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Nan o’ War CH16: Woodes Rogers’ Neighborhood

By Rutskarn
on Wednesday Jul 5, 2017
Filed under:
Lets Play


I guess I’m hitting over my weight class, because every time the battle screen rolls off nowadays I plunge into a ball pit of XP and treasure. Before that blackjack comeup I was a chronically indebted vagrant granny pushing a rotten rowboat through a valley of looming trash mobs. Now my ship’s slick, my crew’s coming up, and I’m cracking character levels like Jiffy Pop.

Who knew all it took to get started in life was a vast fortune?

So I mentioned I was trying to come up in military rank–and indeed, I have! I am now a Midshipman(woman) in addition to being a Chairman(woman) and a Ship Boy(Girl).

My newest perk.
My newest perk.

It needn’t be belabored that this game throws naval ranks around kind of recklessly. And honestly, I get it. They’re not saying I am a Midshipman(woman), they’re saying I command the same level of respect the average Midshipman(woman) in the Caribbean(!) would. And as anyone who reads Hornblower knows, it’s a rare teenager in the Navy who hasn’t had occasion to singlehandedly murder forty pirates after winning a sporting championship.

No, my in-game policy for career advancement is much the same as it is in real life: plug on, pay my dues, and whenever possible get completely smashed on Captain Morgan.

Oh, there he is.

Morgan was alive during this year of history, but for the same reasons I identified in my breathtakingly joyless tangent about privateering he wasn’t a free agent but a contractor in the service of the English. But this is the same as saying he was a member of the pro-English “Brethren of the Coast,” which is what they call the pirate faction in this game. But when I defeated the last Brethren ship, my reputation with the English increased, which implies that—

Actually he was never defeated by a Blackjack-sharping granny either, so let’s set aside this game’s documentarian efforts and pop off some culverins.

The game really needs to make it obvious which way the wind’s blowing before I engage a ship. Conducting ambushes without the weather gauge is kind of like trying to mug someone riding towards you on a motorcycle. Almost the best thing that can happen is they get away.

Whatever. I’m too lazy to disengage and then sail around the back, so I guess I take today’s idiot prize for being bad at the sea. Let’s just go ram into a wooden wall.

Although nearly all of his ships would be an improvement on at least something in my flotilla, I’m just gonna go for his Frigate and put cannons to everything else. My goals are “find quality ships” and “grind reputation,” and anything not directly pertinent to these goals is matchwood as far as my impatient trigger-finger is concerned.

But first things first. I give his Frigate a couple of lazy broadsides, and when he inevitably pulls in for the hug, I’m ready for him.

He outnumbers my boarders 2 to 1, so naturally he thinks he can gang up on me. And he can! It’s just that the gang itself is the lynchpin of my depraved strategy.

I hope the fishes like casserole.

It’s working for me right now, but I don’ t mean to overstate the terrible, terrible efficacy of these bombs. You really do need to throw the right size at the right place at the right time, or else all you’ve done is throw a very expensive fireworks show for your enemy’s victory party. And god help you if your arc’s one degree too friendly, or else you’ll wind up on the deck yourself, struck dumb with horror as your crew Keystone Kops into certain defeat. And they will. Keep in mind, this is what victory looks like.

And I made sure to get the trained sailors.

My new Frigate in tow, I demolish what remains and pick the flotsam for glimmers of gold and china. No vessel leaves these desolate waters save my own, and no sailor is spared the sharks else he beats to my quarters.

Except Henry Morgan, who naturally escapes. Which, okay. I’ve never actually seen a scholar claim that Morgan was not a mermaid.


Comments (22)

  1. Arctem says:

    Obligatory “forgot the pagebreak” comment.

  2. Mr Compassionate says:

    Defeated Henry Morgan? How many days or weeks into her adventure is this Granny?

    • simo517L says:

      About 11-12 day’s I think

      • Grudgeal says:

        Say what you want about Sid Meier’s Pirates, but you usually had to wait at least a month to do it there.

        Unless you lucked out and got a frigate-class “new warship” encounter really early on. I got it literally out of my second or third docking once. Spent the rest of the game terrorizing the Caribbean with my frigate.

        • Matt Downie says:

          In the Pirates remake, the timescale was pretty weird.

          At the start of the game my family was kidnapped. I was but a child.
          Over the next few decades of my career, I found and rescued them one by one. (I think my nemesis had hidden them in locations across the New World, and then torn up the maps into multiple pieces and scattered them around.)

          The last one I rescued was my grandfather. When he was captured, he was an old, old man. But somehow he survived forty years of captivity.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        I think this is day 2 to 4.

  3. Philadelphus says:

    Is that “Let's just go ram into a wooden wall” line a reference to the famous Delphic oracle to the Athenians during the second Persian invasion of Greece? If so, major kudos to you.

    • Droid says:

      “Wooden wall” was used at least twice to refer to the strength of the British navy (see here), so I guess he refers to that with Morgan being English and all.

      • Philadelphus says:

        Ohh, interesting, I wasn’t aware of that. Given the time period those quotes are from, I wonder if they were themselves conscious allusions to the classical line? The quote from Linschoten on that page at least directly mentions it.

  4. BounderTree says:

    So is Morgan’s ship in any way especially good, like “new flagship” good?

    • Awetugiw says:

      It is not entirely clear to me how accurately the game represents various ships. However, considering that Morgan’s ship is specifically referred to as a “fifth rate”, and that the description of the guns the ships carry seems quite detailed (the Black Purl has 5 24lb culverins, 8 16lb culverins and 2 12lb demiculverins), it seems reasonably safe to say that the designers are ship nerds.

      According to Wikipedia, a fifth-rate frigate would carry around 26 to 30 guns, so significantly more than the Purl’s 15. On the other hand, it is possible (but not certain) that a 5th rate would not carry any single gun as powerful as the Purl’s 24lb culverins. Still, I would expect the fifth rate to be much more powerful, overall, than the Purl.

      • andy says:

        The Purl has more guns than that, I think. If you look at the loadout screen from last episode, it says “Deck 1: 24lb culverin (5/5 of 10).” I think this means 5 on each side, for a total of 10. Which means a total of 26 guns, not 15. Fairly heavy guns, too.

        Whereas a 5th-rate British frigate of 1670… Um, well. In 1670, British ships were rated by the number of men, not by guns. So, no bloody idea how many guns, of what weights, until Ruts shows us the loadout screens. (Fifth rate in 1670 would mean 80-139 men. Which means, who knows? Ruts has like 60 dudes, so. Maybe this explains the 2:1 manpower advantage his enemy has.)

        These ships weren’t “frigates,” though — what we think of as frigates wouldn’t really appear for quite some time. The typical late-1700s “Fifth-rate frigate” would absolutely destroy the fat, slow, basically-a-garbage-scow-with-guns Purl, but it’s not a critter that should be sailing these particular seas. In the game? Who knows?

        For lulz, the USS Constitution would technically have been a fifth-rate frigate (32 24lb long guns, and twenty-odd 32lb carronades. Four hundred and fifty dudes.).

        • Awetugiw says:

          Oops, I totally missed the fact that the Purl’s guns are 5/5 out of 10 and 6/6 out of 12.

          (Also, I was indeed assuming that the fifth-rate frigate in question was what we would now call a frigate. That is anachronistic, but while I give the developers credit for being ship nerds, I don’t give them quite as much credit when it comes to getting timelines right.)

        • guy says:

          Until the 1800s, ships didn’t have fixed armaments, and exact gun loadouts and layouts could vary with the captain’s preference.

  5. MichaelGC says:

    I always wanted to be a clock-warlock or a year-seer or an eonchanter. Could never find the time. ⌛️

    PS The bit about the motorbike mugging was absolutely classic Rutskarn! 🏍😆

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:


    I wonder if this is the famous orange bearded blackbeard.

  7. Blackbeard is the one who used to light fuses in his beard, right? I will be sad if he doesn’t play bomb catch with our heroine, or at least make a bad (and hilarious) attempt at it. Hot potato anyone?

  8. John says:

    Henry Morgan being the one pirate other than Stede Bonnet–good ol’ crazy Stede!–about which I actually know something, it is now time for the following pedantry. Henry Morgan made his name as a pirate by sacking Spanish towns rather than by capturing merchant ships on the open sea. And, just like a good Sid Meier’s Pirates! player, he obtained a substantial estate in Jamaica from the Governor of port Royale for his services to the English crown. He spent his time ashore being drunk and possibly syphilitic.

    So what I’m saying is, yes, it is thoroughly plausible that a bomb-throwing granny could have beaten him in a boarding action.

    • God, I want Epic Rap Battles of History to do a pirate one with Morgan now…. Mostly cause I don’t think there’s a Patreon for make Ruts’ Pirate Let’s Play into a movie, it’ll likely be better than the last few PotC ones (or so I’ve heard, only saw the 1st 3)

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