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BluSponge's picture
2nd edition First Play Experience
2nd edition

Last weekend, my old grad school 7th Sea group reunited for the first time in years to play the new edition of the game.  Here's how it went.

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Cthulhu Netobvious
Cthulhu Netobvious's picture
Thanks for sharing. Always interesting to read up on first impressions of play-throughs. Usually, it is first impressions that successfully recruit new fans.

TAJ-07: Technopriest And Justicar Of 7thSea2e

NeoTanuki's picture

Thanks for the report and suggestions. I was thinking of using poker chips for Hero and Danger Points, since I already have a set for Deadlands:Reloaded games.

Salamanca's picture
I really recommend using a set for raises as well. Players at my table kept wanting to fiddle with their dice forgetting they were set aside for a reason (and instinctively grabbing them to make rolls like they do in the past edition).
Alfredo Tarancón
Alfredo Tarancón's picture

I was thinking of using something like this dor raises, maybe...


BluSponge's picture

Yeah, you could do that. 

Here's an example of my low-tech, highly mobile approach:

Initials of the players right down the middle.  Raises rolled to the right and left (Rd 1 and Rd 2), and ticked off as spent.  Easy to add notations ("I used a + for rolls that had quick reflexes advantage) and to track who has the highest total in the group.  This is why I recommend a small white board for play.  

BTW, back to school time is coming, and that means we'll be able to find tiny locker white boards!  The perfect tool.

Alfredo Tarancón
Alfredo Tarancón's picture

That's how i did it in the few games i run witht the qs, 

One of the things I liked about the old system was initiative, and the fact that there was a space in the sheet to put your dices so you could see quickly in what phases you acted. I always thought it was fun, and with how raises are worlking now I kinda hoped that the dice space in the character sheet made a come back, with players puting a dice there for each rise. The other option was the pdf for tha action mat. You could use a single token to go up and down as you use them, or put a dice for each raise, and let them go up and down (I was tempted to call it the raise-o-meter, or the equalizer, or some other silly thing...) as you pick them up or add them...

Kevin Krupp
Kevin Krupp's picture

I've been using a variation of the mat I used to track actions in 1st Ed. It's basically 10 boxes and I have a token for each PC. I drop their token into the box for their current number of raises and move the token as they spend their raises - this has been really helpful for calling out windows of opportunity (I have some tokens with a big ! on them to call out these sorts of things.)

E.g. If the heros have until 2 Raises are left before the ship pulls away from the dock and they'll have to swim for it or find another method of travel, I'll drop the "!" into the "2 Raise" box.

You could just use tokens, which is more fun for the Players, but doing that took way more effort in terms of mental gymnastics for me to keep track of everything; I'd end up just reverting back to BluSponge's low tech approach.


BTW, back to school time is coming, and that means we'll be able to find tiny locker white boards!  The perfect tool.

Yes! Whiteboards for everything: tracking random things, quick maps on the fly. In a pinch you can get away with a sheet of paper in a sheet protector sleeve or laminated (I keep a few laminated index cards just for that pupose;) it's a tad more mobile.

Tec Goblin
Tec Goblin's picture

We also had a first session!

First of all, we had a lot of fun! The setting was cool and the players (experienced and not) enjoyed it. Despite many adverse circumstances (families, distance, repetition etc) which made many of us quit playing RPGs 2 years ago, we’re now considering continuing this one-shot to a short campaign.

We also managed to do a lot in 4,5 hours:

·        The heroes were introduced to each other (only 2 of them knew each other) and some of them really became a group (not as many as I’d hoped, but that was an error I did).

·        The setting was presented.

·        Major NPCs in Sarmatia were presented, and most characters advanced their personal stories (some by more steps than I’d written – I had only filled in the first step).

·        The heroes managed to thwart the plans of the old Sejm to launch a vote (adverse to the population of Curonia) with a rushed vote involving only the capital. This involved a lot of intrigue and confronting 3 brute squads. I was intrigued by the fact that they prioritised as much as possible non-violent ways to confront the squads [despite the fact that I had said them that their heroes practically cannot die].

·        The orchestrated a duel against a villain, in order to cancel an unfortunate marriage. They managed to limit the contribution of his influence to the dice pool with clever actions.

·        Then some of them boarded a ship to leave Sarmatia.

I built 5 very different characters in order to test different aspects of the system. Here are some conclusions:

  • The dramatic sequences worked, better than I expected. They weren’t particularly dramatic but they solved the problem I had in the past with some players monopolising the action, and also led players prioritise what was important for their characters.
  • The real action sequence we played was appropriately crazy. We had a hero pretending to kidnap another hero (a hero the brutes didn’t want to harm, so they had to tone down their attacks). We had another hero teleporting to some brutes which were climbing to a vantage point for shooting on the heroes, and hit them from the shadows. We had intelligent diplomacy agains the squads.
  • That said, the sequence would be a failure if we hadn’t an objective : to ring a Church bell in Sarmatia. Brute squads work only as diversion. The players said they would be bored if they just had to fight the squads – in that case the battle would have been devoid of any tactics, risk or drama. Only one hero took 2 Dramatic Wounds, and 2 of the other heroes took none.
  • As BluSponge said, it's difficult to get the players create opportunities for each other.
  • Nobody ever decided to fail a risk (even though there were a couple of situations in which they could fail without jeopardising the team) and players really liked to use their knacks instead of fighting. This meant that 2 of the heroes ran out of hero points. Even if I reminded the players to fail occasionally, but the opportunities to fail without important consequences were few.
  • Sorte worked. Dar Mathuski worked. Sanderis needs work: minor favours are too strong and need clarifications (see below), and the corruption rules are too harsh for anyone to ever risk a major favour. I’ll borrow corruption effects from Ravenloft instead of the ‘lose your character’ mechanic.
  • I tried to ‘break’ the system with a hero pushing too much in Finesse + Weaponry, combined with dynamic approach. The goal is to use his/her favourite skills as an initial approach and change it afterwards. With starting characters, it didn’t give the hero an unfair advantage. The hero was focused, very good on some things, but not much on others. I think the ‘breaking point’ will be when the character will reach Skill 5: an exploding dice pool of 13 with double raises for 15 will mean that the hero will start every sequence with 3 raises more than the other heroes and then (if needed) change the approach at the cost of 1 hero point. 1 Hero Point for 3 raises is a good trade.
  • Duels to the first blood (wound or dramatic wound) just don’t work. A starting hero with the glorious virtue will just beat anything you throw at him/her. At 14 raises he will play before the villain and then lunge for 1-3 DW.
  • Calculating raises when the GM increases the difficulty and an advantage gives +1 to the value of the dice is just so long it’s un-fun (and we’re all IT professionals in the group!). Some players used http://7thsea.azurewebsites.net. I’d say: get rid of the advantages giving +1 to the dice values. They also have a nasty min-maxing potential (the effect is similar to 1 bonus die for small pools and 2 bonus dice for larger ones). Just give 1 bonus die and keep it elegant.
  • A lot of the rules require clarifications:

o   When large can be used in combat? I’d say that pushing a door on the brutes behind it would give a bonus, but just punching around should not (otherwise it would be a 4 point advantage, not just 1 point).

o   Can a character with the Sanderis darkness pact teleport to a shadow she cannot see? (I ruled that they can try to ‘guess’ that in a specific room anywhere in the world there’s a bookcase throwing a shadow. If they guess wrong, they just lost their raise. The problem is that this kind of teleportation is simpler and cheaper than porté)

o   What can a character concealed by the Sanderis darkness pact do without breaking the concealment? (I ruled that talking won’t be heard unless the character ends the effect. I ruled that the effect can be ended at will. I ruled that attacking will end the effect. That’s too much house ruling).

o   As said elsewhere, we need clarifications on how pressure and advantages changing a person’s behaviour work on squads. I ruled that disarming smile will work (if it makes sense).

o   As said elsewhere, we need clarifications on which damage sources are impacted by feint (only from the same character? Only from weapons? Only the next damage?).

o   As said elsewhere, wording of the type ‘especially if’ doesn’t have a place in rules (see the curious hubris).

Anyway it was fun and I want to repeat it!

BluSponge's picture

TecG, That sounds like a lot of fun! That's for sharing. Great idea about giving action sequences a goal rather than just beating on brutes. Your observations about the game make a lot of sense.

i suspect (and I don't mean this as a bad thing) that when 7th Sea: the East is released in 2 years, we are going to be looking at a more defined game. I also think that the 2nd printing of the core book will (complete speculation) serve as a "revised edition" (much like how Savage Worlds has dealt with editions - each printing is an incremental update). I just think that 4 years of playtesting, development, convention rounds, and feedback is going to force some definition into what is now something of a rules soup. I don't really think that's what John Wick planned to do (and I don't expect him to tell us if he did) but I think that's just going to come from natural development of the game.

i also believe that by the time The East is released, we are going to be looking at maybe two new mechanics (like action and dramatic sequences) that have grown out of play and are by now so ubiquitous that it makes no sense not to include them in the core rules. Again, complete speculation.

Wolfflin Huyghen
Wolfflin Huyghen's picture

"more defined game"

Yes... that's what many of us are looking for.

Yesterday we finished a complete campaing of 7th Sea second edition. The veredict was really clear: Wonderfull lore, bad rules. The concept it's really good and fresh, but it's full of holes. Specially the magic and the fights, the main points of te game for many people.

Soon we discovered that many times throw the dices was something boring, so it becomed a more and more narrative game, because the heroes were going to sucess everything. That gives a lot of weight to the story. Because nobody wants to use the dices cheeky

We really, really, really need a video showing how to play... in the "official way" to give our last opinion.

Heng benjamin
Heng benjamin's picture
  • Duels to the first blood (wound or dramatic wound) just don’t work. A starting hero with the glorious virtue will just beat anything you throw at him/her. At 14 raises he will play before the villain and then lunge for 1-3 DW.

It won't work every time, but I think that's the kind of scene that will benefit the most from well choosen consequences.

"You hit to hard and kill the poor bastard"


Tec Goblin
Tec Goblin's picture

Using consequences for such things is indeed a good idea, but I've too problems:

1) The aforementioned hero still has plenty of raises to spare and still act before the villain

2) The consequence you propose is totally against the spirit of the new 7thSea. You cannot accidentally kill anyone in 7thSea.

Heng benjamin
Heng benjamin's picture
Ok, Glorious is broken. I don't find anything else against it. Even pressure or danger pool usage won't work. At highest level you can totaly do a ton of dammages or create enought opportunity to break any scene. For your second point, if you chose not to spend raises to avoid the kill, I would say that you purposedly choosed to kill, but that's only from my point of view...
NeoTanuki's picture

What about playing out duels to first blood with the same rules as a regular duel, (You have to score the appropriate number of Wounds/Dramatic Wounds to render the opponent Helpless); but after the duel the loser only retains 1 Dramatic Wound instead of the full damage?

What I'm picturing is that in a duel to first blood, the opponents are still struggling to defeat each other, but the GM uses wounds and Dramatic Wounds in this kind of duel to instead represent fatigue/growing distraction/lack of concentration instead of actual physical injuries. When the loser suffers the last Dramatic Wound, it represents their weapon being knocked out of their hand, the winner suddenly finding that critical breach in the defense and piercing the shoulder, that sort of thing. 

So for example, Julio challenges Andre to a duel of honor, and clearly stipulates that it is to first blood. They set up and start the Action Scene. Each of them scores wounds and Dramatic Wounds as normal, but the GM instead describes this, for example as "Julio slashes at Andre, who barely parries-leaving a tiny tear in Andre's sleeve! Julio smiles." Eventually, Julio scores the final Dramatic Wound, and the GM says "Andre's concentration wavers...Julio snakes in with a Feint and scratches Andre's wrist! The duel is over!" But instead of Andre being Helpless afterwards with four or more Dramatic Wounds, he simply takes his first Dramatic Wound and has all others erased. 

Does that make sense? The idea is you can still have the tension and drama of a full duel and eliminate the "I lunge, I win" issue.

The idea for this came to me from something I read in the old d20 Star Wars system, where Hit Points were separate from wound points (I may not be remembering the official terminology here) and the book said that hit points didn't represent physical injury; they represented the player dodging, ducking, and steadily getting more worn down to a threshold where they started taking actual wound points. 

Heng benjamin
Heng benjamin's picture
And why not play it like any other risk: Declare your intent, determine consequences and opportunity then spend raises ?
Kevin Krupp
Kevin Krupp's picture

o   Can a character with the Sanderis darkness pact teleport to a shadow she cannot see? (I ruled that they can try to ‘guess’ that in a specific room anywhere in the world there’s a bookcase throwing a shadow. If they guess wrong, they just lost their raise. The problem is that this kind of teleportation is simpler and cheaper than porté)

1) My understanding is that it should be within their line of sight, but I guess there isn't anything explicitly saying that.

2) Remember, that the Losenja (sorcerer) needs to be super specific about what they want. You can and SHOULD as a GM try to use it to create complications for them. If they aren't careful about specifying the shadow, too bad they end up in a different but similar shadow. If they aren't careful about specifying that no one should see them when they get there, too bad, the Deivas has them teleport right next to the bookcase and the heor teeters off balance knocking over books and drawing attention to themselves. If they're not specific about when they should end up in the shadow, maybe the Deivas delays just a bit longer than the Losenja would like and drops them into the shadow at an inopportune moment (e.g. While being chased by guards "Quick! teleport me to that shadow across chasm." Oops...the devias waited for the hero to reappear in the shadow after the villains guards have made it across as well and the hero has reappeard right in front of them...should have specified "before the villain's guards get here.") Maybe the Deivas doesn't send all of the Losenja's stuff with them to the new shadow and the Losenja lands in the middle of a bunch of baddies with their sword left behind. (sort of a...they move forward in their goal...but...scenario.)

3) Don't forget that the Losenja has to do "something" everytime the use their ability. There is a "cost" to using it - this is GM/player determined, and even if it's seemingly as simple and benign as "they have buy their deivas a drink within 24 hours after using it" - that can become a major headache if they're nowhere near a tavern.

Porte is more straightforward (although I still dislike that you can only walk to large objects...why can't you decide to make a small object a Major mark? I mean I get why a large object can't be a major mark...but why does the "weight/size" of an object determine whether or not I can go to it? --argh...that rule is stupid,) but Sanderis is explosive and surprising (.e.g "I want to put out the fire in that house" - The house collapse in on itself; the fire's out.)

Tec Goblin
Tec Goblin's picture

I think you're pointing me towards the right direction in point 2 (that said, the timing should be following the rules. If I teleport to a shadow, then it should happen during my raise, not whenever the deivas wants).

Kevin Krupp
Kevin Krupp's picture

That said, the timing should be following the rules. If I teleport to a shadow, then it should happen during my raise, not whenever the deivas wants.

The disappear should definitely happen during the raise expenditure, but for reappear I could see the Deivas being a bit - flexible - unless the amount of time is explicitly stated (e.g. before X happens, with enough time for me to do Y, or as simple as "right now".) I agree it would be pretty cruel to pull it. Although, that said, having the hero vanish and then re-appear a few hours later after the action has wrapped up and everyone has moved on, would be a real good lesson about being specific; it's an especially good one if the rest of the party gets captured and the Losenja needs to rescue them by him/herself.

IMO, Sanderis is designed to break the rules. As long as I'm working within the constraints presented and within the spirit of the sorcery, I personally have no qualms about doing so (as long as I'm doing so with the intent of making the story more interesting and exciting for my Players, not just to be a jerk.)

BluSponge's picture

Um. The Darkness minor favor specifies a shadow "in sight". I'd call that pretty specific. So I'd say for a shadow you cannot see that either it can't be done, it can be done but is very difficult (has consequences to be offset), is a major favor. You should feel free to expand on Sanderis, but as far as that example goes, it's not ambiguous at all.

Ian Gray
Ian Gray's picture

Did anyone have any difficulty figuring out how many wounds for a non combat consequence as the book provides no advice on this.

I know how to use a sword.....THe pointy end goes in the other person.

Salamanca's picture
This is entirely judgement so there is no real wrong answers. The guideline you want to follow is to make it enough that the players need to spend towards it but not so bad that they can do nothing else. Most experienced players will ignore a single wound in most situations. But two or three will have them spending it down if not completely. But a player that is only rolling 6 dice has a good chance of only having 3 raises to spend. (So for starting characters, I recommend 2). And that consequence does not have to be wounds. It can be spend a raise or alert the guards during a stealth scene.
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