Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pirate Crew Generator

For all your ugly swabbies, handsome swashbucklers, fabulous amputees, comely lasses, strange wenches, monstrous half-men, and other backgroundian mateys:

Here is a horrible and somewhat NSFW video which I should discourage you from watching but maybe it'll get you into the mood or something.

Given the inevitability - nay, necessity - of my Warmark Skerry players eventually acquiring a ship with which to go sailing and pillaging and adventuring around the campaign world, they're going to need ne'er-do-wells and hirelings with which to crew the darn thing. With the help of a little Gygaxian Democracy (thanks G+ and twitter followers) here's my Pirate Crew Generator.

First things first, a d100 Evocative Pirate Name table:

  1. Cutlass Dan
  2. Goldilocks
  3. Abel Daggers
  4. Ernst One-Eye
  5. Good Old Karl
  6. Glimmer
  7. Horse
  8. Peg-Leg Pearl
  9. Quiet Tom
  10. Axethrower Joe
  11. Babs Morda
  12. Isaac Bucket
  13. Worthington Steele
  14. L'il Sebastian
  15. Ice-Pick Smithy
  16. Black Toes Jensen
  17. Cookie Crumbles
  18. Stede Farouj, handsomest man alive.
  19. Her Nibs, aka Lady Bella Hankerton.
  20. Split-nose Krank
  21. Ishmael Hands
  22. Fancy O’Tate
  23. Teuthy Terry
  24. Aaron the Albatross
  25. Red Meg
  26. "Not quite as big as Big Dave" Dave
  27. Tsing the Raven
  28. Abdullah
  29. Devil-Knuckles Dan
  30. Critical Bill
  31. Slicky Joel
  32. Bobuelo
  33. Fake Shemp
  34. Freddy Four Fingers
  35. Benjamin Mook
  36. Repeat Pete
  37. Francois Debonair
  38. Grunter
  39. Evie Gundark
  40. Cameron Kannons
  41. the Bottom Feeder
  42. Shasta McNasty
  43. Edie O'Nyne
  44. "Hauling" Oates McDonald
  45. Nirvana Nellie
  46. Parson Dong
  47. Lonesome Smee
  48. Gabriel White
  49. Hellmo
  50. Otis Carn
  51. Mack Salmon
  52. Squinty McGiggins
  53. Hooks Plenty
  54. Eagle-Eye Jones
  55. Mermaid Todd
  56. Admiral Sixton (six-toed ship's cat)
  57. Red Rot Rodgers
  58. Harrrvey Shivers
  59. Speck LowLeg
  60. Pelican Smith
  61. Lumpy Muscles
  62. Sal Shrifty
  63. Sailin' guy
  64. Scurvy Stuart
  65. Cannonball Jones
  66. Triplets: Old Pete, Young Pete, Older Pete
  67. “Lefty” McRighty
  68. Andy British
  69. Battlin' Bonnie
  70. Cutthroat Carl
  71. Dangerous Dave
  72. Emily Widow
  73. Six-Knot Frank
  74. Gingerbeard
  75. Half-face Harry
  76. Inigo Morte
  77. Janey One-Finger
  78. Lousy Louie
  79. Stabbin' Oswald
  80. Hookfoot
  81. Patchy
  82. Mad Grog
  83. Mirg Middlefinger
  84. Kharebutu The Drowned
  85. Scarred Sar
  86. Doubles the Doppleganger
  87. Butterknife Bob
  88. Frozen Fingers
  89. Reeks
  90. “Goosepimples” Gobbler
  91. Hot Nick Harry
  92. Soulless Wallace
  93. Ghastly Black
  94. Flintlock Nancy
  95. The Gouger
  96. Penny the Dreadful
  97. Dogface Doug
  98. Emberbeard Romero
  99. Mincemeat
  100. “Built like an Outhouse” o’Turner

I figure your average pirate crew is about thirty souls and I don't really see the point in rolling up names for every single one of them (My general theory of random tables is that they're most entertaining as Part of Play on an As Needed basis).

I plan on mostly handwaving through the whole "pull up a desk at the Skull & Flagon and hire yourself a pirate crew" part of the game unless the players really want to get into some detail of the thing and risk bar fights and other shenanigans. An offhand going rate was to charge a gold piece a head to get them on the ship and then figure out some method of charging maintenance and quelling mutinies later on. Rescuing slaves/prisoners or converting dim-witted follower-type bad guy minions seem perfectly reasonable crew-recruiting tools as well, of course.

So basic order of things: PCs buy (or more likely "acquire") a ship, somehow get it back to port, hire a crew, and yo-ho-ho off into the oceanic hexcrawl to fight sea dragons and try to avoid maelstroms.

Then, during play with the PCs captaining their ship (they should probably choose a captain), most of the shipmating and "aye aye, cap'n"ing will be happening in the background until an NPC shipmate moves to the foreground and needs a little more character. Especially if they're being recruited for meatshield duties, as I believe every redshirt deserves a little memorableness before they die for the cause.

If the name alone isn't evocative enough, here's a subtable, with some inspiration/stealing from Dyson Logos' Random Pirate Captain Table.

d20 Weird Pirate Characteristics table
  1. tentacle for a finger
  2. obscene tattoos, sometimes moving
  3. tongue cut out - can only hnnngh and mmmrrrhhh and haaaagaaahh
  4. two hooks for hands (still surprisingly deft)
  5. thoroughly impressive and elaborately braided topknot
  6. suspected of being an unusually articulate zombie (probably of the less-decayed juju variety)
  7. strange-colored skin (blue, green, yellow, probably of djinnish or efreetish origin)
  8. has a vermin for a pet (1. rat 2. seagull 3. crab 4. flame-lizard 5. starfish 6. pixie with a drinking problem)
  9. barnacles instead of hair or beard
  10. surprisingly fat and waddlesome
  11. is unable to speak without rhyming (and plays a mean accordion)
  12. face is covered in bandages (claims a skin sensitivity, no-one knows what they look like)
  13. thoroughly pierced with fishbone scrimshaw of all variety
  14. keeps a jewel in their eye-socket
  15. turns into a skeleton in moonlight (but plays a mean knucklebone)
  16. is covered in knives, and only speaks of themself in third person (“Machete don’t text”)
  17. has a visible third eye
  18. sharpens their teeth and nails, might be ex-cannibal
  19. possessed of overwhelmingly stiff-necked Jeeves-like formality
  20. former street-fighter, has either (1. Dhalsim-like stretchy limbs 2. Ability to electrify their body like an eel 3. Can breathe fire after drinking rum 4. “hummingbird hands” 5. a mask they never take off 6. just humongously Russian)
Happy buccaneering!

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