Blu, have you ever read or played Jadeclaw? That used a somewhat complex, but similar system where different weapons did different critical effects, and you could by martial arts maneouvers to get different and advanced ones.
No. Familiar with it (Iron Claw actually) but that's about it.
Witch Hunter: The Invisible World defines weapons in a variety of ways (damage rating, qualities, etc.) but they also have weapon tricks; special manuevers that each weapon can do. Each has three, increasingly more difficult. I like the idea, though employing it as is in 7Sv2 might be tricky.
I just want to point out that we've come full circle from "I can see the point of gear being meaningless" to, in very nearly the same post, "but I do think it shouldn't be meaningless."...Which was something of my point. Riddick might kill you with a teacup, but his doing so carries different dramatic significance and cinematic effect from him killing you with a battle axe and we, almost subconsciously, look for the distinction because we know it is different. The question is not "is there a difference"... there is a difference... JWP has admitted that they are not comepletely fungible otherwise they would not have assigned them different stat pairings... the questions is "how meaningful should that difference be." I think framing the debate properly is important. Everyone, from JWP to the Grapenuts-crunch people, admits that there is a difference: the disagreement is really about the number of mechanically significant differences. JWP argues for the answer to be "one" and I imagine Rob and John fought to the pain over whether it would be "one" or "zero." I am pretty moderate in my love of crunch: the accumulation of +1's via mods and such really doesn't have a place in this system. My vote is for "two." If they found one, just one other way to make my choice of gear something which compliments and distinguishes my character, I would be happy. I think it can be done without a chart.
“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
Guess for me, in that era, Guns weren't really any more dangerious then swords and Bows. I mean, sure a Cannon was, but that is an artillary piece. But handguns, between how unreliable and inacurate they were, were actually looked down upon as opposed to a trained Longbowmen. The advantage, was that guns were WAY easier to use, and way easier to train with..... to get good with a Longbow, took YEARS of training... and when that person died, he was hard to replace. When a Peasent with a gun died, you just handed it over to another one, and within a few days at longest, he could shoot.
I am hoping that Artillary has different effects then hand weapons (as they should), and perhaps the full rules explain this. But, like DND for example, thier was really no difference between the weapons, other then it's name, cost, and hell, most the time THOSE weren't even different. It is like the Club vs Greatclub. Club is free, because it is just a stick you pick off a branch at the end of the day. A Greatclub cost 5 gold. Why? Our group always joked, because it had a nail in it.... it had stat difference, one was bigger....
Anyhow I am liking that weapons are more thematic then everyone running around with the same weapon, because it is just straight better statistically...
I disagree. I don't think there was any great cry from the audience for more mechanics and power creep. New sorceries and swordsman styles, sure. The big stuff. But the small, niggling details? More skills? More knacks? More gear? Even some of the big stuff like the advanced mass combat options in Eisen. Did ANYONE buy the book for that? I'll bet not. I suspect that was a case of the publisher misreading the audience because that's what the model was. Some games, sure. But for 7th Sea?
Just imagine how much didn't make it into the books :-). But you're right, there was a higher "fluff" vs "crunch" ratio in the 7th Sea books. Culture, NPCs, story seeds, etc.
(hit "save" before I was ready) OTOH, in the mid-'00s my husband worked on a never-published d20 line for what is now a well-known setting. Imagine trying to come up with 25K words worth of new d20 Feats -- in a setting with no magic at the time, and in a supplement, when the basics were already in the core book. And it was towards the end of the d20 boom, so it was hard to come up with new things. Ugh. He was much happier working on 7th Sea :-).
aka Capt. Doña Sir Kestrel of Avalon http://silver-gateway.com/7sea/
Hmmm, curious, what setting? I have the PDF of a published d20 line, but it went the way of the dodo really quick, never had any suppliment books, and pretty much is ignored since GRSOIF rp....
IMO, all we really need for weapons are 1-handed blade, 2-handed blade (speed vs power), small blade (dagger), big heavy non-blade (mace, hammer, etc.), 1-handed gun, 2-handed gun (aka pistol vs. long-gun), maybe polearm (blade on a stick), and IMO it's not 7th Sea without the 2E equivalent of Attack (Improvised Weapon).
I posted this in the Tavern, but this is probably a better place....
My gaming group have played 7thSea pretty much since it came out and have morphed the basic rules significantly due to the inherent flaws in that version of the game system. We have expanded sword schools and sorceries to make them both more appealing and have greater longevity; we have completely overhauled character generation (we have 3 different methods of character generation: xp based; “keyword” based; and a “list” method); we have changed the skill system (so that traits no longer dominate and swordsman abilities are more unique); we have changed combat especially with respect to brute squads and added social combat; we have ported the roll and keep game system to work in multiple settings (i.e. Deadlands; Star Wars; Dragons of the Middle Kingdom; Ars Magicka; Hero Wars; …) and expanded the skill list and combat to deal with these settings. In short we play with a heavily modified variant of the basic rules and know many of the failings of the basic 1.0 rules. We also know that the version we play has its own flaws and limitations, but it works to produce an entertaining and heroic game – even if the combat can take a while to resolve.
Concerns with 7thSea 2.0
Having read the quick start rules and played through the quick start adventure, these are the concerns that we have with regards to the 7thSea 2.0 system – bearing in mind that we not have seen everything that the new game system has to offer – but we assume that we have seen the core of the new system.
Our concerns are:
The new rules are massively oversimplified and inadvertently limit options because of it.
This is noticeable in the skills that are available which do not seem to adequately cover the range of player activities and suffer from being too generic (leading to little or no character differentiation in similar types of character); the lack of duelling / in-combat options, especially for non-swordsmen; and the lack of an effective round structure also limit options.
Although the original 7thSea did suffer from a level of skill bloat, the 2.0 version suffers from a lack of diversity with respect to the available skills.
Providing players with a free dice for using a new skill each session is an artificial and unhelpful mechanic. It rewards diverse characters over focussed ones, it rewards inappropriate skill use, and it doesn’t really provide any “real” benefit to the game. I get the idea is to make the players consider more diverse actions but it doesn’t really work like that and equates to unnecessary bookkeeping as players quickly do the maths to work out what is their best dice pool to use – not what is the best action to take… partly because they know that the actions they take may not have any direct relevance to the dice roll they made in an action sequence (i.e. State they race across the room to use Athletics + Brawn, but then shoot at opponents as they run).
Raises - Risks, Consequences and Opportunities
This system can be stifling to both GM and player as the GM must state the Consequences and Opportunities prior to the events fully unfolding.
Whilst escaping across the burning room with shots flying past the heroes ears, the heroes should be able to do the following types of things and be rewarded by the nature of the event changing (if not the goal):
Two heroes turn a table over to gain cover and move the cover with them to escape and cover others
A hero cuts the chandelier rope, which then swings into the brutes who are firing at them, causing them to be knocked down.
A hero cuts the chandelier rope and uses the dropping chandelier to swing himself up to the balcony to dispatch the brutes who are firing at them.
A fate witch calls out a dire prediction about the fate of any who harm her – backed up with the power of Sorte.
All of these should completely change the dynamic of the situation, however in the new system as it stands they don’t really do that – they simply make for a different way to avoid / minimise the consequences – and then only so far as the number of raises that the heroes achieve. This changes the game from a feeling of your actions matter (backed up with your dice rolls to achieve those actions) to you need to achieve so many raises and the means do not really matter (they are flavour text). This completely changes the game dynamics from a player driven action based heroic system to a reactionary simulation (i.e. players react to the number of raises they achieve and base all actions on that).
In addition because the GM must state consequences and opportunities up front, it limits his / her leeway to fudge things – and forces him to think of every opportunity in advance… which can be very taxing. And it limits players within an action sequence as the rolls have already been made – so great ideas cannot be easily included.
The heroes are facing a black hearted villain who is beyond their capabilities on a tall bridge arcing between two streets in Vodacce. One hero dives at the villain seeking to grapple him and dive off the bridge falling to his doom with the villain.
In the original system, the hero would use one action to roll his attack and blow all his drama dice. As this is heroic, the GM probably wouldn’t blow all his dice to stop it – but instead use them to ensure the villain falls into the canal below and survives to be re-used – but he would make it seem like the hero managed it by the skin of his teeth. The villain might use an action to disengage from the hero during the fall and one to turn the fall into a dive. The hero might use a second action to catch himself on a ledge or a dangling rope.
In the new system, this would be a risk – but as it’s a villain he would roll his strength + influence (which we already know is higher). There would be an opportunity to grab a ledge / rope; the consequences would be multiple wounds… BUT he now only needs one raise above the villain to succeed – everything else is just detail. What has become of the villains escape? Of the players desperate scramble to grab a ledge? Nothing. It is resolved immediately and hence loses all drama. And if this is treated as an action sequence, what happens? Nothing – there is essentially no difference as the number of generated raises is unchanged.
It has also just become much more difficult for the hero and for the GM to make the whole thing dramatic – unless you treat it more like a duel.
Finally the outcomes are almost pre-determined in the new system, the consequences known – often before the dice are rolled. This massively reduces the drama associated with a risk – how dramatic is it if you know exactly what is going to happen before the dice are rolled? It becomes a mathematical calculation not a heroic endeavour as the risk of failure has been heavily reduced.
In essence the character with the highest dice pool or who can generate the most raises is always going to win the contest because he will always have more raises and hence be able to counter any and all clever tricks the character with fewer raises can throw at him – this is not the essence of drama.
The new system seems to have lost a lot of the personality that made the original game system so appealing.
The changes to skills have reduced the differentiation between heroes and type of hero substantially – particularly the changes to swordsman and sorceries.
The changes to dice rolls - risks, consequences and opportunities – may have sped up the game but at the cost of a loss in personality and feel from the game – leaving a feel for flavour text rather than substance. In other words because the consequences of a risk are already known, the feeling of it actually being a risk is lost – instead it becomes a mathematical calculation.
The changes to villains – strength and influence – destroy the essence of the villain’s character and skill set. For example it is no longer possible to have a hulking brawny villain with low intelligence who can be tricked in personal combat – he simply has a high Strength and low Influence – and some roleplaying notes. This pushes all the work back onto the GM to resolve on the fly – how easy is he to trick? What should he roll when someone tries to trick him? It also means the villain loses much of his identity, such as being a member of a sword school and hence access to / use of its fighting style; and advantages; etc.
The concept of villain influence is excellent, but the implementation of strength + influence is flawed.
The advantages promote oversimplification as many do not require a roll but are automatically successful – removing all drama from the action. In addition some are simply far more powerful than others – especially sword schools which can provide a dice pool which is almost double a non-swordsmans dice pool – making the outcome inevitable.
I for one am much happier on the very open side of mechanics. Simulation can work well. A good friend runs beautiful games in Rolemaster. But, I always found the 1e rules very clunky. I adapted Over the Edge to run it back in the day, and that worked fairly well. However, I did run into some of the problems mentioned above. The power gamer tried to push the loose rules to murder the world. The QA Manager broke down in option paralysis because her options were not carefully laid out for her. I agree with those who think these will be issues in the new system. On the other had, the two writers had a ball.
I think building risks is going to take a different mindset than most of us play with. Stating "Intent" may be similar to "setting the stakes" in Dogs in the Vineyard. Combined with the idea that one should only roll when success or failure when both are interesting outcomes with potential for story momentum, there is much potential to set up players to choose failure. I am also looking forward to risks with long lists of Consequences and Opportunities. It makes me think of the sample Skill Challenge from the 4e DMG2 where the party needs to infiltrate a slavers' city and find their enemy while avoiding detection.
I do worry that people are not liking the sense of looking behing the curtain. 4th edition D&D was mathematically very elegant. Too elegant, in fact. Everyone could see past the flavor text to underlying numbers which were not changing all that much. Some peopl elove seeing what is going on back stage. For others, it ruins the magic.
I think what I am getting from the community overall is that the 1st edition is flawed and a move to something moe streamlined is desired, but what we have seen of 2e is a bit too streamlined. A middle ground would actually be something desired. A tight list of skills, but diverse enough that different characters feel different. Something that provides tension for the rolls.
Basically, we want chocolate covered nuts. We want enough of the nuts to get a satisfying crunch, but not so much that it becomes nuts with a bit of chocolate. We want the focus on the chocolate, but chocolate covered nuts without nuts is just chocolate.
As a newbie, that's exactly the sense I'm getting as well.
One of my biggest questions right now is how hard it will be to add Skills if the GM feels the final roster has some gaps. The 1e list is obviously too long, but I can see some good ones that don't have an immediate 2e correlation.
I'm very happy with the basic premise of the rules as presented in the QuickStart. More refinement of the existing process to add some variety should be expected but I have no desire to go back to 1e in any rules capacity. I think the "secret sauce" is going to come down to Swordsman Schools and the Magic. A little extra crunch for the ship battles (maaaaybe mass combat, only maybe though) would also be good. I feel that having everything in the game reinforce the same core idea however is a far better strength than it would be a weakness.
Well, we know the game has changed a bit from the QS, but the core is probably exactly the same. So far, it seems that SS will not have backgrounds, dueling is vastly changed/removed, and I am sure their is a bit more refinement to the Risk rolls. Even though everyone had similar stats, no one in the QS seemed the same (at least IMO). They all had advantages and drawbacks, and at least in my group, all played differently. I can't wait to see the full rules, and jump into this new edition, for the new world :)
Dueling academies still exist, but the decker/shadowrun problem for dueling has been removed. That's all I can say.
Developer Pirate Nations
Interesting debate going on here. We haven't seen the whole rulebook yet and people are guessing how the core rules will look and play.
I know that I'm going to wait for the main rule book before I pass judgement.
I played and ran 1st Ed 7th Sea and the main issue I had was that the PC's who were supposed to be the Heroes, couldn't act that way as their skills at character creation were basically average. Heroes aren't average. That's the point.
I'm with John Wick on this, the PC's are the protagonists in a story the GM is running and they should succeed. What's the point otherwise?
There may be twists and turns, wounds may be taken but they should win. Or succeed in overcoming the odds and winning the scenario. With no losses. I mean in deaths for the PC's. Only of their own making. I as a GM never kill PC's.
As for weapon tables, different effects/damage rates for stabbing and slashing an opponent look at swords from the era. They are all basically the same size and shape with very small variations.
The pointy end goes in the man. If you succeed in hitting before getting hit you have put that opponent out of the fight no?
This is the maxim all PC's should go by, ''Hit the other fellow as quick as you can and as hard as you can, where it hurts him the most and when he ain't looking'. If he is looking the first steps still apply.
Well, to be fair, most of the critique so far has been focused on the core mechanic of Risks and Raises. That is unlikely to change in the final version. I don't see many scenarios where John Wick & Crew decide to ditch it at the 11th hour for a more traditional roll and keep 6+, binary system. So unfinished draft or not, that aspect of the system is fair game.
Second, they ASKED for criticism. And if everyone just goes along nodding hunky-dorey, what do they get from releasing the preview? I suppose its possible Skill Rank Benefits and Opportunities grew out of their own alpha testing. But maybe not. Maybe the criticism did lead to some changes being made. To codifying how opportunities worked and to giving the system some mechanical heft to push the probabilities. I'm not a fly on the way.
But the criticism about the predictability of the dice rolls, raise results, and its effect on game play is completely valid. So is the "assured success" philosphy behind the mechanic. Having read Wick's No Dice Rant and listening in on a couple of podcast interviews with him now, I really get the type of experience they are trying to create here. That doesn't mean its going to pay off when introduced into the wild. As Wick said on the Talking Tabletop podcast, a lot of this is going to depend on his ability to "put himself in the box." :)
Now sure, there is some unfair criticism out there, but the stuff I've outlined is completely valid.
On a side note, I loved the premise and setting for the original 7th Sea and always thought that a not-Afrika continent would have been a great part of the world in 1st Ed. I'm glad that not-Afrika and not-Central and South America are in the reboot. I wonder if the Vendel/not-Viking analog would now be the Dutch? Works for me.
My guess is that Vendel now gets a richer, if slightly more dense, treatment, merging The Neatherlands, The Swedish Empire, Denmark-Norway, etc, I think the overall thrust is going to be to cover the various Northern cultures with more nuance than the underdeveloped and warlikeVikings vs the technologically sophisticated and greedy Dutch. That said, taking the not-Dutch out of the setting would be nearly impossible, especially now that there is room for the Vendel East Ifiri Company.
TAJ-07: Technopriest And Justicar Of 7thSea2e
I don't think we did. They just kept using the Theah map graphic whenever a new map was added as a stretch goal.
Nope. Just a small low-res map of Theah. Good bet that a lot of those maps are still in flux as the various writers are put into position.
Personally, I think it would be GREAT to have one not-anything continent on the map. Maybe something with just a vague outline that never gets detailed that we GMs can do with as we will.
I freaking love Antarctica.
I love the new setting - I love using 7th Sea to play pirate themed games and always lamented the lack of a New World, the Caribbean and an African nation, which were absolutely essential to the real world of Golden Age of Piracy. So I am very much looking forward to the world expansion more than anything. What worries me most in the rules is the disregard for Ships and Crews!! This is heartbreaking. The ship is absolutely NOT just background in a pirate game, it is a vital piece of the story. Is the Millenium Falcon just scenery? I don't think so. In Black Sails is any of several ships OR crews scenery? Absolutely not. They are central elements and deserve more than a throw away "just use the same rules as for characters". It was a giant weakness of 1E and looks like that weakness will continue in 2E sadly.
How would you like to see crews done? Of the recent games I've played, I was a bit surprised to see that Pathfinder put a fair amount of work into larger scale combat and running a Headquarters with large crews.
I have a feeling they're not just going to use the same rules as characters. I agree that was one of the biggest weaknesses of 1E (and I dumped a ton of time into creating alternate ship rules because of it,) and I don't think John and co are going to make that same mistake.
So...About ships... John Wick himself leaked us a little something on that:
My guess is you'll maybe see some +1/-1 to Traits to reflect big, heavily armed ships and fast, light ships... but at least it's a start.
This looks...almost identical to the 1st Ed rules.
I feel the same way about ships as I do about weapons: while the choice shouldn't be dispositive, different ships do different things. Some non-trivial distinction between ship types would be nice but I do agree with the general premise that for the average ship, the Heroes actions should be significantly more influential than the ship type in determining outcomes. That said, I think that just as a sword is not a teacup, a man-o-war is not a sloop and some concession should be made to that fact, perhaps a +1/-1 stat tradeoff. If a ship is truly special (Serenity, the Millennium Falcon, etc), more detail and variance are needed but it looks like the Ship Advantage may supply that option.
JWP is somewhat stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. On the one hand, it is clear the idea is to simplify and John has made his distaste for charts manifestly known. On the other hand, I imagine that anyone who is a "ship nerd" (I use the term with love, I am a nerd myself) looks at 7th Sea with big eyes thinking "This is my moment, it's a game about the Age of Sail... Clearly this where knowing the difference between gaff and square rigging will finally pay off." The same can be said of the folks who keep period appropriate fencing manuals on their nightstand, or Torsen Lenk's The Flintlock: Its Origin, Development, and Use. I myself own more Ospery books specific to 7th Sea than I really should (if you haven't seen one, check them out, they are great and super-affordable). A lot of people who love 7th Sea love the era and genre as well, and JWP could easily make a game full to the brim with distinctions between sloops and snows, snaphaus and miquelet locks, or foils and rapiers. That's not the game they want to make.
Right now, the 'make or break' point for the system (at least for me) is how easy or difficult it is to add on to. Some "simple" systems provide a framework which can easily be filled in or expanded while others are so "streamlined" that it is difficult to find places to graft on new concepts. As long as the system remains open enough, I think anyone with deep knowledge of a subject should be able to provide little tweeks here and there. One of the reasons I have argued for at least some differentiation in equipment, even in some optional sidebar, is that if JWP can show GMs how distinctions might best be drawn in the system and/or the best mechanisms for doing so, then I as a GM can decide just what level of detail is appropriate for my group. As long as I can do that, with sufficient guidance that I don't 'break' the system, then I'll be more than happy.
I'm a HUGE golden age of sail ship nerd. Like I've read journals of British sailing captains who were at the Nile for enjoyment.
I'm also the co-developer with John for Pirate Nations.
I REALLY like the ship rules as they are currently. They're there and very useful when needed, but not intrusive when you just want to go somewhere.
What I like the most is that every ship feels unique. this is the Temeraire, this is the Surprise, this is the Golden Hind, this is THE BLACK FREIGHTER! YARRRR!
Sorry, ahem, The Devil Jonah got a hold of me for a second. :-)
He even had me write a bunch more, but I wisely deleted it except for that picture I posted over in the spoilers forum here.
I also really like the new stuff for dueling and secret societies. I think they both approach the idea of how to insert them mechanically in a meaningful and distinct way so that everything doesn't feel the same without bogging the game down with the Decker problem.
In our current game (I was playing Baruck Spinoza, Man of Action!), I'm playing an Eisen monster hunter who has a sword school and his school feels very different from our Montaigne's fencing school. We banter back and forth. I gave him crap about his puny blade and then when he asked why I carry such a massive sword, I gave him Musashi's response in Eisen, "Zwei Hände!" :-)
I am glad the rules are coming along well. You touched on what I imagine to be a key issue: for some troupes, ships will constitute a place for "downtime" and "travel time" actions to take place and for other groups ships (or, more properly, vessels) will be home as well as the primary stage for conflict. Designing a rule set which satisfies both groups can be difficult. Can you give us any hints as to the level of flexibility/customization/etc that will be available to aspiring pirate captains?
Privateers and Gentlemen/Heart of Oak had an okay system as well. It's really all about how detailed of a "minigame" you want to make it.
See, I owned books but never played 1st Edition. I am fascinated by this mechanics talk though.
I'm in the same boat. I poured over the old 7th sea books for the setting but I think I only ever played one session of it. It wasn't a failure by any means and everyone had a good time, but I feel I ended up abstracting many of the rules as I went.
It's why I'm a wholehearted supporter of what we've seen of the quick-start so far. I operate at a weird level where I prefer to avoid really strict rules and play things loose and by hear, but I also tend to feel overwhelmed in systems without some form of mechanics. This means that trying to play a crunchy RPG means I just end up winging a lot of it, while going with Fate leaves me feeling stressed.
Luckily over time I have found systems that hit the right balance for me, but many of them have always been rather generic systems like Savage Worlds and Basic Role-playing systems, which can often be a drag if I want something with mechanics for something more specific (While Savage Worlds is designed to adapt to other settings, it can still be a hassle when some details don't line up properly in their system.)
7th Sea 2e has been hitting that balance for me right from the start. The risk system lets me play things by ear quite easily without feeling like I'm cheating by ignoring rules, but there's still enough set organization to give it me enough skeleton to work with.
And believe me I was worried when I heard about the setting being fairly rules light. Wick burned me before with Houses of the Blooded. (Also a good setting but the system left me extremely stressed with all the improvising it was requiring for me to keep up with my players.
Anyway I can't say that I have many problems with the new rules. I certainly won't be opposed to some new stuff to play with (more developed systems for Sorcery and Swordsmanship schools has me excited. And I certainly wouldn't be opposed to some tricks to distinguish weapons from one another.) But right now I see a core mechanic that I'm very comfortable with and that my players are enjoying immensely. So I can't really complain about anything.