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El Vago
El Vago's picture
Anybody Else Rules-Wary Setting-Excited?

I am really looking forward to checking out the Rebooted world of Theah, but so far I'm not very enthused by the 2e rules. We gave it a go with an excellent 7th Sea GM who's been running for years, and there were quite a few problems. I won't go into them, but it didn't seem to fit my style of play. I've noticed on other forums some people seem to share some of my same rules concerns. 

So I am still really happy to back this project; but I'm just in it for the setting.  The rules are not something I'd likely ever use. Are there many people in this same boat? 

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Bradley
Bradley's picture
I thought the setting looked interesting and figured I could use the setting for some campaigns I had been planning that I had already decided on a system for. Then I saw the setting was even more interesting than I thought. The ideas behind the system also looked interesting, but I decided to go into the mechanical side of things with a healthy dose of scepticism and a willingness to change things. The deck option for "rolling" in particular sparks my imagination.
Jordi Estefa
Jordi Estefa's picture

I am actually a bit wary about both the setting and the rules.

I must be one of the few that liked the "aliens" in the 1e. And flame walls, and invisible walls, and krakens, and rivers with two mouths. It took me a while, but I finally got that Theah is not our Earth. I would be a bit sad if the new setting deviates too much from what it was and gets too mundane, or "generically fantastic". Although "too much" is yet to be defined :P 

Regarding the rules I am not sure if my group of players are going to be up for the kind of system JWP are making. But there is still time for rules and players to change. I just hope they release beta versions once in a while so we can get an idea where the game is going. That would definitelly help to buffer the shock from 1e to 2e.

Tilly Bomas
Tilly Bomas's picture

Well, I had enjoyed the freedom of the new rules, and our group seemed to have fun coming up with interesting things to do with our raises.  I am looking forward to the new setting, to see what has changed, whats new and the like, but I too, also liked the Syrneth, and the meta plot of them being in an alternate dimension.  I had a character who studied them in great detail, and had discovered the existence of an ancient vault in Numa.. but he never got their before the gm retired the camp.  Granted, I was in Ussura, fighting a vampire and learning about a still living Drachen that lived under some castle... and had talked with both a Thalusi, as well as a Setine... so, my character was on the path of death, or villain hood.. since if he ever discovered that Vault, and learned the Truth... he would see the Syrneth as gods...

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

Hey El Vago.  Fancy seeing you around here.

I'm on the fence with the new system.  I haven't had a chance to play through the QS with my group.  Also, it's built from a draft (and a potentially early one at that).  So to say I won't use the new rules is VERY premature.  There is a lot about that that puts me out of my comfort zone to be sure.  But that's not necessarily a bad thing.  Of course, my experience with the old 1st edition rules wasn't nearly the torturously broken affair some people make it out to be, so I'd be very happy to jump right back in with a slightly homebrewed 1.5 version of the game that satisfied my old school aesthetics.  But I need to see a lot more of the finished product before I pitch it for something else.

But yes, you could consider me a bit...apprehensive.

Tom

Brian Rosenberger
Brian Rosenberger's picture

Like I have said on other threads in this Forum. I will more then likely be playing 7th Sea 1.5 ed. . I like some of the ideas with the new skill sets and some of the new setting ideas but there are other portions of both that I dont care for. I will more then likely keep most of the old Theah and just add in the Commonwealth ,Ifri parts of the new Crecent Empire and anything else that catches my eye and I will keep the Roll and Keep system also. That said the Syrneth will still be the boogey men in the background, the Inquisition will still be a major threat, and Villinova will assuredly be leading NOM toward world domination. I wont have settlements in the New World but will instead have our characters be some of the first to step foot in the undiscovered areas.   

                             Brian

Excalibur
Excalibur's picture

Oh yes indeed I am most excited for the setting, as are the growing members of the group we're getting together for 7th Sea. All the NotNations, their culture, geography, special quirks and their histories, are especially tantalizing places where I can immerse myself and characters. Swashbuckling derring-do, political intrigue, powerful yet perilous magicks/ancient artifacts, exploration, piracy; excitement everywhere in a setting that is closer to the real than usual yet still fantastical in its presentation and personality.

That said, in whatever form the rules turn out when the full core book drops, from my experience with the QS I'll have to take a long look at the rules to see if certain things need to be tweaked, removed, or added to facilitate the gameplay. Not that the QS was not fun (in fact it was a great success with my group!) and some of the more major issues were more likely than not due to having little time to discuss the rules and my own inexperience as a DM. As it stands now I can definitely say I'm more in for the setting and to play a tabletop in that setting than for the effectiveness of the rules themselves. But, as others have said, I'll wait until I see a more final (not necessarily the final) version of the rules before I make the decision to toss them out wholesale.

 

Tilly Bomas
Tilly Bomas's picture

May I ask, in like a bullet point fashion, what people have against the new ruleset?  I mean, different Strokes and all that, so I don't want to sound like I am bashing anything.  But, I am curious what peoples biggest problems were with the QS rules (since we don't have the full ones).  Some people seem to like that they condensed the skills, but not the system as a whole.  So, I am just curious :)

Excalibur
Excalibur's picture

Well, like I said, there are a few things that I've seen people want addressed and what during the QS there were things I thought could be seen as offputting. I may not be qualified to answer this, again, being new, so if there are corrections or issues to be raised with this post please feel free.

Here be a list of things, though I may have missed some issues raised in various forums and some people might not agree with these specific issues.

  • Nearly no set way for players to fail their intentions if they have enough dice (they'll have enough dice).
    • Getting at least one Raise is basically near a certainty, and getting no Raises is almost unlikely enough to be discounted. This means that players in most situations will take the consequences an achieve their intent, with the DM being left with only the Danger Point Raise to 15 or coming up with some pretty dire consequences (that I believe cannot contradict the intent?). Other recourses besides upping the consequence factor include (I believe) homebrewing either negative or greater dice/raises for especially risky situations or limiting the extent of intentions in a Risk (Yes, you can roll to see how much support you can get from a king, no you cannot convince him to hand over the monarchy) or make it so that situation isn't a risk (No, you can't roll to do that now/ever).  
    • Buying dice can turn into an economy game of how to keep the most dice away from the DM, potentially leading to a breakdown in a sequence. The rules also don't technically say a DM can choose not to buy dice, only that they buy dice that aren't part of any raises.
      • I remember a post saying something along the lines of they felt like stuntmen more than heroes, though opinions may vary. Of course, this can be balanced in a way as-is by issuing consequences, but this could be problematic for various reasons, as the greater the skills, the more consequences will be needed to preclude or even effectively punish certain insane actions (With a trait of three, skill of three, plus 2 bonus die from description and new skill, plus whatever bonuses your group can give, this can be an uphill battle).
      • Danger Points have relatively few applications, the main difficulty raising one being deliberately and significantly limited. Lack of applications for Danger Points may also lead DM's to use those few options more often.
  • Rules light on certain things people would rather see in. Basically, I quote, "fluff vs. crunch".
    • ​Things such as differences in weapons besides the skills you use for them in combat. Technically, the way things work, a bow is the same as a teacup is the same as a hammer damage wise. The bow differs in that it needs to be reloaded (so I guess that should be balanced by differences in consequences/opportunities?), and all differ in what things you add up to count your dice. Armor is also absent. This is not necessarily a problem depending on your POV, but it may be strange for people coming in from other RPG's (not being a justification for or against).
    • Most mechanics revolved around the aforemention near guarenteed Risk and Intent system, whereas some people would like more mechanics for certain situations, such as ship combat (and maybe social scenarios?). This seems to be the design intent, so depends on what you want from the game.
  • Villain Ratings being divided between solely between (as of the QS) Strength and Influence.
    • With the understanding that eventually villains should get special abilities, as it by the QS stands all villains of equal villain rating are functionally the same, with the implication being that a master swordsmenwill will have the same potential damage output as a sufficiently influential noblemen. Of course the noblemen's rating can be lower more, but the potential is still there.
    • Some issue with the idea of schemes and investment I can't really recall.
    • Corrolary: Brute squads having little mechanical application besides dealing and taking damage.
  • Some balance issues
    • ​Domenica's Come Hither​ is a heck of an ability, given that it doesn't specify who she can do it to or if there is any way to counter it. Come to think of it, neither do the Pirate or Thief Brute Squad abilities. Of course, this can be dealt with by having mature players/DM's or by DM fiat, but the potential is there (as is in most games).

These are the main issues I'm aware of at the moment. Most of them, assuredly, can be tacked onto differences in opinions regarding design and the obviously limited set we were provided in the QS. Some issues, which include things like the formulaic nature of Villains and Brute Squads, are likely to be fixed with a more in-depth ruleset, though the villain rating system and Danger Points might still prove to be problematic. Other things, such as those in the Risk system, may remain even afterwards (you may not think them problems!) though based on feedback they could be fixed.

As noted before, this is probably not close to an effective summarization of problems people have with the system, and each of the categories I provided probably have more examples than I was able to provide. Further examples or corrections are welcome.

Tilly Bomas
Tilly Bomas's picture

Thanks for that.  It does show (Bullet Points), some of the things I remember people talking about in dislike.  Brute Squads, were never anything but things that took/dealt damage.  So this hasn't changed much, it just makes them (from what I can see) a bit more streamlined, and slightly more dangerious.  I don't recall taking damage from Brute Squads ever in 1st, but during the QS, we did take some.  

I know the design choice removes failure as an option.  At least randomly.  While it is always possible with a bad roll, odds are, you will get at least 1 raise.  Meaning whatever your intent, you will succeed.  However, given what might be out on the table (consiquences, oppertunities) perhaps you might chose one of those options instead and fail your intent.  But, this really is a design choice, and I know while I might enjoy that, many people won't.  Guess I will agree with John on the plenty of systems out there offer the random chance of fail, and he wanted to make something different.  I will go with that.  As for the economy, far as I remember, it was the DM's choice.... and while I don't know how it changed in the new version (I wasn't looking at that), with the 1's it gave the GM a bit, and he even cut a few raises, like one player rolled 3 9's and 3 1's.... so went from 3 raises, to a single raise after the GM bought his ones... I kinda liked that option, but again, haven't seen it's change.

Rule Lite... I can see it.  Their is slight differences (Brawn+Weapon for Heavy/Two handed weapons, Finess+Weapon for light/one handed weapons, and I think it was Wits+Weapon for Ranged).  So damage will change a bit... but I can understand people's need for weapon charts.  Again, I know John wants to veer away from that.  



 

Miguel Andolini
Miguel Andolini's picture
I have played and ran 1e for many a year, I have read through the QS v1 and v2. IMHO, I like the weapon being more fluff than crunch. You can now as. Hero ( vs a standard PC) wound, maim, kill with a teacup, chopstick or wmd with raises for the damage rather than a set mechanics mandating specific dmg. It allows us as players and gms to focus more on the dramatic license than mechanic of a task. I suspect that all the rules will have this inherent flexiblity. The Hero is the lvl of lethality a weapon has now, as does the intent.
Brian Rosenberger
Brian Rosenberger's picture

My main dislike is the fact that there seems to be almost no chance of failure  and the complete lack of a Ship to Ship Battle system. I would like there to be a bit more of a Target number base system with some adjustability to the difficulty of things. This all being said you are correct that we dont have the new rule system yet and a lot can change between now and then. I will review the new system again when we get more of the system but right now I am leaning toward a mix of both

 

Salty Dog
Salty Dog's picture

Dice rolling is currently *so* boring. Just grab yourself 4 d10's and keep rolling them and see how many raises you get. It'll be 1 or 2. Oh it looks like you might have 3 because there's two 9's and two 8's? Nope. That's 2 raises. One 10 and three 9's? 2 raises.

I get that predictability is the intent since the game is designed so players cannot fail but a side effect is that the current system makes dice rolling arbitrary.

People can criticize 1st Edition for it's many flaws, but dice rolls, in my experience, were almost always fun. Having the potential for dice to explode and variable TN's provided a sense of uncertainty that I miss - a mechanical opportunity for my character to pull off something truly daring because there was real risk involved.

If I could change one aspect of 2e I'd bring it back to it's R&K roots.

True Iskander
True Iskander's picture

I am, admittedly.  The concept of declaring "Risks" and "Consequences" doesn't sound like my style.  I've always been kind of iffy on rulesets that rely on the GM being able to do a lot of hand-waving for the sake of the storyline.  Not that 7th2e is that or that I don't understand the appeal, but I guess I like having fairly defined rules on what is and isn't possible for a character.

Morgan Wolfe
Morgan Wolfe's picture

* Magic: Just one stat for "sorte"? How do you give individual Strega some individuality, instead of all just having more dice? Extrapolate that out to the other sorceries (glamor as a single stat? -- no, just... no.)

* What many others have said about the probability curve being short and flat. I once rolled a 72 on 4k7. Fortunately I had a GM who was able to take that amazing success and run with it :-). I don't see any real options for spectacular successes, or failures, in the current system.

My GM wrote up a whole review, which I can link here, but those are my thoughts as a player.

Morgan Wolfe
aka Capt. Doña Sir Kestrel of Avalon http://silver-gateway.com/7sea/

Salty Dog
Salty Dog's picture

Can you link the review? I'd be interested to read what your GM has to say about it.

Excalibur
Excalibur's picture

I would also like to see the review if at all possible! And I'm hoping we just got a limited view of what Sorte can do, because, as you said, simply more dice with no added flair or ability is boring. 

I think there might actually be places for spectacular successes and failures in the current rules though. In the Action Sequence guidelines in the QS, it states that multiple Raises can be spent on an Action, and the more spent on that Action, "the bigger the effect". Heroes can also choose to fail (more likely than not rolling a single Raise), which is supposed to lead to dramatic situations (examples included in the QS include being capture by Brute Squad's or failing to make a jump, placing the hero into a precarious position. For truly insane actions, you can make the Consequences so outrageous as to necessitating failing the Intent (not sure how well-recieved this would be). When it comes to failure that player's do not choose (and with the reality that one Raise is almost a certainty), these will most likely have to come from deliberate DM action, and it will probably be seen that way.

This all seems to rely more on the DM and players deciding on when and what occurs when it comes to super successes or failure rather than much reliance on rolls. What is the "bigger effect" of running through a burning building to avoid the Risk if you don't use your Raise to make an Opportunity? Perhaps you are able to speed through right quickly, thus allowing you to see the direction the Villain's carriage is escaping in? If my reading of the rules is right (it may not be!), then players can technically choose to get a bigger effect any time they pleasein an Action Sequence at least as long as they have more than one Raise. Failure will most likely be rare, unless someone finds it story-appropriate or really really really wants a Hero Point for some reason, and again, will probably be the result of player choice rather than any particular roll. 

Now, these design choices, namely the shifting of focus away from the dice and towards choice and scene description as well as the inevitable lack of failing Intent, are by and large intentional. There can be extreme successes or failures, but they are more dependent on active choice on the part of the DM or players rather than rolling a Nat 1 or 20 (not saying you would like this example, only that it is an example of mechanic-driven critical success/failure). Whether or not you feel this detracts from the game very much depends on whether you agree with this more narrative based system.

Some of these issues, like the total effects of magic like Sorte, will hopefully be solved when the full rulebook is released. John Wick and his team are no doubt looking at a lot of player feedback from Active Play posts, emails, etc., so I'm sure a strenuous effort is being to reconcile player desires with the system they as best as possible while still sticking with the original design choices. The Raises and Risks are probably here to stay, but we can't really be sure how things will turn out until the final set of rules are drafted and distributed. 

Morgan Wolfe
Morgan Wolfe's picture

As requested, our (mostly his) writeup of our Quickstart session: http://www.7thsea2e.com/port/blog/7th-sea-quickstart-analysis

Morgan Wolfe
aka Capt. Doña Sir Kestrel of Avalon http://silver-gateway.com/7sea/

Wolfflin Huyghen
Wolfflin Huyghen's picture

Ahoy!

The thing is... Maybe it could be better go to John Wick team and tell them: "We are going to give you the failures that we think 2e rules have. Do you want them?". Because I listened Mike Curry in a podcast telling that he knows all our complaining about the rules. And that he knows all of them and even more. But that's what they made. They alrready know the things that the old scool think that they are "failures" of 2.0 .

So little by little I'm thinking that we have a new game.

Now it's our turn for wait and choose then between jump to 2.0 or create our own 1.5. 

NOTE: I continue hopping that they surpreise us with 1 edition rules for the NPC's and new nations. That can be amazing for everybody, so, if you want to continue with 1.0 or 1.5 it's going to be really easy. But I don't thing that they have that in mind. Even more horrible when they present the East... the 1.5 of that it's going like make your own game...frown

 

 

 

 

Tilly Bomas
Tilly Bomas's picture

I know I talked with John, during the KS, and asked him if their was a way to convery 1st Ed characters to 2nd Ed, and he said it would be in the Core Book.  So I don't believe (could be wrong) that they are going back to first at all.  And really, IMHO, I am looking forward to the new rule set for the new world.  It IS a new game, and I am liking what I am seeing so far.  

Doctor
Doctor's picture

Just an update: full post to follow.

<RobJustice>: I can tell you that Sorte was COMPLETELY reworked after the QS.

<RobJustice>: Skills: Aim, Athletics, Brawl, Convince, Empathy, Hide, Intimidate, Notice, Perform, Ride, Scholarship, Sailing, Tempt, Theft, Warfare, Weaponry

“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”
- H.L. Mencken

Doctor
Doctor's picture

 

I think the main issue a lot of people have with the rule set is that it is so fundamentally different from Roll and Keep (in deep philosophical ways) that it's jarring. We want "hard" mechanics and most of all we want structure. The system feels so loose that "system" seems the wrong word. We want a causal system: if A then B. If you roll a 15, then you hit. We also want binary outcomes: we want a clear, sharp answer to "what happens?" in terms of success or failure. This is how we learned to game, this is how we imagine a game, and this is how we understand a gaming system.

 

Zen

Patience. I think we'll get it. I have been reading and re-reading the core mechanic, testing and retesting: only now am I starting to get it (I think). It's a little hard to explain and it is going to be HELL on GM's early on. One of the reasons it is hard to explain is that the logic is so commonplace, so ingrained in the way we live our lives that we have to stop a moment to figure out how to articulate it. I'll give it a shot.

 

Put "success" or "failure" to the side a moment. We don't "succeed" or "fail" when we go grocery shopping; baring some extreme set of circumstances, we enter the store with money and leave with groceries. The only real drama in the event is the set of decisions we make about which items to purchase, which items to forgo, whether to remain within our budget, or whether to max out the credit card on beer. We're never in danger of "failing" to buy milk, even if it is on our shopping list: if we are without milk when we leave, it is because we decided something else was more important. The question, in most decisions we make is not whether we will succeed or fail but what we are willing to give up or compromise in order to achieve our ends. It's not about a binary "success" or "failure," it's about resource allocation.

 

A good example is the statement "even with our technology, we couldn't build the Great Pyramid today!" Of course we could. Could we do it in a way that is cost efficient? Could we do it in a way that is humane? Doubtful. However, if we really wanted the Great Pyramid built, we could absolutely build it: it's amazing what you can accomplish with an unlimited budget or a callous disregard for human life.

 

Taken for granted in almost every system is the idea that your character wants to succeed at whatever task she has set herself to. What this system does is question that idea: what if the consequences of success were high, or succeeding cost others around you a chance to do the same? I think once we wrap our collective heads around that shift in paradigm we'll be okay. It's not really about "can you do it?,"  it's about "what will it cost you"

 

Unfortunately, this means that the GM needs interesting opportunity costs and consequences for nearly every conceivable action. More on that in a moment.   

 

Motorcycle Maintenance

I am not a cheerleader. The system has serious flaws. It has a lot of character. Much like a  motorcycle with a lot of character, however, it tends breaks down at the exact moment we need it not to.  Right now, as it stands, it's not great for combat. We haven't seen the entire rules set but I already see a big pushback against the concept of all weapons being the same. Fortunately, there are options, such as giving a big hammer the opportunity to knock the target back rather than do a wound. Larger pools will allow weapons to express individuality in this way but the problem is that I don't have the time to think up unique opportunities for every weapon. Ship to ship combat could be the same way; ships could be tricked out with gear or crew training or whatever which would provide unique opportunities  and/or something to do with all those dice.  Combat needs to be a bit more crunchy; not like Grapenuts crunchy, but at least Rice Crispy crunchy. Maybe the full rules set will address this.

 

The rules totally break down in the face of "the highly unlikely."  If my stated Intent is to hit a Randy Johnson fastball and I have a Finesse of 2 (starting score) with an Athletics of 1 (rudimentary training), the odds are pretty good I will succeed. Considering a 90+ mph fastball would be past me before I could blink, I find the idea that a novice could even make contact a bit laughable; and therein lies the problem: even if you make the consequence a "foul ball" or "you embarrassingly hit the ball less than 1 foot," I have still done something ridiculous. While this can be fixed for some complex and difficult tasks by making them multi-staged actions, this is not the case for something like the fastball. Real and serious tweeking needs to happen here for this system to get off the ground.

 

Also like an old motorcycle, this system seems to require three hours in the shop for every hour on the road; which is to say that a ridiculous amount of planning is going to be needed by GMs, at least until things become natural. The average number of Raises is about 1/2 the pool and the starting Trait score is 2. This means that as soon as you have even a moderately skilled character, you're going to need some consequences...a lot of consequences... for every.single.roll. While I get that the system is built to cut down on the number of dice rolls in a given session, I imagine that old habits will die hard and a lot of rolls are going to be made in early sessions. This is either going to encourage GMs to establish "set piece" scenes where the number of potential Intents are limited (burning buildings are well and good but every building can't be on fire), destroy their families ("why is Daddy always in the office, scribbling and mumbling about risks?"), or, in the face of such a daunting task, make them lazy (and when they get lazy, the get sloppy, and then things go way off course). I will say that, on the plus side, once the session does go totally off the rails because of randomly discovered horses or some such, Consequences do provide a simple means of nudging the players back toward where they need to be.

 

In the End...

...if it sucks there will be 30 Savage Worlds conversions up on the web in less than a week. I am going to give it a fair shake. I want it to work, I think it could be great for my group, but I know it won't work for every group.

“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”
- H.L. Mencken

Tilly Bomas
Tilly Bomas's picture

I like the post, even if I don't agree with everything, but lets be real.  Their are going to be Savage World conversions, R&K versions, hell, probably a GURPS version or two, as soon as it hits peoples tables.  Because the setting is awesome, but everyone has their own wants in a system.  No one system can please everyone, I am sure their are 1st Ed conversions out there for other systems, and it is up to each group to decide what to use.

I am happy your going to give it a shot, and not dismiss it out of hand like some people have said they are going to.  I think I will enjoy the system, maybe more then the R&K one.  

Kevin Krupp
Kevin Krupp's picture

There already are like 30 Savage Worlds conversions for the 1st Ed floating around out there. Most of them have slowly vanished as the fan sites disappeared, but even if it was just R&K 2nd Ed there'd still be 30 Savage World conversions floating around. wink

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

A couple of things.

First off, the grocery store analogy just doesn't work.  Neither does making toast (though some people do burn toast).  No one asks for a roll for that sort of thing...unless you are trying to haggle with the grocery store owner over the cost of milk.  THAT might require a roll (and, IRL, probably wouldn't work).

A better analogy might be fixing a flat tire.  You can fail doing that.  You can hurt yourself doing that.  You can even get killed doing that.  And even if you don't fail, being late as a result can bring other consequences.

Also, coming up with a handful of consequences (or complications, whatever you want to call them) REALLY isn't that hard, is it?  Five seconds of thought on any matter should give you at least 2 or 3 possible consequences that do not involve injury.  However, reinterating those at the table and keeping your players aware of them (even remembering them yourself in the thick of it) is the real time crunch here.  It's not that we are looking for binary "yes/no" outcomes.  It's that the consequences system doesn't really offer you short hand.

And don't think every set of consequences HAVE to be unique.  Most actions have a pretty simple, consistent set of consequences.  The trick will be coming up with 1 or 2 new and exciting consequences that are relevant to the scene.  Which should still be pretty easy to do in a pinch.

It really comes down to this question: from where does the tension in RPGs come from?  Is it from the story ("What's the villain going to do now?"), the dice ("A 2!  Dodged a bullet there!"), or the interplay with the GM ("Are you sure you want to do that?")?  All three?  No of the above?  7Sv2 is taking the tension of the dice out of the equation.  The issue isn't so much "you always succeed" but the predictability of the results.  And because of the way the game is structured, the big payoff moments ("HA!  Critical Success!  Booyah!") is muted.

At least, that's how things look on paper.  In action, on the table, in the thick of it, could be a completely different experience.

Doctor
Doctor's picture

I never suggested we should roll to buy groceries: I was attempting to demonstrate the logic. As for changing a tire, while I get it, do we really want a game where you can be killed changing a flat? If you look at John's article called No Dice, he lays out his logic pretty well. People may agree or disagree but it's not like anyone is hiding the ball.

As for "is it REALLY that hard?:" my group is 7 players strong and creative; it's not one Risk I am worried about, it's about coming up with between 7 and 21 Consequences while "in the thick of it." 

I agree about the tension: the onus is really on the GM and players for that now, as the dice are a sure thing. 

... More to come when I am not on a tablet.

“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”
- H.L. Mencken

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

Doc,

I know you weren't suggesting we should roll for banal things.  But you used an example of the completely banal and mundane as a reason we shouldn't worry about auto-success.  I'm simply suggesting that something more...taxing would be a better example.  No, I don't want a game where a critical failure changing a tire kills my character, but it makes more sense in context.

My group is 7 strong and creative as well – though not particularly experienced in narrative driven games.  I'm not worried about coming up with the consequences so much as juggling them in play.  Like I said, it takes up an awful lot of stage time.

I'm still waiting to give the QS a spin with my group before I come down any which way.  But the QS draft is definitely outside my comfort zone.  I kinda wish all the people who love the rules were as explicit in their reasons as the people that aren't.

Elliot Smorodinsky
Elliot Smorodinsky's picture

I haven't run QS yet: my group loves 7th Sea so much that they will strangle me if I run the QS and then not keep playing. With that in mind, I do have a couple of notes.

First of all, I started thinking that "guaranteed success" is a bad thing. Then I thought about it, and went "no, it's actually not". Your base-level success at the task is almost guaranteed, but avoiding Consequences isn't. So over a long play session, the characters will arrive at the grand finale having overcome the obstacles -- but bruised, bleeding, exhausted, and with their hair on fire from all the Consequences. That is exactly the kind of John McClane stuff I want in a game session! Bottom line is, I want the characters to win but I also want them to work for it, and having them deal with the consequences of their Consequences is a much more enjoyable sort of "working for it" than simply failing dice rolls. 

The "highly unlikely stunts" problem is a pretty easy house-rule fix. Simply say that difficult actions may require more than one Raise for a base success. "You want to use the stream of bullets the Musketeers are firing at you as a bridge, and charge across it at them? This isn't Feng Shui, but OK, you can try. It'll take you 5 Raises."

The one thing that I do have an issue with is declaring Consequences up front.
First of all, I don't necessarily want the players to know the potential Consequences. "You want to pick the lock? Two Raises to avoid waking the guards beyond it..." -- and now the players know there's guards behind the door, which ruins the suspense.
Secondly, I've got 5 players. In an Action scene, I would have to come up with 10-15 possible Consequences on the fly. I can do that, but it will slow down the game -- and most of those Consequences won't get used!! That strikes me as a huge waste of time. Bag THAT noise: I'm a lazy GM. :)
What I am seriously considering doing is saying "Okay, you want to run across the burning room? 1 Raise to succeed, 2 Raises' worth of Consequences." I don't even have to know what the Consequences are, not yet -- I only have to come up with them if they don't get 3 Raises.

Thoughts?

Frank Carr
Frank Carr's picture

Doctor, where did you read that quote from RobJustice?

Rob Justice
Rob Justice's picture

It was in the RPGnet chatroom. Why?

Frank Carr
Frank Carr's picture

Because I was curious where the official news is coming from since I cannot find any new and developing comments from official sources about changes in the setting or system beyond what has been said on the kickstarter or the FAQ on JWPresents.

Rob Justice
Rob Justice's picture

Ah. Gotcha. Just curious. 

Anyway, I run my mouth all over the internet.

Doctor
Doctor's picture

I do think we could benefit from some more Q&A's as the systems get overhauls. We're all a little starved for news and updates (I know I occasionally stare at the KS page, waiting, hoping the next comment will not be someone asking when the 1ed pdfs come out).

“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”
- H.L. Mencken

Doctor
Doctor's picture

From a conversation he and I had on #RPGNET. He did an informal Q&A on the final 2 hours of the Kickstarter. I asked him if he was comfortable being quoted on those topics and he gave the thumbs up. Dan at #RPGNET might be able to pull the logs.

“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”
- H.L. Mencken

Morgan Wolfe
Morgan Wolfe's picture

(Edit: This is mostly in response to the question "where does the tension in RPGs come from?")

Technically, with a good GM one doesn't need dice at all. My husband and I can roll/role-play for hours without picking up any sort of random number generator, or if we do he adjudicates on the fly based on how good my character tends to be at something and how high/low I rolled. Even with our larger group (6 adults who've been gaming more years than any of us want to think about, and 2 pre-teens) he ran an entire Marvel "Avengers" campaign with some people never fully finishing their character sheets (I don't even remember what system we used, but for the finale he dragged out the Marvel SAGA deck and used that for the villains, while we players rolled dice).

And at that, well, I posted his commentary on the QS to the blog here. As it stands, he'll probably only worry about consequences beyond succeed/fail for major story beats and not every roll. We're reserving judgement until we see the full rule set, because we don't think the QS was enough to make a final judgment, especially since we already know there are going to be significant changes.

Morgan Wolfe
aka Capt. Doña Sir Kestrel of Avalon http://silver-gateway.com/7sea/

Doctor
Doctor's picture

While I agree that the GM is the principle motor for tension, my concern is that the GM wears a lot of hats all at once and has a lot going on. I also agree that you can have a great time without strict adherence to a sheet or system... But people are not forking over their money to have fun without a system; they are paying for a system ultimately that system is susposed to help the GM create the tension. 

“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”
- H.L. Mencken

Morgan Wolfe
Morgan Wolfe's picture

IMO they're paying for a system and a setting (several people said outright that they were going to use 1E rules but pledged at Pirate or above anyway because they love the setting that much), but you make a valid point.

Morgan Wolfe
aka Capt. Doña Sir Kestrel of Avalon http://silver-gateway.com/7sea/

Doctor
Doctor's picture

Just to be clear, I love the setting and would have shelled out for the books even if the system involved interpretive dance, but that doesn't mean that the average RPer is going to do so. 7th Sea benefits from some pretty serious "die-hards" like myself. 7th Sea the lunchbox? Sold... but longevity is going to require a sound system.

“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”
- H.L. Mencken

Doctor
Doctor's picture

There are a few areas where I think the system problems can be corrected without altering the mechanics too dramatically. These are not all solutions, they are suggestions to be explored.

 

1: Round Out the Probability Curve

 

Caveat: I am not a math whiz, but I am pretty sure these numbers are close enough to sustain my argument. Anyone with better numbers, please don't be shy.

 

This might be anathema to what John intended for this system, but the current predictability of the dice pools is just too high for the tastes of many. For the sake of argument, let's just assume maximum possible efficiency in dice (i.e. the most efficient means of assembling a given outcome), mostly because if someone can figure out how to accurately model rolling 6d10 in the 2ed system on anydice.com in a way that requires less than a few million operations, you're a better man than I. Inefficient set-making will only slightly skew the number of Raises downward, never upwards (a 21 can be only one Raise but a 29 can never be three), and even then not by too much.

 

As discussed, the chances of outright failure on 6d10 is negligible (%0.0084) and the chances of only a single Raise is also too small to be a concern (%2.6544). The odds of two Raises are significant (%28.686) but the problem, I think is that you are slightly more likely to get 3 Raises than you are all other outcomes combined (%50.4315) and you have only a small chance of 4 Raises (%17.4195). The Rank 3 bonus flips the odds on 2 and 4 raises but still leaves 3 Raises the most likely outcome by far (%48.52969). Assuming the Rank bonuses stack, the Rank 4 and Rank 5 bonuses make the math a bit more difficult than I care puzzle all the way out at this hour but I am pretty sure the odds of rolling 3 Raises doesn't drop any lower than %42.7499.

 

So what do all these numbers mean? They mean that a player can predict the exact number of Raises she will have more often than not and narrow the range of options to two possible outcomes with a high degree of accuracy (~%80). If the number of viable options were increased even to three, I think you'd see fewer comments like "Dice rolling is currently *so* boring."

 

2. "Suggested" Opportunities/Consequences and Equipment

 

We all hate that guy: the guy who has poured over all the weapons tables and, regardless of how nonsensical for his character, carries some improbable weapon because it is the "best." The current objects system (I say "objects" because it applies to basically anything that isn't alive or perhaps sentient) has rid us of that guy and I do not think I will miss him. Still, I will miss a meaningful process of gear selection; "what weapon does my character use" is not merely a statistical question, the answer has often been more revealing to me of how my character will be played than "is my character rich or poor" or "how does my character feel about his mother."

 

One way to split the difference between weapons tables detailing fifty flintlocks and a single bland and amorphous "ranged weapon" would be to take a few broad classes of weapons and, in a side bar, provide some "suggested" opportunities (and maybe consequences) for various weapons. There were eight defined weapons in the 1ed Players Guide; I think somewhere around that number of suggested Opportunities would not eat up that much space and would give GM who want to be more crunchy sufficient context to get as creative and in depth as they want in providing their own equipment rules.

 

 I think gutting weapons, ships, and gear of all mechanical effect is a mistake: it robs the world of depth and flavor just as surely as Rolemaster style tables. I think players should ask themselves "why a sword and not an axe?" for purely thematic and narrative reasons, but a little incentive to distinguish the two might be enough to encourage more players to ask that question. While I agree that the decision to utilize such suggestions should be up to each GM and group, I also think something of this nature would go a long, long way to easing the fears of those who find the system too light as well as encouraging players to Google a weapon or two and come to the GM with "So, how about these blunderbuss pistols I found?"  

 

3. Make Risks a Little More About Risk

 

One of the first things I noticed with the new system is "things just happen:" Raises/Opportunities make good things happen with absolute certainty and failure to spend Raises on Consequences results in bad things happening with equal certainty. Perhaps I am biased by the fact that my job every day involves deciding whether certain sets of risks have been sufficiently mitigated, but risk is really about what I am willing to leave to chance rather than what I am willing to allow to happen with certainty. Drama doesn't come from things "just happening" it comes from the tension of wondering whether or not they will. In short, there needs to be an element of risk in a Risk. The down side here is I don't have a good systemic solution.

 

I know that my plan is to pick up a decent replica piece of eight and divide Consequences into two types: certain and uncertain. Certain Consequences will happen without fail unless the player spends a Raise to avert them; whether uncertain Consequences will come to pass will come down to a flip of the coin unless a Raise is spent to avert them. This changes the calculation that the player has to make and reintroduces the tension to a small degree without taking away from player choice: the player always has the chance to avert the Consequence, the question is whether she is willing to chance that Consequence if doing so allows for an Opportunity (which I think I will keep certain, though I could see doing the same).

 

Maybe this will be clunky and we'll abandon it quickly, but I think that coin will get a lot of attention as a player waits to see if his gamble pays off.  Maybe this undermines the "Roll and Move" vs "Move and Roll" distinction that John has indicated as important for this game, but I think it or something like it will work for my group, which is all that matters in the end. I think some "optional rule" or similar might encourage GMs to find their own ways to make Risks risky.

“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”
- H.L. Mencken

Joachim Deneuve...
Joachim Deneuve du Surlign's picture

So, I've run a number of campaigns with 1st ed over the years.  In fact I'm running one now.  And one of the things I have found is that I every time i start off, I try to simplify the rules a bit more: cut out some of the skills, combine advantages into more generic ones etc.

Playing the QS with my current group of players we managed to get more done than normal due to less of a complex system getting in the way.  I think I'm going to like the new system, but what I'm really missing at the moment is how to make characters different.

Morgan Wolfe
Morgan Wolfe's picture

I'm all for skill simplification. For those who don't know 1E (or who never counted), it ended up with 386* Knacks, spread beteen 89 Skills. That's a LOT of Knacks!

Ref: Skills list at http://silver-gateway.com/7sea/master-index/skills.html

Knack list at http://silver-gateway.com/7sea/master-index/knacks.html

There might we some spoilers in there for beginning 1E players, but it should be safe for GMs.

Edit: There's actually more than that, since when I counted I'd only included "Exploit Weapon (name of weapon)" once, because all but four styles included it. So, probably closer to 400.

Morgan Wolfe
aka Capt. Doña Sir Kestrel of Avalon http://silver-gateway.com/7sea/

Doctor
Doctor's picture

%100 with you. Not only did the number of skills become absurd, it was very annoying to open an exciting new book and discover that I now needed a new skill to do what I had built my character to do . That was my number one complaint about 1ed and why I likely won't return to it even if the new system is too light for my group.

“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”
- H.L. Mencken

Morgan Wolfe
Morgan Wolfe's picture

At least with 1E you don't have to worry about new books contradicting something. angel

Morgan Wolfe
aka Capt. Doña Sir Kestrel of Avalon http://silver-gateway.com/7sea/

Salty Dog
Salty Dog's picture

I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not (the plight of reading something on the internet). I'm assuming you are, since some of the books contradicted themselves.

"There are no specific Skill requirements for initiates, but they will learn the Servant Skill before their time is done." - Rose and Cross, Page 92

# of Rose and Cross Knight NPCs in the book with the servant skill? 1 (out of 9). laugh

Bert Garcia
Bert Garcia's picture

Obviously their time is not done...wink

True Iskander
True Iskander's picture

89 skills!? Yeesh. I actually tend to like more skills rather than less, but that's ridiculous.

Doctor
Doctor's picture

But seriously, I never realized exactly how many skills and knacks there were. I suppose it is appropriate that we take a moment and remind ourselves that 1ed had big problems as well, so we shouldn't get too caught up in worrying about 2ed.

 

Also, anyone trying to build a 1.5 is in for a serious workout.

“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.”
- H.L. Mencken

KC Krupp
KC Krupp's picture

I have a rough draft of 1.5 that I started on years ago and have recently revisited modeled heavily after what L5R 3rd Edition did. The biggest problem I ran into was mainly around what skills should be relevant. Skill and Swordsman School bloat were two of the biggest problems with 1st Ed. If you go back to the core rules, the Skills and Swordsman Schools are really tight and work well...the sheer number of skills and knacks added over time was the big problem there.

Bert Garcia
Bert Garcia's picture

I've played 1e and I'm willing to give the new rules a shot, but I'm also dusting off my copy of Savage World's Pirates of the Spanish Main just in case. 

Jacob
Jacob's picture

Personally I really like the new system. Having GMed the QS, it can seem to require a lot of imagination or preparation by the GM, but here are some simple ideas that might address some people's concerns:

Difficulty and Failure: there is a big difference between binary systems and the current QS system. Binary systems have less interest built in to them as it is a simple pass/fail mechanic, where there are degrees of success or failure inherent in this system. But some things are more difficult than others. In my opinion that should be represented in the number of consequences. A simple risk? 1-2 consequences. A hard risk? Load up on consequences, and make some bigger - not take a damage: take a dramatic wound (save this for hung finale events).

Planning and imagination: my idea for this is get the players to do the work for you. The player announces the intention. The GM sets the difficulty (number of consequences). The other players then have the opportunity so come up with the consequences for the first player. If they are good and interesting they earn a hero point. Everybody benefits.

Initiative: I see the point about same size dice pools and initiative. Simple fix: highest single dice breaks ties. Did you get a 10? You go first. Both got 10s? Either of you get 2x10? Or a 9? No more dice needed. This was inspired by Greg Stolze's One Roll Engine. 

Making weapons distinctive: I get why people want this, but I also get (and side more with) John's idea that the character is the dangerous thing not the weapon. Dungeon World (the Apocalypse world fantasy hack) has the same thing - your damage dice is determined by your class not your weapon. The weapons have 'tags' instead that can be used narratively. Forceful can push people back. Ensnaring can ensnare. Messy speaks for itself. A similar system could be used to make weapons feel more unique. I expect to see specific mechanics for puzzle swords and dracheneisen if those are still around, but this could cover the basics. Improvised weapons could be 'fragile'. This dovetails with the opportunity and consequence system perfectly. 

Off the top of my head here are some simple positive and negative attributes weapons could have:

Sharp, unwieldy, fragile, unreliable, crushing, impaling, showy, loud, complicated, clumsy, flailing, 

Villains: in the quick start, villains were defeated only through combat. There is a place for that, but I'd like to see mechanics for defeating villains by foiling schemes. You've saved the girl, destroyed the machine and ruined the public image of the villain? Sounds pretty defeated to me. No need to punch him up as well - unless he is keen for revenge (but that's a dramatic choice for the GM).

A final word - this is "Swashbuckling Movie: the RPG". You don't often see swashbucklers failing, except when it leads to drama. The system captures that perfectly. Some people have complained there is 'no realistic way to fail'. Yes there is - it's written right in to the mechanics. The players choose to fail and get a hero point for it. John has been open about the game he wants to make and he is making that game. If you want to play a different game that's a valid option, but this is the game John wants to make.

 

 

 

 

 

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

[quote]Making weapons distinctive: I get why people want this, but I also get (and side more with) John's idea that the character is the dangerous thing not the weapon. Dungeon World (the Apocalypse world fantasy hack) has the same thing - your damage dice is determined by your class not your weapon. The weapons have 'tags' instead that can be used narratively. Forceful can push people back. Ensnaring can ensnare. Messy speaks for itself. A similar system could be used to make weapons feel more unique. I expect to see specific mechanics for puzzle swords and dracheneisen if those are still around, but this could cover the basics. Improvised weapons could be 'fragile'. This dovetails with the opportunity and consequence system perfectly. 

Off the top of my head here are some simple positive and negative attributes weapons could have:

Sharp, unwieldy, fragile, unreliable, crushing, impaling, showy, loud, complicated, clumsy, flailing, [/quote]

I'd go a slightly different route.  Rather than give "attributes" to weapons, I'd give each of them different tricks (stunts, manuevers) that can be performed with them.  Nothing too fancy.  Maybe 2 or 3 tops.  Same ballpark, just different position.

Of course, it sounds like all of this is going to be handled with advantages, which is cool too.

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