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Old 01-16-2022, 10:41 AM   #1
DAT
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho
Default Thoughts on The 7th Sea RPG

Was thinking about doing a Fantasy Swashbuckling Pirate game. The 7th Sea was mentioned by some folks online, but they didn't really give a clear impression if the game was any good.

So for anyone who is familiar with The 7th Sea:

What are your thoughts/impressions?

How is the setting?
- Fun?
- Too complex/simple?
- Sufficient for role playing and interesting character backstories?

How is the game mechanics?

How well do swashbuckling, sorcery/magic, and guns work together in the setting?
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Old 01-16-2022, 10:15 PM   #2
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Thoughts on The 7th Sea RPG

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAT View Post
Was thinking about doing a Fantasy Swashbuckling Pirate game. The 7th Sea was mentioned by some folks online, but they didn't really give a clear impression if the game was any good.

So for anyone who is familiar with The 7th Sea:
My qualifications are minmal but no one better suited seems to be rushign forward so I thought I'd speak up.

I bought the 7th Sea Player's book many years ago (like 20) and was not personally satisfied with it and put it away so thoroughtly that I have no idea where it is.

From what I remember it was dice pool system (and probably like Legend of the 5 Rings whcih the designers did before 7th Sea). It was definitely on the far end of non-simualtionist with allegorically named attributes like Panache.

I think it may have had "Drama Dice" too. I now soem people who played 7th Sea before I joined their group and they some times mention it but they haven't dragged it out in the 18 years I've played with them.

I've dealt with other dice pool systems since and I think (from what I remember and have heard) 7th Sea that swashes get buckled whn you've got Drama Dice to spend or whatever the bennies were called bt may ahve been duller when those ran out.

The setting was a pseudo-European continent with lots of places for the Player's splats to be from but kind of dubious for pirate havens or ocean-going trade either.

Magic was based on which splat you belonged to and was fairly limited from what I recall.

By modern standards the mechanics were rather abstract by my reckoning, probably too complex for what you got from them and generally dated by current standards.

Personally I'd use either Gurps because I know it and it covers everything better than its' competitors or I'd use whatever edition of D&D had an adventure that covered what you want.

Coincidentally I played through a long (16 levels) Pathfinder game that was centered around pirates and while it may have had D&D-isms you don't want the mechanics didn't get in our way. I was the chaplain, surgeon and carpenter of the pirate ship The Lady of the Stars which mostly meant that I was the one to crucify the skeleton of one of our enemies on our anchor. Some one with more artistic talent put that image on our Jolly roger.

https://paizo.com/store/pathfinder/a...ullAndShackles

This was the (1st edition) Pathfinder Adventure Path that the GM used and I'd probably rate it as serviceable.

What this shows is that if you can run a good swashbuckling magical pirate game with some versions of D&D then system doesn't really matter much.
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Old 01-17-2022, 04:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: Thoughts on The 7th Sea RPG

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Personally I'd use either Gurps because I know it and it covers everything better than its' competitors or I'd use whatever edition of D&D had an adventure that covered what you want.
Quite some years ago I ran a fantasy campaign set on the Pearl Bright Ocean as described in GURPS Cabal. The player characters were an Atlantean privateer captain who was spiritually married to his ship; the Irish god of physicians; the Greek god of the winds; the spirit of Errol Flynn after his ascent to godhood (talking of swashbuckling!); a female rakshasa going on a wanderhahr; and a Canadian métis woman fleeing from Lovecraftian entities. We used a lot of cinematic rules and the mechanics supported a very cinematic style of play, even though this was before the 4/e generalization of ! skills. I particularly remember Flynn doing sword practice with the rakshasa and using Sword! to flirt with her . . .
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Old 01-17-2022, 09:29 PM   #4
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Default Re: Thoughts on The 7th Sea RPG

The setting is interesting enough if you want a slightly fantasy analog of mid 17th century Europe, where every nation's nobles have a different magic bloodline.

Mechanically, it's pretty much the same as Legend of the Five Rings roll and keep dice pool, with drama points to adjust things, and no death unless the player deems it dramatically appropriate. (Aside: It also oddly includes an NPC who's sole purpose is to punish players by temporarily removing their characters from play if they get too far out of the planned story narratively. Even shows up on one of the core book covers.)

Examples of the magic include:

Sorte: A 99.99% women only magic in Vodacce (Italy analog) that literally allows them to tug on the strings of fate to change events/people. Because of this, women are kept as uneducated as possible.

Porte: A portal magic bloodline among Montaigne (France analog), that lets users tear screaming and bleeding holes through space to fast travel.

Dracheneisen: Dragon Iron, found only in Eisen (Germany analog), is a clay type substance that when worked in a forge turns into the strongest metal analog in the world (and is quite literally ancient dragon droppings).

So, it has some interesting tidbits (the mechanics for Brute Squads (a mook system) was interesting), but some of the cringe inducing aspects were a turn off for me.

Edits: There are no equivalents to the Caribbean or other major island areas for traditional piratey games, it's much more focused on the sort of political situation among nations, and searching/fearing the aliens that also seem to exist (had existed?) in the setting. So plenty of alien artifacts that do whatever the GM wants them to do sort of thing.

Even the title 7th Sea refers not to an actual sea, but to some sort of supernatural ether type thing (can't recall exactly) that may or may not be real.

You can't get more than just barely into the Ottoman Empire analog as there is, as I recall, a literal wall of fire preventing anyone from the Europe analog form getting past to the larger world.

Edit 2: Note: my only exposure is through the handful of 1st edition books I've picked up. I cannot speak for how 2nd edition may have changed things.
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Old 01-17-2022, 11:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: Thoughts on The 7th Sea RPG

I am sure there has to be some reviews on YouTube that some people have done if that helps for idea.
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Old 01-18-2022, 04:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: Thoughts on The 7th Sea RPG

I played first edition back in the very early oughts, and I did not enjoy it much. To be fair, the game group I played with didn't click with me, so it may not entirely be the game's fault, but here are my beefs with it:

It's a pirate game that completely ignores the preconditions for piracy: seafaring trade, a surplus of desperate seafarers, and weak law enforcement. Snapped my suspenders of disbelief a bit. It does rather avoid this by, as having been mentioned, set most action on the mainland.

It keeps secrets from the players. The worst example (spoiler)
Spoiler:  
In a lot of ways, it feels like the last gasp of meta-plot driven '90s game design. 2nd edition may have changed this, but I haven't cared to find out.

The game mechanics IIRC were cute and somewhat interesting, but not enough to stick in my mind after twenty years...

In short, I can't recommend it based on my limited, and dated experience. If I were doing a "fantasy pirate swashbuckling game", I would Start With Earth and just run with the historical Caribbean and go wild with it. System wise I would almost certainly use GURPS, but Savage Worlds also does a dandy job for swashbuckling action.
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Old 01-18-2022, 10:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: Thoughts on The 7th Sea RPG

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Originally Posted by Apollonian View Post
I would Start With Earth and just run with the historical Caribbean and go wild with it. System wise I would almost certainly use GURPS, but Savage Worlds also does a dandy job for swashbuckling action.
I've found that the Savage Worlds licensed setting book/stand alone* rpg Pirates of the Spanish Main to have a good, low level version of this that isn't hard to convert to almost any other system.

*Akin to the Powered by GURPS books.
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Old 01-19-2022, 07:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: Thoughts on The 7th Sea RPG

brutally honest opinions on 7th Sea as a system
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Old 01-21-2022, 07:53 PM   #9
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Default Re: Thoughts on The 7th Sea RPG

I've read the rulebook. The only thing I liked was the "Print the Legend" take on Early Modern Europe.

The setting has little or no reason for trade and vast armadas of pirates to prey on the non-existent trade.

Frankly, just use a good swashers system and set up a hyper glamorous Europe with incredibly rich trades to both the east and west indies.

Path/Book magic would suit the setting.
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