PIRATE BRAG: A FREE TABLETOP STORYDRINKING / STORYTELLING GAME BY JEFF MACH AND THE DARK LORD JOURNAL!
Ahem. Sorry there, matey. Got me pirate thumb caught in the door o’ me pirate chevy, and it hurts like–well, anyway, do pardon the screamin’.
This is the day, the great day when Pirates from all around the eight seas (oh, sure, YOU think there’s only seven seas, but what do YOU know of dread pirate secrets?)–gather to choose a new Pirate King! And of course, they do it in the most piratical manner possible: by awardin’ the crown to the one who can tell the very best story!
What’s that ye say? That do be a milquetoast manner in which to elect a Lord of Buccaneers? Did ye expect wars, backstabbin’, combat, treachery, and intrigue?
Don’t be ridiculous. We may be privateers, but we ain’t nitwits. We seen that whole “Throne Game” series, and we recognize that nobody in their right mind would want to go through all that stuff just to rule over a bunch of scurvy, nigh-unmanageable sea-miscreants. Let’s face it, the main job of a Pirate King is just singing about it a lot. Ain’t worth gettin’ your wine poisoned over that. Waste o’ good wine.
SO VERY WELL! PIRATICAL STORYTELLING IT DO BE! WE SHALL NOW TELL YOU THE RULES OF THIS WILD ADVENTURE IN CREATIVITY, VILLAINY, AND STORYDRINKING!
WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO PLAY THIS GAME
- PIRATES: Persons (or Turing-aware AIs, either way) who wish to tell their Sea-Wolf tales; also known as “players”. Piratical dress and costume are always appreciated, but not at all necessary (for a true Pirate do be wearin’ what they want to wear, and damn what others thing!)
- BARTENDER(s): As in all other areas of life, Bartenders are the true judges of any tale. Ye may have as many Bartenders as ye want–but if there be more than one, they’ll need to be sure they can AGREE on which story is best each round. There’s been many a semi-needless stabbin’ over discussion of the finer points o’ oral history.
- THE LIST OF SITUATIONS, COMPLICATIONS, ABERRATIONS, and RUMBUSTIFICATIONS. These are the pieces which go into each storytelling challenge. Three of them are drawn by the Bartenders; RUMBUSTIFICATIONS (it’s kind-of a word! Look it up if ye don’t be believin’ our extensive nautical vocabulary!) are drawn by the Pirates. We’ll provide ye with lists of each (ye can also make yer own). We recommend copying the lists and cuttin’ ’em up with scissors, then drawin’ ’em from a vast dark Captain’s Hat. But we do be muchly inclined towards attacking problems with blades; it’s a thing.
- THE SKULLS OF YOUR ENEMIES AND/OR SOME OTHER KIND OF TOKENS. This is for KEEPING SCORE. (We, personally, think ye should use glasses of Grog. But we do might have an over-fondness for Grog, perhaps.
- (Optional) CAKE. This is not true. Ye cake are, sadly, a falsehood.
- (Optional) RUM. We would have made this a requirement, but it appears that the rum is gone. WHY IS THE RUM GONE? WHY? WHY? WHY?
If ye do be wishin’ to make this a drinkin’ game, feel free to get yer Grog on. Always drink responsibly; and never, ever drink ‘n then pilot thy craft; that’s how we get Cursed Ships, dammit.
If this is a drinking game, we suggest that the winner of each round takes a drink. (You COULD try having all the losing players take a drink instead, but thaaaaaaat will get ye a rather tipsy crew, rather quickly. So be warned!)
Finally, if you’re doing a drinking game and have lots of clean glasses, you COULD pour each round’s drink into a clean glass, and hand the glass to the winning player. The person with the most glasses of alcohol wins–in the game, and in life. However:
WHAT THE HECK BE YE DOING WITH THAT MANY CLEAN GLASSES? WHAT KIND OF PIRATE ARE YE, ANYWAY?
Slit all their throats and walk away with the treasure!
Wait, sorry, that’s a DIFFERENT game altogether. What we meant was:
The object of PIRATE BRAG is to use the story elements, plus the Rumbustification of your choice, to tell the pirate story best-loved by the the Bartenders. We recommend 3-5 rounds, unless ye be wantin’ a VERY long night. ‘Tis up to the assemblage whether or not to put a time limit on each story; we suggest that ye do, lest some tales get COMPLETELY out of hand.
HOW TO WIN AT STORYDRINKING
Slit their throats and walk away wit–
Sorry. The ol’ Piratical instincts do be risin’ up of their own accord sometimes.
Each round, each Pirate will tell a story based on story elements drawn by the Bartenders, modified by the Rumbustification of that pirate’s choice. After all stories are told, the Bartender(s) then decide which one they liked best. The person with the winning story wins that rounds. The person who wins the most rounds wins the game.
If there’s a tie for the final victory, feel free to declare both parties to be winners. Or have a tiebreaker round. Or let them fight to the death over a pit of fiery electro-piranhas. It’s up to you.
STEP BY STEP DIRECTIONS TO THE BURIED TREA–NO, WAIT. STEP BY STEP DIRECTIONS FOR GAMEPLAY. THERE’S NO TREASURE HERE. SERIOUSLY. LOOK ELSEWHERE, YE SWABS! GET AWAY FROM OUR TREASURE MAP–
Sorry. As we were saying–
- At the beginning of the game, decide who’ll be Pirates and who’ll be Bartenders. The Pirates are competing against each other, NOT the Bartenders. No pirate in their right mind would go up against a bartender; they might stop serving you drinks!
- Pirates are basically storytellers, Bartenders are basically referees. As always, Decision Of The Bartenders Is FINAL.
2. Print (or write out) each of the SITUATIONS, COMPLICATIONS, and ABERRATIONS, and randomize them however you see fit. We suggest drawing them out of a hat.
3. Do the same thing with the RUMBUSTIFICATIONS and put those into a DIFFERENT hat.
4. Swear a solemn oath NEVER to reveal any of the secrets which will be spoken tonight. Then totally lie and reveal ’em all. BECAUSE: PIRATE.
5. Each player pulls three RUMBUSTICATIONS from the hat. You can keep them secret, or not; up to you.
5. The player who brought the most Rum goes first, of course. If ye be not drinkin’ Rum, some lesser beverage will suffice. If ye be not drinkin’, then just pick somebody to go first. It ain’t that hard, laddies.
6. The Bartenders pull a SITUATION from the hat. This gives an overall idea of the mission of your story. The Bartenders then pull a COMPLICATION, which will make your situation more difficult, because life imitates art, dammit. Finally, they’ll pull an ABERRATION from the hat. We’re sorry. It’s tough being a pirate.
7. The Pirate whose turn it is shall select a RUMBUSTIFICATION to modify the flavor of the tale. Ye must then tell the story about how you, as a Pirate, encountered this situation and conquered it with Piratical derring-do! LIE. LIE A WHOLE LOT. YOU’RE A PIRATE AND THIS IS A BRAGGING/DRINKING GAME. LIE.
We recommend that Bartenders impose a time limit, such as three minutes, upon each story; but that’s up to you. If you want to listen to Pirates ramble on forever about their unlikely adventures, that’s on you.
8. When that Pirate’s tale is done, said Pirate draws a new RUMBUSTIFICATION, and then tosses the RUMBUSTIFICATION they just used back into the hat.
9. The remaining Pirates take turns–each using the SAME situation cards as the first player, and each pairing them with a RUMBUSTIFICATION from their own hand. (Or tentacle, or purse, or Bag of Holding, or wherever you store the RUMBUSTIFICATIONS you’ve drawn.) So the Event cards stay the same, but the RUMBUSTIFICATION card (usually) changes. Yes, you can use the same card as another player, if you have said card. (But do tell a different story, or tell the same story a different way; otherwise, the bartenders will likely laugh at you.)
9. The Bartenders confer however they choose, and decide which story they like best. They then announce the winner of that round, and give that person a TOKEN, or the SKULL OF AN ENEMY, or whatever else you use to keep score. IF YOU CAN’T KEEP SCORE, IT’S NOT OUR FAULT. HOW WILL YE EVER COUNT THY TREASURE IF YE CAN’T REMEMBER THY VICTORIES?
10. Once each Pirate has told a story, the Bartenders then put aside the used-up SITUATIONS, COMPLICATIONS, and ABERRATIONS, and draw new ones. And the next round begins.
11. Keep going until you have played as many rounds as you chose, or the Kraken rises up out of the sea and consumes you all, whichever comes first.
12. Player who’s won the most rounds, wins. WE REALLY SHOULDN’T NEED TO KEEP SAYING THAT, BUT WE’LL DO IT ANYWAY, JUST TO BE THOROUGH.
It’s a good idea to agree BEFORE you start on what you value most. Just have a discussion about it. Are we looking to tell the funniest stories? The biggest lies? The most creative uses of the cards? Are we having a free-for-all, where the Bartender’s idea of “Best” is “Whatever most pleaseth the Bartender(s)”?
RECOMMENDATION: Our favorite rubrics are WELL-PLOTTED, WELL-TOLD, FUNNY, and REALLY, REALLY UNTRUE. “Well-plotted” means the story makes sense (or makes glorious nonsense). WELL-TOLD means told in an interesting style or way. FUNNY is too subjective for us to define; figure that out yourselves. And REALLY, REALLY UNTRUE means that we, personally, really admire those who can put forth tales which are GREAT BIG WACKY WHOPPERS, yet which also hold a narrative together.
Example of a boring untruth: “This coffee kept me awake much longer than coffee normally does.” Example of interesting untruth: “THIS COFFEE REVIVED ME ANCIENT PIRATE BONES FROM THE DEAD, AND NEVER AGAIN WILL I KNOW THE JOYOUS OBLIVION OF SLEEP.”
This will eventually be a longer list. Feel free to write your own. But for now, we’ll just do ten of each.
SITUATIONS are the general circumstances surrounding the Pirate’s tale. Here’s ten examples:
- ON SINKING SHIP
- UNCOVERED STRANGE TREASURE
- BARGAINING WITH DAVY JONES
- CAUGHT PECULIAR FISH
- DISCOVERED ATLANTIS
- INVENTED TEA
- DRANK TOO MUCH RUM
- FOUGHT MASSIVE SEA-BATTLE
- BECAME CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT
- ABDUCTED BY SPACE-SHARKS
COMPLICATIONS are the things that make your SITUATION more difficult.
- …WHILE IN THE BRIG
- SUFFERING TEMPORARY LOSS OF NOSE
- FLEEING BILL-COLLECTORS
- FACING MUTINY
- FORCED TO WALK THE PLANK
- OUT OF RUM!!!
- SENTENCED TO DEATH
- ON FIRE
- ACCIDENTALLY NAVIGATED TO NORTH POLE
- FORCED TO INVENT TEA
- DREAD CTHULHU ARISEN FROM SEA
- LEVIATHAN AWAKE AND ANGRY
- ALTERNATE UNIVERSE WHERE RUM NEVER EXISTED
- OPPOSITE DAY
Your only hope, O Player, may lie in…RUMBUSTIFICATIONS.
- LAUGHTER IN THE FACE OF DANGER!
- SWEET SWASHBUCKLING SKILLS
- LOVED BY MER-CREATURE
- STAR OF DERIVATIVE BUT POPULAR FILM
- TIME-TRAVEL (use wisely!)
- INCREDIBLY ATTRACTIVE
- SLIGHTLY MAGIC LAMP
- TERRIBLY SUAVE
- FEARED BY LANDLUBBERS
- FEARED BY PIRATES
- DOESN’T KNOW MEANING OF FEAR
- HAS OWN THEME MUSIC
- WILD CARD! (make it good!)