The 7th Sea Explorer's Society Roundup

John Wick Presents' 7th Sea 2e offers a marketplace to sell original, crowd-sourced products called the Explorer's Society. Each month, I review some of the best pieces just as EN World does for the DMs Guild (D&D) as well as Storyteller's Vault (World of Darkness).

Let’s explore Thomas G. Harrison’s Bloody Misadventures: Dramatic Battles on the High Seas, a 27-page manual detailing ship-related action sequences for 7th Sea. This is an action and adventure focused project compatible with the Expanded Ship Rules from fellow Explorer’s Society creator, Rob Donoghue.

While Expanded Ship Rules focuses on options to make the ship the center of play (customization, repairs, etc), Bloody Misadventures is about ship-to-ship battle tactics, ramming, ship chases, and ocean dangers such as storms and coral reefs. In other words, the dramatic action that is the stock and trade of 7th Sea.

For ship-to-ship engagements, this 3PP rules expansion offers more depth to the ships of the era, providing them with ratings, combat goals, and an augmented sense of how ships fought in that era without drawing the focus away from the quick action of 7th Sea. The most important aspect of any group combat in a RPG is participation and this product offers Supporting Roles to give each player a position in the ship-to-ship action. The ship-to-ship maneuvers are divided between Basic and Complex Maneuvers with quick-to-comprehend write-ups. A Basic option is Fire The Guns, which (obviously) fires the cannons at the enemy ship, while Crossing The T! puts your ship into position to fire your cannons to greater effect. Yet, Crossing The T! could lead to an Opportunity for the enemy to Ram! your vessel. These maneuver options create a more exciting, vivid style of naval battle with suggested Consequences and potential Critical Hit options. Beyond that are more complex options like the weather gage, ammunition, and more. The weather gage offers bonuses to whichever ship possesses it, but what makes this detail interesting are the options the GM has to assign it, offer it as an Opportunity, or through a metagame auction.

Following ship-to-ship combat are Chases on the High Seas. What is involved in a chase? What can you do to increase speed in a sailing vessel? What can you do to dissuade your opponent from reaching their optimum speed? This product does an excellent job of breaking down how you might go about pursuit without leaving the rules of the game behind. So why did you chase and fight the enemy ship? Likely for The Prize! This offers a good overview of what you’re likely to gain from taking a ship and what their in-game uses might be.

While the layout of the book is fine, the art is limited to a few AD&D 1e-style pen and ink drawings. They’re simple, and appear infrequently, but they offer simple ship diagrams for naval newbies which can help them navigate the positions everyone is in. Is this a worthwhile addition to 7th Sea? If you plan to run a major ship-to-ship action scene, this is the product to get you into it. It’s a breezy read, to-the-point on many topics, and quick for reference. It will make your ship battles and chases more exciting and improve your swashbuckling adventure.

contributed by Egg Embry

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