Call the Inquisition–Theoretical 7th Sea Heresy

I haven’t quite pulled together a post on a 7th Sea postmortem after running a campaign in a half in the system, but I am still sorting through some thoughts on the game.

One thing I have been thinking about was the flow of the game. Almost any game that uses a traditional initiative system has some latency every time you enter an action sequence (thanks to Misdirected Mark for the terminology). 7th Sea does not have too much more latency than any other game with traditional initiative systems, but it does have more latency than I would like for the general open ended story elements, and the fact that you generate raises for dramatic as well as action scenes.

Generating Raises

If you haven’t played 7th Sea, your stats and your skills are added together to create a dice pool, and then you make “10s” to determine your number of raises. Any leftover dice can be purchased with hero points by the GM to build up their danger pool.

Eventually PCs can get two raises for making 15s if they advance the right way, and the GM can spend danger points to force PCs to make 15s in order to generate a single raise. The highest skill levels allow 10s on the die to add an additional die to be rolled in the pool.

Proposed Alternate Method

I’m sure this was discussed in the Kickstarter, but I was a late adopter. Maybe it was because the designers did not want the game system to look too much like other die pool systems, but I think the resolution of each raise allowing a successful action, unless another character can spend raises to counter, still allows the game to feel unique. So, what if we resolved things like this?

  • Assemble die pool regularly (describe approach, determine what skill and attribute combination that seems like, determine number of dice)
  • For each 6 or higher on the die, the character gets a raise–you can literally just keep your dice to mark your raises
  • Whenever the GM makes it harder to make raises, then the PCs have to roll an 8 or higher on their dice to generate a raise
  • Whenever the PCs can get two raises for their 15s, instead, they get a raise on a 4 or higher
  • Whenever the PCs can reroll one die, well, they can reroll one die
  • Whenever the PCs have exploding 10s, they roll an additional die and it generates a raise on the same numbers they would normally, and the die that rolled a 10 counts as a raise
  • The GM can purchase a danger point from the players when they roll a 1 on the dice, and they give the PC a hero point
I’m only quickly “mathing” this, but even if this doesn’t produce the same number of raises, it is the same method of generating raises for both villains and heroes. But the benefits are a quicker resolution of approaches and raises, and being able to track raises with the actual dice pool used to roll.
Unforseen Consequenses

That said, I’m sure there are some rules in the game in places that I’m missing where this potentially messes with the game. This is why I’m asking anyone that can think of them to come up with problems with this alternate means of generating raises.

One particular rules change I would point out is you could have a more satisfying version of Flirting With Disaster, where activating that advantage allows the GM to buy all of your failures, not just the 1s, which makes it way better than it currently is, since the GM can always buy as many unused dice has you normally have, and this actually does escalate the situation.

So, if you have any thoughts on this alternate system, and where it would fall apart without modifying other rules, please let me know, so I can see if it would be worth it to create more mods, or just leave it be. Thanks all!

One comment

  • This proposed change completely throws many expensive 4 and 5 point advantages out of whack and further unbalances the game. From Joie de Vivre allowing you to generate 10s from rolling at our under your skill level (effectively becoming impossible to have 1s, plus your system makes it impossible to throw a non-raise die at skill level 4) to University/Lyceum/Academy becoming extremely broken rather than mildly broken, since they add 1 to all individual dice, effectively making the \”GM buys 1s\” system impossible unless you specifically mention it means when you roll a 1 on the die, but… Strength of Ten adds your Brawn or Resolve to each die. That effectively make all dice raises with a 6/4 or higher system if you have 5 or 3 in either stat and still allows 1s to be bought at the same time.You'd essentially have to rebalance/ban at least 6 advantages off the top of my head from the core book and many more in the splat books, many of them being national advantages with deep discounts and others being exclusive to the character creation phase. That's quite the undertaking, one that rivals building an entire splat book's mechanics section.

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