Archive for the ‘7th Sea’ Category


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To call this a 2nd Edition feels like a bit of a misnomer. John Wick has taken the old 7th Sea, tossed the old Roll and Keep mechanics overboard, and rewrote much of the setting and history to create this new version of 7th Sea. As such, it feels more fitting to use a term more commonly applied to movies: a reboot.

A More Cinematic Experience

7th Sea’s new mechanics lend itself to a style of play where the player characters are Heroes with a capital “H”. Men and women with amazing skill and luck to live out larger-than-life adventures.

The new system is fairly straightforward. Upon declaring the character’s action for the turn, they roll a pool of d10’s determined by the sum of their Trait and Skill. Players then assemble sets of 10 from the results of the roll, with each set counting as a Raise. These are then used to “buy” narrative achievements such as successfully meeting a goal, taking advantage of an opportunity, or just avoiding harm.

On the GM’s part, their job is to present the players with Opportunities and Threats within the scene, each one building towards a cinematic encounter between the Heroes and the opposition, be it a horde of goons, a devious trap, or the villain of the story.

You’re not the World, but a Stage

GMs who cleave towards a more simulation-based philosophy of running a game will find themselves somewhat challenged by the chief conceit of 7th Sea second edition. The game is engineered so that your role is not that of a director rather than that of a referee.

Threats and Villains exist so that you can highlight the Heroes. And even the character creation ensures that the Heroes know exactly what they’re getting into, and how they’d like each tale to end.

This eliminates a lot of the creative input from the side of the GM, and those who are used to a more open, sandbox method might find themselves lost as to how to properly run the game.

Pretty as it gets

I will say that the artwork and layout for the book is gorgeous, with full colour illustrations and easily readable text. The lack of over-sexualised images is a major plus, and I found a few pieces that took into account the LGBT fans as well, something that I feel will be very much appreciated.

Conclusions

7th Sea Second Edition isn’t an old car with a new coat of paint. It’s a familiar shade of paint on a brand new car. If you’re looking for more of the old, then you might want to be prepared to be surprised.

However, if you’re looking for a game that delivers rope-swinging swashbuckler-y fun with the ability to take your own story by the reins, then this is the game for you. John Wick clearly knew what he wanted to do with the game, and didn’t waste time killing sacred cows to make it happen.


If you’re interested in getting a copy of 7th Sea, you can grab it in PDF from DriveThruRPG for only $24.99 or roughly Php 1,200


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Hey everyone! Today we’re going to try building a character for 7th Sea 2nd Edition using the Backer Preview PDF.

As a fan of swashbuckling adventure, I figure I might as well run 7th Sea’s character creation through the paces. As such I’ll work on putting together in a step-by-step feature similar to the one I use in my Let’s Study articles.

CONCEPT:

Step 0 in 7th Sea is coming up with a concept. I’m not going to be terribly original here and I’ll go with a homage to El Capitan Alatriste, the protagonist of a series of novels by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (go read it!) It won’t be a strict adaptation of the character but it will definitely be influenced by it.

For the purposes of naming, let’s go with Esteban.

TRAITS:

Every hero in 7th Sea has 5 Traits. Each of these begin at 2, and you have 2 more points to spend to increase them.

For Esteban, I’m going for:

Brawn 2
Finesse 3
Resolve 3
Wits 2
Panache 2

NATION BONUS

As a soldier from Castille, my character gets an option of a +1 to Finesse or +1 to Wits. I’m going for Wits on this one, bringing his Traits to:

Brawn 2
Finesse 3
Resolve 3
Wits 3
Panache 2

I know I could have gone for Finesse to make him more combat capable but eh, I like witty heroes.

BACKGROUNDS

Next up, I get to pick 2 Backgrounds to define Esteban’s history. To that end I went ahead to pick Mercenary and Soldier.

These picks bestow Quirks, Advantages and skills which are detailed below:

Quirks

Soldier: Earn a Hero Point when you stick to the plan regardless of
the danger to yourself.

Mercenary: Earn a Hero Point when you choose to ply your trade for a
reason that’s worth more to you than money.

Advantages

Hard to Kill
Cast Iron Stomach
Riot Breaker
Able Drinker

Skills

Aim 1
Athletics 1
Brawl 1
Intimidate 2
Notice 2
Warfare 1
Weaponry 2

SKILLS

At this point I now get to spend 10 points on improving and adding to Esteban’s Skills. Each point buys one more rank in a skill, to a maximum of 3.

Hitting Rank 3 allows me to reroll any single die when taking a Risk using the Skill.

Spending my 10 points, I end up with

Aim 2
Athletics 2
Brawl 2
Convince 1
Empathy 1
Hide 1
Intimidate 3
Ride 1
Notice 3
Warfare 1
Weaponry 3

Not so bad, he’s definitely a well-rounded character from the looks of it.

ADVANTAGES

In addition to the Advantages gained from the Backgrounds, I have 5 points to spend on new Advantages.

I ended up spending all 5 points on the Duelist Academy Advantage.

Hard to Kill -You no longer become Helpless when you have four Dramatic Wounds. Instead, when you have four Dramatic Wounds any Villain who takes a Risk against you gains 3 Bonus Dice (rather than 2). You gain an additional tier of Wounds. When you have taken your fifth Dramatic Wound, you become Helpless.
Cast Iron Stomach – Spoiled or raw food never negatively affects you, and you still gain required sustenance from it.
Riot Breaker – When you take Wounds from a Brute Squad, subtract your Resolve from the Wounds. The remainder is how many Wounds you take, to a minimum of 1 Wound.
Able Drinker – Alcohol never affects you, no matter how much you drink.
Duelist Academy – Aldana Style

ARCANA

For Esteban’s Virtue and Hubris, I’m going for:

Virtue: Astute
Activate your Virtue after a Villain spends Raises for an Action. That Action fails. The Villain still loses the Raises she spent.

Hubris: Loyal
You receive a Hero Point when your Hero goes back for a fallen comrade or refuses to leave a wounded ally.

STORIES

At this point I need to craft a story for Esteban. Here’s what I’m working with right now:

Dangerous Rivalries

Esteban is trying to survive the relentless Mercenary trying to kill him to assume the mantle of the best Mercenary in Theah.

Ending:
Esteban stands victorious but troubled that the duel will only inspire another, more talented rival.

Reward:
3 Step Story resulting in gaining the Fencer Advantage

DETAILS

For the rest of the details Esteban begins with:

Reputation: Loyal
Languages: Old Thean, Castillian, Voddacce
Secret Society: None
Wealth: 0


Character creation was surprisingly quick, and easy enough to follow. There’s little in the way of flipping back and forth, and the Advantages and Background Quirks are all rather evocative.

The Stories mechanic is like a fork of the Chronicles of Darkness Aspirations, wherein you define your end-state, but not the next steps. 7th Sea puts a lot of narrative power in the hands of the player, which unburdens the GM a bit, but does take a bit of time to get used to.

Good work from the 7th Sea guys!


Yesterday I posted my first impressions on the Kickstarter Backer Preview PDF, and how the Improvise rule bothered me. A friend of mine, Charles noted that I might be using a bad example for it that doesn’t do the rule justice.

Just to go over it again, Heroes must pay an additional 1 Raise when they improvise, which is defined as performing actions on their turn that are not covered by their declared Approach at the start of the Round.

Perhaps a better example would be that the Villain, upon winning the roll off to determine initiative, uses his Raises to re-position himself out of melee range and draw a pistol. This invalidates the Approach as declared by the Hero to run the Villain through with his sword, and thus the Hero suffers an Improvise surcharge on what action he takes on his Action to adapt to the new status quo.

While mechanically, I can see it working out that way, my bigger concern lies with the ambiguity as to the declaration of Approaches. The text says “Everybody” declares their Approach for the Round, to which I assume that the GM must also declare the Approaches of his Villains and Brute Squads. However, the question now becomes: Who declares first?

If the GM declares his Approaches first, then the Players can declare Approaches that directly engage the Villain to avoid the Improvisation penalty. Likewise, if the Players must declare Approaches first, then the Villain will simply react to their Approaches, avoiding the Improvisation penalty. Furthermore the Villain’s Approach might even invalidate the Hero’s Approaches to inflict the Improvise Penalty on them.

It’s a weird situation and one that I hope the final draft will clarify, otherwise it’ll be weighted too strongly to favor one side or another.


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Last week Kickstarter backers of the new 7th Sea 2nd Edition received a link to a Preview Draft of the corebook. I was excited to dig in and see what they had been working on since the Quickstart, as I really felt disappointed with my experience of running it.

Ready? Let’s go

(more…)


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To follow up on the article I wrote about my first impressions of the 7th Sea Second Edition Quickstart, I’ve gotten it in my head to design a lite version of it, perhaps something that might address some concerns I’ve had.

What follows is literally something that I came up with in the shower. It’s not meant to replace the stuff from 7th Sea but address the stuff that bugged me when I played.

BASIC TASK RESOLUTION

I wanted to do the least amount of change to the character sheets in 7th Sea, so I decided to retain the fact that Traits and Skills operate off a scale of 1-5 dots.

However, instead of the whole roll a dice pool of Trait+Skill+Bonus and add up sets of 10, I figure we can actually tweak that to work a little faster.

Instead, roll a number of six-sided dice equal to your Trait score. Any dice that come up equal to or less than your Skill rating are considered a Raise. Rolling a 6 is always a failure.

If attempting a skill that you have no dots in, 1’s still count as a Raise, but rolling a 6 means you Botch.

COMBAT

In addition to declaring your Intent, you also declare an Approach. Approaches determine what you can spend Raises on for this round.

– Physical: Allows for Brawn and Finesse Actions
– Mental: Allows for Wits and Panache Actions

Player who rolls the most Raises goes first and applies Raises to their Actions. After resolving that, play moves on to the next character with the highest number of Raises.

REACTIONS

When targeted by a hostile action, a character may attempt to negate Raises spent to harm them by spending an equal number of Raises. This is a reflexive action, and must be justified within the context of the same Approach chosen at the start of the Round.

Again this isn’t meant to be a true replacement to the system as it is now, but a small exercise in figuring out how to patch it based on my understanding of the games goals.

Heck if there’s any interest in this at all maybe I can develop it as a lite take on it like Qwixalted did for Exalted 2nd Edition!