Pirates of the Shackles

A Pirate Conclave

tradition must be followed!

Although some crews will break from the norm from time to time, it is a long-held tradition in the Shackles that a Ship’s Conclave be held when a new captain is to be chosen. Of course, if a mutiny takes place and a group seizes a ship, it can attempt to enforce its will on the group, and then the tradition is cast overboard. And it is hinted at that if someone did something as odd as to buy a ship and set himself up as captain and then…recruit a crew, well, then, it would stand that such a merchant would be captain – not a man…a merchant.

Real pirates, however, seek the consent of the crew when replacing a captain who’s been killed, left behind, or cast overboard by the majority of that crew. The process is simple: each who is interested will present his case to the crew. It is considered very bad form for a contender to say or do anything while the other hopefuls speak, although the rest of the crew typically will ask pointed questions and heckle each would-be captain as they speak. This is the only time when opinions are to be made public. Sure, it’s impossible over the long term for the crew to hide opinions; however, this is the time when they’re supposed to be public.

And so the speeches take place; the crew grills each contender; and then parchment is distributed, on which a simple symbol is inscribed, representing one of the contenders for captain (each man chooses a simple symbol to represent him, like a circle or a + or something simple and obvious). The crew then separates on deck (not below! everyone on the weather decks!) and each member votes in secret. The slips are collected in a bucket, and a single member, chosen by public acclimation on the spot, counts the totals out loud. The top two contenders given one more opportunity to make their cases to the crew, and then a second round of voting takes place. The winner is the captain; he who comes in second place is typically first mate.

Sandara, being widely respected among the crew, steps up to see that the tradition is followed, and the crew readily follows her lead. Obviously, Grims jumps up and makes his case. Who else will make a go at it? Will Mal step up and make his case?

Comments

From his perch on the rail, listening, one of the crew steps forward into the discussion, “We begin a new tradition on this ‘new’ ship, ’Besmara’s Shadow.’ There shall be a test of skills: swimming, climbing, drinking, and of course, fighting. The contestants will prove their salt or join Davey Jones, then we hit the seas in search of booty!” Flynn eyes the sailors and then in a guttural tone utters, “What does this crew say?”

A Pirate Conclave
 

Barefoot Sams Toppin: “We follow tradition!”

A Pirate Conclave
 

Flynn smiles at her, “Consider this, my good friend Sams: are we electing a windbag bureaucrat or do we want a real captain?!? Tradition is what we make it.”

A Pirate Conclave
 

We’ve all proven ourselves in all skills swimming, climbing, drinking, and of course, fighting. With that thinking, owlbear could make a good captain. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for those skills. Other skills are needed, leadership, navigation, forward thinking, and that fighting spirit. Once the ship is properly squibbed, then we shall add to the crew, then take to the high seas in search of treasure and greatness, and stories told.

A Pirate Conclave
 

“Well spoken! Grims has unselfishly given us our first nomination for captain: ‘Owlbear.’ At least we won’t have to worry about a lack of excitement – we’ll attack every ship on the sea!”

A Pirate Conclave
 

Owlbear laughs and hops up and down at the mention of his name and then struts around with a comically serious look on his face, barking half-coherent orders at no one in particular.

A Pirate Conclave
 

META: He’s perfect! If we ever got taken over by another crew, they’d kill him and we’d have to join the new crew. It might not be a bad idea…

A Pirate Conclave
 

Sandara watches Mal and Grims closely while the crew celebrates – they can feel her eyes on them both. She’s not captain material, and she’s okay with that…but someone worthy and bold needs to step up to take charge of this crew!

A Pirate Conclave
 

“A big voice can be enough to scare little man in line. Mwangi have that. Giant calchas enough to whip the strong in mind. Mwangi have that too. Enough promises of plunder, booty, and rum. I can promise spiders between the eyes and shadows with the sunrise. Enough would lead you, and enough would ruin you.” Looking sternly between crew members. “Mwangi seen enough Plugs come and go. Waiting for plan. Place one against another. Waiting for plan. Not enough to make happen. I say he who took captian’s life, smart enough to make happen, should be captain. Goal of captain was their only plan.” Thumping chest in salute to Mal.

A Pirate Conclave
 

Will Mal make a speech, and through it accept the nomination, or will he stand his ground and let the moment pass?

Only Mal can make this decision.

A Pirate Conclave
 

meta

Is Flynn the first to wet himself in every battle? +12 init Where’s the damage dealing? I can see him moving into position easily but I think you over compensated with first attack. The thief abilities make flat footed a non issue eventually. Complementing abilities was the problem with Red.

A Pirate Conclave
 

Meta I disagree, a rogue with their sneak attack is exactly why they should go first, coupled with ranger favored enemy human, there is damage potential. He has a couple paths he can follow. If going up in ranger, he’ll have other favored enemies, with the sneak attack. Or following rogue, upping the sneak attack… DAMN. Balancing the two will make him dangerous as well.
The down side I see is duplicating classes. Mal has rogue, and Grims has ranger, but if Steve likes his guy, no worries. He’s a well suited pirate.

A Pirate Conclave
 

I like Flynn…and if any of you mooks doesn’t, your PC dies first and horribly. Discussion closed.

And anyway, Comments are for story-specific stuff, either within or meta…not for you rules-lawyers and your min/max fantasies! Back to the story!

A Pirate Conclave
 

Q: Once a captain and his command team are decided, you’ve got a few things to consider – and I bring these up here because it might impact how you (that is, Grims and Mal) go about trying to become captain.

  1. Where will the ship go and what will it do in the immediate future?
  2. What will be done with Arreta Bansion, the only survivor of Plugg’s group to not surrender, and is currently a captive?
  3. What are the long-term plans for the ship?

These things are topics of intense discussion among the crew, and a captain needs to be able to provide clear, strong answers to them.

A Pirate Conclave
 

Red would offer the following suggestions for #2:
A. We could sell her to the highest bidder, after he torments her.
B. Red makes a special dinner for Jaigo, after he torments her.
C. Keep her around for tormenting.
All have merits, but alternative ‘A’ does have a monetary value.

A Pirate Conclave
 

Flynn suggests to the others that, “once the ship is squibbed, we should head out into waters that might provide some easier prey to ‘cut our pirating teeth’ so to speak, that we sell Arreta as soon as possible (Before Red feeds her to the witch doctor), and once we get up some coin we put into a port in search of some magical items.”
Then he goes back to his repair work on the ballistas atop the rear deck.

A Pirate Conclave
 

Meta The way I see the officers of the crew is similar to king maker. Well, our king maker. There are different roles to be filled by pc’s, and as players, we’re all equal. The captain, for us, is just the figure head. However, if WE get boarded, then that character may lose that head.
the first mate, bosun, captain, and (I’m guessing) the siege weaponeer, will go below decks to make the plans, then the captain makes the announcement. So in that regard, it doesn’t matter who takes on the mantle of captain.
Just a thought.

A Pirate Conclave
 

You and your egalitarian crap! Someone needs to take charge!

A Pirate Conclave
 

Mal stands up, tired of the stares and glares of Sandara. He looks over at her, gives her a smile and a wink. Stretches and begins walking through the groups of crew, speaking quietly with them, having a small joke here and there. Stopping where Rosie is, speaking with her privately. Finally, gives her a hug, and turns to walk away with a big grin on his face. Jumping up on top of a table, he eyes everyone. “Ahoy, me Hearties! Avast, ye look to be havin’ a ruckas… more ruckas than ye’ve have had in a long time! ‘tis be how Piratin’ be, not screamin’ ‘n hollerin’ ‘n blamin’ th’ crew. No, ye men ‘n women be knowin’ me, a lot ’o ye came in when we was Port Peril.” Pausing for a effect “Now that was a Hornswaggle!” Gives a hearty laugh. “But some be knowin’ me before, ‘n some after. Ye may be knowin’ may as th’ giver ‘o fiddles, ye may be knowin’ me as th’ monkey swin’in’ from th’ riggin’s.” Pauses for effect, allowing a good chuckle at himself and the crew. “Aye! That be me! But you may be knowin’ me as the first Buccaneer across the deck of Man’s Promise, charging the deck lookin’ to kill their Captain. I would have had him had it not be fer Harrigan havin’ longer peglegs, That scurvy sea dog gunna be feedin’ th’ fish before I sail out that be all I can take!” Reaches down and takes a swig from his mug, and shoves it up in the air to get the crew howling. “I’ll have at him soon enough, I’ll make him walk the plank!” He sets his mug down and nods to Grims in thanks for the drink. “Ye may not be knowin’ ‘o me deeds on th’ island, but these seadogs can!” Pointin’ to Grims, Red, Caesar, Jaigo ‘n Sandara. "Who was th’ first up th’ Jacob’s Ladder, givin’ Pluggs a what-fer, ‘n takin’ his head? MAL!" Mal looks around allowing it to sink in “Savvy?”
“All ‘o ye knew th’ wrath ‘o Plugg’s Cat O’Nine Tails, ‘n Plugg’s Thugs. ‘n ye knew Mal was thar takin’ th’ scourge ‘o th’ whips just th’ same. Mal won’t be givin’ ye th’ lash unless ye be needin’ it, Mal gunna be leadin’ ye to pillage and proper booty. So, sound off ‘n let ye voice me heard! Lets Weigh anchor ’n hoist th’ mizzen! We be getting this ship squibbed ‘n get back to what we’re meant to be doin’, Piratin’!”

A Pirate Conclave
 

The crew cheers and ragged shouts and hoots continue for a few moments before Sandara steps forward and calls for calm.

“We’ve heard from two – are there more who’d step forward to lead this crew?” she shouts, looking fiercely at the small group on the main deck. Murmurs break out and a few small, heated discussions ensue, but more moments pass and no one steps forward. The crew’s collective will is clear: it should be Mal or Grims.

Sandara readies a bucket, in which she’d already heaped slips of scrap parchment. “Take one each! You know the tradition! If you can write, give us your choice – Mal or Grims! And if you can’t then draw a circle for Mal, and an X for Grims! Make your choice! Make your mark!”

The crew quickly grabs slips of parchment and small sticks of charcoal and separates – tradition holds that a sailor makes his own choice, free of pressure from others. The choice is made in private, deposited in the bucket, and then the slips are counted in public by a trusted member of the crew – and not one in the running for captain.

Moments pass and a few sailors bring their folded slips forward, dropping them in the bucket sitting at the base of the mainmast. Sandara drops in hers; then Barefoot Sams…the cook…and the rest of the crew, over a period of minutes, votes.

Once all the slips have been returned, Sandara steps forward again.

“Since we’ve got only two would-be captains here, the winner of this vote – unless there’s a tie – will be it!” she shouts. In her hand is another bucket – an empty one. Into the vote bucket she reaches, pulling out a single, folded strip.

“The first vote is for…”

A Pirate Conclave
Lyle

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