Author Topic: Pirates!  (Read 3744 times)

shlo

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Pirates!
« on: February 03, 2013, 12:47:58 PM »
Hello everybody,

I designed a free table top RPG which is all about pirates and fun. At first it was only in french, my mother tongue, I played a lot with my friends and decided to write a rulebook for it. And since the game itself but also the way I wrote it were appreciated, I was motivated enough to try an english version! It's not 100% done, everything is translated but I'll need to come back to the translation again and again to polish it. Yet there's a first, playable version with everything you would like to have. =)

First a few words about the game, words taken from the "backcover" of the rulebook (which is a pdf, so there's no real backcover to speak of...):

Quote
Dirty, vile, lame, cheaters, liars and wicked, pirates roam the Caribbean to plunder, booze, ransack and slap everything that moves.

This game uses a unique set of rules, very simple and entirely designed for the pirates' universe, playable with one six-sided dice per player. You can create a character in less than five minutes, teach the rule while playing and perform galores of foolishness apace! Climb here and there, waste enemies, bury your treasures and join the ranks of the most famous pirates.

The Game Master will have an easy task, few things to prepare and few things to do while playing, apart from enjoying the adventure and giving a few objectives to the players.

And some download links:

* rulebook
* character sheet (included in the above book)
* rules brief (included in the above book)

And the website: here

Don't hesitate to comment, report errors and help to translate the main game terms. =)

s.

shlo

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Re: Pirates!
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2013, 06:13:33 PM »
Sorry to reply to my own post like this but... The version was full of typos and blunt language errors, I fixed a lot of things, you might want to download the last version. It is probably far from perfect, my english being a little poor for such a book. =)

s.

dreamofpeace

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Re: Pirates!
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2013, 08:12:10 PM »
Hi Shlo, thanks for sharing your game!  I hope it's OK that I jump in.  I've rarely had as much fun reading game rules, very entertaining :)  So there's no rules for character death, is that right?

For a non-native speaker your english is great!  I just have a few tips: "dice" is actually plural, the singular is "die", so you say "roll one die" or "roll two dice".  Another thing is "poultry": poultry is kind of a general term that has no special connotations; when you want to insult someone for being a coward or a wimp you say "chicken" specifically, like "don't be a chicken!"  "Don't be a poultry" sounds very funny but is probably not what you meant :)  One other thing, when speaking of blowing people up I suggest "you blew away three of our own crew members" or "you blew up three of our own crew members"; saying "you blew three of our own crew" means something else (it has a sexual meaning) :-)

I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future.

Best Wishes,

Manu

shlo

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Re: Pirates!
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2013, 02:35:45 AM »
Hello Manu,

I'm actually happy someone jumps in, thank you!

I'll fix the dice/die thing! Reading more about the subject, I discovered that using the plural everywhere was kind of accepted for this word, but I am a careful writer and as far as I can, I want to write things properly. And now I'll blow away the crew. =)

About the poultry word it is not a mistake. I chose the equivalent in french, "volaille", a word which doesn't mean anything but a regular poultry, the somewhat proud, stupid and cowardly animal. In this game, it is not used to describe a coward, it is how a pirate defines polite, civilized, gentle, stilted people. And it certainly defines those people as preys. And yes, it is meant to be funny, but maybe is it a too awkward choice in english?

s.

dreamofpeace

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Re: Pirates!
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2013, 04:44:25 AM »
Hi Shlo!
I see; I think in English "sheep" might work better for that purpose: used in this sense, it's for the average person in society who goes along and does what they're told, someone who conforms to social expectations.  "Those people are just sheep" one might say.  "That guy's chicken" means specifically that they're a coward, and "that guy's poultry" sounds funny but it isn't entirely clear what it means :)

Best Wishes,

Manu
PS I would love to read more actual play examples if there are any!

dreamofpeace

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Re: Pirates!
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2013, 04:47:37 AM »
Also someone who's a sheep is a ready victim...

shlo

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Re: Pirates!
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2013, 05:03:33 AM »
Yes, sheep has the same meaning in French, it's probably the same origin, the sheep of Panurge I guess. Still, I prefer the pirate definition. It's the same in French, you don't know what the captain means with poultry, until he explains it a few pages later. Now maybe I'm being stubborn, if that's really an issue I'll change it, just let me think about it. =)

I have several recordings (in French), but some use older rules. I was half planning to transcript another one and make it an extra pdf, or maybe adding it to the main book. Each game was so full of silly situations that I could easily provide fifty pages with just replays.

Oh and I forgot your question about the death rule: there's one! Granted, it's a loose one (no PC ever died during all the years we played the game, it's just no the point of the game). The rule is: "hang a player character and two or three days later he will stop gesticulating and die." It never happens, but it gives something to dread.

s.

Ron Edwards

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Re: Pirates!
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2013, 11:33:24 AM »
Putting the discussion of livestock aside for a moment, let's talk about the game.

First, welcome to the forum! Ever since playing Wuthering Heights in 2000, I've been a fan of the French RPG design community.

I'm not sure if you're familiar with either my Elfs or Vincent Baker's Poison'd. I think you might like them; each is notable for prompting pages of horrified cries of indignation at RPG.net at one point or another.

Second, ... well, I'm looking for something to criticize or suggest, and not finding much to say.

1. Color? present and accounted for, thoroughly.
2. Reward? present and accounted for, with supportive reward mechanics.
3. Playtesting? done and evident.

All I really have to say now is, when someone says "How do I put together a role-playing game," I'll point to you.

Best, Ron

dreamofpeace

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Re: Pirates!
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2013, 05:09:32 PM »
Hi Ron, I would be interested in your take on the reward mechanics of Pirates; I've read some of what you've written elsewhere about what a good reward system should do but never quite got the application to specific mechanics.

And Shlo, that death mechanic is hysterical, you should certainly put that in :)

Best Wishes,
Manu

shlo

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Re: Pirates!
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2013, 03:04:53 AM »
Thank for the welcome!

@Ron
After releasing the French version of Pirates! last summer, I heard about Poison'd but I still have to buy and read it. And as a silent reader of the Forge I also heard of Elfs but same thing, I still have to buy and read it. You seem to think that Pirates! is also likely to shock some players, is because of the (very) high ratio of failures, or maybe because of the very limited scope of the available activities? Anyway thank for your appreciation!

@Manu
The death mechanic is already in the rulebook. =)
The reward system is pretty forward, you can see it in action in the "Teach the rules" paragraph, and in the replay too. Basically the daily need sets the game in motion, then the pirate tricks, the luck points, the taboos and the dead man's chest all create a virtuous circle: action gives reward while calling for more action. Rewards are all about player motivation, and here you have short term ("do that action and get points immediately"), middle term ("bury enough points and you can improve this ability") and long term ("stock enough points and you can improve your leadership") motivation. It's the kind of flow you would see in a video game, where you can't stop playing until you reach the end of a scenario. At this point you hardly need a story to keep the player interested.

s.

Ron Edwards

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Re: Pirates!
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2013, 09:15:00 AM »
Hi,

Michael, I don't think the components you listed will provoke any particular negative response. I speculate that your presentation of rape would draw a great deal of criticism at any widely-trafficked site, from people who will not appreciate the parodic qualities or possibly the likelihood of pirates getting wounded in the attempt. (Elfs does not feature rape but for some reason people think it does; Poison'd does, but perhaps not to the extent that people think it does.)

Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not presenting a position on whether rape should or should not be present in RPG content; I'm not presenting a position on whether if present, it should or should not be funny; and I'm not telling you what to do with your game. I brought up Poison'd and Elfs because they combine excessive character behavior with consequential failures, which I think is one of the most enjoyable-looking features of your game. My comment about outrage at RPG.net regarding both games is, in retrospect, tangential to my main point.

Manu, Michael's explained the reward mechanics verbally really well, so I think the next step would be to look at the diagrams, especially the revised ones, in [Poison'd] Trying to understand Reward and Currency systems and to check out the second half of Reduced enjoinment playing RPGs. They're pretty concrete discussions of capital-R Reward and reward mechanics, following a series of threads from a couple of years before that. Then you should try sketching out the circles and arrows for this game to see how it looks.

Best, Ron


shlo

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Re: Pirates!
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2013, 06:55:50 PM »
Oh yes, of course, that part of the game is really touchy. It has been extenuated over time, to become a more generic ability used to torment people, but the rape is still here. At first I was worried by this part of the game, but with my group of reasonable players it was never an issue and I kind of forgot it. But you're totally right, this is very sensitive.

The game was never meant to be disturbing when describing any form of violence, no more than Polanski's movie, Pirates, or maybe Benny Hill's show. But now that I think of it, they never crossed that line, they just pretended to and stopped quickly, after some groping and kissing maybe.

I think I could safely remove all direct reference to forced sex from the dialogues and just talk about carousing, groping and kissing, worst case scenario, when the ability is used against women. It would be a lot more acceptable, without betraying the game's spirit.

Thank you for bringing the issue, it really is a major point and I shouldn't have passed over it.

s.

dreamofpeace

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Re: Pirates!
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2013, 12:24:26 AM »
@Shlo: regarding the Death mechanic, oops!  I somehow managed to read that page twice without seeing it :)  That's just my clumsiness.  Thanks very much for explaining the way your reward mechanics work so clearly, it was very helpful for me to see it spelled out like that.  Regarding Outrage, that was the only time I felt a bit uncomfortable reading your game; it's obvious the game is over the top and light-hearted, but I couldn't help thinking of some people I know who would read that part and balk at the implied rape anyway.  I do think that by taking that out you'll increase the game's audience.  Just IMHO.  I think it's a great game just as it is, though.

@Ron: thanks very much for those links, they're just what I needed!

Much love to you both!

Best Wishes,

Manu

PS Shlo, please let me know if you ever translate any more Actual Play reports :)

shlo

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Re: Pirates!
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2013, 07:30:41 AM »
After a few thoughts, I changed a bit the scope of the Outrage ability. Forget the possible rape or torture, now it's only to annoy or alarm people. Annoying a woman (or a man, it the pirate is a woman) only means groping and kissing, which is far more acceptable. And don't forget that it's unrequited and that, more than often, it ends very badly for the pirate. I also changed the name of the ability to Tease, I don't know how it sounds for an English reader, if it conveys bother + frighten it's good enough. The equivalent verb in French is obviously an understatement when you think of it as a pirate activity, which make it amusing.

s.

dreamofpeace

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Re: Pirates!
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2013, 02:49:23 AM »
Hi Shlo, in English "tease" usually doesn't have the sense of being mean or cruel, unless you're talking about little kids teasing each other.  "Tease" definitely sounds out of place in the context of Kill, Maraud, etc. :)  If that's what you want, great; otherwise you might consider "Taunt", which is definitely a harsher, more adult word :)

Best Wishes,

Manu