First off, thanks to Alex, Pat, and (of course) Brandon for their appearances at Gen Con this year, especially for the Scheming Through Scadrial panel. Some of their advice/suggestions/etc. can be found in this post. Thanks also to my players for their contributions, for not powergaming, and for NOT READING PAST THIS POINT, GUYS. There may be spoilers for our campaign!
When I first pitched the idea of a Mistborn campaign to my friends I read off the brief descriptions of all the different Dominances at the beginning of the rulebook. When I got to the Southern Islands, they cut me off with:
"Yeah, piracy campaign"
"Yarrr, PIRACY CAMPAIGN!"
"YO HO MI'LADS! YARRRRR!"
... this went on for quite a while. Eventually, we came up with some notes on how oceans and trade work on Scadrial, as well as a few changes to things like the rarity of allomancy. We've been playing for 15 sessions now, so I have a lot of interesting material you may find interesting or useful for your current or future games. Here are some of my worldbuilding notes:
- Brandon himself has stated that Scadrial has no moon. This, combined with the planet's relatively close proximity to its sun, means that tides will be slight, and will be synchronized with the day: High tide is ALWAYS at noon, low tide is ALWAYS at midnight. The only ramification of this we came up with is that ships tend to arrive in port during the morning and depart during the evening.
- Every ship NEEDS a Tineye to penetrate the mists during the night. Also Coinshots and Lurchers are extremely useful because they can assist with docking and launching by anchoring themselves to the ship and Pushing/Pulling on the dock or various buoys anchored in the harbor. (according to canon the ships would be too heavy and this probably wouldn't work, but we made it a thing anyway )
- Because Allomancers are so useful on ships, and because the Southern Islands are so far from the seat of power in the Final Empire, Skaa Mistings are basically on a don't-ask-don't-tell basis. If you are useful on a ship, nobody will ask questions about your background... even if you dress like a beggar and talk in Eastern Street Slang, if you're a good Tineye working lookout on a ship, you'll almost never be confronted about your heritage.
- Gunpowder doesn't exist, and so neither do cannons. But cannonballs and chainshot DO exist, because we have Coinshots. Not that you'd NEED them on a ship, no. Why, there's no House rivalry so great that you would EVER see naval combat. And there are CERTAINLY no ships which have been hijacked by Skaa pirates. The very thought! No, none of these things EVER happen.
- Ships get stats in a fashion similar to heroes, having their own traits, resources, health (albeit on a different scale from heroes) and can accumulate burdens which must repaired during breathers. Also the crew may pool their advancements to upgrade the ship. (this is an idea Alex suggested during Gen Con, I've not yet written up what exactly the crew can upgrade via this mechanic or how much things will cost)
- At first we used a system where the crew could trade or smuggle goods at each port, occasionally hearing news of prices for certain goods being higher in certain ports. I incentiveized this by altering the resource mechanics so that when a character spends Resource points, he must replenish them by drawing from the ship's Resource Stash. This gave me a way of nudging the crew in the direction I wanted them to go, but ultimately had to be abandoned because it required too much bookkeeping and the crew had moved on to bigger things than mere trading of goods. Still, I think it would work well if it were balanced properly.
- The best and purest metals are made by the East Dominance Trading Company. These are shipped in special containers which are numbered and sealed, and they are impossible to counterfeit... Or are they?
I also made a Skaa Pirate Utopia Town, 10 self-proclaimed Pirate Lords (One for each of the eight basic Allomantic Metals, plus another two which are a little more... interesting), and drew up a map of major cities/ports as well as a political map of small houses, trade resources, trade routes, etc. But all that is for another post...
Stay tuned for more information about the Southern Islands, as well as tales recounting the many adventures from the crew of the Damned Patriot. SET SAIL!