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50 Fathoms Maiden Voyage

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  • 50 Fathoms Maiden Voyage

    Hi all,

    My group and I are diving into 50 Fathoms next week, and we're all new to both the setting and the Savage Worlds rule set. In looking through the first Maiden Voyage adventure, it seems like the big fight against the Ugaks could easily end in a TPK. The Ugaks by themselves look pretty rough, but the Giant Monkape could easily one shot a beginning character (which makes sense given it's a 20-foot tall ape).

    My question is, for those of you who've run Maiden Voyage, how did it go for your players? Did you have to fudge things to keep them alive, or did they get through it with the right amount of tension? I'm really excited about 50 Fathoms and Savage Rules in general, but killing the the party during our first session wouldn't be a good introduction to my players.

  • #2
    I emphasized my descriptions of the danger, and the players planned a way to escape.
    They don't have to kill everything - they just have to save enough crew to man the ship, and if they save enough prisoners then the shaman can't summon his "god".

    The first adventure is really nasty - one of the roughest straight-up fights in the campaign. I think this was deliberate, to showcase how deadly the abandoned continent is and why the world lets the red men keep it despite how desperate the world currently is.
    I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.


    • #3
      Thanks for the insight. Question regarding crew: You mentioned that they needed to save enough crew to man the ship, but the skiff that they patch up only requires 1 person to crew it and can only hold 7 additional passengers. Saving the crew members is still the right thing to do, but ultimately, they're going to leave the island with more people than the ship was built to carry, right?


      • #4
        Keep in mind a few things:

        - It's not the first fight of the campaign. That's the PCs vs a Yellowback, which serves as an important introduction to how combat works. Run that first. If you feel the players need more guidance, take a small group of 3 Red Men as a wandering encounter. Other than Wounds and Power Points, Savage Worlds doesn't have a lot of 'resource depletion' like other games, so you can run multiple fights in a session (but don't necessarily need to) without over or underdraining the party.

        - It's 1 Wild Card and 8 Extras vs 4 (presumed) Wild Card PCs and as many sailor Extras as they can free. It's a big tough fight, but not wildly unbalanced.

        - Incapacitating a character with the Giant Monkape is easy, but outright killing the character is hard. If the players are new to Savage Worlds altogether, you as the GM need to emphasis how Soaking works, and when it's better to save your Bennies to reroll Incapacitation checks than Soak a big set of Wounds.

        - Actually TPKing a party of Wild Cards is pretty hard. As the GM, you should be emphasizing that it's time to cut and run when the first PC gets Incapacitated. You can err on the side of caution by changing the Monkape so it and the Shaman are bound to the ritual area for some hours, meaning a PC escape is fairly easy.

        - If it's the first time of Savage Worlds for both player and GM both, consider just using some teaching game rules and allowing ret-cons ("OK, Bob is dead. Let's say he's unconscious instead, and we can all learn a valuable lesson about how being Incapacitated works").
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        • #5
          An idea I picked up from watching various Japanese television over the years is the "plot" doesn't always begin with the first episode. Maiden Voyage might be the beginning of the campaign, but it doesn't need to be the first adventure. Case in point, I've got a 50 Fathoms campaign waiting in the wings that actually begins with the first book from Paizo's Skull & Shackles Adventure Path. The players begin by waking up as slaves/conscripts aboard a pirate ship. I'm using this time as a tutorial, teaching them how to work the boat. Then they have their first ship-to-ship combat, seize a merchant ship, and be part of its skeleton crew. By now, hopefully, they'll have an idea for what kind of role they'll want to take on. The third part of the book ends with them on a tropical island with an opportunity to mutiny and command both ships. I simply turn that into Maiden Voyage and kick off the plot point campaign proper.

          And if for some reason they're uninterested in saving a drowned world, I still have a second story seeded which they can follow. Some NPCs and locales need changing, but it's a solid enough structure that I have options open to me.


          • #6
            Sorry to do a bit of Necromancy on this long-dead thread. But is there a real problem in substituting a Sloop for the Skiff?
            From what I can find in my research a Skiff is just a long rowboat that has a single small sail attached to it. Not the sort of craft that would be used to sail to a dangerous place like Torath Ka from even the nearest port (9 - 12 grid spaces away 45 - 90 miles I figure).
            A Sloop, on the other hand, would be able to hold all the crew (no matter how big the part, or how many they save) and have space for the supplies that were salvaged. While still be about as small a ship as you can have that's ocean-worthy.
            Last edited by dstuffle; 07-21-2019, 01:21 AM.


            • #7
              I do not see an issue other than your players have a larger ship, which means they can move more cargo and do other things a tad bit quicker than just with the skiff. It may affect pacing slightly but shouldn't be any real issue. The biggest possible issue is the crew requirements of a Sloop (don't have my books at the moment) and paying for crew if more are required. But those are just RP issues to work through if required.