Since 7th Sea: Second Edition debuted just over a year ago (June 21st, 2016 on DriveThruRPG) there has been a lot of talk about the Corruption rules. I thought it would be fun to share my original version of Corruption… Morality.
Ultimately, John and Mike decided my methods were too severe. They came up with what you see in the book today but in a different universe we might have seen Morality. Whenever I’ve seen discussion about Corruption crop up, I always chuckle. No one knows who much worse it would have been if I had my way. Muhahaha.
In 7th Sea you play Heroes. A person admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, and noble qualities. You do not ever play Villains. Villains are always Non-Player Characters. You do not play Anti-Heroes. Anti-Heroes are always Non-Player Characters. In 7th Sea you play Heroes.
That needs to be absolutely clear before you read any further into this section. In 7th Sea you play Heroes. Say it out loud. Say it five times. Just don’t forget that no matter what else happens; In 7th Sea you play Heroes.
In 7th Sea you play Heroes.
A Hero isn’t a Hero unless they are tested. Sometimes a Hero needs to make a hard call. A Hero might be forced to do something they would never do to spare the lives of the innocent. A Hero sometimes does an evil thing because at that moment it’s the right thing to do.
What is Evil?
Picture a field mouse and an owl. In the dead of night the owl swoops down and eats that mouse’s child. Is the Owl evil? Certainly from the mouse’s perspective the horror that comes in the night and steals it’s babies is evil. From the Owl’s perspective, however, it’s only doing what it needs to survive. The Owl doesn’t see eating mice as evil.
Is killing another person evil? What if their death saves the lives of a million others? What if you would only save a thousand? A hundred? What if you kill one person to save two others? At what point does murder become “justifiable”? Or is it always an evil action, regardless of intent?
The truth is that there is no answer. There is no answer to what the nature of evil is or what actions are always evil. The best we can come up with is, “I know it when I see it.”
When your character is about to do something evil the Game Master must tell you. If you continue with the action, in the face of the GM’s warning, you receive an Evil Point. This is important. Evil Points can never be handed out after the fact. The Game Master always needs to tell the Player that their actions are not in line with what the group decided is Heroic.
Evil Points do two things.
First, when you would spend Raises you must spend an extra number of Raises equal to the number of Evil Points you have. Being Evil makes doing everything harder for the Character.
Second, when you would spend Hero Points you must spend an extra number of Hero Points equal to the number of Evil Points you have. Being Evil makes being Heroic harder for the Character.
One Evil Point means +1 Raise and +1 Hero Point when you would spend either.
Being Evil is expensive because in 7th Sea you play Heroes.
Gaining Evil Points
You gain an Evil Point when you do something evil. What is evil is so dependent on circumstance and the intent that it’s impossible to write a specific rule for it. Instead, the Game Master and Players must have a level of trust between each other to allow for on the spot rulings.
The Game Master must always tell a player before they take an action that would earn them an Evil Point. If the Game Master ever surprises a Player with an Evil Point the Player must refuse it and tell the Game Master to come read this page.
The Game Master can also rule that actions result in multiple Evil Points. When warning a Player however they must also tell the Player of how man Evil Points the action would result in.
Mitigating Evil Points
Evil Points may never be removed. The effects of Evil linger on a person’s soul for the rest of their life. No matter how many good or holy acts they do from that point forward, they always have that little dark place where they did something truly Evil.
However, a truly Heroic character are able to limit the effects of Evil Points. By spending 5 Hero Points the Player may ignore the extra raise required by a single Evil Point for a single dice roll. The extra Hero Points required for having Evil Points must still be paid.
Becoming a Villain
If a player ever feels their Hero has become unplayable because of the effects of Evil Points, consider turning that Hero into a Villain or at least an NPC.