Weird on the Waves was originally published in May 2020, around the beginning of the pandemic. To date it’s the biggest set of game rules and adventures I’ve ever published at a whopping 224 pages. It took me almost three years to write, design, and lay out, put together in small pieces of spare time.
Now it’s almost two years old!
Every few years after we’ve published a paid for PDF we at Birch + Bat studios like to make it available for free. Typically this is once the book has made its initial money and its sales have slowed, but also once its initial impact has been made. We like to offer our PDFs for free so that they can reach an even larger audience and be more accessible to all kinds of players and groups.
Weird on the Waves was the most ambitious project I’ve ever undertaken. I had written a number of adventures and setting supplements before, but never a full rulebook. I wanted to make something that was the perfect balance between simplistic and easy to learn designs and rules and mechanics complex enough to support a number of ways to play.
Pirates and sailing have always been a big draw for me, but all the rules and settings that I had seen previously didn’t really do it for me. A number of them are very good, but I found most of them to either be too complicated or too fantastical; leaning more on monsters and magic than actual piracy. That’s where the idea for Weird on the Waves came from: a setting and rules based in 17th century buccaneers in the Caribbean.
I feel like I did my best to capture the feel of the history of the first pirates of the region, while also presenting it in a way that would give Wave Masters the freedom to make the setting their own, whether they care about the history or not.
The biggest add of the setting is the option to play as mermaids. That was one goal I had from day one. D&D has a few aquatic character options, but none of them felt to me enough like mermaids.
Weird on the Waves gives you the option of playing a mermaid/merperson from 1st level, or in the event that your current character dies at sea. You get the option of having the sea resurrect them as a mermaid.
Now that this big book of rules and setting info is free for everyone, I hope you enjoy using it in your own games. Whether you’re setting sail on the Weirdways or using bits and pieces to supplement your own campaigns, I hope you find it helpful.