Seven Leagues has converted me from a loyal White Wolf fan of many years; having revealed to me what a REAL 'Storytelling' game is all about.
The Setting, Systems, Characters, and other concepts flow together seamlessly through the unique utilization of Narrative Language. Even at Character Creation, the player's Description of their 'Protagonist' is what matters most. From character creation and throughout the 'Tale' (adventure/story), the most vital component is the use of Collaborative Narration (Very similar to what 'Stunting' is from popular White Wolf games- except here it is the core mechanic).
There are only three numerical values of the Seven Leagues character called 'Virtues'- representing intellectual, charismatic, and physical faculties. However, the player's DESCRIPTION of their character and actions determines how they can use these values. For example, an Ogre with the physical Virtue of 'Hand' rated at seven- might be very good at smashing things and standing up to grim punishment, but is probably not very nimble and acrobatic. Conversely, an Elf might also have a Hand at Seven but it may represent dexterity and agility instead of brute strength. A twelve-sided die is rolled and one of the character's Virtues is added, along with any modifiers awarded by the 'Narrarator' for good 'embellishments' by the players, and other circumstances in the story. If the sum is Thirteen, the Protagonist is Successful. Alluding to the above example, if the ogre is trying to dance his way across a high-wire, the Narrator will probably give the player a negative modifier because of the difficulty of the feat for an ogre.
Characters are further developed by special abilities and hindrances called 'Charms' and 'Taboos' (Player created descriptors like "Nature Magic" or "Turns to Stone in Sunlight", for example). Due to the uniqueness of the system, one charm isn't necessarily more powerful than another because conflict resolution depends on the narrative description of how they are used. The book gives an example of how Odyseuss intimidates Circe (who has a charm allowing her to shapechange humans) because of the descriptive applications of the character's talents.
The Setting for Seven Leagues is meant to take place primarily in Faerie, although there is some text devoted to mortals entering Faerie and creatures of Faerie entering the mortal world. The setting is elegantly detailed and truly remarkable compared to other game's grasping efforts to make Faerie a fun and playable setting. The different lands in Faerie are called 'Provinces' and they have a few narrative descriptor words that can give players a bonus to their rolls if they use the descriptor words in any of their embellishments during play. Many colorful Provinces and Antagonists are detailed in the Setting section of the book, from the archetypal "gloomy forest", to sentient animals.
Because of the nature of descriptive language being the fundamental element in Seven Leagues, it will probably appeal more to intellectual and mature players. It is "A Writer's RPG", in my opinion, "A Storyteller's RPG". In addition, the Narrator is entrusted with a lot of power as he/she is the arbiter of narrative modifiers given to players (which remember, are more important than the character's numerical values), so an honest and mature Narrator is required.
I would have liked to see a few more examples of play as I still have a couple of questions for certain situational conflicts. But perhaps they can be answered in an appropriate game forum.
Overall, I believe this to be a truly phenomenal game that can truly inspire the reader (and other game designers) as to what a Storytelling RPG really ought to be. After downloading the demo, I was thrilled. After playing a couple sessions, my hopes were confirmed. Seven Leagues is graceful and fantastic! Ingenious!
[5 of 5 Stars!]