Voyage of the BSM Pandora


I learned of Voyage of BSM Pandora from a video by Geek Gamers.

It is a 1981 planet-exploration boardgame published in the Ares magazine, which is freely downloadable.

I have printed the game, using some of the convenient re-designed stuff available on Boardgamegeek.

After playing a first mission (which I lost) I agree the game has merits. In some respects, it is rather complex and I am considering simplifying some details (e.g. Supply Checks), but I am not sure how to do this without risk for the game balance. What I am more seriously thinking of is trying to throw in some RPG elements, for instance, whenever dice are rolled, add a “surprise” D6 and on a roll of 6 make something “special” happen and play a role-game scene instead of computing the action outcome on the basis of the original die roll. Mixing boardgames and role-playing is something I have done extensively in my solo games (in particular with miniature rules and various RPG systems, but I also tried a Valor-and-Victory/Ironsworn mix). With Pandora, it could be the other way round, with the boardgame providing the “strategic framework” and an RPG system guiding the details of some scenes/encounters.

There are other things I could tweak to make the game more “creative”: drawing new maps for some of the planets; making new creatures on the fly on the basis of the wide bestiary of “Pandora”; adding some back-story for at least a subset of the crew members. Years ago I tried something similar with 3:16 Carnage Among the Stars (posts in Italian, I am sorry): I am curious to see if my increased experience in solo gaming (and knowledge of a wider toolbox) would result in a more enjoyable sci-fi campaign…



Goldsworn 4 – Reaching Isla de la Fuente

[An Ironsworn pirate adventure set in the fictional Islas Nuevas archipelago]

Previous Events: The Danish captain Haf Moriensen arrives to the Roca Larga island from Europe on his ship, the Rebis. While Haf and his quartermaster Ithela are in town, Haf’s younger sister Miranda and part of the crew disappear from the ship. The Captain swears a vow to find Miranda. The girl has been imprisoned by Sir Alban Kinry, the English governor of the island: he will free her after the Rebis has secretly taken him to a nearby island and back. Haf agrees and the Rebis sails towards Isla de la Fuente. They are attacked by English pirates, but the Danish win the fight and capture their ship.

Main character: Captain Haf Moriensen
Edge:+1 Heart:+1 Iron:+2 Shadows:+3 Wits:+2
Health:5 Spirit:3 Supply:4 Momentum:5

Path – WATERBORN Gather Information, Face Danger and Secure an Advantage at +1 when using water-related knowledge and skills.
Ritual – DIVINATION Gather Information by a blood-form of bibliomancy.
Custom – BATTLESHIP Mighty: Strike and Clash at +1 and to +1 harm in naval combat. Ship Health: 5

Miranda (Haf’s sister) [oracle: a young and kind bandit, i.e. pirate]
Ithela (quartermaster of the Rebis) – an African warrior fond of bone amulets [oracle: a Dangerous and Artistic Hunter]
Morien (Haf’s father) a Danish occultist and merchant [oracle: Confident and Adventurous]

Other NPCs
Sir Alban Kinry – the jealous and stubborn English governor of Roca Larga
Brian Reese – an English pirate defeated by the Rebis

Background Vow: – Epic. Seize an Atlantean source of occult power that must be hidden somewhere in the Islas Nuevas. Progress: 0
Dangerous Vow: Find Miranda. Progress: 2
Journey to Isla de la Fuente, Progress:3

While the the crew celebrates their victory on the English pirates, Captain Moriensen, Sir Kinry, Ithela and a couple of other officers search the Angry Boar for valuable objects. Haf and Kinry find two interesting objects in the cabin of the English captain:
D6 1. map 4.idol 5.mask 6.jewel 2.BOOK 3.BOX

In a small chest, they find what appear to have been the possessions of a Portuguese phyisician, including a manuscript that appears to be his personal journal and a beautiful inlaid ivory box, decorated with a caduceus and Greek inscriptions. The box is empty.

Which of the two do Haf and Kinry prefer? [50/50] Haf:Book Kinry:Book

Haf tries to COMPEL Kinry in taking the box, leaving the manuscript to him. He tells Kinry that the Greek inscription is a love spell: if an objected belonging to a woman is closed in the box, she will love the owner of the box.
C:8,10 A:6+3(shadow)=9 WEAK HIT
What does Kinry ask in reply: [Oracle: Risk Honour]
Kinry agrees to take the box, but he asks in exchange that Haf swears to help him with an illegal and not exactly honourable mission he is going to attempt while in Isla de la Fuente.

Haf accepts and SWEARS A [Troublesome] VOW on his golden medallion:
C:3,10 A:6+1(Heart)=7 WEAK HIT Momentum+1=6
Haf has no idea of what the mission could be, but he feels things are going well. He almost begins to like Kinry.

That night, Haf begins reading the Portuguese journal. His knowledge of the language is limited, but the author must have been interested in alchemy. He mentions hearing first hand report of the fountain of eternal youth to be in one of the Islas Nuevas. Could this be related with the mythical source of power that Haf is searching? I mark 1 tick progress on Haf’s background vow.

Make Camp C:3,8 A:4+4(supply)=8 WEAK HIT (+1 one next action)
Journey C:5,3 A:5+1(Wits)+1=7 STRONG HIT (Journey progress now 6)

The next morning, they reach the French-ruled island of Placeforte.
SOJOURN C:6,9 A:3+1(Heart)=4 MISS
The French turn out to be hostile. They have to sell the Angry Bear at a very low price: but the damaged English ship is too slow and it’s better to get rid of it anyway.

Journey C:1,10 A:5+1(Wits)=6 WEAK HIT -1 Supply (now 3)
Journey progress: 9


Reach Destination C:1,4 STRONG HIT +2 Health
They reach Isla de la Fuente. The island is ruled by
D6 1,2.France 3,4.England 5,6.Spain = France
With the money gained from selling the Angry Bear, they can buy all what is needed to finish repairing the Rebis, which is now in perfect shape (Ship’s health back to 5).
I mark progress on Haf’s vow to free Miranda (now progress=4)

What is Kinry’s secret and not too honourable mission?
[Oracle: Find Creature] Two months earlier, the wife of the French governor died while giving birth to her first child. [Male of Female? 50/50 Male] Kinry is the true father of the baby and he intends to kidnap it and take it to Roca Larga.

Current situation:
Health:5 Spirit:3 Supply:3 Momentum:6
“Health” of the Rebis: 5
Epic Background Vow: (source of occult power) Progress:0.25
Dangerous Vow (free Miranda) Progress:4
Troublesome Vow (help Kinry kidnap his son) Progress: 0