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With a Black Flag....

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Inspections [Nov. 6th, 2008|08:28 am]
With a Black Flag....


In future Ustartes would not give them this verbal warning before hand but he decided to give them a heads up. Turning to piracy was a big step so he cut them some slack.
Moving from room to room he praised and admonished as the situation required. One of the pirates had let his room fall to nothing and was given extra duties. Finally he came to Daegons room. " Insepection! " he said knocking.
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(no subject) [Oct. 16th, 2008|08:26 am]
With a Black Flag....

It was early morning and Ustartes had been awake for an hour or so patrolling the deck making sure everything was running smoothly, the crew was still in high spirits. Not because they had embraced piracy but more so becuase they had embraced a plan full stop guessed Ustartes.

Casting his eyes around him he saw at the edge of the deck railing was perched an albatros. It was a marvelous creature, strong and magestic. It was therefore with some annoyance he saw one of the crew members take aim with his Musket as others betted coin to see of the shot would hit true. The salior was laughing " Watch me drill a hole in its head lads" he coughed out through a chuckle.

He closed one eye to get the range and as he was about to pull the trigger he felt the cold taste of steel against his throat. Looking up he saw Ustartes held a blade to his throat. Ustartes was calm but his anger was apparent.

" Trust me lad we don't need any ill omens on this venture so you will be lowering that weapon."

The sailor lowered his gun and looked reproachfully at the quartermaster. Ustartes met his gaze. " If you lads have time to be wasting shot and powder and betting away what little coin you have you must also have time to go to your quarters and expect me soon for an inspection. There was a grumble amongst the crowd.

" Quarters and weapons, half an hour, if they do not meet my standars you will suffer my displeasure"

They headed off and Ustartes broke off a bit of dried biscuit and threw it to the bird. Flapping its wings it stoopped down to pick it up and flew off.
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(no subject) [Oct. 14th, 2008|11:43 am]
With a Black Flag....


Hey I have changed my journal around. Now consider the journal of Ustartes to be his official ledger. If you want to draw money, add money or anything to do with your stash you can do it there. If you want to file a complaint about a fellow pirate or declare a grudge there is a folder called the ships mast in my folder. Post their after you have posted a public intention. There i will have ustartes judge on a private level before taking it public. Also some of the ships duties have been started. When we have more pirates we will make it more important. For now check it every now and then for duties and such.
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The Game Begins... [Oct. 12th, 2008|12:26 pm]
With a Black Flag....

 We have three posts today. Please read each and I hope you enjoy the game.
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Chapter I: Signing the Articles [Oct. 12th, 2008|11:46 am]
With a Black Flag....


The somber crew sat as comfortably as they could, some on coils of hawse, others up in the rigging and finally some sprawled on the deck itself.
The last of the old sea salts said, "Aye," reluctantly and at that instant the fate of the ship was sealed.

In good spirits some six months back, the ship Pilgrim's Progress had sailed from Boston ever southward with the goal of salvaging the mountains of gold that had sunk with a Spanish treasure fleet off the coast of Florida the previous year. Unfortunately they were not the only ones with this idea, and had found an ocean of competition circling above the Spanish wrecks.

Too many of the money-hungry crews of these other ships had been turned away from the great treasure, and now they plied the sea lanes in search of fresh prey, perhaps less rich but certainly more available than the undersea wonders of the Spanish Flote. The Pilgrim's Progress, though she carried nothing more than supplies for meager survival had been attacked twice by even more desperate men, some of whom had given up dreams of gold and now wanted more for food and clothing.

She had survived the two pirate attacks, but of her 6 cannon she had but 5 left and in a fire that broke out in the last combat, half the ship's stores had been destroyed. Most tragic of ll though, was the loss of the Progress's original captain -- a firm but good-hearted man, who had been struck in the chest by a splinter from an exploding yardarm.

Hungry, angry, dispirited and with no strong leadership the crew had begun to grumble and to rumble. The question of Piracy was raised by one particularly odious sea-lawyer... and at first, no man supported it, but no one spoke against it.
Back home in Boston, Salem, the Cape, many of these men had families whose survival relied on a successful voyage. Returning home empty-handed would be a death sentence for these men and their loved ones.

The day of the vote the ship lay becalmed off the coast of the Carolinas.

"Aye," repeated the sea salt. His was the final vote, the last agreement to "going on the account" a popular euphemism for turning pirate. They had all voted the same, as was to be expected -- they would all hang together.
Each man knew in his heart that there was no going back. The vote had made them an enemy of all nations -- subject to torture, murder, mutilation and shameful execution by any that might catch them.

Following quickly came more votes.
A thick set and terrible fellow famous for his strength and his anger had been named captain -- Captain Beckett. He had single-handedly brained a pirate to death by smashing his skull against the mainmast in the last attack... something that stood out in the mind of the crew.

Mister Ustartes, a reliable fellow, much liked by the crew was chosen as the Quartermaster. Quartermaster, as the crew's representative would follow their will and make all the daily decisions for the ship, in contrast to the captain who became the sole authority in time of combat.

Daégon was named ship's gunner - a valuable position... even if most gunners seemed to be deaf by the end of a voyage.
And little Claude remained, as always, the cabin boy.

Now that they were all officially pirates there was but one step left to take: the signing of the articles.

The articles read as follows...

Every Man Sworne by Book & Mirror to be true to these Articles, & to his Ship Mates, is to have a Vote in Matters of Importance. He who is not Sworne, shall not Vote.

Every Man to have Equal Right to ye Provisions or Liquors at any time & to use them at Pleasure, unless Scarcity makes a Restriction necessary for ye Good of All.

Every Man to be called ffairly a Board Prizes in turn by the List of ye Company. Every Boarder is to have a Suit of Cloaths from ye Prize.

The Captain & Officers are to be chosen on Commencement of a Voyage, & on any other Occasion as ye Company shall deeme fit.

The Power of ye Captain is Supream in Chace or Battle. He may beat, cut, or shoot any who dares Deny his Command on such Occasions. In all other Matters whatsoever he is to be Governed by the Will of ye Company.

Every Man shall obey Civill Command.

He who first sees a Sail, shall have ye best Pistol, or Small Arm, from a Board her.

Ye QuarterMaster shall be first a Board any Prize. He is to separate for ye Company’s Use what he sees fit & shall have Trust of ye Common Stock & Treasurey until it be Shared. He shall Keep a Book shewing each Man’s Share, & each Man may draw from ye Common Stock & Treasurey against his Share upon Request.

Any Man who should Defraud ye Company, or another, to ye Vallew of a Dollar, he shall suffer Punishment as ye Company deeme ffit.

Each Man to keep his Musket, Pistolls, & Cutlass cleane & ffit for Service, upon Inspection by ye QuarterMaster.

Good Quarters to be Granted when Called for.

Any Man who Deserts ye Company, keeps any Secret, or Deserts his Station in Time of Battle, shall be punished by Death, Marooning, or Whipping, as ye Company shall deeme ffit & Just.

Not a Word shall be Written by any Man unless it be nailed Publickly to ye Mast.

Any Man who Strikes or Abuses another of our Company shall suffer such Punishment as ye Company shall deeme ffit & Just. Every Man’s Quarrel to be settled a Shoar with Sword & Pistol & be Adjudged Fair Fight by ye QuarterMaster.

All Lights & Candles to be put out before 8 a Clock at night. If any Man continues Drinking after that Hour, he must do it on ye open Deck. That Man who shall Smoak Tobacko in ye Hold without a Cap on his Pipe, or carry a lit Candle without a Lanthorn, shall suffer Moses Law (40 Stripes less one) on his bare Back.

No Man to talk of breaking up our Way of Living until Each has Shared a Thousand Pounds.

If any Man should lose a Limb, or become a Cripple, he is to have 800 Dollars out of ye Common Stock, & for lesser hurts, Proportionably.

Ye Captain & QuarterMaster are to have two Shares of a Prize, the Sailing Master, Boatswain, Gunner & Surgeon, One Share & a Half. Other Officers One & a Quarter Share. Each Man shall share Plunder Equally. Boys shall have a Half Share.

After a quick review of the articles, Captain Beckett took up the quill and scrawled his name.

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Pirate Point Projects [Oct. 12th, 2008|11:23 am]
With a Black Flag....

 Here are a few Pirate Point projects for you to work on as the game progresses:

Pirate Log: for every two weeks that you keep a diary for your character you will earn one Pirate Point, for a maximum of 2 per month, that I shall distribute at the end of each month. You don't need to write every day but you should write at least one entry a week.

Pirate Reading:
Below is a list of pirate-related books. For this project you must read one and then write a small review of it -- this is not a book report, I just want to hear what you liked/disliked about the book and one or two things you learned or found interesting about pirates in it. Some of the books are more difficult than others, so are worth more points.

Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates by David Cordingly 2 Pirate Points
The Sea Rover's Practice: Pirate Tactics and Techniques by Benerson Little 2 PP
The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard 2PP
A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates by Captain Charles Johnson 2PP

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson 1PP
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie 1PP
The Sea-Hawk  by Rafael Sabatini 1PP
Captain Blood: His Odyssey by Rafael Sabatini 1PP
The Guardship by James L. Nelson 1PP
The Blackbirder by James L. Nelson 1PP
The Pirate Round 
by James L. Nelson 1PP

N.B. Films have probably the least realistic depictions of pirates. If you watch the following films when you write your review I'd like you to focus on what parts you found to be the most realistic and how accurate you felt the portrayal of piracy was.
The Black Swan   : 1PP 
The Sea Hawk : 1PP
Treasure Island : 1 PP. I recommend the 1990 version, though the Disney one is cute. Fans of the recent Batman films might recognize as very young Dark Knight as the teenage Jim Hawkins.
Pirates of the Caribbean series: 1 PP. Yes, you must watch the entire series to get 1PP.

Now, you can do all of these projects, some of them or none of them. The choice is yours, this is not mandatory for the game. If you have any questions or suggestions, let me know.
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Combat System [Oct. 12th, 2008|11:09 am]
With a Black Flag....

 Just in case I forgot to mention it elsewhere, we will be using the same combat system as Dawn of the Jedi.
For ease of use, I shall post a customized set below (some items bolded for emphasis):

Player v. Player:
You are all familiar with this and I trust you to do a good job and have an enjoyable time. For your pirates, remember we now have some combat powers (Fencing, Brawling, etc.) that should make who will win in a fight a little more clear. If you have questions on this please post them below, but again, you have all been doing this for quite a while so don't be afraid to jump in.

Player v. NPC:
Again, not very different from what you are used to with one exception. When meeting an NPC, sometimes his or her name will appear italicised. Those characters will be true combatants. What I mean by that is that they have their own secret combat skills which will be known only by me. You may kill, beat and wound all throw-away NPCs (and you'll know who those are) but you must effectively duel with the named NPCs.
Now, it will be very difficult for you to know the power-level of the enemy you face and it won't be much of a game if the second you started a dust-up an NPC killed you, so I've will give you hints in the text. Stick to the rules of interaction we have agreed to and give the NPC the chance to dodge your attacks -- if he does not, well then fight away, but if he nimbly steps aside and you "get the sense that you are facing a much more powerful opponent" I would suggest taking the moral high road...or any road for that matter.
This will require that you pay attention to what is written in the text but that should not be too exhausting. Now, understand there will be NPCs you meet who you are not meant to defeat at your present power level. You will not always win but if you play your cards wisely, you will survive. Any questions?

Improving in Combat:
The more effort you put into writing your combat (and this will be true of every facet of this game) the more experience your character will accrue. 
"Joey stabbed the bad man," will not change a characters life the same way as a full-fleshed confrontation involving easy chair and exploding throw-pillows. Ask yourself, will I remember this fight? If the answer is yes, you are onto something.
As your character increases in skill I will speak to you individually about your development. Again, this will be a gradual process.
For our pirates, this means that if anyone puts together a truly impressive fight scene (and I mean something to top everything we have seen before in any of the games) it can me the reward of a Pirate Point. Again, through the new system you will be able to accrue Pirate Points through other means such as answering my Pirate Trivia.

A final word:
In this game we are not Jedi. We cannot jump twenty-feet into the air, move objects with our minds or do anything that you couldn't do while walking down the street in your own home town. Pirates were all too human, and aside from whatever skill you chose for your character, you are playing an average person.
On the subject of skill, right now none of you have better than "above average" while I'm sure one day you shall all be fencing masters and expert marksmen, right now you are only very good...not great. Be patient.

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More character creation and some rules... [Oct. 1st, 2008|07:25 pm]
With a Black Flag....

 Now that you have all narrowed down your shipboard jobs and created bios for your characters, we move into the more complicated area of character mechanics.


Below is a list of skills. Please choose 5 for your pirate:

(combat related)
Fencing: better than average skill with a sword or other bladed weapon.
Markmanship: better than average skill with pistols, muskets and other personal firearms
Brawling: better than average skill in combat involving fists, stomping, smashing bottles over someone's head, throwing chairs, cracking skulls with a belaying pin... You get the idea.

(ship related)
Navigation: the ability to know where your ship is and be able to get it somewhere else without getting lost. [The Quartermaster gets the skill for FREE]
Gunnery: understanding and skill with shipboard armaments and the ability to direct a guncrew. If you don't have this, keep clear of the cannon. [The Ship's Gunner gets this skill for FREE]
Carpentry: understanding of ship design and ability to perform basic repairs and refits. [The Ship's Carpenter gets this skill for FREE]
Naval tactics: a better than average understanding of ship-to-ship combat and naval engagement. [The Captain gets this skill for FREE]

Swimming: Most pirates could not swim. Without this skill you might end up joining them as they man the bilge pumps in Davy Jones's Locker.
Natural Leader: with this skill you stand out from the crowd and people will generally place more confidence in your words and ideas.
Slippery aka escape artist: the natural ability to get out of tight scraps -- whether it be getting caught stealing apples from the galley or being left in chains on a burning ship. Luck is on your side. [The Cabin Boy gets this skill for FREE.]
Linguist: you have a natural affinity for languages and have a good chance of understanding or being understood by most of the cultures you meet.
Medical training: you have the basic medical understanding of the time -- which wasn't great. But you can set a broken arm, saw off a leg and recommend citrus fruits for scurvy and sometimes your patient won't die.
Riding: this covers horse-riding and carriage driving. Without this skill you should, like any good sailor, avoid these dangerous methods of ground transportation.
Family connections: Your family may be rich, noble or politically well-connected. This might allow you to get favorable treatment in some circles -- but be careful not to abuse it. There have been times when a black sheep that was bringing shame on the family name has disappeared.
Criminal connections: you have ties in the underworld. This will help in selling stolen goods and planning other less than savory operations.


Now that you have your skills, I want to talk about something new that we will use for With a Black Flag called Pirate Points.
Every character starts the game with 1 Pirate Point.

-What does a Pirate Point do?

When you have accumulated 10 Pirate Points you will have the option of buying a new skill from the list OR upgrading an existing skill that you possess. For example, if you get tired of fueling to a draw with other people who have Fencing skill, you could spend your 10 points and buy Advanced Fencing. All skills have an Advanced and finally Expert level.

Pirate Points can also be used to DO SOMETHING PIRATICAL! Unlike in Tales or even Dawn of the Jedi, our characters here are just normal human beings. They cannot fly through the air or balance on the blade of a sword -- unless they spend a Pirate Point.
If you find yourself backed into a corner, surrounded by angry soldiers with muskets aimed at your heart at the top of a burning tower... You should say "I DO SOMETHING PIRATICAL!"

One Pirate Point will be subtracted from your total but you shall twirl the end of your mustache rakishly and wink as the burning floorboards collapse under the weight of the guards and then you shall leap out the window, catching hold of the Union Jack only to let go and be dropped gently onto the back of a waiting horse (which will buck you into a ditch a block down the road because you never took Riding.)

As the Game Master, i will decide what form your Piratical actions takes for maximum dramatic effect.

-How do I earn Pirate Points?

Pirate Points will be awarded for achieving certain in-game goals and at the completion of a story-chapter. BUT you can also earn Pirate Points by completing little side projects I might assign throughout the game. For example....

To reward you all for reading the rules of character creation I am going to offer you each a chance at earning 1 extra Pirate Point with which to begin the game.

Answer one of the following questions:
1) What does a pirate mean when he refers to "port" and "starboard"
2) What was the age of the youngest pirate on record and what became of him?
3) What is the difference between a "privateer" and a "pirate"?
4) Where in the world today do pirates still attack ships (Disney World does not count)?
5) What was the name of Captain Kidd's galley?


The fun part... Possessions.

Your pirate begins the game with whatever items can be carried on his or her person. I would like to know...
- How do you dress? Pirates were not famous for their conservative fashion tastes.
- What weapons do you carry? Pirates generally carried several pistols as they took so long to reload. You can have as many as you want on your person but keep that in mind if you fall overboard.
and you each get...
- One special item: It could be a ring, a locket, a spyglass, a set of thieves tools... the list is endless. This is a special and unusual item that you carry with you -- keep in mind you are on a boat of thieves, so I wouldn't make it too tempting.

And that's it for now. I hope it wasn't too much of a bore and I look foward to hearing your answers to the Pirate Point questions.
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She's bearin' down on us fast, Cap'n. A sloop... [Sep. 29th, 2008|08:44 pm]
With a Black Flag....

The lookout paused before continuing, "with a black flag."

The blood of the men froze in their veins. They were all hardened men of the sea, but the black flag shook them. It meant death, flames, pain. It meant pirates.
"She's runnin' out her guns."

The captain stood silent a moment.
"Mr Chestnut."
"Aye, sir?"
"Bring us hard to starboard and put out as much cloth as she can take. Our time's not up just yet."

On the Account....Collapse )

Welcome to With a Black Flag!

So, you feel you are ready to crew a pirate ship and cut a swathe of destruction across the High Seas?
Not so fast, ye fo'c's'le swab! We'll be wanting to know a bit more about you.

If you're looking to sign on with this ship, I'll tell you what berths are available:

Captain: Democratically-elected. The Captain commands the ship in times of combat.

Quartermaster: You thought a captain ran a pirate ship?! Life on-board is decided by group vote. The quartermaster runs the day-to-day operations of the ship and speaks for the crew. If the crew wishes to sack San Juan, they vote on it and the Quartermaster passes it along to the Captain -- and a smart Captain will listen.

Gunner: Well, someone needs to do all that shooting.

Cook: Do you want to starve? Didn't think so. You may have heard of one of our previous cooks... his name was Long John Silver.

Carpenter: Arguably the most important member of the crew. Without the carpenter you can repair the ship and you'll wind up dead in the water nine times out of ten.

Cabin boy: There are some real vile jobs on a ship -- and the rest of us don't want to do them. Here's your bucket....

Now, I'll need you to tell me your name, and the position you want on the ship... I will review the applications and pass out jobs as the crew sees fit.

But, if you can answer me this pirate question you shall automatically receive the role you requested, first come first served.

Name one of the two pirate ships whose wrecks have been positively identified by archaeologists.

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