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Skull & Bones $13.95
Average Rating:3.8 / 5
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Skull & Bones
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Skull & Bones
Publisher: Green Ronin
by JD S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/24/2009 16:18:32

D&D at sea. The production values are average, with second-rate interior art (verging on truly amateur stuff). The use of a margin intended to look like a map makes it very printer-unfriendly. Setting detail consists of Wikipedia articles on various personalities, and a decent listing of the major islands and colonies; each island has a period-esque map the size of two postage stamps which lays out the coastline and major features. There’s also a full-page period map of poor quality. Fortunately, maps of the region are but a Google away.
In terms of setting, there is very little; the politics of the period are touched on, but not in any organized way; the New World in this period was a hotbed of politic, religious, and social issues, all of which are virtually untouched by this product.
The writing is plain and primitive, and needing the work of a good editor; the authors tried to stay in period, but still made many obvious blunders in terms of ships, weapons, and social conventions which are wrong for the period (given that this is AD&D, its not really an issue).
Organization of the material is poor; the book is more a series of articles than a coherent whole.
The goal of the product is to create a campaign of pirate heroics, as implausible as such a setting might be; whether deliberately or by accident, the authors undermine this by noting various pirate personalities’ career spans, which normally were measured in terms of months. They also note the bloody and bestial nature of the pirates, something few works of this period actually admit.
A lack of research in several areas hamper this work, notably the decision to rate cannon (a key aspect in the pirate genre) by ‘small’, ‘large’, etc., and to use terminology that is not period appropriate, all when the actual period measured these guns by the weight of the shot they threw, and whether the barrel was full-length or not (a long nine-pounder, as an example).
Ironically, this work would be of tremendous value to anyone wanting to base a campaign on Tim Power’s ‘On Stranger Tides’, an undertaking I heartily recommend.
The section of Voodoo consumes far too many pages, all the more so because it contains no spells, merely a guide to adapting D&D spellcasters to Voodoo. As such, it elevates the Bokor to the dominant forces within a campaign, as tarred wood ships carrying tons of gunpowder are no more than so many fireworks displays awaiting a low-level spell.
The writer’s treatment of Christianity is very juvenile and disrespectful; its treatment of slavery is not much better.

Positive: Useful for fans of Tim Powers; inexpensive.

Negative: Juvenile writing styles, poor organization, lack of editing, shallow period research, poor choices on terminology, portrayal of religious and social issues likely to be offensive to some readers.

[2 of 5 Stars!]
Skull & Bones
Publisher: Green Ronin
by English E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/14/2007 00:00:00

I've been running this game for my players for about 2 months now, and they love it! I'm very happy with the product. It details every aspect of pirate life needed to run a good game, including maps of the major islands, cool classes, new feats, and information about new magic that is unique to the Caribbean setting. Kudos! This is one great product. Keep 'em coming.<br><br>
<b>LIKED</b>: new classes
new feats
new magic
great maps
cool advenute ideas<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: There was nothing I didn't like about this product, but I would have liked to have seen maybe a few more specialized classes.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Skull & Bones
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Dave M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/29/2006 00:00:00

THE best d20 swashbuckling rules set out there. Nothing can beat it.<br><br>
<b>LIKED</b>: Everything<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: There isn't a character sheet included, but they've corrected that by having a free download on the Green Ronin website.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Skull & Bones
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Phillip L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/17/2006 00:00:00

Skull & Bones is perhaps the best "Pirate" RPG available right now. If you saw the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean" and your group suddenly decided that they want to play a pirates game, this is the book for you. Skull & Bones meshes realism and just enough mysticism/magic and swashbuckling heroism to make it interesting.

The only thing I found lacking in this title is an effective means for running ship combat. The rules regarding ship combat are perhaps too real and requiring embellishment on the part of the DM. The rules regarding boarding and crew to crew combat are great, but breakdown when the players get involved. I found myself needing to do constant calculations to convert player?s ?kills? into the crew hit points, etc.

Character creation is a little bland, but balanced. The equipment, skills and feats, etc are very interesting and thorough.

I highly recommend the pdf version of the book as the print version is missing a page. Also, it?s nice to be able to give additional printouts of the necessary charts to your players. You?ll also benefit by visiting Green Ronin?s website to get the notably absent character sheet download.

You?ll need the Players Handbook and the DMG to run this, and I would highly recommend picking up some issues of Buccaneers and Bokors as well. Skull & Bones requires a lot of set up time as a DM and the Buccaneers and Bokors issues will drastically reduce that, as well as introduce some new rules and options to the main game.

Overall, you won?t find a more complete, ready to play, all-inclusive pirate RPG on the market than Skull & Bones. Yarrrr!
<b>LIKED</b>: Thorough, and complete info on new rules and the period, as well as insightful and well thought out additions and alterations to the standard d20 system.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Print version is missing a page! Character sheet is missing (get the download from Green Ronin's website. Not enough examples of the rules given in the book.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Skull & Bones
Publisher: Green Ronin
by William S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/09/2005 00:00:00

This is a fantastic product if you're even remotely likely to use Pirates in your adventures. The new classes cover the basics of shipboard types, and the prestige classes get the officers taken care of. Voodoo, monsters, and wonderful background options make an even richer gaming experience.

Blackpowder weapons, ship-to-ship combat, and historical pirate bios finish out the book. It is full of wonderful art, ideas and charts.<br><br>
<b>LIKED</b>: The layout is beautiful and practical.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: I wish I had the hard-bound edition, but couldn't find it. This product is worth having!<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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