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Cthulhu Netobvious
Cthulhu Netobvious's picture
Thought Experiment in Corruption and Morality
core rules, hourse rules, corruption, consequences

DISCLAIMER: Because some players just play games for fun and not to sit through lessons on Morality by Puritans.

This thread is a brief "thought experiment" to help us all better understand the diversity of ideas. Because if we close our minds and only accept what we believe is the "One True Path", then we fall into that "supposedly righteous" trap that surreptitiously leads to Corruption.

(a) Heroes are not always Saints
(b) Villains are not always Monsters

The above are very important reflections for us all to consider when we play games, even games of the swashbuckling genre that includes Pirates (not all pirates are nice guys).


And because most of us here also love 7th Sea as a game that entertains friends and strangers, even with its Corruption mechanics, we should feel emboldened to experience great stories without Puritanism and without being shamed for having diverse heroes who are not all Saints. devil


Let us call our hero D'Artagnan. Let us call his employer L'Empereur.
Usually, our hero does not come from a noble background. This is important to ground the hero with some experience of what common folk may have suffered in 17th Century France (that probably inspired 7th Sea's Montaigne). When we first meet D'Artagnan, he is ambitious and cocky, which is understandable because he is young. He is idealistic, many youths are.


D'Artagnan aspires to be a Musketeer; he thinks it offers a life of heroism. But when D'Artagnan finally joins the Musketeers his salary will be paid by L'Empereur, a payroll boosted by taxes on the suffering innocents living in poverty. So in a way D'Artagnan's salary is paid from the State's infliction of a crippling tax burden upon many impoverished citizens. 


So let us model a 7th Sea hero called "Darta" upon the historic Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan: Our D'Arta like historic D'Artagnan also works for a King of a nation.

(a) Here is our first Corruption test. if D'Arta eventually finds out that his lifestyle is funded by the King's crippling tax upon the poor, should our D'Arta suffer Corruption if he refuses to resign after learning of this? Does protecting some citizens on the street from the Cardinal's guards absolve our D'Arta of complicity in the oppressive State tax system if our D'Arta still remains directly employed by that same State? Should he suffer Corruption for living of taxes that punish the weak?

(b) Next Corruption Test
(this is not inspired by the D'Artagnan romantic literature, but still a plausible scene).
Our D'Arta is off duty and rides into a village. He notices a badly bruised and beaten old woman about to be hanged. She is surrounded by a large contingent of Cardinal's guards, just too many of them and they hate our hero deeply. A little girl is crying pointing to anyone around her to save her mommy. Some villagers shrug helplessly, others shout "kill the witch". He has seconds to shoot the hangman's noose. Will ignoring this scene and riding away earn our D'Arta Corruption?

(c) Assuming our D'Arta saved the old woman from hanging and conversed with her and learnt she was a traveling healer helping cure disease, but he never learnt the truth that to cure a child, she must kill another. Days later a vehement Cardinal convinces L'Empereur to summon our D'Arta for a berating and he then learns that the old woman he saved days ago was a notorious witch who traveled the lands stealing mostly orphan children for magic rituals. Should our D'Arta earn corruption for his rashness interfering with the law of the land and letting loose a notorious villain? One way to explore "morality" is understanding that regret for past actions is a thing, even if those actions seemed heroic earlier. And yet, we being told that such retrospection does not earn Corruption in 7th Sea because our table of players are not encouraged to punish heroic acts retrospectively.

(d) The King and Cardinal agree to offer D'Arta a chance at redemption for letting lose such a terrible villain. He is ordered to ride out, apprehend, and if necessary execute her. During the days in-between a few more innocent children go missing and presumed dead. Should our D'Arta suffer Corruption for the deaths of these additional innocents caused by his earlier interference with the law? Will apprehending her clear all the Corruption incurred so far?

(e) Finally our D'Arta corners that villainous witch, and they both engage in one of those climatic dialog sequences with the witch explaining that she only targets terminally sick children to cure other children. Her daughter is present at the scene and begs D'Arta to spare her mommy because she cannot survive without her mommy's magic. If D'Arta captures and returns the witch to the King and Cardinal, she will be surely executed for causing the deaths of many children. Another twist to this tragic tale is that the witch eventually succeeds in convincing D'Arta through the goodness of his heart to hatch a plan to fake her death. Will D'Arta suffer Corruption if he accepts this bargain?

(f) Several weeks later, more child deaths are reported and D'Arta is summoned before the King to explain why the witch that was supposed to be dead is still killing children. D'Arta defends the deaths as those of terminally ill children but then lies that this must be another one witch. Does he suffer Corruption for this?

(g) D'Arta with great anger in his heart, goes out of his way to personally hunt this old witch with a vengeance,for her betrayal of his trust, and a failure to protect so many innocent children but most especially for his complicity in letting her escape. He finally confronts and kills her without remorse and thus, leaves her daughter an unprotected orphan who will die without her mother's magic? Is our D'Arta free from Corruption for killing the villain? Does he suffer corruption for condemning another child to death now?


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TAJ-07: Technopriest And Justicar Of 7thSea2e

Salamanca's picture

ok, I will offer my opinions on this:

A)  Darta is not actively engaged in the collection of the taxes that fund his living.  He's actually a couple steps removed.  I award no corruption for something that is beyond his conrtol to change.  In fact, he may end up doing a lot of good for those people. 

B) Ignoring her is not necessarily a corruption offense choosing not to act with no information may be the best option.  He SHOULD at least stop to investigate and make sure the Guard have just cause.  (and if he were the fictional hero he is based on, he should be shooting that rope and leading the guard on a merry chase just on principle of screwing with the Cardinal's men) He is probably getting some reputation changes regardless of his action.

C) No corruption for learning after the fact that what he did was wrong but he should be making an effort without request to rectify that problem.  He is getting some serious reputation changes for this.

D) No corruption for what happens as long as he is actively trying to catch her.  If he ignores the assignment for a vacation, however, he probably deserves a point for the guilt.  (and more reputation damage for goofing off instead of helping)

E) Totally dependent on the GM's view of this encounter.  If the "witch" is genuinely a good and helpful character, letting her go grants no corruption.  If she just fast talked our hero into letting her go, he gets the corruption.  and "G" is his redemption arc. 

F) No corruption for actions taken by another.  Otherwise, my whole party is lost because one player is a sociopath and they are guilty by association.  This is nothing but a plot hook for the player to chase down the villain (again)

G) The hero should be turning her in for justice as he was ordered but as he was given a "dead or alive" order earlier and his previous encounters have shown how dangerous she is, he is going to get a pass on corruption since the GM is aiming him towards a "Kill her" resolution.  (and technically, she is a monster)  If the GM is not aiming the player at this "no way out but death" resolution, a corruption point could be viable here. 

Cthulhu Netobvious
Cthulhu Netobvious's picture
Thank you, @Salamanca. Your insights are welcome. I disagree with no-Corruption for (a) because even in the D'Artagnan stories, we know he resigned his commission from The King's Musketeers. And this happens in real life too, including in Top Echelons of the U.S.A. This is why I take issue with a rulebook forcing rules instead of letting each table decide. I believe that players at the table work out their games with rules just guidance, and remember fun is more important than misery. For some players, Morality in keeping with Role Playing scene (a) may agree that the Player of our D'Arta character may even personally request Corruption to simulate the Mortal quandary working for an institution built on the suffering of others, like a Prison Warden who learns that the prisoners that he is guarding are later transported for cruel experiments and torture. If he cannot change the system from within and still stays, then he becomes complicit in the horror.

TAJ-07: Technopriest And Justicar Of 7thSea2e

Carlo Lope
Carlo Lope's picture

Sweet... I'll give my opinion but I think I'm going to steal this for a game :P (Too damn good xd)

a) If D'Arta decides to keep his job but decides to start trying to solve problems here and there for the citizens behind the King's back and explains that his job may allow him more opportunities to set things right, like a super-hero concept more or less, then I think he shouldn't receive a Corruption point. If he does nothing and agree to fulfill his duties without questioning anything then yes, a Corrution point is in order I believe.

b) The hate the hero and people from villages are normally superstitious so... If D'Arta does nothing... and with this I mean not even trying to find information then yes, a Corruption point earned but if D'Arta tries to find out what happened even if he fails to stop them, I don't think a Corruption point would be fair.

c) Corruption based on decisions he made in the past... I disagree with. He didn't know but he may feel guilty or even if he does not, he already faced the situation back then, more tests on the very same matter would be unfair.

d) Same as C. He chose something, no one must be punished for all the consequences or we all would be drunks trying to drown our lives in every alley.

e) Tricky... Allowing her to kill someone, even if that child is ill, is bad but if she does so to save another... I'm not sure, it would depend on how the player takes this... If he does not show any emotion or concern and it didn't take much to convince him then yeah, Corruption point given but otherwise, I don't think I'll give him one.

f) Lying to save his own neck is something everyone will do sooner or later so nope, no Corruption point because it's something that happened in the past. He already faced that situation.

g) Betrayal of his trust? Being lied is no excuse D'Arta can use to justify what he does. He does not show any remorse and he does not even try to care for the girl so yes, Corruption point.

Cthulhu Netobvious
Cthulhu Netobvious's picture

Thank you @CarloLope, for your nice comments and also for participating in this Thought Experiment.

I got tired of the adamant stance by some Puritst that morality must be enforced as Black and White in 7th Sea.

In truth, the new 7th Sea 2e mechanics are actually excellent if played thematically rather than following a strictly Puritan wordview.

My player group alters Corruption to fit thematically and plausibly within our adventures, so the above are insights into how we roll. laugh

TAJ-07: Technopriest And Justicar Of 7thSea2e

Hobbit 81
Hobbit 81's picture

Interesting puzzles, Cthulhu Netobvious. What solution did you use in your game? Did adapted he Corruption System, designed a different one or simply cast out the morality issue in your game? Although it seems a bit 'puritan', this system helps the players to follow the 'spirit' intended for the game by its creators.

More often than not, my game group like to play with morality-gray characters, anti-heroes at best. For now, I´m giving them liberty of action (one of them already gave a montaigne noble prisoner a hard time), but I´m inclined to demand some kind of 'price' in case they decide to go in "full villain mode".


Cthulhu Netobvious
Cthulhu Netobvious's picture

The Corruption mechanics are actually well designed. If you remove the implaussible demand that nobody gets killed except by deliberate action, you can actually still use Corruption to prevent full out massacres. 

Basically, my advice is to consider the "thematic" elements of the scene instead of what the book states as "Black and White" morality.

THOUGHT-EX (c) For example, in the village scene (c), there was an important HINT. Did you notice there was a small girl shouting for someone to save her mommy? That was the cue for our Heroes to intervene. The GM should then check the character sheets and any Hero who should plausibly intervene will then suffer Corruption for refusing to help that little girl save her mommy. 

Therefore, it is not cut and dried that killing a brute is worse than maiming a child, or abandoning a ship of innocents to sink because your Heroes did not use their Raises to take advantage of Opportunities to learn more information, which would have revealed the innocents requiring extra help. 

TAJ-07: Technopriest And Justicar Of 7thSea2e

Bradley's picture

a. Depends on the player and how they decide to roll with it. I would actually allow them to write in a new story, even if all their slots are filled, to work towards changing the system from the inside if they decide to go that route. They would be over the maximum they could simulataneously have, so when they fufill one of the others, they would not be able to replace it because that slot is filled. If they decide to keep working, but are not working towards changing the system, then I might give them a corruption. If the quit, then nothing.

b. Ignoring the scene entirely would not earn him corruption. He is coming into a scene where he has no information and likely does not have enough time to get the information needed to mak an informed decision. No matter what he does he will likely not get corruption from the scene.

c. This is a tricky one, but it all comes down to how he reacts. I will not give corruption for anything in scene because he might be keeping a brave face on, but I will keep the camera on him to show how he reacts in a more private setting. If no remorse is shown, then corruption to reflect the cold hardness that is seeping into his heart. If remorse is shown that he helped a child murderer get away, then no corruption. If he tries to justify it to himself to conteract the remorse, then corruption for lying to oneself to convince themself they are right.

d. The lives of the additional children will not give corruption to him. His action or inaction did not cause their deaths. It was the action of the witch that caused their deaths. His giving her of a second chance on life could have easily made her reevaluate her life choices. Sure, he made a mistake in letting her go and he may feel their blood is on their hands, but even if he does not feel like their blood is on his hands, no corruption. As for apprehending her clearing corruption, maybe. If he felt no regret or justified to himself releasing her was the right thing to do at the time, I may let him clear a corruption for making the situation right. If he did not get corruption from those things (as shown by how little oportunities popped up) then he will probably not get to clear any.

e. Again, this depends. If he makes her promise to never harm a child again, even to help her daughter, then I would probabl not. If he did not get a promise from her and simply helped her pretend to be dead, he would get corruption. The reason for this is Sidhe and other Fey creatures that exist. It is a known thing that there are things that will trist your words and the best way to deal with them is to get a promise out of them, and not trust their implicit nature.

f. No. Lying is not a corrupting thing, especially to save oneself.

g. No corruption from killing the villain. How he handles the child is what determines the corruption he gets in the scene.

Donovan Morningfire
Donovan Morningfire's picture

Yeah, I wouldn't assign Corruption for pretty much any of those.

a) D'arta has no clue what's going on here, and as an agent of the King, he could use his authority to briefly intervene and see what's happening.  But the player could also rightely voice concern that the GM has thrown him into an unwinnable situation.

b) Solid nope.  Saving a live, even that of a Villain (suspected or otherwise) is a heroic act.

c) No Corruption here as he's not actively performing those acts, and that moment neither is the witch.  And there are stories where the Hero saves the Villain, and is able to get that Villain to reconsider and possibly repent for their possible misdeeds.

d) Again, no Corruption.

e) Again, no Corruption.  Granted, he'd be foolish if he didn't try to extract a promise from the witch to not keep targeting children, but if he fails to get such a promise he's not gaining Corruption from as it's not a deliberate act of evil the way murder or torture is.

f) Yet again, no Corruption.  Yes, he lied to his leige, and there will undoubtedly be consequences, but Corruption isn't one of them.

g) For killing this Villain that has refused to repent or to come quietly, no Corruption.  What happens to the little girl might be another matter, depending how D'arta opts to proceed; if he kills the little girl on the spot, that is worth Corruption, but if he takes her in and ensures that whatever time she has left is spent living well and as comfortably as possible.

To be frank, a lot of these smell like the sort of things a bad GM would use to set up a Paladin Screw Job, i.e. situations were the player of a Lawful Good Paladin is forced into making a choice that costs them their special abilities.

Personally, as far as whether a course of action would warrant Corruption or not, I'd suggest having the following checklitst on hand (courtesy of Gary M. Sarli for WotC's Star Wars Saga Edition RPG):

- Did the action harm a sentient, living being?
- Did the action harm a person that was at your mercy (unable to meaningfully defend himself)?
- Did the action cause serious harm to a person (physically, mentally, emotionally)?
- Was the action unnecessary to protect yourself or another person from an immediate, obvious threat?
- Was the action deliberate and the result intended?

If all five of these ding as "Yes," then that's an action which is definitely worth Corruption, and in Saga Edition was deemed "blatantly evil," to the point where Emperor Palpatine would be cackling with sadistic glree and applauding your character's actions.

If exactly one question can be answered "No" without employing moral gymnastics to justify it, then the action may still be worth Corruption.  If the it's the 5th Question ("Was ths action deliberate and result intended?") that's answered "No," then I probably wouldn't assign Corruption, but if the answer to that one is "Yes" then the action itself is probably stil worth Corruption, but that's just my point of view.

If exactly two questions can be answered "No" (again, no moral gymnastics to justify it), then it's a "dubiously evil" act and probably not worth Corruption by itself.

If three or more can be answered "No" sans moral gymnastics, then it's not worth Corruption.

And when I say "moral gymnastics," I'm referring to attempts to justify a Yes or No answer, generally by way of things such as "extenuating circumstances" that really don't apply.  To keep with the Star Wars theme, a rule of thumb I used when GM'ing for a group that included one or more Force users was "the more and harder the player tries to justify why their action didn't warrant a dark side point, the more they prove the action did warrant a dark side point."  A similar rule of thumb could probaby be employed for assigning Corruption as well, provided the GM is able to remain fair and not deliberately set an unknowning player up for a fall (aka Paladin Screw Job).  If the player wants to run a character that occasionally crosses the line and has to struggle to not take the "quick and easy path," that's one thing, and player and GM can work together to create scenes where the character might do something that warrants Corruption; an example of such a thing would be from Book 1 of Stephen King's The Dark Tower series, where the protaganist Roland allows a young boy to whom he's become quite close to die so that he can pursue his objective, and that's not even the final act of the book.


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Cthulhu Netobvious
Cthulhu Netobvious's picture

Thank you @Bradley, for your thoughts. And a very big "thank you" to @DonovanMornigfire, for the detail insights into "Star Wars Saga Edition" .

My personal take is that every game table and adttendant GM will have variant interpretations of which actions may constitute Morality fails. 

For example, I like @Bradley's suggestion for the Player to add a new story arc to work through THOUGHT-EX (a) D'Arta retaining his commission with the King's Musketeers to change the sytem from within. This extended story arc could bring forth new interesting configurations. 


D'Arta remains with the King's Musketeers to change the system from within. We already established that taxes levied upon citizens of Montaigned help pay the salaries of the Musketeers. As State employee of the Crown, D'Arta may asked to acompany Tax Collectors who are being resisted by some impoverished villagers at the far border regions. Probably foreign powers planted seeds of dissent. Who knows? However, when D'Arta and the Tax Contingent arrive, D'Arta bears witness to the taxmen seizing the villagers' horses in recompense for missed payments. This would leave the villagers in dire straits and they resist violently, getting the pitchforks out and threatening the Tax Collectors and accompanying guards. Should D'Arta order the villagers to stand down and let the taxmen disposses them of their most valuable possessions? He has been a good and obedient Musketeer. Should this be the time he rebels against the oppressive State? Would standing idle while innocents suffer be Corruption worth? Shoud rebellion against oppressors be an option?

TAJ-07: Technopriest And Justicar Of 7thSea2e

Peasant's picture

@Cthuhlu I’d argue what you’ve written up there is not a 7th sea styled swashbuckling story, but a noir story. You’ve made the “best” option either impossible or asked him to choose between the deaths of two people. (I’m also deeply suspicious of anyone with a 7th sea level of medicine being able to identify terminal illness, but that’s beside the point. I suppose she has magic healing powers, but she’s also a trickster.)


To answer your question- no corruption, for any of those. None of them are explicitly Evil, they’re just morally grey decisions where all the options are morally grey.


However, your D'Artagnan does not act heroically in this sequence. He acts like a character in a noir story-making what he thinks is the best choice out if a series of bad options, being powerless to really change things. Heroism, as 7th sea has it, isn’t about making the least worst choice. It’s about doing all you can to achieve your aims.  So how could D'Artagnan act heroically in these situations? Isn’t that a better question? Isn’t that more worthy of discussion than playing avoid the Corruption point? After all, as you said, 7th sea is about having fun. wink, Here are some examples of how D'Artagnan could act heroically in the situation you described, and be awarded with hero points:


a) on hearing that his wages come from those who cannot afford them, he either refuses his wages or donates all of it to the poor, choosing to live on just bread and water

b) Of course he charges in. and he get;s a hero point for it.  

c) I can’t actually think of anything here: being fooled by a trickster is a great part of many a story, swashbuckling tales included

d) I feel, this is you generating a fairly straw man- others suffering for the hero’s mistake is specifically recommended by JW. Obviously D'Artagnan feels personally responsible for those deaths.  

e) Can only survive with her mother’s magic? There are plenty of options here: D'Artagnan could ride hard to Charouse and have the child inspected by the Emperor's personal physician. Or he could ride deep into the forest, braving many dangers, to find a lake, the waters of which are said can cure any disease and break any curse. There are plenty of options here.

f) If D'Artagnan was to swear that no more children were to die, that would earn him a hero point.

g) I refer back to (e)- there should be a way to save the child, even if the witch has to be killed. It’s going to be incredibly dangerous, but there’s a way. (a life for a life, well, what about the witch's life?)

Cthulhu Netobvious
Cthulhu Netobvious's picture
Thank you, @Peasant, your suggestions are interesting. And remember that if D'Arta remains in the employ of the King (a) and donates his money to the poor, that will not absolve him of Corruption because the King's taxmen intimidate the poor to pay crippling taxes and thus, even if our D'Arta later donates his wages, if he continues serving the King, that still means our D'Arta also remains part of a system that takes the meager assets from one poor man to give another, definitely not a Robin Hood tax.

TAJ-07: Technopriest And Justicar Of 7thSea2e

Cthulhu Netobvious
Cthulhu Netobvious's picture
With regards to (d) D'Arta is responsible for causing the deaths of innocents because he took the law in his hands stopping an execution before he had all the facts. That is a common trope too when a previously heroic action causes more pain and suffering later.

TAJ-07: Technopriest And Justicar Of 7thSea2e

Cthulhu Netobvious
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After months in 2016 spent by the core developers defending the importance of enforcing Absolute Morality, finally, in 2017, Mike Curry had an epiphany, and finally suggested (in quotable form) that players may IGNORE that controversial "Corruption" mechanic. There may still be a caveat, which i supsect will still DEMAND that Official Campaigns must enforce that Corruption handicap upon the table.



TAJ-07: Technopriest And Justicar Of 7thSea2e

Donovan Morningfire
Donovan Morningfire's picture

Unless you're deadset on playing a murder-hobo or your GM is an adversarial jackass , I'm failing to see how the Corruption mechanics are any sort of handicap or restriction in this game.

The page on Corruption pretty much spells out that (apart from certain Sorceries) you're looking at truly despicable acts in order to garner Corruption.  To whit:

1) Inflicting unnecessary pain on a helpless victim, such as torture or pushing an innocent child out of a window (looking at you Jaime Lannister)

2) Not acting to save another from mortal danger when there's little to no risk to your Hero in doing so.

As for Sorcery, the only ones that garner Corruption are Hexenwerk's Funeral Porridge (which not only kills the target but makes them rise as an undead), calling in a Major Favor from your dievas, which is a balancing factor since the sky's the limit in terms of what you can ask a demonic entity to accomplish on your behalf, and creating blessures with Porte.  If you're a hexe, you don't have to worry as long as you don't select that one specific unguent, while Porte and especially Sanderis are more a case of "just how desperate are you?"

So, as long as you're not intent on playing a murder-hobo or any other stripe of psychopath, it's actually pretty damn easy to avoid Corruption.  Looking at the examples provided on page 203 of the sort of things that garner Corruption for Jim's character, those are the sorts of things that in D&D would result in a PC's alignment being shifted to Evil, quite likely after the very first act and most definitely after the second one.

Heck, it's even possible to play an anti-hero in this system with the Corruption rules fully intact, provided you avoid crossing certain lines, something that even Wolverine and Ghost Rider (two of Marvel's most notable anti-heroes) manage to do, and neither of them are warm/fuzzy individuals.  Punisher's debatable, but then he was never really meant to be a hero in the first place (he started out as a Spider-Man villain).

If the GM is doing their job correctly, they should be giving you a warning that you're about to do something that warrants a point of Corruption.  The only excepction would be the three Sorcery examples I cited above, as each of those already come with the "You'll get Corruption if you do this!" warning label (and with Sanderis the character really should know better).  Maybe it's just my decades of experience with running Star Wars RPGs that I'm used to warning my players that if they do a certain thing, they'll get a dark side point, and the Corruption mechanic really isn't that much different other than there being far less courses of actions that will net you Corruption as opposed to gaining dark side points if you're Force-sensitive.

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Donovan Morningfire
Donovan Morningfire's picture

Less of an "epiphany" and probably just tired of the overly vocal minority bitching and whining about how an RPG that's geared towards playing HEROES engaging in high heroics (and the book outright says this is the intent) doesn't let them play bloodthirsty murder-hobos that can kill and rape with impunity.  And those are probably the same folks that get all pissy when the DM of a D&D campaign disallows PCs of Evil or Chaotic Neutral alignment.

Frankly, it seems like ever since Michael has called this place a "fan forum" and thus not an official resource, you've been carrying an incredibly petty grudge against the man simply for stating something that is very much a truth, that the thoughts and ideas posted here have zero official bearing.  Other companies have said the same about fan forums for their games, and none of them have gotten their knickers in a twist over it, with the fan forums themselves making it clear "we're not an official resource and do not speak for the company or game in any official capacity."

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Cthulhu Netobvious
Cthulhu Netobvious's picture

Firstly, mutual respect means no group of Players nor GMs should disparagingly insult another group. The term "murder hobo" is not a term of endearment but a term used by neo-Purital Moralists to denigrate those who play differently from some extremist ideal. 

Next, many of the 11,000-plus backers of 7th Sea were surely attracted to the game by its "rules-light" nature, and exciting thematic elements (pirates and muskets of course, and even debonair heroes). Therefore, when a rules-light game suddenly includes a rule designed to deliberately make some new players feel unwelcome at the table, you ask the next question? Why is it necessary to create a rule to breed such intolerance for players who play non-ideal heroes?


And when several GMs and players, after playing this second edition of 7th Sea, say they ignored the "broken" Corruption mechanic, then this begs another question? Does Moralist Puritan Idealism ever become more important than a good time at a games table? And if not, why have it as a core rule mechanic?

Honestly, 7th Sea is so entertaining that enforcing Moralist Puritan Idealism was never an essential component to playing memorable Hero characters. 

So, yes, it is gratifying to witness the developer admit that ignoring Corruption may be a viable option to entertain your table of players. Hurray! laugh

TAJ-07: Technopriest And Justicar Of 7thSea2e

Donovan Morningfire
Donovan Morningfire's picture

At this point I'm starting to seriously doubt that you've even read the actual rules on Corruption that are in the book, and are instead running off some half-baked imaginary concept of what the Corruption rules as outlined in the book actually are.  For an instance of actual play with the actual Corruption rules in place, we've got a Montaigne rapscallion as part of the group, and he has done some very shady things in his pursuit of personal power and is very self-centered in his overall ambitions, but he's not gained a single point of Corruption due to not stooping to things like murder or physical torture.  And yet, under your apparant interpreation of how Corruption operates, this character should have become a Villain by the end of the second session.

But then, I consciously make the choice not to associate with or engage the type of player mentality that falls within the "murderhobo" mindset.  7th Sea as a system outright says that it aspires to have the players create characters that are Heroes with a deliberate capital H.  Re-reading your "thought experiment" I think Peasant hit the nail on the head and that you have zero interest in playing a Heroic character and instead would prefer to wallow in the muck.  Or worse yet, you're the sort of GM that would view a Paladin Screw-Job (delibrately putting a PC Paladin into a situation where they have no choice but to lose their Paladin status) not as something to avoid, but as something to aspire to under the false pretense of "interesting storytelling" when really it's just the GM being a petty jerk.

Dono's Gaming & Etc Blog

Cthulhu Netobvious
Cthulhu Netobvious's picture

@DonovanMorningfire, let us get something straight. Paladins are not the ONLY Heroes in adventure stories. Therefore, only that small cadre of elitist snobs still believe that true Hero status with a capital "H" only belongs to Paladin archetypes and create rules to force everyone to always play Paladins. 

Thematically, 7th Sea chose to base its stories on human cultures in which historic heroes included pirates and military generals who were not always perfect Moralist Puritans. I have run successful and entertaining game sessions without needing the crutch of derogatory words like "murder hobo" to shame fellow players for not living up to tome "superior" moralist ideal wihin a game world.

One of the most memorable and all time classic combat sequences by a Hero agianst Brutes was filmed by Quentin Tarantino:. In this sequence, a Duelist (Emma Thurman the Bride from Kill Bill) mows down a large-sized brute squad (the Crazy 88 from Kill Bill). When my players replayed such a sequence, in the 7th Sea world, we did not stop the game to argue whether beheading a brute is murder or amputating a brute is torture, but instead, just accepted all such combat actions as legitimate aspects of a thematic sequence in which dead brutes do not taint the Hero with Corruption penalties.

But some GMs who lack common sense will stop our entertainment because you know, RULES (even broken rules) rule.

CORRUPTION: If a Hero intentionally causes another character unnecessary pain, it’s an evil act. (Page 204)

So yes, ruining a game for players by enforcing bad game mechanics since in melee combat pain is inevitable most of the time.

Characters aren’t killed by accident in 7th Sea. Even gunfire cannot kill a character without a deliberate act from a Hero or a Villain. When a Villain or rival Hero or a Brute Squad is defeated, they don’t simply die; they lay before you, Helpless...and vulnerable. (Page 297)

WTF? The GM must force a Corruption roll for murder if a brute is decapitated in combat? Or torture if an unarmed brute loses another arm in combat?

Kill Bill The Bride vs Crazy 88 brutes

More Moralist preaching because GMs and Players are unable to determine valid moral actions for magic users. 

Opening a blessure always results in Corruption. Let me be clear—opening a blessure ALWAYS results in Corruption. There are no exceptions. There is no end that justifies that means. (Page 221)

TAJ-07: Technopriest And Justicar Of 7thSea2e

Donovan Morningfire
Donovan Morningfire's picture

To paraphrase John Wick:  "Killing your character is far from the worst thing I can do your character."

There's plenty of ways to "remove" a character from the game without even touching upon Corruption.  As a GM, I can have your character arrested and locked away simply for annoying the local ruling authority figure, especially in countries like Eisen, Montaigne, and Vodacce.  Just because the Count of Monte Cristo was eventually able to escape doesn't mean your character can expect the same consideration.

But I can see that you're so heavily invested in your narrow point of view that it's really not worth the time to try and have a rationale discussion with you about the subject, as evidenced by your false and utterly preposterous presumption that any group that the Corruption rules force all PCs to be "Moralist Puritans" when an intelligent reading of the rules shows that is far from the case, and that Heroes are NOT forced to be "goody two-shoe paladins" by said rules, with my even citing a clear example of a PC that was NOT a "Moralist Puritan" by any stretch and yet never got a single point of Corruption.  You constantly refuse to even entertain the notion that perhaps you're reading more into the mechanics than what's actually there, as well as continuing your entirely petty crusade against Mister Curry, who has been considerate enough to answer fan questions when he's under no obligation to do so, and even being considerate enough to provide some free sneak peaks about upcoming material, all becuase of an imagined slight to this forum.  And given your unwarranted petty attitude and snidely juvenile attacks, you certainly won't be convincing him or probably any other of the staff at John Wick Productions to see this forum as anything worth consideration.

Dono's Gaming & Etc Blog

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