7th Sea 2nd Edition Traits

Saturday, June 4th, 2016

Just a few thoughts about the patterns of points that can be assigned to Traits in 7th Sea 2nd Edition.

In second edition the rules create only a few possible patterns for assigning numbers that make up a character’s Traits. Here they are ordered by highest Trait first…

Trait Total Points
A B C D E
5 4 2 2 2 15
5 3 3 2 2 15
5 3 2 2 2 14
5 2 2 2 2 13
4 4 3 2 2 15
4 3 3 3 2 15
4 3 3 2 2 14
4 3 2 2 2 13
3 3 3 3 3 15
3 3 3 3 2 14
3 3 3 2 2 13

And here they are ordered by the number of points in the Traits…

Trait Total Points
 A B C D E
5 4 2 2 2 15
5 3 3 2 2 15
4 4 3 2 2 15
4 3 3 3 2 15
3 3 3 3 3 15
5 3 2 2 2 14
4 3 3 2 2 14
3 3 3 3 2 14
5 2 2 2 2 13
4 3 2 2 2 13
3 3 3 2 2 13

The second table shows that there are 3 basic patterns for a starting character:

  • Exception in one Trait at 5 points but ordinary (by the standard of heroes) in the others at 2
  • Strong in one Trait at 4, developed in a second at 3 and ordinary in the other three at 2
  • Better in three Traits at 3 and ordinary in the other two at 2

These patterns mean that during character creation a player has clearer choices to make about their character than games with broader ranges of values to assign. The basic choice is do you want to go focused or broad. If you want to be exceptional you’ll have to choose a nationality that has the Trait you want to focus on.

The fifteen point limit on Traits means that no characters can steal the limelight from other characters merely by having traits at 4 and 5 across the board. They have to choose their focus. This should create distinctive characters. Say you were developing a group of characters from the Three Musketeers as characters based on 13 points of a starting hero you might decide to make…

  • Athos with Finesse 5
  • Aramis with Wits 5 (moving the point from nationality see below)
  • Porthos with Brawn 4  and Panache 3
  • D’Artagnan might begin with Finesse 4 and Resolve 3.
  • Planchet could begin with a broader approach of 3 in each of Wits, Resolve and Brawn

Each of these characters is clearly differentiated from the other by their Traits.  Athos and D’Artagnan are similar but in a fight while Atho’s finesse gives him an advantage D’Artagnan resolve means he will keep going longer.  Planchet doesn’t outshine any of them in a single Trait but he’s a bit better than all of then in two.

A side effect of National Bonuses that not all players like is that characters from certain nations can’t start with some traits at 5. For example no Avalonian hero can ever have a Wits of 5 and no musketeer from Montaigne can have Brawn 5 without completing a story to move their bonus point.

A simple house rule to avoid this is to allow starting characters to be created with 3 points in Step 1 and Step 2 can then be skipped.

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