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Honor + Intrigue $29.99 $14.99
Publisher: Basic Action Games
by Olivier R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/17/2012 12:08:49

It's a labor of love and it shows. It contains plenty of very good ideas to implement the swahsbuckling genre at your table.

The only thing that does not work for me (YMMV) are the dueling rules, which IMHO slow down combats and are thus not "in the mood". The good side is that you can get rid of them pretty easily. My personal approach is the following, depending on the players' mood:

  • if my players feel inventive, I tend to play the duels "wushu-style": the better they describe their actions (and the more flamboyantly the better), then I simply give them an according bonus to their "bladework". If the roll is successful, they get to describe their action;
  • if my players are not "in shape" (it is late at night, etc), then I made a set of cards that reproduce the listed actions. Each player draws a single card, activation costs 1 Fortune point, or it is free if they have that action already mastered. The cards represent an opportunity in combat to play this action. If the player feels at ease, (s)he can describe how it came to happen (and then rolls accordingly). If the player gives the DM room to make his combat more exciting, then he does not pay anything at all. Each round, each player draws a new card and gives the DM any used or unused cards they had the previous round. This keeps things flowing and exciting, while a more "tactical" set of rules tends to slow things down (at my table, YMMV).

I did not like the "detailed combat" rules, separated between main actions and "small actions" which can be used as reactions, etc. It reminded me too much of my old D&D days.

I also houseruled things to simplify a bit more social combat during "actual combat". I suppressed Composure and instead decided that successful social actions could remove lifeblood (difference between the player's roll ad the target's Flair) OR 1 advantage in combat (player's choice). This houserule gives one less thing for DM and player to keep track of, and tends to accelerate combats, while keeping flavour).

I kept the "classical" social combat, as I loved the example provided in the rulebook.

I am also in love with the stunts rule (which should be encouraged, actually it can by itself alone replace any dueling rules) and the firearms rules.

I also kept the whole Fortune Point system,which I'm really fond of. My houserules also encourgae players to act "in tone" in order to gain Fortunes Points, which they will likely badly need when combat happens.

I don't use the more "simulationist" rules found in the ships section (especially the ones about costs, and all that sort of things which I prefer to solve without rules).

I really liked the parts about secret societies, magic, monsters, etc, that provide a fresh "pulp angle" to a highly a-historic kind of game. And it's a good idea to keep it in a "real world basis" as digesting (as in 7th Sea) real-world analogues that feel at best clumsy is not my cup of tea.

All in all, it's a great game because if you find that a rule is too "detailed" for you, then it's easy to remove it in favour of a simpler one. The setting (although highly a-historical) is good too.

I can't stress enough that this book is a love letter to the swashbuckling genre, that gave me only one obsession after reading it: find some players and have a blast of daring actions!

[5 of 5 Stars!]