Below is an overview of the 50 Fathoms campaign charter. This document is to ensure that the goals, Wants, and Don’t wants are clearly outlined for the game. This sets the standard for how the game should be run and played while establishing things the players/GM want and don’t want to see in the game.


This is also a social contract that will be adhered to by the entire group (GM included). However this is meant to be a living document. If changes need to be made, they will be discussed by the group and agreed upon by consensus.


Date of Charter: March 7th 2014

Present: Jeff, Stan, Mason, Jim Bob, Robert, and Kevin (via webcam). John was being represented by Jeff who had a previous conversation with him.


Of great importance to the group before any “Wants” or “Don’t wants” is: Open Communication. We need to have open dialog regularly on various aspects of the game. This is important to a healthy group dynamic. To aid in this, the GM will set aside regular time to discuss the game on an ongoing basis.


Setting Dynamics:

It is important to note the “feel” of this particularly setting. Especially since it touches some of the Wants and Don’t Wants below.


This is a fantasy world that is covered by water. It is nautical themed and includes pirates, shipping merchants, port towns, underwater treasures, crazy locations, and horrible monsters. It is a high adventure swashbuckling world. It is not over the top “Hollywood” themed nor is it super gritty “real world” pirate like, it is somewhere in the middle. Fun things happen but there are dark forces present. Players should be heroic, see grand places, and fight epic battles but know: there is a grit of realism present.


  • Sandbox Environment
    • This game is a sandbox game with an overarching plot and various other things going on in the world. The players should have the drive to explore the world and the GM should provide plot hooks to keep the world interesting. There are no plot walls in this game preventing the players from doing anything, only consequences from said actions.
  • Long Term Game and Character Development
    • The group is looking for a longer term game to allow for character development. They want their characters to grow, change, and be part of the world and this requires time.
  • Consequences for Actions
    • The in game world should react appropriately to a given situation. Granted this is a fantasy role playing environment with high adventure elements, but within that world view, people should react to the Players choices realistically.
      • Examples: Characters torch a settlement and the world should react normally. IE:  Put bounties on their heads, send a fleet after them, or players lose cooperation from the neighboring settlements out of fear..ect
    • In addition to above,  there should be consequences for tactical decisions made. If poor decisions were made in combat they should realistically be reflected
      • Example: If the players take on a enemy knowingly much tougher than they are,  they should know there will be no “bail out” by the GM.  The players should be heroic but understand that defeat and death is possible.
  • Roleplaying
    • The group should strive to roleplay their character. This means ignoring mechanical benefits and playing a situation out how their character would, and not only “what is best”
      • This includes creation of the character mechanically. Faults can be interesting
    • The group should try to stay in character during the game as much as possible and any discussions in the game should be done in character.
      • Understandably this will not happen 100% of the time, but the group decided this would be a good challenge and goal to achieve.
  • Depth of NPCs
    • The group is looking for NPC’s that react appropriately and have depth of character with wants, needs, and desires.
      • This includes the villains.
    • The NPCs should react to the actions of the player where appropriate and not be static.
  • Realism with the World
    • The world should be living and “keep moving” regardless of the actions of the Characters.
    • Regions, Towns, and Cities should have their own desires and needs as a whole and if the Characters interact with said areas they should respond realistically.
    • The world should not react to the Characters any differently than their station would allow
      • Example: A King will not agree to listen to the poor sailors just because they are the “Characters”. Once the Characters earn that level of power through acts and deeds it might make sense, but this is not a given.
  • Characters are normal people
    • The Characters should be very small fish in a very big ocean. They start out small and have the possibility to become more powerful but nothing is certain.
  • Death is Possible
    • The Characters should be able to die in combat and can expect combat to be deadly.
    • It was decided to implement a “Super Benny” system:
      • Each player gets one Super Benny and can spend it to stave off accidental, stupid, and meaningless death
        • This can not be used when the Character knowingly makes a poor decision or involved in any meaningful “Boss” battle.
        • This can only be used when the death is against a trivial foe who randomly rolls well.
      • The Benny can only be used once all other Players agree, but the GM has final ultimate say on its use.
      • When using this Benny, the Character won’t die when he should have mechanically, but something very bad will happen to him depending on the situation.
      • At 40 Experience points this Benny can be refreshed, but a Player may have no more than one at any given time

Don’t Want:

  • Outright Evil Actions
    • Child Endangerment
    • Rape
    • Detailed acts of Torture
    • *Open communication is key here to keep out of gray areas.*
  • Too Much Power
    • The Players don’t want their Characters to have too much power too soon. This goes back to “Realism of the World” and “Characters are normal people” but this point was important so it is noted again.
  • Goofy and/or Campy Behavior
    • Any setting breaking behavior is not wanted. This will be enforced by the GM strictly.
    • Any behavior contrary to the social norms of the game world will be reacted to appropriately. See “Consequences for Actions”.
  • Metagaming
    • Very loose term, but the Characters should only know what the Characters know. This is for both social and combat situation.
    • Combat chatter will be kept to a minimal.
updated by Jeff M 3-11-15