Skull & Shackles
Passing the Nights or "Pirate Games and Entertainment"
With time on their hands and precious few places to go, Shackles pirates have come up with an astonishing array of pastimes.
One way pirates amuse themselves is through songs and stories. Pirates love a good sea chantey, and characters with Perform skills quickly find themselves popular members of the crew (although pirates aren’t generally big on Chelish Opera). If a character succeeds at a DC 20 Perform check, he gains a +2 circumstance bonus on all Charisma-based skill checks made to interact with any listener among the crew for the next 24 hours. A Perform result of 9 or lower, however, indicates that the next time he attempts to use Perform to entertain the crew, everyone ignores him unless he makes a successful DC 15 Bluff or Intimidate check before doing so.
Tokens for each player.
An 8-sided die, called the “Wyvern Die”.
Draw a track ten spaces long and eight lanes wide. Place the tokens in the first space, with the owner of the game getting the first lane. Alternately you can use a 10-sided die for each player and rotate it one higher for each “space” they move on the track.
Each round players choose between 3 possible actions by holding their hand behind their back and either making a “Turtle” (closed fist), a “Rabbit” (extend index and middle finger like a peace sign), or a “Sting” (extend pinky-finger only). The players all reveal their chosen action at the same time. Always resolve “Stings” first, then “Rabbits”, then “Turtles”. Resolve from left to right across the track if there are multiple actions of the same type.
Turtle: You move forward one space. You ignore any stings. Nothing can prevent you from this slow, but steady, advance.
Rabbit: You attempt to move forward two spaces, but you are vulnerable to stings and have to roll the Wyvern Die and get a 5 or higher to advance the second space.
Sting: You move forward one space and attempt to sting up to 3 other racers, but you are vulnerable to being stung. Each racer you sting has to roll the Wyvern Die and get a 5 or higher or they fail to advance this turn (unless they Turtled).
It is possible to be stung multiple times in a round if multiple opponents choose to sting you. You must roll the Wyvern Die for every sting and for any second space you attempt if you chose to “Rabbit”.
At the end of each round the player in the lead (or the player with a share of the lead who is closest to the first lane if there are multiple) rolls the Wyvern Die. The racer in the track corresponding to the number rolled gets one free space of movement (even if they were stung and failed to move that round).
The first racer to cross the finish line by exiting the tenth space on the track wins. It is customary to bet on Wyvern’s Race.
Not merely typical arm wrestling bouts, such matches are usually conducted on a barrel top
covered in broken glass, knives, or caltrops. Participants make opposed Strength checks, with the higher result determining the winner, and the loser taking an amount of damage equal to 1d2 + the winner’s Strength modifier as his hand and arm are pushed onto whatever lies on the table.
Participants lob a lead ingot covered in a greased piglet skin, the “hog,” as far across the deck as possible. This game is resolved by d20 checks between any number of players, who agree on a bet beforehand. The hog counts as an improvised weapon, imposing a –4 penalty on all rolls using it unless the thrower has the Throw Anything feat. Checks are resolved as attack rolls using the character’s CMB. Characters toss the hog a number of feet equal to their adjusted rolls; for example, a character who gets a result of 22 throws the hog 22 feet. Some pirates claim to have participated in games played against Asmodeus using a live hog.
This potentially deadly drinking game is played with rum and takes place between any number of pirates, who bet to predict the winner beforehand. Each pirate drinks a half pint of rum in one swig. Doing so forces participants to make a successful DC 15 Fortitude save or have the damage dealt by the rum ration increase by +1 (see sidebar; this is in addition to the normal effects of the rum ration). This DC increases by +3 for each consecutive drink. Pirates then take turns drinking until only one is left standing. Some tales tell of entire crews drinking themselves to death through this game, leaving ships of drunk ghosts wandering the shipping routes.
Five six-sided dice are used per player, with dice cups used for concealment.
Each round, each player rolls their dice under their cups and looks at their new hand while keeping it concealed from the other players. The first player begins bidding, picking a face and a quantity. The quantity is the claim of how many of the chosen face have been rolled in total on the table.
Each player has two choices during his turn: make a higher bid, or challenge the previous bid. Raising the bid means either increasing the quantity, or the face value, or both, according to the specific bidding rules used.
If the current player challenges the current bid, all dice are revealed. If the bid is valid, the bidder wins. Otherwise, the challenger wins.
Bets are placed by the players and people watching on who will win.
This game is played with two pirates taking a position several feet away from each other with their feet shoulder length apart. Each player takes a turn throwing a knife at the other player’s feet trying to get as close to hitting the opponent without actually hitting them. Each round bets are made by players and sailors watching.
The game ends when one of the players hits the other, thereby losing.
This game is a played with a unique deck of pirate cards.
There are five suits to the deck – Bones, Pistols, Swords, Coins & Keys
In each suit there are three face cards and six numbered cards.
Admiral = 10
Captain = 10 (if played with the admiral or bosun) otherwise it is 9
Bosun = 10 (if played with the admiral and bosun) otherwise it is 8
The numbered cards are worth their number value (6-1)
Each player is dealt two cards face down and one card face up.
The first round of betting starts with the players and sailors betting who is going to win the hand.
Then another card is dealt in the center. This is a community card usable by all.
Then another round of betting occurs.
Then another community card is dealt in the center.
Whoever is the closest to 30 (using only 3 cards) without going over is the winner.
Anyone who plays the Bone Admiral automatically splits the winning pot even if they aren’t the winner. (If the Bone Admiral is a community card all the player’s split the pot and a new hand is dealt).
Schooner is a knife-throwing game that is very popular in port cities, especially in the seedier parts of town. In Schooner, the player throws special knives at a target, the target being the handles of a ship’s wheel mounted on a wall, which is spun before the first throw. You can play Schooner with any sort of knives, but there are knives designed especially for the game. Schooner knives have a smooth, curved handle with a natural rest for one’s index finger, but the blade is heavy and awkward, with and odd heft to it. They are designed to be very hard to throw, and using them is a point of pride for any serious Schooner player. The player stands behind a ship’s rail and decides how fast they want the wheel to be spun. The dealer spins the wheel at one of three speeds: slow, fast, or very fast, and the player gets two throws. The wheel is stopped and then respun before the second throw. Bets are placed on whether or not he’ll hit any of the handles,
with “zero” being a valid(and popular) choice. As usual, the thrower is welcome to bet on himself.
How to Play: There are eight handles on the ship’s wheel that is used as a target in Schooner. Only hits on the handles count. Because the handles are moving targets and it doesn’t matter which one the thrower hits, one AC value is used to determine success or failure. The thrower makes a ranged touch attack against the target. If he succeeds, he’s sunk one knife into a handle. At slow speed, the target is AC 18. On a fast spin, it’s AC 20, and on a very fast spin, it’s AC 20 with a 20% miss chance (as the handles are moving quickly enough to appear as a solid blur). Using the traditional Schooner knives incurs a —4 equipment penalty to the thrower’s attack roll. Treat these knives as daggers in all other respects (Weapon Focus (dagger) would apply normally, for example). As the knives are purposely built to be hard to throw, there is no way to offset this penalty. Most gambling houses prohibit magic — spells or items — on the premises, but characters who were able to sneak in a means of enhancing their knife throwing
skills can certainly cheat at Schooner. Apart from that, options for cheating are limited.
Payout: Two factors determine the payout: how fast the wheel is spun, and whether or not the
thrower uses Schooner knives. For the speed, slow is 1:1, fast is 2:1, and very fast is 3:1. Using Schooner knives doesn’t change the payout for a slow spin, but bumps it up to 3:1 for a fast one, and 4:1 for a very fast one. Although this gives beginners a chance to use balanced throwing knives on a slow spin at no penalty, there is a tremendous amount of social pressure
not to do so — and no true Schooner player would even consider it.
Variations: The payout for Schooner is fairly low, but this is very much intentional: if it were higher, the game would be a ridiculously good moneymaker for most mid-level adventuring parties. Similarly, the 20% miss chance is present partly to keep things interesting regardless of the
thrower’s level. If you want to increase the payment, consider doing so in the context of a special event. Perhaps the house arranges a contest with a small entry fee, and the winner is the
thrower who hits the target the most times in ten throws. The house would be very reluctant to cover large bets, as a good thrower and a group of his friends (all betting on him, of course) could easily rack up a lot of money in a short time.