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Krystal Stoll
Krystal Stoll's picture
Is it worth the switch to 2e?
switch to 2e, kids

Some background: 

I ran a 1e game for a couple of years long ago.  As in: 15 years-ish ago.   I have most of the 1e books, including some that list both roll & keep and d20 rules.  About that time life changed, the group split, and I stopped role-playing.  

My kids are now very interested in playing.  They range from 15 to 7, though the 7yo will likely do more snuggling than playing.  The older two have a small amount of experience with d&d but they are intrigued with 7th Sea and want to play that.  So I dusted my books off and cracked them open again last night.  And I realized....I don't remember a damn thing about running a game.  Which means I have to read and learn all the rules all over again. 

And then I came online and found out that while I wasn't looking, John Wick released a 2e.  And there are basic rules available for free.  If I have to relearn rules anyway, maybe I should just learn new ones. 

Now I'm wondering: 

a) Is 2e a big improvement?  I found the 1e rules a bit clunky, does this new system fix that? 

b) Is it possible to mesh the basic (free) 2e rules with the resources I already have?  I do not have funds to buy more books right now, and it could be 6mos to a year before I could order a 2e Core Rulebook, much less any additional books. I love the idea of new and shiny and I'd really like to get them all now, but apparently I'm an adult now, however that happened. frown

 I'm willing to do some extra work to say, tweak the Villians and NPC stats to make them fit, etc.  How hard would it be?  How incomplete would it be?  Is this likely to work for 6mos or more, or am I going to find myself looking for more materials by the second game session? 

c) Do you feel that either 1e or 2e is better for new players, especially kids?  Why?

d) Is the new system so different that starting them on 1e and switching to 2e later will really throw everyone off?  wwyd? 

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

a)  There have been reams of discussion devoted to this.  I'll go into it more after answering your other questions.

b)  Yes, with the caveat that none of the stat-lines will be any use to you at all.  If you're happy with doing your own stats for enemies

c)  I'm going to turn this round a bit.  It's easier to teach 2e to new players than established players, because they have no preconceptions.  On balance, I think 2e is less crunchy and requries less mental arithmetic, so probably easier for kids to pick up.

d)  Yes.  Despite being in the same setting and with the same aim in mind and having many things seemingly in common, they really are quite different games.  But in some ways, the biggest difference is  setting point: Théah is no longer cut off: there is the rest of the world.  There are books for the Crescent, assorted Islands, the New World and we have Ifri and the colonies to come.

 

So, that big difference.  1e is a 'traditional' RPG and 2e is a 'narrative' game.  Rather than saying "You want to do this, roll to see if you succeed", the game says "Roll to see how much you can do this scene, then say what you want to do".    If you've GMed before, you're going to have to kind of change gear.  And because they're so different, saying whether one is better than the other is very hard: it's like asking whether people prefer Bach or chocolate.

Dramatic Scenes in particular are quite a different thing.  Say, for example, your players want to break the hero out of the villainess' castle, you don't do "Make a Stealth check, make a Fast talk check, Make a Lockpicking check etc".  You ask the players how they're going to approach it.  One might say "I plan to talk my way in and out", the other "I'm going to use my theiving skills to get into places we shouldn't be" and the last one says "I have my sword by my side, just in case".  The players then roll their skills (Probably Persuade, Theft and Weaponry in those cases) and see how many Raises they get.  You then say "You approach the castle, the door is open, but there's a guard there, what do you do?" and the players start to use their raises to do things (in a summarised fashion)

  • A  "I use one of my Presuasion raises to talk our way past the guards, 2 left",
  • B  "I'll use a Theft one to figure out the way to the dungeon, 3 left"
  • GM  "There's a guard outside the locked door"
  • C  "I'll use a Weaponry raise to knock him out, 1 left..
  • B  "then I'll use a Theft one to pick the lock, 2 left"
  • etc

Has this been at all helpful?

Wolfflin Huyghen
Wolfflin Huyghen's picture

Wellcome back to 7th Sea Krystal!

Some background: We don´t play more the new version and we don´t hide it.

a) It's a new entire set of rules. Now it´s a Narrative game. For some things easier, for other more messy.

b) There are people working on that since the free to play. But it's really hard. The only thing that they have in common is the name of the characteristics (And they are use in a different way). For Background, you need to chose one.

  • Make the Villains it's easier than ever (they have only 2 stats). 

c) For Kids:

  • It depends on the experience of the director an players. A good director and imaginative players can do amazing things with 2ed. Thats a fact.
  • It also depends on the age. 7 it's really different to 15. For 6 years old to 12 I always recomend Prince Valiant®
  • As Joachim said, 2ed. it`s easier to get for "newbies" than 1ed. Almost in theory, because many "oldgamers" complained with the changes of concepts.

d) It´s a reboot of both, Rules and Background. 

To sum up: 

  • If you really like narrative games, read the rules and see a pair of sessions online. Maybe you will love it.
  • If you are more traditional, focus in what you have at home. We still play 1ed. without problems.
  • If you want materials and save money/time, remember to use the plot and images of old pirate films/games that they never watched before AKA. Cutthroat Island, The Crimson Pirate, Monkey Island, etc...
  • You know your kids more than nobody. So, sure that you can play with them in both versions. Even without rules! wink

I hope it helps.

PS: Joachim, your "rules explained" should be in the basic book. Thanks!

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

a) It really depends on what you are looking for in a tabletop RPG.  Lots of folks love it.  Some folks look at it and think, "what in holy hell is this mess?"  I think there are DEFINITE aspects that are an improvement (character creation!).  But the core system is different enough, its a wash.  It would be like saying Trouble is an improvement on Go Fish. 

b) Kind of.  The world fluff has changed a bit between 1st and 2nd editions, but there is still A LOT in 1st ed that you can drop in with ease.  But as others have pointed out, that's ALL you'll be able to use – the setting info.  The great thing about 7th Sea is you can get a lot of mileage right out of the core book.  And I believe all the Théah material is there in the core rules (which corresponds nicely to the material in the 1st ed PG and GMG).

Villains are easy once you grok the rules.  Don't bother trying to convert, just play it by ear.

c) I think 2e is a better system for kids and people new to RPGs.  It's much more stripped down and easy to grok on the player end.  Is it a better system for us grizzled veterans?  It's different.  Let's stick to that.  But yes, if I were starting fresh with a group of teens with limited experience, I'd go with 2nd edition.  The new system really is about collaborative storytelling.  And don't get me wrong, my players are all veterans of a long line of fancy tactical game systems and they are loving it.  There is a lot in the new system that is very liberating, for the player and GM alike.  But if you are used to traditional tabletop rpgs (D&D, savage worlds, GURPS...) it will be outside of your comfort zone.  You will second guess every single thing you do.  We are probably 10 sessions into our game and I'm FINALLY starting to feel comfortable with running the game.  Not because its hard, but because it works against so many of my establish habits and expectations of how to run a game.

d) YES!  Don't do it.  That way leads to madness.

If you DO decide to go with 1st edition, I highly recommend you make all the characters.  Let your kids tell you what they want to play, but you do the building.  With 2nd ed, I think chargen is fast and easy enough for the whole table.

NeoTanuki
NeoTanuki's picture

Hey Krystal,

As an old-time 1e GM/player who has switched over to 2e, here are my personal impressions of the game. Others' mileage may vary. :)

A. I loved the 1e books and backstory, but also found the rules very clunky in some areas (Character creation, combat initiative, buying skills, etc.). For me 2e has been significantly easier and faster for creating new characters and run sessions. I also strongly feel that starting characters are much more fun to play from the get-go in 2e. I always felt that 1e skewed character creation so that players were always second fiddle  and weaker than canon NPCs stealing the spotlight in the sourcebooks.

B. I don't think you would have any problem using the old 1e background if you wish to (though 2e has changed a few things; it would be up to you what elements of the world and story you prefer to use). You would need to come up with new stats for the 1e Villain NPCs, but villain stats are greatly simplified in 2e.

C. I strongly feel that 2e is better for new players. If the GM has a good grasp of the 2e system, I think it's better for kids too. 2e is much more focused on letting the players tell stories and describe themselves doing heroic things, and less emphasis on following strict rules and crunchy mechanical simulation. My friend ran a game for her kids ages around 10 and 8 years old, letting them play 7th Sea 2e versions of Zorro and the Three Musketeers, and she said they had a terrific time with the system. 

D. In my opinion, starting with 1e and switching to 2ed would be very confusing for new players. I would suggest use the 2e rules/character creation with the backstory/locations/history from your 1e books, if you want to stick to the 1e continuity. 

Krystal Stoll
Krystal Stoll's picture

Thanks everyone for the help!  

I read your comments and was all ready to switch to 2e and make it work for me.  Then I read through the sorcery, and I knew I was sunk.  Two of my kids want to play Ussuran shapeshifters (no surprise there, I suppose).   I presented them with the choice anyway, and talked up the benefits of switching, but no dice.  They want to stick with 1e, so that's where we'll be for awhile.

Thank you anyway--perhaps when they get older we'll revisit.  :) 

In the meantime, does anyone know of an active forum for 1e?  I suspect I'll have a few questions in the days to come. 

BluSponge
BluSponge's picture

You did point out that 2e has shapeshifters, right?  Plus they get other cool benefits.

Transformation (Core Rules, pg 218)

Select a form from the Animal Forms sidebar. You may take the form of that creature for the Scene. Your skills, knowledge, and abilities are all retained in your new form—although they may be limited, such as Weaponry being unusable if you cannot hold weapons. If the animal’s form would be particularly advantageous (such as trying to avoid notice while you are in the form of a mouse), you gain 2 Bonus Dice. 

NeoTanuki
NeoTanuki's picture
Sorry to come back late, but I'd also point out that starting Ussuran sorcerers cannot shapeshift in 1e until they build up experience later-they can only speak with animals at first. As BluSponge pointed out, starting 2e characters can begin as shapeshifters.
Rossbert
Rossbert's picture

That is a general trend. 2nd Ed on the whole starts at what would have been the middle level in the 1st. You start as a master duelist have skills more than halfway to max, etc. It just takes out the starting build to competence bit.

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