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Bloode Island: Diceless Swashbuckling Adventure
 
$6.00
Average Rating:4.6 / 5
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Bloode Island: Diceless Swashbuckling Adventure
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Bloode Island: Diceless Swashbuckling Adventure
Publisher: Precis Intermedia
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/03/2011 15:21:25
The Active Exploits Diceless Roleplaying system is a simple, robust system that's been available for a considerable time. They're reprinted in this download so you don't have to juggle multiple downloads, a welcome addition, although the double-wide first page does make it hard to use the "page width" button on most PDF readers.

The Bloode Island materials start about halfway through. It begins with a solid overview of the New World in the time of the pirates, although with brief descriptions of major locations. Next there are many pre-made characters, always good for getting a game started quickly. A brief, light combat system for ship-to-ship combat. The basic maneuvers are handled just like any other character action, with special actions like boarding handled with stunts.

A pirate haven is described, from the perspective of a crew visiting it for the first time, a position the characters are likely to be in. There are several historical and fictional characters described, along with a few brief scenarios, concluding with a glossary of piractical terms and a thorough list of equipment.

Precis Intermedia has long displayed expertise in getting across a lot of extremely practical game information in very little space. Bloode Island is no exception. There simply isn't any wasted space whatsoever in this supplement. You can find everything you need for a solid pirate game in these 60 pages or so (plus the 70 or so pages of the diceless system).

If I had to identify an area for improvement, I would like to hear more about some of the typical issues with respect to pirate games - how to handle the NPC crew members, how to handle female characters given the views of females in the day, contrasting "realistic" piracy with pulp adventure piracy, and so forth, but these are all things that might be added, not changes to what's already there. For the $6 price, this is a marvelous, fast-moving pirate game, with everything you need to play from beginning to end.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bloode Island: Diceless Swashbuckling Adventure
Publisher: Precis Intermedia
by Eric H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/06/2005 00:00:00
Avast ye, matey! There be squall's ahead! Whatever. I think it was Decartes who first quoined the phrase, "I game, therefore I think I can talk like a pirate perfectly". Whoever it was, pirates have always been a huge part of gaming. Whether it's the thrill and mystery of the open sea or searching for buried treasure, gamers can find plenty to do in the world of piracy. In Bloode Island, Politically Incorrect Games hoists the Jolly Roger and sets sail. Whether or not it should rest at the bottom of Davy Jones Locker will yet be discover'd.

Introduction: Bloode Island is a supplement for the diceless role playing game, Active Exploits, which is free for download from this site. The body is 54 pages long, 53 make up the text and table of contents.

Organization/Layout: Bloode Island on the whole is put together well. It is in two column format and the text is very rich and easy to read. Period illustrations abound and augment the text where necessary. I really liked the style of the illustrations as it added an air of authenticity that modern drawings like the one on the cover just can't pull off. The chapters are laid out nicely and the flow of information is mostly logical. I found it strange that the rules information was sandwiched between the history chapter and the introduction to the setting. I also wonder why the introductory adventure didn't come after everything had been explained. However, it wasn't earth-shattering and certainly isn't a reason not to enjoy this product.

Crunchy: Chapter two of Bloode Island is a rules addendum that adds new aptitudes, academia, and the concept of mojo, the source of magic and other supernatural events. It also adds new spells such as the evil eye which makes a person waste away and the Zombie Curse which enslaves others to do the will of the caster (think Halperin's "White Zombie", not Romero's "Dawn of the Dead"). A gimmick has been added which allows your characters to take on the responsibilities of nobility. New rules for naval combat including various kinds of cannon shot and a ship record sheet are also included in this section.

In addition, there are also character templates to cover all members of pirate society. There are voodoo witch doctors (bokor), clergymen, nobles, various types of seafaring folk from buccaneers to merchants, to sailors and even the old salt. Native peoples and civilian settlers including numerous professionals are also in the templates lineup.

Chewy: If flavor's what you need, Bloode Island has it in spades. The book starts off with a story vignette followed by a brief history of piracy and how the various European Nations changed the New World. It focuses on the 17th and 18th century and as PIG explains in their introduction, it sacrifices purity for cool. The history is very detailed and serves to get the juices flowing for adventure on the high sea.

Chapter three and beyond focus on the setting of Bloode Island. First, chapter three explains how Bloode Island was founded and how it is run. This gives priors and particulars down to even what direction visiting ships must sail from. Geography and governance are basically laid out here providing a strong skeleton to flesh into your own world.

After that, chapter four describes six important people in Bloode Island. This chapter is headed off by Sir Francis Drake who may or may not be the legendary real-world privateer. In addition to him they have included a witch doctor who serves as Drake's right-hand man, an repulsive Italian Architect, an ex-pirate tavern keeper, a man bent on stamping out the slave trade against every odd, and an extremely vile and bloodthirsty named Blackjack mercedary. All are fleshed out well including their ambitions for the future of Bloode Island.

Chapter Five is an introductory adventure that should serve well in introducing the world of Bloode Island and get players hunting for an underwater treasure. It includes options for those who use mojo in their game and those who don't.

Chapter Six lays out all the equipment used in the time period. This includes guns, cannons, ships, and swords and other hand-held weapons. Each has a short description and the ships have states for use in the game. There is also a list of ship's articles for any aspiring captains.

Chapter seven is a glossary of pirate terms. These range from slang to proper terminology in the setting. Here can also be found a few roleplaying elements such as vaporizing which is what pirates do to psyche out their foes before a battle.

Use in a Campaign: Many hours can be spent scouring the Spanish Main for treasure. Like Pirates? You'll love Bloode Island.

LIKED: Lots of detail for anyone who wants to run a game of piracy on the high seas. This covers it all. I would have liked to see some more aptitudes that tended toward a swashbuckling feel.

DISLIKED: Rickety chapter organization doesn't detract from the experience but could have been laid out better.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
I think you'll find that chapter organization any other way falls apart. The rules addendum is required reading before continuing since the remainder of the book gets you ready for play, while the bits before it merely provide historical context. Thank you for the feedback.
Bloode Island: Diceless Swashbuckling Adventure
Publisher: Precis Intermedia
by Stephen W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/14/2005 00:00:00
More pirates in the Caribbean abound in this diceless campaign by Deep 7. Bloode Island has a keen campaign concept: an uncharted island populated entirely by pirates, with a plausible explanation for its existence.

Bloode Island does not appear on any naval map due to navigational errors on the part of Christopher Columbus and one of his junior officers, the difficulty in accurately determining longitude, and outright bureaucratic denial, because no country's naval authority wants to redraw all their official charts. I think it's that last point that makes the origin story shine.

Sir Francis Drake appears to be the leader of this pirate commune, sustained past all measure of old age by a voodoo magician. His intention is to thwart the development of a colonial culture and to create a brave new world of individual freedom. This is as unlikely as it is appealing to the modern reader.

The Island is host to all the resources and rivals a budding pirate or privateer could want: misfit scientists, a barkeep, and a typical cruel Terror of the Seas, and a source of endless replacement crew. There's an excellent adventure to introduce players to the internal politics of the island and to the dangers of earning enmities that can be enacted on the open sea.


Even if you don't want to visit the Island, the campaign setting provides a good short-form history of Caribbean piracy in terms of economic, political and nationalist drives, and what seems to me to be a comprehensive lexicon of pirate and naval terminology. Finally, I understand the distinctions between a pirate, a privateer, and a corsair. This also isn't a setting that skirts the issues of colonialism and conquest.

The rules portion of the game describes everything you need to handle ship-to-ship combat, storms, repairs, stealing prizes, and other swashbuckling goodness. The rules use the Active Exploits system from Politically Incorrect Games, so the emphasis is on estimating the costs of the actions you want to simulate in the story.

There are certainly interesting and exciting stories to be told on Bloode Island. Give it a try.

LIKED: Cool twist on the lost island concept.
Good use of historical fact in among all that fiction.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bloode Island: Diceless Swashbuckling Adventure
Publisher: Precis Intermedia
by Colin E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/06/2004 00:00:00
If you haven't done it diceless, heres the place to start.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bloode Island: Diceless Swashbuckling Adventure
Publisher: Precis Intermedia
by Don F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/01/2004 00:00:00
Hi,

I was very happy with this product. A lot of good stuff in this download. I really like the diceless naval combat, very well done. If you like Active Exploits, then you will love this.

Don

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bloode Island: Diceless Swashbuckling Adventure
Publisher: Precis Intermedia
by Edward F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/24/2003 00:00:00
This is a bit of an unfair review as I have never played the Diceless System. I purchased this ONLY because it was about pirates? Aye, it had a great name ?Bloode Island?. Not understanding how the system works I skimmed threw the ?Teck?ni?l jargon? and went straight to the adventure. And what an adventure. Without giving anything away, the party meets a mad inventor, runs into an old nemesis, seeks sunken treasure, and it even has two different endings.
System and adventure aside, this item is ?calk-full ?o information?. There?s pirate history, from Columbus to flags of famous pirates, it even offers a dossier on key figures of the time, maps, soundings, and piratical terms.
An all around good source for piratical information.


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Bloode Island: Diceless Swashbuckling Adventure
Publisher: Precis Intermedia
by Alexander P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/05/2003 00:00:00
Very cool story/setting with well-researched historical backing. Better ship-to-ship combat system and write up than I've seen in some mainstream pirate genre RPGs. Uses the simple but effective mechanics that make Active Exploits an economical alternative to other RPGs.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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