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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.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
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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.

[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....

[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.

[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.

[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.

[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.

[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!

[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.

[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

[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.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
by Michael R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/03/2016 13:59:18

Backed this product on Kickstarter based on pure potential, which it more than realized. 7th Sea (Second Edition) is streamlined for fun, fast and interactive storytelling. It embraces players making decisions and collaborating with the GM.

Most of the core rulebook is focused on setting, conflict, and character creation/development (you know, storytelling); with helpful hints for the GM througout. Mechanically, 7th Sea eschews lots of rules and tables to keep the game fast and fun. It is designed so your characters begin as demi-gods and improve from there: players/groups who enjoy grindy dungeon crawls may find the lack of peril (and relative lack of loot) unfulfilling. For myself, 7th Sea's focus on being able to say "yes" to the players is delightful.

Incredibly pleased with this product, looking forward to the upcoming source books!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
by fione n. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/01/2016 16:50:42

When John Wick started his Kickstarter campaign for a second edition of 7th Sea, I was as excited as seemingly half the internet. I backed his campaign and was rewarded with a preview pdf. When I got it, it looked very promising - for an early alpha stage. Shortly after, I got a second version, with a few spelling mistakes less. Still looked promising, with still a lot to do. Two weeks later, it went into print.

I still struggle with the idea of something that got so much support to get thrown on the market in such an unfinished fashion. John Wicks collected enough money to pay an army of writers for several years. Did he use it? Not on the rulebook, at least.
This book is not a rulebook for an RPG. IT IS A FANFICTION.
Yes, it has interesting ideas. Like I said, SO much potential. But to understand even a part of it, you have to know and love the original. There is no way for new players to join in the magic of 7th Sea with this book. The texts contradict the rules, particularily in the sorcery department, some information appears at multiple sections of the book, some does not appear at all. I have never been so disappointed in an RPG rulebook before.

[1 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/30/2016 05:26:03

To call this a 2nd Edition feels like a bit of a misnomer. John Wick has taken the old 7th Sea, tossed the old Roll and Keep mechanics overboard, and rewrote much of the setting and history to create this new version of 7th Sea. As such, it feels more fitting to use a term more commonly applied to movies: a reboot.

A More Cinematic Experience

7th Sea's new mechanics lend itself to a style of play where the player characters are Heroes with a capital "H". Men and women with amazing skill and luck to live out larger-than-life adventures.

The new system is fairly straightforward. Upon declaring the character's action for the turn, they roll a pool of d10's determined by the sum of their Trait and Skill. Players then assemble sets of 10 from the results of the roll, with each set counting as a Raise. These are then used to "buy" narrative achievements such as successfully meeting a goal, taking advantage of an opportunity, or just avoiding harm.

On the GM's part, their job is to present the players with Opportunities and Threats within the scene, each one building towards a cinematic encounter between the Heroes and the opposition, be it a horde of goons, a devious trap, or the villain of the story.

You're not the World, but a Stage

GMs who cleave towards a more simulation-based philosophy of running a game will find themselves somewhat challenged by the chief conceit of 7th Sea second edition. The game is engineered so that your role is not that of a director rather than that of a referee.

Threats and Villains exist so that you can highlight the Heroes. And even the character creation ensures that the Heroes know exactly what they're getting into, and how they'd like each tale to end.

This eliminates a lot of the creative input from the side of the GM, and those who are used to a more open, sandbox method might find themselves lost as to how to properly run the game.

Pretty as it gets

I will say that the artwork and layout for the book is gorgeous, with full colour illustrations and easily readable text. The lack of over-sexualised images is a major plus, and I found a few pieces that took into account the LGBT fans as well, something that I feel will be very much appreciated.


7th Sea Second Edition isn't an old car with a new coat of paint. It's a familiar shade of paint on a brand new car. If you're looking for more of the old, then you might want to be prepared to be surprised.

However, if you're looking for a game that delivers rope-swinging swashbuckler-y fun with the ability to take your own story by the reins, then this is the game for you. John Wick clearly knew what he wanted to do with the game, and didn't waste time killing sacred cows to make it happen.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
by Isaac R. D. J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/25/2016 10:36:29

7th Sea Second Edition is a rules light story focused swashbuckling rpg. Return to a reimagined Theah as you sail the seven seas, duel vicious villains, search ancient ruins, and attend grand balls wrought with political tension. This edition uses D10s like the original, but with a different twist. The book also covers everything in one beautiful high quality pdf that took the first edition two books to go over. I am extremely happy with my purchase and heartily recommend 7th Sea Second Edition to anyone.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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