Trask opened the heavy oak door and stepped in to the crowded warmth of the Black Diamond Inn. As he removed his drenched cloak he looked around the smoke filled room and said, “Which one o’ you dogs shoved me in the canal?”
The room went silent as everyone turned to see what was going on. Trask continued, “Whoever it was came in here after they’d done it, cause’ I saw the door closing as I was clambering out” The other patrons of the inn looked around the room waiting to see if anyone was going to own up… someone did.
“It was I who gave you a bath, but I didn’t expect you to come and thank me for it amigo.” Came a Castillian voice from one of the inn’s side alcoves. Trask looked over, but the shadows were heavy and the smoke in the air made the figure a dark shape at best.
“The only thanks I’ll be giving will be to the undertaker for doing a good job on your coffin.” said Trask as he took a squelching step forward further into the room. “Now tell me your name, unless you want a blank stone to mark your grave.” Trask dropped his hand to the pommel of his sword and hoped that whoever this was would apologise and back down. He was in no real mood for a fight, but even he had a reputation to maintain.
The figure stood up and moved into the chandelier light of the inn. “I am Inigo Montoya, four days ago you held up a wagon train carrying my bride-to-be, Theresa Quinn. I have come to find her, and the other items you stole. If you give them back now, I’ll ensure your death is swift, if you not… bad things will happen.” With this Inigo drew his rapier and assumed the Aldana swordsman stance.
“The items I took from you belonged to a merchant in Freiburg, who had his barges attacked by Castillian thieves. Thieves who, coincidentally, bore an uncanny resemblance to the guards protecting your wagon train. As for the woman you claim was your bride-to-be, I left her unharmed in her coach. That was until she begged me to help her escape your clutches and send her back home to Avalon.”
Trask could see the rage building in the man standing before him. Sometimes it wasn’t good to push someone too hard, but most of the Castillian sword techniques required concentration, and with rage controlling his movements his opponent should be at a disadvantage. That was the plan anyway.
“Your lies won’t save you Inish pig! I’m going to make you beg for your life and bleed in ways you never imagined.” With this he dropped his carefully poised stance and ran straight at Trask.
Trask quickly drew his sword and calmed his breathing. This should be interesting he thought, ‘bleeding in ways he’d never imagined’ sounded like a change from the usual night of drinking and gambling with the locals. Besides, he liked the look of the Castillian’s boots and his own were still full of canal water.
The 7th Sea Players Guide contains most of the rules you’ll need to run the game as well as loads of background, but you’ll want the GM’s guide as well before you start playing. First lets get one thing straight, this is not the pirate game you may think it is. Although 7th Sea gives you the ability to play pirates, you’ll probably get more out of it if you surrender to the games true style of adventure, exploration and intrigue.
7th Sea is set in a land called Theah, which is much like Europe. It is set in a time when swordplay and quick wits are the order of the day. It’s about a golden age of exploration and discovery, where wealth is there for the taking if you have skills, courage and a little luck.
Not everything is marvellous though. Religious wars have ravaged several of the countries and the process of rebuilding always takes time and hard work. The turmoil of recent years has also affected the populations of many nations, which has led to each faction developing it’s own mixed views and opinions of the other kingdoms.
Chapter one is the Primer. It gives you a quick rundown of Theah and gives you a bit of information on what the game is about. This chapter also gives you a rather nifty set of quick start rules. These are expanded on in the later sections, but still do a good job of letting you get a feel for the game. This is a good example of a well-made crash course guide to a game. It’s quick enough for the players to glance through before playing and informative enough to give anyone a good idea of the setting they’re in.
At the end of this chapter (in a weird chapter limbo) there is a glossy colour section with a picture and some flavour text for each of the seven nations. This is great for giving players a quick taste of each nation without making them read loads. Also, does the Castillian King look like a certain “Titanic” film character or is it just me? The Cardinal looks a bit like Fox Mulder as well, but I’m not going to argue this point.
The second chapter has, among other things, a section on Syrne ruins. These are the ruins of an ancient civilisation and are a source of great interest to scholars and explorers, who still know very little about their origin. In game terms though, they give you a great excuse to go and do some Indiana Jones style exploring.
The third chapter is about creating your character. This is relatively easy and you just have to follow steps they’ve laid out for you. It is done by dividing up points among things like skills, advantages, backgrounds and knacks. Your character will also have the option to be a swordsman or a magic user if you want. The swordsman characters will have been trained at a school at some point in their life and will more than likely have access to some cool moves when they get into a fight.
Skills in 7th Sea have been broken down a bit and when you buy a skill you also get several knacks (sub-skills) with it. The skill athlete for instance will get you four knacks, which are climbing, footwork, sprinting and throwing. This works well in the game and gives your character a wider range of skills to draw from.
Chapter four is where the quick rules you were give earlier are built on. Details on damage have been expanded in this section and you will find that although your characters are not invincible they are pretty tough. This game has after all been designed to encourage a heroic style of play and killing heroes is bad form. Skills are tested by rolling over a target number, which player’s can increase if they want that to achieve a more impressive level of success.
All in all if you want a good swashbuckling game then this is for you. It has a rich setting that just screams out for courageous heroes to do battle evil villains and their minions. The fact that it allows this to be done in a courtly intrigue style or as furious race helps to keep the game fresh. The film-like style of play is very appealing as well. Especially if you’ve been wading through games that require you to make agility rolls every time you want to do anything above jogging. After all, it’s good to slide down sails and swing from chandeliers every so often.
So, if you’re ready to show the unknown what you’re made of and find lot’s of treasure on the way, 7th Sea is the game for you!