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Officer's Roles (GMs of Skull & Shackles)


Skull & Shackles


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I had some ideas about roles aboard the ship. Don't want to ruin anything for players so put it all in the spoiler:

GMs only:
So when the PCs finally get their own ship, I was thinking of introducing 8 Officer positions which must be filled in order for the ship to function properly. The ranks are:

Captain
First Mate
Boatswain
Master Gunner
Ship’s Cook
Quartermaster
Sailing Master
Surgeon/Carpenter

The PCs will be expected to fill these roles although NPCs can be drafted in to fill gaps or to replace PCs who aren't that good at sailin'. Each officer (except Captain and First Mate) can also select a mate from the NPCs who will assist them in their duties (no mechanical benefit other than delegation, see below) and take over duties when the PC is away a-swashbucklin'. In the absence of the Captain/First mate, the Boatswain (or Boatswain's mate) takes command of the ship.

Each day, the officers will be given tasks just as they did when they were swabs on the Wormwood (and any PCs who choose to remain as Riggers/Swabs will still use those tables). These tasks are slightly harder but some grant mechanical bonuses or penalties to the ship or crew.

I am unsure as to the mechanical penalties for failing checks (any ideas?) but possibly some sort of penalty to infamy/disrepute or negatives to influence the NPCs? If things get bad enough maybe the NPCs will mutiny themselves!

I guess the idea was to allow PCs to perform ship actions in the same way as the early adventures, but I was planning to expand the ship actions list to include crafting/magic item creation/NPC development/exploration etc so as to give PCs a reason for delegating or 'shirking'.

1d8 Captain’s Tasks
1 Must I do everything myself? - roll on random duties table then roll on this table again. All tasks must be completed.
2-3 Bark orders- DC 10 Profession (sailor) and DC 10 Diplomacy or Intimidate checks
4 Swing the lead- DC 10 Intimidate and grant one crew member +1 to today’s checks. If he fails his check all crew gain -1 tomorrow’s check if he is not punished.
5 Captain’s eye- DC 15 Profession (sailor) and DC 10 Perception checks to notice a something which grants Sailing Master +2 to today’s checks. Fail both: Sailing Master takes -2 to today’s checks.
6 Difficult decision- Choose two crew members. DC 15 Profession (sailor) check. Pass: one gets +4 to today’s check, one get’s -2. Fail: both get -4 to today’s check.
7 Entertain the crew- DC 12 Perform check or spend 1d6x100gp in throwing a party.
8 Piracy!- must use one imposition today. If not, make a DC 20 Profession (sailor) and DC 12 Intimidate or Diplomacy check or lose 1 plunder as crew demand more shares.

1d8 First Mate’s Tasks
1 Re-assigned- roll on random duties table
2-3 Captain’s stead- roll on Captain’s table
4 Assess the ship- roll on Boatswain’s table
5 Shallow waters- roll on Sailing Master’s table
6Master at arms- roll on Master Gunner’s table
7 Man the helm- DC 10 Profession (sailor) check and a DC 10 Constitution check to avoid fatigue
8 Quell talk of mutiny- DC 12 Intimidate or Diplomacy check plus DC 10 Sense Motive check. If pass all three: Captain gains +2 to next task check. If fail all three: Captain takes -4 to next check.

1d8 Boatswain’s Tasks
1 Re-assigned- roll on random duties table
2-3 Report to the Captain- DC 10 Profession (sailor) check and DC 10 Appraise or Perception check
4 Assess the Rigging- DC 10 Climb check and DC 10 Appraise or Perception check
5 Assess the crew- DC 10 Sense Motive and DC 10 Profession (sailor) checks.
6 Crack the whip- DC 12 Intimidate check and DC 5 Constitution check to avoid fatigue.
7 Man the watch- DC 12 Perception check and DC 10 Profession (sailor) check.
8 The bloody hour- DC 12 Intimidate check and 3 Attack rolls with whip, cat or rope bash. Pass all 4: 1 crew member per Cha bonus gains +2 morale to next task check

1d8 Ship’s Cook Tasks
1 Re-assigned- roll on random duties table
2-3 Cooking- basic tasks. DC 5 Profession (cook) check
4 Fishing- DC 10 Profession (fisherman or sailor) or Survival. Fail: DC 5 Constitution check or fatigued.
5 Change of shift- DC 10 Profession (cook) check and DC 10 Perception check
6 Slaughter the Pig- DC 12 Profession (cook) or Survival check
7 Exotic animal- DC 10 Knowledge (any) and DC 12 Profession (cook) checks
8 Special treat- DC 15 Profession (cook) check. If successful: two crew member per Cha bonus gain +2 morale to next task check. If fail: cook and mate are fatigued (no check).

1d8 Master Gunner’s Tasks
1 Re-assigned- roll on random duties table
2-3 Clean Ordinance- DC 10 Profession (soldier or sailor) check
4 Re-calibrate weapons- DM selects one random weapon. Profession (sailor or siege engineer) DC 12. May re-roll until succeed check, each attempt wastes 1d3 shots of ammunition.
5 Boarding School- teach swabs to board. DC 10 Intimidate check and either DC 10 Appraise or Knowledge (soldier) check.
6 Combat school- teach swabs to fight. DC 10 Intimidate check and DC 15 melee attack roll or CMB check.
7 Target Practice- DC 12 Intimidate check and hit AC 15 with ranged weapon. Each attempt wastes 1d3 ammunition. May re-roll failed checks. Roll a natural 20 to shoot down a rare animal (granting +2 to cook or cook’s mate’s next check).
8 Break up a fight- DC 20 Intimidate check or DC 15 CMB check. Failed check: 1d6 non-lethal damage and one crew member is knocked unconscious (-2 to surgeon’s next check).

1d8 Quartermaster’s Tasks
1 Re-assigned- roll on random duties table
2-3 Organise stock- DC 5 Intelligence check or DC 10 Profession (merchant or sailor) check instead
4 Find a missing item- DC 10 Search check, can re-roll but must test for fatigue (DC 5 Constitution check)
5 Purchase stock- DC 10 Appraise check and DC 10 Diplomacy check
6 Sell stock- DC 10 Diplomacy check and DC 10 Sense Motive check
7 Spot a thief- DC 12 Perception check or DC 12 Intimidate check
8 Rare acquisition: DC 20 Appraise check to provide +2 to next attempt to sell plunder or influence notoriety. No repercussions for failing check.

1d8 Sailing Master’s Tasks
1 Re-assigned- roll on random duties table
2-3 Read the skies- DC 10 Knowledge (nature or geography)
4 Plot a course- DC 10 Profession (sailor) check and DC 10 Survival or Knowledge (nature)
5 Shallow waters- DC 10 Survival or Knowledge (geography check) and a DC 10 Perception check
6 Avoid a storm- DC 12 Knowledge (nature or geography) check
7 Man the helm- DC 10 Profession (sailor) check and a DC 12 Constitution check to avoid fatigue
8 Changing weather- 2 DC 15 checks, either Survival, Knowledge (nature or geography), Profession (sailor) or Perception. Required skills chosen by DM or rolled randomly.

1d8 Surgeon/Carpenter’s Tasks
1 Re-assigned- roll on random duties table
2-3 Minor repairs- DC 10 Craft (ships or carpentry) check
4 Sprained joints- 2 DC 10 Heal checks
5 Extensive damage- DC 12 Craft (ships or carpentry) check and a DC 5 Constitution check to avoid fatigue
6 Amputation!- DC 12 Heal or Craft (carpentry) check and a DC 5 Constitution check to avoid sickened for 1d3 hours
7 Hard to reach damage- DC 10 Climb check followed by DC 10 Craft (ships or carpentry) check
8 Scurvy dogs! DC 15 Heal check and make Fortitude save vs. one random disease

1d20 Random Duties:
1-4 Swab
5-6 Cook’s Mate
7-9 Rigger
10 Surgeon/Carpenter
11-13 Sailing Master
14 Quartermaster
15-16 Master Gunner
17 Boatswain
18 Ship's Cook
19-20 First Mate

An Officer can delegate his tasks to his mate.That crewmember must complete his own tasks in addition to any tasks from his superior. All checks performed by the mate are at -2 and he must also test for fatigue at the end of his shift (DC 5 Constitution). If the crew member’s tasks already required a Constitution check, the DC is increased by 2 instead. Delegating in this way leaves the Officer free to act as normal and not take any checks that day. The Captain can delegate to any member of the crew (though usually the First Mate)

What do y'all think? This is the first draft and I've yet to start actually playing the AP so any ideas/comments/suggestions would be very welcome!

Also if any of you like these rules, please feel free to use them yourselves! :D


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Looks like you've done a comprehensive job. I'm not sure how many will want to continue the structure as it can be time consuming, however for those that do, you're done a great job.


This is nice but I think I'll have to run my group through book 1 and see how it works before I continue with the daily routine. If it gets tedious I wouldn't want to continue it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks for the feedback.

Yeah I'm gonna wait till after book 1 before I decide whether or not to use them, I just like the idea of keeping the sailing roles relevant, maybe make them a weekly check rather than daily.


Okay so if you accidentally make a blank post you can't delete it... nice.

I was going to say, the duties do get a little... tedious, if you run things RP thick. To keep from getting bogged down in meta, and to give yourself a bit more time to elaborate on the events rather than just making them rolls, you could just have 2 officers roll on the chart each day. Maybe a third one selected at random.

If an NPC ends up doing a crummy job- it's up to a PC to fix it/ discipline him.

On that note, feel like you need a discipline chart. Two crew members try to kill eachother, someone gets injured due to negligence, someone gets caught shirking, unsatisfactory work, etc.

The 1st mate, or disciplinarian officer decides upon a punishment, inflicts it and maybe makes an intimidate check DC based on how extreme the crime was. Punishment gives bonuses based off of how harsh the reprimand. Ship's loyalty respectively goes down based the extremity of punishment, but you don't have to roll on the disciple chart for a day for every point the officer beat the check by.

Example:
slacking, intimidate DC 10
stealing, intimidate DC 12
stealing from an officer, intimidate DC 20
killing a crewmate, intimidate DC 30
conspiracy to mutiny, DC 35

Reprimands
(each): rope bash loyalty 0, intimidate bonus +0
(each): 3 lashings, loyalty -1, intimidate +1
(each): 3 lashings with cat, loyalty -3, intimidate +5
Execute, loyalty -10, intimidate +30,
Gratuitous execution, loyalty -12, intimidate +40
'Disappearing' execution loyalty -5, intimidate +20, but must make a DC 20 stealth check or be discovered, applying another -5 loyalty.

(execution also removes the crew member, as you would imagine).

As a GM, might 'fudge' some loyalty costs if the officer does extreme punishments for small mistakes. IE, executing a slacking NPC for no real reason.

If Loyalty drops too low... mutiny. Loyalty goes up daily and by being well fed, equipped, entertained, and rewarded.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sekret_One wrote:
On that note, feel like you need a discipline chart. Two crew members try to kill eachother, someone gets injured due to negligence, someone gets caught shirking, unsatisfactory work, etc.

Yeah I like it! Maybe with a 'random crew member' chart to determine the culprit? I've created a spreadsheet with the NPCs on there so its just a matter of adding numbers down the side and grabbing a d100. Friendly crew have less 'slots' (1/100) allocated them while the naughty hostile ones have more (~5/100)

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