Now, on the off chance you missed the mission of this blog (fantasy, swashbuckling, and horror roleplaying) or never read my bio, its entirely possible you don’t realize that the announcement for a new edition of 7th Sea last year was HUGE for me and my gaming group. In fact, one of my players immediately asked, “so, we’re wrapping up Witch Hunter, then?” Not so fast, Chris. Plenty of gas left in the tank on that one. But if I was going to drop everything to try something new, 7th Sea would be in the top 2 position. (Yes, if WotC announced a new edition of the Dangerous Journeys roleplaying game I would have to drop everything to try it out – assuming I didn’t drop dead from shock).
Well its been a few months of idle speculation with brief bits of news. And now this shows up in my inbox yesterday.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Mr. John Wick:
Hey folks. This is John Wick. I just wanted to thank all of you for taking the time to sign up for this mailing list. We’ve got some exciting news to announce!
In short, 2016 is going to be the “Year of 7th Sea.” We plan on releasing not only a new core book, but new sourcebooks as well. And not just sourcebooks about the Théan nations, oh no. We’ve got huge plans for the world of 7th Sea. Just huge. And we’ll get into all of them, but before we do, let me say this again:
Thank you for letting us know that you’re looking forward to a new edition of the game.
It’s been sixteen years since I last visited the shores of Théah and a lot has changed. I’ve changed, you’ve changed… and Théah has changed. Yes, the continent has undergone some transformations in sixteen years. I suspect you’ll want to know about them. And you’ll also want to know what’s stayed the same. Let’s you and I take a trip across the continent and take a look at some old friends… and some new ones.
My Loyal Crew
First, let me talk a little bit about who’s going to be leading us on this little jaunt. There’s me, of course, but there’s also Mark Diaz Truman. He’s running all the business aspects of the project. Mark’s been in charge of the money matters at JWP since our first Kickstarter, way back in 2012. He’s organizing and designing the forthcoming 7th Sea: Second Edition Kickstarter, and when we launch, he’ll be handling any issues or questions that come up.
Second, there’s the design team: Mike Curry and Rob Justice. Mike and Rob have been friends of mine for a long time and ran the Bear Swarm Podcast for years. They both have keen minds and great insight into what makes a good RPG tick. The three of us have been working on the revised system for 7th Sea (more on that in a moment) and we’ve been talking a lot about how the world.
We’re planning a beautiful book too… so we’ve got some great folks putting together the final layout. Our art director is Marissa Kelly, responsible for the Epyllion game about little dragons and art director for a whole bunch of other companies, including Evil Hat and Storium. Thomas Deeny—you might know him from the newFirefly RPG from MWP—will be handling the graphic design of the Kickstarter and Quick Start.
The More Things Change…
7th Sea: Second Edition is going to see some changes from the first edition. When folks ask me, “What kind of changes?” I often invoke Battletar Galactica. I was a huge fan of the original show—I was ten years old when it came out—and I’m a fan of the reboot as well. In the new BSG, we still had Adama, Apollo, Starbuck, Cylons and everything I loved about the first show. Sure, they had new faces—and in some cases, new genders—but they were still those same characters, just with an updated feel. New special effects, new writing, new cast but same show.
7th Sea: Second Edition is going to feel a lot like that. All the Nations are still there—Avalon, Castille, Vodacce, Ussura, etc.—but a few of them may have slight changes. Three of them have undergone slightly deeper changes. Eisen is going to be a whole lot scarier, for example. When you come across a small town of terrified villagers who look up to the castle on the hill where “the countess” lives… you’ll know you’re in Eisen. Ussura is getting a political facelift plus a new kind of sorcery that replaces shapeshifting. And the Vestenmennavanjar… well, let’s just say you don’t have to choose between “awesome merchant prince” and “awesome Viking raider” anymore; you can have both at the same time.
We’re also adding a new nation to the list: The Sarmatian Commonwealth. I’ve visited Poland twice—going again this year!—and every time I go, I hear the same question: “Why is there no Poland in 7th Sea?” After getting asked this question about a dozen times in an hour, I spent some time researching 17th Century Poland and my answer to that question is now, “Because I was an idiot.” I made a promise the last time I was there that if I ever re-did 7th Sea, I would include Poland. Well, I’m keeping that promise. I’m very excited for the Commonwealth and after you see what we’ve been doing with its politics, sorcery and history, I think you will be, too.
A New Engine
But the big question on most people’s minds is this one: “Are you using d20’s or Roll and Keep?” The answer is… neither.
I love R&K. I helped design it back in the day. But the fact of the matter is, rolling a handful of dice and keeping two of them… isn’t very swashbuckly. If I want to feel like Errol Flynn, if I want to feel like the Dread Pirate Roberts, if I want to feel like Captain Jack Sparrow, I want to throw a handful of dice and use all of them. And that’s the new system we’ve designed for 7th Sea: Second Edition.
We’re still using Trait + Skill (the “Traits are too important” folks are going to be very happy) and we’re still using Raises. Except now, you make Raises after the roll. Which means you get to feel like a Big Damn Hero.
We’ve still got Brute Squads and Villains, but we’ve refined how they work. In fact, a lot of the new system can fall under that category. “We’ve refined how they work.” The new 7th Sea system is fast, elegant and dynamic. It isn’t overly simple and it isn’t like one of my “Little Games.” But I feel it captures the cinematic feel we were going for with the first edition of the game, but didn’t quite reach. RPGs have changed a lot in almost 20 years, and I want 7th Sea to still stand out!
I can’t give you an exact date for the Kickstarter just yet, but I can tell you that you should keep your spyglasses on late January/early February. As in, the last week and first week. Yes, it’s that close.
As for when you’ll get a book in your grubby, swashbuckling paws… we want to release the book at Gencon. We’re working ‘round the clock to meet that goal right now. We might miss it… but I’d love to see all of you with 7th Sea: Second Edition books in August. That would put a real big smile on my face.
Expect more updates like this in the next few weeks as we put together the Kickstarter, finalize the system, and put out a Quick Start. Please let your friends know that this email list is the best way to way to get all the newest 7th Sea gossip…
2016 is the Year of 7th Sea. Oil up your swords, lift up them sails and run out the guns! It’s going to be a fantastic year.
Ok, sure, its your standard press release. It really doesn’t say much more than, “Get your wallets ready, suckers!” At least, that’s how my wife would read it. My one word translation, naturally, is, “SQUEEE!!!!”
As a bonus, I’ve clipped snippets of the new maps from Wick’s Facebook feed to post here. Those of you familiar with the original edition can get an idea of the scale of the reboot we are dealing with here. (And BTW, up til now John Wick’s Facebook feed has been a great source of teasers for the new edition. Eisen Necromancy, anyone?)
BTW, the town of Five Sails is apparently straight out of the playtest game.
Thank you. We now resume our regular programming.
Now excuse me. I have some work to do on the Court of Whispers.