||Avast ye, matey! There be squall's ahead! Whatever. I think it was Decartes who first quoined the phrase, "I game, therefore I think I can talk like a pirate perfectly". Whoever it was, pirates have always been a huge part of gaming. Whether it's the thrill and mystery of the open sea or searching for buried treasure, gamers can find plenty to do in the world of piracy. In Bloode Island, Politically Incorrect Games hoists the Jolly Roger and sets sail. Whether or not it should rest at the bottom of Davy Jones Locker will yet be discover'd.
Introduction: Bloode Island is a supplement for the diceless role playing game, Active Exploits, which is free for download from this site. The body is 54 pages long, 53 make up the text and table of contents.
Organization/Layout: Bloode Island on the whole is put together well. It is in two column format and the text is very rich and easy to read. Period illustrations abound and augment the text where necessary. I really liked the style of the illustrations as it added an air of authenticity that modern drawings like the one on the cover just can't pull off. The chapters are laid out nicely and the flow of information is mostly logical. I found it strange that the rules information was sandwiched between the history chapter and the introduction to the setting. I also wonder why the introductory adventure didn't come after everything had been explained. However, it wasn't earth-shattering and certainly isn't a reason not to enjoy this product.
Crunchy: Chapter two of Bloode Island is a rules addendum that adds new aptitudes, academia, and the concept of mojo, the source of magic and other supernatural events. It also adds new spells such as the evil eye which makes a person waste away and the Zombie Curse which enslaves others to do the will of the caster (think Halperin's "White Zombie", not Romero's "Dawn of the Dead"). A gimmick has been added which allows your characters to take on the responsibilities of nobility. New rules for naval combat including various kinds of cannon shot and a ship record sheet are also included in this section.
In addition, there are also character templates to cover all members of pirate society. There are voodoo witch doctors (bokor), clergymen, nobles, various types of seafaring folk from buccaneers to merchants, to sailors and even the old salt. Native peoples and civilian settlers including numerous professionals are also in the templates lineup.
Chewy: If flavor's what you need, Bloode Island has it in spades. The book starts off with a story vignette followed by a brief history of piracy and how the various European Nations changed the New World. It focuses on the 17th and 18th century and as PIG explains in their introduction, it sacrifices purity for cool. The history is very detailed and serves to get the juices flowing for adventure on the high sea.
Chapter three and beyond focus on the setting of Bloode Island. First, chapter three explains how Bloode Island was founded and how it is run. This gives priors and particulars down to even what direction visiting ships must sail from. Geography and governance are basically laid out here providing a strong skeleton to flesh into your own world.
After that, chapter four describes six important people in Bloode Island. This chapter is headed off by Sir Francis Drake who may or may not be the legendary real-world privateer. In addition to him they have included a witch doctor who serves as Drake's right-hand man, an repulsive Italian Architect, an ex-pirate tavern keeper, a man bent on stamping out the slave trade against every odd, and an extremely vile and bloodthirsty named Blackjack mercedary. All are fleshed out well including their ambitions for the future of Bloode Island.
Chapter Five is an introductory adventure that should serve well in introducing the world of Bloode Island and get players hunting for an underwater treasure. It includes options for those who use mojo in their game and those who don't.
Chapter Six lays out all the equipment used in the time period. This includes guns, cannons, ships, and swords and other hand-held weapons. Each has a short description and the ships have states for use in the game. There is also a list of ship's articles for any aspiring captains.
Chapter seven is a glossary of pirate terms. These range from slang to proper terminology in the setting. Here can also be found a few roleplaying elements such as vaporizing which is what pirates do to psyche out their foes before a battle.
Use in a Campaign: Many hours can be spent scouring the Spanish Main for treasure. Like Pirates? You'll love Bloode Island.
LIKED: Lots of detail for anyone who wants to run a game of piracy on the high seas. This covers it all. I would have liked to see some more aptitudes that tended toward a swashbuckling feel.
DISLIKED: Rickety chapter organization doesn't detract from the experience but could have been laid out better.
QUALITY: Very Good
VALUE: Very Satisfied
[4 of 5 Stars!]