A Return to Theah…

(Originalt skrevet til min engelsk-sprogede blog, The Narrative Exploration )

(This is the first in a short series of posts about this game.)

Recently, my focus on games have been set on a certain little gem that was kickstarted back in the early winter of 2016. It’s a revised version of a game I never really got to play, but always adored in many ways.

7th Sea!

For the uninitiated, it’s a swashbuckling game set in a world that pretty much can be described as a heroic action version of 16th Century Europe.
It’s called Theah, and it’s filled to the brim with heroes, villains and all manners of colorful locations.

Back in the days, 7th Sea was one of the franchises that was developed by Alderac Entertainment Group, one of many mid-tier American game publishers in the 90’ies.
7th Sea was both a roleplaying and a collectable card game, a transmedia project of sorts, in the vein of the other brainchild of AEG, Legend of the Five Rings (a topic for another day). Both games influenced each other, as the tournament and convention circuit of the US progressed along. There was a storyline, and all of it was somehow interconnected.

It developed quite a following over the years. And it also fell prey to the d20 boom and subsequent death, making it a half-forgotten game in the very small pile of swashbuckler games. But what it lacked in staying power, it made up for in spirit.
It had all the crazy that one expected from a game with a primary inspiration from the Princess Bride and the Three Musketeers. Colorful characters with the winds of adventure filling their sails. Settingwise, it had some major issues and suffered from shifting developers and authors, an over-reliance on the metaplot characters and the deep and dark secrets of the setting revealing a hidden alien-plot.
You might be think, that sounds stupid, and to a lot of players I’ve encountered over the years, they ignored that part of the setting.
It was very much a product of it’s time. And people loved it, as they could be D’Artangnan, The Scarlet Pimpernel and the likes in a colorful setting.

And then, about a year or so ago, the original line developer for the setting, John Wick (no, not the gun-fu Keanu Reeves character) returned with news. He had bought the IP from AEG, and intended to relaunch 7th Sea with a reboot, dressing Theah up in a fresh set of clothing and a new set of rules.
A few people buzzed about it. And talked with their friends. It was going to be a Kickstarter. And a few people thought it was going to be moderate successful.

And then it made 1.3 Million dollars, making it the all-time greatest RPG Kickstarter to date. The entire line of books got funded. A soundtrack, a series trailer and a freaking board-game as well.

Apparently, people were willing to sail the 7th Sea once more.

My experiences with this system has taught one thing.
“Keep it simple, stupid” is pretty much ingrained into the game.
It’s even stated that the game pretty much can be boiled down to the following

  1. You Create a Scene.
  2. Players Create Raises.
  3. Players use Raises to change the Scene.

There are a lot of changes and ways to do that in the various Scene types, but it can all be boiled down to this basic principle.
And I like it. For the longest time though, I struggled with a lot of the ways this game dealt with a lot of the normal concepts present in RPGs, but it has grown quite a lot on me.

If you’d like to take a gander on it, they just released the basic rules for free, which was one of the stretch goals from the Kickstarter.

4 thoughts on “A Return to Theah…”

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