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Carissa Vaughn
Carissa Vaughn's picture
Looking for creative conspirators

I am not new to storytelling but I am new to 7th Sea.  7th Sea is a game I have always wanted to play but never had an oppotuntity until now.  A friend agreed to run 7th Sea for our weekly gaming group and everyone at the table absolutly fell in love with it so far.  After we played only 3 games, said friend told everyone he did not want to run the game and was leaving the group because of work issues.  

So now I have agreed to keep the campaign going but i do not know where to start.  I am so unfamilar with this setting.  I feel there is no way I can read and comprehend everything I need to in order to bring this world to life quickly.  What I am looking for is a community of fellow storytellers that I can ask questions and bounce story plots and ideas off of.  I am looking for people really know this world well that can help me accuratly bring this world to life for myself and my gaming group.

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BluSponge blusp...
BluSponge blusponge@verizon.net's picture


No problem.  We've all been there.  One of the best features of 7th Sea is that because its a pastiche of real world cultures and countries, it's relatively easy to get started.  You can build depth as you go.  

So where to start?  Where did your previous GM leave off?  Where are the heroes?  What are their stories?  Was there an unresolved plot?  Is anyone a member of a secret society?

My suggestion mirrors that for every single other fantasy RPG: start small and build out.  Pick a nation, then pick a city or town to start in.  Create a handful of villains: maybe an archvillain and 2 subordinates, plus an independent villain.  Give them some schemes: what do they want?  How do they expect to go about it?  Next, create a handful of NPCs – 7th Sea is much more about characters than other FRPGs, in my experience – that have connections to the players.  Ask your players for help.  Have each of them contribute a couple of contacts, friends, rivals, or locations that are important to their heroes.  Nothing in depth, just a name, what they do, and what the nature of the relationship is.  Now add an extra mystery of your own.  Stir this all together and boom!  Instant game.

The important part of this approach is now you have multiple hooks the players can pursue.  If they don't go after your archvillain's subordinates, there is an independent villain to content with.  Or your mystery.  Plus, you have rival NPCs you can drop in and out to stir the pot.  You have friends and contacts you can threaten.  It really helps to know what and whom is important to your players so you can set the stakes accordingly.  Just let the players loose and give them as much rope as they want, then jerk the noose tight when they start getting in your villains ways.

My first adventure in 7th Sea, years ago (1st edition), had the players travelling through Castille and arrived at a village preparing to celebrate the wedding of two important families.  Then, bandits made off with the bride.  VERY cliche.  But it worked and everyone had fun.  I borrowed a lot of cues from the old AD&D adventure Village of Hommlet, so there was a spy for the bandits in town, people who didn't like one family or the other, and of course, the bandits were camped in an old ruin in the wilderness miles away.  I didn't need to know much about Castille to run that adventure, but it gave me 2-3 game sessions to read over the setting and start prepping the next adventure (which involved a redcap murdering students at a castillain University).

And do not hesitate to lean on your players stories.  They are basically telling you what's important to their heroes.  So if you lack for an idea, wrap two or three of those stories into one.  Create unexpected connections.  Maybe connections to one of your villains.

I know if you've GMed more than one campaign in your life this is probably all old hat to you, but it bares repeating all the same.  Sometimes we can get so caught up in the scope of the setting that we forget the basics.  Your players don't know the world much better than you do.  So discover it together.

BluSponge blusp...
BluSponge blusponge@verizon.net's picture

Here's an example.  My players will soon be visiting La Bucca – we're running a piratical game so I wanted a base town that wasn't on mainland Theah but had access to it.  So in prep for this, I sent all my players a questionnaire of 5 questions for them to fill out.  This was somewhat inspired by the city creation rules in the Dresden Files RPG, but far less formal.

  • Where do you stay when you are in La Bucca?  Describe your home (assuming you have one).
  • Describe three locations you like to visit while on the island.  These locations may be any combination of the following:
    • a store or business — someplace you go to get something you want or need. 
    • an inn, tavern, coffeehouse, gambling hall, or place of entertainment — someplace you go to cool your heels. 
    • a place of worship (ie. St. Renee’s Chapel on the Southern Arc), etc. — someplace you go for guidance.
  • Describe a friend you often see or visit while on the island.  What is your relationship?  How did you meet?
  • Describe a rival you cross paths with on the island.  Describe your first meeting.  What is it about this person you dislike?  Is the feeling mutual?
  • Describe a meeting with Allende, the President [leader] of La Bucca.  What were the circumstances of your meeting.  Did it come out in your favor?
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