Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Welcome to Free Ports - And a Bottle of Rum AAR

This is the first adventure using Free Ports, the And a Bottle of Rum supplement. It's the story of Arthur, a newly commissioned pirate captain, working for a wealthy merchant in the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy. Arthur arranged a deal where he was given command of a small 5th Rate ship called the Misguided Virtue. 

Free Ports has 15 Encounters in the book some linked, and some not. All can be used over and over with different results. We pick up our story with the MisguideVirtue arriving at Puerto Libre, a small Spanish controlled town; the seat of the local government.


Being a controlled town (New Market, the other town in Free Ports, is a loose pirate haven) all captains must report to the Port Official when they arrive and present their papers. 

Arthur, Carl (the Chief Gunner) and Diego (Pilot) take a small boat to the docks. Usually pirates would attempt to enter the town at night and never sail their ships under the guns of the forts during the day. But Arthur has faith that the newly rechristened Misguided Virtue will not cause a stir. With such a small crew and no visible additional guns, she looks like a small merchantman.
Each town in Free Ports has an Area Map like the one that first appeared in 5150 Urban Renewal. Here's the B&W version of Puerto Libre. The South Docks are used for non-military traffic so that's where the Virtue lands. Arriving in the Day Time means the Activity Level (3) is lower than the morning but there are still many (4) PEFs moving about.

Unless the PEF resolution affects the adventure I'll just leave it or make a small reference.


After speaking with a few citizens, the trio make their way towards the Port Official's office. The main office is farther in town but Arthur hopes what he needs can be handled down at the docks.

As Arthur goes inside Carl and Diego wait outside, ready to run or sound the alarm should the Watch head this way. Once inside, Arthur must take a People Challenge to interact with the Port Official. Except he's not in!

Arthur is told that the Port Official does not work out of this building but can be found at his office in the Government Area. "If you're lucky you can still catch him there. But if you can't, here's temporary papers that will last for 24 hours."

This is Arthur's first time in Puerto Libre so I had him go to the Harbor Master building to find out where the Port Official office was located.

I then had him take a People Challenge versus the aide that was there. As he was interacting with the aide and not Senor Gomez, the Port Official, In tweaked the People Challenge results. The consequences of failure would be the same, but I tempered the success to reflect the lack of power of the aide.

Scoring a result of "recruit" I interpreted that to mean he could gain temporary papers that would be adequate for 24 hours should he be questioned by the Watch.

Arthur's goal is to find a smuggler known only as El Pelican. Where is he? To find out we use the Where Are They Table - Puerto Libre. This represents asking around for the location of someone. This saves time as you don't need to play out an encounter and it also drives the story, making up the details for you. Here's how it works:

  1. I refer to the table in the book.
  2. I go down the column to the Circle and Profession I am looking for. All of the Classes from And a Bottle of Rum have been incorporated into Professions and similar Professions grouped into social Circles.
  3. Going to the Smuggler row I see that Smugglers can be found in the West Side during the day but at the Docks at night.


Arthur decides to wait until nightfall, instead of heading deeper into Puerto Libre. If he's lucky he may find El Pelican before the morning and not need to see the Port Official. It's better to wait by the docks and near the ship in case of trouble. The trio head for a nearby Inn to grab a meal and some drinks while they wait.

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