Most role-players are swashbucklers at heart, I believe. What they really want to do is combine having fun with being way cool. Swing from chandeliers. Dagger ride down sails. Quaff grog. Rescue the damsel in distress. Conduct swordfights in unlikely places. Blow stuff up. Dazzle people with witticisms. Kick the chief villain in the maraccas. Save the world. The '7th Sea' Role-Playing Game is made for this sort of thing.
Following is a selection of some of the funnier and more memorable stuff that has happened in my campaigns.
The Party's ship was at an anchorage in the Midnight Archipelago. Close by, also at anchor, was a big Castillian galleon commanded by a beautiful young noblewoman (of the Orduno family, no less!). It so happened that one of the Characters [Giles de Montespan (v2.0)] had the 'Star-Crossed' Hubris, and this seemed like a perfect oppurtunity for fun and role-play.
The young lady had fought a duel earlier that day, and was known to recuperating on board her ship. Giles decided that serenading her was worth a try. Preparations became a group effort - the Captain granting permission for Giles to "borrow" a boat, and the Character with Fashion providing guidance as regards what to wear. Other Characters hunted up an NPC crewman, name of Luigi, who was handy with the lute and (for a modest renumeration) ready to provide musical accompaniment.
It was pointed out (by me, the Ref) that coming alongside a ship in a small boat at night, unexpectedly, could lead to ... serious misunderstandings. OK, I could have let it happen, but I saw my suggestion as common sense, something that any experienced seafarer would realize. So a lantern was hurriedly added to what was proving to be a major undertaking.
At sunset, Giles and Luigi sallied forth in their properly illuminated rowboat. Several crewmen on the galleon watched the approach with mild interest. The number of watchers grew as the boat came closer ("...Hey, Pedro. Come and look at this...."). Giles positioned his boat close astern of the galleon, where he could gaze upwards to the large windows of the Captain's Cabin. Luigi readied his lute. Giles made a Balance check to stand up in the boat, and adopted the proper posture for serenading one's lady-love.
The would-be paramour began singing, with Luigi providing accompaniment. It should be noted that Giles did not have any kind of musical skill or aptitude. However, despite a very rocky start, true love (plus a Drama Die) meant that his singing soon became tolerable.
A minute or two passed as Giles sang. The young lady came to the window. She looked .... well, surprised for sure, but not necessarily in a good way. She withdrew. Giles kept singing. From inside came a very loud BUMP, as the lady pulled a large cannonball off a shelf, and it fell to the floor. There followed a Roll-Roll-Roll sound, as she moved the cannonball across the floor towards the window. Giles kept singing, though maybe with some trepidation creeping in around the edges. There followed a series of lesser BUMPs, intermingled with muttering, as she made several unsuccessfull tries to lift the heavy cannonball up onto the window sill. Giles kept singing.
The young lady's duna (nurse) entered the cabin, and proceeded to upbraid her charge. There followed a very loud "discussion" (in Castillian) between them. Giles kept singing. At some stage, the lady returned to the window - with a pistol. She fired, and narrowly missed. Luigi took cover in the bottom of the boat but, trouper that he was, kept the accompaniment going. Giles kept singing. More loud argument, with the lady finally screeching in rage and exiting the cabin (evidenced by the slamming of a door).
By this time, a large (and appreciative) audience had gathered in the galleon's upperworks. Upon realizing that their beloved captain was heading their way, most of this audience disappeared almost magically. The lady emerged on the quarterdeck, and aimed a swivel-gun at Giles (who was still singing).
Luigi finally cracked. He jumped over the side and began frantically swimming back to his own ship, not that anybody blamed him. The lady got into an argument with a couple of her officers, regarding use of the swivel-gun. At this point, Giles concluded his song, bowed to the lady, and rowed away.
The serenade had some effect, that's for certain. For the rest of the night, the PCs could hear the lady yelling at her crew.
As I saw it, all that was worth at least a couple of extra Reputation and Experience Points for Giles.
In my land-based campaign, one Player decided to play an Avalon bard. Said Character was also Sidhe-blooded, and we had an interesting discussion about possible Hubrises for him. Between us, we finally created an entirely new Hubris called 'Clueless'. Basically, it meant that the Character had certain ... blind spots as regards interacting with other people. In any given social setting, I could expend a Die so that the Bard would say/do something that was usually innocuous, but also happened to be exactly the wrong thing for that particular situation.
Classic usage of this in his introduction to the Party. They were in Eisen, right after the Montaigne invasion of Ussura had gone bust, and they had halted for the night at an out-of-the-way inn near the Ussuran border. A number of Montaigne soldiers were also there - mostly stragglers and/or deserters. A glum, grim and downright ugly bunch if ever there was one.
Off his own bat, the Bard PC decided to "cheer them up" with some music. Golden oppurtunity for his 'Cluelessness' to kick in, and it did. Of everything he could have sung, a selection of Ussuran folk tunes was probably a BAD choice. Segue to that great stand-by of any swashbuckling setting - The Barroom Brawl.
The Party are on an island, marching through a VERY thick jungle. Characters 'A' and 'B' are in the lead. Various NPCs are behind them. Character 'C' at the back of marching order. Being a big strong confident sort of person, 'C' specifies beforehand that, at the first inkling of trouble ahead, he will charge in at full speed to render aid.
Consider the following sequence of events.
The jungle is dense. Very dense. Partymembers cannot see further than a yard at best. Suddenly, 'A' falls over a cliff. Naturally, he gives out a startled yell as he grabs hold of the precipice, and dangles there. 'B' hears the yell and immediately dashes in to rescue 'A'. 'C' does likewise, but has the presence of mind to loop a rope around a tree, and tie the other end to himself before going in. 'B' falls over the cliff as well. Fortunately, 'A" makes an incredibly good roll (loads of exploding dice) to grab 'B' as he falls past. Good enough that I rule that, through some incredibly improbable acrobatics, both of them somehow finish up back at the top of the cliff.
'C' then arrives at top speed. He slams into 'A' and 'B'. All three Characters go over the cliff. A very high cliff. They grab hold of each other (and the rope). The rope snaps taut about thirty-plus feet into the drop, and the Characters suddenly find themselves penduluming in towards the cliff face. 'C' takes action - stating that he will attempt brace his legs against the impact in a kind of abseiling move.
As Referee, I make a random roll to determine the composition and hardness of that part of the cliff. Uh, huh. OK.
SPLOOOCH! That portion of the cliff is softish clay. Such is the impact that 'C' imbeds both legs in that muck up to mid-thigh. There is a brief silence as everybody takes stock. 'C' is well and truly stuck in the clay. 'A' and 'B' finally climb up the safety rope and, with the aid of the NPCs, use that rope to pull 'C' out of his perch. It takes lots of effort, and 'C' loses both of his favourite boots, but he is eventually rescued.
Fools rush in?
The Pyeryem dude (with Seagull, Boar and Wolf as alternate forms) has an interesting time in my seafaring campaign.
There was the time when he "infiltrated" a ship in Boar form. As anticipated, he was put into a livestock pen. Unfortunately, and unanticipated, there was also a sow (female pig) in his pen. A very large, very very AMOROUS sow. There were some ... worrying moments until he could finesse his way out.
There was also the time when he was snooping around another ship in his Seagull form. Unfortunately for him, I specified that he looked "different" to the other seagulls (hey, he was from the north and they were from the tropics). So, he was perched on the quarterdeck railing, trying to figure out what the officers are up to, when the other seagulls started giving him attitude ("...Hey, pretty boy, you are standing in MY place..."). Which meant he actually had to use Intimidation to get them to back off (without alerting the crew). Could have been much worse, though. At least that ship did not have any naturalist types on board - the funny-looking seagull could have attracted the wrong sort of attention (think the 'Master & Commander' movie).
Finally, there was the battle with a Corsair. The Pyeryem dude was flying over the Crescent ship in Seagull form, when he got the idea of doing a 'Death From Above' move onto that ship's captain. Flew directly overhead. Dived. Changed to Human on the way down. Then changed to Boar just before impact. So contemplate both the tactical and theological implications of that event for a moment or two. Corsairs are fighting an infidel ship when, suddenly, a pig drops out of clear sky and positively flattens the Corsair captain. Needless to say, morale on that ship took a severe hit.
A recent session, that went beyond my wildest dreams. The party was in the midst of a major boarding action. My resident Combat Monster made one of his customary ridiculous rolls, and I ruled that his rapier had become firmly stuck in the deck. The PC was reluctant to leave his weapon, it being Dracheneisen and all, so he opted to take an Action and make a Brawn roll to extract it. Simple enough.
Trouble was, something very strange happened to him luck-wise. I don't know what, maybe the Gawds do occasionally grant wishes to GMs.
Anyhow, no matter how hard the PC tried, he just could not make a low-level Brawn roll. The Character had Brawn of 3, and all he had to do was roll TN 10+, but that simply Would Not Happen. About eight consecutive times. The scene was hilarious - here he was in the midst of a major battle, trying to yank his sword out of the deck, in between dodging various bad guys and telling fellow partymembers, "Stop laughing and help me, damn it!" and demanding to know what voodoo I had done to his dice.
All this, mind you, despite my spotting him a couple of unkept dice after the first couple of tries, figuring he had to at least be loosening the damn thing. Alas, his troubles were far from over.
Things got worse, much worse. He fumbled twice in a row (rolled all 1's, another house rule). I was kind enough to decree that (instead of the sword breaking or the Character getting a hernia) he slipped, smacked the pommel with his chest and actually drove the sword further into the timbers. Which, of course, made his task even harder.
Yeah, the Character did eventually extract the weapon. Took him three combat rounds (not Actions, Rounds!) to do it, and he gave the bad guys what for thereafter, but everybody will always remember that little "problem" he had. And it all started because I exercised an option to have his sword get stuck at an inoppurtune time.
Three Characters (the 'Clueless' Avalon Bard, a Castillian intellectual and an Eisen swordswoman) in Charouse, the capital of Montaigne, just before the Revolution. They travel around, looking at the sights, of which there are many. A pleasant-looking tavern presents itself as a good prospect for midday refreshment, so they stop and sit at a table inside.
Unfortunately, the tavern is also hosting a party for the Lightning Guard. Some of them are drunk and belligerent, and this small group of foreigners seems a likely prospect for entertainment. Things start getting ugly. Very ugly. The PCs are capable of looking after themselves, but there are an awful lot of Lightning Guardsmen in the vicinity. Finally, as a bunch of LGs are bearing down on them at speed, the Characters opt to dive out through the window behind them.
Bad news. The window faces onto a side street, and is actually twenty feet above the pavement. Good news. There is a coach passing by underneath at that moment, and the PCs land on/in that instead. Bad news. The coach is occupied. Ouch.
The Bard and the Eisen both land on the roof. Their combined impact is enough that they immediately crash through and finish up inside with the two occupants - a noblewoman and her lady-in-waiting. To make matters worse, one of the Lightning Guardsmen attacking the Characters falls out the window and also lands in the coach. So there are five people tightly entangled in a very confined space - one drunk and angry, two stunned and hysterical, and two more who just want to leave.
The Castillian does much better. He exits the window with the wine, and lands neatly on the seat next to the driver. He promptly hands his bottle to the extremely surprised driver (who instinctively has a swig), grabs the reins and commences the getaway.
There follows a pellmell chase through the backstreets of Charouse. The Castillian tries to deal with the fact that he actually does NOT know how to drive a coach. The Lightning Guardsman in the coach is dealt with. He is slammed backside first through a panel just below the Castillian's feet, before finally being forcefully ejected THROUGH a side door. The two rightful occupants of the coach are harder to deal with, being well and truly hysterical by now.
Worrying detail for the Castillian. The street is starting to narrow. A lot. Succesful use of Wits to locate the handbrake and bring the coach more or less to a halt, wedged into what is basically a cul de sac. The Characters head for the rooftops, and eventually elude their pursuers. It is not a good day for the Lightning Guard.
A number of stories / rumours later emerge. Hordes of Castillian desperados who somehow infiltrate Charouse, attempt to kidnap somebody, inflict much property damage and battle the King's Guards. And so on. At least, that is what some people say. The consensus seems to be that, whatever happened, the Lightning Guard definitely came off worse.
The Characters attended the opera that evening (having made a few sensible changes to their appearance). They were unrecognised, so it seemed. Worthy of mention was that Remy du Montaigne, Captain of the Lightning Guard, was also there and seemed to be in an extremely bad mood. So were a number of his subordinates, several of whom looked as if they had been in a fight and lost....
My First 7th Sea Campaign (more anecdotes!)