Sunday, October 10, 2010


Been very busy on account of having an art show opening this week. Squeezed a game in with a gazillion local friends*.

It was a pretty simple concept but it went over well including with like 4 people who'd never played so I'll lay it out here in case anyone wants to steal it:

PC's are shipwrecked in a barren and icy land (with their gear). Lost, hungry etc. (or otherwise desperate)

They espy 8 ships navigating a nearby fjord. The flagship is in the middle and is flying a flag some may recognize as that of some famous pirate. 7 fearsome frigates surround him.

The 3 most obvious ways the PCs can access the ships are:
-across the ice
-through a wood to a cliff (where they can drop down onto a frigate)
-and by water (they have a not-terribly seaworthy lifeboat left).

Each frigate has a crew of 4-10 pirates on deck ready to repel intruders.

Belowdecks on each ship there's a microdungeon containing a fearsome captain, a treasure or otherwise weird thing, a trap or two, and whatever else your sense of verisimilitude demands be belowdecks on a ship. (I based the 7 fearsome captains on the 7 Dwarves and the 7 things in the 7 holds on the Bela Bartok version of Bluebeard but I only had a couple hours to prepare so you can probably do better than that. I had Bluebeard and Snow White celebrating their recent wedding on the flagship.)

My group had a sea elf (Mandy) who was able to do a little reconnaissance on the frigates, and so I let them pick which target to attack first based on what little she could glean (one ship was unnaturally quiet, one had a garden inside, one had a lake of tears inside, the others were hard to read).

The real fun comes from the fact that as soon as anyone in the convoy is alerted to the presence of the PCs, the frigates will begin to maneuver so that they:

-put as many frigates between the PCs and the flagship as possible, and
-save the treasures on all the allied frigates.

And of course the whole thing happens in a narrow fjord, allowing for all kinds of channel-blocking and sea-to-land-to-ice-to-sea shenanigans.

This makes the whole set-up into a moving dungeon with interchangeable pieces. For extra swashbuckledom, have the PCs be attacked from behind by wolves, arctic stirges, or polar worms during their initial attempts to make contact with the pirates.

*to: New Yorkers reading this who weren't there: joethelwayer, etc.--I would've called you but it was already over-capacity--my sister brought a ton of friends who'd never played. We should hook up later.


  1. I can't help but feel that my players would utterly muff up the entire situation.

    I hope everything with the show is going well!

  2. (a) If the art show is in NYC, I'd be interested in where; (b) If you need a player for another game, etc., I'd be interested in that, too -- delta at

  3. Per Delta, I'd also be interested in said artshow, but since you seem more than booked with game slots, I propose lunch, drinks, lunch & drinks, or some such. Holler if there is some loose social event!

  4. @newyorkers

  5. I buckle some swash each week, but I'd be damned if I can make it as trippy as you do!

    Snow White?

    I need to floor the throttle my next session, and maybe remember to bring that rum I've been promising...

  6. Any other days you'll be present at the gallery, Zak?

  7. That sounds like it is made of crazy awesome, though the combo of Blue Beard and Snow White sounds forced the rest should be golden.

  8. Dude that sounds fantastic! But wait...I am a New Yorker! Of all the gul durn blasted @$%^ing frazzle rackin'...I'm so angry I'm cursing like a Flintstone!

    Just teasing. I was working at New York Comicon this past weekend. Seriously though, next time you're in town running a game, please give him a holler.

  9. That's a rather cool sounding campaign, especially one thrown together in a couple of hours.

  10. God how I love Bartok's Bluebeard. He had me at the lake of tears. I still haven't managed to sneak it into a commercial product, but I think it would go great with Poe's Masque of the Red Death, which seems to be pretty much the same conceit, minus the psychoanalysis.