New 7th Sea Campaign

sailingWe ran chargen for 7th Sea last night. I don’t have a name for the campaign yet, but we laid a fair amount of groundwork. This is going to be an interesting game, since my tastes usually run to the Musketeer end of things, but the players were explicitly interested in the seafaring route. And I cannot fault them – the rules make it VERY easy to start with a a ship (as it should be).

The characters are pretty fun: We have

  • An Avalonian captain, who has bought a fair amount of Luck sorcery and ties to the Brotherhood of the Coast
  • A Once-great now mostly drunk Castilian swordmaster who will eventually be on the path to redemption.
  • A Vodacce Circus performer, assassin and secret Fate witch
  • A Vesten Scholar/Accountant/Quartermaster who is developing early theories of the so-called science of “Economics”

We’d all talked a little bit before chargen, but we’d explicitly held off on decisions until we were all at the table, and we walked through the process together. A few observations and notes:

  • All in all it went very quickly, and the only real slowdown came in picking advantages, since they are slow to process. I’m not sure there’s a solution to that.
  • There was a certain amount of angst that not being a duelist would be a real problem in combat. I am hoping that’s not the case, but honestly, we’re all going to find out together. Of all things, it made me wish there were a few more flavors of badass available that didn’t just stack with the dueling schools.
  • When Hubris and Virtue came up, I gave the players a choice for each – choose, or generate it randomly. If generated randomly, they got either 2 points of skill or 1 point of advantages for each. Yes, it was a bribe. Most of the players took it, except the swordsman who felt it as worth picking The Wheel (Unfortunate) for hubris, and I cannot fault him because IT IS THE BEST HUBRIS IN THE GAME (It’s the “gain two HP when you choose to fail” one).
  • The players were glad to get a ship, but it was immediately apparent that while the ship rules were suitable for a game that happened to have a ship, they were a little sparse for a ship centric game (though we all love the achievements). I’ve written some house rules for that and I’ll be doing something with them.
  • Picking languages ended up being a fun dance, mostly for what it suggested about relationships between characters, but it made me glad that Linguist is only one point.

We actually got chargen itself done quickly enough that we had time for a brief tutorial scene. I had a moment of inspiration and realized I could kill to birds with one stone, and also illustrate how the story system worked. I asked everyone to find a skill they wanted one point in (in retrospect, I would have suggested a skill or a 1 point advantage) and have them write up the one-step story necessary to get it. I took those stories and used them to craft a fairly simple scene (a barfight, followed by quickly fleeing town) that incorporated them all, allowing them to try out the rules and see Stories in action. it worked pretty well, and I’d absolutely recommend it for anyone kicking off a game. A few thoughts from running the game:

  • It is going to be very tricky for me to get a sense of how to throttle opposition. I threw fairly weak opposition at the players (intentionally) but I hadn’t really gauged how weak. Going to be a while before I figure out how to strike that balance.
  • We had a weird situation where things were almost resolved when we ran out of raises. The next round ended up getting cut off short because otherwise it was an exercise in overkills.
  • I had intended to use these awesome pirate coins I’d brought to track raises, but honestly, the physical dice are more useful for that. I will instead use the coins for Hero and Danger points.
  • I ended up answering my own question of how I’d handle social combat (answer, just like anything else) as my players went heavy on the intimidation in the bar fight, and I was entirely happy to treat it as damage.
  • The rules for acting without a skill are REALLY harsh. Maybe a little too harsh. I’m ok taxing one raise, but taxing half the characters raises (on top of what is going to be a not-great roll) feels onerous.
  • The scene was not complicated enough for context-switching to raise its head, so I’m still waiting to see how that plays out.
  • Opportunities can be tricky to come up with on the fly. I kind of want to attach them to characters. Skullduggery had a fun mechanic where the player was primed with a number of one liners that the GM knew about, so the GM could set up the moments that would be perfect for delivery. I wonder if I could do something similar with these characters – come up with a handful of opportunities (in general terms) that match that particular character, so I can queue them up as moments of awesomeness.
  • I need to do a better job of communicating what can be done with raises. Cheat sheet incoming.

All in all, we had a good time. First session glitches aplenty, sure, but I think we’re all ready to start up the adventure next session, and I am going home with 4 stories that I can use to build that, which is a nice place to be.

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