A roleplaying game by John Powell
Based on the excellent Dungeon Squad and Pirate Squad by Jason Morningstar.
Freeport Squad is provided under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Creative Commons license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/
Green Ronin’s Freeport: The City of Adventure Think DnD meets Pirates of the Caribbean.
Some paper, pencils, friends and polyhedral dice (d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20) - preferably a set for each player and the gm. Snacks and beverages help too.
Decide on your Character’s Name, Age and Concept. Concept is a noun-adjective combination that tells everyone what your character is all about. Race, profession, and attitude are all good things to include in your tags.
Example: Abu Singh, 27, Loyal Human Pirate First-mate
Example: Gronk, 43, Grizzled Half-orc Cleric
Characters have one d4, d8, and d12 to represent aspects of themselves - Warrior, Wizard and Pirate.
Example: I want to make Abu a tough pirate character, so I choose Warrior d12, Pirate d8, and Wizard d4.
Characters have a d6 and a d10 to describe stuff they normally use - weapons, tricks & spells.
Example: For my tough pirate I choose a d10 cutlass and a d6 bandolier of throwing knives.
Example: My half-orc cleric takes d10 Healing and a d6 Mace.
Example: The warrior monk takes d10 Dodge and d6 Iron Fist technique.
(Optional) Characters have a d20 for Sanity, and 0 Insanity to start with. Witnessing shocking horror increases your Insanity. If Insanity ever reaches 20, your character goes permanently insane and is removed from play.
Characters have fifteen Hit Points. Damage reduces these directly. Characters at 0 or less Hit Points are unconscious, and those at -10 or worse will die if not immediately helped
All characters can fight, cast spells, and do piratey things at varying levels of skill. Difficulty is reflected by a target number, typically 2, 4, or 6. Higher numbers are certainly possible for daring feats. If a situation gives a character an advantage, the gm may allow the character to roll one die type higher than usual, i.e. a d6 instead of a d4.
Concept counts automatically as an advantage for tasks that involve some part of it.
Example: Abu is out recruiting a new crew for his captain. Being a First-mate lets him roll a d10 for Pirate instead of his normal d8.
Warrior is used for hitting in combat. In melee combat 2 or better is needed to hit a weak foe, a 4 or better to hit an average foe, and a 6 or better to hit a tough foe. For ranged combat, all targets require a 2 to hit at close range, 4 or better at medium range and 6 or better at long range. Additionally in ranged combat, only even results on the die hit - If you roll odd you miss.
Wizard is used to cast spells. A 6 or better is needed to cast a spell successfully, or a 2 or better if the caster is not in a dangerous situation. One peaceful option would be to assign d4 to Wizard and take “Healing” as a spell, casting it only between battles.
Pirate is used to do stuff with ships, the sea, and to skulk around like a sneaky pirate. You need a 2 or better to move silently, a 4 or better to pick a lock or climb the rigging, and a 6 or better to disarm a trap.
Sanity is used for resisting the soul-destroying horrors of the world. Rolling a 2 or better is sufficient to overcome minor shocks, 4 or better for average shocks, 6 or more for major shocks. Add your current insanity points to the difficulty of this roll. If you succeed in the roll you are protected from the shock, but still gain insanity points equal to ½ the thing’s shock value. If you fail the roll you gain insanity points equal to the thing’s shock value and must either fight or flee (player’s choice) whatever caused the shock for d4 rounds. Declare whether your character fights or flees first, then roll the die. If neither fight nor flight is an option, you are reduced to a gibbering idiot for d4 rounds.
Initiative - all creatures in a combat roll their highest aspect (for players that is usually a d12) and go in order from highest to lowest. The gm can opt to consolidate his characters in one or more groups that share a single roll.
Combat rounds are equivalent to about 3 seconds of real time. On their turn, characters can do as much as the gm thinks is reasonable given the situation. Usually this is moving, attacking, or doing something else.
Damage - Make a warrior roll to see if you hit. If you do, then roll the damage die for the weapon, subtract any magic shield or dodge dice the target has. Any damage left over reduces the target’s hit points.
High Seas Battles are a special form of combat. Roll contests of Speed, then Agility, then the captain’s Pirate aspect. For each victory, roll the ship’s Guns once and apply damage accordingly. Firing of Guns is optional - after all you don’t want to sink a ship if you haven’t looted it yet! After this is done, the ships must grapple for boarding! and regular combat begins. If at the beginning of the battle a ship wants to escape rather than fight, it needs to win the initial speed contest and then a second speed contest immediately. A ship trying to escape can not use its Guns on the enemy. If it fails to escape then it can use its Guns for victories in the Agility and Pirate contests.
A character can ‘carry’ a total of four pieces of stuff with dice assigned to it - weapons, tricks, spells and the like. If a character acquires a cool bit of treasure with a die assigned to it (d6 Fireball scroll, for example), it counts toward this total, as do the two items each character starts with. A player can mix and match as needed, but no character can ever carry more than four.
Melee weapons like a cutlass, do their die in damage - either d6 or d10. A “cutlass” could also be an axe or other weapon. Other weapons rated at d4, d8, or even d12 might be found as booty!
Guns can damage a foe from a distance, doing their die in damage, but only half the time. (See Warrior above) A “gun” could also be throwing knives, a crossbow, or other ranged weapon.
Expensive gear affords a +1 bonus to a specific activity, effectively bumping the die up one rank. Your d4 Pirate becomes d6, for example, when sneaking in Elven boots.
Ships can be listed - and - acquired - as stuff. They are a special class of stuff, though, because so much pirate adventure occurs on and around them. Ships are like characters, and have 15 hit points and 3 aspects. Instead of Warrior, Wizard and Pirate, ships have Speed, Agility, and Guns. The die of a ship selected as stuff owned by a character is its highest die - which can be assigned to any of the three traits. The other two dice are always a d4 and a d6, and you can put them anywhere you like. For a high seas battle, roll contests of Speed, then Agility, then the captain’s Pirate aspect. For each victory, roll the ship’s Guns once and apply damage accordingly. After this is done, the ships must grapple for boarding!
Tricks can be assigned either a d6 or d10.
Daring allows you to perform a dazzling feat or heroism and bravery that might normally be difficult or impossible! This could be swinging down from the mizzen mast, sweeping up the Governor’s daughter, and landing her safely in the crow’s nest - anything fun and dramatic that does not involve fighting.
Dodge - When hit, reduce the damage by this die. Each subsequent time you use it in a fight the die type reduces by one.
Pirate’s Roar causes one enemy to hesitate for every 2 points rolled. Victims cannot take any action for a turn when they are frightened and uncertain. Can be used once per battle.
Son of a Gun does triple a ship’s die in damage but can only be used once per battle! Roll the ship’s die, then multiply the result by three. Anyone aboard the target takes the straight, pre-multiplication Son-of-a-Gun die in damage as well - a powerful trick for sea captains!
Salty Dog allows a sea captain to use this die to re-roll any Speed, Agility, or Gun roll. Can be used once per battle.
Sex Appeal - Add this die to any roll you make if your sex appeal could help in the situation.
Spells - There are six spells. Any character can choose to assign a “Stuff” die to gain a spell, and a sorcerer can use both the d6 and d10 for different spells.
A 6 or better is needed to cast a spell successfully in battle, or a 2 or better if the caster is not in a dangerous situation.
Dazzle causes one man-sized enemy to hesitate for every 2 points rolled. Bigger creatures require 4 points; smaller ones, 1! Victims cannot take any action for a turn when they are dazzled. Can be cast once per battle.
Fireball does triple its die in damage but can only be used once per adventure! Roll the Fireball’s die, then multiply the result by three. Anyone near the target takes the straight, pre-multiplication Fireball die in damage as well - a powerful spell!
Healing restores its die in hit points to the person the wizard chooses. This spell can be successfully cast once per person per battle.
Light light an area as bright as day equal to the die roll times ten feet in radius. If cast on a object, the light moves around with the object. Spell lasts for a single battle or non-battle scene.
Lightning does its die in damage divided as the wizard chooses among targets. Can be cast every turn.
Magic Shield protects a single person the wizard chooses (including the wizard if she desires) from its die in damage, which is chipped away until it is gone. Can be cast successfully once per battle.
Anyone can do d4 damage with their fists or a dagger, if they have no better weapon. Ropes, picks and shovels, and other equipment can be purchased, but has no “stuff” die associated with it. There is no limit to the amount of regular stuff you can carry.
What a pirate seeks be booty, such as fine magic swords (+1, which makes a d6 cutlass a d8 sword), dazzling pirate costumes (+1 die size for attempting tricks), and flagons of rum (with a one-time healing effect of various die sizes). Gold pieces-of-eight can also be won! Gold can be used to buy equipment, like ships, ropes, lock-picks, lanterns, and ten-foot poles.
Gold can also be used to increase any die one size after each adventure, up to d12. 100 gold pieces equal a one die increase. Gold can also be used to buy increased hit points. 20 gold pieces increase permanent hit point total by one.
Insanity can be reduced by spending time and gold between adventures in whatever pursuits the player feels would benefit the character’s mental and/or spiritual health. Some characters may choose to celebrate with ale and hearty company, some with stronger spirits and all alone, others opting for divine healing at a temple, time spent meditating with the monks (‘donations’ for incense not optional), or spending money on excessive luxuries. The basic rule is that it costs 20gp and at least a day to lose each point of insanity.
All opponents need a 4 or better to hit an adventurer.
Vermin - Attack with d4, Pirates automatically hit one per attack, but they come in swarms
Rat or spider: Bite 1 point, 1 hp
Jungle bat: Bite 2 points, 2 hp
Stinking slime mold: Erodes metal, ruins swords, 25 hp
Magic sponge mold: Each point of magic used on it increases its hp by an equal amount, 25 hp
Weak - Attack with d6, Pirates need a 2 or better to hit, travel in packs
Ship’s cat: Bite d4, 4 hp
Attack dog: Bite d6, 6 hp
Goblin, Dockyard thug or highwayman: Axe d8, 8 hp
Average - Attack with d8, Pirates need a 4 or better to hit.
Pirate: Cutlass d6, 1 trick, 8 hp
Orc or Soldier: Sword d8, 6 hp
Skeleton warrior: Axe d8, 2 shock, 4 hp
Giant spider: Bite d4, poison d4 per turn for 4 turns, 12 hp
Tough - Attack with d10, Pirates need a 6 or better to hit.
Pirate Chief: Pistol d8, Cutlass d8, 2 tricks, 15 hp
Royal guard: Musket d10, Halberd d6, 12 hp
Giant: Club d10, 20 hp
Troll: Hands d10, 12 hp
Small Dragon: Claws d6, Bite d8, Fire breath d12, 40 hp
Run Away! - Attack with d12, Adventurers need an 8 or better to hit.
Kraken: Tentacles d10, Bite d12, 4 shock, 60 hp
1 Gold Piece:
5 Gold Pieces:
10 Gold Pieces:
20 Gold Pieces:
50 Gold Pieces:
75 Gold Pieces:
100 Gold Pieces:
Thanks for making it this far! If you ever play the game, please let me know how it went. Email me at john(at)jetcity(dot)net.
John Powell January 09, 2008, at 07:28 PM