On Friday we had our first session of 7th Sea. It was an interesting session with two new members to the group, and a game that no one in our group had any ground in. Over all the session was a great first session, and everyone brought interesting characters to the table. Today I want to talk about how the session went, and what I learned from it.
I Now Understand Examples of Play
If nothing else the session taught me why "Example of Play" in a book can be important. 7th Sea second edition does dice mechanics in a new way, and with no one at the table having experience playing the game those Examples of Play sections helped a lot. It helps that 7th Sea has really good examples of play, but just having a guide in general to show how the system works and how you take turns got us rolling on the right track which was a good thing.
A Bit of Clunk, A Bit of Clutter
We had some clunk and clutter. Most of this was being new to the system. In 7th Sea you roll and then decide what you're doing in specific, as opposed to every other RPG where you decide what you're going to attempt and then roll. The change had us confused a little here and there, and the new dice mechanic (counting raises instead of summing up the dice) takes a little getting used to. I expect both to smooth themselves out as we get more experience with the system.
We have 6 people in the group, plus a GM. We're all learning the system. We're all playing new characters. Despite this, actions and combat rounds went fast. The fact you roll once and then spend points to figure out combat does a lot to move things along. It does it by making you not have to worry about if it is possible or not. Everyone rolls at the same time. Initiative is done by who has the most raises, and then you just go around spending points and declaring actions.
It is also a lot of fun, and in a way more tactical with how things work. It's good knowing that you can definitely do 3 damage to something and don't have to worry about succeeding at a roll once you declare it. At the same time, order of actions from the number of raises - and how many actions - still felt limiting enough that you could tell who was in their strong area and who was in a weak area with every round and roll.
I Want To GM It Even More Now
With Shadows of Esteren and other games, playing the game can sometimes scratch my desire to GM the game. I name Shadows of Esteren specifically because having played the game, I don't feel a need to GM the game to see what it offers and how it works. Not that I don't want to play Esteren again, and won't want to GM it, but I don't feel the need to to understand the game.
This isn't the case with 7th Sea. 7th Sea moves the jobs around between Players and GM enough that I still need to see the game from the GM side. I want to experience what it is like, and figure out how to handle the various challenges the system gives.
Overall 7th Sea 2nd Edition left me with a very positive feeling for the game. It was easy to make characters, and even if we're having some snags learning the system they're nothing unexpected of any new system, and the game makes up for it by being fast and fun.