Saturday, November 11, 2017

Gorgon Archer - 7th Sea - Character Creation Analysis

This will be an interesting analysis as I have only recently acquired this game. As I've said elsewhere, the gorgon archer, or just the gorgon in general, is one of the first character concepts I toy with in a new game and one of the ways I learn a new game is to toy with creating a new character. Now the setting in question doesn't really give itself toward playing an actual snakes for hair gorgon, but we can build a character around the idea of an epitaph as we did when we made the Snake Clan archer in L5R. That said, we're going to have a character with a touch of magic but still mostly focused around the archery. (I type this and then find a way to do it anyway)

The step zero of character creation is the concept and the game uses a twenty questions set-up to help you come to firm that up. This has some similarity to the twenty-questions set up of L5R and that makes some sense as I believe they were originally created by the same company. I have even heard that at one point L5R and 7th Sea existed in the same world. That said, the current game and L5R have some definite differences in the way they work even if they use some of the same terminology and some of the same character creation structure.

Following character concept you set your traits and nation.  There are five traits: Brawn, Finesse, Resolve, Wits, and Panache and you start with 2 in each of them and you have two more points that you can place anywhere. You will also get a bonus trait point based on your choice of nation in step two. These two steps sort of blend together in someways, however, the nation is the more significant of the two as it unlocks a number of backgrounds available only to members of specific nations. For one thing, different sorts of magic are only available to those born in the nation that magic comes from. Traits run from 2 to 5.

The nations you have the option to choose out of the core book are: Avalon (England), Inismore (Ireland), the Highland Marches (Scotland), Castille (Spain), Eisen (Germany), Montaigne (France), The Sarmatia (Russia), Ussura (Eastern Europe), Vesten (Scandinavia), and Vodacce (Italy). There is, sadly, not a specific culture that specifically is meant to mirror Greece and its mythological background. Vodacce is close, but I am not convinced that its connected sorcery is the best fitting one for a gorgon.

The types of sorcery in the core book include Glamour (Avalon, Inismore, the Marches), representing bearing the mantle of a great knight of older days and powers related to their legend; Hexenwerk, using unguents sometimes crafted from foul materials in order to destroy the undead;  Mother's Touch (Ussura), you had an encounter with a legendary woman who gave you a magical gift provided you abide by certain restrictions; Porte (Montaigne), an inherited ability allowing you to cut open wounds in the world to pull things to you or travel great distances; Sanderis (Sarmatia), you have tricked a devil and act as its jailor gaining power from the bond; and Sorte (Vodacce), a power only inherited by woman to see and toy with Fate.

I am planning on using Mother's Touch to represent the gorgon aspect as it suggests creating new gifts along with your GM. In addition, one of the gifts involves being able to transform into an animal. I think I can parlay some similarly minor abilities to reproduce some of the abilities of the gorgon.

Following the choice of your Traits and Nation, you choose two backgrounds. These backgrounds give you a number of Skills, Advantages, and Quirks. Each of the five Skills of the chosen background gets one point for free. The Advantages work similar to the way Merits work in Storyteller or Advantages work in Legend of the Five Rings in that they provide some unusual story or mechanical benefit that causes your character to work in a more unique manner. Some of the backgrounds are nation specific. This represents the history of your character but not necessarily what they are now. There is no mention of what happens when your backgrounds cause you to double up on a single Advantage when most of them can't be purchased twice. I am assuming it will be safe to trade out the doubled Advantage with an equal cost Advantage in the same theme, though the issue is moot in this case.

After you've chosen both of your Backgrounds you get 10 points to assign to any skills of your choice. At the beginning, a skill cannot be raised to higher than 3. Starting at level 3, you start gaining specific benefits for that particular skill. This is structurally similar to the way Legend of the Five Rings does Mastery Abilities, but the benefit for skills in 7th Sea is the same regardless of which skill it applies to.

Once skills are set, you can purchase new Advantages. You gain 5 points with which to do this. Unlike in Legend of the Five Rings, there are no Flaws or Disadvantages you can take to gain more points. Some Advantages can only be taken as a starting character. Other Advantages, such as Sorcery, can only be taken post-creation in specific circumstances. There are some Advantages that are cheaper for a particular Nation to take. So if you plan to make magic a part of your character's concept you'll want to take one of the relevant backgrounds or spend the points toward that here.

The next step is the Arcana which represents a heroic aura that surrounds your character. You have a Hubris and a Virtue that set you apart from the common men and women. For some reason the world has chosen you to have a great destiny. By default you are a Hero, but it is entirely possible that you might find yourself becoming a Villain if your lured by questionable things. One way to choose the Arcana and the Hubris is to do it at random using a deck of cards for that purpose. However, the book also allows you to simply choose if you want. I first thought that each card had to be from different cards but the core book says that they "do not need to be from the same card." I intend to use a d20 for creating these and ignoring repeats. 

(By random roll I got a Hubris and Virtue that each seriously risk her stepping on her Dar Matushki Restrictions. Coveting something cuts very close to "acting to prove superiority" and may lead to "complaining about suffering". Being the center of attention also risks trying to prove oneself superior, but that isn't as big a danger. I will note that I developed her Restrictions before I rolled her Hubris and Virtue and decided to keep with what the die rolled despite how much of a tightrope this makes it. Though I sometimes like the tightrope, so there's that.)

Virtues can be used once per episode or story and grant a very powerful benefit. They have no cost but may require a specific circumstance in order to use them. You can sort of consider the Virtues to be extremely powerful Advantages. The Hubris indicates a driving character flaw that will earn you Hero Points for roleplaying. The Quirks from the backgrounds work similarly but are generally far less dangerous than the behaviors suggested by the Hubris. For example, a Quirk might give you a Hero Point for discovering something previously unknown while a Hubris would give you a Hero Point for willfully ignoring danger to accomplish some possibly petty goal. 

The last two steps are Stories and Details. A Hero Story is a set goal your character desires to reach and leads the character toward certain directions. The story is created with an Ending that you need to accomplish to complete it and Reward which states the mechanical benefit you will receive for completing it as well as how many steps the Story must have before it can be completed. I will deal with this more on the Advancement analysis. Details noting your character's Wounds and Dramatic Wounds (the same for each character), Reputation, Languages, and deals with Wealth.

Gorgon Archer

Nation: Ussura (+1 Resolve)
Backgrounds: Hunter, Touched by Matushka
Reputation: Frightening
Languages: All (Linguist)

Virtue - The Sun - Glorious -  Activate when your character is the center of attention. For the next Risk, when you determine Raises, every die is a Raise.

Hubris - Beggar - Envious - Receive a Hero Point when your Hero covets something or does something unwise to get it.

Brawn 2
Finesse 3
Resolve 4
Wits 2
Panache 2

Aim 3
Athletics 2
Empathy 1
Hide 2
Intimidate 2
Notice 2
Perform 1
Ride 1
Sailing 1
Scholarship 1
Tempt 1
Theft 1
Weaponry 2

Got it! - Spend a Hero Point to immediately pick a lock, crack a safe, or disarm a trap. (2 pt - Hunter)

Sniper - You get a bonus die when you make an Aim Risk with a long-barreled musket, longbow, or crossbow. (3 pt - Hunter)

Sorcery: 2 - Dar Matushki - 4 Gifts, 2 Restrictions (2 pt per level - Touched by Matushka)

Survivalist - If you are in the wilderness you can forage to find enough food for yourself and five other people. In extreme circumstances, you can find enough for yourself and two other people. (1 pt - Touched by Matushka)

Poison Immunity - Poison never affects you aside from some minor potential discomfort. If the poison would ordinarily kill you, it might only make you vomit instead. There are no other effects (2 pt - Bonus Advantages)

Linguist - You speak all Thean languages, even the Dead ones. (1 pt - Bonus Advantages)

Eagle Eyes - As long as you have a clear line of sight, you can see perfectly out to a distance of one mile. If you use a spyglass you can pick out fine details, such as the inscription carved into a wedding band. If you make a Risk that relies heavily on your keen vision, you gain 1 Bonus Die. (2 pt - Bonus Advantages)

Hunter - Earn a Hero Point when you use your hunter's acumen to save someone from danger.
Touched by Matushka - Earn a Hero Point when you teach someone a lesson in a way that would make Matushka proud.

Hero Story
Ending - She tracks down the Villain who poisoned her home village.
Reward - This is 4 Step Story leading to acquiring the Legendary Trait: Resolve Advantage.
Step One - Pick up the Poisoner's Trail

Sorcery: Dar Matushki
Serpent Hair - Spend a Hero Point to tranform your hair into serpents. The extra eyes and other senses give you a Free Raise on Notice Risks for the rest of the scene. (My Creation)

Petrifying Gaze - Spend a Hero Point to reduce an opponent's Raises that round by your Intimidate rank due to being temporarily paralyzed. (My Creation)

Curative Blood - Spend a Hero Point to transform your blood into an antidote for any poison. You suffer a Wound for each person you want to cure. If the poison is supernatural in nature, you suffer a Dramatic Wound. (My Creation)

Command Snakes - Spend a Hero Point to call and issue a command to a snake. If there are no snakes in range or the animal is unable to obey the command, the GM refunds your Hero Point. If the command requires a Risk the animal rolls 5 dice but you decide how it spends the Raises. If the task is particularly appropriate to the snake you called, then it gets 2 bonus dice.

Modesty (My Creation)
Limit: You must not act with the motive of proving your superiority.
Penance: You must help someone downtrodden recognize their own worth.

Endurance (My Creation)
Limit: You must not complain about misfortune or ill treatment.
Penance: You must seek someone facing unjust suffering and help them through it.

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