I. WHAT IT BE?
Ahoy! Fudge Pirates* be a role-playing game of piratical action upon the bounty waves! Ye plays a member of a freebooter crew, aboard a pirate ship, in searh of booty, plunder, adventure and such as that! Savvy? Aye, and it be not one o' them namby-pamby landlubber "historical" games with attention to detail and realism and all that bilge, no! This be a man's game, and it be cinematic and fair unrealistic as such things go. Well, lasses can play, too, of course, it's not just for gentlemen. Although, truly, a real pirate crew wouldn't have -- although, there was Anne Bonny, so that'd be accu- Damnation! To hell with nitpickery! This game be japery anyhow!
Oh. And it uses the Fudge system. Read it smartly, else confused and kinda stupid ye'll be. 'Tis an easy and free RPG system-toolkit-engine-thing, and it can be had for free, ye dirty skin-flint.
II. CREWING UP
Okay, enough pirate talk. It was fun, but it's gotta stop. Let's build a crew member -- in other words, a character.
You get that this is a role-playing game, right...?
In this particular iteration of Fudge, as in many others, attributes are not linked directly to skills but rather act as a broad kind of handle on the character's innate abilities. They can be used as a broad substitute for skills, or to do something not expressly covered by a skill. Use them wisely -- in other words, more for color than for mechanics.
And the attributes are:
- STOMACH - General health, stamina, constitution, and ability to put away grog**.
- BRAWN - Muscle power, strength, etc. You know.
- SAVVY - How clever (but not educated) your pirate be, or not be.
- SEA-LEGS - Agility 'n' stuff. Foot-work, balance, etc. Can be used on land, but why would you?
- FINGERS - Hand/eye coordination.
- COURAGE - Spitting in the Devil's eye!
Has your sea-dog learned the finer points of piracy? Spend 30 free levels on the skills below (defaulting to Poor) and find out!
- Rope-tying (finally, a game where it's useful!)
- World Knowledge
- Bald-Faced Lying
- Speak Language (specify)
- Notice (covers all senses)
- Survival (specify 'land' or 'sea')
Gifts and Faults
Look, an exhaustive list of Gifts and Faults is kind of beyond the point, and more typing than I'm iterested in doing on my lunch break. So, really, just come up with two of each that seem appropriate. Anything that seems like it'd fit in (First Mate, Good Looking, Danger Sense; The Black Spot, Peg Leg, No Tongue) is OK to go; anything that doesn't (Heat Vision, Supersonic Flight, Neural Jacks), just simply isn't, and you have to get the GM a drink for wasting his or her time with your dumb ideas. In fact, while you're thinking of silly non-piratey Gifts and Faults (and getting the GM a redpop), why don't you make some notes for a game of your own and run it for your friends, huh? Its only fair, and plus it looks like you're into it. GMs want to play, too.
Rounding Out Your Character
Now's a good time to come up with a name, appearance and personality for your character. You are encouraged to keep the personality broad, the appearance interesting and the name foul and suggestive, incorporating diseases, mutilations, deformities or just plain embarassing stuff whenever possible, but you can be boring and do something else, I don't care. Leaky Pete, Gangrene Sally, Pinkeyed Jack, Clubfooted Ralph...that's what I'd do, but you do what you want.
III. PILLAGE, PLUNDER, SAILING AND STUFF
Once again, this isn't a game of historical accuracy and Osprey book detail. It's about wielding cutlasses, swining from the rigging, getting drunk at port and killing fools for their stuff. Go watch Pirates of the Caribbean, The Sea Hawk, Sinbad: Legend of the 7 Seas or Cutthroat Island (YES, I said "Cutthroat Island". Don't make that face at me.) if you need inspiration and framework. Dude, my wife got a copy of Yellowbeard at the grocery store for 10 bucks, it's got a scene with Madeline Khan and David Bowie. It's not that great but it's kinda fun.
In other words, follow your gut. Be as serious as you wish but fear not to delight in pulp and camp. Aztecs, sharks, evil Spaniards, captive noblewomen, captive noblemen, treasure, caves, sea-monsters, The Royal Navy, natives, voodoo, storms, foreigners, cannonballs...cut loose and get your pirate on.
Want a real easy campaign framework? Okay. You're all the crew of a pirate ship named The Crimson Eviscerator (or whatever, but make it punchy so it plays in Peoria). After you're done fighting over who gets to be the captain (or after someone says, "Fine, I'll use BOTH Gifts to be the Skipper"), set sail in the Caribbean. You know that a rival pirate, Captain Betrand Blood, holds a map to buried Aztec treasure. The Spaniards are after him, but you are, too. Go get 'em, sea-tiger.
** Drinking is stupid. Don't do it.