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7th Sea 2e Mechanics
Do they really work?
Surely it would be easy for the GM to just overload a scene with consequences such that the player cannot roll enough successes to deal with them.
edited October 2017
In my opinion that would be ideal. There is no success/failure in 7th Sea 2e. Just "beats" of action. To get any kind of tension at all you'd want slightly more opportunities and consequences than the PC can muster risks so that they'd have to make meaningful choices.
I'm concerned that there's no way the GM can consistently come up with that many opportunities and consequences.
Out of idle interest, that system sounds like Otherkind - is it basically like that?
If it is, and there's no particular systemic constraint to how you set up the stakes, then the ideal difficulty level would presumably be low enough for it to be technically possible to achieve a "clean" victory (this is a good idea dramatically in most games, you want to leave the door open for a flawless, pure outcome), yet high enough to make a flawed outcome more likely.
Depending on the dicing system you could just outright calculate the ideal range by determining what the highest and lowest possible dice rolls are for the characters, and going from there. You definitely don't want to demand less than is trivial to achieve, nor more than is humanly possible.
Eero, a basic "risk" as it's called works like this.
You say what you want to achieve. The GM states a list of Consequences and potentially additional Opportunities along the way. A pool of d10s is made and roll. You collect dice to make sets that add up to 10. Each set is a "raise. You spend 1 raise to get what you initially wanted. Then each additional raise avoids a Consequence or claims an Opportunity.
Action Sequences and Dramatic Sequences are slightly more complicated but the basics are the same.
Yeah, that's pretty much the Mountain Witch - Otherkind line of thought. It's a nice setup, I use it myself in all sorts of things.
So a pool produces 0,2 successes per die for low numbers of dice (with rather funky effects depending on whether you've got an odd or even number of dice), and closer to 0,5 per die for bigger pools. Assuming the pools are about 5-10 dice (as they're wont to be in this sort of thing), the typical amount of raises would be somewhere in the neighbourhood of one to three or so. As you'd want to use one raise for the actual task/conflict success, there probably shouldn't be more than five-ish "success sinks" available per conflict.
Does the GMing advice section of the rulebook have anything on this? Unless the game's totally different from 1st edition, I would expect it to be the sort that carefully explains how the GM should set the scene and ensure game balance. Maybe it just tells you that the appropriate number of consequences and opportunities per situation is in the neighbourhood of 3-5, and the GM should generally shoot for thereabouts, circumstances permitting.
I think it does mention the 3-5 range thing at least once. Or at least point out something like, you expect about half as many raises as dice or something. The GM advice is much more "John Wick" in that it focuses almost entirely on narrative structure and archetypes. It's actually some of the worst GMing advice because it reads like advice for the flow of static fiction rather than dynamic play environments.
A way to multiply bad consequences is, break a fictional item down into multiple facets.
You're fighting to rescue a captive? That you get hold of them is the basic stakes, but they might get any or all of: physically hurt, mentally shocked (trauma), socially ousted (blame is on them for being captured in the first place), etc. etc.
Also, one technique I've used in similar games (for instance,
Fables of Camelot
flirts with a similar success-allocation scheme) is letting the earned successes "roll over" after the conflict for a little bit. For instance, you could say that instead of having to allocate all the points right now, the player could reserve the excess until the end of the scene, or the next conflict, and use them to pay for any further details that may come up in the course of after-conflict narration. Sometimes you only really figure out what a character wants to accomplish (and therefore what the player should be paying for) after the dice hit the table. Maybe let any remaining successes get converted into new dice for a follow-up situation on a 1:1 basis if they don't get spent on something before then.
This concept is advantageous as a safety valve for when the fictional situation doesn't really break down naturally into an appropriate number of sub-stakes. It is also occasionally the case that players aren't even interested in purchasing what you have on offer. By having a "baseline" alternative that works regardless of the fictional situation you make for a more robust system, with less pressure on the GM to be perfect all the time in setting up the conflicts.
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