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Forum » Role Playing Games » 7th Sea » The Basics about... 7th Sea
The Basics about... 7th Sea
Bad-AshDate: Sunday, 03 Mar 2013, 4:30 PM | Message # 1
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What’s it about?
7th Sea is another fantasy role-playing game like Pathfinder but is very different in a couple of regards. Instead of being set in a pseudo-medieval fantasy world, 7th Sea is set in a fantasy world that more resembles the Europe of the 1600s. That means the game revolves around swashbuckling, a mixture of The Three Musketeers, Zorro, and every cheesy pirate movie you’ve ever seen. There are no fantasy races, only humans, but each of the big nations (fantasy versions of England, France, Spain, Italy, and so on) has their own rules.

Players take on the roles of adventurers, be they musketeers loyal to the King, secret magic-wielding courtesans, members of a secret society of intellectuals trying to overthrow the church, or pirate queens that roam the seas.

How does the system work?
Like Godlike, 7th Sea uses d10s and lots of them. However, 7th Sea’s system is slightly different. Basically (and if I’m remembering rightly), you have stats and skills and each have a rating of 1 to 5. You roll a number of dice equal to the appropriate stat and skill, but keep only a number of dice equal to the stat. So for example, if you want to read something in an obscure language, you’d add your Wits stat to your Linguistics skill and roll that number of dice. If your Wits stat was 3 and your Linguistic skill was 2, you would roll five dice but keep the three highest.

In addition, 7th Sea uses arule called ‘exploding dice’. If you roll a ten on any dice you keep that ten but get to roll the dice again, adding the results together. This enables a player to sometimes do some almost impossible tasks, if they’re very lucky.

What’s good about it?
The setting has its flaws but is a fun mash-up of all the swashbuckling clichés you can imagine. In addition, the system works really, really well to replicate a swashbuckling world, encouraging players to do all those things like swinging on chandeliers, duel with swords on rooftops, rescue distressed damsels from evil Cardinals, and so on. For example, the bad guys are rated as villains (leaders like Cardinal Richelieu, who are the equal to the players) or henchmen (tough bodyguards for the villain, two of three of whom have to gang up on a player to win) or brutes (useless thugs who are no match for the players except in groups of five or six), all of which means players can fight off hordes of thugs without breaking a sweat. Even the skills, backgrounds, advantages, and stats fit the mood of the game, with stats like Panache and Wits, for instance.

In addition, character creation in 7th Sea is just great. Players can take backgrounds and advantages/disadvantages and all manner of things that can be a great source for adventures and plot hooks. That long lost relative you added to your character background might come back to haunt you when that relative turns out to be the head of the pirate guild, for instance.

What’s bad about it?
The setting has a few oddities, like the inclusion of pirates in a world that has no reason for them. And the big world-spanning mystery that the publishers finally revealed was a huge disappointment and is generally ignored by players.

The big flaw however is that character creation can be a little lop-sided. Players are encouraged to take fighting ‘schools’ for their characters, with each nation having their own schools, and the game suggests that these schools result in better fighters. However, taking a school is so expensive to purchase during character creation that a player who does so is left with very little remaining points to spend. And in contrast, a player who ignores schools can spend all those saved points on boosting his or her stats and skills. The end result is ‘schooled’ characters tend to be considerably weaker than characters which are Jacks of all trades, so to speak.

What do I need to play?
As always, at a minimum nothing. The rulebooks are rather hard to find these days anyway. But you should try to bring lots and lots of d10s, at least ten or more, along with pens or pencils and plenty of paper. The nation supplements are useful for creating more rounded characters but can be unbalanced if you use one and not another.

Where can I learn more?
There are many fan sites out there but most of the newer stuff relates to the newer (and much poorer) editions. Ask other players if you really want to learn more.

Message edited by Ash - Sunday, 03 Mar 2013, 4:32 PM
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