Character Development – 7th Sea Second Edition
7th Sea Second Edition is a role-playing game created and developed by John Wick, Rob Justice, and Mike Curry. The game is centered around the exploits of pirate culture in a fantasy version of 17th century Europe and its associated colonies. Stories told with this system are expected to high adventure full of intrigue, romance, and some sorcery thrown in for good measure. The official setting is that of Théah, a continent rules by various nation-states that are in turn connected to a central church and its theology, sorcerous powers and magic, and the remnants of a lost civilization called the Syrene.
Conflict resolution in the game is handled by the GM declaring a player action as a Risk. The player clarifies their Intent and the GM responds by telling them the appropriate Skill and Trait. These scores are added and the corresponding number of ten-sided dice are rolled. Sets of 10 are the desired outcome and the more you can make the better (7+3, 2+3+5, etc). Each set of 10 is a Raise and can be spent to accomplish everything from overcoming the conflict to inflicting wounds and even establishing a fictional detail.
I read through the details of the setting’s nation-states to determine what sort of character I wanted to create and decided upon Castille as the place of origin. Castille is essentially Spain, even with the emphasis on the Vaticine Church as the chief governing body over the monarchy. With the Church looming so large I wanted to create a character deeply connected to it but in conflict with the powerful organization. I was intrigued by the idea of corruption within the Vaticine and thought up the idea that there could be a society within the Church that were actually worshippers of demonic occult powers. Their long-term goal would be the collapse of the Vaticine internally with their faction rising up to control the organization. My character would be someone who witnessed their dark rite and who they in turn found out saw them at work. I struck upon the idea of a church guard, like the Swiss Guards of the Vatican. This man would be a veteran of war, seeking peace as a soldier for the Church. Now the demonic conspiracy has framed the guard as a heretic, making it seem that he was the one indulging in the dark arts. The guard is now on the run, seeking the help of Church exiles who might also be aware of the conspiracy and know how to aid him in revealing this truth to the world. The guard would be named Moisés Cano.
Once again, I used the three metrics of Maslow, Myers-Briggs, and Covey to determine aspects of my character’s psychology and needs.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Cano is definitely focused on basic needs somewhere between Physiological and Safety. His excommunication from the Vaticine and the subsequent manhunt based on false charges has our hero struggling to find a safe place for more than a few days.
Myers-Briggs – INFJ
After going through the test I found Cano was an INFJ. This means he is like less than 1% of the population, inborn sense of idealism and morality, he is a dreamer but establishes concrete steps. Cano is soft-spoken but with strong opinions and he fights, fiercely for his beliefs. In everything he does, Cano works toward balance, not advantage. He can easily play the role of an extrovert, but needs time to meditate and decompress. In his eyes, the world is full of inequity, but he does not believe it has to be that way. This religious determination can easily wear him down. He is extremely private and finds it hard to open up to others personally. authenticity in romantic relationships and a kinship of shared values is essential in Cano’s mind.
7 Habits Maturity Continuum
Our hero is still struggling with the Private Victory on his way to Independence. He is definitely being proactive (Habit 1) and has begun with the end in mind (Habit 2). However, Cano has not yet put first things first (Habit 3), getting embroiled in other’s problems and stories taking him off track from his personal goal.
Part of 7th Sea character creation are 20 Questions before you even touch the numbers and mechanics of the game. I absolutely love this feature and works especially well for my approach in character creation in this series.
- What country is your Hero from? My hero hails from Castille.
- How would you physically describe your Hero? My hero is male, physically well built from years of military training, he has the faint trace of a vertical scar across his eye the remnants of a war faraway. Jet black hair with wisps of white through the temples. He walks with a slight limp in his right leg, another souvenir from the war.
- Does your Hero have recurring mannerisms? My hero prefers to stand in the background and is very hesitant to step forward and make himself known, especially in intense conflicts. He will let a smile slip through when caught off guard and finds himself trying to suppress it without success.
- What is your Hero’s main motivation? My hero desperately seeks to find any who can help him reveal the occult sect taking over the Vaticine.
- What is your Hero’s greatest strength? Greatest weakness? My hero’s strength lies his in-depth knowledge of the secret signs and rituals of the secret societies within the Vaticine, helping him find allies no matter which port he comes to. My hero’s weakness are his anxiety attacks brought on by PTSD. Things he saw in the war and the dark rites he witnessed within the walls of the Vaticine leave him prone to these attacks when triggered.
- What are your Hero’s most and least favorite things? My hero’s favorite thing are his morning prayers and meditations. They bring him a centered peace that he hopes one day will be permanent. His least favorite thing are onions, onions are disgusting.
- What about your Hero’s psychology? My hero wants nothing more than to resolve conflicts without bloodshed, he has seen too much in his lifetime. He will do any and everything to negotiate and compromise even with the deadliest buccaneer or cunning scallywag. My hero often uses food and drink as a negotiation tool, always a simple meal, bread and ale, thinking it will bring he and his adversary together as equals.
- What is your Hero’s single greatest fear? That he will lose his peace and end up killing again. He knows he may have to shed blood in self-defense and has from time to time, but he always pulls himself back from unleashing the sort of blood-fueled rage of his youth in the war.
- What are your Hero’s highest ambitions? His greatest love? My hero’s greatest ambition was to rise amongst the ranks of the Vaticine Guard until he became one of the anointed protectors of the Hierophant. His plans were put on hold after uncovering an occult conspiracy within the church and fled from those who wish to silence him. My hero’s greatest love is that of the way of peace and sharing his faith with all those he crosses paths with.
- What is your Hero’s opinion of his country? My hero deeply loves Castille but worries that the Vaticine has had so much corruption sewn into it that now it’s evil is leaking out into the streets. He saw signs of demonic entities plaguing the land through famine and pestilence.
- Does your Hero have any prejudices? My hero still finds his hatred of the Montaigne raised despite his best efforts to suppress it. He saw his comrades brutalized in the war with Montaigne and is always a hair’s breadth away from giving into the violence seething through his veins.
- Where do your Hero’s loyalties lie? Despite being far from home and the headquarters of the church, my hero is ever loyal to the Vaticine. This does not mean he believes all clergy above questioning, in fact he will challenge those he sees as committing heresy towards the Articles of Faith.
- Is your Hero in love? Is he married or betrothed? My hero loved one of his fellow soldiers, his commanding officer, but she was killed before his eyes. The nightmares still wake him up on nights that are too still and quiet.
- What about your Hero’s family? My hero comes from the Cano family. His father is a veteran who found no peace within the faith while his mother was devout. His father turned to drink, likely related to his own PTSD and disappeared for weeks. He was found dead, succumbing to the elements. This pushed our hero’s mother further into the faith. Because he was the son of a soldier, our hero did not come from wealth. His mother poured all their money into the church and when was of age our hero conscripted into the service. Our hero does not know much about his paternal grandparents except that his father was disowned by them for choosing to serve, as they wanted him to go into the priesthood.
- How would your Hero’s parents describe him?
Mother: “He was a good boy, until he turned on the faith. I do not know if he can be redeemed now after what the fathers told me. The sins he has committed will require the deepest atonements.”
Father: “I don’t know what sort of man he will grow up to be, likely ruined by my own actions. I have made a place for him in this world without any sort of honor. I have buried him before he has had a chance to live.”
- Is your Hero a gentleman or gentlewoman? My hero attempts to be a gentle within the boundaries of his faith, and this leads him down a somewhat chivalrous path. He does not seek the affections of any maiden, but to bring light and truth to the world.
- How religious is your Hero? What sect of the Church does he follow? My hero is a highly devout member of the Vaticine Church. He has been labeled a heretic by the church proper due to witnessing the dark occult rites of a corrupted cardinal. While he still practices as a private individual, he struggles to find a way to redeem himself and burn away the corruption in his beloved church.
- Is your Hero a member of a guild, gentleman’s club, or secret society? My hero has found himself in the growing favor of Močiutės Skara, a society driven by a compassion to help and aid others.
- What does your Hero think of Sorcery? My hero believes all sorcery is making concert with the devils of the earth. He is highly opposed to its use.
- If you could, what advice would you give your Hero? Let the peace of your faith guide you, but do not allow yourself to be blinded to the truth.
Next week: Plugging all this character work into the actual mechanics of the system!