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Edward B
Edward B's picture
Dracheneisen 1st -> 2nd edition
Dracheneisen, house rules

I am quite disappointed by the Dracheneisen as written in the core book of the second edition: Basically removing something special and unique to 7th Sea 1st edition (in terms of how it is implemented in the setting) and replacing it by your average magical weapon. Also the Gothic value of Dracheneisen pieces of armour in 1st edition was awesome..

So I am looking to fix this and reintroduce in my version of the 2dn edition Dracheneisen armour (that the players can have). I propose to see what can be done to re-introduce it in my (and yours if interested) games, both setting wise and rule-wise, especially as I think the rules of the 2nd edition actually favour Dracheneisen armour more than the 1st edition ones! That being said, the core book does not exclude the possibility of Dracheneisen armour, so maybe (I hope) in the Nation book they will re-introduce a form of Dracheneisen armour that the players can actually own.

First of all, it is important to keep in mind Dracheneisen was not ideal in the 1st edition: Both overpowered and the rarity / military & political implications where not watertight although they were very fun. This is also an opportunity to fix that.

Setting ideas:

  • Unique ownership: All Dracheneisen pieces of armour have the heraldry of its owner hard-forged into it (this is how I played it in 1st edition). This gives an easy way of identifying a piece of item and is consistent with its heirloom nature. It also gives some fun adventure seeds (someone trying to falsify the heraldry, conflicts of inheritance).
  • Military power: I had considered making 2 versions of Dracheneisen, one "poor" and one "rich", so that Nobles can give "poor" Dracheneisen equipment to their troops, but this does not feel right. Maybe just stick with Minor nobles having very few Dracheneisen items or can hope to gain if they serve their Prince, which leads to some military advantage on top of some effect on morale. Maybe need to think more in this.

 

Rules idea to make Dracheneisen armour work in 2nd Edition:

You can spend advantage points on Dracheneisen armour (Eisen Hero only). Each piece of armour costs 1 advantage point, except Panzerhand, breastplate which cost 2 advantage points each. You add up the number of Dracheneisen armour items to get a Dracheneisen defence value, breastplate is worth 2 but Panzerhand 1. You can cancel [Dracheneisen defence value] wounds in a scene if they could be cancelled by the armour (weapon damage, but not fire for example).

Does that seem overpowered? Any other idea?

Still need to work out if worth it to have weapons, what to do with the weapons in the core book (call them something else? Nightblade? ;-) )  I don't think I want the Dracheneisen armour to glow when monsters are near in any case.

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LibrariaNPC
LibrariaNPC's picture

I did enjoy the concept of Dracheneisen in the first edition, but I just felt like it wasn't properly designed for the game. While I'm not sure if it's a better fit in second edition, I will admit that I was sad to see that it was replaced with a monster slaying metal.

Perhaps, one way we can spin this and still be true to the setting, is that there were "impure" Dracheneisen items that don't have the same qualities. Perhaps they were forged by the blacksmiths of nobility out of the materials for Dracheneisen and not properly treated (i.e. the Nibelung bring out the "true potential" of the metal), or maybe the material was "impure" (wrong alloy combinations, for example). This way, it can keep many advanced properties but not the glowing effect that we see while still remaining true to the new setting rules.

As for mechanics, you can argue that this version of Dracheneisen is a Signature Item. Spending a Hero Point nets you either 2 additional dice, reduces damage equal to your highest trait+raises spent, or deal additional damage equal to highest trait + raises spent. Sure, it's a bit more generic, but many elements of this system are made to be generic and easy to use (and translate), so why not?

If you are really dead set on using first edition-inspired Dracheneisen, look at Signature Weapon as the guideline. If it's better than Signature weapon (which your version is nearing; 3 points in the advantage automatically negate 3 wounds a scene w/o any other cost), then you have it a bit overpowered.

"Smilies exist because no one's bothered to create a sarcasm font." --Lost_Heretic

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

I'm with you.  I miss the dracheneisen of old.  When I first proposed running 7th Sea for my regular group back in the day, I had one player who was dead set against it...until he saw the color plate of Eisen in the PG.  He immediately slammed the book down and said, "I want to play THAT!"  So yeah, having dracheneisen shuffled off to become part of a monster hunting DK is a bit much to take (coincidentally, the player in question ALSO played a DK, so he might approve of the shift).

I see two big roadblocks to reinstating dracheneisen.  First is the 1:1 raise/damage economy.  If dracheneisen armor makes you harder to hurt, you are risking creating a league of indestructable adversaries against which only duelists have a chance to beat.  The other issue is the "you are the weapon" philosophy of the new edition.  Suddenly dracheneisen = gear lists.

Now, the second roadblock could be handled a lot like 1st edition.  You want a full suit of dracheneisen plate?  That's a looooong story reward.  Starting dracheneisen should be Eisen only and chargen only.  Beyond that, you have to earn it in play!  It's not ideal, but it fits with the current way the rules work.

But what of the old Break ability, where you'd use your dracheneisen panzerhand to break an opponent's weapon?  That ability is pivitol to the character of dracheneisen.

The raise economy is a tougher nut to crack.  My knee-jerk response would be to spend a Hero Point to cancel X wounds like you said.  Or X Danger Points. Got a panzerhand and Eisenfaust?  Ammend Iron Reply to allow you to spend a hero point to snap (or damage) your opponent's weapon.  The trick is, this stuff has to be kept simple and avoid crunch at all cost.  I'd propose one of these three options:

  • Your dracheneisen defense value is equal to the Advantage cost (or 1/2 the cost, but that's pushing it).  You spend a Hero Point to negate that number of wounds taken.
  • Just treat any piece of dracheneisen as a shield against wounds.  So you can spend a Hero Point to negate whatever wounds the last attack did.  This seems over powerful, but is as simple as it gets.  
  • Spending a raise negates 2 wounds per raise instead of 1.  This prevents your dracheneisen armored tank from being able to ignore everyone but duelists.  Sure it's easier for them to soak wounds with raises, but it can still be costly.  A bit more complicated than option 2 but easier to manage than option 1.

Lastly, I would make dracheneisen terribly expensive on the Influence cost table to discourage GMs from outfitting brute squads with the stuff.  Not that anyone would ever do that, right?  ::shuffles feet::

 

DaWaterRat
DaWaterRat's picture

I really think just making Dracheneisen a form of Signature Item/Weapon is the way to go. As LibrariaNPC listed out, it covers pretty much everything people seem to expect Dracheneisen to do. It just costs a Hero point (and some logic - or perhaps twisted logic, depending) to do.

As for the breaking items, that was part of 1st ed Eisenfaust, rather than specific to Dracheneisen.

Evan Sageser
Evan Sageser's picture

One thing to consider is that theoretically we could create a different form of Dracheneisen while still leaving Die Kreuzritter largely untouched.

What I mean is that while Dracheneisen is typically used for Armor in 1e, Die Kreuzritter's Dracheneisen is almost entirely weapons.

Thus we could easily just call the stuff Die Kreuzritter gets something entirely different, have it be its own special monster-killing material, and then leave Dracheneisen as a purely armor thing.

How about something like this?

 

Dracheneisen 2 point advantage (Eisen Only)

You have inherited a piece of your family's Dracheneisen armor, a priceless heirloom of Eisen nobility. Each piece of armor you gain grants you 1 armor point. Whenever you take wounds in combat (not from natural hazards) you may spend armor points to reduce the wounds taken for the round. Spent armor points return at the start of each round.

 

How would this look? Way I see it's possible to ignore some hits, but to become an absolute judgernaut is a rather expensive proposition. (I would also probably limit the number of times one could purchase the advantage to five (1 for each limb, plus a breastplate)).

LibrariaNPC
LibrariaNPC's picture

Personally, I'm still afraid that it's too powerful. Your version here gives 1 point of damage reduction every round for every 2 Advantage Points spent. Technically, you can purchase it six time (two arms, two legs, one chest, one head), so after six 2-step Stories, you are fully armored and can ignore up to a Strength Six Brute Squad. 

Signature Item (a 3 point advantage) requires a Hero Point expentiture to negate wounds equal to highest trait (a maximum of 5). Even at a character's best, they are spending a Hero Point to negate 5 wounds that happen right then and there and cannot spread it across the board.

I still think Signature Item can be easily used and just say that it is this other form of Dracheneisen.

But, since people seem gung-ho to make it, perhaps we could try this:

 

Impure Dracheneisen: 2 point Advantage (Eisen Only)

You have inherited an "Impure Dracheneisen" item from your family. Determine the item when you purchase the Advantage (weapon, helmet, breastplate, leg armor, arm armor, or panzerhand).

Whenever you take a risk that can directly involve your item, gain 1 Bonus die. If the item is armor, you may spend a Hero Point to negate a number of wounds equal to the number of armor peices you possess, +1. Multiple armor peices do not grant multiple bonus dice, and cap at 1.

Example: If you are wearing three peices of armor, you may spend a Hero Point to negate four wounds (3 armor + 1 = 4). If you wade into battle with this armor and announce you are counting on the armor to deflect blows as part of your Approach, you would only gain 1 Bonus Die, not 3.

 

I still think that, to keep the new setting intact, there should be a differentiation in the forms of Dracheneisen, thus the Impure addition.

Right now, this is a step down from Signature Weapon, but still potent. It's an automatic free die when your item could be of use (breastplate when intimidating, for example), and a Hero Point can be spent to negate damage without any concern for raises. Sure, it'll be expensive to get the full benefit (negates 7 wounds each Hero Point after 12 points), but when you spend THAT many story points, you deserve it.

Edit - Side note on my logic: The only 2-point advantage that influences dice is Keen Sight, which grants a bonus die any time your sight would matter. I thought pricing this at 2 points with the current effects was still balanced, as 3 points brings us to Signature Item, which is rather superior on it's own (as it's 2 dice, +Highest Trait in Wound reduction or dealing Wounds, and a "instant return" should the item be lost). I was gunning for somehing that wouldn't break combat if it were stacked, but could be used in a plethora of ways by a creative roleplayer.

"Smilies exist because no one's bothered to create a sarcasm font." --Lost_Heretic

Evan Sageser
Evan Sageser's picture

I like this, useful, nice parallel to sorcery (being purchased in multiple two point advantages.) and not overpowering.

I still might just call this Dracheneisen, and call the Die Kreuzritter stuff something entirely different. (Really the two have nothing to do with one another other than both being functionally industructible.)

What about calling it Nochtstern? A special metal Die Kreuzritter alone has figured out how to forge, that has a host of properties that make it invaluable to fighting monsters. The name is a basic translation of Night Star, and is meant to be a reference of the weird shadow shamanism Die Kreuzritter used to have, (Nocht) as well as giving them a symbolic "light in the darkness" with which to combat evil.

LibrariaNPC
LibrariaNPC's picture

Interesting idea, but you have to acknowledge that DK can't craft the material anymore, and are going out searching for it so they can slay monsters. Granted, if you wanted to change that for your own campaign, go for it. I am rather partial to the impure approach as it doesn't change the new setting too much and promotes how rare the material is in both forms.

Also remember that, in 1st Edition, Dracheneisen could be destroyed by the Break abilities of Eisenfaust, Daphan, and through certain Puzzle swords (albeit at a higher TN than normal) and with a solvent that Nibelung (and only Nibelung) knew how to create. Dracheneisen itself is soft, and only a Nibelung knew how to forge it into a workable material, making objects of Dracheneisen doubly rare as you needed the rare material and a smith capable of bringing out it's potential.

The new Dracheneisen in 2nd Edition is a near-magical material that no longer exists in Theah in a natural state, is the bane of beings of supernatural origin (and if we get some similar elements of metaplot, many of these beings are not of this world), and after forging in this special way that has been lost to the ages, it is near indestructible. It almost sounds like they took original Dracheneisen, gave it a magical face-lift, and made it impossible to create new items made of it. 

So let's talk hypothetically here. We have Eisen which has killed their sorcerers (I consider Hexenwerk to be more of a hedge magic thing that must be learned and not hereditary sorcery). We could argue that the great heroes of the past that would slay monsters used Dracheneisen. The nobility wished to create more Dracheneisen items to denote their standing and heritage in some way, but were unable to find someone who could forge it with the same benefits (thinking Nibelung again; they are rather secrative). They would then mine the ore and have their own smiths work on this, getting a material that is still nearly-indestructible and of excellent craftsmanship, but lacks the magical benefits.

It's a solid in-setting reason for it, in my opinion.

"Smilies exist because no one's bothered to create a sarcasm font." --Lost_Heretic

Edward B
Edward B's picture

Some great feedback.

I don't think the EisenFaust breaking ability has a very big relevance. Dracheneisen is essentially unbreakable, that covers the essentials.

Also I doubt it could be kept relevant to purchase multiple copies through stories.

About naming the versions:

Considering that the "Dracheneisen" used by DK in 2nd edition Core book has not much in common with Dracheneisen in 1st edition, the whole point of this effort is to reinstate Dracheneisen to it's 1st edition social/military/noble prestige. If any version is unpure, it has to be the one used by DK in 2nd edition, sorry LibrariaNPC. If one wants to keep the name of the DK one, the armor can be called Noble or Pure Dracheneisen or something. But really I agree with Evan Sageser, there is no reason really the weapons used by DK need to be called Dracheneisen (other than recycling the name and getting rid of Dracheneisen while pretending not to). I would call DK's weapon NightBlades (or the German translation of that), as their weapons in 1st edition are called Nightblade too (and to be clear: I prefer the new nightblade/Dracheneisen to the old Night Blades, but it is not a major issue, unlike Dracheneisen).

About the rules:

I quite like the version LibrariaNPC gave (except for the name), as it includes a mechanic for the social impact or any other uses of Dracheneisen. I copy the text to change some things and try to account for the Panzerhand case.

(Pure) Dracheneisen: 2 point Advantage (Eisen Only)

You have inherited a Dracheneisen item from your family. Determine the item when you purchase the Advantage (weapon, helmet, breastplate,1 leg armor, 1 arm armor, or panzerhand). You can take several smaller pieces armor (2 fore arm+1 knee + 1 elbow), but they count collectively as one piece of armor for the rules.

Whenever you take a risk that can directly involve your item, gain 1 Bonus die. If the item is armor, you may spend a Hero Point to negate a number of wounds equal to the number of armor pieces you possess + 1. You can negate one less wound if one of your items is a Panzerhand. Multiple armor pieces do not grant multiple bonus dice, and cap at 1.

Example: If you are wearing three peices of armor, you may spend a Hero Point to negate four wounds (3 armor + 1 = 4). If you wade into battle with this armor and announce you are counting on the armor to deflect blows as part of your Approach, you would only gain 1 Bonus Die, not 3.

Hard for me to judge the game balance for now though.

LibrariaNPC
LibrariaNPC's picture

We can argue setting semantics and naming conventions all day, but in the end it boils down to opinion.

With that said, let's just stick with the mechanics.

I find that your writeup gets a little too convoluted, especially when you try to differentiate the Panzerhand. Here's a inor tweak for what you have:

You have inherited a Dracheneisen item from your family. Determine the item when you purchase the Advantage (options are a weapon, helmet, breastplate, leg armor, arm armor, shield, or panzerhand). These objects can take any form or shape that you wish.

You are able to wear one breastplate, one helmet, two parts of leg armor, a shield, and either two parts of arm armor or one part of arm armor and one panzerhand. A panzerhand is unique as it counts as both a weapon and armor. A shield is seldom used in conjunction with a panzerhand.

Whenever you take a risk that can directly involve your item, gain 1 Bonus die. If the item is armor, you may spend a Hero Point to negate a number of wounds equal to the number of armor pieces you possess + 1. Multiple armor pieces do not grant multiple bonus dice, and cap at 1.

Example: If you are wearing three peices of armor, you may spend a Hero Point to negate four wounds (3 armor + 1 = 4). If you wade into battle with this armor and announce you are counting on the armor to deflect blows as part of your Approach, you would only gain 1 Bonus Die, not 3.

 

As soon as you try to quantify individual parts with their own abilities, it starts to get to the point of gear charts and a much unneeded complication. The panzerhand already rides an odd line as both weapon and armor, and I feel that negating it's damage reduction when it is an off-hand weapon used in Eisenfaust is a disservice.

I also added a shield as bucklers were in the original list. Sure, I condensed some of the limbs in this list original had arm and gauntlet, boot and leg), but doing that would make a full suit of drachenschuppe a bit too overkill both in cost and capabilities.

"Smilies exist because no one's bothered to create a sarcasm font." --Lost_Heretic

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
Call it what you want. I am in the camp of using Signature Item advantage for it until such time as the nation and society books tell us more.
LibrariaNPC
LibrariaNPC's picture

Agreed, but I can never resist the urge of tinkering with a new set of rules and seeing what I can come up with :-D

"Smilies exist because no one's bothered to create a sarcasm font." --Lost_Heretic

Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

Nachteisen - Night Iron :) If you want a more German language sounding name.

Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

My attempt to simplify rules a bit:

Inherited Dracheneisen (2 Point Advantage - Eisen Only)

You have inherited a Dracheneisen item from your family. Determine the item when you purchase the Advantage (Choose from: weapon, panzerhand, shield, helmet, breastplate, leg guard, or arm guard). The appearance of these objects can be customized as you wish, as long as the purpose of the object remains readily apparent.

You are able to wear up to eight items at the same time as armor, consisting of: one breastplate, one helmet, two leg guards, two arm guards, one shield and one panzerhand at the same time as armor.  You may replace the shield for another panzerhand if you wish. A panzerhand is unique as it counts as both a weapon and armor. 

You can always spend a Hero Point to...

  • gain 2 Bonus Dice on a Risk when using any combination of Inherited Dracheneisen items appropriately
  • prevent a number of Wounds equal to the Raises you spend plus the number of Inherited Dracheneisen items you are wearing as armor (maximum 8) plus 1
  • attack a foe to deal Wounds equal to the Raise you spend plus your highest Trait when using an Inherited Dracheneisen weapon or panzerhand 

You must always describe how your Inherited Dracheneisen helps you, and it must make sense for the item to gain you any bonuses in this way (GM discretion). Losing a piece of Inherited Dracheneisen or having it taken is considered a terrible indignity and every opportunity should be taken to recover the piece as soon as possible.

Kevin Krupp
Kevin Krupp's picture

I would restrict the wound prevention or wound dealing to once per scene or once per episode. Also, considering you get BOTH the armor and weapon advantages with the Panzerhand, why would not pick Panzerhand? I think you need to do something there. 1e has Panzerhands as more expensive specifically because they were able to do both...maybe a Panzerhand costs 4 HP.

My personal vote is solidly in the "Use the Signature Item Advantage" camp.

Harliquinn Whit...
Harliquinn Whiteshadow's picture

Kevin

   Panzerhand was by far one of the most picked Dracheneisen for the reasons you stated, so I don't see it being any different here. I expect most Dracheneisen users to take Panzerhand. I don't think it needs any different cost to be honest. You could technically justify using a shield as a weapon as well. I haven't seen any other "Hero Point cost" rules being scene restricted. The Hero Point cost should restrict it pretty well as is, unless someone has seen an example of this.

    The potential problems with using "Signature Item" as it is written are:

  • You are limited to one piece of Dracheneisen, unless you say that the one Advantage gets you whatever combination of pieces you want and they all work together. If so, that's a much more 'hand waving' approach which may work for some and not for others
  • Always have it available. I think one of the things of Dracheneisen is it sometimes get lost or stolen and needs recovered. It's a 'status' symbol and entire stories or things could be written to recover or retrieve some Dracheneisen. If anyone with it can 'always have it present' that aspect of it is gone.
  • Nothing in the Signature Item says you can't use your item to both attack and defend so the Panzerhand issue isn't resolved by taking Signature Item
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