Saturday, November 11, 2017

Gorgon Archer - 7th Sea - Character Advancement

Character Creation and the Gorgon Archer

Character advancement in 7th Sea is based entirely on completing stories. This includes your Hero Story itself and the Gamemaster Stories created for the group as a whole to follow. The difference is that the reward of a Gamemaster's Story isn't set when it is created. Instead, once a band has completed a story they get to choose one of the advancements available to a Hero Story. 

There are four basic kinds of stories controlled by the GM. There are Season Stories which are 4 to 5 step stories each step of which is intended to be completed over one session. There are Episode Stories generally 1 to 3 steps long and which are expected to have steps which can be completed at a rate of about 1 per hour. There are Character Stories meant to deal with one of the NPCs of the campaign. Finally there are Retroactive Stories where the characters have to deal with threads that they left loose. 

While Heroes can only have one personal story running at a time, the GM can run a number of concurrent stories. It might be that the GM runs two Episode Stories in a single session as well as leading toward the completion of one of the five steps of a Season Story. Likewise, you might interrupt a Season Story to go off and run an Episode Story that the characters have gotten interested in. Or you might get to the end of a story and realize that in the scuffle of uncovering an evil plot to place Vodacce under Montaigne influence another problem occurred that you now have to deal with creating a Retroactive Story. You spend a particular Session burning through several steps of a Season Story.

I am going to assume fourteen sessions.


Session 1 - Episode Story - Severe weather forces the characters to shelter in the same inn. In the rough weather, brigands seeking shelter decide to descend on the isolated village. The Heroes work together to fight off the bandits. In the course of the fight, each of the Heroes finds something on the bandits linking to their personal stories. In the gorgon's case it is a dose of the same rare poison used on the water supply of her village.

Completed - Save the Village - 3 pt story (Fight the bandits in the inn, clear the village, stop the bandit chief from destroying the dam) - Notice improves to 3
Tracking the poisoner - Step 1 completed, Step 2 - Find where the bandits got the poison.

Session 2 - Season Story starts - A Witch's Weaving - The players investigate the bandits by interrogation and tracking them back to their normal hide-out to look for messages and papers. They realize that the bandits received some of the links to their own stories after robbing a merchant caravan on its way to Castille. The gorgon finds a letter instructing the bearer to poor vials of the substance into village wells along a certain path. Traveling to their, a peasant asks for their aid to rescue some children beset by a mad bear.

A Witch's Weaving - Step 1 Complete
Tracking the poisoner - Step 2 completed, Step 3 - Get to Castille and confront the owner of the poison.
The Maddened Bear - 1 Step Episode Story - Direction Sense acquired

Session 3 - A Witch's Weaving - The players arrive in a Castillian city and start investigating the merchant company that owns the caravan. While they are in the merchant company talking to some of the clerks and owners, a caravan master enters the room with some minions to try to kill the Heroes and burn some records. The heroes stop him and he proves to be the one that had been sent to poison the villages. He names a Vodacce woman who paid him to do several tasks.

A Witch's Weaving - Step 2 Complete
Protect the Merchants and Evidence - 2 Step Episode Story (merchants/evidence, catch the Villain) - Empathy improves to 2.
Tracking the poisoner - Step 3 completed, Step 4 - Find the Vodacce woman.

Session 4 - A Witch's Weaving - The crew track down the woman and confront her, however she escapes by use of Sorte magic. The players later discover that the name she gave was a false one. The Heroes are contacted by Castillian guards questioning them on their involvement in several incidents. They are able to convince a noble of their righteous task pursuing a Villain and he notes that he might be able to use their help on a matter and in return he might help them.

A Witch's Weaving - Step 3 Complete
Satisfy the Guards - Step 2 Episode Story (Escape or Convince the guards of innocence, gain an ally) - Scholarship improves to 2

Session 5 - A Witch's Weaving - The Heroes investigate a curious haunting that has troubled the Inquisitors and proven resilient to exorcism. After several close calls, the Heroes ascertain that the haunting is a fake, managed by accomplices to a base criminal. The noble invites the Heroes to his house for dinner to discuss their own troubles. When his wife comes out she proves to be the woman that escaped them previously.

A Witch's Weaving - Step 4 Complete
Track Down the Poisoner - Step 4 complete, - Legendary Trait: Resolve acquired
New Story - See Justice done - 3 Step, Reward - Signature Item, Step One - Confront the witch
A Resilient Ghost - 3 Step Character Story complete (Protect the haunted, prove the fake, catch the criminals) - Intimidate improved to 3

Session 6 - A Witch's Weaving - At dinner, the characters manage to trick or convince the wife to reveal that she is the Villain they are pursuing. She reveals that it was to the purpose of bringing them together and directing them against a great threat she fears is rising. She gives herself up to her shocked husband's custody. During the course of the social confrontation, the gorgon breaks her Limit by comparing herself to the witch and loses access to her sorcery. The witch escapes the next day.

A Witch's Weaving - Step 5 Complete - Panache improves to 3
See Justice Done - Step 1 Complete, Step Two - Capture the Witch
New Season Story - A Rising Darkness

Session 7 - A Rising Darkness - The characters investigate the witch's notes and journals to find the nature of the threat she fears. It seems to describe a secret society working to manipulate the nations and church against each other to give themselves influence. The gorgon's lack of magic leads to the death by poison of the witch's husband as she is unable to either command a snake not to bite nor cure the poison once it is in his system. The heroes are able to catch the assassin that delivered the poisonous serpent.

A Rising Darkness - Step 1 Complete
A Serpent in Silk - 2 Step Episode Story (save the noble, catch his killer) - Connection - Knights of Rose and Cross acquired

Session 8 - A Rising Darkness - Inquisitors come for the witch and noble's children. The Heroes manage to help them escape the city and lead them out of Castille on a ship for Avalon. During the course of the matter, the gorgon helps the daughter deal with the fact she might turn out to be a witch and in the course of the conversation satisfies the condition of her Penance, she now has sorcery again. The Heroes find proof that the Inquisitor charge is part of the conspiracy the witch was speaking of.

A Rising Darkness - Step 2 Complete
The Zealous Inquisition - 3 Step Episode Story (Escape the inquisition, get to safety, get the kids out of the city) - Hide improves to 3

Session 9 - A Rising Darkness - The heroes concoct a plan to sneak into the inquisitor's offices and home to find evidence of his misdeeds as well as clues to other parts of the conspiracy. They manage to do so and reach an Inquisitor interested in the other's position but not part of the conspiracy. As they are arresting him and start to question him he is pulled back over a balcony and tumbles to the ground, killed by the Vodocce witch as revenge for her husband and children.

A Rising Darkness - Step 3 complete
A Useful Ambition - 2 Step Episode Story (Investigate the Inquisitor, Disgrace the Inquisitor) - Convince improved to 1

Session 10 - A Rising Darkness - After a chase through the streets and facing several minions, the witch escapes in a carriage. The Heroes race after her heading north and after some days catch up with her in Eisen driving her to a castle where they finally catch her. However as they are putting her into chains and blindfolded, the baron of the castle reveals that the place is cursed and a horde of undead besiege the castle with night fall.

A Witch Pursued - 4 Step Character Story completed. (Pursue, Track, Corner, and catch the witch) - Aim improves to 4
See Justice Done - Step 2 completed, Step 3 - Make sure the witch pays for her crime.

Session 11 - A Rising Darkness - The heroes fight against the waves of wights and other undead. In the course of the fight, the witch offers her aid and ends up martyring herself to allow the Heroes to survive and end the curse. The Baron offers to let them use his castle as

A Siege of the Dead - 3 Step Episode Story - (Survive the horde, track the source, end the curse) - Patron gained
See Justice Done - Step 3 completed - Signature Item, a blessed bow crafted in the ways of her ancestors
New Story - Courtships - 5 pt Story, Goal - Earn the love of the Baron's Daughter, Reward - Panache +1, Step 1 - Charm the Baron's daughter at the feast

Sessiion 12 - A Rising Darkness - After a feast in which the gorgon makes an absolute fool of herself but does earn a smile from the baron's daughter, the Heroes track down one of the leads they have near the Eisen/Montaigne border. They find a group looking to funnel seditious materials and revolutionaries into Montaigne while also informing against the revolution to incite more chaos. 

Courtships - Step 1 complete - Step 2 gain the lady's favor.
A Rising Darkness - Step 4 complete

Session 13 - A Rising Darkness - The characters have a major battle against the cell of the organization in Eisen and manage to not only destroy the current plot, they also expose the existence of this secret society to the nations of the world.

A Rising Darkness - Step 5 complete - Change Hubris to The Lovers - Star-Crossed (a bit behind the curve here, the romance already started)

Session 14 - An Educational Escort - The baron asks the heroes to escort his daughter to Avalon where she plans to study. Over the course of the mission, they face an attack by bandits and a bad storm, but the gorgon does get a gift from the daughter.

An Educational Escort - 3 step Character Story, (reach the coast, sale across the channel, see the daughter safely to her university) - Empathy improves to 3
Courtships - Step 2 complete - Step 3 - Be kissed by the baron's daughter

Gorgon Archer

Nation: Ussura (+1 Resolve)
Backgrounds: Hunter, Touched by Matushka
Reputation: Valiant
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 - The Lovers - Envious - Receive a Hero Point when your Hero becomes enamored of someone they shouldn't.

Brawn 2
Finesse 3
Resolve 4
Wits 2
Panache 3

Aim 4
Athletics 2
Convince 1
Empathy 3
Hide 3
Intimidate 3
Notice 2
Perform 1
Ride 1
Sailing 1
Scholarship 2
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)

Direction Sense - As long as you have a point of reference, you are never lost. This isn't exactly the same as knowing where you are. If you get knocked unconscious and wake up in a dungeon you won't know what city you're in, but if you escape your cell you won't get lost in the twisting passages of the dungeon. (The Maddened Bear)

Legendary Trait: Resolve (Track the Poisoner) - Whenever you roll a Risk using Resolve, remove a die from your pool. That die is always a 10. If your 10s explode, then your legendary 10 also explodes.

Connection: Knights of the Rose & Cross (A Serpent in Silk) - You can always make contact with the Knights with someone who can give you basic information or minor help as long as it doesn't cost them anything or put them in danger. If you want more difficult or dangerous aid, you must pay a Hero Point or agree to your contacts price.

Patron (Siege of the Dead) - You have a patron and always start with 1 Wealth. You may spend a Hero Point to call in a favor from your patron.

Signature Item (See Justice Done) - You have a signature item, in this case a blessed bow crafted in the manner of the gorgon's ancestors. You can spend a Hero Point to gain a number of benefits related to use of the bow.

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 - Earn the love of the baron's daughter
Reward - This is 5 Step story resulting in Panache +1.
Step One - Charm the baron's daughter at the celebration.
Step Two - Gain the lady's favor.
Step Three - Be kissed by the lady.

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. 

Further Notes

I tend to feel that I did not build in enough 1 pt or 2 pt stories into these as it made it difficult to get that 1st point of Convince or other such abilities. I did take lower-value advancements for several story rewards however. The story system really works to give a carrot for the players to follow. If they want to make any advancement, they have to chase story leads. That said, they can still end up doing their own thing and completing a minor side mission or else something that pops up into their line of sight. It just means that they might slowed down at completing the current ongoing major plot line.

I'm not entirely certain you're meant to include Episode and Character Stories as part of the lead up to the steps for the Season Story, but it makes logical sense to do so. I will note that the amount of which I felt it necessary to imagine into being for the theoretical is another nod to how narrative driven this game and its advancement are. The mechanics lean quite heavily toward the Stat-driven sort of gaming, but the overall feel of the game is extremely narrative and especially cinematic in nature. There's a lot of feel that is reminiscent of Fate or, closer, Hero System in terms of how the player is able to drive parts of the story along.

Advancement in this game is a good mix of lateral and vertical. It also seems to tolerate a fair mix of character advancement levels as there is a set cap of Skills and Traits at 5. For that matter, you are not allowed to have more than 15 total points of Traits, so if I had pressed toward the gorgon getting her romance with the Baron's Daughter and that improvement to Panache 4, that would have been the last improvement I could take in Traits. However, it would be possible to shift Traits around still.

The story system also makes it really easy to tell when characters have received some focus and gotten a chance to shine or not. You just have to look at their personal story and see what they are looking to do and whether or not that has changed recently. For that matter, this story system seems to be something that could be done to track character's story moments in other systems as well.

Depending on the GM, this system could have a very speedy advancement curve or else an extremely slow one. However, even with a fast advancement curve you are unlikely to have the problem of "out-leveling" any content or enemies, meaning you can keep to the same sort of threats throughout the game rather than constantly having to upgrade to new enemies. Even so, you will start moving in scope as you can tell from the simulation I ran here.

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