Gear: gunsmith’s tools
Naval Officer 
  • Bonus Attribute: +1 die Smarts
  • Bonus Skills: +1 die Boating, Intimidation, Notice, Knowledge (Battle), and Knowledge (Navigation)
  • Bonus Hindrances: Vow [Major; serve the Crown]
  • Bonus Edges: Command, Officer
  • Bonus Gear: flintlock pistol, rapier, uniform 
Pirate Officer 
This framework includes boatswains (bo’suns), captains, first mates, quartermasters, and sailing masters – all important leadership roles whose work keeping the ship on course and maintaining discipline means they receive an extra share of booty. Captains only must take an extra Hindrance as outlined below; in return, they receive the Captain Edge and the free ship that comes with it.  
  • Bonus Skills: +2 dice Knowledge (Navigation); +3 dice Boating 
  • Bonus Hindrances (captains only): the player’s choice of Branded, One Arm, One Eye, One Leg, or Wanted [Major]
  • Bonus Edges: Command and the player’s choice of Helmsman, Storm Chaser, or a Leadership Edge for which the character qualifies; captains receive the Captain Edge as well.
  • Bonus Gear: compass, cutlass or rapier, flintlock pistol, map of the Main; captains receive a sloop.
Sailor
  • Bonus Skills: +1 die Climbing; +3 dice Boating and Notice
  • Bonus Edges: the player’s choice of Helmsman or Lookout
  • Bonus Gear: cutlass
Ship’s Carpenter or Carpenter’s Mate 
  • Bonus Skills: +2 dice Boating and Knowledge (Carpentry); +3 dice Repair
  • Bonus Edges: Shipwright
  • Bonus Gear: hammer, nails, saw 
Ship’s Doctor or Surgeon 
  • Bonus Attributes: +2 dice Spirit
  • Bonus Skills: +2 dice Knowledge (Medicine); +3 dice Healing
  • Bonus Hindrances: the player’s choice of Heroic, Overconfident, Pacifist [Major], Seasick, or Wanted [Major]
  • Bonus Edges: Healer
  • Bonus Gear: cutlery, medicine chest, saw
Swashbuckler 
  • Bonus Attributes: see below
  • Bonus Skills: see below
  • Bonus Hindrances: Swashbucklers whose academy perquisites cost more than nine character creation points may take the Arrogant, Cocky, Code of Honor, Death Wish, Enemy [Major or Minor], Garrulous, Heroic, Trouble Magnet [Major or Minor], Vengeful [Major or Minor], and Vow [Major or Minor] Hindrances to make up for the needed points; see below for more details
  • Bonus Edges: Fencing Academy; see below for more details
  • Bonus Gear: the weapons associated with their fencing academy 
A special feature of Pirates of the Spanish Main is the presence of the Fencing Academy Edge and the associated schools. Each school confers different bonuses when fighting hand-to-hand (an extra +2 on Disarms or Tricks, access to Combat Edges at lower ranks, etc.) and a secret technique taught only to members who have been with the school for three years of game time.
Qualifying for each school requires different prerequisite combinations of Attribute, skills, and Edges. The most expensive schools require the equivalent of ten additional character creation points; the majority of them require six. 
Swashbucklers receive nine additional character creation points to purchase the Fencing Academy Edge and their academy’s prerequisites. If they have points left over after qualifying, they may use these to purchase Edges associated with their school (such as the Dirty Fighter or Improvisational Fighter Edges associated with Davenport’s Academy). If their school has no associated Edges, they may use leftover points to purchase additional dice in Agility and Strength or the Acrobat Edge.  

from left to right: Naval Officer, Swashbuckler (Royal Fencing Academy), Pirate Officer (with Branded Hindrance)
sand can be seen in the background

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