(singing) “Yo ho, yo ho a pirates life for me.” I’ve always been fascinated by the legends of pirates and privateers. From watching the various movies through the years, visiting the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland in the 80’s (and getting a “real” pirate map as a souvenir), having a pirate mascot in one of my schools to the pirate flag hanging in my office just to my left. You could say I’ve been a life long fan of the lore and legends. So when a pirate based RPG became available in one of the online auction sites (that was still within my price range), I jumped at the chance to pick it up. Thus I became the owner of the 1982 game Pirates and Plunder and knew that I had to create a character for the 2022 Character Creation Challenge.
Luckily the boxed set I bought still had a pad of character sheets included, I was unable to find a character sheet (or anything else for this game) online. Before I had started this year’s challenge, I made it a goal to have every character sheet printed out (more on that in the 2022 Character Creation Challenge after action report).
There are three books in the set. Basic Rules, Advanced Rules and Adventures. While reading the character creation rules they ran you through a scenario of escaping (thus a way to teach the different rules). There were some stats that they stated “This will be explained later” or “Saved for the Advanced Game”. So as I create this character, I may mention a characteristic but not go into detail as it is not covered in the basic rulebook character creation process.
The primary core of the game is using 2d10 to resolve conflicts. The book explained the 20 sided dice with different sets of numbers on them. I did not get any dice with my purchase, but I’m assuming that they included the 20 sided dice that only had 1-0 (10) on them. For the sake of this article, I’m going to use the standard ten-sided dice.
The first step is to name your character, but then the RAW advises waiting to see what stats the character has before completing this step. If you choose a nickname that doesn’t really fit, then you’d have to go back and change it. So the first real step was randomly rolling for the character’s height and weight (again sticking with the 2d10 formula). The weight results could provide some mods for the character. I ended up with 7 (he’s 5’3″ tall) which guided me to a column for the weight table. This ended up being 100 lbs. No positive adjustments to the attributes, but no negatives either (barely). A roll of 20 resulted in my pirate being left handed for the next step in the process.
Next we had a Luck/Adrenaline attribute. This the number of times I can re-roll a bad roll (by you or the GM) that affect your character per adventure. If you use this number for Adrenaline, you can temporarily increase an ability for one turn. Using either one of these items will cause the number to go down. My character ended up with a 6, no lucky breaks, darn. So far this isn’t a very impressive pirate.
Finally we have some statistics. Strength, Encumbrance Points (an advanced rule), Agility, Movement, Stealth (another advanced rule), Vision, Hearing, Senses (think Spider-sense), Constitution (advanced), Stamina and Wounds. Since I have no modifiers from my height/weight, I just roll 2d10 and add the numbers together to get my scores (other than Movement which consults a chart and Senses which is a combo of vision and hearing divided by 2). I didn’t stat any of the advanced attributes at this time. So I ended up with the following. Str- 12, Agi- 10, Mov- 6 (rolled an 11), Vis- 11, Hear- 11, Sen- 11, Wounds- 6 (really?).
Next comes your training with muskets, Pistol, Swordsmanship, Fist/Dagger with each skill getting a training rating. Again roll 2d10 and add any modifiers to two of the skills of your choice. Since I didn’t have any modifiers, I just rolled the following. Musket- 9, Pistol- 17 (wow), Sword- 10, Fist/Dagger- 4 (ugh). Now we do math to get the To-Hit rating for all of these items. Some are simple (Musket+Vision)/2 = To-Hit rating. Others were a bit more complicated. After all was said and done my To-Hit ratings came up as follows: Musket T/H- 10, Pistol T/H- 14, Sword T/H- 10, Fist/Dagger T/H- 7 Throw- 11, Reload#- 9.
Now we get to randomly roll for nationality. I’m up for this. A roll of 15 makes this character Scottish. Now I’m glad that I waited to decide upon a name. If I ever play this character, I hope I don’t drop a really bad accent in gaming sessions.
Hey, we are not done rolling up attributes yet. We get to roll 2d10 and add the results together to find our Intelligence score. I would have thought that a good Intelligence could have helped with the training we just went through above. Oh well. I rolled a 13, which is not bad, but still doesn’t earn any bonuses. This leads into the Languages. The RAW states that we are all pirates on an English privateer so we all get English no matter what nationality. A quick Google search states that most people in Scotland speak English and Gaelic. So before I can say what my un-named Scotsman can speak, I have to roll 2d10 to find out how many Language Points he has (seems a little overly complicated). A roll of 17 gives me 12 of these points. Then there is a weird note for the GM to not allow players to let the others know what languages they are taking as to prevent a group with a wide variety of languages (like I said above, overly complicated). Ya know what, screw it. Even though it’s not on the list of languages, my pirate is putting all 12 points into Gaelic since it’s from his homeland and I’m moving on.
Now I go to a chart to randomly find out what my character’s religion is. I rolled a 9 on a single d10 (first time we haven’t rolled 2d10) and checked the Scottish chart resulting in none. Ok, no problem. I’m suddenly thinking of the scene from Muppet Treasure Island when the crew gave Long John Silver the black spot on a page torn from the bible and how he was able to use that to frighten the crew back into line. Had this character had religion, I would had to randomly roll a fervor rating.
For some reason there are a bunch of boxes at the top of the sheet and I need to cross out the numbers that are above my ratings. The previous owner never did this with the characters he left in the boxed set. Next the basic book has the GM take the characters through a prison break scenario to teach the game (and fill in some other sections on the character sheet). Again there are other areas covered by the advanced rules that I didn’t have filled in. Equipment, Encumbrance, Position on ship, Swim, Drink, Greed, Emotional, Compassion, Morals, Courage and Physical. Using the guide on the back of the sheet I quickly filled in these last items. I filled in some equipment I thought my pirate would have.
Using a random name generator, Jason “Jake” McCabe is a Scottish pirate working on an English privateer. While he can’t swim, he can drink pretty well and is a crack shot with the pistol. Not much of a mean streak in him, but get him near gold and jewels and he might go a little crazy. Here is the character sheet.
A nice touch, a quick character creation process is listed on the back of the character sheet. The sheet also had the “results of ability dice rolls” explanation. This would be handy when dealing with players new to the game. You can also create secondary characters for the game. Primary characters get the most character advancement rewards earned in play with the secondary getting a smaller amount.
The previous owner had a lot of characters in the box. The advanced rules were very well worn so I think they really enjoyed this game.
I don’t know if I’d use this game to play a pirates campaign, but if I did, I’d probably want to make a character sheet out of Excel so that a lot of the math was already done during the character creation process. I know that I went a little deeper on the note taking for this character since a lot of people are probably not familiar with this RPG system.
Still no undiscovered blogs participating in the challenge have popped up. If I recall correctly, this was the same for last year. I’m still searching Twitter for the hashtag of #CharacterCreationChallenge. I’m also reading several Facebook posts in different RPG groups (I’d Rather Be Killing Monsters is a big one). I’ve been posting on MeWe, but I haven’t seen anyone else participating (but to be fair there is not a lot of users on that site in comparison to the big two). I’m not on any other social media sites (lack of time for those I’m on now) so if you see anything, please let me know at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com.
Coming Up Next: