7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition) $29.99 $24.99
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7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
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7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
Publisher: John Wick Presents
by Marc S. M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/02/2017 20:53:25

Some context first: I never player first edition so I cannot compare it with the old material (no fanboy resistance), and I backed the kickstarter.

Now, my impressions:

After reading it for the first time, my mind wasn't able to assimilate the game system. I liked a lot because it's simplicity and because it was narrative oriented, but the change of paradigm was so strong that I didn't assumed it. It was like seeing a Lamborgini Diablo and having its keys... wow, what a car but... uuuh... will I be able to drive it?? How?? I was very afraid to use the system to my players, and also I was afraid to not knowing how to use it as a game master and doing it bad.

I also disliked the lack of equipment and description of weapons, armors and tools of the setting. I had to search what a zweihander was, and seeked videos in how it is used. I think items have a personality, too, and that may affect the story. I dind't know how to manage it.

Until two weekends ago, when I played a one shot demo as a player... and I enjoyed it a lot. I was playing an Inismore Bard trying to make his friend a reputated hero... and it was the character I enjoyed the most of all characters I ever played. EVER.

So I game mastered that same adventure to a pair of friends, with pregenerated sheets: an Eisen Krieger and the Inismore Bard. I was afraid, and I warned them that the game would be a strong change of paradigm (they are players used to Rolemaster and Dungeons and Dragons).

The result was fantastic. They enjoyed a lot the game. When oportunities were first introduced, a player asked me "wait, you're telling me I can decide what happens in the scene? Seriously?". I told them "well, if it is appropiate with the story and the narrative, yes, you can". He was overjoyed, and used it to make the narrative very interesting.

They enjoyed also the combat system. When they saw that narrating what they heroes did to overcome the brute squads gave them extra dice, they enjoyed explaining the movements of their heroes... and surprisingly, they kept on doing so forgetting to claim me the extra dice: they simply were inmersed in the narrative.

I found myself comfortable with the system, with less weight in my shoulders, rules and narrative speaking, and it was easier for me to keep the story on.

When I asked the players their impressions, they insisted in how they liked feeling part of the story, to participate in the narrative and can decide events in a scene and not only reacting at what the GM throw them. They also liked narrating themselves what they heroes did and how. They asked me for another session. They want to keep playing the adventure and the game. Yay!! ^^

Now the fear is gone. The change of paradign is still there, but I am re-reading the rules and I understand them a lot more now. And the equipment? Well, the Eisen player wore a plate armor on the chest, a panzerhand and a family shield that used to narrate how his Eisen Krieger bashed some brutes to the sea... and he didn't care that there were no rules for the shield nor the armor. And me, neither.

So, I reccomend it? It depends. Want to play simulationist? Forget this game. Want crunch? Forget this game. Want tons of pages describing how to rule everything? Forget this game. You hate FATE-like systems? Run away from this game, now.

You want light rules and share the weight of the narrative with the players? Take it. Want to be narrative? Take it. Don't care about initiave modifiers and damage reductions and calculations about how difficult is to be hitted? Take it. Do you see your players as your heroes? Take it. Do you want a system that helps to focus on the history with rules oriented on helping you instead of slowing the pace of the story? Take it.

You are warned: you will love it or you will hate it. If you remember that there is a BIG change of paradigm, things will be easier.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
Publisher: John Wick Presents
by Maxime L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/27/2017 09:27:07

TL;DR: 7th Sea 2nd edition is a strange mix of old and new content which doesn't always work but looks promising.

When you hear 2nd edition for most games, you usually expect a rules update and maybe some small setting adjustments, but 7th sea took a much more radical path. The very land has changed, as we are introduced to a new map (with a whole new country) and briefly told of new continents. Some of it is welcome - many had ponted out in 1st edition how unlikely it was for piracy to become prevalent without a New World of sorts. Other parts are baffling - when you think Swashbuckling Europe, is Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth really one of the top ten countries to come to mind? What about, say, Portugal or the Netherlands ?

Some might point at how a version of Portugal is hinted at in the Explorers Society section - but that's only what it is, hinted at. And the reason why is sadly simple - the major part of the setting section is just a rehash of 1st edition. The authors clearly have many changes in mind - and, now that Pirate Nations has come out, we can see some of these - but weren't bother to include them in the core book. And, I'm sorry to say but this just lazy. On top of this the whole history section of the 1st edition is missing, meaning you get a partially updated, not fully explained setting. A good example is "Anno Veritas", the year 0 of the Thean Calendar, which is mentioned in the introduction - and never explained anywhere. It's easy to guess even for newcomers (it corresponds to the arrival of the First Prophet) but it's still surprising not to find it explained more clearly. I think authors should have started from scratch rather than rebuilding from an edition they're otherwise trying to distance themselves from.

It's far from all bad though - for one, the book is absolutely gorgeous. It's also more inclusive in terms of sexuality and ethnicity, and the new system looks good if a bit quirky. It's just that after a record-breaking kickstarter campaign, I expected better results. Thankfully as more supplements come out I think we will see more clearly the direction the game is intended to take.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
Publisher: John Wick Presents
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/21/2017 13:36:22

The opening fiction sets the scene for the sort of epic swashbuckling action this game inspires... indeed the cover layout, looking like a film poster, suggests the cinematic exploits the party can perform. Wit, swordplay, acrobatics, poise and sheer adventurous fun is what this game is all about!

Chapter 1: Welcome to 7th Sea sets the scene. Swashbuckling, sorcery, piracy, adventure, diplomacy, intrigue, romance, revenge, archæology and exploration all have their place in this almost-17th-century-Europe where new ideas challenge accepted dogma, lost secrets are coming to light, and dramatic swordplay carries the day and often wins fair lady too (unless she's the one waving a sword around...). There's a brief explanation of what role-playing is all about, and how the party are designed to be Heroes with a capital H - they may be rogues or rascals, they may dice with the law, but they are not evil people. We'll leave that to the Villains, thank you very much. There's a very brief overview, a summary, of major powers in Théah, the world in which this game is set, then it is on to more solid material.

Chapter 2: Théah is a glittering sweep of the world, introducing the various nations, an essay for each seeking to encapsulate the national 'spirit' - even if the concept of a nation is quite a new-fangled thing, Théah's only had them for the last hundred years or so. Culture and clothing, currency and customs, art and music and religious belief are all covered. We also learn how each nation is governed and defended, and how they get on with the other countries. It's an overview, whole books can be written about each one, but it serves well to give an idea of what each nation is about. If you are familiar with the first edition of 7th Sea, much will be familiar... but read it through anyway, this is fresh and well-written (and beautifully illustrated), and there are of course changes, some subtle others more blatant, to make this a wholly-new game in a similar setting. There's also a wholly-new nation, the Sarmatian Commonwealth, which sounds a fascinating place to visit. Here you can also read about the Church in all her various forms, pirates and privateers, secret societies and even monsters...

Next, down to business with Chapter 3: Making a Hero. You've already read about the nations, here are one-page summaries explaining what Heroes that come from each are likely to be like. You don't have to stick to them, of course, but may find yourself a stranger even in your own land if you stray too far from the expected (unless you have an exceptionally good backstory, and even then that relies on people knowing it!). Then there's the nine-step process for creating your Hero. (It's billed as eight-step, but with a Step 0 that involves coming up with a concept before you start in on the game mechanics stuff!) To devise your concept there are twenty questions to answer which should help you understand who your Hero is and what makes him tick. You may not want to answer them all, you may not choose to share the answers with anyone else, you may even change them as you get to know him better: but it provides a starting point.

Once you have a handle on your Hero, you move on to getting some numbers onto that character sheet. We start with five Traits (Brawn, Finesse, Resolve, Wits and Panache), and use a point-buy system to discern strengths and weaknesses. Next, stir in the appropriate bonus for the nation that you call your own before deciding on your background - the stuff you did before you became an adventurer. These are your past, the things you were and did. They'll give you knowledge and skills, contribute to your backstory, but they are not likely what you are now, as the game begins. Note that Sorcery occurs more than once in some of the lists you can choose from under various backgrounds. It looks odd but it's there for a purpose: if you want to be a powerful sorceror you can choose it as many times as it appears. You then pick skills, again via point-buy. There are also advantages to be purchased, they help round out the character as well as providing, well, an advantage under certain defined circumstances. All straightforward so far... then comes arcana. Consider a Tarot deck, or at least the Théan equivalent, a Sorté deck. You choose (or may draw... John Wick Presents sell Sorté decks if you want one) a Virtue and a Hubris based on the twenty character cards in the deck.

Step 7: Stories is quite unusual and rather neat. This is where you work out, with the GM, the story you want to tell with your Hero. What aspect do you want to explore? What do you want him to accomplish? You can tell multiple stories, but only one at a time. For each, you need to decide on appropriate endings (there may be more than one), and decide on the first steps that you'll take to resolve the situation. From then on in, it becomes part of the ongoing plot. There are loads of ideas and sample stories here, but the best ones are probably those that you come up with for yourself. Finally, in Step 8: Details you put the finishing touches to your character. There's also an outline of a very abstract system for determining wealth (agonising over every last penny is inappropriate for a swashbuckler, after all), and a slightly flippant section on how character wounds are handled.

Character done, we move on to Chapter 4: Action and Drama to find out how everything works in the game. Task resolution uses the character's Traits and Skills to overcome a Risk - the action taken in response to a threat, or one which has a consequence for good or bad depending on the outcome. It all starts with a situation... and like all game mechanics, sounds more complex on paper than it is once you get the dice out and try it for yourself. There are plenty of examples to help you get your head around it. The complex bit is that you roll handfulls of d10s (based on the points you have in appropriate Traits and Skills for the task in hand) and then seek to get the most Raises, or 10s... but it's not just rolling a 10, if you roll a couple of 5s, you can add then to give yourself another Raise. Raises can be used to accomplish the task, ameliorate the consequences (e.g. if you'd get a wound you can cancel it out with a Raise) or take advantage of an opportunity that presents itself. There's a discussion of how rounds work, for when more than one character is involved in whatever the Risk is (a swordfight say), and all manner of additional bits and bobs... but no 'dodges' - viewed as a bit unheroic, if you want to avoid being hit take action to get out of the way and describe that rather than saying thay you are dodging! You can fail on purpose, too, getting a Hero Point and not rolling any dice at all.

All this has the potential to make what should be a thrilling action scene horrendously mechanical. Just remember that the key is in the descriptions you give of what your character is doing, and once the group is used to the game mechanics and you don't have to think about what you are rolling when it all becomes much more fluid. When engaged in a scene other than one that produces a flurry of action, you can use a Dramatic Sequence instead - similar mechanics, but played out over a longer period, such as character actions during a party, attempting to charm or impress people. Or you may prefer to role-play this, but it does give a chance to those who maybe find it hard to come up with good lines to still have their character be impressive and witty! The chapter ends with some Game Master rules for things like handling Brute Squads - those hordes of minions villains always seem to have around - and Villains themselves as well as monsters.

Next up is Chapter 5: Sorcery. Denounced by the Vaticine Church, feared or hated by many... yet beguiling to those who seek power other than that of the sword arm. Many Théans have some kind of magic in their bloodlines, and although it is lumped together as 'sorcery' each type has its own specific rules and methods of operation. Most of it is associated with particular nations, woven deep into their culture and psyche, and most is extremely powerful. Handle with care, or you'll find yourself a Villain before you know it. There is a wealth of material here, some familiar to players of 7th Sea 1e but there is a lot of new stuff: it's more elegant and organised, more diverse, balances a blessing and a curse: that awesome power comes at a price.

Swordfighting is the lifeblood of 7th Sea so it's no surprise that Chapter 6: Dueling is devoted to every aspect of sword play. This covers the Duelist's Guild, the trade body for sword-waving folk, and the myriad of Academies where they learn their art. There are many different styles of sword-fighting, and keen fighters can learn several, mixing and matching styles to fit the occasion. Each confers a specific advantage when it comes to combat.

Next up, the other staple of swashbuckling adventure with Chapter 7: Sailing. This chapter provides information on everything from the skills needed to man a ship to the organisation of a crew and the difference between a pirate and a privateer. To get into true sea-dog mood there are nautical superstitions, then details of different types of vessel and notes on the different seafaring nations. Ships have histories too, mostly for flavour but they can confer game mechanical advantages as well. Information on carrying cargo and engaging in sea battles, as well as the monsters of the deep round out this section.

Then comes Chapter 8: Secret Societies. Most other things tend to be centred around the various nations of Théah, but the secret societies spread their tentacles across the known lands, embracing individuals of all nationalities and backgrounds who agree with their cause. Joining one confers benefits and obligations upon a character, and should never be embarked upon lightly. Characters may join a society during character creation or in the course of play if the opportunity arises. It adds loads of flavour and many ready-made opportunities for adventure.

Finally, Chapter 9: Gamemaster which opens by talking about that magical moment when a player stops talking about his character and says 'me'... and continues with ideas about how to make that moment occur in the games that you run. There are standard tropes here, the golden rule of having fun (with its rider that if someone isn't having fun, find out why and sort it out), prior preparation and planning, and the GM wearing three hats (author, storyteller and referee). These are all explained and used to provide ideas about how to run games of 7th Sea to best effect (and often will work whatever game you are running, so make for a good read anyway). There are loads of ideas for themes and plots, a look at how to take that plot idea and turn it into a well-crafted adventure and much, much more. It also touches on improvisation, character death, enforcing rules and other thorny matters. There are even suggestions for how to be mean to the characters, making the players feel that there are real risks to be taken even in a game where it's quite hard to kill player-characters off. There are ideas for handling players too, rewarding the good ones and coping with uncooperative or otherwise disruptive ones. All in all, it provides an excellent textbook for being a good GM.

Overall, this is a masterful retooling of an already enjoyable game. All the good bits of the original are here, but it's been refined into an elegant coherent package. If you want to swash your buckle in a mix of Musketeers and Captain Jack Swallow style adventuring, this is the game with which to do so.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
Publisher: John Wick Presents
by Yann E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/11/2017 04:40:28

Très bonne seconde édition de 7th Sea. L'article contient plusieurs PDF : deux cartes (une en couleur, une en noir et blanc), deux PDF du jeu (un en haute résolution, un en basse résolution) et une feuille de personnage.

Le jeu est lui même excellent avec un systeme qui encourage l'héroïsme et l'action.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
Publisher: John Wick Presents
by Sven K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/09/2017 09:52:35

Actually I am ashamed that I helped to finance that pice of crap. I am a big fan of 7th sea for 15 Years now and I love the World and the System. With the 2nd Edition you made everything wrong that you could, exept for one thing: the design (including the Map) is awesome. The rest ist … crap. First: resetting the World to 1668 is a slap in the face of all people who played in that World for years and all the history that happened. Let’s start with a small thing: you renamed Fauner Konrad Pösen (which is a Name that reflects strength) to Elsa … that ist he name of a Milk Cow … why? Thats stupid! You destroyed the great Vendel/Vesten conflict which was absolute intereseting to: „Well, they are all Friends“ … why did you do that? Destroying one oft he most interesting conflicts in a world is stupid. What is it with that crappy Commonwealth stuff? Why inventing a new realm? Why? And that silly history oft hat Realm. The last I want to speak about ist he System. You hat a great and unique System with the roll & keep System (okay L5R uses it too, but that is one oft he reasons why L5R ist hat good). The roll & keep System is absolutely great for a cinematic system in wich you have to dare something. Saying „i can do it better and more cinematic“ and then rase the stakes. What you made out of 7th sea here is a ordinary success-system like many other Systems (except instead of simply count successes you have to add dices to make successes), so that 7th Sea isn’t something special anymore. You may CALL the successes „raises“ but they aren’t raises, they are successes. And give a player an extra die because he discribes what the character is doing? How silly ist hat. The discribing is the most fun part of a Roleplaying game, to award that makes ist cheap. I won’t start to talk about the character building and all the other points that I don’t like (there are many!)

[1 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
Publisher: John Wick Presents
by ar e. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/28/2016 02:35:58

I never played the 1st Edition, so this review considers only the mechanics of 7th Sea 2E on its own objective merits. Also bear in mind that I have an interesting opinion of John Wick works in general, in that I tend to think the ideas are really unique, but the rules are a little too light for me. 7th Sea 2E, however, turned out to be just right for my taste.

In brief, if you want a fast-paced, action-oriented system without a lot of number-crunching, this is a great way to go. In essence, 7th Sea 2E expects both the players and the GM to actively tell a story, rather than react to strict rule conventions and what I like to call "gamey circumstances" (IE, "do the math, try to decide what your best course of action is").

The presentation of the book is nice and clean. The art is lovely, the world is intriguing, and everything is laid out in a fairly aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-read way. If you want rich lore, 7th Sea 2E is going to deliver. There's a lot to read, mind, but it does an excellent job of mixing various historical cultures with unique, original concepts to place you in a familiar, yet exotic world.

Now let's get to the meat: The gameplay. First, something I'm taking some getting used to is that the game isn't designed for traditional, hack-and-be-hacked combat. Actions are conducted in the framework of "Risks", which utilize a dice pool to generate "Raises" that can be used to affect the scene. You do react to circumstances at times (these elements are called "Consequences" and "Opportunities", which you buy off or simply buy, respectively, with Raises).

Otherwise, and generally speaking, you take action using Raises, and I emphasize this for a reason. In most systems, you choose your action, and your action dictates what you roll to determine success. In 7th Sea 2E, you take your action after you roll by simply spending a Raise. What do you want to do? Spend a Raise, and you do it. In this way, players alter the course of the scene itself more often than they react to circumstances.

"How do you know what to roll if you take action after the roll?" This is the "Approach". Your Approach defines your general strategy for tackling a Risk, as well as what your dice pool will be. Anytime you wish to do something the GM judges to be outside the scope of your Approach, you have to spend an extra Raise. For example, if I approach a Risk saying "I cut my way through to the foul Count, my blade dancing like a dragonfly on the water." Clearly this is a physical, combative approach. But let's say the GM informs me during the course of the round that a spear trap is headed for an ally, and I decide to grab it and brute force it from extending all the way. Very different than my Approach states; I'd have to spend 2 Raises to do this.

In general, Risks are conducted on one of two stages: the "Action Sequence" or the "Dramatic Sequence". Action Squences are quick, visceral periods of excitement, and where combat will generally take place. Dramatic Sequences are longer narrative periods, spanning hours, days, or even weeks. The danger of an Action Sequence is physical harm; the danger of a Dramatic Sequence is deciding how to spend your resources to get what you're after despite all potential obstacles.

The reason I say combat is nonstandard is because of the way it flows seamlessly with all the other action occurring within an Action Sequence. Could you do a typical back-and-forth combat sequence using these rules? Absolutely. But the design is to mix it up, swashbuckling style. For example, rather than simply saying "I swing my sword," you're expected to have the option of saying "I rush up to the balcony for a superior vantage point." Then, assuming your foe is still beneath you, your next action could be "I lunge from one balcony to the next, cleanly slicing the rope holding the large chandelier so it fall on the Count!" Now the GM might think "Hoo, that's probably 4 Wounds, easy." And he'd have to spend Raises for the Count avoiding the damage. Likewise, there may be situations where you flow from running across a rooftop, to fighting a foe, to continuing to run, to sliding down a rope onto a moving carriage, to dueling the villain atop that carriage, all in the same round of action.

NPCs are handled in a very concise, effective manner. They come in three forms. Brute Squads are your mooks. They come in groups and act all at once, bearing a single stat, Strength, and possibly a special effect they can employ. Strength is the number of people in the Squad. It's applied as damage to a single target at the end of a turn order, and every Wound sustained by a Brute Squad is the death of one of its members.

Villains are the extremely dangerous foes you'll face over several sessions. They have two stats - Strength and Influence - and can also possess the Advantages your PCs have access to. Strength and Influence together make up a Villain's dice pool, making them extremely dangerous to take on without thinking. However, Influence can be eroded through play, encouraging players to topple a villain by taking on his empire, slowly weakening him through several sessions. Conversely, Villains can attempt to regain Influence through schemes the players can attempt to interfere with. Honestly, it feels a little like a tabletop version of Shadows of Mordor's system of Orcish power structure, if you've played the game.

Monsters are a bit of a cross between Brute Squads and Villains. They have Strength ratings, and can also carry a few Monstrous Traits that make each monster uniquely dangerous.

The crux of NPCs, in my mind, is this: they are quick to make and play. This means a reduced burden on the GM, who can focus more effort on actually running a fun game. What makes each Villain unique isn't their character sheet, but how they behave. How they utilize their power and influence. It's very much a writer's system in this regard.

Sailing mechanics are also nice and streamlined, and poised to be easily house ruled if you find them a bit too lacking in complexity. You have a ship that has a tangible history, that can take so much punishment before it's useless. You have a crew that you can split into up to two Brute Squads to have at your disposal. You have Cargo, bought or looted, that you can sell for Wealth, which must be divided to your crew each session lest they grow mutinous. It's quick, it's clean, and it does its job well. (It also comes with a lot of fluff about seafaring in the world of 7th Sea 2E's setting, which helps those of us who have minimal knowledge about sailing to roleplay with.)

ALL IN ALL, I find myself thoroughly enjoying 7th Sea 2E. D&D it is not. If I had to compare it to anything, and I can only do so in terms of crunch, it's closest to Cypher or Fate. More crunch than Fate, less than things like Basic Roleplaying; roughly on par with Cypher's degree of number crunch, if just a tiny touch more. What it is, is a smooth, relatively lightweight system that emphasizes collaborative narration. I strongly recommend it for small groups who enjoy writing the scene as they play, or larger groups who want a little less bookkeeping.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
Publisher: John Wick Presents
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.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
Publisher: John Wick Presents
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.


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.


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.


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.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
Publisher: John Wick Presents
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.

[1 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
Publisher: John Wick Presents
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)
Publisher: John Wick Presents
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)
Publisher: John Wick Presents
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)
Publisher: John Wick Presents
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)
Publisher: John Wick Presents
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)
Publisher: John Wick Presents
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!]
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