Announcing "Endless Seas", a Pirate/Swashbuckling Setting

Hi there!

I just uploaded a Quickstart on “Endless Seas”, a pirate/swashbucklers-themed setting (not an affiliate link, btw!) in a world with elements of classy Pirate / Swashbucklers stories (think Treasure Island or The Three Musketeers) infused with mystic elements like monsters of the seas and spiritual magic (not included in the quickstart).

If you’re interested in a setting/project like this or maybe even played the adventure, please let me know. I’ll answer on feedback, here.

I plan to release setting background information and (hopefully) a full-fledged book. Yet, do not expect this to happen soon, as this is a hobby project I do in my (limited) free time. Feedback here (or via mail) could of course bolster my motivation to proceed with the project. :wink:

The quickstart includes elemental rules and a quick adventure. It’s set to suggest a cost of 1€ (~1$) and all income will be spent on artwork and the like.


I love pirate setting. I’m on modiphius discord if you want to join me

Bought this because I had been thinking about a naval type setting (probably more Regency, like the old Privateers & Gentlemen game than Golden Age of pirates). No ship rules obviously. One query I had was about social skills (probably more of an issue in my setting, but even pirates and swashbucklers may need to be charming) currently there is “Command” which might not cover all social situations - I guess you could use say Know with Presence to know how to behave in a social situation?

Very cool! I’ll try to squeeze in the demo adventure, maybe as a holodeck adventure for my STA group.

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Not yet. I will eventually write up rules for ships and naval combat, yet I am not finished with some central design decisions.

Not sure whether those should end up in the quickstart as this is of course another layer of complexity. :thinking:

Yes, of course Pirates need to be charming sometimes and at least the recent Swashbuckling cultural codes definetly include some romance. :wink:

I chose a rather narrative approach to skills as games like Star Trek Adventures or Dune: Adventures in the Imperium do. So on everything regarding skills I have three points as advice:

  1. Use the Attribute/Skill combination that best suits the Test. ‘Presence + Know’ for theoretical knowledge on social codes is an excellent example. A Character succeeding at a Presence + Know Test on social codes among a ship’s crew could e.g. know that the ship’s Captain would address crew members with ‘Mr./Ms.’ despite they might carry a formal naval rank.

  2. Do use focusses! While ‘Presence + Command’ is most likely the go-to-combination for many social interactions, focusses like ‘Intimidation’, ‘Diplomacy’, or ‘Courtoisie’ will make the difference.

  3. Maybe even use Traits! In social interactions, some codes are so sublime that we do not even conciously use them. These ‘fine differences’ could even be reflected by Traits: sometimes you really need to be ‘nobleborn’ to be accepted by the really suspicious. :slight_smile:

On that note: You have just given me inspiration for a really nice Talent, thank you! :+1:

A question: Will Voodoo magic be a thing ? or perhaps Faith ? or Reason?

I don’t know whether it will be called “Voodoo”, but, yes, there will be magic and it will be more mystic and revolving around curses etc. than a “high fantasy, high power” throwing of lightnings and fireballs. I imagine spells that work more subtle than that: change the winds and/or weather for a scene, alter currents, navigate in thick fog in a cloudy night, maybe change attributes/skills of allys in their favour or those of adversaries to their detriment.

Also, magic will be strongly connected to nature. I have to decide yet whether it will involve spirits or “elements” – but there will be no “wizard” learning “spells” out of a magic book or stuff like that. I envisage more oral traditions.

What could be a thing, though, is alchemism.

Regarding Faith: There will be faith and there will be some kind of church (and of course there definetly will be a Cardinal called Richelieu! :wink: ), but I have yet to decide yet whether priests would actually perform magic or would simply have outstanding social (and mental) skills.

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On the idea of ships.
Have you thought of ships as locations instead of something needing “rules” to move around? Like others I have played many RPG’s that have “ship rules” but completely lack anything for the Roleplaying side. We have endless location maps and layouts for inns, taverns, villages and what have you, but nothing on a poop deck. They don’t have to be hyper detailed, but a basic presentation that lets the players experience the difference in room available between a cutter and a third rater, or a caravel and a carrack (depending on era) would really enhance immersion.

Just a thought


Another idea for Ships is to draw from how Dune has handled Houses.
It is heavily abstracted, but making the ship a character in it’s own right would fit well with the setting.

The use of domains and traits on a Ship could give a lot of RP potential.


If you make a test play I volunteer

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Hey y’all, thanks for all the input! I really appreciate!

Maybe both? I think it depends. During ship-to-ship combat, I think I won’t get around “classical” movement rules, but I want ship-to-ship combat as abstract as in STA. Which won’t be easy as there are winds and currents to consider. But I want to work heavily with traits on that.

Considering boarding (which I imagine as “classical” combat like we see in all the other roleplaying games), a ship definetly is a location. I did not provide a map to the quickstart (maybe I should add one?), but depending on size, a ship should have a number of zones on the upper deck etc.

What will be very interesting there is considering verticals. While much of the fights will take place on the upper deck, at least the “skirmish” combat system should acknowledge that there also are lower decks—and rigging, considering this shall be a game of daring swashbucklers.

Yes, ships will be characters. Just like in STA, but I think a bit more abstract than in STA. So, yes, I am looking into Dune’s Houses, right now. But I think I will take these for the “faction”-plays and combine them with the (new) reputation rules of STA. Characters having a “notoriety” score (you might have noticed) might give you an idea on what I envisage. Thinking of (the remake?) of Sid Meyer’s Pirates! and the different factions might give you another. I’m heavily simulationist in these matters. :slight_smile:

Thanks! I will come back to that when I have a play test (will take me some time, though).

Based on this feedback, I will concentrate on ships and ship combat, next. I had some ideas on the game world (I decided not to make a quasi-historical or alternate-history setting for various reasons) but will stall that for the moment.

Either way, the next update will not come before march. Lots of work at my payed job, right now. :frowning:


What I usually do is provide a small but detailed map of the ship and decks. I also do this for STA. On paper no bigger than 11x17 inch for STA and usually 8x11 for Age of Sail. Big enough for the players to see the layout and as you mentioned the vertical placement. But far too small for mini’s. That is intentional. Many players will bog down the game with the infamous “My finger is still on my chess piece” indecision. When the time comes for the actual fight we just quickly sketch the needed part on a mat. But having a “deckplan” gives the players something to make plans and decisions against. Not every interaction is a battle and a deckplan also enables stealthy stuff…

Plus players begin to realize most ships of the era were actually pretty small. Not every ship was the HMS Victory (74 gun ship of the line) or the fantasy concoction of the Black Pearl.

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Don’t you hate that :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

At the moment, I’m planning with the “one zone per mast” rule of thumb, plus one for quarter/poop deck, plus one rigging zone (maybe per mast). I actually love the “zones” abstraction of 2d20!

So, most ships will have 3 or 4 zones (plus everything lower decks). Which is big, by the way. So I might even put two masts into one zone. We will see. :slight_smile:

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Just so you know: I’ve done a little update to the quickstart, renaming the “Command” skill to “Banter” and the “Move” skill to “Dash”. No mechanical implications, it just sounded cooler, I think (you may well change my mind on that one).

Also added some colour, because: why not?

Still working on the Core Rules. I might as well upload some “pre-alpha early access” or so. No earlier than (probably late) march, though.

In case any of you got an update notification for the Quickstart: Did not change the PDF, only the data on drivethru. Off-time is scarce, these days, and thus I’m still working on the Core Rules. Still not sure whether I should do the “((pre-)alpha) early access” thing, or not. :see_no_evil:

Regarding the Quickstart: Though not strictly needed for the adventure, there will eventually at least one map of Port Steadfast and/or its vicinity. Some day. I might also expand the adventure to also cover a short ship-to-ship combat scene. Again: Some day. :wink:

There will be several possibilities to handle ship-to-ship combat. For example, a battle on the High Seas will, most of the time, not need absolute positioning of the ships so even zones can be abstracted away. This, however, would not work in environments with rocks or shallow waters, coastlines etc. Also, I am still undecided whether to use further options like “damage to whole ship vs. damage to specific parts of the ship (hull, masts, sails etc.)”. I will probably include the options so one can gradually escalate the set of rules needed to cover a specific ship-to-ship conflict.

We will see. :slight_smile:

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Just a rhetorical question.

Do your ship to ship combat rule exist to showcase two ships fighting each other, or facilitate the PC’s in session actions?

I try to keep rules overhead at an absolute minimum, if that answers your question. I will try to adapt the ship-to-ship combat of Star Trek Adventures, reducing complexity where I can (e.g. on High Seas with only two ships you don’t really need a map with zones), while adding where I have to (there need to be something with winddirections, I’m afraid :person_shrugging: ).

I do not plan to build a naval wargame. That’s simply not what 2d20 is built for.

I haven’t actually looked at the quickstart rules :grimacing: but glanced at this thread… how do the rules handle theater-of-the-mind type combat? (The post I’m replying to seems to assume a physical diagram.)

Basically, like you know it from STA.