The second edition of 7th Sea was localized in Italian by Need Games in 2017, the year in which he also won the Role of the Year award. This is the revised, corrected and rewritten edition of the famous cape and sword game written by John Wick, Jennifer Wick and Kevin Wilson that won the Origins Award 1999. Many agree that this second edition, published in the original language by John Wick himself (before) and Chaosium (after) has shown that he has learned from all the mistakes of the first.
In 2015, after having founded his publishing house John Wick Present three years earlier, the author managed to get hold of the rights of the setting he created, launching an impressive Kickstarter campaign at the beginning of the following year. The success of over one million and three hundred thousand dollars gave Wick the push it needed to give life to the incredible world of Théah again.
From April 2, 2019, the rights were sold to Chaosium, with John Wick who remained the main curator of the product line and author of the game.
The world of 7th Sea closely recalls 7th century Europe, but winking at the magic and all the legends that circulate in our wonderful European culture. Théah, the name of the main continent of the immense planet of XNUMXth Sea, was recently overwhelmed by the War of the Cross, a religious conflict that destroyed the economy of winners and losers and impregnated the earth with the blood of the fallen.
Despite the main religion of the continent, the cult of Theus, is based on knowledge and reason, there is no shortage of extremists and inquisitive orders capable of making even the most devoted of believers shiver.
Each nation on the continent has its own unique magic, which recognizes the blood of those born there and responds to its commands. Obviously not everyone can access witchcraft but it is admirable that it is not transversal to the territories but particular and intrinsic to them.
The most important legend of the game world is that of the seventh sea, a place that is said to have been reached by a few and which allows wonders of various kinds. Many legends surround this strange sea, reachable from anywhere and nowhere, and it will be up to the Heroes to reveal its secrets.
Structure of the Manual
The manual of the second edition of 7th Sea consists of 304 pages, divided into an initial story that serves as an introduction to the mood and the game world and nine subsequent chapters, which deal with all the information necessary to give a smattering on different topics.
Everything that is narrated offers ideas for the game, without ever imposing a precise path on the players to follow. 7th Sea is almost an engine of stories in a vast world and everything to explore, without dogmas or preconceptions, which invites players to take their sword and go on an adventure.
The game card, present in the final part of the manual, offers the look quite clear and all in all simple. Few numbers, no builds and attention to the character's abilities and history rather than damage.
7th Sea has one of the best character creation chapters I've ever seen, great for all those novice players who don't yet understand what characterizes a character to make him live. Nowadays I often find myself following it, even if only mentally, when it comes to creating a new card for any game.
After briefly presenting the main origins of the continent of Théah, which will then be expanded by the many supplements already published, the manual invites us to reflect on:
The concept of the character is soon explained with easy questions: is he a nobleman? A commoner? A knight from an ancient family? A swordsman recently victorious in any tournament?
To help players discover the character concept, especially the first few times, it is good to use the twenty question game. From the first questions, the real ones accepted to give a vague figure to the pg, we move on to much more subtle questions such as "How would the hero's parents describe him?" which serve to refine the details of a person. If we want, this approach is perhaps the slowest but most thorough one to create a wide-ranging program.
Each hero has five traits.
- Vigor that measures physical strength.
- Thanks that defines agility and elegance in the movements.
- Resolve that defines the character's willpower and stamina
- Insight that describes a character's mental abilities, how fine his reasoning and how sharp his thoughts are.
- Panache describing the charm and charisma of a character.
Each hero begins his first story with all traits at level 2 and two points to distribute.
The choice of the origin of the Hero will influence the Traits with two additional bonuses, this can obviously lead to create small builds, if we want to, but soon the players will realize how to optimize the character in 7th Sea is not worth the effort .
Each character at his creation chooses two backgrounds from the list, which establish what he has done before seeking adventure and justice. Some origins have prerequisites to be met in order to access them but, once read, the players will perfectly understand the reason for these limitations. In 7th Sea the story you want to tell counts, not the character build.
Skills are the Hero's abilities outside of his Peculiarities and Benefits. They are generic skills that can be declined in many forms just to not limit the narrative. At creation, a character has ten points available to increase the skills provided by the background or to buy other ones. During the character creation phase it is not possible to bring an ability beyond grade three.
The advantages are characteristics that make the hero unique and extraordinary. In 7th Sea, players play exceptional people, able to face hordes of enemies with a smile and charm, leaving only a few scratches. It is therefore normal for such individuals to possess unique qualities. Players get benefits from their backgrounds and have 5 points to buy more.
Heroes are led by fate, this is what the witches of Vodacce say. Upon creation of the character, each hero receives a Virtue and a Hubris and they do not have to belong to the same Arcanum. Once per session, both can be activated to receive Hero points or other effects. For those who are bold enough and daring, there is the possibility of extracting the two arcana with the deck of fate.
Each 7th Sea campaign has its own story to carry on, an Evil one to deal with and probably the whole world as a stake. All this does not mean that the Hero has no outstanding accounts, a dream or a promise to keep. By talking to the GM and creating a good story with him, the character will be able to grow through the very acts of the path he has chosen. Once the story is over, he will get what he set for himself and choose a new mission.
Once all these aspects of the Hero are established, the time has come to focus on less important subtleties from the point of view of what it can do but which will make roleplay much more fun. These details vary from the Hero's Fame to his membership in a Secret Society, passing through the wealth and languages he knows. Do not neglect any of these details, as they may serve you in your stories.
Action and Drama
Every time the character takes an uncertain and potentially dangerous action he will run a risk. It is at this point in the game that the dice make their appearance. First the player will declare his “what do I want to achieve? How do I try to get it? Which traits and abilities best reflect my action? ”, Are all questions to ask yourself when facing a Risk.
At this point the player builds the pool of dice to roll, using only d10, based on the sum of traits and abilities that come into play. By pulling them, the player must form with the results of the 10. Every 10 obtained is an Increment. Increments are used to perform actions, overcome consequences, create or exploit opportunities and much more! They are essentially the game money with which you pay for any risky action the Hero intends to do. Aside from this single rule, there are very few things the Hero can't do. Being a swashbuckling role-playing game, inspired by the eponymous literary genre, readers will be able to imagine what feats their hero can aspire to.
Supplements and new manuals
The basic 7th Sea manual is just the milestone around which to build your campaign. Based on the imagination of the group and the resourcefulness of the characters, the least explored corners of the world can be reached. To date, Need Games has brought to Italy:
- Heroes & Villains, a compendium with eighty npc ready for eyes occasion
- Pirate Nations, a supplement that expands the aspect of piracy and navigation
- Nations of Théah, Volume I, a manual that deals with the western nations of the continent
- Nations of Thèah, Volume II, a manual that expands the Eastern Nations of the continent
- The Empire of the Crescent Moon, a manual that faces a continent bordering on Théah
- New world, a manual that takes us to the continent overlooking the Atabean Sea
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