Sailing the 7th Sea to the Lands of Gold and Fire
  • Sailing the 7th Sea to the Lands of Gold and Fire


    Every older RPG that has been revived after being out of print for a number of years wants to be 7th Sea. Its 2016 Kickstarter raised $1.3 million, breaking crowdfunding records for role-playing games and making it a huge success in comparison to its $30,000 goal. Lands of Gold and Fire is a by-product of that Kickstarter and a gorgeous by-product it is.



    While the original 7th Sea and the core book for the 2nd Edition are set in a fantasy variant of 17th century Europe, its subsequent books are expanding the world. Lands of Gold and Fire is its version of the continent of Africa.

    This is not the cliché of Africa too often found in games and fiction. Ifri is richer and more multifaceted, divided into five kingdoms – The Manden Kurufaba, Mbey, Maghreb, Aksum and Khemet – that each have their own flavor, cultures, and challenges.

    While Lands of Gold and Fire has a very different feel than D&D's recent foray into a fantasy version of Africa when it updated Chult in Tomb of Annihilation, I wish I had read Lands of Gold and Fire before starting a ToA campaign. I would have used it to add more cultural variety to Chult. Developers Jerry Grayson, Jesse, Heinig and Jonaya Kemper and their team did a terrific job with the writing. I might borrow some of the NPCs for a variety of games.

    While the majority of the book is given over to lore, histories, cultures, and creatures, the back is devoted to adventuring in Ifri. Creating an Ifrian Hero is the same as making a character in the core book, but it presents you with a variety of new options like setting specific backgrounds, advantages, secret societies, etc.
    “Evil does not corrupt the hearts of people. It finds the tears and mends them. And who can say no to feeling whole again?” – Chitendu

    Among the new mechanics are Vile Dice. It's a terrific way to express the dangers of falling prey to a deal with the abonsam. It gives the character power – at a cost – and ties into the Corruption mechanic from the core book.

    Lands of Gold and Fire is gorgeous. Marissa Kelly did another stellar art direction job. Each nation has its own distinctive style while still fitting within a regional consistency. I can't cite specific artists for their work not only because they aren't labeled, but because there are too many examples of gorgeous art. If you like artwork, Giorgio Baroni, Zulkarnaen Hasan Basri, Jonathan Chong, Charlie Creber, Zach Ellis, Matt Forsyth, Irina Kuzmina, James Mosingo and Meagan Trott all do a fantastic job of bringing this exotic world to life while creating images that go well with the designs for other countries in 7th Sea,

    My one question is that since this is a fantasy, alternate version of Africa, why include slavery? It's limited in the book, very specific and mostly involving bonded slaves, but I can't help imagining an alternate version that didn't have such a thing. The Lands of Gold and Fire makes it extremely clear that engaging in slavery is not a heroic action and will have consequences. I'm sure that section was created after a great deal of debate, and I can't say that the designers were wrong to include it, but I'd love to see an alternate Africa without the taint of slavery.

    Lands of Gold and Fire is an excellent addition to both 7th Sea lore and anyone wanting more variety and inspiration.

    This article was contributed by Beth Rimmels (brimmels) as part of ENWorld's User-Generated Content (UGC) program. We are always on the lookout for freelance columnists! If you have a pitch, please contact us!
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. IAmSancho's Avatar
      IAmSancho -
      This is a great book that does a great job getting the right feel for the continent it's fictionalizing. One of my favorite 7th Sea books so far. Thanks for shouting it out!
    1. Derren's Avatar
      Derren -
      Were they a bit more creative with the names of the people and places than in fantasy Europe? I still cant read the main book without heavy eye rolling.
      Which african nations served as inspiration for the ones in the book?

      As for the slavery thing, Africa was a hotspot for slavery even before the Europeans arrived and the african themselves were big slavers. So if you want to have similarities to the historic continent of Africa then leaving out slavery would be rather strange.
    1. Connorsrpg's Avatar
      Connorsrpg -
      This looks interesting. I have long been a fan of African-influenced settings. The early Dragon Magazine articles were inspiring, but Chris Dulunt's "Nyambe: African Adventures" released by Atlas Games remains one of my favourite setting inspiration books for DnD. (I had his PDFs before Atlas Games released the product). There the human peoples were distinct with a lot of thought on culture and how that is expressed though arts (inc dress). In fact, I often just use the different human groups straight from that book.

      Seems you could do the same here. I think I need to get a copy of 2E 7th Sea, and this book
    1. robus's Avatar
      robus -
      No link for more info? I've scanned the OP for something clickable and came up short...
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