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7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/21/2016 10:25:11

One must understand two things about 7th Sea: Second Edition before playing it.

1) This is not the same game as 1st edition, so prepare for the big bad change monster 2) This RPG, like pretty much every RPG out there, is not for everyone

The faster that those two facts are realized and accepted, the easier it is to fall in love with this game. I truly believe that 7th Sea: 2nd Edition is one of the most brilliant systems I've ever seen. Since 1st edition, John Wick has clearly become much more of a storyteller. I don't think it's even possible for a rule in this game to stop play for more than 45 seconds. The system is so intuitive that the action can just keep on going. Seriously, players could probably achieve campaign-level drama/adventures in the time it takes players to go through a dungeon in D&D. It all just depends on the GM, which brings me to my next point.

The raises system is really neat and it adds a small metagame to rolling dice that's just easy enough to keep the story moving, but just different enough to make players take a second and think about how they want to make their raises. All of the other rules in the game are so simple to add on that it truly makes 7th Sea: Second Edition a breeze to play. So it really is completely up to the GM to move the drama in unique and interesting ways. The GM is to be constantly (and creatively) setting new consequences for the risks the players take, while simultaneously thinking of opportunities that are enticing enough for players to risk taking the consequences for. It can be a little daunting because the difficulty of the game is 100% in the GM's lap, but ultimately, I love how much freedom I have to tell a compelling story with my players.

I'm not going to lie, crunch in a game can be a fun time. But at the end of the day, I don't want my players to feel like they cheated death because of some mechanic, I want them to feel like they've surpassed their obstacles by being creative and pariticpating in telling a good story. It's the stories we remember most about gaming. Of course, many games still work great if you just ignore some of the rules, but 7th Sea: Second Edition is meant to be a game built from scratch for the purpose of telling an elegant, cinematic tale of swashbuckling, sorcery, romance, intrigue, and adventure.

In conclusion, I think John Wick and his team took a huge risk by making such dramatic changes to this beloved game. However, while this might not be a system for grognards, it certainly is a masterpiece for the purposes of storytelling.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
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7th Sea: Game Master's Screen
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/19/2016 10:10:23

The GM Screen is the regular sort of thing, a stirring naval battle on the player side and a wealth of useful charts on the GM's side - pretty much anything you might want to refer to during play. If you have the PDF version, print them out and stick them on card to make your own screen, if you have bought this in 'dead tree', it comes printed on cardstock anyway. There's not that much to say about a screen, really. It's a good place to organise your notes behind and if you are given to secret die rolls you can hide them from the players behind it.

However, you also get an adventure with it, The Erebus Cross Part 1: The Lady's Favour. (The other two parts of the adventure are sold separately, if you enjoy this you'll likely want to get hold of them and find out all the rest of the dark secrets. It makes for a good introductory adventure in that it takes the party all over Théah in their quest to save one Montegue du Montaigne, who is in need of rescuing! It's quite an open adventure, not a set series of events, but there's enough structure to enable you to keep everything on track. There are loads of events and encounters, but only a few are absolutely necessary to the adventure (although nearly all are linking to it in some way, there isn't much in the way of random encounters) and even they are pretty flexible about just when they happen. Ecounters are graded as to how hard they are, if your party is inexperienced you might want to avoid the most difficult ones (or put in the time to tone them down), but the idea is that there is something for everyone here, however experienced they might be. Read through the entire adventure thoroughly and decide what you want to use and when... and then find that the party might have other ideas (that's players for you!), but this structure means that it's reasonably easy to accommodate whatever they decide to do.

The basic plot is simple. Montegue du Montaigne is a General who has led an army from Montaigne to attack Ussura, at the Emperor of Montaigne's request. But his wife has her suspicions about what is going on... the background explains what is going on for you, and she will provide her own version to the party when entrusting them with a message to take to him on the battlefield. Plenty of detail is provided for you to set the scene and run whichever events you select (or all of them if you want...), as well as copious notes on the main NPCs involved. There's plenty of scope for cinematic adventure from the very start, with chases and swordfights aplenty as well as opportunities to make new friends on your travels.

Finally, there's also a section about the Explorer's Society, an organisation that features large in Théan life, and indeed in this adventure if you select appropriate events. This tells of the origins of the Society, its public face and the hidden agendas that not all the members know, never mind any outsiders! It looks at what they do and how they are organised - and provides excellent resources for those parties who enjoy exploring the world in which they live. They are pretty good for intrigue, too!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea: Game Master's Screen
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7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/05/2016 07:07:27

Die Versprechungen während der Kickstarter Kampagne waren hoch, die gesammelte Summe gewaltig. Mit solchen Mittel ausgestattet, sollte einem tollen Rollenspiel-Buch nichts mehr im Wege stehen. Aber liefert das entstandene Buch die Qualität, die bei einem solchen Erfolg zu erwarten wäre oder ist der polierte Schiffsrumpf mit seiner glänzenden Gallionsfigur unter der Oberfläche vielleicht löchrig?

Die Spielwelt

Die Bühne, die für Intrigen und Duelle im Grundregelwerk geboten wird, ist der Kontinent Théah. Um es vorweg zu nehmen: Die Bühnenbauer haben hier sehr gute Arbeit geleistet und eine variantenreiche und vielschichtige Welt gezimmert. Théah ist nach dem Vorbild Europas im 17ten Jahrhundert konstruiert worden und locker daran angelehnt, was die Orientierung in der Welt erleichtert. Vom eisigen Norden bis zum mediterranen Klima des Südens: Die Spielwelt ist groß und variantenreich. Die Beschreibung der einzelnen Kulturen fällt großzügig und angenehm detailliert aus. Jede Nation hat ihre eigenen Charakteristika, die meist im, zum Klischee überspitzten, realen Vorbild begründet liegen. Allerdings sind für ein buntes Mantel-und-Degen-Setting, das ohnehin zur gewitzten Großspurigkeit und fröhlichen Übertreibung tendiert, übertriebene Klischees nichts Schlechtes. Ganz im Gegenteil, denn dass der eitle, intrigante Edelmann aus Montaigne dem stereotypen Bild eines französischen Adeligen zur äquivalenten Zeit entspricht, schafft ein klares Bild. Die Politik der Staaten ist glaubwürdig dargestellt und ihre Geschichte sowie die Beziehungen zueinander sind gut durchdacht. Jede Kultur bietet durch die dichten und umfangreichen Ausführungen ein plastisches Bild mit Tiefe, das für das Spiel in der jeweiligen Region wertvoll ist. Viele interessante Aspekte der Epoche werden thematisiert und sinnvoll in das System integriert oder passend umgedeutet. Ein gutes Beispiel für solch eine passende Umdeutung findet sich in der sogenannten „golden liberty“ des Sarmatian Commonwealth.

Dieses an die Goldene Freiheit, eine Reform in Polen-Litauen, angelehnte Ereignis, wurde von einer Gleichberechtigung des Adels untereinander zu einer Gleichstellung aller Einwohner der Doppelnation durch Erhebung in den Adelsstand umgedeutet. Dabei wird der Vorgang beschrieben, plausibel erklärt und wirkt dadurch nachvollziehbar. Die fantastischen Elemente wirken organisch und sind gut in die Welt eingefasst. Es gibt allerdings auch einige, für den deutschen Leser seltsame Formulierungen in Bezug auf den „Eisen“ genannten deutschsprachigen Raum Théahs. Zum Beispiel heißen die drei großen Waldgebiete „The Wälder“, “The Liebliche Wald“ und „The Angenehme Wald“.

Abseits der Beschreibung der Kulturen und Nationen ist das Setting-Mahl noch nicht verspeist. Es gibt genug Hintergrundfutter, um großen Appetit zu stillen. Von der genauen Besatzung eines Schiffes, über die Vorstellung der Geheimbünde Théahs hin zu Material über die kirchliche Organisation: Die Auswahl ist groß und reichhaltig. Auch die Texte zur Magie und den Duellen bereichern die Welt weit über die Regelebene hinaus. Einzig die magere Beschreibung von Monstern, die Länder und Meere unsicher machen, trübt das Gesamtbild leicht.

Der Kontinent des Grundregelwerkes ist eine Goldgrube an Möglichkeiten für kreative Abenteuer. Verschiedene Abenteuertypen lassen sich in einer glaubwürdigen und variantenreichen Welt realisieren. Der Detailgrad ist weder auf zu kleinteiliges fokussiert, noch werden die wichtigen Aspekte grob abgefertigt. Für den Rahmen eines Grundregelwerkes ist die Beschreibung der Spielwelt vorbildlich und liefert eine prachtvolle, große Bühne, um sowohl Regisseur als auch Schauspieler zu erfreuen.

Die Regeln

Das Grundsystem ist denkbar einfach. Gerollt wird mit einer schnell ermittelten Anzahl zehnseitiger Würfel. Danach werden die Ergebnisse addiert. Jeder Zehner-Schritt ergibt dabei einen sogenannten „Raise“. Diese Einheit wird dann zum Erkaufen von Erfolgen in jedweder riskanten Situation eingesetzt. Dadurch, dass diese Regel auf jede Situation angewendet wird und somit universell funktioniert, sind die Grundlagen extrem einfach zu erlernen. Ergänzt wird das Ganze durch Hero Points, also Zusatzmünzen, mit denen sich kleinere Vorteile erkauft werden. Alle weiteren Ergänzungsregeln fußen auf diesen Mechanismen, ohne dabei komplex zu werden. Es wurde auf einige populäre Mechaniken aus Tischrollenspielen verzichtet.

Beispielsweise verursachen alle Nahkampfwaffen den gleichen Schaden. Entscheidend sind nur die ausgegebenen Raises. Der Effekt ist wie schon erwähnt ein schnell zu erlernendes Regelwerk, dass durch seine universelle Grundlage alle Aspekte des Spiels untermauert. Regelfüchse dürften sich hier wahrlich nicht wohl fühlen, denn Tiefe wird an keiner Stelle angestrebt. Allein im Magiesystem kommen ein paar neue Momente hinzu, ohne dabei an Komplexität zu gewinnen.

Ebenso wie die Universalregeln sind auch die Gesetze des Spielleiters nicht allzu schwierig geworden. Gegnergruppen, wie auch bedeutende Schurken und Monster sind schnell erstellt und leicht gehandhabt. In einer Probensituation würfelt der Spielleiter für die Widersacher einfach Würfel in Höhe dieses Ranges. Hinzu kommen noch kurze Regeln zu längeren Intrigen des Bösewichts und wenige Sonderregeln.

Das Grundregelsystem ist zusammenfassend ziemlich simpel und an vielen Stellen leider eher flach, als glatt zu nennen. Das System opfert der Simplizität fast jede Tiefe. Ob man sich damit wohlfühlt ist Geschmackssache. Dabei lesen sich die wenigen Regeln stellenweise nicht befriedigend. Ein genaueres Einzelurteil wird der Spieltest bringen. Viel blättern ist aber nicht nötig und die Regeln dürften schnell verinnerlicht sein.

Erzählspiel als Paradigma

Diese Grundlage soll aber noch durch weitere Methodik das Erzählspiel fördern. Dieser Anspruch wird durch mehrere Mechaniken versucht zu erreichen. Zunächst gibt es Bonuswürfel für Flair-Aktionen, also für eine kreative Beschreibung seitens des Spielers, sowie den erstmaligen Einsatz einer Fähigkeit in einer Szene, also für ideenreichen Abwechslungsreichtum. Diese Animation scheint anwendbar zu sein und dürfte den Drang zu wirklicher Erzählung, statt simplen Phrasen wie „Ich greife an“, fördern.

Man merkt dem System an allen Ecken und Enden an, dass es den Fokus auf narratives Spiel legt, sogar auf Kosten der Spielbalance. So ist das Magiesystem mit Ansage seitens der Entwickler extrem mächtig geworden. Bis hin zur Vernichtung ganzer Städte ist einiges möglich. Die Konsequenzen dieser Effekte sind häufig erzählerischer Natur, ebenso wie die Beschränkungen zum Einsatz der Zauberei. Auch mit vielen Sonderfähigkeiten, hier „Advantages“ genannt, lassen sich erzählerische Effekte auslösen. Umso stärker dieses Paradigma wird, desto wichtiger wird gutes Zusammenspiel und Einigkeit in der Gruppe. Wo der Regelanspruch sinkt, steigt er an beim kreativen und fairen Miteinander.

Der cineastische Konstruktionsfehler

Soweit so einfach. Doch was ebenfalls tief im System integriert ist, um dieses cineastisch zu gestalten und den Spielablauf zu vereinfachen, ist die größte Schwäche von 7th Sea: 2nd Edition und lässt mich an der Spielbarkeit zweifeln. Der Spielablauf ist in Szenen unterteilt. Dies können Action-Szenen sein, sowie dramatische Szenen. Die Action-Szenen sind simpel strukturiert. Der Spielleiter beschreibt die Ausgangslage, daraufhin entscheidet der Spieler, was er tun möchte. Ist die Situation riskant, wird gewürfelt und die Raise-Einheiten gezählt. Der Spielleiter legt dann fest, welche Konsequenzen mit den gesammelten Punkten verhindert werden müssen, beziehungsweise welche Gelegenheiten zusätzlich genutzt werden können.

Das gilt für allgemeine Action-Sequenzen, als auch für Kämpfe und ist aufgrund der kompakten Form einer Runde eigentlich kein Problem. Ein unschöner Effekt ist allerdings, dass der Spielleiter die möglichen Konsequenzen vorher ausformulieren muss. Die handelnde Person muss nur mit kreativer Beschreibung ein klares Problem durch gutes Würfeln und Abwägung der Punkteverteilung bewältigen. Nachdem von Seiten des Spielers klargemacht wurde, was er versuchen will, sind ihm die Konsequenzen schon bekannt. Dadurch wird in gewissem Maße die Spannung beschnitten.

Wirklich problematisch wird diese Herangehensweise aber in den dramatischen Szenen. Die gleiche Konstruktion wird hier auf alle weiteren riskanten Spielabschnitte angewandt. Nehmen wir das Beispiel eines Balles des reichen, aber intriganten Edelmannes aus Montaigne. Für die gesamte Szene muss die spezifische Herangehensweise vorher festgelegt und der entsprechende Würfelpool aus den Heldenwerten zusammenstellt werden. Beispielsweise: „Ich möchte im charmanten Gespräch mit den Anwesenden dem Gastgeber auf die Schliche kommen“. Jede abweichende Aktion kostet statt einem Raise zwei dieser Punkte, also beispielsweise ein Taschendiebstahl im beschriebenen Beispiel. Ist der Punktevorrat verbraucht, scheitert jede weitere riskante Aktion. Dieses System hat zwei Schwächen: Erstens ist auf beiden Seiten des Spielleiterschirmes kaum die Möglichkeit zum Planen der Szene gegeben. Der Charakter kann an der Tür schließlich kaum absehen, welche Fähigkeiten er im Inneren benötigen wird. Er kann außerdem nicht wissen, wie lang die Szene ist.

Er soll sich also von Anfang an auf eine bestimmte Aktion beschränken und dabei noch rätseln, wie er wann welche Punkte ausgeben soll, ohne dabei ein vernünftiges Maß zur Kalkulation zu besitzen. Der Spielleiter wiederrum kann im Voraus nur schwer die Aktionen seiner Spieler einschätzen, was in einer Einteilung in feste Szenen eine dramatische Schwäche ist. Hier ist extrem viel Erfahrung und Flexibilität von Nöten, wodurch aber nicht der gesamte Schaden abgefedert wird. Schließlich muss der Spielleiter immer die verbliebenen Raises im Blick behalten und seine Ideen darauf beschränken. Spontane Einfälle, oder bei schlechten Würfen sogar geplante Elemente, können eventuell nicht umgesetzt werden. Zweitens ist die Anforderung die Herangehensweise für die gesamte Szene zu bestimmen in einem System mit Fokus auf Narrativität ein Unding, da es aus erzählerischer Sicht schlicht keinen Sinn ergibt. Wieso sollte der Charakter nur erschwert dazu fähig sein, innerhalb einer langen Szene seine Vorgehensweise zu verändern?

Die Einteilung des gesamten Spielablaufs in Szenen ist künstlich. Um cineastisch, eben filmisch zu scheinen, werden wie in einem Film, Szenen als Struktur des Spieles angewandt. Nur funktioniert Tischrollenspiel eben nicht nach Szenen, die wie im Medium Film nach einem Skript planbar sind. Das erzählerische Miteinander wird hier nicht gefördert, sondern in ein ungesund eng sitzendes Korsett gepresst. Die Entwickler begehen hier völlig unverständlicher Weise einen medialen Kategorienfehler.

Charaktererschaffung und Entwicklung

Einen neuen Charakter zu schöpfen, benötigt von technischer Seite wenig Zeit. Die Punkte sind schnell verteilt und auf dem Bogen notiert. Die Anzahl an gebotenen Wahlmöglichkeiten für den frisch gebackenen Weltenretter sind zwar begrenzt, dennoch lassen sich viele Wünsche verwirklichen. Wie für den Anspruch des Systems angemessen, fördert die Charaktererstellung die Beschäftigung mit dem Hintergrund des Helden mehr als das Jonglieren mit Werten. Darunter leidet auch die Balance. Die Backgrounds, also die wählbaren Hintergrundoptionen haben sogenannte „Quirks“, Eigenheiten des Helden, bei deren Anwendung „Hero Points“ zurückgewonnen werden können. Diese variieren aber sehr stark in ihrer Anwendbarkeit von Optionen, die quasi immer zur Verfügung stehen, bis hin zu Ausnahmen, für die sehr spezifische Bedingungen erfüllt sein müssen. Zwar ist der Gewinn dieser Punkte durch Quirks pro Sitzung auf eine Einheit beschränkt, trotzdem kann hier Frustration aufkommen.

Der Charakterbogen fällt ebenfalls negativ auf. Es ist für einige relevante Informationen schlicht kein Platz. Bei aller angestrebter Knackigkeit der Aufmachung hätte hier eine zweite Seite sicher nicht geschadet.

Während die Heldenerstellung halbwegs überzeugt, sieht das mit der Charakterentwicklung nach der Geburtsstunde schlechter aus. Diese funktioniert auf zweierlei Ebene. Einerseits über die persönliche Geschichte der Heldin/des Helden, welche eine bestimmte Anzahl an Story-Schritten hat. Ist das Ziel schließlich erreicht, erhält der erfolgreiche Spieler Erfahrungspunkte in Höhe der Schritte. Anderseits funktioniert dies auf gleiche Weise mit der Geschichte für die gesamte Gruppe. Auch dieses System wirkt durch seine vorher determinierten Schritte extrem steif und künstlich. Zwar besteht die Möglichkeit Schritte erst später festzulegen, das Absolvieren eines Schrittes ist aber recht vage gehalten. Außerdem bekommt der Spielleiter die schwierige Aufgabe, alle Geschichten im Blick zu behalten und relativ gleichmäßig zu entlohnen, heißt, diese auch in seinen Plot zu integrieren. Das kann gerade für unerfahrene Leiter eine ziemliche Zumutung sein.

Preis-/Leistungsverhältnis

Der Preis von mindestens 49,95 EUR ist für ein hochwertiges 300-seitiges Tischrollenspielbuch-Buch gehobener Standard. Das Grundregelwerk als PDF soll in englischer Sprache ab November kostenlos im Rahmen eines Kickstarter-Stretchgoals auf der offiziellen Seite zur Verfügung gestellt werden. Umso verwunderlicher und unerfreulicher ist es da, dass die PDF Version aktuell für 24,99 USD aktuell verkauft wird. Kollege Michael hat vermutet, dass sich Geduld beim Warten auf die deutsche Version von Pegasus Spiele auch aus preislicher Sicht lohnen könnte.

Erscheinungsbild

7th-sea-2nd-edition-cover-review-germanDas Erscheinungsbild des Bandes ist absolut vorbildlich. Die 303 Seiten sind in voller Farbe auf hochwertigem, dickem Papier gedruckt. Die Schrift ist gut leserlich und das gesamte Layout wurde übersichtlich strukturiert. Ein Index sorgt in dem ohnehin gut durchdachten Band für noch leichteres zurechtfinden. Die Illustrationen sind durchweg schön geworden und geben einen tollen Eindruck Théahs in all seiner Pracht. Sehr positiv empfinde ich die, in Rollenspielbüchern leider seltene, Darstellung von homosexuellen Paaren beiderlei Geschlechts. Außerdem ist der Stil der Illustrationen einheitlich und wirkt nie unpassend.

Fazit

7th Sea: 2nd Edition ist ein janusköpfiges Wesen. Einerseits ist da das freundlich lächelnde Gesicht, das mit einer tollen Spielwelt, mit reichlich Ideen und einem spannenden Setting punktet. Aus dem strahlenden Auge dieses Antlitzes schaut mich ein schön illustriertes und gelayoutetes Werk an, das zum Weiterlesen einlädt. Wäre es nur dieses Gesicht würde ich dieses System wirklich lieben. Doch unter dem schönen Schein lauert ein anderes Sein. Flach, leicht mager und irgendwie erzwungen künstlich wirkend, blickt das Regelwerk den Leser an.

Und an diesen nicht zu Ende gedachten Weltgesetzen, die Erzählung fördern wollen, dabei aber dem Spielfluss Eisenfesseln schmieden, scheitert der Band. Das System ist trotz der einfachen Regeln nicht wirklich für Einsteiger zu empfehlen, da die arg konstruierten Spielstrukturen gerade unerfahrene Spielleiter schnell überfordern könnten.

Für diesen Ersteindruck habe ich den Band gründlich gelesen und einen Charakter erstellt, sowie beispielhafte Situationen nachvollzogen. Eine Jungfernfahrt, also ein ausgiebiger Spieletest, der die vermuteten Schwächen im Regelwerk testen wird, folgt.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
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7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
by pawel t. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/17/2016 05:20:21

I love RPG. I play above 20 years. And I love 7th Sea. But I am fan, not fanatic. 1st edition, in my opinion, was (is) one of the best RPG ever. Intresting world and NPC, nice mechanics, loot of swordsman styles, sorceries, secrets... everything. Ofcourse some things need little change, but in all this system was great.

2nd edition is poor game for not requiring player and GM, for oneshot adventures. No equipment, no swordsman styles, no any personality. In 1st edition dueling was greate and uncommon; we spend even entire sesion on dueling tournament. In 2nd dueling are boring and no matter what weapon or style You use, it any time will be this same - cuting and slashing, and calculation of Rises. Secret Society are common and dont have nothing mystery. NPC are poor and boring - Villians have two number; it makes them very interested (!!!) Odd geography (I dont understeand why Montaigne is in Spain, Castille is in Itally, Eisen is in France, Vodacce i Turkey, and so on). 2nd edition in fact is a game XXI century... not simply and interesting but common. Common in any sense. Traits limitation are Ok, but... when Hero grow in one Trait, they must low in onther Trait. This is ridiculus. Hero cannot be strong and wise, or wise, brisk and and dexterous. Jack Sparow not exist in 7th Sea 2nd ed. Any Hero not exist; only common characters.

I am very disapointed 2nd edition. Only what interesting me now in this, is story, new places, and plot... but I not expect too much, after "secret society's". Before I wait for new places, lands, interesting NPC, and stuff (Sorcery, Swordsman School, and so) but now I know that they not will be. Two number characters, are nothing interesting, but plaintive(?). Swordsman School are useless, Sorcery are ridiculous (especially Eisen alchemy instead dracheneisen; yeah, but now dracheneisen are magic... tragedy). "New" Secret Sorcery if will be, will be common to.

So I, and my friends will by still play in 7th Sea... 1st edition. 2nd is misundersteanding. Creating by force something new only for creating, when older need only little changes and extending, is for me withouth sense. I have all books for 1st ed in pdf, and paper-form, and buy them with pleasure. But for sure not buy any book 2nd ed. It is lost money.

And finally. It is said in my opinion, that Mr. J.Wick dont ask player, about what need change in 1st ed, and change only bad things in 7th Sea, but throw to waste-basket entire 1st edition (especially mechanic), and create "new game". From 7th Sea remain only Names... and maybe little worlds.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
by Terry H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/10/2016 02:52:33

I have finally finished reading the 7th Sea 2nd Ed. I had backed the Kick Starter, and have played and reffed 1st Ed and 7th Sea is one of my favourite settings. I have not play tested the system, so this is more my opinions from reading the book.

While some things look familiar the game system has actually changed a lot from 1st Ed.

Characters are reasonably heroic at character creation. The character creation is very simple and the number of skills have reduced greatly. Ie down to 16 in total. The Backgrounds and skill points means you can actually have 1 rank in all of them and still have 4 points to boost some of them. But specialisation is useful as it impacts on what you can do with the skill. Ie skills with 3 ranks or more gain special advanatges. I have managed to recreate my 5 1st Ed 7th Seas characters pretty easily (not 100% but each has the right feel).

How the skills are used and combat are very different from 1st Ed. System is Stat plus skill plus bonus dice (d10s). Roll and add up to sets of 10 or greater. Ie 6 dice might be 7, 6,5,3,2,2 So 7+5, 6+2+2, this is 2 raises.

Stats have less importance than in 1st Ed, except for what you are trying to do with the skill will determine the stat. (GM advises the stat).

Rounds are based upon the Approach (ie what the GM describes and what the players decide which skill to use and how to use it) then initiative is based upon the highest numbers of raises achieved. Ie 4 raises goes before 2.

To act and succeed you spend 1 raise. You can spend additional raises to get better results, do more damage, achieve an objective or overcome a consequence (like damage). If you have 4 raises and do an action costing 1 raise, you then can act on 3, if you spend 2 raises on 4 you would act again on 2. Of you can use all your riases on one action and not act again.

As you are using the same Approach (ie skill) throughout the round, you have to think of inventive ways to use that skill if a situation changes. Or change to another skill but at the cost of an additional raise. (But there is not another roll).

Damage is very simple. You spend a raise for an action to do 1 damage, each additional raise does 1 extra damage. It doesn't matter which weapon you are using (unless it is a firearm). So a two handed sword will do same damage as a dagger, but would use Brawn + Weaponry skill, instead of Finesse + Weaponry. In theory you could use a non combat skill to cause damage if described appropriately. Ie use Panache + Tempt to flash a bit of skin to distract the brute squad so some fall over or stab themselves or the villain.

Characters resist damage by spending raises to counter the raise done by the attack. Eg a villain attacks using 1 raise plus 1 other to cause 2 damage. The person with Panache + Tempt could state they use 1 or 2 raises (if they have them) to blow a kiss to the villain causing them hesitate and therefore not attack or cause less damage.

Brute squads are still nasty as they do automatic damage equal to their current strength so a Strength 8 brute squad will do 8 damage unless reduced by actions of the characters. They however act at the end of the round unless they have a special ability.

The system is very simple but does require a bit of creative thinking, and is designed to advance the story line focus. Certainly its rules are based around story lines, ie many advantages are spend a hero point and succeed at doing something, like stopping a fight from happening, taking a NPC out of the scene.

Even character development and equipment is very concept driven. Ie to increase a skill from 2 to 3 requires 3 steps within a storyline, thus a major adventure of 5 steps gives 5 xp. (Probably 3 game sessions). Attributes are limited to a total of 15 (ie 2 increases beyond starting) which works out to an average of 3, also you can change your stat allocation as part of experience. increasing 1 stat up and another down as long as you don't go below 2. It is implied skills are limited to 5 ranks (from the character sheet and special advantages).

Money and equipment are also abstract, Ie rich advantage give 3 wealth at the beginning of a session. But it is a concept that you use to buy resources, bribe people etc. Characters don't have to worry about equipment or living as that is considered part of the game. While there is an Aristocrat background which gives to the rich advantage, in theory it is not needed to be a noble. Even the sorcery link to nobility is more abstract compared to the 1st Ed.

There has been some forum discussion around duellists being pretty powerful. They are, they can dish out a bit of damage compared to a standard fighter, on course costs 5 advantage points, but in doing so you know all there is for that school. I would have like to have seen some progression maybe limiting Maneuvers on wearonry ranks and the school. Thus there is a bit more of a diffrence between a journeyman and master.

Sorcery is a lot more accessable compared to 1st Ed especially Sorte is far more useful. There are on rolls required, pay the hero point and other costs and you activate the power.

Villains are also abstract Effectively a Strength and Influence which determine the pool of dice to roll. They can also get advantages which modifier the stats, and effectively customise the villain. A villain doesn't have stats or skills but the GM can add flavour to give a general feel of a Villain through their description and actions.

The nation books will be coming out over the next couple of years that add additional options and backgrounds.

However more than in 1st Ed you will need the right frame of mind to play and ref 7th Sea. I also see it more difficult for large groups especially from a GM point of view, and keeping track of the environment and description of actions could be tiring. Also from my experience groups of 4 players or more in a Role Playing mode as apposed to Dungeon/Monster killing means 1 or 2 people sit out of the game (especially if they aren't quick at developing descriptions of their actions).

The books itself is very beautifully presented, easy to follow and logical in layout. The nations have changed a little they still have much of the feel of original Theah. The old nation books still are useful and can be used until the nation books come out. However those use to the 1st Ed history have to consider 2nd Ed as a reboot rather than a sequel.

Ideally I would like to see the following: 1) an sample adventure like they did for the review but after rules were finalised. 2) More examples of actions and sample brtue squads, NPCs/Villians and monsters to give GMs more insight into preparing for games. 3) The Sorte deck option as part of the rules. The rule book refers to the website but the Sorte deck rules aren't there.

Note as the rule book came out very quickly after the kickstarter and was ready for GenCon so I can understand if some things were left out for later to turn the book around quicker.

Hard to give stars without testing the system. So 4 out of 5. Would have been 5 if it had the above included.

Overall the approach from John Wick and his team is to create a rules light, heroic swashbuckling system. It will be fun to do a play test some time.

That is my thoughts.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Shotgun Diaries
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/05/2016 12:31:28

I purchased this product thinkingit was a story. I was incorrect. It is more than that. It is a whole system for running a zombie campaign. I recommend it for any one looking fora fun one shot or quick start game. The rules aresimple but well thought out. Great work here.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Shotgun Diaries
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7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/30/2016 22:14:25

Loved it. Absofreaknlootley loved it. However, I'm not looking, as one reviewer wrote, to "tweak" my characters. What do I mean there? If you're looking for lots of dice rolling and using that perfect build to max your damage output, this may not be the game for you. If on the other hand you're looking for some good cooperative storytelling, then you owe it to yourself to give this game a good once over.

The general thrust of this game seems to have the story in mind much more than the baggages of rules. Obviously tweaking and storytelling both have their places at various gaming tables and can be quite enjoyable. This game just happens to cater more to the latter type of table rather than the former. If that's your table, this just may be your game....



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
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7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
by David F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/30/2016 05:10:29

I have backed this game on Kickstarter, I loved the 1st Edition of 7th Sea to death and I could not wait for the day when I got my fingers on it. And I am very, very disappointed by the final product. Now, I have to get this out right away: The art is amazing, the flavour and the setting is as good as the 1st Edition and it oozes creativity in so many ways that I truly like. Though here is the major problem: The rules are not fit for a long-time RPG. They seem to be made more for a small, 1 shot game like "Small Towns" or "Modern Fairy". They are very reductive, bland and focused on quickness over elegance. Especially combat has been "streamlined" down so much that fighting is handled in the exact same way as escaping a burning room or besting a storm and villains re no longer represented by individual character sheets, but rather by 2 numbers (Strenght and Influence) and their arcana (monsters get additional traits). Firearms are automatic hits that do dramatic wounds. Brute squads get slightly more variance, but they usuall fall to quickly to have personality. This completely removes the tactical element from combat. There is no more dice chain, no interuptions and no dodgint (since that is apparently boring). The attempt to remove slowness and possible confusion ended with an almost complete removal of effort on the player's side. It is completely viable to simply focus your hero points on the first few actions of a scene where you use a few different actions that yield the most dice and pray to Muffle to get the raises you need to push down the enemy. In this system, I simply don't see characters kicking over buckets of soap-water to change the villain's defense stat from "Parry" to "Ballance" and undermine their strenght. My next issue is the complete lack of inventory and belongings. The book states that it "does not matter what kind of weapon the hero wields" and only differentiates heavy or light weapons by having heroes use either brawn or finesse when using them. Speaking as a long time GM, it does matter to the players. Players love customizing and changing their weapons, giving them choices to tweak and nudge their equipment. 1st Edition only differentiated between "heavy", "elegant" and "fists" as well, but the nation books added weapons with special propterties (sich as the Zweihänder, magical blades, Castillian Steel aso). The Duelists Guild book even allowed you to add further tweaks, such as adding a different handle or using a heavy blade. Sure, those things can be done in the game, but they have no effect. It is just the player saying "my blade is special" and that was it. No change, no influece. That makes any customization of weapons feel very hollow. It also removes choices from the GM since I can no longer steal specific, beloved items from the players as a plot hook. (Players even have the choice go just "get back" their signature items by spending a hero point. No further effort required). Another rather misguided attempt at streamlining is the "Dramatic Sequence" system. Should the players decide to do a prolonged, risky endeavour, they enter the Dramatic Sequence. First the endeavour is set up, then players explain their approach, their rolls are chosen and then they use their raises to change the outcome of the scene when need be. The issue here is, again, a lack of choices. The example given in the book is about players infiltrating a party, some sneaking in, some gathering information on the streets and some just attending and questioning guests. The issue is that once the approach is set up, it is very difficult to rationalize players changing it on the fly. In this case, what if the one entering as a regular guest finds out about a secret in the basement and sneaks off to unveil it. Suddenly they use their "Panache+Etiquette" raises to crawl through the dust. Or what if the sneaking guy runs into the guard and pretends to be a drunken guest who lost his way. "Finesse+Athletics" to change the guard's minds. The game suggests that the GM uses their Danger Points to heighten the challenges when this happens but speaking as a seasoned GM, this WILL feel very arbitrary and mean to some plaers and GMs have limited Danger points. Lastly, the dueling system and the Sword Schools are terrible. Sorry, they just are. Progression in styles is completely gone. Players simply learn the style and its one bonus when they chose it. The devs explained that it was more about the character's personal journey and that they now should learn many styles and mix them to make their own. My answer: But now I can't become a true master anymore. When a player reached enough points to get to the next level of a school, they felt a true boost in their characters. They had something tangible to use in the next fight. This feeling of achivement is basically gone now. Influence is gone. Instead there is a corruption system. Every evil act gives the players corruption points based on how many they had before (1st act: 1pt, 2nd act: 2pt adding to 3, 3rd act: 3pt adding to 6 4th act: 4pt to 10). The GM rolls a d10 every time and when the roll is equal to or below the value, the character becomes a villain and the player loses control. I hate this. The loss of control over a character should never be handled by a dice roll. Moving on. Finally, Character progression is now tied to the character's personal story and how many "steps" on this journey they have made. Every character has one journey (or 2 if a special trait is taken). The end of the journey and the next step towards it is chosen by the player. To advance your character you have to have taken a certain number of steps on your journey. This (obviously) was supposed to give the players more agency in their character's decicions and goals and give them more control over the adventure. It also sets up a somewhat competetive climate among the players since it rewards players who aggressively pursue their goals and punishes those who help them by not giving them steps. The GM has no real way of rewarding the entire group, since GM stories are supposed to be kept seperately from the player ones. Ultimately, I will play the setting, but I will use the rules of 1st Edition. Many ideas and concepts of the game are amazing, but the rules really bog them down. I want to love this game and I am glad that I backed it, but it just won't love me back.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
by Peter S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/22/2016 00:06:06

I'm giving this 4 Stars.... for now...

Based on the test session I ran (which was admittidly off the cuff) the set up of the rules felt very odd. Fights felt strange, performing actions felt strange etc.

I feel like this strangeness/weirdness came from a few places., the first being that I'm more used too/like the random chance inherent in most systems and the "complete control" over scenes in 7th Sea 2nd Edition kind of threw me for a loop. The second place I feel the weirdnes comes from is that I may have "run it wrong" in a sense as I'm used to using the results of chance to aid in telling the story, here I need to base it around resource management... which is something new to me, so if I run it a few more times I may like it more.

Other than that though, the book is beautiful, the lay out is great and the rules are easy to understand. Also my group found Character Creation to be fun and evocative without being too time consuming.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
by Charles P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/19/2016 08:52:05

I really liked this book. Quite a few good story hooks built into the various Country descriptions.

The system seems really interesting for telling stories, instead of focusing on crunching mechanics.

It probably won't be a great system for people focused on heavy combat or simulation junkies, but as long as people know that going in, I believe they'll enjoy the system.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/18/2016 16:18:50

Finally a new version of 7th Sea. The PDF is nice looking and is easy to read. The rules are specifically designed to leave a lot up to the descriptive skill of the players and the GM, for better or worse.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
by Brandon D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2016 13:31:49

I've played a lot of different RPG's and I appreciate how rules can make or break a game. 1st ed. 7th Sea was hands down the best at swashbuckling. Sure it had flaws and required a lot of house rules, but the game mechanics and the emphasis on drama allowed for swashbuckling like no other game had ever achieved. For an example if you want to hop onto a cannon using your feet to direct it at a band of pirates, then just before it fires you grab a rope, swing past some gunfire, sneak a kiss from the captive noble woman (while still swinging) then land in front of the pirate captain to begin your epic sword fight... Then 7th sea would not only allow you to do so, but reward you for doing it! 7th Sea 2 modifies many of the previous game mechanics, adds a narrative spin to the rules, and updates the world of Theah. This isn't a shiny new cover with fixes to the old rules, this is an entirely new 7th Sea!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
by Anthony D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/13/2016 14:32:48

Like many others, I backed this the very moment I could and started devouring every detail I could. Without going into too much detail (check my blog for more thoughts and reviews), here's what I will say about 7th Sea without comparing it to the 1st Edition (that's for the blog).

(TL;DR: I'm giving the game 4 stars because it's solid, easy to use, versatile, has great potential, and is overall a good game even factoring in the flaws. Yes, I loved 1st Edition, no, it had little to do with influencing my rating)

The setting of 7th Sea is like our real-world Europe, only with a heavy dose of fantasy. What if England recieved the magic and glamour of King Arthur's court? What if Italy was ruled by men who use Machiavelli's "The Prince" as a rulebook? What if France had non-stop heroics like we see in The Three Musketeers? What if the monsters from fairy tales were real, and were roaming the dark, blood drenched countryside of Germany as it recovers from the Thirty Years War?

7th Sea answers all of this, and then some.

The game is built around the idea that you are playing a hero. You are supposed to ride the chandelier to another floor and trap the villains with it in the process. You should find yourself in a trap and have a clever means of escape. Getting hit should only cause a scratch that motivates you to greatness.

7th Sea's mechanic is simple to learn and rather versatile, relying solely on d10s and a flexible pass/fail mechanic. Character creation is a breeze (seasoned 7th Sea players had characters finished in minutes, newbies took just a hair longer), and action scenes move at a rather fast clip.

Magic is handled well here, requiring the expenditure of a Hero Point (tokens you get by doing awesome things or playing up weaknesses/quirks), but you can do amazing things such as turning into an animal or teleporting to another location.

The art is great (even if it is a bit odd at times), it is a full-color rulebook that makes great use of colors and artwork, and is pretty well laid out.

The game is easy to learn, easy to tweak, and has some worthwhile mechanics that improve it's versatility (I'm in love with the Villain mechanics of Strength and Influence, honestly).

Like others have mentioned, it's not perfect (no game truly is). It has a number of typos that still survived the editors and the revisions offered by backers (I found a number of typos I called out that are still there). Some parts of the book feel a bit unfinished, some on purpose (i.e. "the decision is up to the GM"), some possibly accidental (feels like some areas are lacking and had things on the cutting room floor). Some rules are a bit odd, such as how magic is "scaled" (only one magic has "ranks" for abilities, while the rest simply give the power in question), which may leave players and GMs a bit frustrated. There are also some elements of the setting that are lacking or left vague, making it a bit difficult to run the game out of the box without having access to many elements of the 1st Edition setting books (I find myself often picking up the 1st Edition corebook or nations books for information during my games and hoping they won't be changed too drastically).

There are more books coming, and I am hoping that, going forward, they will help fill in the gaps we have in this book and improve upon the product quality.

That said, I will give this game 4 stars. It's a great game with a solid foundation, a strong and passionate fanbase, and some great talent behind it. While it may have angered some fans of the 1st Edition, I found many of the changes refreshing, and the changes I'm wary about can be easily changed. The game is also versatile, allowing for easy modifications or hacks (I'm working on a Dishonored hack that is moving along surprisingly well).

Is it a perfect game? No, it isn't, but it's a great game for anyone who likes swashbuckling, stories of derring-do, and fantasy.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
by Sean M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/09/2016 13:10:31

I backed this game on Kickstarter and after reading the new rules I love the new rules and lore



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
by James S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/03/2016 23:24:55

As you will no doubt notice, I don't normally review games. I am doing it here however to address some of the compliments and complaints that have been said here by others. As you can see, I did not give this a five star review. That is not to say it isn't a great game and rather quick to pick up. Nor is it saying that this game doesn't have its flaws. In truth, the dream of a perfect game for every setting is a pure fantasy andf those that believe they have found it are deluding themselves.

The reason for my four star rating has something to do with what a person wrote in the one star review here. They called this game a fan-fiction. It's not. It is also not the game that many of us fell in love with back those any years ago. What it is in many ways is a love letter to all us fans of the original setting and a way for us to introduce new friends to this world we have waxed poetically about for the last several years.

That being said, there are those that have felt betrayed by the fact that the game doesn't follow the trend of having every nuance explored and it being a hundred percent faithful to the original. Most of the gameplay and much of the fluff has been rewritten with a whole nation added to the continent of Theah and the game being pushed away from the ultra detailed minutia oriented character creation and obsessive game balance towards what it was trying to convey in the first place. A game where you play as a cinematic hero.

Is this game for everyone? No, but then what game is? It is a niche that I hope to introduce my friends to and share an adventure on the high seas for a long time. A thanks to the good folks at John Wick Presents and here's to a good journey over the next several months.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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