Going over the rules once more in preparation for a game it suddenly dawned on me that 7th Sea 2nd edition doesn't actually have any rules for "reactive" or "passive" rolls (what, I suppose, other RPGs might refer to as "saving throws"). This is obviously fully intentional and I fully understand the reasoning behind it - there's no need to explain that to me. However, thinking back to swashbuckling literature it's hard to deny that sometimes there is value to knowing whether or not a hero is affected by poison, or is succesfully snuck upon, etc. The book dedicates a nice text box to telling you that there's no "Dodge" skill because dodging maintains the status quo, but that cheapens a lot of dramatic situations.
While it's true that some of those cases might fall into narrative practices we explicitly want to avoid (e.g. if the poison would outright kill the hero, and failing that one "saving throw" would abruptly stop the plot), it's obviously not always the case. Sometimes, there's plenty of drama that could be gotten from either succeeding or failing at such a "reactive" roll, and in fact, a solution like "the GM should decide what happens based on whatever serves their plot better" seems more contrary to the spirit of 7th Sea than the alternative, since it takes away so much player agency (doubly so if all heroes are potentially affected, in which case, for example, players who built a particularly perceptive hero may feel cheated if everyone just notices or doesn't notice an ambush by GM fiat). Furthermore, many such situation involve danger the hero isn't even aware of and making it into a proper "Risk" mechanics wise can both slow down the game right when it doesn't need to and spoil some of the player's fun. Sometimes, all you want to know is whether the hero does or doesn't fall unconscious after being served a cup of poisoned tea, because it's the difference between them continuing the conversation with the evil courtier or waking up in the dungeon and having to make an escape (both, you might notice, are dramatic and fun situations and both fully in the spirit of the game). You don't want to determine this by fiat because the player would feel cheated, but you can't turn it into a Risk either because a Risk demands the hero be active (what exactly is your "Approach" when you're trying to resist falling asleep? Resolve+Tempt, to represent years of hard drinking toughening up your liver? You got to admit that's a little bit forced)
Again, just to clarify: I don't need an explanation of why the 7th Sea mechanics are built the way they are or the philosophy behind the design or why I should or shouldn't want my heroes to always be active. Trust me, I read Vincent Baker and Luke Crane's essays too. I'm looking for a simple, quick method to randomize these kinds of rare occasions so that when they do come up, there's no need to jump through descriptive hoops in order to arrange for a narrative which can justify "picking an approach" in a situation that doesn't make sense just so the mechanics can function. Honestly, I'm tempted to roll a 1d10+trait against a made up number behind the GMs screen or something.
P.S. now that I think about it, it is a bit weird for a game like this to not have any poison rules at all. It's a staple of intrigue and espionage type stories, it's practically half the Vodacce's whole shtick, and plenty of advantages and sorcery abilities refer to it one or the other...