Storium: Vnezakona

I’m trying to get a Storium game off the ground. I haven’t had much luck recruiting so I’m throwing up a post here in hopes of catching a couple more eyes. The basic idea is a 7th Sea game set in a northern Ussuran logging/shipping town that’s undergoing a population boom.

Think 7th Sea meets Deadwood.

Checkout all the details below for more elaboration.

What is 7th Sea?

It is a world of swashbuckling and sorcery, piracy and adventure, diplomacy and intrigue, archæology and exploration. It’s a world of musketeers, buccaneers and privateers, ancient sorcery and lost civilizations, secrets that hide in the shadows and monsters that hide in plain sight.

That’s quite a mouthful, so let’s take it one step at a time.

7th Sea is a “swashbuckling and sorcery”-themed tabletop role-playing game (RPG) set in the fictional world of Théah. In 2000, 7th Sea won the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Game of 1999.

Swashbuckling and Sorcery

It is a world where an order of musketeers guards the lives of the nobility, but also the virtues of honor, integrity, and fraternity. It is a world of sharp blades and sharp wits, where a cutting retort can be just as deadly as a sword’s point.

It is also a world where the nobility control the most powerful force of all — sorcery. Dark magic pulses in the hearts of the noble class, power that was given to them long ago. Some control the weather. Others assume the forms of animals. Some rip through the fabric of reality, while others play with the forces of Fate itself.

The hard edge of steel coupled with the shadowy substance of sorcery: that is your first step into the world of 7th Sea.

Piracy and Adventure

The waters of 7th Sea are populated with the robbers of the waves. The pirates of 7th Sea are united by a common cause: freedom. Freedom from the tyranny of sorcerers and kings. Freedom from the shackles of the Church of the Prophets. Freedom from greedy land-owners and money lenders. Pirates sail where they want, take what they please and live a life of freedom unknown by any other man in the world of 7th Sea.

With the decline of the Church, things have become even better for pirates as kings and queens hire daredevil adventurers to explore the unknown and bring back the booty they discover. Of course, if those adventurers lower their guards for even a moment, they’ll find themselves facing the black flag…

Diplomacy and Intrigue

In the world of 7th Sea, kingdoms are on the verge of becoming countries. A swelling tide of nationalism grows in the hearts of men and women, and a new kind of conflict — covert warfare — is finding its way into the world. But in the courts of kings and queens, diplomats dressed in powdered wigs, lace and silk try to resolve the disputes of nations. Of course, if diplomacy fails, there is the cold steel of the dueling sword waiting under all that finery.

A new kind of espionage is making its way into the world as well. Men and women trained in the arts of deception live perilous lives of illusion and artifice as they pillage enemy secrets with only their beauty, cunning and wits… and a willingness to do anything for crown and country.

Archæology and Exploration

Beyond the kingdoms of Théah lie the ruins of an ancient civilization, lost centuries ago. Hidden beneath thousands of years of dust and the waves are vast cities of Lost Syrneth. Who knows what ancient treasures remain, unseen by human eyes, untouched by human hands?

Men and women who call themselves “archæologists” are hired by the kings and queens of Théah to unearth these treasures and bring them back to noble hands. Daring the perilous ancient ruins, these men and women are all the rage in the noble courts and the subjects of romantic novels all across the land. Praised as heroes, they hope to discover the secrets of the Syrneth in hopes that they may uncover the key to man’s own origins, and possibly the secrets of the universe itself.

The Seventh Sea?

There are six seas surrounding Théah. The mythical “seventh sea” is considered little more than a sailor’s story, a tale to frighten cabin boys on their first voyage. It is said that when a ship enters the seventh sea, the stars move backwards, the sun and moon share the same horizon and strange cries can be heard from beneath the waves. While scholars dispute the veracity of the sailors’ stories, too many have surfaced to be ignored.

Setting

The 7th Sea RPG is set in a world that draws direct influence from the literature of 17th century Europe. Each country in the world can be compared to a European kingdom but is an exaggerated representation. Sorcery is a large part of the world with many types available to players. The dominant religion in the world, the belief in Theus and his prophets, is based on a form of Gnostic Christianity and features a parallel of the Spanish Inquisition. There are also references to the Knights Templars, Masons and the Invisible College of scientists.

All major European powers have their representations in Théah. Avalon (England), Castille (Spain), Montaigne (France), Eisen (Germany), Ussura (Russia), Vendel/Vestenmanavnjar (Netherlands / Scandinavia) and Vodacce (Italy) are the main cultures of the game. There is also Inismore (Ireland), Highland Marches (Scotland), the Crescent Empire (Ottoman / Arab), Midnight Archipelago (Caribbean and North Africa) and the secretive Cathay (China / Korea / Tibet).

Conclusion

And that, in a nutshell, is the world of 7th Sea.

It is a great deal like our own, but at the same time, not at all like our own. Théah is a whole new world to explore.

Are you ready?

What is Vnezakona?

On the surface Vnezakona is a simple Ussuran port. The tiny village ships timber from nearby logging camps out to the rest of Théah. If you look a little deeper however you find another truth. Vnezakona is a booming outlaw settlement. Thanks to a loophole in Ussuran law the island at the mouth of Proliv Inya isn’t part of the Molhya douma. Nor is it controlled by the Vestenmannavnjar islands to the west. It is, technically, sovereign territory.A bastion of freedom.

Recently, a few enterprising individuals took notice of this oddity. These pioneers have set out to turn this tiny port into a thriving den of commerce and lawlessness. They started by buying out the shipping contracts with St. Tremult, ensuring that the regular shipments of timber are sent down the coast and out into Ussura. They then build a lumberyard and started refining the timber into usable boards and planks. Then they expanded their shipping with deals between numerous Vestenmannavnjar ports. By ensuring the two nations prosper from the new management Vnezakona has secured vital allies and avoided scrutiny.

Now the village, which was once only a few docks and a handful of tents, has grown to include am inn, saloon, and doctor’s office. It may not be much, but these permanent buildings represent the change coming to Vnezakona.

Keep It Simple…

With a desire to make the game more accessible for casual play, the word count has been turned way down. Players have 250 words and the Narrator has 500. Players should only make multiple moves after all other players (including the Narrator) have had a chance to respond either with their own move or via the comments. Back to back posts will be deleted. The goal is to keep the story fast, fun, and light. No long exposition or rambling prose.

Game Style

Focus on writing: plot, character development, and writing style are more important than gameplay elements like cards and challenges.

I’m far more interested in collaborative storytelling than Storiums awkward card system. That said, I’m still going to use the card system as a writing tool with Outcomes being prompts for interaction.

Collaboration Style

Flexible: players are invited to write about any characters in the story (including those controlled by the narrator), if the situation merits.

Again, the focus here is on collaborative storytelling, not character protection. You need to let others play in your sandbox and you’re expected to play in the sandbox of others.

Storium Philosophy

I’ve also written my personal Storium Philosophy, a set of thoughts on etiquette and gameplay, that you can find on my website: here.

Who Are You?

Characters are frontier men and women who have set out to stake a claim in the burgeoning town of Vnezakona. As such, you could have set out from just about any nation in Théah. You could be in town for an number of reasons. All that’s required is that you’ve opted to leave your former life behind and live in an unsettled, lawless, town.

A Note on Cards

Natures: Natures are your home Nation. The current nations of Théah — seven in all — currently represent the whole of the civilized world. Two other nation-states exist as well — The Empire of the Crescent Moon and the land of Cathay — but they are isolated from the rest of Théah by a combination of cultural differences and physical barriers. Other continents may exist, far beyond the western oceans, but no Théan has yet discovered them.

Strengths: Starting Strengths are your Virtue. A Virtue is a great strength or ability found deep within a Hero that he can summon up in times of need. Some Heroes can call upon vast reserves of courage, others are so single-minded that nothing turn them away from their goals, and a few are just plain lucky.

Weaknesses: Starting Weaknesses are your Hubris. A Hubris is a fatal flaw in a Hero’s character. When a Hero fails and the tale ends in tragedy, it is usually hubris that brought him low. Whether it was pride, jealousy, or simply the inability to change his ways, the most tragic ends are the hero’s own fault.

Sub-Plots: Sub-Plot is your Profession. Professions represent the training your Hero has acquired. Professions define what your Hero knows. Not everyone has the same set of skills. We all learn different lessons, even from similar experiences.

Wild Cards: Wild Cards, both Strenght and Weaknesses, do not need to be a Virtue or Hubris. I do request that any Wild Cards are created using wording from 7th Sea. Suggestions would be to use Traits, Sorcery, Swordsman Schools, Backgrounds, Advantages, or Secret Societies.

More information on all of these character aspects can be found within the pages of the 7th Sea Player’s Guide.

Story Direction

This story will take place over the course of several years in Vnezakona and, is intended, to be very player character driven. While some scenes will deal with larger scale events others will be based on the direction characters are going.

It’ll be important for characters to telegraph their intentions, both long-term and short-term, and keep communication with the Narrator (and other players) open. Talk in the comments section, utilize the green room, and send private messages. Try to keep your Narrator in the loop and you’ll see more scenes staged around your character’s actions.

It’s possible that your character may not be in every scene. If you’re opting out of a scene please leave a note in the comments to know you’ve seen the move and so no one ends up waiting on you. In general, keep communication flowing.

How Do I Join?

Let me know, drop a comment here or shoot me an e-mail with your Storium username and I’ll add you to the invite list once I have enough potential players.

Posted in 7th Sea and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

One Comment

  1. Hi, Rob; I’m interested, but I don’t want to jump in front of other potential players.

    I’m so ignorant of the world of 7th Sea that I could only envision playing as a complete hermit or yokel, which might not be the feel you are looking for – it would eat up word count with explaining how the world functions. If that’s OK, I’m michael_chase on Storium.

Leave a Reply