The 7th Sea Explorer's Society Roundup

Welcome to the 7th Sea Explorer’s Society Roundup! Created from the final stretch goal of John Wick Presents 7th Sea 2e Kickstarter campaign, the Explorer’s Society is an option to distribute and/or sell official 7th Sea crowd-sourced content. Setup within DriveThruRPG and RPGNow, the model is similar to the DMsGuild (Dungeons & Dragons) or the Storyteller’s Vault (World of Darkness) in that individual creators can share their 7th Sea 2E content as long as it conforms to the content guidelines for the Explorer’s Society, which can be found here.

To kick this column off, let’s explore Janek Sielicki’s The Sarmatian Bestiary, a 56-page bestiary of monsters curated from Polish folklore interpreted for the 7th Sea 2e ruleset. Along with the supernatural and mundane creatures in this product, there are a few new game mechanics, an art gallery, and other extras.

As an Explorer’s Society product, is it a good fit for 7th Sea? Fantasy RPGs tend to focus on a pseudo-England/France and leave large swaths of other real world inspiration unexplored. This Explorer’s Society product lives up to the line’s name by examining the wider world. This book touches on the 7th Sea analogues for the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania, Rzplita and Curonia. Their folklore includes these mythological Polish creatures, which gives this product a range from practical encounter fodder such as Will-O’-Wisp (Bwedny ogneek) and Smok the dragon to niche setups like Divoshona, a creature that only attacks women who just gave birth and only attacks them outside of their home. If you ponder some of the creatures, it could offer insights into that region’s local belief system. The highly specific nature of some of these creatures is not off-putting, instead these flavorful offerings build the 7th Sea nations of Rzplita and Curonia and help to establish their character as something other than Western European.

For the product’s artwork, the cover is a public domain piece by Polish artist, Jacek Malczewski. His dynamic cover art, along with his origins, cement the feel of this product. That said, the largest challenge the book has is the interior artwork. Filip Gutowski’s sketchy pencil work uses loose cartoon forms and imprecise anatomy to create children’s art for what should be the exploration of horrors. Filip’s art is not bad, just not right for this book. Both artist’s work is included in an art gallery at the end of the book.

How does the production compare with an official John Wick Presents 7th Sea product? The writing is strong and evocative of the differences in the mythology between these Polish offerings as opposed to the more common Western European monsters that are the villains of so many fantasies. The art could use more attention but the strength of the writing and creativity make this a winner.

Speaking of monsters, there is another Explorer’s Society product that’s worth discussing in this article, Alessandro Monteverde’s Monster Sheet for 7th Sea.

If you’re going to run monsters from 7th Sea or The Sarmatian Bestiary, this sheet provides a quick reference to the GM. It’s a simple PWYW product that streamlines bookkeeping and is, more or less, completely revealed by the cover image so you know if this is the one for your table or not. Taken together, The Sarmatian Bestiary and Monster Sheet, prepare your table for a good night of Eastern European supernatural encounters.
Egg Embry


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