Rob Vaux Q&A
Around mid-late 2000, I exchanged a couple of e-mails with Rob Vaux (7th Sea's Line Developer), and he very kindly answered my questions about 7th Sea.
1. In the 'Avalon' book, many Skills / Knacks are specifically barred to Sidhe Characters during creation. Can they be learned, during play, via the expenditure of XP?
Yes they can. The barred skills and knacks are those which the immortal Sidhe have no cause to learn. Once a Sidhe becomes mortal (i.e. a player character), then he or she may want (or need) to pick them up. I would suggest using character motivation to explain why a Sidhe Hero is learning new skills. He could be fascinated by surgery, or see someone use a crossbow and desire to pick it up.
2. The 'Avalon' sourcebook mentions the Sidhe characteristics 'Salt Vulnerability' (Disadvantages, P.110) and 'Charming' (Queen Elaine, P.111), but does not provide any information on these.
No it doesn't. Bad designer, no biscuit. There is no Salt Vulnerability. It doesn't exist and the Sidhe have no problems with salt. Treat Elaine's Charming ability as the Appearence (Stunning) Advantage, detailed in the Players' Guide.
3. Refer the Language table in the 'Eisen' book, P.95. The columns for the North and South provinces seem to have been transposed.
Actually they're not. The problem lies in the text: "northern languages are easier for North Eisen to learn, while southern languages are more difficult." This is a natural (but wrong) assumption, which our editors didn't catch. North Eisen is a bastion of the Vaticine faith; therefore, they have closer ties to the Vaticine Castillians. Southern Eisen tends to be Objectionist, therefore they're close to the Objectionist Vendel. The geography is a little confusing, but culturally it makes sense, and also reflects the topsy-turvey nature of Eisen at the moment.
4. Could a Character wearing a panzerhand be able to wield weapons with that hand (such as a sword, knife, or club)? What sort of combat restrictions or penalties would there be for this?
Yes. A panzerhand is similar to a gauntlet and can be used to grasp and manipulate objects. You can use a sword or other weapon without shattering them if you wish; you simply apply less pressure. When attacking with the sword, you use the Swordsman skill. When attacking with the Panzerhand, you use the panzerhand skill. It depends on which weapon you are attempting to cause harm with.
5. When a Character shape-changes, using Pyeryem, what happens to any clothing and gear s/he may have? I am concerned about Munchkin Pyeryem characters with Runes inscribed on their underwear, or small artifacts sewn into linings.
Minimal clothing and gear transforms with the character and is retained when he or she shifts into human form. Magical items (Syrneth devices, Dracheneisen, Runes, etc) may not be transformed, nor can anything made of metal. The clothes on your back, the leather of your belt and maybe a few little odds and ends (matches, flint, a deck of cards), but generally speaking no weapons. Munchkins are a problem, as always, but they're going to munchkin no matter what we do. The GM is always right, regardless of what the rules say.
6. When a Pyeryem practitioner shape-changes, can s/he still use any Advantages?
This is usually a common sense call. The sorcerer's mental state is unchanged, and he can still make use of any Advantages that wouldn't be affected by the change (such as Faith or Indomitable Will). Keen Sense, Toughness, Night Training, and the like remain as well. On the other hand, the sorceror can't really interact with humans while in beast form, so things like Connections or membership in the Swordsman's Guild can't work; no one asks a bear for its credentials.
Erm. Well, there are people out there who might ask a bear for its credentials, but probably not more than once...
7. Suggestion: Harpoon as a full-blown weapons skill - Attack and Throw as Basic Knacks, and Parry as an Advanced Knack.
Suggestion noted. Harpoon was not listed as a full-blown weapons skill because whaling is a very dangerous profession in Theah, and is not widely practiced. A full-blown Harpoon skill would probably look very similar to the one you described.
8. The Fate Draw: For those who work out detailed Characters beforehand, some 'benefits' can be a major bummer (eg. you REALLY want to play a very patriotic Avalonian, but then draw the Eight Of Cups for the Character's past!).
The Fate Draw is intended mainly for players who don't have a firm idea of what they want their characters to be. I would suggest that a player who has a strong idea for a character and still wants to use the draw should write up a treatise detailing the character's background and personality, then let the GM select cards which reflect that write-up. The GM can draw randomly and discard if the results are too jarring. It takes a little of the fun away from the random draw, but ensures that the resulting Hero is unified and consistent.
9. Many of the Swordsman Schools have Basic Cirriculum skills in common (eg. Fencing, Athlete, Knife), as well as automatically giving membership to the Swordsman's Guild. Theoretically, it is possible to buy two Swordsman Schools during Character generation. So, what happens if things double up - eg. two sets of the same thing are attained this way?
Once you purchase the second school, all of the Basic Knacks in the doubled-up skill increase by one. For example, if you bought the Donovan School, then immediately bought the Ambrogia school, all of his basic Fencing Knacks would be at two. If he bought Donovan, spent two Hero points to raise his Parry (Fencing) to 3, and then bought Ambrogia, his Attack (Fencing) Knack would be 2 and his Parry (Fencing) Knack would be 4.
Whilst Rob didn't mention it, I would guess that "extra" Swordsman Guild memberships gained via multiple Swordsman Schools would instead be taken as a free Rank in one of the Swordsman School Knacks.
10. Refer 'Man Of Will' (Eisen, P. 96), which specifies that 'Characters with any kind of magic ability may not take this Advantage'. Given the later 'Sorcery vs Shamanism' commentary (die Kreutzritter, P. 70), I assume that 'any kind of magic' means both Sorcery AND Shamanism.
Yes, it means both.
11. Product Suggestion: Complete Map / Atlas of Theah, with all of the locational data so far covered in the Player's Handbook, the Ref's Guide, and all of the other books. As it is, running a 7th Sea campaign can be very difficult just because of the constant shuffle between one book and another.
We are currently discussing the idea of an Atlas, which many players want. The only difficulty is cost, and fitting it into the current schedule. We're working on it. :)
12. Second Product Suggestion: A 7th Sea Tarot deck? Perhaps with personalities of the background featured on the cards.
That's been suggested as well, though again, costs may be a little prohibitive.
13. The 'Compendium' has greatly impressed all here who have even heard of it. On behalf of everybody who hasn't said so yet, Thank You for your generosity.
Thank John Zinser, our company prez. He decided to spend the money on the book.
(For those who don't know, the Compendium was a 2nd Edition update for the Players Book. It was distributed to those who had the 1st edition FREE! For those of us who have been "into" RPGs for any length of time, this generosity is unheard of.)
14. What are AEG's official guidelines on writing and submitting 7th Sea adventures?
We're always interested in adventures and other submissions from prospective writers. Adventure modules fall into two basic categories: short one-shots (5000 words or so) for publication in the fan club and longer adventures (25000-30000 words) which are published as books. If you have an idea for an adventure, write up a proposal for us. Include an outline of the drama, and characters involve, any new rules you want to include and the approximate length it will be. Send it to:
7th Sea Adventure
c/o Mary Valles (or Rob Vaux)
4045 Guasti Rd. #212
Ontario, California, 91761
Be sure and include a return address or phone number where we can reach you.
Hope this has been helpful.
7th Sea Line Developer
Thank you, Rob, for your time and your response.
Perhaps one of the most successful pirates of all time, amassing great wealth and ultimately gaining a knighthood and governorship of Jamaica.