Background Startup Examples Rules


Rulebook v3.1

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Contents

Introduction

If you know all about PBM and that sort of stuff then just skip this section – it's aimed at people who are new to postal / email gaming.

So what is this thing called PBM? There are different sorts of postal game, or email game, but without getting into all that let's just stick to what sort of game Pieces of Eight! is. Basically it's like a board game. If you can imagine a board game in which there are twelve players, all of whom play their turns simultaneously, each of whom can only see a small part of the board (which keeps changing), who can talk to each other secretly without the others knowing it's happening, who can take up to a fortnight to work out what they want to do, and who don't actually have to ever meet, that's the sort of board game it would be. The other main difference from an ordinary board game is that it's sufficiently complex and deep that it would take you about a week to work out what the results were of everyone's move: we use a computer instead.

But how do you actually play? Well, the first thing to do is send us some money. Then we send you a paper copy of this rulebook, and a form on which you can design your ship. You send that back to us when you've filled it in, and when we have twelve ship designs from twelve different players we start up your game. From that point on those eleven other players – we give you their names and addresses – are your deadly enemies, stalwart allies, carousing cronies or whatever. You will be given a deadline by when you have to send in your orders for what you want your ship to do, and at that deadline we will process your and the other players' orders. We will send the results back to you, and you then have until the next deadline – typically a fortnight later – to work out what you are going to do next, including as much scheming with the other players as you wish. After about 20 such turns the game will finish and a winner will be declared – if it's you, you can feel justly proud, and can refer to yourself as 'Pirate King' or 'Pirate Queen' in all correspondence with the British Admiralty from that point on.

Scattered through this rulebook there are loads of examples, pieces of advice and answers to questions you may have; but if there's something which is puzzling you, don't hesitate to get in touch with us, and we'll do everything we can to help.

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1 Pieces of Eight! Basics

In Pieces of Eight! you play the captain of a pirate ship in an idealized sixteenth-century Spanish Main. You have to commission, equip and crew your vessel, then set off to prey upon the wallowing merchantmen which throng those waters. All is far from plain sailing, though, thanks to the presence of warships, natural hazards and of course envious fellow-pirates.

R. Jimlad Captain R. Jimlad here, shipmates: I'll be yer guide through the murky waters o' this rulebook. For a taste of the salty wisdom o' the Main, Jimlad's yer man!

1.1 Pirates vs privateers

Strictly speaking, characters in Pieces of Eight! are privateers rather than pirates. They are captains who have been granted Letters of Marque by the English Admiralty – effectively, a license to prey on the shipping of other nations. Drake and Hawkins were privateers; Blackbeard was a pirate. Practically speaking, the difference is mostly one of social acceptance, and in this game we tend to talk about pirates for the sake of familiarity. But if Blackbeard had been captured by the British he would have been hanged, whereas Drake and Hawkins were knighted for their efforts. Most of the famous pirates we know of date from a later period than that in which Pieces of Eight! is (loosely) set: there are loads of good books out there if you want to find out more about such villains as Bartholomew Roberts and 'Calico Jack' Rackham. A couple of recommended ones are The Crimson Book of Pirates, by Peter Newark, and The Pirate Picture, by Rayner Thrower.

Although we tend to think of pirates as being exclusively male, and of course this was predominantly the case, there were quite a number of female pirates as well, such as the infamous Anne Bonney and Mary Read. There's an excellent book called Bold in Her Breeches, edited by Jo Stanley, which talks entertainingly about the contribution women have made to piracy. In Pieces of Eight! we try to stay gender-neutral.

The game does not deal with the minutiae of tactical-scale movement across the detailed map of the Spanish Main. Instead, each season you must design a strategy your ship and crew are to follow, by combining standing orders together to cover the eventualities it may face. As your crew gain in experience, more orders, or more complicated ones, become available, and the sophistication of your strategy will deepen – hopefully, bringing with it more success, although this will also depend on the strategies adopted by other players. Think of it as a quasi-biological system of competitive evolution of predators – can you find your ecological niche?

1.2 Players

The game is for 12 players who represent three pirates from each of the four cities of London, Bristol, Portsmouth and Liverpool. There is no formal alliance between fellow-citizens, but as you have a civic culture in common it might be thought you'd get on better with them. On the other hand, who knows: the rivalry could be all the more deadly. In any case, the benefits to the local economy of your fellows' success will feed back to you in the form of an improved interest rate on your savings, as everyone prospers when the city's pirate fleet is victorious.

1.3 Turns and game end

Each turn of the game represents one season of the year: the first is Spring 1580, and so on. As British piratical depredations continue, the Spanish in particular get strenuously annoyed and eventually they will send an Armada to invade England. When this happens, the Admiralty recalls all privateers to the defence of their home country, and the game ends. The game is 25% likely to end at the end of Turn 18 (Summer 1584), then 25% likely after each turn thereafter. So although it could in theory go on indefinitely, in practice the average is around 22 turns and it's almost certain to be no more than 26. This random end is to discourage 'end-of-the-world' plays: if the game always ended on Turn 20, for example, then on Turn 19 nobody would bother doing repairs.

At the end, the player with the highest combined total of Terror Points (which you gain mostly from sinking ships, and you must spend to gain access to more sophisticated orders) and Bank Account (which you gain mostly from boarding ships, and you must spend to repair and improve your ship) is declared the winner, and other players are placed below according to their totals. There is no alliance victory possible: alliances can only ever be of convenience.

1.4 Currency

There is only one currency recognized among pirates and their suppliers, the Piece of Eight: it's a large gold coin about two inches across, and is worth 8 Spanish 'reales'. Interestingly enough (!) the symbol pirates used to denote Pieces of Eight was the forerunner of the dollar sign, $. Other coins such as Doubloons, Ducats and Sovereigns may be found in treasure, but the pirate always mentally converts them into Pieces of Eight. In these rules and in turn reports Pieces of Eight are generally abbreviated to PE.

1.5 Order slots

The concept of order slots is an important one in Pieces of Eight! Each pirate each turn has a fixed number of order slots available, which determine the number and complexity of the orders which they can give to their crew. So, for example, to order an attack on a specific ship in the same part of the Main as you costs 3 slots: to attack it wherever on the Main it might be costs 5 slots. To board the target costs 1 slot: to cripple it with cannon first, then board it, costs 3 slots.

Everyone starts the game with 6 order slots. Each turn you're given the opportunity to buy another one, using Terror Points to do so. You can do this in two ways: you can either buy it from the Terror Points you hope to accumulate that turn, which is cheaper but chancy; or you can buy it from the Terror Points you've already accumulated, which is dearer but more certain. In either case the new slot will not be paid for or appear until the end of the turn, so you will not have the use of it until the following turn's orders.

To buy yor 7th slot, which is the first one you'll be offered, costs 350 Terror Points if you choose to buy it from that turn's Terror, or 525 if you choose to buy it fom yor accumulated total. The 8th will cost 400 or 600, the 9th 450 or 675, and so on.

R. Jimlad With a piddling 6 slots ye can hardly do anything! My advice, me hearties, is to buy 'em hand over fist until ye've about 10 or so, then think about how many ye're really going to need – intense diplomatists'll need more!

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2 Your Ship

You start off with 1000 PE to spend on your new vessel. You can use less than all of this if you wish, keeping some cash back for a rainy day or to pay the crew when wages time comes around: any remainder will accompany you on board ship.

R. Jimlad Only a lily-livered sea-swab would keep money back at the beginning. Trust to your strong right arm to earn you more!

You can improve your vessel during the course of the game, by adding extra guns, bigger sails and so on. This is invariably more expensive than thinking big at the outset. And if you earn enough money you will have the chance to build a new, bigger, better ship later on, if you want.

R. Jimlad What about starting off with a tiddler, armed to the teeth, and hoping to earn enough that you can trade up to a bigger ship later? Or kick off with a lightly-equipped monster, planning to improve it with time.

2.1 Naming your ship and captain

You should choose a name for your ship and write it on the form in the space provided. Most pirate vessels have fairly snappy names: things like 'Saucy Nancy', 'Admiral Benbow', 'The Black Pig', 'The Vicious Dog'. The name should be no more than 20 characters long, including spaces. If you lose or get rid of this ship and start a new one, as might well happen at some point in the game, you'll have to give that one a different name.

You should also choose a name for the ship's captain, your character. Again, it can be up to 20 characters long, including spaces. The title 'Captain' will be added to it by the software, so don't include this as part of the name (unless you really want to confuse people). Don't include any other titles of rank or nobility, either: as explained later, you have to earn these. The captain's name will last through the whole game.

2.2 Makeup of a ship

A successful pirate vessel has the following component parts:

  • Hull (protection)
  • Rigging (speed)
  • Guns
  • Lookout stations
  • Crew
  • Officers
  • Rum
  • between which you must spread as much of your initial stake as seems appropriate. You may also wish to keep some money back to pay for emergency repairs. All of the costs and restrictions are summarized on the handy How Much Does It Cost? table, at the end of these rules.

    2.3 Hull (and Protection)

    You buy your ship's hull at a basic cost of 10 PE per foot of length. Other dimensions, such as beam and draught, are by ancient shipyard tradition thrown in for free. No ship can have a hull greater than 100 feet, because dry docks big enough to construct such a monster simply don't exist. And no ship can have a hull shorter than 20 feet, because, let's face it, it would just be a dinghy.

    The size of hull you choose will affect almost every aspect of your ship's performance. Also, it's pretty much the only thing that can't be upgraded later.

    As a handy descriptive tag we refer to ships of a certain size by a class name. When you encounter an enemy ship (ie. one that's not your own: pirates are paranoid types) you will be told which class it falls in, rather than its exact size. This is how it works:

    Hull length (in feet)

    Ship class

    20 - 29

    Ketch

    30 - 39

    Schooner

    40 - 49

    Cog

    50 - 59

    Barque

    60 - 69

    Brigantine

    70 - 79

    Galley

    80 - 89

    Galleon

    90 - 100

    Dreadnaught

    You can specify a sturdier construction for your hull if you wish. Every 1 PE per foot length you spend above the basic rate gives 1 point of Protection to the hull. So an 80-foot hull with 2 points of Protection costs 80 * (10 + 2) = 960 PE.

    Note that the ship can never have more than 5 points total Protection plus Speed: all those thicker timbers slow you down. So if you decided to have Protection 1, for example, you could have Speed no greater than 4.

    Each point of Protection makes it less likely that a cannonball will damage your ship (see later for more on this!) As a rough guide, Protection 5 will mean about half the cannonballs go through that would at Protection 0.

    2.4 Rigging (and Speed)

    Rigging is the main determinant of the speed and manoeuvrability of your vessel. It includes masts, sails, yardarms, bowsprits, belaying pins and so on. We don't want to get too technical here so we throw in a basic rigging with the hull. This basic rigging gives you a ship of average pace.

    You can also spend more to increase these qualities. Every 0.5 PE per foot of hull you spend above the basic rate can be used to purchase 1 point of Speed. So to fit a 72-foot hull with rigging to allow 1 point of extra speed would cost 72 * 0.5 = 36 PE.

    The more Speed your ship has, the more likely it is to be able to catch targets once spotted. As a rough guide, Speed 5 is about twice as fast as Speed 0.

    Remember that the ship can never go above 5 total Speed plus Protection: so if you wanted to have Speed 3, then you can have Protection of up to 2 for your design.

    2.5 Guns

    This refers just to the big guns poking out the side of the ship. Small arms are assumed to come with the crew and officers. Simply, the more guns you're able to deploy, the more easily you'll blow your opponent to bits. Each pair of Guns (one on either side of the vessel) needs 10 feet of space in which to operate. So a 40-foot vessel will deploy a maximum of 4 pairs of Guns, in two broadsides of 4. Each pair of Guns costs 50 PE. You can take fewer than your vessel's maximum if you wish.

    2.6 Lookout stations

    You can if you wish have Lookout stations (crows'-nests) fitted to your masts. These allow detection of other vessels at a greater range. As a rough guide, 5 Lookouts will allow the ship to spot potential targets over about twice the area of sea as 0 Lookouts. Each Lookout costs 20 PE, and each needs a whole 20 feet of hull space (that's the distance between masts). Thus no ship could ever have more than 5 Lookouts.

    2.7 Crew

    The gang of jolly jack-tars, knaves and rogues all, in whose scurvy hands you place your fortunes. Crew are a rather faceless mass of sailors who do the hard work around the vessel, including most of the fighting.

    There is a basic requirement of one Crew member for every five feet of hull or part thereof. Further to this you need one Crew member for every extra point of Speed the ship has (regardless of size), one Crew member for each Lookout station, and one Crew member for each pair of Guns.

    You can if you wish take on extra Crew members. These will be good for morale, as everybody will be on shorter shifts, and also good for replacing losses in battle. If you have more crew than one per two feet of hull, though (eg more than 20 in a 40-foot vessel), morale will start to suffer because of the cramped conditions: and it is not possible to cram in more than one Crew member per foot of hull.

    You can also take on fewer Crew members, although this should only be done in extreme hardship: they will be taken away from Lookouts, Guns and Speed, in that order. You cannot sail with fewer than one Crew per five feet of hull or part thereof, so will be forced into penury and onto the Crown's 'charity' in this unfortunate situation.

    The basic cost is 5 PE per Crew member. Unlike most other costs, as well as the initial 5 PE you pay out when designing the ship, 5 PE must be paid again as wages every year, at the end of winter, if the Crew are to be retained. If at sea the Crew will automatically be paid from the treasure on the ship, or from your bank account if you have one. In either case if you have insufficient funds to pay them their morale will suffer accordingly, and they will badmouth you around the docks, damaging your reputation (that is, you will lose Terror Points – see later for more on these!)

    2.8 Officers

    Officers are needed to keep the naturally rebellious sailors in line and to supervise the ship's more complicated activities. You need an Officer for every five Crew or part thereof. Although each Crew member needs a foot of hull, as stated above, Officers do not, as they have separate cabins below decks.

    So a ship with 1 - 5 Crew will be led by one Officer, a ship with 6 - 10 Crew will need two, one with 11 - 15 Crew will need three, and one with 37 Crew will need eight.

    Each Officer costs 10 PE per year. They are paid again each winter, as with crew above. Underpaid Officers don't suffer morale loss, as they're all highly professional, but they will take out their bitterness on the crew with the predictable effect of depressing crew morale still further.

    You can hire more Officers than strictly necessary if you wish, which is useful if one dies: all the others will instantly be promoted up the chain of command. You cannot have more Officers than you do Crew, though, or the sailors'll start to feel oppressed. If you have too few Officers, on the other hand, crew morale will suffer as they have more freedom to brood on social injustice.

    2.9 Rum

    This is the best bit of piracy, for some people: the cheery mug of grog held aloft as Short Jim Pewter staggers an unsteady jig to the sound of the rancid squeezebox. Be that as it may, investing in barrels of Rum will help your crew's morale. The more barrels on the ship, the slower they'll lose morale when dispiriting events occur (drowning their sorrows), and they'll gain it faster when successful (celebrating in style).

    As a rough guide, 5 barrels of Rum will increase morale gains / decrease morale losses by about a quarter. Each barrel of Rum costs 20 PE: you can have no more of them on board than you have Officers (so each Officer can keep an eye on a barrel), and no more than one for every ten feet of ship length. The barrels are effectively bottomless, and never need replacing (unless destroyed).

    2.10 Example ships

    The Crown keeps a small fleet of ships for the use of indigent pirates who have foolishly lost their own or who have been bankrupted in the pursuit of invisible earnings for the British economy. These Crown Vessels have the following specifications:

    Hull

    45 feet

    Guns

    4 pairs

    Crew

    20

    Officers

    5

    This vessel would cost 800 PE if you were to buy it yourself. When building your own ship you might find it helpful to take the Crown Vessel as a starting point. With your larger budget you can afford to jazz up the Crown Vessel design a bit, so you might end up with something like:

    Hull

    45 feet

    450 PE
    Protection

    2 points

    90 PE
    Speed

    2 points

    45 PE
    Guns

    4 pairs

    200 PE
    Lookouts

    2

    40 PE
    Crew

    20

    100 PE
    Officers

    5

    50 PE
    Total 975 PE

    Or you might want to go for something bigger:

    Hull

    50 feet

    500 PE
    Protection

    1 point

    50 PE
    Speed

    1 point

    25 PE
    Guns

    5 pairs

    250 PE
    Crew

    20

    100 PE
    Officers

    5

    50 PE
    Rum

    1

    20 PE
    Total 995 PE

    Or smaller, with plenty of spare crew:

    Hull

    40 feet

    400 PE
    Protection

    1 point

    40 PE
    Speed

    4 points

    80 PE
    Guns

    4 pairs

    200 PE
    Lookouts

    1

    20 PE
    Crew

    30

    150 PE
    Officers

    6

    60 PE
    Rum

    2

    40 PE
    Total 990 PE

    Remember that all these costs and so on are in the How Much Does It Cost? table, at the end of the rules.

    2.11 Hull strength and damage

    The state of repair of a vessel's hull is measured in Strength Points (SP). A new or fully-repaired ship has as many SP as its hull has feet in length, but if damaged by cannonade it will lose SP. So the size of the hull determines how much damage the ship can soak up before it is crippled or sinks.

    After a vessel's SP are reduced by a quarter from its full total it is described as damaged; after half it is incapacitated; after three-quarters it is crippled. If a ship is reduced to 0 SP it sinks.

    All these damage states affect the vessel's performance. A damaged ship suffers a penalty of 1 to Speed. An incapacitated ship has a penalty of 2 to Speed. A crippled ship has a penalty of 4 to Speed. Vessels may thus end up with a negative Speed through damage: a pirate ship's Speed will never go below -1, though (this represents rowing: your highly-motivated crew leap to the oars when all the sails are destroyed). Unless a ship starts as extraordinarily fast, when crippled it is likely to be wallowing like a pig and at the mercy of all comers.

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    3 Combat

    There are two types of combat: cannonade and boarding (hand-to-hand).

    3.1 Cannonade

    Cannonade is when your ship fires at an enemy. You can only indulge in it if (a) you've ordered appropriately (b) you have working guns (c) you have enough crew to man them. The number of shots you get varies, depending on distance apart and the speeds of the two ships. Each shot you fire has a chance of hitting the enemy which depends on how big it is, how far away it is, and how much Protection it's got.

    As soon as you fire on a ship it will fire back at you automatically if it can, although its chance to hit is reduced by 15% thanks to the element of surprise. This also applies in reverse: when someone fires on your ship your crew will automatically return fire if they can, without it distracting them from their other duties.

    Any cannonball that gets through the Protection and hits the ship will destroy a member of the crew, an officer, a barrel of rum, a lookout post, a point of Speed's worth of rigging, or a pair of guns; or it will cause 1-3 SPs' worth of damage to the hull. Items or persons destroyed by cannonade are gone for good, and have to be rebuilt / repurchased / rehired using the Improve orders. Damage to the ship's hull lasts until repaired.

    If you hit an enemy ship you will gain Terror Points for it (though not if just returning fire). If you sink it completely (reduce it to 0 SP or 0 crew) you will get bonus Terror Points.

    3.2 Boarding

    Boarding is a rather different affair: the fine frenzy of bloodthirsty mayhem, when your crew and officers swarm across the decks of a fat merchantman, hoping to slay their rivals and dance a merry jig on the crimson-stained planking. That's the theory, and if it works you get to take all the treasure from the enemy ship and get lots of Terror Points.

    If your crew don't succeed in killing all the opposition, though, they will skulk shamefacedly back to your ship with whatever goodies they managed to grab (which might still be a decent amount), and you will get somewhat less Terror.

    Your success in Boarding is determined by the number and morale of your crew, and the number of your officers.

    The standard way to board is cautiously: this usually causes moderate losses but suffers similarly. You can if you wish use orders to board recklessly instead (your crew accept higher losses themselves in order to slay more of the opposition), or to board intelligently (your crew retreat swiftly if they realize they are outclassed).

    In general the proportion of the enemy ship's treasure you will get is proportional to the level of your success. So if you kill half the crew you probably end up with half the treasure.

    R. Jimlad Ha-harr! That means that if ye can work out how to follow the blighter, next season ye can get the same treasure and only have to fight half as many crew!

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    4 The Spanish Main

    The Main is divided into nine Areas, each of which has a different name and different characteristics.

    The areas, with the effects they have on ships in them, are as follows:

    Doldrums Plagued with calms and dead patches, all ships move at one point of Speed less than usual.
    Roaring Forties Here unusually fast winds constantly whip through the rigging: all ships move at one point of Speed more than usual.
    Coral Sea This region is a congeries of islets and reefs. Evasion is more effective than usual, buried treasure is better concealed.
    Horn of Plenty The richest trading-grounds on the Main, merchants encountered in here always have extra treasure on board.
    Colonies Here are the Main's chief centres of population and commerce. Extra random event for all ships, pirates are more likely to get treasure maps.
    Horse Latitudes Off the main trading routes, here life tends to extremes: random events will usually be very good or very bad, depending on if you are doing badly or well in the game.
    North-by-Northwest No unusual effects: this is the standard by which the other areas are judged.
    Friendly Islands The amiable locals of this region ensure that morale is automatically boosted for all ships in here, but crew are more likely to desert.
    Bermuda Triangle A mysterious and uncanny region of sea; random events here are never bad, but lookouts operate at reduced effectiveness.

    These nine areas are arranged in a 3 * 3 grid:

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    6

    7

    8

    9

    Each game we determine randomly which region of sea is in which numbered position. So for example in one game the Doldrums might be Area 1 and thus to the north of the Bermuda Triangle, if that was Area 4: in another game, Area 1 might be the Colonies, and the Doldrums might be Area 8 or something. But in every game, wherever the Doldrums is on the grid, it has the characteristics of making ships in it move more slowly.

    The grid doesn't wrap round: if a ship sails east from Area 3, it will go off the edge of the Main into the high seas. Only merchants ever do this, though: pirates have to stay on the Main, and warships choose to.

    On any given turn you must be in one of these nine Areas, which is called your Current Area. If you have declared one of them to be your Home Area, then you will always by default be there unless you specify otherwise. If you have no declared Home Area you will be in one at random.

    In general, everything you do on your turn will take place in your Current Area, except where the order states otherwise.

    4.1 Local knowledge

    Every turn that your ship spends in a particular Area gives you one level of local knowledge of that Area.

    Local knowledge affects many of the actions your ship might undertake. Basically, in any situation that pits one ship against another, the two antagonists' local knowledges of that particular Area are compared, and the superior one will get an advantage, whether it's to catching a ship to fire on it, boarding, evading, looking for a cache, whatever.

    There are six levels of local knowledge:

    0

    complete ignorami

    1

    mere neophytes

    2

    moderately aware

    3

    passing familiar

    4

    confident of our way

    5

    as though born there

    When you come into conflict with an opponent, you will be told how superior (or inferior) your local knowledge is to theirs, again on a scale of 0 to 5:

    0

    as like as twins

    1

    marginally favoured

    2

    significantly advantaged

    3

    well ahead of the game

    4

    vastly superior

    5

    running rings round 'em

    If you have an advantage of 5 over your opponent you have an overwhelming superiority of knowledge (although not enough to make up for things like not having any guns or crew, obviously).

    At the start of the game all pirates are complete ignorami of all nine sea Areas. Note that merchants and warships get local knowledge too, and they may even start off with some – although, as merchants tend not to stay on the Main for longer than a few turns, for one reason or another, they tend not to accumulate much of it.

    You keep your local knowledge if you lose or trade in your ship. It's possible to buy charts which will improve it, and also to be given it by your allies.

    4.2 Ships

    There are 60 ships on the Main: 12 pirates and 48 computer-controlled non-player ships, which may be merchants or warships. They are scattered around the nine Areas according to their type's particular behaviour, and may change Area between turns. All ships destroyed during a turn are replaced at its end, so that there are 60 again at the start of the next.

    The pirates are the players: the merchants are the main targets, and they cruise around basically waiting to be preyed on, or so it appears. The warships are there to administer a short, sharp shock to unruly buccaneers.

    Warships will tend to hang around those areas frequented by those players with the highest Terror. They will usually ignore players with low Terror.

    Merchants have a more predictable movement pattern. Between Spring and Summer they move to the Area directly south of their Current Area: Autumn sees them move west, Winter north and then they move east between Winter and Spring. If any of these moves would take them off the Main, they leave, to be immediately replaced by a different merchant on the opposite side of the Main.

    In general, the larger a merchant is, the more treasure it will have on board when it first appears on the Main. You can use the Rumours of Treasure order to estimate the booty more precisely, if you wish.

    This is what a typical merchant might be like (although they do come a lot bigger):

    Hull

    30 feet

    Protection

    0 points

    Speed

    1 point

    Guns

    1 pair

    Lookouts

    1

    Crew

    12

    Officers

    3

    Rum

    0

    Carrying treasure

    278 PE

    And this might be a typical warship:

    Hull

    60 feet

    Protection

    2 points

    Speed

    2 point

    Guns

    5 pairs

    Lookouts

    2

    Crew

    24

    Officers

    6

    Rum

    0

    Carrying treasure

    119 PE

    At the beginning of the game all the NPCs are merchants, so there are no warships. As the game progresses and merchants are destroyed, each new ship that comes onto the Main has a 20% chance of being a warship. So if merchants start being destroyed in huge numbers, warships will flood onto the Main.

    4.3 Default lookouts

    The proportion of the ships in your Current Area of sea that you can automatically detect is governed by your Lookouts. At the end of each turn you will be told which other ships you can see in your Current Area. This will not necessarily be all of those that are there: 5 Lookouts will show you on average twice as many ships as 0. This allows you to select handy targets for the next turn, if you wish.

    R. Jimlad But bear in mind, shipmates, that pirates or warships in yer Current Area at the end of this turn may move out at the beginning of next, afore ye can attack 'em. Only merchants are really predictable.

    4.4 Random events

    Each turn, each pirate will usually receive one random event – this will just basically be something that happens to you or the ship during the course of the season.

    In general random events are more likely to be favourable if you've been less successful, more likely to be unfavourable if you're doing well -- call it a jealous Fate intervening to level the scales if you wish.

    Random events are usually pretty trivial and unlikely to derail your strategy or transform your position, for good or bad, although occasionally they can be quite potent.

    Sometimes you'll get different random events from the normal, depending on which sea Area you are in: look at the table above for details.

    If you decide you really love random events and cannot survive with just the standard issue, you can use the Slouch About Town order to get an extra one. This will also be determined by your level of success and by your Area in the usual way, so if you would usually expect to get a good random event, Slouch About is likely to give you another good one.

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