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Patrick McCoy
Patrick McCoy's picture
My overall impression after running a game on roll20
review, core rules

Last night I ran my first 7th Sea 2e game and also my first roll20.net game. We had some ups and down but overall the experience was a success. Here are my take away's with the game we ran and played.

GMing on the fly. I am a veteran of the old 7th Sea 1e system and I am far more familiar with it than the newer stuff but from what we played the system feels solid. I don't think the learning curve is too bad according to the basic rule set that they use. I felt like the rules mattered less and it was more about my experience as a GM. For a very new or inexperienced GM, I feel like 2e could easily overwhelm them with the number of consequences and opportunities you need to come up with on the fly. For anyone who has played with a group that goes off the rails, I feel like you pretty much know that improvising is just another part of the game. But this still takes getting used to and I remember being a green GM and struggling with trying to find my GM voice and the balance of being creative and having a list.

Opportunities. I am happy a did my home work before playing a game but even reading reddit and seeing the complaints on here, only one player really utilized opportunities to do anything. We didn't run a super long game so I wasn't surprised but it seemed like the players were looking for me to tell them the opportunities rather than creating them. More research will be done in the next game.

Approach. I was rather shocked at how easily the players understood approach rules. They really didn't struggle at all and if I had to pick something I liked the best out of the whole game I would choose this. Approach rules felt natural. Players easily created funny and dynamic descriptions of things which overall lead to better roleplaying. Even combat seemed more dynamic and fluid with players trying to stay out of sight of the brute squads, some swinging in on rope like a cannonball, some just kicking the squad off the boat. It was very fluid, John and team 100% succeeded with this.

Hero points, danger pool. While we didn't have too much time, I still don't fully comprehend the purpose of "buying" unused dice from the players? It makes way more sense to me that you would buy away successes...e.g. You basically bargain with the player over which dice they are willing to give up which = less raises. Buying extra dice the players don't care about seems pointless. More research is required with this, I for one don't get it.

Hero points worked well but I feel like it's very easy to get them. They don't have the same flair as drama dice in the first system.

What is Flair? So one of my main issues is flair which I am pretty sure needs to be changed. I'm all about giving out bonus dice when someone describes something cool. However, getting a bonus die for the each skill category for each scene just because, doesn't work with me. I think flair should be changed to a bonus die per game rather than scene. Maybe this seems harsh but giving out a bonus die just because its the first time you used it that scene makes no sense since approach is all about limiting dice rolls to the essential. Maybe I am fumbling the rules but I don't like giving flair out willy nilly and I believe I will be changing it to every skill once per game and then an extra for dramatic descriptions.

Character Creation. While I had about four newish players of 7th Sea. I was surprised to see that character creation still took roughly an hour and half. Don't be fooled by the easier character creation. It's still very in-depth. I was really impressed by how well the character creation went in the amount of customization without losing the original essence of the game.

More to come. Did a miss something or get some rules wrong? Most likely, if you see something mentioned let me know. 

I plan to record all these sessions and post them for people to watch a live session. So look for it coming to a youtube near you.

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Tim Cuave
Tim Cuave's picture

I think the purpose of buying unsed dice is to give players a bit of failure insurance. If you buy unsed dice repeatedly, eventually they have enough hero points to ensure success. However you can also use the points you get to escalate action of the villians in case you over shoot on helping them. I think the purpose of all the bonus dice is to reinforce the idea that interaction and participation trumps understanding game mechanics.

Salamanca's picture
Flair exists to stop players from muttering, " I attack again". It exists to encourage creative action. That's it. Character Creation gets much faster with practice and use. Once you get it down, 15 minutes if you have an idea of what you want. It takes me longer to type them than build them now. HERO POINTS are purchased to help fuel the player abilities. I played the quickstart with a GM that opted to ignore this and we reached the final scene with nothing to spend. You might need an extra danger point now and then but the players WILL need extra Hero Points. And since they don't convert or carry over, no harm handing them out.
Kevin Krupp
Kevin Krupp's picture

I played the quickstart with a GM that opted to ignore this and we reached the final scene with nothing to spend. You might need an extra danger point now and then but the players WILL need extra Hero Points. And since they don't convert or carry over, no harm handing them out.

Very much this. John has taken his philosophy of "Drama Dice should flow like water" to the extreme, and unlike 1st Ed where DD were bonus bennies, HP are integral to the mechanics of 2e. Buying dice lets you pad up the PCs. Also don't mistake the benefit of Danger Points. The more of those you have the more you can add extra complications to keep things surprising and challenging (Raises are 15s, Group Pressure, Brute Bonuses, activating Villain's knacks and abilities.)

Doctor's picture

On Flair: I have a slightly different take on it.

Mechanically flair is, in a sense, utterly meaningless because the Successes generated by a Risk Roll are not bound to the stated purpose of the Risk. I can declare that I will be giving an oration and gain my bonus die, then use literally all of my Successes to negate damage, or one Success to speak and the rest to stab my opponent in the face. 

Stylistically, I recommend limiting Flair to instances when the players are able to use one skill to more interestingly replicate the effects of another and give a both logical and entertaining explanation. I know this sounds rather vague, but it boils down to awarding Flair when the players choose the interesting over the obvious. Clearly, damaging my opponent is most effectively accomplished with Aim or Weaponry, but if I can use Sailing to drop a chandelier on him or Theft to place a burning grenade in his pocket during the scuffle, I deserve the bonus. I treat the bonus die as a reward not for being a well-rounded PC with lots of skills, but rather as a reward for an entertaining and creative way of getting from A to B. However, I'd also insist that at least one Success is devoted to the completeing the stated task or avoiding Consequences specifically associated with that task. If you want bonus die for doing the thing in a cool way, you must at least attempt to do the thing. 

“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

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