Vulcan Stev's Database

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Gaming in the Universe of: Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearlpirates_of_caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

There are many RPGs available for the swashbuckler in you.  Atomic Sock Monkey’s Monkey Ninja Pirate Robot: The Role Playing Game, Alderac Entertainment’s 7th Sea, and my personal favorite Pinnacle’s Savage World’s setting Pirates of the Spanish Main are just a few of what’s available when I googled Pirate RPGs.

Pirates of the Spanish Main is actually the game that got me back into role playing after more than twenty years.  My children and I enjoy this game on a regular basis.  In fact my RPG Blog Carnival postfor February was about monsters from the Pirates movies as stated out for PotSM.

Gaming in the PotC universe would involve running into the movie’s characters or actually playing them in your favorite swashbuckling setting.  My own preference for gaming is in playing characters of my own creation.  I do not have a problem in games I’m GMing with running into established characters.  As such I am providing Savage Worlds stats for some of the main characters.  These character stats assume that you are meeting the characters between the events of Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End.

Captain Jack Sparrow:end-jack-sparrow-01
Agility d10, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d8, Vigor d10
Skills: Boating d12+1, Fighting d10, Guts d8, Intimidate d10+1, Knowledge (Battle) d10, Notice d10, Persuasion d8, Shooting d12+2, Stealth d10, Streetwise, d8+1, Survival d8, Swimming d8, Taunt d6, Tracking d8
Charisma +4; Pace 6, Parry 10, Toughness 7
Fame -45
Hindrances: Cocky, Trouble Magnet, Vow to keep the Black Pearl at all costs
Edges: Acrobat, Charismatic, Alertness
Gear:Includes an enchanted compass that points to whatever the holder desires most.


Captain Hector Barbosa:dc82100lg
Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d6, Spirit d10, Strength d10, Vigor d8
Skills: Boating d12+2, Fighting d12+2, Guts d10, Intimidate d10+1, Knowledge (Battle) d8, Notice d8, Shooting d10, Stealth d10, Streetwise, d8+1, Throwing d8
Charisma -2; Pace 6, Parry 11, Toughness 8
Fame -50
Hindrances: Ugly, Code of Honor, Habit (Eating Apples and letting the juice run through his beard)
Edges: Captain, Grit, Command, Command Presence

Will Turner:willturner
Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d8, Vigor d10
Skills: Boating d10, Fighting d12, Guts d8, Intimidate d10+1, Knowledge (Battle) d10, Notice d10, Persuasion d8, Shooting d12+2, Stealth d10, Streetwise, d8, Survival d8, Tracking d8
Charisma +4; Pace 6, Parry 10, Toughness 7
Fame -30
Hindrances: Heroic, Code of Honor, Vow to free his father from the Flying Dutchman 
Edges: Attractive, Level Headed, Gifted Leader, Wanted

Elizabeth Swann
Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d12, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Boating d8, Fighting d10, Guts d8, Intimidate d8, Knowledge (Battle) d6, Notice d10, Persuasion d12+2, Shooting d8, Stealth d10, Survival d8, Taunt d6, Tracking d8
Charisma +6; Pace 6, Parry 8, Toughness 5
Fame -32
Hindrances: Curious, Heroic, Wanted
Edges: Attractive, Very Attractive, Nobel, Rich

Commodore James Norrington:
Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d8, Vigor d10
Skills: Boating d10, Climbing d6, Fighting d10, Guts d8, Knowledge (Battle) d10, Notice d10, Shooting d12+2, Stealth d10,  Survival d8, Tracking d8
Charisma +1; Pace 6, Parry 7, Toughness 6
Fame +20
Hindrances: Loyal, Heroic, Code of Honor
Edges: Command, Master and Commander, Captain

February 21, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Gaming Notes, Other Systems, RPG | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Life Near an Iowa Cornfield

Randomness from the Vulcan Stev Family:

Mrs. VS had one of the drains removed yesterday.  Chemo starts as soon as the second one comes out.  She is NOT looking forward to starting chemo.

PIT #1 had all of her wisdom teeth pulled yesterday.  She was blessed with both her mother’s and father’s crooked wisdom teeth.  She’s taking it better than I did when I had mine pulled.

Nearly finished with with my “Gaming in the PotC Universe” article.  Just to finish statting out the main characters.

Last night’s game night had very few actually show up.  The first night was a rousing success, followed by a basketball game between the two schools that 90% of the players attend, A Valentine’s dance that took over the youth center and then last night when no one showed due to weather.  I have got to get some material for a pick up game in a different setting than the Stargate game.  I’m thinking something in either ML20 or Prime Time adventures.

I was actually open for business the entirety of this week (first time this year).  I had so much Pepsi product that the driver couldn’t load it all on his truck.  Still not sure about being open today.  I’m out of fire wood and it’s well below freezing here.

I’m also in a quandary.  The D&D 2.0 game I joined that plays on Sunday afternoon does so at the same time as the NASCAR race.  Sunday afternoons have traditionally been my time with PITs #2 & 3 as we watch the race together.  Don’t want make my boys feel excluded by dropping NASCAR in favor of D&D with PIT #1

February 21, 2009 Posted by | Connection Ministries, Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Mrs. Vulcan Stev's Fight, Vulcan Stev | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gaming in your favorite cinema universe

I’ve been writing movie reviews for my blog here and over at the Dire Cafe for the past year.  When Uncle Bear asked for some guest bloggers over at his blog I adapted one of my movie reviews to be used as an RPG centered blog rather than a straight movie review.  This got me thinking, how would I adapt the settings and play in the universes of some of my favorite movies.  I realize that there are a lot of RPG adaptations of movies I’ll touch on a few of those here.

My goal here is to write up an RPG synopsis of the universe for each movie (or series) that the family reviews.  The Pirates of the Caribbean RPG overview is in the works.  Harry Potter will be done once we’ve reviewed all five movies.

How would I game in my four favorite universes?

Star Trek: There are actually RPGs already set in this universe.  FASA’s Star Trek RPG, Decipher’s Star Trek, and Task Force Games’ Prime Directive were some of the more widely recognized.  Wikipedia lists several others as well.  I have not actually ever used or played any of those games.  Though, I actually do role play in the Star Trek universe but not in a way you might be thinking.  I belong to a creative writing group called Starshipsof the Third Fleet.  The captain authors a prologue every three months or so and it is up to the crew members to write a mission report on what their character would do during the mission.

If I were to run a Star Trek game I’d run it where the GM was the Captain of whatever ship the PCs served on and run it in a similar manner to the Third Fleet doctrine.  I guess I’m seeing the Star Trek universe as more TNG era where the captain stays with the ship and allows his officers to actually do the dirty work.  I’d steer clear of the “Heroes” of the Federation.  It’s a big universe and not everyone gets to meet Captain Picard.

Star Wars: This isn’t news to anyone but Wizards of the Coast has the current license to Star Wars.  However West End Games’ Star Wars material provided much of the material for the expanded universe.  The one time that I did play in a Star Wars game, the GM had us playing Luke, Han, Leia, et all.  I can’t say as I particularly enjoyed that.

If I were to run a SW game I’d skirt the events that happened in the movies or explore how the events in the movies affected my PCs.  Ideas which I’d like to explore in SW; a garrison of Storm Troopers on a backwater planet after the Emperor’s demise,  Bounty Hunters (but then who wouldn’t?), an enclave of Jedi that managed avoid Palpatine’s genocide are just some of the possibilities that I’d like to play.

James Bond: Victory Games held the license during the mid-80s.  I forget my agent’s name but he was able to successfully conceal a sniper rifle (he was 6’5″).    This was one of the more enjoyable games I played in high school.  The GM we first had insisted on our agents running into EVERY Bond villain that had ever made it to film.  It wasn’t until I started gaming with the college crowd at SMSU that I ran into a GM who created his own villains.  That is when I started really enjoying the game.  I wanted my own arch-Nemesis not 007’s.

Super Heroes: Champions, Mutants & Masterminds, Marvel, DC; I’ve played Champions and in both the Marvel and DC universe.  My preference is Champions.  Though from what I’ve read, I’d probably enjoy Mutants and Masterminds as well.  I dislike playing established characters.  I don’t mind interacting with Batman, or Spidey, but to quote the old song “I just gotta be me” or least a character of my own creation

What is the common thread here?  If I’m gonna play in someone else’s universe, I’m gonna do my own thing.  I enjoy RPGing in established universes because there’s less exposition that GM has to do.  However, I’ve seen every Star Wars movie and read most of the books.  I don’t want to be Luke.

Your mileage may vary of course.

February 17, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Observations of a Noob GM, RPG | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vulcan Stev’s Family Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Johnny Depp …  Jack Sparrow
Geoffrey Rush …  Barbossa
Orlando Bloom …  Will Turner
Keira Knightley …  Elizabeth Swann
Jack Davenport …  Norrington
Bill Nighy …  Davy Jones
Jonathan Pryce …  Governor Weatherby Swann
Lee Arenberg …  Pintel
Mackenzie Crook …  Ragetti
Kevin McNally …  Gibbs (as Kevin R. McNally)
David Bailie …  Cotton
Stellan Skarsgård …  Bootstrap Bill
Tom Hollander …  Cutler Beckett
Naomie Harris …  Tia Dalma

Synopsis from IMDb: After losing Jack Sparrow to the locker of Davy Jones, the team of Will Turner, Elizabeth Swan and Captain Barbossa make their final alliances with the pirate world to take on the forces of Lord Cutler Beckett.  The battle is against the English fleet and Davy Jones, who is controlled by Lord Cutler Beckett. It’s not going to be easy, as they must rescue Sparrow, convince all the pirate lords to join them and defeat Beckett, whilst each individual pirate has their own agenda which they wish to follow.

Reviewers; VS, Mrs. VS, PIT #1, PIT #2, PIT #3

VS – 1.5 pointed ears
The climax? to the Pirate saga.  This isn’t a movie requiring a person to think.  Neither is it a cinematic triumph destined for greatness.  It is a good old fashioned popcorn flick to sit back and enjoy.  Some minor quibbles about the writer’s attempts to shoehorn too much mythology into the series, I mean Calypso, really?  Why not bring Poseidon along for the ride as well.

Will admits to my problem with the last movie, in that he isn’t talking to Elizabeth and their conflict is stretched out too long.  It’s not a good sign when the writers have characters utter dialogue that voice viewers concerns, too pat for my tastes.

The whole sequence of Jack in Davy Jone’s locker should have been cut from the movie as well as the riff in Davy Jones’ brig.  I loved the line “What should we have called it? The nine pieces of whatever we had lying around? Aye that’s real piratey.”

The BIGGEST complaint that I had is this, Barbossa and Jack Sparrow are both Pirate Lords?  Then why don’t they each have their own ship?  We do they keep fighting over the Pearl?  If Jack is Pirate Lord then why did Barbossa maroon him without relieving Jack of his “Piece-of-Eight”?

Mrs. VS – 1.5 pointed ears
Not the greatest family movie.  It was a decent movie.  I wouldn’t watch this one without my family present.  There wasn’t anything objectionable in this movie but some of the content may be unsuitable for younger viewers.

PIT #1 – 2 pointed ears
Nice ending? to the series.  Jack redeems himself partially by giving the Dutchman to Will.

PIT #2 – 1.5 pointed ears
Good action.  However the story is full of holes as related to the series as a whole.  I agree with Dad that Barbossa wouldn’t have marooned Jack without taking Jack’s piece of eight.

PIT #3 – 1.8 pointed ears
The battle between the Flying Dutchman and the Black Pearl was AWESOME!!!!!  The writer’s tried hard to make a good movie but they shoved too many things in that did not agree with the first movie.

Overall rating: 8.2 pointed ears out of 10.  Buyable.  The movie does not stand well on its own.  PotC:AWE needs to be part of a collection that includes the first two.  If you’re looking for a good sit-down-and-not-think movie this fiuts the bill.

February 13, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

RPG Blog Carnival – Maps and Monsters

For the rpgblogcarnivallogocopyMaps and Monsters ( RPG Blog Carnival being hosted by The Core Mechanic this month.

Being a novice GM I haven’t done much of my own monster creation.  Neither have I made many er… any custom maps of my own.  Recently my family and I sat down to watch Pirates of the Caribbean again for a review here at the Database.  That inspired me to make some custom monsters based off that fine movie franchise.  Please note that all stats are for Savage Worlds in general, specifically Pirates of the Spanish Main.

You may notice that these stats are very similar to the base stats that Savage worlds published for the monster in question.  My buddy, Berin Kinsman extolled the values of shemping out pregen characters for games that he runs.  I took his advice to heart, rather than re-create a monster if a template for one existed I took the basic monster and added some flair to make it specific to the setting.

Following each monster I will note reactions from my players about the monster.

Damon, Wild Card Novice Trained Undead Monkey
for Pirates of the Spanish Main RPG
Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d8(A), Spirit d4, Strength d4, Vigor d6undeadmonkey
Skills: Climbing d10, Fighting d6, Guts d6, Notice d8, Stealth d10, Intimidation d6, Lockpicking d8 (covers only pick-pocketing skill)
Pace 6, Parry 5, Toughness 3

Special Abilities:Bite 2d4, Size -2, Small: Attackers suffer a -2 because of size, Undead: +2 to recovery for being shaken. Called shots do no extra damage. Arrows, bullets and other piercing attacks do half damage. Fear -2: Causes all Guts checks at -2 when moon is out because of undead nature.

Damon appears in a skeletal form when the moonlight touches him.

Damon was actually created at the request of a fellow regular at the Dire cafe in honor of the Dire King.  I have only used Damon once in a campaign.  My youngest PIT (age 9) at the time immediately recognized him and corrected me that the monkey should’ve been named Jack.

Undead Piratepirates2
for Pirates of the Spanish Main RPG
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6 – Human Form
Agility d8, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6 – Skeleton form
Skills: Boating d6, Climbing d6, Fighting d6, Guts d6, Notice d8, Stealth d6, Intimidation d6 (d10 in skeleton form), Stealth d6 
Pace 6, Parry 5, Toughness 3

Undead: +2 to recovery for being shaken. Called shots do no extra damage. Arrows, bullets and other piercing attacks do half damage. Fear -2: Causes all Guts checks at -2 when moon is out because of undead nature.

Pirates appear in a skeletal form when touched by moonlight.

Hindrances: Garrulous, Greedy, Mean

Edges: Dirty Fighter

Even after Damon showed up in the adventure.  My players were still a little surprised when the undead pirates made an appearance.  PIT #2 actually managed to stay in character even though he figured it out early.

Kraken, pet of Davy Jonespotcjackkraken
for Pirates of the Spanish Main RPG
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8(A), Spirit d12, Strength d12+10, Vigor d12+4
Skills: Fighting d12, Guts d12, Notice d6, Stealth d8, Intimidation d12
Pace NA, Parry 8, Toughness 24 (4)

Special Abilities: Aquatic: Pace 12  Gargantuan: Heavy Armor Ranged attacks are made at a +4 against the Kraken.  The beast can not bring its full weight to bear in a tentacle attack damage done in a tentacle attack is D12+15 and is considered a heavy weapon.  Size: +10  Tentacle Attack: Tentacles are capable of lifting individuals off the boat and the suckers will suck the face off an individual.  Whirlpool: When the Kraken submerges a whirlpool is formed.

The Kraken comes only when called by Jones and his crew using a device on board the Flying Dutchman

Lord Cutler Becket states in PotC 3 that he ordered Davy Jones to kill off the Kraken.  Everyone speaks as if there is only one Kraken in that setting.  When I tried to use a Kraken (actually the stats for a basic Kraken are on p231 of the PotSM  rulebook) PIT #3 pointed out my inconsistency.  I countered by telling him that Davy Jones did not kill his pet just to spit Cutler Beckett.  Who raised my son to be so smart-alecky?

February 12, 2009 Posted by | Blog Carnival, Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Gaming Notes, Other Systems, RPG | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vulcan Stev’s DVD review… Pirates of the Caribbean:Dead Man’s Chest

Johnny Depp …  Jack Sparrow
Orlando Bloom …  Will Turner
Keira Knightley …  Elizabeth Swann
Jack Davenport …  Norrington
Bill Nighy …  Davy Jones
Jonathan Pryce …  Governor Weatherby Swann
Lee Arenberg …  Pintel
Mackenzie Crook …  Ragetti

Synopsis from IMDb – After preventing the capture of a certain Jack Sparrow (Depp), both Elizabeth Swan (Knightley) and her fiancée Will Turner (Bloom) are arrested and sentenced to death. But Cutler Beckett (Hollander) has other plans, and sends Turner out to retrieve Jack’s compass. This isn’t easy for Turner, as he must now help Sparrow track down the Dead Man’s Chest, which contains the beating heart of Davy Jones (Nighy). Stabbing the heart, would not just destroy Jones but also set free Turner’s father, Bootstrap Bill (Skarsgård). The mission becomes even more difficult for everyone when Elizabeth escapes and tracks down Sparrow.

VS – 1.75 pointed ears
As much as I enjoyed the first romp in Disney’s Pirate franchise, this one seemed to go over the top.  It felt to me that the producer’s were trying to hard to come with “scary” nautical CGI villians to menace our heroes since the skeltons had been vanquished in the first movie.  Honestly, I think they tried to hard.  I remember this being an enjoyable romp in the theater.  Repeated veiwings at home seem to drive home the lack of a plot.

What Gore Verbinski has given us is a two-and-a-half hour set-up for PotC 3.  Yes, there is swashbuckling action.  Yes, there are astounding stunts, beautiful locations and cool CGI effects.  This movie suffers from the Empire Strikes Back syndrome.  The studio knows it had a hit with the first movie.  So it wants at least two more successful movies to follow so part 2 flows directly into part 3.  This leaves part with insufficient story to carry the full length of the movie and the producers attempt to fill the remainder of the time with “oo-aah” momnents.

One weak plot point that seems awfully contrived, Will’s sudden sense that Elizabeth prefers Jack over himself.  Yes he sees Elizabeth kissing Jack, but for crying out loud this is his fiancee.  He keeps his mouth shut for far too long.  Elizabeth keeps her mouth shut as well.  Why because the writer’s know that if they allow the characters to talk about what happened they can’t keep the characters apart.  Loses .5 pointed ears for weak writing and insufficient plot. 

Mrs. VS – 1 pointed ear
This is definitely something that I call a hubby movie.  Lot’s of action.  Lots of special effects.  I wouldn’t watch this without my hubby or kids.  The Kraken can be a little bit scary for impressionable youngsters.

PIT #1 – 2 pointed ears
I like how the producers expanded the franchise.  Davy Jones was a marvelous blending of actor and effects.

PIT #2 – 2 pointed ears
PotC 2 & 3 kinda mush together for me.  However I’m not as picky as Dad.  The whole Pirates franchise rocks.

PIT #3 – 2 pointed ears
Davy Jones was a good addition to the mythos.  The wheel fight was a good peice of stunt work.  I wish Barbosa had shown up for more than just a cameo.

8.75 pointed ears out of 10
VS’s recommendation don’t bother buying this unless you own PotC 1.  It’s watchable, but too much is left unexplained as the producers assume you’ve seen the first.  If you must see this movie watch number 1 first.

February 5, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vulcan Stev’s DVD review… Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Johnny Depp …  Jack Sparrow
Geoffrey Rush …  Barbossa
Orlando Bloom …  Will Turner
Keira Knightley …  Elizabeth Swann
Jack Davenport …  Norrington
Jonathan Pryce …  Governor Weatherby Swann

Synopsis from IMDb: This swash-buckling tale follows the quest of Captain Jack Sparrow, a savvy pirate, and Will Turner, a resourceful blacksmith, as they search for Elizabeth Swann. Elizabeth, the daughter of the governor and the love of Will’s life, has been kidnapped by the feared Captain Barbossa. Little do they know, but the fierce and clever Barbossa has been cursed. He, along with his large crew, are under an ancient curse, doomed for eternity to neither live, nor die. That is, unless a blood sacrifice is made.

Reviewers; VS, Mrs. VS, PIT #1, PIT#2, PIT#3

VS – 1.9 pointed ears
Considering that this movie is based off a popular Disney ride, Jerry Bruckheimer pulled it off.  Gore Verbinski did a marvelous job of directing considering all the SFX.  The cast was inspired.  This motion picture is in the grand tradition of Hollywood swashbuckling classics.  If I was reviewing this after having seen it in the theaters, it would’ve garnered a full two ears.  Only after repeated viewings have I begun to notice things that no longer make sense.  At the beginning when the Pirates attack Port Royale before we know that the pirates are indeed cursed, Will ‘kills’ one with an axe.  The cursed pirates supposedly cannot feel anything yet Pintel and Ragetti yowl in pain when doused with hot coals.  Barbossa claims to feel the warmth from Elizabeth’s dress.  The entire crew react with shock when Elizabeth feigns dropping the gold piece overboard, despite the fact that being cursed they suffer no effects of being underwater.

The Sixth Sense did a much better job of hiding the plot twist and did so in such a way that the second and subsequent viewings that movie did not contradict itself.  Mind you PotC:TCotBP merits multiple viewings and is a very watchable movie.  My only complaint are the minor internal discrepancies.

Mrs VS – 1.5 pointed ears
Not a bad movie.  I wouldn’t watch this on my own.  The pirate skeletons are a little disgusting.

PIT #1  – 2 pointed ears
Elizabeth is the kind of girl I want to be, she kicks butt and isn’t a ‘girly’ girl by any definition of the word.

PIT #2 – 2 pointed ears
Good piratey action.  Dad has purchased some ‘classic’ pirate movies.  This takes the cliches and turns them for a modern audience.

PIT #3 – 2 pointed ears
Pirates rock.  I really love pirates.  Daddy can I give it more than two pointed ears?  Did I mention that Pirates rule?  Daddy likes Star Trek, I like Pirates more.

9.4 pointed ears out of 10

February 3, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments