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Author Topic: [Poison'd] average booty...?  (Read 4589 times)
agony
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« on: April 22, 2008, 05:32:45 PM »

Just finished reading Poison'd and I'm in utter agony; the game is absolutely stellar and I don't even know if I will get to play in the foreseeable future.

Anyway, the point of this topic is concerning the following quote: "A single pirate's share of a single raided ship could amount to three, four hundred pieces of eight worth - six or eight thousand dollars american, now."

How much plunder do you typically award the crew for plundering another ship (and this would depend on mast likely, correct?)?  Do you award the ship a total and let them spend/split it how they wish?  Such as 4 to repairing the ship, 10 to the captain, and 3 to each of the 80 crew members?  I imagine the reward would obviously be much more than 3.

I've never played before, obviously, but this question popped immediately into my head as I imagine plundering another ship would not be uncommon in play.
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You can call me Charles
lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2008, 05:49:57 PM »

Pages 22-23 explain.

When the pirates cruise for a prize, the captain's player names a number 2-6. That's how fat a prize: it's how many dice the captain's player will roll if the pirates take the prize, for booty; it's also how many points the GM gets to spend defending the prize.

So say you hunt for and take a prize worth 4 dice' booty. You roll them: 1 3 6 6, for a total haul of 16.

The captain gets to divvy those 16 up among a) repairing & restocking the ship, b) the PCs (the NPC crew is handled abstractly, you don't have to award them booty as such), c) his own personal use, and d) the ship's savings. There's a list at the top of page 23.

Reread pages 22-23 and let me know if you have questions about any of the details.

-Vincent
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agony
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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2008, 06:52:33 PM »

So are all ships considered "prizes" in game terms? 

When a ship appears on the horizon hunting them (Such as the Resolute) should I ask the players how big of a prize they want it to be?  I understood prizes as being something the players bring into play.  What I'm unsure of is how big of a prize a ship is the GM brings in to play?
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You can call me Charles
lumpley
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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2008, 08:32:47 PM »

Oh. Huh.

Well, if it really comes to it, the GM can reverse-engineer how many dice booty the Resolute would be worth, by comparing the facts of it to the list on page 22.

But I wouldn't. Warships probably wouldn't be carrying that much trade wealth, you know? What I'd do if they take the Resolute (or any warship) is let them keep it if they want, to replace the Dagger or in addition, or else to upgrade the Dagger's cannons and sails with its, or the like. Otherwise, they can sink it or let it drift.

-Vincent
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GB Steve
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2008, 03:03:28 AM »

I understand this point but I did wonder about taking over other ships. The crew size details that you get from making up ships seem to indicate a minimum crew for each ship. Should this be taken into account if the opportunity to take over a new ship presents itself?

I think this turned up in our game but our pirates had a skeleton crew so I said they didn't have enough to crew two ships, so they sunk the one they'd defeated, it was in a bad way anyway.

You did mention in the notes that pirate ships have vastly more crew than merchants but we didn't worry about this. We were more concerned over the feel of the thing rather than fiddling with the details of how much anything is worth. So when a pirate robbed the Governer's daughter of her jewels, I called this 1 booty point (not that kind of booty!) and when they got a reward for selling out a shipmate I said they got 6 booty.
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agony
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2008, 04:47:13 AM »

Steve.  In another thread Vincent suggested that if your crew take over a bigger ship and leave the Dagger behind he'd probably make them a skeleton crew.  He also stated he'd allow you to hire more crew at port.

I know I haven't played yet, but I would think that it would be a judgment call on the GM's part whether they could crew both ships with two skeleton crews or not.


Vincent, one more question for you.  Is the GM within his right to bring Cruel Fortunes into play whenever he feels appropriate?  A couple of them don't really list how to bring them into play (while others explicitly do). 
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You can call me Charles
lumpley
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2008, 10:28:00 AM »

Steve, I like your solution a lot.

Agony, your question gets at the heart of why I like Poison'd so much as rpg design. Check this out: the cruel fortunes in Poison'd are to a point-based GM budget (like in Primetime Adventures) as character creation in Poison'd is to a point-based character creation mechanism (like in GURPS or whatever).

There are two things a GM budget does. The first is, it limits what the GM can do, so the players and the GM are on a mechanically even footing. The second is, it thereby makes whatever the GM does fair, because the budget is known and fair and the players agreed to it when they sat down to play. If the GM sticks to the budget, she can't hose the players, and accordingly, whatever she DOES do, she isn't hosing the players.

Cruel fortunes do the same two things, but without points to spend.

For the most part, they rely on the game's fiction instead of points: in order to bring the cruel fortune "a ship" into play, there has to be a ship already established in the game's fiction. Even the ones that say, like, "bring the constabulary into play" actually take a jaunt through the fiction to do it: the reason you bring the constabulary into play is because when you get arrested there are invariably constables around.

But Urgency is an important exception. You can pretty much always put Urgency into play, specifying pretty much whatever subsequent cruel fortune you like. The primary purpose of Urgency is to bring other, unjustified, cruel fortunes into play. (It has secondary uses.) Try it when you play: a third of the way into session 2 plunk down "Urgency: the Storm" or "Urgency: Malcontentment" (with appropriate description, of course: the darkening sky, the muttering crew).

You'll find that setting a cruel fortune up with urgency turns it into fair play, where putting the Storm or Malcontentment directly into play without warning will piss your players off. Or, to put it another way, in order to get Malcontentment into play, you can either start with the crew muttering, then escalate gradually - they're muttering worse, they're sullen, they're talking back, they're shirking their duties - using the fiction solely to eventually justify pitting Malcontentment into play; or else you can start with the crew muttering and put Urgency: Malcontentment into play right then.

So yeah, putting cruel fortunes into play is a topic that I'm delighted has come up. As you look over the list, are there any that jump out at you in that regard?

-Vincent
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agony
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2008, 03:08:07 PM »

Vincent, thanks.  Upon reflection I only half-understood the currency aspect on first read-through but in retrospect it makes absolute sense and is completely awesome. 

However, are there not certain elements that will be established in the fiction and the card immediately comes into play (besides the cards which explicitly tell you to do so)?  Such as a ship appearing on the horizon previously unestablished?  This does seem like a somewhat rare event and I do foresee obvious ways to weave most of the Cruel Fortunes into the fiction so perhaps I'm worrying about something which is unimportant and too infrequent to waste time contemplating.
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You can call me Charles
agony
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« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2008, 06:48:26 AM »

Ok.  Actual play made some things clear and proved very insightful.

I have just one question after my first session of Poison'd; is it intentional that if all of the PC's are with their company that they will almost always surely win? 

With a company profile of 6 and a Captain with Brinksmanship 6 (all of the PC's have Brinksmanship 6), they are rolling 9 dice among 4 Players.  At most I have 6 dice and perhaps 3 X's if I have a profile 7 company.  Of course all of the PC's will have more X's so that doesn't help either.  When they will always have 50% more dice than me...how can I possibly win?  The only resort I see is taking a PC out of it and inflicting harm but that still isn't a real threat.

It seems to me that giving each extra Player in the fight only 1 die would be much more balanced.  Their extra X's already prove mighty helpful without the bonus die a piece and this would make it so danger was actually present company to company.
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GB Steve
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« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2008, 05:01:30 PM »

Taking named PCs out of a fight is a big threat in our experience, and something the players complained about no end. It also gets rid of their dice.
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Pelgrane
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« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2008, 08:43:59 AM »

Taking named PCs out of a fight is a big threat in our experience, and something the players complained about no end. It also gets rid of their dice.

The GM can pretty much hose the PCs whenever they want in ship combat with this mechanic, with no chance of comeback.
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lumpley
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« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2008, 09:10:21 AM »

... Damn.

That's a TERRIBLE loophole to have built into the rules. I wonder if I intended to say "...And you can do this to only one pirate per fight" or something?

Yikes.

-Vincent
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Pelgrane
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Posts: 135


« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2008, 09:16:52 AM »

... Damn.

That's a TERRIBLE loophole to have built into the rules. I wonder if I intended to say "...And you can do this to only one pirate per fight" or something?

Yikes.

-Vincent

That would do it. Or you could let the PCs spend tokens to counter-act it. You'd have to decide what happens if it's tried on the Captain.

I so want Poisn'd not to get a word bigger than it absolutely needs to be. Not a word of theory. The absolute minimum discussion of "stuff emerging from the narrative" and yet still have the same emergent property of actual play happen with each group. It must be tough to be a designer!

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GB Steve
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« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2008, 02:19:49 AM »

Taking named PCs out of a fight is a big threat in our experience, and something the players complained about no end. It also gets rid of their dice.

The GM can pretty much hose the PCs whenever they want in ship combat with this mechanic, with no chance of comeback.

They can but I don't think I abused it, I used it to make things more dramatic. I think once per Pirate per session is probably enough but arbitrary. Taking potshots with both sides spending Xs is a good alternative because it allows you to pick on those who haven't been working hard enough to get Xs, or have just been unlucky.

A pirate's lot is not a happy one.
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Pelgrane
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Posts: 135


« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2008, 04:32:05 AM »

Taking named PCs out of a fight is a big threat in our experience, and something the players complained about no end. It also gets rid of their dice.

The GM can pretty much hose the PCs whenever they want in ship combat with this mechanic, with no chance of comeback.

They can but I don't think I abused it, I used it to make things more dramatic. I think once per Pirate per session is probably enough but arbitrary. Taking potshots with both sides spending Xs is a good alternative because it allows you to pick on those who haven't been working hard enough to get Xs, or have just been unlucky.

A pirate's lot is not a happy one.

I don't think you abused it, I think you used it exactly as written.

I think it undermines the currency of the game, by allowing the GM to hose the players without using much currency, while not offering the PCs that choice. It becomes pure GM fiat, which is OK, but I don't think that's the intention. The GM already has tools to do nasty stuff to the players without undermining currency (malcontent, etc).

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