Salamanca posted recently about a conversation with John Wick concerning a lack of clear guidelines on how to use Pressure on Brute Squads. The gist of the conversation was described as: "Players should be able to use Pressure on Brute Squads, but there aren't clearly defined rules to do so."
So I thought I'd open this thread to discuss possible ideas and suggestions.
When my hardcopy of the rules arrived, I re-read the sections on Pressure and how Brute Squads work again. The following is all simply my opinion as a new 7th Sea 2e GM, your mileage may vary. :)
-The main question I see is that normally, Pressure is applied to a Villain or NPC, requiring the target to spend 2 Raises to overcome the effects of the Pressure attempt. It makes sense that Heroes should be able to Pressure Brutes in a similar fashion using intimidation, seductive looks, or distractions by yelling "Look Behind You!" for example. However, the difficulty is that Brute Squads normally don't spend Raises in an action sequence. They either attack at the end of the sequence or the GM can spend a Danger Point to activate the Squad's special ability if they have one during the Action Sequence.
-Being a fan of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) and modifying rules as little as possible if I can help it, it seems to me that when applying Pressure to Brutes, the simplest thing would be to require the GM to spend Danger Points as a replacement for Raises when a Hero applies Pressure to a Brute Squad.
-So here's what I plan to try in my games: During an Action Sequence, a Hero may spend a Raise to apply Pressure to a single Brute squad of any size. The Hero must describe how the pressure is being applied ("I slash my sword in a dazzling fashion to daunt them with my skill," "I give them a Clint Eastwood Death Glare and growl, 'Do You Feel Lucky, Punks?'" "I point behind them and loudly yell, 'SQUIRREL!!!'") The Hero then has a choice of two options: A. Prevent the Brute Squad from activiating their special ability as long as Pressure is being applied (So Assssin Squads can't spend Danger Points to strike before everyone else; Pirate Squads can't run off with an item or kidnap victim, etc.) or B. Prevent the Squad from making its attack this Sequence.
-In order to overcome the Pressure of a Brute Squad, the GM spends 2 Danger Points. Once these points are spent, the Pressure is removed and the Brute Squad may act normally.
-I decided in my games, I would prefer to make Monster Brute Squads immune to Pressure. Monsters are supposed to be scarier and more daunting than ordinary Brutes. Plus, I can't really picture a group of zombies getting distracted by a Hero yelling "SQUIRREL!" :) Also, I think being able to Pressure Monster Brutes to cancel their special abilities would step too much on the toes of Fear-cancelling Arcana, Sorcery that deters undead or monsters specifically, and so forth.
-Here's a couple of questions I still haven't decided on and would welcome feedback on:
A. Should a Hero be able to use Pressure to prevent Brutes from both using their special ability and attacking in the same sequence?
B. If "Yes," how much do you think the Hero should spend for an additional effect? For example, 2 Raises, 1 Raise and 1 Hero Point?
C. How many Danger Points should a GM have to spend to remove an additional Pressure effect from a Squad? 3 Danger Points or 4 Danger Points?
I'd welcome thoughts on these ideas and would be interested to hear other ideas GMs have for Pressuring Brutes.