As an unusual treat for this Halloween, we have prepared a unique Blood & Plunder scenario: The Ghost Ship. This is not a fantastical encounter with spirits or skeletons, however. This Ghost Ship is simply a ship without a crew.
Ghost Ship History
In the 17th century Caribbean Ghost Ships were a somewhat common, if mundane, occurrence. These ships were abandoned because of violence, disease, weather, or bad luck. Many a Buccaneer crew made a Ghost Ship when merging crews, or abandoning a sloop for a captured prize. When found, Ghost Ships would be reclaimed and salvaged, and this was common enough that all the Colonial nations had laws and courts to make sure the ship was Salvage and not Piracy.
As time passed though, superstitions and tales arose about Ghost Ships among the crews that lived on the sea. Most of these we do not know, as ghost stories are seldom written down. By the time versions were recorded at the end of the 18th century, some stories were already old enough to have become legends.
The Ghost Ship Scenario
The Ghost Ship your crew encounters in this Blood and Plunder Scenario is found in a heavy fog. It sits low in the water, its sails are in disarray, and its decks are void of life. This ship would make fine salvage, but only if your crew can keep their fear in check.
You can download The Ghost Ship Scenario as a PDF here.
How to Play The Ghost Ship Scenario
This Scenario is intended as a single player or cooperative experience that takes less than an hour to play. If playing alone, it is recommended at 100 points, but can be played at higher points for an easier game. It is best to have at least three units. Your opponent is not living, so cannons, muskets, and pistols will be less useful. You will need a ship to serve as the Ghost Ship. I recommend the Brigantine or Light Frigate, but any ship you have will do. The Ghost Ship’s movements are determined by a card drawn from your deck at the start of the first, second, and last activation of a turn.
If playing cooperatively, I recommend each player get 50 points, and share a ship. Alternate between decks that the Ghost Ship reveals a card from. Players should work together to claim the Ghost Ship. You can also make a 150 point force, and let one player control the commander’s unit and the other control all the other units. I found that running the crew like this is great for newer players, and planning together what turn to activate the Commander is fun but nerve-wracking.
Possible Force Builds for Attacking The Ghost Ship
Being a solo/cooperative scenario, your force building priorities change a lot! In this scenario the Ghost Ship is trying to make your men lose their nerve, so good Resolve, plenty of Rally actions, and special rules like Tough that help manage Fatigue are all very helpful. Muskets, Pistols, Swivels and even Cannons are almost useless (although you could try slow the Ghost Ship by targeting its rigging)! Large units won’t really help you in this scenario either so small units are fine. You just need a few stouthearted men!
Here’s a French Buccaneer force that should do pretty well (from Joseph). Four units of 4 men each. The Enfant Perdus have 4 Resolve and Tough, making them the ideal “ghost boarders.” The Sailing Master can assist you in catching up with the erratic movement of the Ghost Ship and the Son of Neptune gives another one of your units the Tough Special Rule.
Native legend contains stories of large Ghost Canoes floating the rivers and shorelines as well. Here’s a Native American list that should be fun in this scenario as well (from Guy).
The extra Command Points from the Experience Commander and the Officer will offer flexible Rallies for the whole crew and the Young Warriors and African Warriors both have 5 Resolve which is harder to find in a Native faction. The African Warriors also have the Great Warrior upgrade which could be crucial in making a Rally, Fatigue, Grapple or Repair test. The extra Fortune Point from the Spiritual Leader will be very helpful as well. You burn through Fortune in this scenario!
The English Royal Navy would probably be the very best faction for claiming the prize in this scenario. Here’s an optimized list for this scenario if you really want to win!
If you prefer a competitive scenario, you can easily modify these rules to facilitate a fight around the Ghost Ship.
I hope you enjoy The Ghost Ship scenario this season. Try it out and let us know if you were able to claim the spooky prize! Please share some pictures and the story of your encounter on Facebook or with us via email (bloodandpigment at gmail.com).
Guy Rheuark – Blood & Pigment
If you enjoy story-driven scenarios, check Guy’s set of Sea Scenarios here.