Going forward, we found the sailors congregated on the forecastle-deck, engaged in some earnest discussion; while several carts on the wharf, loaded with their chests, were just in the act of driving off, destined for the boarding-houses uptown. By the looks of our shipmates, I saw very plainly that they must have some mischief under weigh; and so it turned out.
—Redburn; His First Voyage
Forecastleman. Last but not least, there is the boy sailor, the greenhorn, Redburn—a character taken from Redburn; His First Voyage, written by Melville in 1846. A semi-autobiographical work and somewhat boring travelogue detailing the misadventures of a boy sailor his first time at sea.
The inclusion of Redburn as greenhorn sailor, (0 strength, 0 ability), makes sense both historically and game mechanically, but is also admittedly somewhat sadistic. Redburn dies most often, and having such a character gives a deck of sailors, a crew of men, some pleasing symmetry. Besides, the Redburn play can be extremely advantageous—when a treasured sailor is in harms way (as will often be the case), Redburn may foolishly step in the way and absorb whatever terrible death is found in the cards. Three cheers for little Redburn!—may he learn quicker in the next life.
Original Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress.