- Was there a reason why you ended up focusing on NPC's rather than locales in the NoTs and Pirate Nations? I heard a lot of the backer characters were placed in these, instead of Heroes & Villains, where it would have made a lot of sense to add them.
- 7th Sea has a few mentions of ancient lore, mystery and intrigue as main pillars of the game. These are all represented through Dramatic Sequences in the text, yet I can't help but wonder that these aspects of the game have been given way too little attention mechanics wise. Have you considered expanding the game rules around these, as the action sequences are working incredibly well?
- What was the rationale of structuring the Dramatic Scenes as you did. It's a Structured Freeform, which kinda rankles me a bit, and my players are not all that content with it.
- Brutes. When are we going to see more types of Brute squads.
- I think you at one point said that you wouldn't add a Brawling School to the game. Yet, in NoT2, there's exactly that. What changed?
- A lot of the old dueling styles have been namedropped throughout the new releases, yet, we're not seeing them show up in written form. The ES document with the updates was good, but I found a lot of them to be reskins of previous styles, which kinda saddened me, because Duelist Styles are a good way to play around with the system.
- Furthermore in regards to duelling. The styles in NoT are pretty oddball cases of dueling. (Avalonian jumpfighing, montaignan bodyguards, vesten shieldsmash, castillan stickfighting, eisener knifestabbing, ussuran brawling, samartian cavalrychopping and vodacci assassin's creed style) Was this a goal to strain the limits of what a duelling style could be? Or was this just a spur of the moment idea?
- The Fisherman's Virtue from PN, HUMBLE, combined with Spark of Genius (Anatomy) recently broke a large part of my game, sending the entire player group into having around 11 raises. Working as intended? Or was this a angle you did not see coming?
- Are you as a company, going to be making more detailing to areas on the Thean and Atabean map as of this moment? Because I really want to known more about Colina Verde and the Vodacci city of Pioro, but I'm getting the feeling that there isn't going to be any official description of it. I would hate to make a description, and end up having to bite my tongue when someone make a better, official version of it.
COMMENTARY: From the Second Edition
1) To a certain extent, I understand the confusion. I think a little bit of the reluctance to put the backer characters into H&V was that we didn't want it to feel like a "throw-away" book. "Yeah yeah we promised people that we'd put their characters in the book, let's just cram them all into one book that is nothing but NPCs and be done with it." Putting them into Pirate Nations or NoT gives them more space to shine on their own, rather than sharing real estate with 100 other people, and it also gives those characters more context with the world of Theah. As for why we focused on NPCs over locales in those books, I personally think that characters drive stories much better than places do, and the primary goal of all of these books is to serve as a storytelling aid.
2) I don't think I really understand what you're asking here. Can you be more specific?
3) Both Dramatic Sequences and Action Sequences are "my babies" in terms of design. More than any other part of the core game system, those have my fingerprints all over them. Dramatic Sequences work the way they do because I wanted to avoid halting a roleplay moment in order to stop, announce an Approach, roll dice, and compare Raises to see what happens. I wanted the mechanics to inform the roleplaying without getting in the way. So rather than stopping everytime something may or may not happen, you roll at the beginning of the encounter and now you have a pool of currency. If something may or may not happen, you as the player can choose to spend a piece of your currency to make it happen... or not spend a piece of your currency, and the GM gets to DECIDE what happens. This also lets the players have a sense of how they're doing and whether or not they've overplayed their hand or overstayed their welcome. My big inspiration for this was the idea of an interrogation scene. If the Heroes are getting questioned, they need to spend a Raise everytime they want to tell a lie or mislead the guard to make sure they aren't found out. But there's a reason why, in real life and in fiction, these interrogations tend to go on for a really long time. You get tired, your story slips up a little and doesn't make sense, you contradict yourself. This adds a note of tension to the scene that otherwise would have needed to be artifically added (something like "every time you try to lie to the same character again in a scene, you roll 1 fewer dice"). Instead I opted for a system where you have a certain amount of ammunition, and you as the player know it going in. So when the guard asks you who you showed up with, you know you can only convincingly lie to him 4 times. Do you want to tell him who you really came with? Is THAT the most important use of this currency? Relegating each of these to separate rolls, in my opinion, actually reduces the dramatic tension. I'm not making a decision, I'm just hoping the dice come up in my favor. Which, while that can be exciting, is less interesting to me personally.
4) More types of Brute Squads are trickling out in later content. As the fiction and the setting demands new Brutes, new Brutes are added. I've already written... probably 3 or 4 new types for stuff that are in varying stages of production. So, they're coming.
5) I decided that it didn't really matter all that much, and a writer had an interesting idea that I felt deserved the placement. I'm still only like 7/10 convinced that it was a good idea, but in the end all I can do is put the tools out there and see what people do with them.
6) I didn't write the ES document (I haven't written anything for ES, although I have served as editor on some of them). Without going into too much detail, my role for all of that stuff (the Dueling stuff, Sorcery, etc) wasn't to edit for content, but was only to serve as a guide for the writer's ideas. Basically, it wasn't my place to say "add this" or "remove this," but instead to say "I see what you are going for here, here's my suggestion on how to achieve that."
7) A bit of both. The Dueling sections of the Nations of Theah books in particular needed to have much more of a local flavor to them, since we'd already talked about Theah overall in the core book. So I encouraged our writers to think a little more outside the box, without breaking it completely.
8) I'm going to need more information on exactly what you mean by "it broke the game" and how that happened. Do you mean that it broke the game because it gave your players a ton of Raises for a Risk? Without more context I'd say probably working as intended--it's a Virtue combined with a really specific application of a high-point National Advantage working together to create a ton of Raises for one Round of one Risk. Have a blast, I guess? There's always players (and in some games, I'm one of them) that really enjoy creating "combo characters" that have abilities that line up really well to let them do this ONE AMAZING THING.
9) That is a really big question. I can say that we, as a company, LOVE our maps. True story--originally the map at the beginning of the core book WASN'T EVEN SUPPOSED TO BE PUBLISHED, and was intended only as a company reference. We planned to do more "in-world" maps that might be less accurate, have wrong scaling on some places, etc. However, the map turned out to be so gorgeous that we couldn't NOT publish it. As for those specific places, I don't know--similar to revisiting Theah again or doing deeper dives into locations from other parts of the world, that will depend on boring stuff like "sales numbers" and community interest.
Addressing your final point... do it. Write it. If you never do anything because you're worried that somebody, somewhere, might someday do it better, you'll never do anything. If you have an interest in those places, you should absolutely write them. Worst case scenario, you put it up on Explorer's Society and nobody reads it. Best case scenario, it lands on my desk someday and John says "Mike, let's hire this guy to write this place up for Pirate Nations 2."
TAJ-07: Technopriest And Justicar Of 7thSea2e