Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Broad Brush

I've been poking around at 7th Sea again as my Space 1889 game, my Spelljammer game, and my central 10th Age games have failed to resume. That's all well and good, but coming back to 7th Sea after a long absence (particularly after reading a HUGE amount of historical fiction set in the 17th, 18th, and 18th centuries) has highlighted for me exactly how broad of a brush AEG used when creating the game. Not that this is a bad thing! Simple is good, when it comes to history religions for games, because otherwise players have to struggle with it. It also reduces the amount of work required to get the game out the door, the amount of work required for the GM to run it, etc.

That being said, historical fiction rides on detail. All novels of historical fiction are crammed with niggling little details to help bring the reader into the period. Thus, the loss of a number of European nations, the extreme simplification of Protestantism and its myriad sects into a single Objectionist movement, the reduction of England to some weird Elizabethan-period thing without recourse to, say, the Restoration or the more complex Parliamentary system after the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, and that extreme truncation of the continents to exclude most of Africa and Asia, might be a bit TOO simple.

I've always felt the map of Théah was... unpleasant looking. There are apparently people on the internet who agree with me, since I discovered this little gem:

Of course, there are myriad problems with this much more european map; the Montaigne invasion of Castille would look a lot different, for one, and the southern half of Vodacce isn't just a smattering of islands as once it were. However, with some adjustment (oh yes, and I suppose some additional lore for the new nations presented here) I think this would actually greatly improve the 7th Sea experience. BUT that would be a huge undertaking—so instead I am going to stick with the original map of Théah:

I don't know if the existence of Africa was ever addressed in any of the modules, but I intend to add it in, possibly obscured by Syrneth or other pre-human artifice. Cathay and the Crescent Moon I will simply note as being IMPROPERLY MAPPED by Théans, since they cannot really explore those regions due to Church interdiction and the Corridors of Flame.

As for sects and religion, that is easy to solve—I'll make up a number of Protestant (erm, OBJECTIONIST) sects to fill in the gaps. Yes, there are a number of countries missing in Théah, reducing the overall complexity of the world... but are there? Perhaps they have simply been swallowed up by personal unions and the expansion of boundaries here. Yes, I think with some minor tweaking, 7th Sea could make a very well detailed alternative history game indeed.

And this is the problem I have with the Broad Brush. I can only play broad-brushed settings for so long before I begin to feel this nagging doubt at the back of my mind. "It doesn't feel real," it murmurs to me. "There's something wrong. It's not... complicated enough." And that's when I start doing insane things like this.

No comments:

Post a Comment