My new project: Furry Pirates!

I’m not actually planning to call it that, but I’ve just started making a game based on this image, just because I think it looks so cool.

Ok, so, it’s not really for furries per se. No more than Tabaxi and Kenku and Lizardfolk and tortles are for furries in D&D. I just like the idea of anthropomorphic animals… and no elves, humans, dwarves, etc.

I thought that this was going to be about a new edition of this game:

(Of course, just because there is a pre-existing game with a similar premise doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make your own.)

Yeah, I saw that one… 20 years old and not really up to today’s standards. I am mostly using Furry Pirates as a WIP name that is also extremely easy to remember and clear about exactly what you’re gonna get… I mean, like I said above, I’m not a furry, and it’s not really going to be about furries (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

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Was just trying to think up a real name for the project, and I think I want to include the word Corsairs … I always loved that word, and I like the gravitas it brings to maybe counteract a bit of the silliness of the anthropomorphic protagonists.

I don’t have any great interest in anthropomorphic animals, yet the image does strike my imagination quite a bit. The image, along, would get me to examine a game with an interest in playing it.

I don’t think I’d put anything about the characters being furries in the title. I’d ground the title in the setting, myself. Take it for granted that seeing the image communicates there are furries and use the title to characterize the setting. Why are corsairs heroic (or anti-heroic) characters in the setting?

Seems like a grand idea to me. Just be careful getting too into the woods with things like species rules. The sheer quantity of potential anthro-types could invite overdesign trying to make rabbits different from rats, rats different from weasels, weasels different from foxes, foxes different from dogs and so on. I’d probably suggest keeping the types as mostly player-chosen skins rather than concrete D&D-style races. Otherwise your “pick a species” section will utterly dominate your book. And you’re just as likely to find players who want to bust animal stereotypes (badass bruiser rabbits or sneaky lion thieves) as those who want to embrace them.

Otherwise it’s a good way to add some appeal to a genre that usually cries out for a little something extra.

Yeah, thanks Orion. I was planning on having some really broad categories that give some special abilities, but nothing that would make a species a “must have”, the way stat bonuses in D&D do.

Have you anything scratched out yet that we can look at?

I do, although I paused because I was having some trouble coming up with playbooks/classes and got into designing a superhero RPG. But here’s what I have… there’s not a lot there, but some good ideas, I think.

I made a big mistake by trying to start off with it in two columns… it’s super hard to keep it formatted that way in google docs while continuing to write (though I do enjoy how it looks).

My other RPG is set to 5.5x8.5 and is trivial to keep formatted nicely.

Just kind of going through as I read this…

*I’m a bit shaky on the core resolution mechanic. The first bit says the standard is 2d10, modified by advantage or disadvantage, but the skill section says that your skill rating is the number of dice you roll. I think I’m reading right in saying that skill determines it, but the wording is a little confusing and I’m not sure what you would do if you’re attempting a “general” roll that isn’t related to one of the skills.

*I think it’d be best to come up with an alternate disadvantage system for hitting 1 or 0 dice. The changeover to rolling more dice but keeping the worst ones could work if it was a rare situation, but it seems like that’s going to be the standard whenever you make an unskilled roll and it just seems a little bit awkward to use a lot…but I admit I’m currently blanking on an easy alternative.

*I get the general idea behind the classes, but I do wonder how the Stormlord and Mystic are going to be balanced…the mystic’s stuff seems like it’s going to be heavily overshadowed since most of the examples are in the same general area, but the stormlord gets to directly control while the mystic mostly nudges or predicts. Also, just in general in a pirate game a weather-controlling character seems like a big thing. Seems like they could make a lot of sea encounters trivial.

*The damage system is interesting but I think it might be easier to do something like double the number of damage dice rolled and count 1-5 as 1 damage and a 6 as 2 damage. Makes it a lot easier to count up. I’d also probably suggest basing the damage around d10’s instead of d6’s. That way the game can be played with just a single type of die (maybe 1-8 gives 1 damage, 9-10 gives 2 damage? some classes could get abilities that push that lower, so maybe the reaver gets a bonus to inflict 2 damage on an 8-10 instead of a 9-10).

Thanks for the feedback!

Describing the dice mechanic is definitely a problem. I think of it like a dice pool, except translating that to fewer than two dice gets wonky.

There maybe doesn’t need to be a “general” resolution mechanic. You don’t usually roll d20s in D&D for random things. Maybe I should put that “normal roll is 2d10” under the stats, since it’s probably only ever used for a stat check that somehow doesn’t have a related skill… and you’d count as trained in your stats, I guess?

I honestly haven’t thought that much about how the classes will work, though I think they’ll be a lot more subtle than D&D most of the time. This won’t be a call lightning / fireball type game.

Damage on d10s is interesting. I guess I assume basically everyone has d6s, especially people playing some esoteric pirate game… but it’s valid that it might be better with just a single type. I might be able to do 1-5 = 1 damage, 6-9 = 2 damage, 10=3 damage. It makes 3 damage hits more rare, but that makes them a lot more exciting when they happen. And maybe low/high on a d10 is easier? That also has almost the exact same average damage as my d6 system (1.6 vs. 1.66).

Again, thanks for the feedback!

I took a quick stab at explaining that die roll mechanism. It’s a simple thing, once understood, though not necessarily simple to explain. Here’s my riff on that:

"The number of dice you end up rolling is adjusted by circumstance. You will always roll at least 2 dice. Sometimes, you’ll roll extra dice and take the two highest numbers for your roll. Other times you’ll roll extra dice and take the two lowest numbers. It depends on whether you have a net advantage or disadvantage.

Your skill rating tells you the base number of dice to roll. A lack of skill—rating of 1—places you at a disadvantage from the start. A rating of 2 shows you have the skill and can roll the basic two-die roll. A rating of 3 or 4 will involve adding another die or two to the roll.

Also, any advantage you gain from something in the environment will add dice to the roll. If you gain an advantage of any sort, you add one die to the roll. You can have two advantages on a roll.

Any disadvantage you gain from the environment will subtract dice from the roll. You can have, at worst, two disadvantages on a roll, which will subtract two dice.

After adding and subtracting dice due to advantage and disadvantage, you can figure out how many to roll. If the number of dice to roll is 2, then it’s a basic roll. If there are extra dice due to advantage, then roll all of those dice and take the two highest numbers for your roll.

If the number of dice you have left after adding advantage and disadvantage is 1, then you’ll roll three dice and take the two lowest numbers for your roll. If the number of dice you have left is 0, then you’ll roll 4 dice and take the two lowest numbers for your roll."