View Full Version : 7th Sea?

2010-10-27, 04:54 AM
My usual gaming group just wrapped up our 4th CoC campaign (Complete Masks of Nyarlathotep is AWESOME), our 3rd full 3.5 campaign, our 2-years-in-the-running MtA game, and we were looking for something none of us had ever done before. At least two members of the group have extensive experience in Alpha Omega, Rifts, 3.5 D&D, 4e D&D, CoC, practically every NWoD setting, Paranoia, Spycraft, and Shadowrun, so it wasn't easy finding something new. At long last, I happened upon 7th Sea, and it looks like a perfect fit for our group's unique blend of humor and adventure. However, seeing as the game is quite old, I can't seem to find anyone I know with experience actually PLAYING the game. So I turn to you, Playgrounders! My questions are as follows:

1) Has anyone here ever played 7th Sea before?

2) If so, could you give me a number on a scale of "Shark Diving Naked" to "Hoverboarding" how much fun it was?

And finally,

3) Any potential pitfalls either with the system itself, or with common mistakes regarding mechanics, fluff stuff, etc?

Reis Tahlen
2010-10-27, 05:33 AM
I mastered 7th Sea, and I can summarize this expercience in two words...





The world is great, the characters are great, and the game system fits perfectly with the mood of the game.

There are only two problems:

- Speaking of the game system, it's not it is difficult or heavy, no... It's... mmmh... how can I say... It's weird. Works perfectly with swachbuckling, but weird. Anyhow, once you have it, you got it, so don't worry about that, after the first session it's a-okay.

- As it is a 100% swachbuckling genre, it's also 100% not realistic; players defeats minions by dozens, can achieve ridiculous feats of acrobatics, and it can be wonderful as it can be awful. If you play with reasonnable players who love the genre, playing will be a blast. If you play with some kind of min-maxing, rule-lawyering, system-abusing player, it will be a nightmare ("Why should I flee theses musketeers? They can barely scratch me with their guns") and destroy your stories.

You loved Pirates of the Caribean? You can do ANYTHING which was in the three movies with 7th Sea. Humor is expected, and encouraged. As well as bravado, and awesome (but stupid) acts of heroism.

Speaking of fun, you, as a DM, are encouraged to put your players in silly situations like one in "cape et épées" movie genre: in one of my sessions, my players where chased down troughout a monastery by musketeers disguised as nuns (a silly attempt to ambush the players, long story), and when thought they were safe one of them was mistaken as a the priest who would officiate a wedding, and as the musketeers were in sight again, they had no choice but officiate of they wanted to buy some time to find a way to flee the region. So, we had a church, with a fake priest trying his best, and players side to side with musketeers disguised as nuns, giving each other black looks but keeping silents because of the scary old grandmother who was terrifying everyone if they opened their mouth.

Aaah, good times, good times..

2010-10-27, 06:48 AM
I'm interested in hearing more about 7th Sea also, so c'mon Playgrounders.. More than one person must have played this game, lol.

2010-10-27, 07:38 AM
Great system and a really fun world. The only thing I didn't like was the metaplot and the constant secret society oneupmanship. Luckily, I never found it very difficult to cut out the things I didn't care for.

2010-10-27, 07:41 AM
I haven't played in a while, but I used to back in the day.

It's very cinematic, FAR MORE SO than D&D D20. If you're not trying something you saw in an Erol Flynn movie, then you're doing it wrong. The system was designed not only to allow such things, but to demand them. If that's your thing (and it never really was mine in RPG's) then you'll love 7th Sea.

There are problems with the system, mostly that it invites min-maxing galore during character creation, but the effects of that are minimal. A bigger problem, as I see it, is that the system is designed around the "individual snowflake" principle of PC theory. Your character is a unique snowflake and if bad things happen to him it's the GM's fault. It's almost stated in the GM guide of the game.

Good system overall, but not so great if you're looking for a D&D style (i.e., adventures, exploration, and treasure looting rather than swashbuckling, drama, amateur acting, and piracy).

2010-10-27, 01:30 PM
7th sea is awesome :smallbiggrin:

A couple things I recommend during character creation:

Buy all your traits up to at least 2, and 2 of them at 3.

Buy all the skill sets you think you might need with hero points, and don't worry about advanced knacks. Buying a new skill set with xp is prohibitively expensive, while buying an advanced knack is a mere 2 xp.

Get a hubris. The 10 HP is nice, but hubrises are just too fun to pass up :smallbiggrin:

2010-10-27, 02:15 PM
I've only ever played in one 7th Sea game, but from what I remember of it...

Well, to take inspiration from your scale of grading awesomeness, it was like skydiving naked out of an airplane that is on fire while using a hoverboard to do tricks in midair and then landing on a shark made of doughnuts and beer and riding it home.

So, yeah, I had a great time.

Excellent setting, I really liked the mechanics and the game just oozes wit and humor. I suggest that you try it.

2010-10-27, 03:44 PM
I'll also echo what everyone here has already mentioned: you owe it to yourself and your game group to play 7th Sea. It's heavily influenced by romantic literature, and your group should find some fun stuff to play with. It very much encourages your PCs to play up to the genre, so much so that making the most tactical decision every round is just about tantamount to playing the game wrong.

Let me expound upon that for a moment. Your PC is a hero. Not just a hero, actually, but a Hero, capital letter and everything. You're one of the most important people in the narrative, and the game gives you virtual plot immunity. The Three Musketeers were never in danger of dying from a random rapier strike - no, these larger-than-life characters were swinging from chandeliers and fighting off hordes of lesser fighters, receiving nothing more than a cosmetic wound, which might later become an attractive scar.

Your Hero follows in these large footsteps. No matter how badly a fight goes, your Hero cannot die unless he is fighting a Villain - also capitalized, so you can tell that these guys must be important. Even then, Heroes and Villains don't necessarily die when they fight - it has to be a deliberate act made by one or the other, and must be done when it is narratively appropriate. Inigo Montoya was safe from dying when he was fighting Prince Humperdinck's men - once he met up with the Six-Fingered Man, however, all bets were off, and only one of those two were going to come out of that fight alive.

What does this mean? Well, because there's such a strong contract between the GM and players that their characters are narratively safe - for the most part - from random death, they can actually have fun in fights. Rather than min/max and find the most optimum attacks to perform every round, they can slash their initials into a bad guy's chest, lock swords with a noted duellist or any number of other interesting things. Combat is a chance for the players to show off, and they have ways of encouraging awesome maneuvers by handing out Drama Dice. Since you played Spycraft, you're probably already familiar with this mechanic. Do something suitably dramatic, say something funny/poignant, or otherwise entertain the GM and players, and instantly reward them with Drama Dice.

Tracking down the books these days can be a bit problematic. Ebay copies are still sold, but some of the splat books go for rediculous amounts of cash. However, you can pick them up via PDF merchants. Besides the Player's Guide and GM's Guide, the Nations of Theah are probably the most important optional books to have, as they give in-depth looks to the different nations, and how life in Castille is different than life in Eisen (hint: very). The Secret Societies are good for background, though some of the mystic powers given out aren't always balanced, and some of the societies don't play well with others. Other books - eh, take 'em or leave 'em.

Like I said - take a look. You won't be disappointed.

2010-10-28, 10:40 AM
I will again chime in with recommending 7th Sea, as it's my favorite game system. As a system, it's not the most comprehensive or well-defined, but it does cinematic extremely well. A lot of that is accomplished through Drama Dice, which are like action dice that you can use when you really need to do something awesome.

That being said, the players all need to be well-versed in swashbuckling genre conventions, because in 7th Sea, genre is everything.

Here's an example: Your Hero is on the 2nd floor of a tavern when enemy soldiers burst in and begin seizing innocent people. If you say, "I run down the stairs and stab them", then you probably shouldn't be playing 7th Sea. You can instead make it more interesting for yourself, and jump, grab the chandelier (it doesn't matter if the GM said there was one or not, of course there's one), land on the bar, kick up a bottle of wine into your hands, take a swig, and then smash it over another soldier's head, well, that's more the spirit of the game.

The world is also very well done, essentially every interesting thing that happened in Europe between the years of 1400 and 1789 all happening at the same time.

So yeah, essentially the goal is not to just win, the goal is also to look good doing it. Heck, I could sum it up by just saying that this is a game system where one of your stats is "Panache".

2010-10-28, 11:11 AM
Well, to take inspiration from your scale of grading awesomeness, it was like skydiving naked out of an airplane that is on fire while using a hoverboard to do tricks in midair and then landing on a shark made of doughnuts and beer and riding it home.

So, yeah, I had a great time.

Wow.. Now THAT's an endorsement!!

By the way.. How well would this game lend itself to being run as a 1 player (as in a DM <me> and one player <my wife>) game?

2010-10-28, 12:22 PM
the game have the best fluff for the genere and for players knowledgeable of the era will rock ur world.

but the system has the worst crapy way to abbuse and crack ur world and stories, that roll/keep and the perks/traits of the game give to many ways of min/max it, hence, crack the all story.

2010-10-28, 05:57 PM
Heck, I could sum it up by just saying that this is a game system where one of your stats is "Panache".

Yeah, this is one of the things that reeeeaaally sold me on the gaming system. I'm a bit of a munchkin when it comes to playing, so my group has tasked me with GMing this one. :-P

2010-10-29, 05:12 AM
(struggles to remember) Isn't "Panache" also the munchkin's core stat in this game? Whichever one is the "actions per round" one.

Some people complained that combat dragged with multiple Heroes taking multiple actions per round. It didn't bother me, but then I was used to playing Vampire and waiting through the multiple actions of Celerity per round. (Also our game died early through reasons unremembered. Knowing us, we probably all had made Heroes. . .and forgotten to have any reason to be a band of Heroes.)