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Cthulhu Netobvious
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Newbies guide to Sorcery and Mysticism
This thread is for discussions of Sorcery and other mystical powers. Sadly, SPOILERS may happen.
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TAJ-07: Technopriest And Justicar Of 7thSea2e

True Iskander
True Iskander's picture

Here are two related questions: How does Sorcery work, and has there been any word on how it will differ in 2e?

KC Krupp
KC Krupp's picture

How does Sorcery Work?

That's a pretty big topic. There are different types of Sorcery in the game. When most people talk about sorcery they are referring to the primary sorcerous advantages, which include Glamour, Laerdom, Pyeryem, Porte, and Sorte (we'll skip the others for now.) The major sorceries come in one of 3 flavors, Half-Blooded (20 Hero Points), Full-Blooded (40 Hero Points), and Twice-Blooded (40 Hero Points.) Each Sorcery has 3 Mastery Levels: Apprentice, Adept, and Master, which are earned by raising your Sorcerous Knacks. Characters start as apprentices, when they have 4 of their Sorcery Knacks at Rank 4 they're considered Adepts, and when 5 Knacks are at Rank 5 they're Masters. Each Mastery Level comes with new and varied abilities.

Half-Blooded Sorcerers can only ever raise their knacks to Rank 3 and can never be higher than Apprentices; half blooded characters start with 3 pips they can use to fill up their Sorcery Knacks at character creation.

Full-Blooded Sorcerers start with 7 pips they can use to fill up their Sorcery Knacks at creation.

Twice-Blooded Sorcerers are Half-Blooded in two Sorceries, so their knacks can never go higher than Rank 3 and they can never be higher than an Apprentice in either sorcery; they start with 3 pips for each sorcery.

As for what each Sorcery does and how it works, it's extremely varied by the sorcery, so you'd really need to read those specific rules to know what is or isn't possible.

There are additional sorcerous advantages scattered throughout Theah. Some follow the same structure as described above, others are more like fancy advantages (these are typically classified as Shamanisms like the Kanu's Opah,) and some are a bit of a mix between the two.

 

Re: 2nd Edition?

As for 2nd Edition, no details have been released yet in terms of how sorcery will work. We do know that Porte, Sorte, and Glamour still exist (I suspect Laerdom does as well,) and we got a glimpse of the Sorte Blessings and Curses in the QS. John Wick has stated that two have have specifically been ruled out (Pyeryem and El Fuego Adentro) and he hinted at a new sorcery for Eisen that has something to do with necromancy.

Frank Carr
Frank Carr's picture

What you are stating about Pyeryem is incorrect.  Online, I believe he only stated that the Ussuaran sorcery is more about Matushka's favor; that does not rule out that the Ussuaran sorcery is still Pyeryem.  I understand the confusion, however, as I was under the same misunderstainding.  So much so, that when I attended the Kickstarter Party this past Sunday I was able to ask John Wick in person about what was happening with Pyeryem.  He told me that it was going to bear a much closer resemblence to Russian mythology.  Basically, he told me that you can still become an animal (specifically, the example he used was "wolf"), but it would be like, "Wow, I'm a wolf and it's awesome!" (if you have Matushka's favor), or it would be like "Oh man, I'm a wolf and it sucks!", (if you have incurred Matushka's wrath).

While I'm at it, I may as well say that he told me there would no longer be a wall of fire surrounding Cathay, but that is more relevant to the Far East setting information for Cathay coming out much further down the road after the rest of the setting gets the sourcebooks from the kickstarter.

KC Krupp
KC Krupp's picture

Thank you for the clarification (really, I absolutely do appreciate it.) So it sounds like pretty much everything that was in the original books up to Avalon still stands (to some extent,) with everything occuring after that being...questionable. wink I'm pretty sure a certain sorcery(sorry for the spoilers folks) starting in "Z" is out since he's already hinted at an alternative; considerably how horribly written the original was, I'm not at all sad to see it go.

Rob Justice
Rob Justice's picture

What you're stating about Pyeryem is not wholly accurate either. What John told you about was a conceptual idea we had for changing Ussuran Sorcery. The new magic of Ussura, Matushka’s Touch, is a little more robust than that and a little less clear cut than having Favor or Wrath. I'm still working on the specifics so forgive me if I don't go into detail now. 

Robert D
Robert D's picture

Having Ussura's magic even more linked to Matushka than before sounds awesome!  Is Matushka still associated with the land and with the harsh Ussuran winter?

Robert D
Robert D's picture

Sorcery in 7th Sea is one of my favorite setting features.  Having a unique one for each Nation in 1st edition was loads of fun, so I really hope that Castille gets a new sorcery in 2nd edition. 

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
OK, in the interest of full disclosure, I hate sorcery in this game. Always have and that's not going to change. I accept it will be here, and ignore it when I can. That does not mean I have a problem with the mechanics, I just don't see it as needed in a swashbuckler game. I can also attest that if you feel the same, the game functions fine without it.
True Iskander
True Iskander's picture
I can understand that, although the option should at least be available. Do you feel the same about fantasy creatures popping up in the world?
Tilly Bomas
Tilly Bomas's picture

I have made four characters for 7th sea, and only one has ever had a 'sorcery'.  Huan Shu.  Which isn't REALLY a sorcery like the others.  I have had more fun not being one then I think I would being one, though with Huan I had some good times with it, jumping off riggings, and having loads of options in combat to do things without penalty.  so who knows...

 

 

Frank Carr
Frank Carr's picture

For myself, I would never have bought this game way back when it first came out if it did not have sorcery and magic in the setting to go along with the secret societies and intrigue.  Having said that though, I do believe that the setting is served best by being light and infrequent or subtle with magic wherever and whenever possible and that includes the use of monsters.  To clarify what I mean by that is that D&D and Pathfinder are not magic light.  It is common place, in your face, and is absolutely required in almost every encounter, especially as you level up in those games.  I am fine with that, but for a game about swashbuckling and intrigue, I think magic and monsters need to be more mysterious and not become a required aspect of every encounter.  In 7th Sea, you can go almost a whole campaign without seeing magic if that is what the GM wants to do, unless another PC has sorcery.  That fits in quite well with the whole secret socities angle and the political intrigue aspect of the game, I think.  That is what I love about the game.  If 2e took away the magic, I would not have backed the project.  But, thankfully it will have it and I cannot wait to see how all aspects of the game will be written in this new edition.

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
I agree that the option works for a lot of players. I'm opposed to most of the fantasy monsters in the setting. A kraken, the dead remains of a drachen, ghosts and the schattenman all worked fine for me. Sea monsters just fit too well and the Eisen situation just called for a bogeyman. But otherwise, I prefer to run games with human threats and obstacles.
Jacob
Jacob's picture

When I heard about the new Eisen, my immediate thoughts were: Vampires with Dracheneisen. That's a plot seed I'm going to be using. 

Peter Flanagan
Peter Flanagan's picture

STOLEN. That is an awesome idea! devil

Captain Flanagan: Explorer
"Something lies out beyond the Midnight Archipelago. I intend to be the first one to find it."

Robert D
Robert D's picture

I saw that picture on Facebook of the computer draft with the phrase Eisen necromancy.  Necromancy is a very wide phrase in gaming and fantasy though.  Is it control of the physical remnaints dead, or of the forces of death and decay, or control/communication with the spectral dead, or 'turning' the undead?  Lots of possiblities.  though i did see the word unguent.  Lots of room for speculation there. 

  On a separate note, i'm betting Castille gets a sorcery of some kind (if not in the corebook, then in the Nations of Theah vol 1), though it's a major mystery as to the sorcery's focus & effects in my mind.

  Any thoughts on the Sarmatian Sorcery?  New land and new mysteries await :)

Kevin Krupp
Kevin Krupp's picture

HEY! WATCH OUT! SPOILERS FOLLOW!!!

My first suspicion was that "Eisen Necromancy" is going to be a riff off of Zerstorung, focusing more on the control over decay part, however I can't possibly see how that can be made heroic. Zerstorung, while described as being exceedingly nasty, wasn't actually that nasty mechanically (albiet the whole thing was really poorly put together mechanically,) and had a lot of reasonable, practical, and heroic uses. So, I've started leaning more towards it being either spectral as you mentioned or a sort of "mind control"-oriented Then again, John may have decided the Sorcery is taking a sharp nose-dive into more creepy territory, which does follow a comment he made about Porte a month or two ago, and in general sorcerers are going to be...questionably heroic.

Tilly Bomas
Tilly Bomas's picture

Hmmm... Controlling the dead would be an interesting mechainc to try and play out.... or it could be the manipulation of life force... thus it might be one mechanic that could transfer life from one person and ressurect another.... 

 

Castille, might not have one.  I mean, they had one once, but it was 'wiped out'. Perhaps that is the case again in the new edition.  Or maybe it is like Blood Alchemy or something more science oriented instead of 'mystical'.

As for the Sarmations.. I don't know.  Could be anything.. could be 2 somethings... could be bargin, could be shaman.... can't wait to see :P

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

Rob mentioned 'demons' in the three-word nations thread for the Sarmatian Commonwealth.

Kevin Krupp
Kevin Krupp's picture

John's been kicking around the idea of Sarmatia for a while, pretty much ever since a convention he went to in Poland several years ago where instead of giving his talk he did a bit on "Polish 7th Sea." He has a Pyrkon inverview from 2013 where he talks about it a bit and here's what he says:

  • ...Tricking devils, because that is what is very common in Polish folk stories...the devil shows up and you trick him in some way..."

The part on Polish 7th Sea starts at about 13:43: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3LASkvYASE

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
I'm not saying it's aliens but... It's aliens. Just kidding. As for the porte statement, I think one of us misread that. I interpreted that to mean the old porte was NOT heroic and they wanted to change that to a more heroic fashion. I may be wrong on that. Obviously, I vote in favor of NO Castillian sorcery.
Kevin Krupp
Kevin Krupp's picture

Hmm...it's totally possible I misinterpreted it...maybe it's because the necromancy thing has been sitting very uncomfortably with me...necromancy doesn't strike me as having a lot of "heroic" interpretations, especially when you consider that the whole idea of Eisen is going to be the terrifying place where the townsfolk make furtive glances to the castle on the hill.

Maybe they've taken something sort of like the shattensoldat approach where it's more like building armies of shadow constructs, but that still sounds pretty horrifying. I mean there's Aragorn's whole Army of the Dead,which is one of the few heroic examples of can think of for use of the undead in literature. I mean, maybe necromancy is a bad wording for it, but...

Robert D
Robert D's picture

Heroes using it could be focused on warding against the undead with some effects on the living (the chill of the grave so to speak)

Silver Rapier
Silver Rapier's picture

Well, 'mancy' refers to a type of divination, that is to say the gathering of information. Since Eisen is the land of horrors and tragedy, maybe it will go something like this:

 

Apprentice: Can sense the presence of the restless dead (like a pervasive feeling of fear, anger, sorrow, etc.) and (temporarily) repel them.

Adept: Can see (whether they like it or not) and speak with the dead to learn facts about them and the area they haunt. The warding effect last longer.

Master: Can bind a spirit to themselves and summon it when they wish (to use as a spy or a as scare tactic?). Can ouright banish a ghost.

 

Or something like that. Make your Eisen character devout and you've got yourself an exorcist. :D

Bradley
Bradley's picture

This talk actually reminds me of a character I had created in my somewhat early days of character creation (the time where people do stupid stuff). He was a necromancer. A lich. He came from a more Egyptian mindset that their job was to be caretakers of the dead. Help spirits move on. Preserve the bodies of the dead. That sort of thing. Necromancy started from there, then some managed to raise the dead and that became a vogue thing for the ruling class to have to protect their tombs. Then some bad eggs took what they knew down a dark path that gave necromancy a bad name and image.

So, what I am saying is, there can be Necromancy that has a bad image in general, but is indeed built on a neutral base that had a job to do, but got misused. Like the meat cleaver becoming a symbol of a bulking murderer when the job it was suppose to be used for is to get meat to a convient size for cooking to feed people.

Robert D
Robert D's picture

I seem to recall John Wicks and company saying that Sorcery in 2nd edition would not be dangerous to the world (unlike all bu Glamour & Pyeryem sorcery in 1st edition), so i'd assume that sorcery is meant to be more heroic...if used by heroes that is lol.

Tilly Bomas
Tilly Bomas's picture

Well, I understand the reason, but that makes me a bit sad.  I enjoyed that aspect of Sorcery.  Humans not being magical in themselves, but getting it from other beings.  However, I suppose with the 'no aliens' that we keep hearing about, this only makes sense.  I am really interested to see just HOW the world has changed... and because of those changes, how much it cascades down (Like.. if their is no Barrier, what do DK do now?)  Hopefully, 7th sea is still out there somewhere... not that it ever came up in a game I played, but ES was my favorite of the SS, with IC being a close second.

Morgan Wolfe
Morgan Wolfe's picture

Just remember that "no aliens" doesn't necessarily mean "no sidhe or syrneth," because as I remember the statement it was to the effect of "there are no aliens -- there have never been aliens." I take that to mean that the sidhe and syrne were never aliens, at least as far as John was/is concerned.

YMMV.

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

Tilly Bomas
Tilly Bomas's picture

Well, I am interested to see how they are played out.  I mean, the Syrne were a favorite of mine.  Had a character that would have probably worshipped them had he discovered the truth.  But anyhow, the biggest problem I had in 1st was the Sidhe... I mean, their was nothing they COULDN'T do.  Lucky my GM used them sparingly, but one of my characters was not on their good side, since he stated in a book that the Sidhe were just another Syrneth Race, as were humans.  Those were good times.  

 

True Iskander
True Iskander's picture

Has it been confirmed that you must be of x nation to have access to y type of sorcery? Looking at 1e rules, it seems like a character's nationality could be pretty restrictive.

Robert D
Robert D's picture

I've not seen it specifically said, but in the QS, Sorte was written of as a Vodacce phenomena with no reference to non-Vodacce Fate Witches.  & I recall Rob Justice mentioning in another forum http://www.7thsea2e.com/port/forum/reverse-engineering that each Nation with sorcery has a sorcery background unique to it.

Robert D
Robert D's picture

But, perhaps there is an advantage for being of mixed heritage from another Nation, allowing a different background useage.

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
There have been work around for reduced levels in the old system to a point. And players have always used the "born in Avalon but raised in Castille" type statements. As for the DK, they do what they were always meant to do... Guard the secrets of the 2nd Prophet, run hospitals in distant lands and protect the Hierophant from the shadows. A Necromancy thought: what if it lets you channel the spirit and skills of a departed person? Sudden burst of combat skill for a scene is the easy bonus. Grabbing a single use skill for research or repair is super handy. Channeling the guy who built the trap you fell into... Priceless. Using it to discuss historic moments with the guy that was there or music selections with a great composer, shoot, I want to play that now.
Bradley
Bradley's picture

Sounds a bit like Glamour's fluff. Just more ghost based than story based.

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
In a way. In my head, it let's you question the victim of a murder. If you can get them to focus on the moment of death. Oraybe it let's you see through their eyes which may be more traumatic. It's sort of the step BETWEEN Glamour and Sorte.
Kevin Krupp
Kevin Krupp's picture

I stand corrected; that all sounds awesome (and heroic, albeing probably semi-terrifying at the time.)

Bradley
Bradley's picture

No one said being a hero meant you weren't frightening. Batman is a hero and one of his weapons is fear itself. Ghost Rider looks like a man with a flaming skull. Venom, eventually, started doing heroic things and he is prretty freaky looking.

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture

well, the trick is to find the heroic angle in the power. 

the payoff is in what happens when it goes wrong for the hero.  do they get sucked into someone else's final moments, earlier aspects of their life, or forced to return the favor by doing something in the world for the spirit?  This could very well run off the type of things shown on Izombie. 

There may be limits to the range of departed a necromancer could contact.  Too long dead or too recent may be harder to summon.  People who died at peace may be harder to call back and those with too much trauma may be too angry to control. 

Tilly Bomas
Tilly Bomas's picture

The one issue I always had with necromancy in fantasy settings when it came to contacting spirits, was the whole 'what is a soul?'

Most settings have gods, and heaven and hells, and abysses.  In DND, when a person dies, their soul goes to another place usually based on their alignment.  They can chose not to be ressurected, and sometimes, can avoid being called when summoned.  Ghosts are only still present because they have unfinished business, something that tethers them to the plane, and thus can't find peace.  

Having things like Zombies, does not in itself need to worry about meta-physics, because the soul could not exist/travel elsewhere, but the body remains, and for whatever reason (Dark Magic, Virus, or however else zombies come into being.) it is reanimated with minimal brain activity, usually in the motor function parts of the brain.  

If necromancy starts dealing with literal Souls, spirits of those that have passed, then I would think that means that where said souls go needs to be addressed.  It could be left open, similar to how the Church of the Prophet book gave examples of what WAS Theus, leaving the actual answer open to the GM.  But I can not recall of any 'ghosts' in the original setting.  Sidhe, Unseelie, and magical creatures, yes.. but never spirits of people.  (Again, from my recollection).  If this is not addressed in any regard, then sure, it is open to whatever a GM wants, but I would prefer some examples, like the COTP book did in terms of 'does god exist'.  

 

This is why I would be more in favor, if Necromancy dealt more with the literal life energy of things.  Draining the energy from someone, or infusing it into something.  Thus being able to 'bring the dead back to life' by channeling life energy from something else of equal energy.  Healing wounds by brining life to the dead cells, alowing it to heal faster.... with the price of needing that energy from elsewhere.  BUT, it could have the opposite effect... draining ones life and infusing it into one self for more selfish reasons, such as Immortality.  Causing wounds and such by draining the energy from others, or making sure a wound never heals right.... 

How that would all work in the new system, I haven't a clue, since I don't know how magic works, but having Necromancy in this way, allows it to both be a white necromancy, as well as black necromancy.  Then it is up to the person on how it is used most.  If it is more the traditional 'raise the dead' necromancy, I can see that working as well, and I do believe their was something similar on one of the Islands of Gold.  If it is summoning/allowing possession of/from spirits, allowing one to gain access to ancestral type knowledge, or hints and clues from beyond... then beyond would have to be a place.  Not a place that needs loads of description, but a place where souls go, be it heaven, hell, behind the barrier, or perhaps no where.  Perhaps the soul does not move on at all.... but if that were the case, and the Eisen knew about it.... then the church would be allot less powerful I think.

Evan Sageser
Evan Sageser's picture

I believe that there were something similar to ghosts and spirits in 7th sea. Mirror ghosts were problematic in Montaigne and I believe there was some sort of vodacce spirit that resulted from a Fater Witch that killed herself through her own fate manipulation.

In many cases it seemed like spectres were usually the result of trifling with sorcery. (Mirror Ghosts were never fully explained, but given that they were usually handsless and seemed to nullify Porte magic in the area, they were usually theorized as having a relation to it.

Tilly Bomas
Tilly Bomas's picture

Undead was an advantage villains could take.  I thought Mirror Ghosts were a type of Shide, and Undead Fate Witchs were something else.  I mean their were also undead Vampire like creatures in the Pillars of Flame from the Grand Armada.  It does seem to have something to do with Sorcery, but I can't think of any spirits.... ghosts and the like... I mean their are shadow creatures, usually guarding Syrneth Artifacts.  

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

I actually think that one variety of undead was of sorcerers killed by their own magic:

  • Mirror Ghosts are Porte Mages that never came out of their portal (assumption)
  • Unraveled are Fate Witches who are killed by a fate lash (fact)
  • The Fire Mountain appears to be an undead El Fuego Adentro (assumption)
  • Laerdom-related spoilers kind of a support this (fact)
  • Green-eyed animals in Ussura could be thought of as undead Pyeryem(assumption)
  • Nights are spoilers that are really supportive (fact)

The only one that is really missing is Glamour?

 

Then there were Thean zombies, which were different and great fun :)

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
That works fine mechanically in your description. I could see it in practical play use. (And ignore it as much as I do the other sorcery). Your where do they go question may answer the limits of the power. When a soul does move on, you can't reach it. Then again, we may find out in October that this is why Eisen now has Vampires living in old castles on hilltops
Silver Rapier
Silver Rapier's picture

I wonder if the 'unbound' advantage will still be around for Vodacce? And if it is, will other sorceries have an 'opposite force'? Could some heroes/villains be immune to Glamour? Could some disrupt Porte holes somehow? (Restricted by nation, of course.) Or, alternately, I remember the Vodacce Destiny Spread in 1E had a possible background where Fate Witches always saw a black strand extending towards them from your character; no explanation given, but I like to think of it as a natural defense that evolved due to the presence of Fate Witches (because why not?). I have no problem with sorcery as presented in the game, but I like to the idea of 'anti-sorcerors' being around.

If such abilities were present, it could make for interesting curve balls to throw at the heroes. You want to pull that's guy's strands? Woops, those were someone else's. How did that happen? You just opened a portal to retrieve your blooded item? It's bleeding black/green/blue for some reason. And it's sticky. You want to turn that metal lock into sand? Well, it's made of glass (easily breakable, but noisy.)

You get the idea. After all, sword strikes can be parried and bullets can be dodged. Why shouldn't sorcery have counters? (just tossing ideas around, don't hurt me :p)

Bradley
Bradley's picture

This is a neat idea. Make a passive anti-sorcery. Not sure if it will be added, but I think it could be added with little issues and be very interesting for the setting.

Paul
Paul's picture

Hi all...Just a quick question.  Can someone break down the types of magic that were in the first edition game?  I have several of the books, but other than glamour (fae illusion type magic), I didn't quite get what the other magics were about or did.  Thanks.

 

 

 

Silver Rapier
Silver Rapier's picture

@Paul

Here it goes:

Avalon: Glamour (illusions)

Montaigne: Porte (portals)

Ussura: Pyerem (shapeshifting)

Vesten: Laerdom (rune magic. Varied effects.)

Voddacce: Sorte (manipulation of fate)

Eisen: No sorcery, but they have Dracheneisen (super tough and light metal)

Castille: No sorcery.

 

Those were the 'starter' sorceries. Later supplements added others like scrying, fire magic (Castille) and disintegration (Eisen).

True Iskander
True Iskander's picture
Those seem pretty disparate. Was an origin to sorcery ever provided?
Silver Rapier
Silver Rapier's picture

Yes. In 1E, sorceries come from a deal with various entities (ie a different source for each one), hence the disparity.

Morgan Wolfe
Morgan Wolfe's picture

> Castille: No sorcery.

That depends on if there are still any El Fuego heirs around, trying to keep the Inquisition from finding out about them. ;-)

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

Silver Rapier
Silver Rapier's picture

You have to wonder how the Inquisition managed to kill any, considering their usual MO is execution by burning. :p

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