Thursday, February 6, 2014

To the Pain

Dungeons and Dragons is to the death. 7th Sea isn't. That doesn't mean that 7th Sea is easymode. This is something that people easily lose sight of—indeed, this is the argument that a lot of STORY people put forth for D&D that I have so clearly set myself up against. And yet... is there something to loathe in 7th Sea? Is it a cruise through the simple waters of easyland, wherein you need fear nothing?


7th Sea is about the story, not about the world or your place in it (like D&D). The story ends when characters die, and that's why it's very hard for characters to die in 7th Sea. However, the story does not end when they are maimed physically or emotionally, when they lose everything they love, or when they, in other words, fail. The wages of failure are no longer death, for 7th Sea takes the long view of story. It's not a meat grinder in which characters are chewed up and spit out. That doesn't mean losing has no sting, it just has a different sort of sting. 7th Sea explicitly exists to make fantasy Musketeer tales, to create the kinds of stories that Dumas would be proud of. Thus, the game is played not to the death but to the pain. When a character finally does die, the moment must have meaning—for this is a narrative game, and nothing occurs in narratives without meaning something because someone has purposefully put it there.

And you can like both styles of play, clearly, since I do, without suffering some kind of mental lapse. I just hate it when my 7th Sea gets into my D&D.

No comments:

Post a Comment