Skull and Shackles
The Free Captains Regatta
The annual Free Captains’ Regatta is a time-honored tradition in the Shackles, and one of the few opportunities that lesser, independent captains have to increase their station and status among the pirates of the Shackles. The Free Captains’ Regatta is a grueling nautical race held among the hazardous sandbars and reefs north of the Shackles among the dangerous currents and winds at the southern fringes of the giant hurricane called the Eye of Abendego.
The race is open to any Free Captain with a ship, and while many captains and ships do not finish the race (or even survive it), the regatta has no shortage of competitors each year.
To enter the regatta, a competitor must be the captain of his own ship and pay an entry fee of 500 gp at the city of Port Peril.
For many Free Captain of the Shackles, the rewards of the regatta are truly worth the risk – a hefty prize purse, lordship of a small island, and a seat on the Pirate Council of the Shackles.
Free Captains’ Regatta is a nautical race, not a battle or an opportunity to avenge past slights. The Stormkindlers will be monitoring the race, and any ship caught attacking or unduly interfering with another competing vessel will be disqualified, or if necessary, sunk. Nature itself will be the most dangerous enemy the contenders will face, a fact that captains would be wise to remember if they hope to complete, much less win, the regatta.
The race administers will determine a island within the Shackles as a starting point for the race and provide a simple route map.
During the regatta, the PCs will track their Race score, measuring their placement relative to the other competitors using this score. A positive score means the PCs are ahead of the average contender, while a negative score means the PCs are trailing behind the pack. The PCs start with a Race score of 0. The players should keep track of their Race score throughout the race so that they can see how they’re doing. At the end of the race, the PCs’ total Race score will determine whether the PCs win the race or not.
As the PCs make their way through the race, they will need to make numerous skill checks to successfully plot a course and maneuver around the obstacles along the race course. Most of these checks can be made by the ship’s pilot or navigator on the ship. Failing these checks can have negative consequences for the PCs’ Race score, as detailed in the specific encounter locations.
In addition, the pilot of the PCs’ ship has the opportunity to make additional sailing checks during the race. Because of the extreme nature of the elements and the regatta itself, the DCs of these checks vary throughout the competition, unlike the static DCs of normal sailing checks. For every 5 by which a sailing check result exceeds the DC, the PCs’ Race score increases by 1. For every 5 by which a check fails, the PCs’ Race score decreases by 1.
Up to three additional characters can aid another on any of these checks, each granting the character making the check the normal +2 bonus on the check if successful.
The use of magic is permitted during the regatta, but whether it will be useful or not is another matter.