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Dave Maple
Dave Maple's picture
Some Guidance please.
brute squad, advice, dramatic sequence

I was wondering if any one had any guidance on what is a suitable challenge for a party of three new players, one duelist.

What sort of level of Brute Squads or Villains should they be facing? To be an easy, average or difficult challenge?


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

So 3 players, one of whom is a duelist, or 3 heroes and one duelist?

What is the duelist's Weaponry skill?

7th Sea makes the math easy: 1 raise for every 2 dice on average.  So do the math.  Lets say on average your duelist is rolling 8 dice each combat round, she is going to be getting 4 raises on average.  With a 4 in weaponry, that amounts to about 4+ wounds per raise.  So that's 16 wounds per round, assuming you aren't giving her ANYTHING else to worry about.  That will take out a Str 10 brute squad each round, plus a few of the other heroes' opposition.  And that's okay, because it lets the duelist feel like the badass she is and makes those 5 points spent worth it.

Now, if you give your brutes the assassin advantage (go first), then that drops the figure to 12 wounds (1 raise spent to parry)

If you give your brutes the duelist advantage, it doesn't amount to much since the swordsman can cut through them before they get to do wounds.

If you want to spice things up, throw in a weak villain to occupy the duelist.  A str 5 villain takes 20 wounds to bring down, so that's 2 rounds vs your duelist.  At 5 dice, he won't be a big threat (2-3 raises) unless you make him a duelist.  Remember, because of the way the mechanic works, even numbered str threats are easier to judge.

Against the rest of the group, I find 5 point squads are pretty fair.  They will last for 1 round and do 2-3 wounds on average, unless the duelist moves over to help out (1 raise, thank you).  

Also, don't forget you can give your opponents Monstrous Qualities.  Or throw a danger point and make up something weird on the spot (look at thief and pirate brutes for examples).

Keep in mind that brutes really aren't meant to be a difficult challenge.  They are simply an obstacle to overcome (a big bag of wounds).  You can use them in small doses to keep the players off your main villains (2 Str 8 villains – 32 wounds each – with a 3 str 5 squads would make for a formidible challenge).  But brutes on their own should be an excuse for your players to look awesome and do cool stunts with little fear of reprecussions.  7th Sea is a game about choices.  So make the CHOICES difficult.  Do I take out the villain or save the damsel, do I take this devil's bargain and save the day, do I chase after the artifact or keep the archives from buring down?  That's where the drama comes from in the game.  Not from "oh shit, another brute squad!  How many is that now?"

Dave Maple
Dave Maple's picture

What's that same Str 10 Brute squad likely to do to the Brawn 2 + Brawl 1, guy that wasn't focused on combat though?

Donovan Morningfire
Donovan Morningfire's picture

If the Brawn 2 + Brawl 1 Hero is taking on a Strength 10 Brute Squad alone, that Hero is probably going to get a severe thumping, walking out of the fight with one or more Dramatic Wounds for their trouble.  But bear in mind that this particular Hero obviously isn't built to be any sort of combatant if they're not rolling at least 5 dice during the start of a combat round.

I'd say that unless the Hero is going in with a Trait of 3 and a combat skill of 2 at the very least, then they're really not a serious threat in a fight, and probably should be employing other skills or seeking unique and interesting ways to overcome the obstacles of the scene.  As the GM, don't restrict your players from having to use the three combat skills in order to defeat a Brute Squad; for instance allow the PCs to brandish their social skills to get brutes to flee or otherwise leave the fight.

From what I've seen, most starting Hero "fighty type" builds have a Brawn or Finesse of 3 and then a 3 in either Aim, Brawling, or Weaponry, giving them a base of 6 dice (before accounting for Flair) and either have one of the "gain bonus die when making X type of attack" Advantages, or have gone whole hog and taken either Duelist Academy or Student of Battle (found in Heroes & Villains and Pirate Nations).  If a Hero only has a single rank in a combat skill, they're simply not going to be much of a threat to the bad guys in a fight.

Dono's Gaming & Etc Blog

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