We have been debating this in our group. I have been playing 7th sea for about a year, but have been a GM in various other systems for over a decade. The rest of the group has been playing 7th sea pretty much since it's creation.
Our group consist of about 9 people, so 1 GM and 8 players. I wanted to run the new system because it will all be new to us, so there is no worrying about not having all the rules memorized.
One of the loved ideas from a few members of the group is that it "is all about the story" and they are really excited about the concept of hero stories. I personally think the mechanic is bad, and wanted to get an opinion from some other GM's.
First of all despite what some people may want to believe, this is not "all about the story" it is a table top RPG, and a component that cannot be ignored in any RPG is character advancement. If you just want to tell stories, why have a character sheet at all, just sit around telling stories. Giving the characters free reign to write the stories (steps etc.) that they use to advance their character, is game breaking. Many players will desire to pursue their own ambitions rather than go with queues GM's give. If I hint at they need to go west, but their hero story sends them east, they will want to go east
I realize that I can alter things a bit, but if I want the players to go to Ussara and a hero story says they need to take over a business in Avalon, issues will arise, especially with more bullish player types. Now take in my situation having 8 players, each with a hero story, and each hero story offering advancement only to that one character, that is alot of dedicated game time the group has to sit through. I also don't see where I should have to write in 8 different peoples hooks into the story I am crafting, and it doesn't seem right to have 8 different personal story advancements to conveiently be in the next town they always visit.
My idea is to take the idea of the hero story, and instead turn them in to episodes that center around a hero. They can share a goal with me, and while the stories goal will be about a player, the group gets advancement for participation. Player 1 kills the man that killed his father, but players 2-8 helped him get there. It can be something between episode stories.
What are other peoples thoughts on hero stories? Does it sound like a good idea to you? How are you going to prevent abuse, and in preventing it do you violate the core concept behind it? Does it present a obstacle to your story telling style?