I have finally had a chance to read the newly revised quick start rules for the 7th Sea Second Edition that is on kickstarter now. This is a followup on the previous pair of posts that I did on the rules (part 1, part 2), and related to the Sorte rules and the post on odds, even though I have not re-done the tests to see what the differences are. And while there are some editing gaffes in the update where the risk deals eight wounds, but then they talk about two wounds afterwards and the character sheets are not updated to reflect the new rules, I like this version a lot more than the first one. Below are the changes that stood out as the most interesting to me. You can also check out the new FAQ post, though it doesn’t seem to have a lot of answers at this time, but I am sure that will start to change.
The first change that stood out to me was how wounds as a consequence of a risk were changed to a group risk instead of an individual risk. This is where the first editing gaffe shows up in the scenario. The risk for getting through the burning room is eight wounds, but afterwards the scenario keeps talking about needing to get one raise to get across the room and two more raises to not take any damage. Now, from the beginning, I thought the wounds consequence was not a compelling consequence, but as a group consequence, I think it works better.
The second change I liked was the inclusion of “Opportunities” in the risk mechanics. The Opportunities give players extra things to spend their raises on, which will increase the choices that the players will have to make so if, for example, a character ends up with four raises on a risk with three consequences and two opportunities, the player has to make a choice; do they want to take a consequence and get one of the opportunities, do they want to take two consequences and get both opportunities, or do they want to not get any of the opportunities and take none of the consequences. The more choices the players have to spend their limited resources, the more drama you will create and, as many people complain there is almost no drama in if you accomplish your intent.
The third change that caught my eye is the introduction of “Windows of Opportunity” in the risk mechanic. This is used for things like “the roof will collapse during the scene” on raise two. So when everyone rolls their dice pool, you start going around the group starting with the player with the most raises, find out what they spend their first raise(s) on, then you move on to the next highest and so on until you finish with everyone with two raises, then whoever is left in the room has the ceiling collapse on them. A more concrete example of this is as follows:
Our heroes are locked in a burning room. The risk is that they need to get out of the burning room. The consequence for getting out of this room is eight wounds. There is a window of opportunity, that if they don’t get out of the room before raise two, the ceiling collapses on them doing five wounds. Philip, one of the heroes, intends to pick the lock on the door and exit the room the other two, Charles and George, intend to leave through the door.
- Philip gets three raises
- Charles gets two raises
- George gets one raise.
The round plays out as follows, Philip gets to the door and unlocks it on raise three, Charles and Philip leave the room on raise two, and Philip gets to spend one raise to reduce the consequence from eight wounds to seven to be split between the three characters however they choose. George, who only got one raise though, manages to crawl out of the wreckage after the roof collapsed on him and he takes the five wounds for the window of opportunity. Hopefully, Philip and Charles will take most of the wounds from the consequence instead of trying to split it evenly otherwise George is going to be in for a world of hurt.
The fourth item I like is the new rules on villains. Villains are now something other than the punching bag they appeared to be in the first set of rules we saw. Villains have two stats now instead of the one we previously saw. The first is strength, and it is exactly the same as it was in the first version. The second stat is influence. Combined, these two stats determine the villain’s rank. So a villain with a strength of five and an influence of five is a rank ten villain who can roll up to ten dice on any action. The next change is that villains can spend their influence to do things like buy henchmen or brutes, bribe officials or any number of other things that can be used to inconvenience the lives of the heroes. Another use for influence is to invest it in schemes and if those schemes come to pass, they get to increase their influence by the amount that they invested in the scheme, and I think this might be the best part of these changes as it allows the villains to grow and change, or be weakened by the actions of the heroes as part of the story in a noticeable way.
The fifth item I like is the rule changes for damage both for heroes and villains. Heroes now get two wounds plus their resolve stat before they take a dramatic wound, so a hero with a resolve of two can take four flesh wounds and on the fifth, they take a dramatic wound. For the most part the effects of dramatic wounds stayed the same between the two versions the one exception is the third dramatic wound, which in the first version allowed you to treat nines as tens, and now you get exploding tens (if you roll a ten, you get to roll a new die to add to your dice pool). For villains, they can take a number of wounds equal to their strength, and a number of dramatic wounds equal to their strength. So if you have a strength five villain, they can take five wounds without a dramatic wound and they can take up to five dramatic wounds without being defeated (this so far is exactly like the first version). The change is if they take a dramatic wound in the first round of a conflict, it is one dramatic wound, if they take it in the second round, it is two dramatic wounds, and so on. This dramatically speeds up things like dueling with a strong villain. In the first version the strength eight villain had to take 72 wounds to be defeated, now you just have to do nine wounds on the eighth round or later, in fact the quickest you can defeat the strength eight villain now is on the fourth round if you do a dramatic wound on each round.
There are several other minor changes that also showed up that are not as interesting to me as the previous ones, but probably have just as large an impact on how things play out. These changes include allowing the GM to buy back any dice not used in the creation of a raise, not just the ones (though it sounds like some people aren’t sure if it is the player’s choice to allow this to happen or the GM’s choice, I think it is the GM’s choice). We get the concept of special brute squads, these are brute squads that when you spend a Danger Point on they can do a special action (steal an item, intercept damage, etc.). They have also changed the bonus that you get for high skill ranks. It used to be that you got to re-roll one die at rank two and a second at rank four. Now you get to re-roll one die at rank three, at rank four you can create three raises if you can add two dice to get fifteen or more, and at rank five, for each 10 you roll, you get to add another dice to roll and add to your pool to create raises with. The only one of these that I am not sure on is the rank four ability of three raises for adding two dice to get fifteen or more. This one I think might slow things down.
All in all, I think there are a lot of great ideas here, and I am looking forward to seeing the finished product after the kickstarter ends and the project is completed, though that want happen until close to the end of the year. I won’t to see how all of these parts fit together and read through all of the new setting information that is getting released with the kickstarter, though that will take even longer.