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I’m more than just the finance guy: I write roleplaying games too

By on December 10, 2010

5th day of April in the year of our Lord 1716.

Forty-five days out of Bristol and my life changed forever. Our merchant brigantine was today captured by the pirate sloop Adventurer’s Revenge. I fear I may never see England again


The two ships came together with a jarring crash. We had made a good race of it, spreading all sails, even the flying jib and the tiny studdingsails, but the pirate sloop chasing us must have had a clean bottom and a skilled master.

The first pirate to board was terrifying. Fully a foot taller than me, the man was dark, like the African porters you see working in the Wapping docks. He leapt from ship to ship wielding a boarding pike and roaring in a foreign tongue. Around his neck he wore the strangest adornment: small pieces of shriveled leather on a thin lace.

“Hell’s teeth!” said Captain Malin.“Those are ears. Men’s ears.”

I nearly retched as my eyes confirmed the truth. What kind of man wears human flesh for decoration?

More pirates flowed onto the deck. The black man advanced, and we shrank back.

“That will do, mister.” A short,rotund man with a florid face and a brace of pistols in his belt limped forward. Unlike the other pirates, he was dressed in ordinary seaman’s clothes with none of the ribbons or sashes that festooned many of the crew.

“Who’s the master here?” he demanded.

Captain Malin took a deep breath and stepped forward. “I am.”

The backhand blow took him by surprise, and he staggered backward. “That’s for making us chase you.”

Malin straightened. “Sir, I beg you. We surrendered without a fight. Your crew are unharmed, and the vessel is yours. But please sir, do not harm the crew. I appeal to you to be merciful. As one gentleman to another.”

The change in the pirate captain’s demeanor was instant and shocking. His face flushed and turned a deep puce. On his left temple, a vein stood proud, throbbing with each beat of his heart. Without a word, he reached to his belt, pulled both pistols, and fired them at our hapless captain. Malin was dead before he hit the deck.

“I am no gentleman,” he said to the empty air.

– From the journal of Will Deakin

My first roleplaying supplement was released at the beginning of December. Written for the GURPS roleplaying system, and published by Steve Jackson Games (who also created Car Wars, one of the favourite games of my youth), it’s a supplement that tells you everything you need to know about a pirate crew in the 1710s. Whether you want an NPC crew, a ready made PC party, or just inspiration for your pirate antics, this supplement may be for you.

It would be great source material if you are working on a pirate-themed game (hint, hint).

You can get a preview of the first few pages of GURPS Supporting Cast: Age of Sail Pirate Crew, or visit the Steve Jackson Games online shop to buy it now.

Hooray. I’m a published RPG author!

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: