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Pirates

Grade: 1b
Source: Town Cryer #9 (PDF)
Setting: Mordheim
Author: Cap’n Tim Huckelbery

The blasted city of Mordheim has called to many a Pirate Captain with the song of easy riches, as the nearby rivers are filled with ships laden with either gold into the city or departing with wyrdstone. Using the perpetual fog and dust which fills the air around the ruins, a ship can navigate the city via the deep rivers running though it. With lightning speed, the pirate ships can appear from nowhere and attack a ship, quickly looting it of any valuables. Some Captains have even found safe harbours for their vessels, and lead frequent raiding parties into the city itself. These brave pirate bands have become new additions to other groups of adventurers, fanatics, and nightmare creatures that dare enter the remains of the City of the Damned.

Special rules

Swabbies: Pirate warbands can ‘recruit’ new members to join the adventuresome life of a pirate, sometimes willingly but oftentimes more as an alternative to walking the plank! Only humans can be recruited in this manner though – not even the most bloodthirsty pirate would ever trust a Skaven or Beastman, and other races even though friendly to mankind would normally never follow a mere human into battle! The following special rules apply to certain situations in Mordheim game play:

Kidnapped! Enemy human Heroes who after the game rolled up the Captured result (D66 rolls of 61 or 62) can be ‘offered’ one opportunity to join the pirate crew (usually at the point of a cutlass!). As an alternative to exchanging/ransoming the captured Hero back to their original Warband (or selling him to slavers), the Pirate Captain can instead add the captured enemy to the ship’s crew as follows. Both players roll 2D6, with the Pirate player adding the Captain’s Leadership and the enemy player adding the Leadership of the captured Hero. If either side won that game, it may add +1 to it’s score.

If the Pirate player’s result is higher, the Hero renounces his old ways for the life of the high seas! She or he joins the Crew, either starting a new Crew group or joining an existing one if it has four models or less. There is no extra cost to add him to a group which has accumulated experience points, and any equipment or weapons he had are immediately sold off to buy him the proper weapons and armour to match his new unit in an even swap. His skills and characteristics are changed to those of a starting Crewman, or to match those of his new crewmates if joining an existing group.

Otherwise, the Hero has resisted the siren’s song of the sea, and is forced to become a Swabbie (see Swabbies below). He is stripped of his equipment and weapons; these are handed out as the player desires. He does retain any skills and keeps his original characteristics, but can only be re-armed with the weapons listed in the Swabbie equipment list.

Enemy human Henchmen taken Out of Action during the game and then lost from their original Warband for good (a 1-2 was rolled for them post-game) also have a chance of joining up too! Roll another D6 for each: on a roll of 4+, the Pirates manage to drag them away or otherwise make off with their wounded bodies, and patch them up on the ship. The Pirate player can then test to see if they will join exactly as above, by both players rolling 2D6 and adding it to the Captain’s and the Henchman’s Leadership. This test can only be done if the Pirates win the game, so the Pirate player will always get a +1 to his roll.

Hired Swords and Special Characters are too skilled to be taken off in this manner, and can never be recruited – they have their own agendas to pursue, and will ensure the pirate life is not part of those plans.

Well now matey, have you ever considered pirating as a career? If the Pirates encounter Stragglers (result 44) or Prisoners (result 333) when Searching, there is a chance they may sign up to sail under the Jolly Roger. Either of these options may be used instead of the regular options listed for these situations.

If a Straggler is found, the Captain can try to convince him to join the crew by making a successful Leadership test. If passed, the Straggler joins as a Swabbie (he’s too unhinged even to become a member of the Crew!)

If Prisoners are found, roll a D3 to determine how many are rescued. If the Captain passes a Leadership test (he must make a separate test for each one), the Prisoner eagerly joins his rescuers as a member of the Crew, either starting a new Crew group or joining an existing one if it has four models or less. If he is starting a new Crew group, he will start at the normal characteristics levels for a normal Crew member and at Zero Experience. There is no extra cost to add him to an existing group which has accumulated experience points, and his skills and characteristics match those of his new crewmates. The player must pay though to equip and arm the new Crewman as per his new unit. If the player cannot pay, the prisoner must join as a Swabbie. If the test is failed, the Prisoner isn’t quite so convinced of the worthiness of the sea dogs and is added as a Swabbie.

Unless noted otherwise, Pirate Warbands have the same access to Hired Swords & any other items as for a regular human Mercenary Warband, and follow all the normal rules for them as well. They must however pay an additional +20 gc in upkeep if they have both Dwarfs and Elves together in the same warband (the ship is only so big, and the confines make them more irritable than usual!).

In one-off games, a Pirate Warband starts with two Swabbies for free.

Succession: If the Captain is killed, one of the Mates will take over in the same manner as a Champion taking over for a Mercenary warband.

Choice of warriors

A Pirate warband must include a minimum of three models. You have 500 Gold Crowns which you can use to recruit and equip your Warband. The maximum number of warriors in the Warband is 15 (this represents the landing party; the rest of the crew are aboard the ship in case some other scurvy sea dogs dare to attack!).

Ship’s Captain: Each Pirate warband must be lead by a Captain no more, no less!

Mates: Your warband may include up to 2 Mates

Cabin Boys: Your warband may include up to 2 Cabin Boys. Crew: Your warband may include any number of Crew.

Gunners: Your warband may include up to 7 Gunners.

Boatswains: Your warband may include up to 5 Boatswains.

Swabbies: Your warband may include up to 5 Swabbies. Note that you may never have more Swabbies than you have Crew though!

Starting experience

The Captain starts with 20 experience.

Ship’s Mates start with 8 experience each.

Cabin Boys start with 0 experience each.

All Henchmen start with 0 experience.

Pirate Skill Table

CombatShootingAcademicStrengthSpeedSpecial
Captain
Mate
Cabin Boy

Pirate Special Skills

Pirate Heroes may use the following Skill table instead of any of the standard Skill tables available to them.

Sea Shanty Singer

The pirate is renowned throughout the seas as one of the greatest singers aboard a ship, able to raise the spirits of any crew with his stirring renditions of ‘The Sloop Johan Bee’, ‘What do you do with a Drunken Halfling?’, and other famous pirate ditties. At the start of his Close Combat phase he can suddenly burst out in song, distracting one opponent in base contact of his choosing. That enemy must pass a Leadership test, or loose 1 Attack that turn. This does not effect Undead or other non-living creatures, such as Possessed.

Sea Legs

Even in the strongest seas, the pirate has learned to keep his footing and equilibrium. If he Falls during a battle, he may ignore the effects of the D3 hits on a roll of 4+ (make a single roll to see if the any of the hits take effect or not). In addition, if he is knocked down or stunned within 1" of a precipice he may re-roll his Initiative test to see if he falls down or not.

Cutlass Master

These short, single bladed swords are the mainstay weapon of any pirate crew, and in the hands of a trained seaman they are superb weapons for close quarters fighting. If the pirate is equipped with a Sword, this skill will give him the additional benefit of also being able to parry successfully if the player rolls equal to number rolled to hit, not just higher as normal. This extra ability only apply if the Pirate is not in the open; ie., only when in cover or in a building, within 2" of a terrain feature like a wall or tree, etc.

Booming Voice

(Captain only) The Captain has spent many a battle bellowing orders to his crew, yelling above the roar of the cannons and the screams of the enemy. Once per turn, the captain may shout encouraging words (or threats) at any one pirate within 8" who just failed his test to see if he runs away from combat, or to stop running away if he was already fleeing. That pirate may then re-roll the test. This can only be done if the Captain is on his feet, but not if the Captain is in close combat himself.

Hardy Constitution

Many months at sea, and especially many months eating hardtack, have hardened the pirate’s body to effects that would cause a lesser man to collapse. During the battle, the pirate may ignore any Critical Hits on a roll of 5+ (the wound is treated as normal if the roll is successful). If the roll is failed, the Critical Hit is worked out as normal.

Swashbuckler

The pirate cuts a dashing figure in combat, mixing dazzling swordplay and acrobatic feats with charm and witty comments. Even the basest villains in Mordheim respect (and curse) his ability to always seem to effortlessly slip from their grasp. The pirate may make a Leadership Test at the end of any Hand-to-Hand phase (pirate’s or enemy’s turn) if he is still in base contact with any enemy models. If he passes he may make a normal movement away from the enemy (he may not run or charge), without the enemy striking any blows on him. If he fails the test he remains in combat and must fight as normal in the following turn.

Pirate equipment lists

The following lists are used by Pirate warbands to pick their weapons:

Pirate Equipment List

Hand-to-hand Combat Weapons

ItemCost
Dagger1st free/2 gc
Hammer3 gc
Mace3 gc
Axe5 gc
Boat Hook8 gc
Cat O’ Nine Tails8 gc (Heroes only)
Cutlass (Sword)10 gc
Double-handed weapon15 gc

Missile Weapons

ItemCost
Belaying Pin3 gc
Crossbow25 gc
Pistol15 gc (60 for a brace)
Duelling Pistol30 gc (60 for a brace)
Possible Typo

A Pistol brace was printed as 60gc, but it most likely is meant to be 30gc (2 x pistol price).

Armour

ItemCost
Buckler5 gc
Toughened Leathers7 gc
Helmet10 gc
Light armour20 gc

Swabbie Equipment List

Hand-to-hand Combat Weapons

ItemCost
Dagger1st free/2 gc
Hammer3 gc
Mace3 gc
Axe5 gc
Boat Hook8 gc
Cutlass (Sword)10 gc
Double-handed weapon15 gc

Missile Weapons

ItemCost
Belaying Pin3 gc
Bow10 gc

Armour

ItemCost
Buckler5 gc
Toughened Leathers7 gc

Gunner Equipment List

Hand-to-hand Combat Weapons

ItemCost
Dagger1st free/2 gc
Hammer3 gc
Mace3 gc
Axe5 gc
Cutlass (Sword)10 gc

Missile Weapons

ItemCost
Pistol15 gc (60 for a brace)
Blunderbuss30 gc
Duelling Pistol30 gc (60 for a brace)
Handgun35 gc
Swivel Gun65 gc (Rare 8; one per Warband)

Swivel Gun ammo

ItemCost
Ball Shot5 gc
Chain Shot2 gc
Grape Shot2 gc
Possible Typo

A Pistol brace was printed as 60gc, but it most likely is meant to be 30gc (2 x pistol price).

Armour

ItemCost
Toughened Leathers7 gc
Helmet10 gc
Light armour20 gc

heroes

1 Pirate Captain

60 gold crowns to hire

Only the roughest toughest sea dog can rise to become captain of his own ship. A good Captain has to be bold and decisive in combat, and a forceful personality to hold together his unruly followers. Though often elected by the Crew, he must command their respect and fear, and more importantly ensure their continued loyalty with plenty of gold!

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Weapons/Armour: : A Pirate Captain may be equipped with items chosen from the Pirate Equipment list.

Special Rules

Leader: Any pirate within 6" of the Captain may use his Leadership characteristic when taking any Leadership tests.

0 – 2 Ship’s Mates

35 gold crowns to hire

Each ship has several Mates to serve under the Captain and ensure his orders are carried out properly. They also keep a careful eye on him as well for any signs of weakness or hoarding from the Crew, as each Mate would love nothing more than to become Captain himself one day. Until that day though they readily obey his commands, oversee the Crew and the ship, and stand with their Captain ready to plunder and ravage any ships they find.

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Weapons/Armour: Mates may be equipped with items chosen from the Pirate Equipment list.

0 – 2 Cabin Boys

15 gold crowns to hire

The lure of the sea often calls many young men to leave their boring lives behind and take up the exciting life of a pirate. Some are the youngest sons of nobles who know they will never inherit, or whose families have fallen to disgrace or poverty. Others are simple farmboys yearning for the open sea and adventure. All though, show some glimmer of talent which the Captain decides is enough to allow them to serve as Cabin Boys, where they can learn not only the basics of seamanship but also the more important lessons of how to run a pirate ship. Assuming the live through the years of training, they will go on to become feared Captains of their own!

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Weapons/Armour: Cabin Boys may be equipped with items chosen from the Pirate Equipment list.

henchmen

(Bought in groups of 1-5)

Crew

25 gold crowns to hire

The backbone to the ship, the crew are drawn together by the lure of the sea as well as the lure of plunder! As sailors, crewmen are experts in seamanship and ship operations. As pirates, they also quickly become proficient in swordplay and in using a variety of weapons especially pistols. It is said a good pirate crewman needs to know how to read the skies, weather, and winds, but most importantly the moods of his Captain!

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Weapons/Armour: Crew members may be equipped with weapons and armour chosen from the Pirate Equipment list.

0 – 2 Gunners

25 gold crowns to hire

Gunners tend the artillery and ammunition of the ship. Their keen knowledge of blackpowder weapons is essential to prevent the potential disaster of a cannon bursting, overheating, or recoiling out of control. In battle, Gunners oversee the banks of cannon, and on land they tend to be armed with the best pistols and other blackpowder weapons from the ship’s stores.

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Weapons/Armour: Gunners may be equipped with weapons and armour chosen from the Gunner Equipment list.

Special Rules

Swivel Guns is Dangerous, Matey! Gunners are known to be amongst the bravest of pirates, given their close proximity to blackpowder weapons, but even among themselves they stand in awe of any Gunner who takes a Swivel Gun into battle. Usually they stand in awe quite far away from him – even they can’t be sure when one might blow! If a Pirate Warband includes a Swivel Gun, the Gunner wielding it will always be considered an individual and can never have anyone else with him. Since a Pirate Warband may only have one Swivel Gun, if a Gunner is equipped with one then he must either be a new Gunner, or split from an existing unit. If the latter, he retains all Experience and Skills he had previously.

0 – 5 Boatswains

32 gold crowns to hire

Boatswains (or Bosons as they are often called) are responsible aboard the vessel for the upkeep of the rigging, the hundreds of lines and cables throughout the ship which keep the sails operating properly. They are experts at moving throughout the ship’s maze of ropes, swinging from one yardarm to another to ensure the overall soundness of the rigging. In the ruins of Mordheim, these same skills serve them well in moving throughout the building wreckage and craters which litter the former city.

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Weapons/Armour: Boatswains start with a Rope & Hook, and may be equipped with weapons and armour chosen from the Pirate Equipment list. Note that they can never sell off or give away their Rope & Hook – a Boatswain would never be without his ropes!

Special Rules

Expert Riggers: Boatswains are highly trained in using their ropes, as they are the ones who maintain the complex network of rigging throughout the ship. They may re-roll failed Initiative tests Leaping over Gaps, Jumping Down, and performing a Diving Charge, as well as the normal test for Climbing Up or Down that a Rope allows.

0 – 5 Swabbies

Special Recruitment rules (see above)

Not all members of a Pirate Warband are there entirely voluntarily. Some have been captured from enemy vessels, or rounded up on the docks or harbour fronts when the ship was in need of extra men. Kept under a watchful eye by the Mates, the Swabbies know they had better carry out their duties as assigned, lest they face a keel-hauling or worse! Many have grown accustomed to their lot, but given a chance many will run for it, even into the unknown dangers of the hellish city ruins.

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Weapons/Armour: Swabbies may be equipped with weapons and armour chosen from the Swabbie Equipment list.

Special Rules

Not Hired: Swabbies are not hired, they follow the special ‘recruitment’ rules above.

Never Gain Experience: Swabbies generally aren’t interested in proving their worth to the crew, they are interested in survival and hopefully escape! Swabbies never gain experience in games.

Rabble: Swabbies do not need to be armed all the same. Each may be given different equipment, but only items listed in the Swabbie equipment list. Swabbies can never use magic, or cast spells of any sort, no matter their original background or abilities.

‘Blimey, they got away!’ If the Pirate Warband itself Routs, any Swabbies who have already left the table in previous turns are presumed to have made a successful escape, and are never seen from again. Remove them from your warband roster as if they had been killed.

‘Don’t mind them mates, they ain’t true pirates!’ The rest of the crew barely notice if any Swabbies run away or go Out of Action – they know they’ll find them later on and give them 30 lashes if they’re lucky! Any Swabbies who are running away or have been taken out of action do not count towards the need to take a Rout test for the warband.