העמותה למשחקי תפקידים בישראל (אתר היסטורי)Why I dislike 7th Sea / יוסי גורביץ - העמותה למשחקי תפקידים בישראל (אתר היסטורי)
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Why I dislike 7th Sea / יוסי גורביץ

Why I dislike 7th Sea

By Yossi Gurvitz

Twice a month, I run a heavily modified 7th Sea game. To those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it is set in a pseudo-Europe of the 17th century, with magic and monsters thrown in for good measure. When I first skimmed the game, I liked it; then I read it fully, and began saying, "I'll really have to work on modifying this", and now, when my campaign is on its way, I find that I hardly refer to the rulebook at all.

So what is wrong with 7Th Sea?

It's not the rules. I hardly use rules anyway and the rule system is very light and does not delay gaming. No, the problem is with the setting.

See, pirating is a major part of the game; the first 7th Sea accessory was called Pirate Nations. But there's a major problem with the game setting: there's no America, no new world for pirates to harass. According to the rulebook, no one ever found America. It doesn't exist. And frankly, pirates without the Spanish Main or Caribbean islands are simply not that.

Ok, so I added America to the game. I also added Africa. But this totally unbalanced the game world; powers which were strong enough when Europe, and only Europe, was the scope, lost coherence.

Another major problem: the game is set in 1668. The real-world Europe was just recovering from the Thirty Years War, the most devastating religious war in the history of Europe. That's about the same in 7th Sea's Theah – except that they dropped the religious bit.

Ok, not really – there's the Vaticine Church and the Objectionist Church, and they're busy tearing each other apart – but I couldn't understand the difference between their creeds, and the designers did everything they could to keep them away from real religion issues. There's no Christ, no redemption by blood, no good deeds versus belief – no Jews or Muslims, for that matter, though there are Pagans – in short, nothing of the real issues people fought for. There's a pretty stupid inquisition, busy hunting scholars (not, for instance, heretics and witches), but there's no soul in those religions. No wonder, no sense of redemption, no fear of hell. Cardboard religions. Then there's another insipid decision of the game designers – Montaigne (7th Sea's equivalent of France) drove out the local church, and even made war on it. This one had me thinking, "Yeah, right". This was the first thing to go, when I made my changes: I want my scheming Cardinal, and I can't have a Cardinal without a lively, functioning, cheerfully corrupt Catholic Church.

Another problem: the names. Why do I have to call England "Avalon", Ireland "Inishmore", France "Montaigne", and Italy "Vodacce"? What end does it serve, except to stretch the players' suspension of disbelief? Why can't I call Paris by its real name? And did England really had to have an Elizabethian queen who's also the reincarnation of King Arthur? The game is supposed to be set in the Restoration period; but the restoration came after the English had their civil war, had beheaded their kind, had their military dictator in Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England ("Sixteen fifty eight, September") – you can't have a Restoration without a revolution, or, in short, a convincing history – and the history of Theah is anything but convincing.

And that's the main problem: the setting suffers from so many problems, I nearly ditched it. My game is set in the real 17th century (I haven't decided what to with England yet, however), and I borrowed from the rulebook the different magical schools, which play a very minor part in the game. Other than that, I might as well have written the entire setting myself, and not bothered buying the two rulebooks. 7th Sea, set in one of the most exciting eras of European history, an era every reader of Dumas is familiar with and in love with, manages to completely bungle it, mainly due to lack of historical research.

A pity.

פורסם ב10 באוקטובר 2008 בקטגוריה סקירות על-ידי jerusalem | לתגובות - בפורום | Tags: ,

 

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