@BenWoerner, thank you for attemping the heroic defense of John Wick's childish phrase "Heroes do not commit murder. Ever" (P296).
The world "ever" is what sinks the whole argument over murder, because anyone who has read fiction and even history knows that "murder" is subjective.
A mature solution to this connundrum is truly very simple. The GM and Players can be inspired (not governed) by historic narratives or real world views. John Wick as creator of 7th Sea stays neutral. Using the world "ever" is not neutral. It is an attempt to categorically stamp John Wick's worldview. 7th Sea is still his game but trying to shame players who break the "ever" rule is frankly, not worth the controversy.
Great swashbuckling stories for adults may include the hero of the Highliander people who is wanted for murder in Avalon but celebrated as liberator of the people of The Highlands. Even an Avalonian noble may heroically lead his armies into war and many soldiers under his command could murder civilians when they burn their houses without checking if babies are trapped in those houses. The Avalonian noble in command would be considered a murderer by the Highland survivors but could still receive a heroic welcome in Avalon. Murder is subjective, so the "ever" rule fails again.
Furthermore, revenge in many historic human cultures was considered heroic and revenge sometimes included the death of the children of the villain as punishment for the villains crimes on other children, even if the villain's own children were innocent of their father's misdeeds. Sometimes the villains children turned on their villainous father. Other times not. It is the Players and GM that determine the direction of their stories and not the "ever" rule enforcement.
A swashbuckling hero who invades the home of the villain's children in search of their father and they challenge the hero with weapons, the children ideally, remain in the right defending their home against the hero who is the invader. According to the logical inconsistencies in trying to dance around "Heroes do not commit murder. Ever", we are told the hero acted in self-defense if he kills the armed children who threaten him for invading their home? What! An invader into a home who is challenged by the home owners and the invader gets the self-defense argument?
That is why in fictional worlds for the adult audience, it is the audience that comes to their own conclusions without the creator deliberately cementing in stone the definition of heroic behaviors.
TAJ-07: Technopriest And Justicar Of 7thSea2e
Brave and cautious coment. The ilustrations are mini-windows to show you the world that you are describing. Now, my players think that Seventh Sea it's a "gay only" World (2 kisses in the book, both gays). Now, they are thinking in make a lesbian-pirate ship, instead make their own pirates (gay or not) and enjoy...
Manchaean rule, yes. But really interesting. You can play your scene and make a "Reservoir Sea Dogs" and make your own campaing to clean their reputation because the heroes of all the country are trying to stop their evil plans. Afther that, they need to force themselves to be even more stupidly heroic. And the phrase continues:
"Self-defense is not murder, nor is defending someone else from murder. Heroes only kill when their hands are forced by Villains and their cronies."
But I'm much more worried about few things of the system...
What's the point of Alchemical Enhancement Elixir on page 153? I increase a trait by 1 for 1 round, which gives me 1 extra dice in the pool. All at the cheap cost of 1 Hero Point. Hang on, can't I spend an HP for +1 on a roll anyway?
Could be a typo. "Alchemist: Enhancement" seems more suitable for a "full-scene" boost for One Hero Point, of course. The others in that Castillian alchemy are full-scene boosts.
The cop-out on Page 16 says you can alter any core rules that seem unsuitable for your table. That is the takeaway I am sensing overall.
To be fair, it does say killing in self defense or to protect the innocent is not "murder." Only that such killings typically haunt heroes, perhaps even for the rest of their lives.
So I'm good with it. We ignored that general rule in 1st edition and I expect we'll continue to ignore it in 2nd. Then again, most of the villains in my 1st edition campaign were pretty monstrous, so I would not have held that that rule applied to them. The evil count who can be shamed and run out of town, maybe. The sorcerer who can literally reshape your flesh and bones and turn you into a horrific sculpture or a fleshy blob, not so much.
I like the character creation: good combination of fluffiness and versatility.
Still, am I the only one to find that some advantage's quirks are too conditional? Just compare criminal (oh, I did something illegal for a bad story - which some people in some stories will-be-doing-all-the-time) to tremtis, porté sorcier and whaler (how often will you find blessures created by villains or gargantuan monsters?). It makes it pretty unfair to some characters.
I dunno. If you were only counting on GM stories to cover those things, maybe. But with character stories, you can expect they can easily become a regular feature.
It's funny to imagine a player telling a courtier team all the time "Let's go kill leviathans, please!" desperately in the VIP costume party. But I preffer something more open, like:
Thanks @Salamanca, your insights are interesting. If I play at your table, we may need that opt-out on Page 16.
The preview of 7th Sea rules also make it perfectly suitable for the brutal era of the French Revolution, and should ideally allow players to roleplay those French revolutionary heroic murderers without GMs hammering us with a morality cudgel. This is surely a preference for a few of those 11400 backers (including myself). Practical heroism is as subjective as murder, without need for that last word "ever" on Page 296 deliberately placed to encourage GMs to lecture us on morality. .
The birth of the iconic "Liberté, égalité, fraternité" spawned bloody murder by guillotine (this machine designed specially to behead faster than the "ax man"). As men of their time, those who headed this brutal revolution were not referred to as villains, but heroic liberators.
Even, in Mexico, their hero, Joaquin Murrieta (who inspired the fictional hero, Zorro), was celebrated for heroic acts as the "Robin Hood" of the region but was a villain to the American settlers and government.
If I was running a Revolutionary French swashbuckling adventure, the Heroes would be the ones who were wanting to overturn order with as little executing and purging as possible. Villains would include both the corrupt nobles who oppressed the peasants and the uncompromising revolutionaries who insist that every noble must be guillotined for the sins of some.
I'm not French and I don't want this to get political, but I don't believe that anyone who was central to spawning efficient bloody murder should be viewed as a hero. I don't remember who it was who said "If the ends don't justify the means, then what does?" but IMHO the answer is Nothing justifies the means if that means is evil.
I personally find the Corruption system unnecessary. Having experience with using Corruption in Ravenloft (a setting almost defined by its Corruption mechanics, so you can hardly say they're 'out of place') I've learnt a few things:
1) A mature group doesn't need corruption systems. You don't need a rule telling you 'you will lose your character if you keep doing something that doesn't fit the system'. If the other characters believe a character doesn't fit their ideals, they can just warn and/or expel him (the player can bring a new character).
2) An immature group forced to play in a certain way because of corruption systems won't enjoy the game. I had a HORRIBLE clash once with a friend when I told him he lost his paladin abilities because of what he did. Saying to a person 'are you sure you want to do that? There's a 10% chance you'll lose your character' is just killing the mood. I learnt the hard way that, if I want to expel characters who don't fit the mood, I shouldn't hide behind the rules.
3) Corruption systems are too heavy handed and limiting many interesting options. Think of Ned Stark (a pretty goody-goody guy). When somebody did something horrible, he had to personally execute him/her - these were the laws of the land, and they still are in some places in 7thSea. It was the heroic thing to do - instead of leaving it to somebody else. I'd also have no problem with a player playing an assassin or a double agent - it adds suspense and if done correctly it can create immensely fun and memorable moments. (Plus it fits so well into the lore of some societies).
I also find the system badly implemented. You're hit immediately with a big hammer of '10% to lose your character'. Then you can just keep your corruption for ever, as long as you don't do it again (you can probably spend your 5 story points to something more useful). That's something Ravenloft was doing better: 'look, you're getting a corruption point. You lose your innocence, this is important for some powers and you get a minor imbediment [and a temptation as well, but that's beside the point for our case]. Remaining corrupted has not only the constant problem of the minor imbediment - and somebody realising you're corrupted - but also the constant small chance for the situation to worsen if you do something bad - but without warning.' I had some pretty grey-area PCs who actively tried to redempt themselves and avoid getting into the second step, because from there it good go downhill pretty quickly.
You'd be right. But Joachim Deneuve du Surlign was my first (and longest-running) 7th Sea character rather than myself.
And my e-mail address is my first L5R character - Tonbo Karasu.
With regard to the Corruption/villany issue, 'softer' ways to use corruption points would include (there's probably an escalation system here:)
1) Every corruption point adds a point to the GM's danger pool (this is a sort of karma system. The more dangerous the players are, the more dangerous the world around them)
2) any advantage that requires Hero Point activation requires 2 Hero Points instead of one (they are less heroic)
3) A corrupt character cannot activate their virtue (after all, they are less 'virtuous')
4) A corrupt character cannot earn hero points from actiivating their quirks, (as they have become detached from who they are)
5) A sufficently corrupt character cannot use Hero Points at all
But yeah, It shouldn't be dice roll or lose the character and what constitutes a 'corrupt' act should be established before hand.
My 2 cents would be: It's only murder if you don't kill them in a fair fight and non violent theft (i.e. being a highwayman) doesn't earn you a corruption point, if you rob someone who can afford it.
Oh man! Problems, problems, problems. I can see trouble ahead on this road of thought.
Hero Points and the flip side of the action economy along with Raises. A LOT of abilities require a Hero Point to activate. Monkeying with this economy is going to have very far reaching effects. I'd be very careful about limiting or curtailing how and when players can receive/spend Hero Points.
Here's the deal. In 2nd edition, Corruption exists only as a stop sign. A big flashing red sign that reads "DO NOT GO HERE!" It isn't meant to be nuanced. It's a hammer. A big mallet the GM can wacky Players with who aren't going to stick to the prinicples of the setting. That's part of the reason it sticks out like a big sore thumb in a game all about collaboration. And its left almost entirely to the GM to determine what is and isn't worth a point of Corruption.
If you aren't a real fan of corruption, I'd probably drop the concept almost entirely. A good GM can handle almost any infraction through play. That porte mage who creates too many blessures? The DK is gunning for him now. Other porte mages, including many from Montaigne, view him as unseely and crude. People begin treating him like the monster he is. As for the rest of the group? Well, you are judged by the company you keep. And then, if play like this continues, the GM can turn around and say, "roll up a new character; this one is a villain." You don't need that arbitrary d10 roll. I think that rule exists only to protect inexperienced GM's from certain types of players and inexperienced players from overzealous GMs.
What we really need is a way to get Scoundrels back in the mix.
Part of the issue with Corruption is that there is no ying/yang here. There is no counterbalance aspect that can be penalized for the player's bad behavior. It's an all or nothing thing. Either you're a hero or a villain. Things get messy when you start applying shades of gray, which don't really reflect the genre the game proposes to reflect, but so many GMs – myself included – like to add into the mix. In Witch Hunter (another swashbuckling game) damnation is balanced by true faith. The more damnation you have, the lower your true faith score (which can protect you from nasty monster abilities) can be, and the more the monsters can turn your corruption against you. But damnation has its temptations. You can spend a point of damnation just like a hero point in that game. But damnation leads to corruption all the same; the game just handles it differently.
Anyway, long post to simply say I'm not seeing a lot of good "fixes" when it comes to corruption. I would simply use it or not, depending on your group. If players start breaking the social rules left and right, then start handing out corruption. But otherwise, I would just ignore them and keep consequences in play.
Well the new version has a few revisions now. So corruption is a moot point.
Now it's essentially just don't be a cruel and villainous asshole.