As I debated what should be written for Talk Like a Pirate Day 2014, I began pulling together a collection of random tables to inspire me. A few elements, a few descriptive terms, and the usual sensory table led me to a sad tale of a doomed pirate ship…

Clue_Calico_Jack_pirate_logoI came up with an initial list of five collections of terms using what will become Little Spaces: Pirate Ship:

  • Hull/Sight/Wake
  • Sails/Touch/Shattered
  • Hold/Smell/Calm
  • Captain/Touch/Tied
  • Cannon/Sight/Crusty

And once I discovered the name of my doomed ship courtesy of the Seventh Sanctum Pirate Ship Name Generator, things began to fall into place. I discovered that one or more characters had found themselves on board the ghost ship and would reveal different facts about the ship as they wandered around…

Here’s what I came up with:

In the dark of night you find yourself aboard The Devil’s Barnacle, a haunted ship you’ve heard stories about through the years. A pirate vessel only seen by ships destined for horrific events. The ghostly forms of the crew swirl about you on deck. You have no clue where the captain may be, but know you are bound for hell or the next doomed ship. If you listen closely, you can hear whispers of a sea shanty above the crashing waves…

“Our lives were all lost and now flow with the dawn!
Tighten the mizzen and pull down the cloth!
We’re seeking the crew that will take us on down!
Down to the bottom to serve Davy Jones!”

As you wander the ship, you encounter the following:

  • pirate-ship(Hull/Sight/Wake) Off the aft decks, you watch dark waters part behind the ship, eventually fading into the crashing waves of black ocean. You may see flotsam and jetsam of your own doomed ship receding into the distance…
  • (Sails/Touch/Shattered) As the crew works around you, the boatswain screams at a team of sailors patching holes in a tattered sail. You see glass, oil, and scorch marks where a fire bomb from your own ship must have shattered as you tried to defend yourselves from the ghostly ship. The saggers had pulled together all the rum bottles, torn shirts, and lit makeshift bombs we’d thrown as far as we could to give us a chance to escape…
  • (Hold/Smell/Calm) Belowdecks, the hold is strangely silent and peaceful, blocking the noise from the wind, the water, and the sailors above. And you find a strange odor that should not be here. This should be a place of stale water, damp wood, and rotting fish. And yet the comforting smell of cedar comes from somewhere…
  • (Captain/Touch/Tied) The door to the Captain’s quarters is unlocked and you find yourself among maps, an ornate astrolabe, compass, and cross staff. One corner of the room is filled by an ornate bed pinned securely to the floor. And in another corner you find the captain himself, tied to a chair with rotten rope. He could easily escape if he was stronger or less a shade of his former self.If you dare get close enough, he tells the story of his cursed ship and crew…”The Barnacle was once a fine, feared ship and crew upon the open seas. We were paid to seek the ship of a Prince of Cilith off the Cape of Peden’s Point and acquire a certain item and its owner from on board. If only we’d known the Prince’s consort was a witch worshiping the darkest demons, we’d have turned it down. The witch made a deal with Davy Jones in return for the continued safe passage of their vessel… our ship would find worthy sailors to serve him. There was nothing I could do. And even as the change was coming upon the Barnacle, my men were desperate and tortured me for information about how they could stay alive… There was nothing I could do… nothing…”
  • (Cannon/Sight/Crusty) A few swivel cannons, mounted upon the deck rjohnny_automatic_ship_opening_fireailing, have grown crusty with rust and ill use. You remember a few of them poking holes in the hull as the Barnacle attempted to board, firing small round shots effectively weakening the ship further…

Will the PCs survive their time upon the Devil’s Barnacle? How will they get off?

That’s for your GM to figure out on this most piratey of days… Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day me mateys! And stay tuned for Little Spaces: Pirate Ship soon!

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