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[Beat to Quarters] Looking for one-shot adventure ideas 
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Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:19 pm
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Location: Montréal, Québec
Post [Beat to Quarters] Looking for one-shot adventure ideas
So I'm going to be running Beat to Quarters this saturday. I've read the rules twice (really elegant and begging for action) and am now looking for a couple of good basic adventure ideas. I want at least one good ship-to-ship battle, but some intrigue and exploration stuff to build around such a battle would be great as well.

Even if you don't know the game system, anyone familiar with the Age of Sail, Hornblower, et al. please feel free to contribute.

The ship will be a Fifth Rate Frigate (32-44 guns) and the players have already come up with a name (The Unforgiving) and some attributes that make it sound like a fairly aggressive boat:

  • After any seaman has his first kill he soaks his scarf in his enemy's blood. Which he lets dry and then is expected to wear.
  • The mermaid that is the ship's prow figure is a vengeful creature. Should a shot be fired across her bow she will take revenge on the ship unless blood is offered her. This offering is placed in a bowl in her outstretched hands.
  • All sailors including the captain wear a scarf around their neck. Red with the blood of their enemies when the sailor has been blooded and white when the sailor is a "virgin".

Yikes!

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Wed Mar 24, 2010 6:37 pm
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Post Re: [Beat to Quarters] Looking for one-shot adventure ideas
One of the nights I ran the ship was given the task of sneaking onto American soil to carry off a British spy--currently under house arrest. They sailed up the coast, met with another ship to get some intelligence, ranged inland and rescued the gentleman farmer/spy. We didn't have a ship battle, but they could have easily been met by an American frigate looking for the suspicious Royal Navy frigate.

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Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:32 am
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Post Re: [Beat to Quarters] Looking for one-shot adventure ideas
HMS Unforgiving (32) is carrying a Diplomat to the Sultan of Bari Kohbal. The diplomat is supposed to make peace with the sultan before the French do.

A few days out of Bari Kohbal, the Unforgiving engages a French Privateer, Le Revanche, and her merchant prize, Lady May of Bristol. Sadly, the the Diplomat dies in the battle. His secretary--primarily choosen because he is knowledgeable about the Sultan and customs and language of Bari Kohbal--is willing to do whatever he can to help the mission.

The treaty it too important to British shipping in the waters of Melanesia to abandon the mission.
According to information taken from captured French prisoners or papers, a French Diplomatic mission is expected at any moment.
The Sultan is willing o court both sides. His Vizer favors the British, while his General favors the French.
The Sultan is currently at war with a neighboring island (the reasons are complicated and involve convoluted royal lineages).

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Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:51 am
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Post Re: [Beat to Quarters] Looking for one-shot adventure ideas
I just saw this and I had a half-baked idea I was going to suggest, but then I noticed it's already too late.

What did you end up running for your scenario?

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Wed Mar 31, 2010 1:22 pm
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Post Re: [Beat to Quarters] Looking for one-shot adventure ideas
Actually ended up letting the characters drive the adventure design (as was suggested by someone over on the omnihedron boards). I did make up a couple of smaller ships with two spanish captains that would be the enemy in any case, so I had the stats ready. But other than that, the reputations part of the ship design process was enough to give me plenty of material for an adventure. They chose reputations 'feared by the Spanish' and 'Friend to the Port of New Orleans' so I decided to have the governor of New Orleans ask them to go to Havana and covertly pick up a noble family that, for reasons undisclosed, wanted to steal out of Havana and come to New Orleans.

We ended up with a land adventure where they had to get undercover in Havana without being detected and then sneak into the family's home and get them back to the boat. They did not do this as quietly as they would have hoped, so when trying to get out of the Havana harbour, they were confronted by the two faster Spanish Brig Sloops. They escaped one and kicked the butt of the other one, coming back to New Orleans with the family and a nice prize to boot.

But I would still love to hear your idea. I'm mulling over the idea of keeping this campaign going.

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Wed Mar 31, 2010 3:21 pm
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Post Re: [Beat to Quarters] Looking for one-shot adventure ideas
My idea was this (and remember, it's only half baked):

While the core of the fleet is off fighting somewhere else, the Unforgiving is sent on a dispatch mission to a lonely port (I'm thinking somewhere Baltic, preferably in winter, and close to Denmark). Their mission is to exchange three French officers for 3 English prisoners that the French are holding in this baltic town (diplomats, presumably).

According to their letters, the Unforgiving is to meet a french ship here (Le Cassandre, perhaps) and the exchange of prisoners is to be made by boat at an equal distance from the two ships. The Unforgiving is then to leave and return with the diplomats. A secondary objective is to use the opportunity to scout out the town and surrounding land for strategic information. They are instructed not the trust the three French officers as they broke their parole already once. They are also instructed not to stray too close to the coat of Denmark, because the Danes will try to sink their ship if possible.

On day 1 they arrive. The town itself has a nice harbour which is well protected by a fort. The expected French ship, however, is not here. They must decide what to do. If they don't contact the town, the people of the town will contact them. They will inform the Unforgiving that Le Cassandre has been called away to deal with something further down the coast, but that they still plan to go through with the prisoner exchange. They propose a mutual meeting of boats in the harbour within the range of the fort's guns and the guns of the Unforgiving. They propose that the exchange take place later that day, and if agreed the boats (fishing boats) will cut out from the town and approach the ship in the last hour of sunlight. They contain French soldiers from the Garrison, the prisoners, and several rowers. There will be no hitch with the exchange, itself, but the French prisoners (when informed) will object to this form of exchange, saying they should only be exchanged to the crew of Le Cassandre as per the original agreement. But since Le Cassandre is not here, they won't be in much position to bargain.

What the players don't know is that there are a number of Danish sailors here. The Danes are busy fighting a guerilla action against the British navy for disrupting their trade. The Danes that are here were rescued by the French when their boat was sunk by a British ship. The Danes have learned of the prisoner exchange and decided to take advantage of the situation. They have gotten the small town garrison drunk and locked them up.

It is actually the Danes, pretending to be French, who arrange and perform the prisoner exchange. The prisoners are not the English people that are supposed to be rescued, but are Danes in disguise. When these 'English prisoners' are brought aboard the Unforgiving, they will presumably put put into good quarters and invited to dinner with the officers. They will take advantage of their position of the ship to cause mayhem. They may, for instance, take the entire ward room hostage and force the crew to give up the ship. Or they may set fire to the ship to cause a distraction to the English crew. Either way, that first night several boatloads of Danes will try to approach the Unforgiving and capture her. If successful, they will take her back to Denmark.

And perhaps when the action is hottest on board the Unforgiving, the Cassandre will show up and fire a shot across her bow. Will the Cassandre arrive during the fight between the Danes and the English? Will the Cassandre show up after the Danes have captured the ship, then turn around and rescue the English? Will she arrive after the English have beaten off the Danes, only to find that the French prisoners have been killed? Where are the English that were supposed to be rescued? How long will it be before the French garrison in the fort discover what's happened to the garrison in the town?

Well, now that I've written it, might be too long for a single session - guess that depends on whether your crew lives by the motto "quick's the word and sharp's the action."

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Wed Mar 31, 2010 7:32 pm
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