Most of us at some time want to run an adventure at sea, piratical or otherwise... even if it just involves the party taking passage on a ship when they need to get someplace else that's more easily (or only) accessible by sea. Here's a collection of tables and ideas to make that voyage come to life.
It starts off with some innocuous 'events which might occur at sea' - so grab a set of percentage dice or choose whichever event suits your needs. The effects will vary depending on whether the party are passengers or crew, legitimate mariners or flying the Jolly Rodger... but all provide for some excitement, especially if the characters get involved in whatever is going on.
Next up is 'let's explore the island' - again, it doesn't matter why the ship has paused there, this table gives a range of different islands, a quick snapshot of plausible places at which to drop anchor. If the characters have access to a map of the area they are sailing through, you may have to be selective in your choice, but if they are in uncharted waters, go wild. Many could provide whole adventures if you wish, or it could be a brief call to break up a voyage, get supplies or repair storm damage. If you want to spice up the shore leave the next table - 'events which might occur upon land' - provide a range of events from rumours about treasure to invasions, earthquakes and even an active volcano!
This is followed by a selection of tables to provide quick answers to questions like 'who be they?' (not much use in a fantasy game, it's tailored for the Caribbean...) or 'where is it hidden?' Ship types, destinations, pirate nicknames and directions (of the compass, of course) and more enable you to come up with answers for all those pesky questions speedily.
There's all manner of useful information too which will make even the most landlubber of GMs sound like a salty sea dog and aid him in calculating how much treasure a ship can carry and even how long it will take to unload your spoils. There's even a reading list if you want to put some real knowledge behind the hastily-acquired vocabulary - again, this concentrates on real-world historical Caribbean pirates, but ought to translate readily to your fantasy campaign setting without too much difficulty.
If you run pirate games, or even those with a nautical twist, this is worth a look.
[4 of 5 Stars!]