Welcome to Théah, where a cutting remark can be as sharp as the sharpest blade.7th Sea is a tabletop role-playing game and related CCG created by AEG after Legend of the Five Rings became a success. The game's central setting is Théah, an alternate version of Europe during the 17th century, bordered by the Crescent Empire, an analogue of the Ottoman Empire, and Cathay, an analogue of China. Théah is composed of several theme park versions of various major European countries and cultures. The countries vie with each other for political and economic dominance, while pirates sail the seas in search of adventure and treasure. The world is based very much upon the varied tropes common to swashbuckling and pirate stories.The RPG's first edition features a system similar to Legend of the Five Rings in mechanics, but distinct in that the PCs are almost explicitly given a mild form of Contractual Immortality. PCs can only be killed off if the GM is specifically setting up such a possibility through the plot's villain, or if the characters fall victim to the chunky salsa rule. Players are encouraged to come up with utterly outrageous plans of action and are given rewards both for implementing these ideas and for impressive role playing using the rule of cool as a guide. The RPG setting enjoys being quite over the top when encouraging ideas for characters and stories.The RPG's various splats are the country of origin a character hails from. In addition, a character can join one of a number of secret societies whose origins, goals, and knowledge are made available in additional RPG supplement books.Like Legend of the Five Rings, 7th Sea was adapted for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition under the name Swashbuckling Adventures.The CCG had the players choosing a faction which represented a pirate crew or a country's naval power, pitting two ships against one another in combat. Players would attempt to hire crew, chase down their opponent's ship, and then attack with ether cannon or boarding based attacks.Like Legend of the Five Rings, the metaplot was supposed to be steered by players' choices in the CCG tournaments and in RPG supplements distributed through the quarterly newsletter sent to game masters who had paid a registration fee to AEG.The first edition's main story arc only spans about a year and a half of time, unlike its cousin, Legend of the Five Rings, which has gone through several lifetimes' worth of game plot. The major storyline elements were quite varied, with every country and major faction of the world having a part in the story.The CCG and then the RPG were discontinued with little fanfare, though the CCG had a final expansion set published online free for download and printing while the RPG managed to get a final supplement which included a timeline for the major plot arcs which were never resolved in the metaplot.The RPG is very notable for its No Celebrities Were Harmed versions of quite a number of NPCs described in the sourcebooks. People with only a cursory knowledge of European history can name at least two or three of the major NPCs' real-life counterparts. Those who have more background in history can find many more, as well as note the places where Wolfrond von Hazel was a Syrneth Spy.In 2015, John Wick Presents, run by John Wick, part of the original development team for 7th Sea, bought the publishing rights from AEG. They announced plans for a second edition that would reboot the game, changing up the system and setting, making some changes to the established countries, and expanding the 7th Sea world, now named Terra - Aztlan (Central/South America), Wabanahkik (North America), and Ifri (sub-Saharan Africa) were added to the world map, and the Sarmatian Commonwealth (the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth) was added to the map of Théah.A Kickstarter to fund the second edition line ran in February/March 2016, which smashed through its initial $30,000 goal for the corebook and The New World sourcebook (for Aztlan) in seven minutes, went on to fund ten additional sourcebooks and a considerable amount of other stuff (novels, maps, etc.), and ultimately became the first tabletop RPG Kickstarter to reach a million dollars, with a final total of $1.31 million.A planned second 7th Sea line, 7th Sea: The East, was announced during the Kickstarter, focusing on Cathay and other Asian-analogue countries, with its own independent corebook. Beta-test rules were given out for free at GenCon 2017 and the Kickstarter for this locale was announced for October 3, 2017. The Quickstart guide has been publicly released online.
The countries in 7th Sea provide examples of:
Anatol Ayh (Ottoman Empire; Second Edition)
- Battle Rapping: An alternate form of dueling popular in Anatol Ayh, called "Kavita." Opponents debate/insult one another until there is a clear winner in the eyes of the court.
- Large Ham Title: The full title of the Crescent Emperors/Empresses is as follows:
- "His/Her Majesty, the victorious and successful Mani Sultana, the ruler aided by God, whose undergarment is victory, whose glory is as high as Heaven, crown of the royal head, shadow of Theus on Terra, culmination of rulership, quintessence of the book of fortune, equinoctial line of justice, perfection of the spring-tide of majesty, sea of benevolence and humility, mine of the jewels of generosity, source of the memorials of valor, manifestation of the lights of felicity, promulgator of the standards of al-Dīn, author of righteousness on the pages of time, Sultana of the two seas, ruler of east and west, protector of the holy sanctuaries, anointed successor to the Prophet of mankind, Padishah Safiye, the Lawgiver."
- Royal Harem: An integral part of any political stories in Anatol Ayh. The Empress has a coterie of male and female lovers, all vying for her favor. Some willing to kill to gain it...
- Silk Hiding Steel: Empress Safiye, newly enthroned ruler of the Crescent Empire, lived most of her life abroad, studying in Theah. When her brother took the throne, he tried to have her killed with assassins while he and his boyfriend, the Shah of Persis, began persecuting Sorcerers. Fast forward a few months and Safiye stormed the palace with her best friend's Sarmion commandos and took the Crescent Throne. Now she's undoing all of her brother's wicked laws and reforming Crescent society over the objections of some of her courtiers.
Aragosta (The Republic of Pirates; Second Edition)
- Black Spot: Literally tattooed on those captains who refuse to bend to the will of the Pirate King and sell out the Republic to the ATC.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Two great betrayals emblematic of this problem- Captain Reis, who sold the collective souls of the Republic's founders to the Devil Jonah, and Stephen Fevrier who betrayed them all to the ATC and became the company's chief pirate hunter. Most pirates that could join the Republic are now bribed by the ATC into becoming "Independent Contractors," a steady job that actually pays well with plenty of freedom to roam. The Republic struggles to stem these betrayals at all times.
- Magically Binding Contract: Aragostan sorcery involves signing a magical charter with the entire crew of the ship. So long as the terms of the charter are kept, signatories are able to draw bonus dice to use on any roll. Anyone who breaks the charter will receive one curse for each other signer.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Pirate Queen Bonaventura. The head of the Republic, she has kept the island from being conquered by the ATC but can't seem to get much support to build the island into anything more than a fortress against the Company.
Ashur (Ottoman Syria; Second Edition)
- The Fundamentalist: Ashur is a melting pot of multiple religions- Dinists, Orthodox churchgoers, and others. The one thing they have in common is that they are all deeply faithful to their deities. Rather than killing each other over doctrinal differences, they view their fundamentalist neighbors as more goodly than more Secular people within the Empire.
- Good Shepherd: The Elohim, Orthodox followers of Yesu. They are pacifists, vegetarians, and nature lovers who hold trees sacred and forsake worldly possessions. Their lives are lived entirely in devotion to god and their fellow man. Even Villains in 7th Sea think twice before hurting these people.
- The Hashshashin: Called "Climbers of the Green Mountain" in Ashur. Ashur is the smallest nation within the Empire, so they trust this order of assassins to defend them from external threats.
- Holy Ground: Among the people of Ashur, the city-state is viewed as particularly blessed. The Guardian of the First Garden can see all possible futures and guides the Assassins to protect them, the Tree of Elohim was planted by Yesu, the First Prophet, and always produced enough fruit to feed everyone in Ashur whenever their enemies tried to starve them.
- The Theocracy: The three great laws of Ashur coincide with the laws of its major religions. No other laws proposed by town councils or the city's Pleroma bureaucrats may violate any of these three.
- "Murder is abhorrent. No one may kill except Assassins."
- "Respect the desires of peoples not your own."
- "It is forbidden to cut down trees."
Atabean Trading Company (The British East India Company; Second Edition)
- Citadel City: Fort Freedom is the only true Thean city in the Atabean, and is the Company's main base of operations now that Jaragua is independent. It's guarded by "Fort Snowflake" which has multiple powder magazines, overlapping fields of fire, and fully staffed garrisons of soldiers. The fortress is considered unassailable by anything but an overwhelming conventional military invasion- something that no Thean nation possesses in the Atabean.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: The heads of the ATC wear this trope as a badge of honor.
- President George Rourke comes off as a President Evil, believing in the most harsh form of Social Darwinism Theah has ever known. Even L'Empereur thinks this guy is a huge jackass and wants his head on a pike.
- Chief Procurement Officer Flemming Rudd comes off as a Sinister Minister. A devout Vaticine, he believes wholeheartedly that the brutality of the slave trade is necessary in order to "civilize" the Rahuri and the Ifri peoples, while bringing the light of the Church to them and "save" their souls in the afterlife. The Church is horrified by this philosophy.
- Laerke Ulriksdottir, their head of security, is a raging Blood Knight who gathered a band of like-minded Vesten mercenaries and signed on with the company in order to follow the Vesten tradition of Rape, Pillage, and Burn in a new world.
- Annie Goldenflower is the Company's half-Rahuri Chief Financial Officer. She is secretly working to enact a hostile takeover of the organization and purge it of the slave importation in the Atabean and war profiteering in Ifri. She's had no opportunity to follow through on this plan yet.
- Every Man Has His Price: The Company's newest tactic in curing their pirate problem- hire on any rogue vessels as "independent contractors" to haul cargo for them. A steady paycheck, sign on bonuses, and unrestricted freedom of the seas? It's proving to be worryingly effective against the Republic.
- God Was My Copilot: Postmaster General Mesquite, a minor Aztlan god in disguise, also sits on the board as head of the Seahorses. No one knows what exactly they want, only that they're very good at the job.
- Lord of War: The source of the company's nearly endless supply of slaves. They orchestrate wars among the Ifri, sell weapons to both sides, and then buy the prisoners of war as slaves for their plantations.
- N.G.O. Superpower: The Atabean Trading Company is run by people from all nations of Theah, though the board is primarily made up of Vesten and Avalonian executives. It possesses the fleet, finances, and forces to conquer the Atabean Sea and dominate the tiny Thean colonies around it. Only the Republic of Aragosta, the Rahuri tribes, and the young nation of Jaragua stand in its way.
- Villain with Good Publicity: The Company's Seahorse Division (Postal Service) is the only branch of the company untouched by the violence of the slave trade, but it allows the Company to pick and choose what information from the Atabean Sea makes it back to Theah, thus hiding the full extent of their abuses of the Ifri and Rahuri from any nation that might be in a position to stop them.
Avalon (The British Isles)
- All Your Powers Combined: Glamour magic, the Avalonian sorcerous lineage, allows the sorcerer to channel the mythical powers and abilities of various Avalonian heroes of the past. The legends a particular glamour sorcerer has access to are set at character creation and the powers available vary wildly.
- The Fair Folk: The sidhe consider Avalon their home, and use their reality-warping powers for their own inscrutable purposes. Avalonians usually give them a wide berth, but those who know how to deal with them can gain quite a lot of power, such as glamour magic.
- The High Queen: Queen Elaine rules Avalon with the assent of Jack O'Bannon, the consent of the Highland Marches clans, and the power of the Sidhe Graal. By all accounts she's well liked by most people in all three nations, though each nation has its grievances whether they resent giving up sovereignty to her, do not appreciate the Sidhe warping their lands, or are unhappy with Elaine's unwillingness to marry. There may be a reason for that last one.
- Oireland: Called Inismore, it's actually better off than Ireland was at that period of history. They even have their own recognized king, Jack O'Bannon.
- Polyamory: As of Second Edition, Queen Elaine is... involved with her Sidhe bodyguard Lugh and the separatist Highland Noble Colleen Macleod. At the same time. With the consent of both (and Colleen's husband). The blackmail associated with this scandalous arrangement is threatening to tear the court apart and is worthy of an Adventure in its own right.
La Bucca (The Azores; Second Edition)
- City of Spies: One major draw for visitors to La Bucca. Spies from all over Theah can trade in information from sailors, merchants, and other spies and pass it on to their courts at home.
- Not-So-Safe Harbor: The island is patrolled by an enormous sea monster controlled by Syrneth artifacts. The creature is the primary reason the island hasn't been conquered by any major Thean nation yet.
- Orphanage of Love: Run by the mysterious Mother of La Bucca, a Porte sorceress who can only use her Porte sorcery to travel to those in need and bring them back to the island. She uses the orphans she raises as spies to support the Chapters of the island.
- War for Fun and Profit: The ships of La Bucca happily take Letters of Marque from any country in Theah and act as proxy warriors in battles between nations. They get to keep most of the loot, and the nations of Theah get to bloody their enemies while maintaining plausible deniability.
- We Sell Everything: Any ship sailing to Theah can sell almost any sort of cargo in its markets for a modest fee, all outside the watchful eyes of the Vendel League. It's become a major bone of contention between the League and La Bucca.
- Wretched Hive: An island that was originally populated by the most violent of Castille's prisoners and the most volatile and subversive political prisoners from across all of Thea. Newcomers are regularly shocked to find out the island is actually a thriving capitalist democracy.
- A Child Shall Lead Them: King Sandoval is only in his mid-teens, never expected to become king, and is the head of a country engulfed in war with Montaigne. That's rough, buddy.
- As of Second Edition, there's not one Sandoval, but two. The King is actually Amadeo Sandoval and his twin sister, Rocio. Amadeo is now a "guest" of the Inquisition while Rocio secretly plans his rescue from Vaticine City.
- Equivalent Exchange: Introduced in the Alchemist background in Second Edition. An Alchemist can immediately use a potion with many potential effects from healing elixirs to stat buffs, fire bombs, and others. The Hero must sacrifice a hero point to activate this power.
- Sinister Minister: Cardinal Esteban Verdugo masterminded the Castillian collapse in the War of the Cross, nearly managed to manipulate the entire Montaigne Invasion if not for the boredom of l'Empereur, and has ensured King Sandoval can do nothing without the assent of a religious council. Of course, the man does have one potentially useful little secret.
- Playing with Fire: El Fuego Adentro, the Castillian sorcerous lineage, allows control of any fire and immunity to being hurt by fire and heat of any temperature. It was wiped out by the Inquisition. There's a few families still left, though.
- As of Second Edition, this tradition has been completely replaced with Useful Notes/Alchemy in the system.
- Spexico: For representing Spain in a world without any Americas, there sure is a lot of Mexican/Latin American influence.
- As of Second Edition, the Castillian court is hosting more and more figures from the New World. Their cultural influence on Castille's politics is slowly degrading the power of the Inquisition and justifying this trope.
- State Sec: The Inquisition has effectively taken hold of the entire nation in Second Edition, torturing educators, burning books, and running the country into the ground. They've even forced King Sandoval out of the royal compound in the capital and relocated him to Vaticine City. Though the Inquisition has agents in every nation, they only operate openly within Castille.
Eisen (Germany/The remnants of the Holy Roman Empire)
- Empty Shell: An entire social class of them, called 'waisen' (literally: orphans). They became like this due to shell shock and trauma from the local Thirty-Years War.
- Germanic Depressives: Justified in that their once proud empire is now a fractured set of principalities, some of which barely can grow enough food to feed the people living there.
- Gratuitous German: Gratuitous and wrong as usual. The Eisen inventor of the guillotine called it "die Toetenklinge", which translates to "the to kill blade".
- Hired Guns: After 30 years of war, the Eisen armies have decided to lend themselves out to whoever pays the most.
- I Am A Humanitarian: Eisen Sorcery in Second Edition, Hexenwerk, involves crafting and consuming Unguents made from such varied ingredients as a piece of a man's tongue, a ground up human heart, and the eyes of a dead human.
- Dracheneisen, a very rare and highly coveted material only found in Eisen. Finding a mine of the stuff used to automatically grant the lucky finder a sizeable portion of land as a new principality.
- It's heavily suggested in some of the GM's sections that dracheneisen is actually a form of pottery that's hardened and shined up through secret alchemical practices, and that the "mines" are actually clay beds. Whether this makes any logical sense, as the stuff is nigh-indestructible, is left up to the player to decide.
- Considering its main points are way stronger then metal, way lighter then metal, and the abovementioned technology, it's pretty clearly a medieval CARBON FIBRE!
- Further hints are dropped that the "clay" is in fact ancient dragon poop.
- Things That Go "Bump" in the Night: A lot of nasty things once relegated to legends and fairy tales have started to crawl back in due to the devastation and social breakdown of the War of the Cross (i.e. there aren't many people left to stop them).
- Ultimate Blacksmith: The Nibelungen, a reclusive group of smiths who are the only ones who can forge Drachenesien. Once forged, it's nearly unbreakable and super light, making a weapon made of it quite powerful. It is also the only useful armor in the game, as it can stop bullets.
Jaragua (Haiti; Second Edition)
- Ambadassador: Many Jaraguan Heroes. The ATC has successfully hidden the truth about the slave uprising and the brutality they inflicted on the Ifrians from the rest of Thea. As a result, Jaraguan travelers are often sent abroad to establish diplomatic ties with any Thean nation that will listen to their stories.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: One of the main missions of Jaraguan heroes- bring back weapons, allies, and other heroes to help the fledgling nation fight off the coming ATC attack.
- Machete Mayhem: Pirates fight with cutlasses. Theans fight with rapiers. Jaraguans are explicitly stated to fight with machetes.
- Slave Liberation: After 17 years of mass importation of Ifrian slaves and subjugation of Rahuri natives, the two sides united to overthrow the ATC overseers. The 8 year struggle recently ended with the expulsion of the Company from the island.
- We ARE Struggling Together: After the success of the Revolution, the Ifrians and the Rahuri tribes could not come to a consensus about their nation and split the island in two. The Rahuri have allowed Castillians to settle on their shores and even use slave labor once again- a fact that irks the Jaraguan Oligarchy more and more each day. The ATC is still strictly banned from doing business with the Rahuri half of the island.
- Deadly Decadent Court: And HOW.
- Design-It-Yourself Equipment: Puzzle Swords.
- Everything Sounds Sexier in French: One of the accents provided in Montaigne's nation book costs extra hero points and includes the Dangerous Beauty Advantage, because it just sounds so alluring.
- Foregone Conclusion: All the nations of Théah are loosely based on European nations at a specific point in time, with Montaigne drawing clearly from Alexandre Dumas' works. That is, from stories set just before The French Revolution...
- French Jerk: Fortunately not everyone or even a majority, but several nobles (especially L'Empereur) can be colossal pompous douches.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: As might be expected of the rest of this entry, their swordsman school revels in humiliating their opponents... to the point that they gain massive bonuses from it. Both in-story and out-of-character, people hate fighting these guys.
- Heir Club for Men: L'Empereur Leon XIV has had nine daughters so far, and no sons, due to a curse his mother spat from her deathbed.
- The Musketeer: Heroes who take the Musketeer background receive ranks in Aim and Weaponry. They are also notable for being the only authority figures the peasants of Montaigne do not view as entirely corrupt.
- Our Wormholes Are Different:
- Porte sorcery, the sorcerous lineage of Montaigne, allows a user to physically tear open holes in space with their bare hands. The exit point must be close to a place or item marked by the sorcerer's blood, and allows the sorcerer to either grab the blooded object and pull it to them, or walk through the portal to where the object is. Oh, did I mention that portals scream in pain as they open and bleed at the edges?
- And, if you go by the Die Kreuzritter supplement, the Walkway is actually a part of Hell, and by using Porte frivolously, the Montaigne are weakening the barrier that keeps the legion of bloodthirsty demons at bay, so that one day soon, they'll all come pouring through the gap and overrun the world.
- And the first thing they teach you? If you walk through the portal, never open your eyes. Sometimes you hear voices calling out to you, telling you that they'll give you such wonderful things, if only you open your eyes...
- As of the 2nd edition, all of this seems to have been retconned, with the space behind portals instead consisting of a Dream World known as "The Walkway". It is extraordinarily mutable and responds to thought, meaning it's incredibly deadly because hundreds of sorcerers all over Montaigne believe this to be the case. Someone with sufficiently powerful willpower can open their eyes and remain unharmed. In fact, ancient sorcerers have used this quality of the Walkway in order to craft personal dream paradises where they live to this very day...
- Praetorian Guard: The Lightning Guard, elite swordsmen who guard L'Empereur.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: L'Empereur's edicts sometimes defy all logic, especially when it comes to antagonizing the church.
- Upper-Class Twit: Other countries can suffer from this trope too, but Montaigne overshadows the rest in this area.
Numa (Greece; Second Edition)
- Classical Mythology: Before the rise of the Church, the people of the Numanari Empire worshiped their old gods. Only the people of Numa continue this worship.
- The Federation: What happens when the many Poleis become threatened by either Vodacce or The Crescent Empire. When they aren't threatened by an outside power, it becomes We ARE Struggling Together
- Lady Land: A former city-state, Agrotera, that was destroyed long ago. Its' people, the Amazons, now live as The Horde while wandering the Numanari isles. They keep any female children born to them and give any male children into the care of the boy's father.
- The Spartan Way: The Agoge dueling academies, but also the militaristic Poleis Lakedaimon.
- Training from Hell: The Numan dueling style, Agoge, is only taught in specific academies to the warrior classes. Students are kept underfed but shown where the food is stored and specifically told they can keep anything they can steal, but being caught is a punishable offense. They are also taught civics, music, and history in these academies. All before the age of 8.
Persis (Safavid Persia; Second Edition)
- Demon Lords and Archdevils: The persecutions of Shah Jalil left the temples sealing ancient demons unwatched. Without the religious rituals to keep their seals, the demons have been unleashed upon his nation.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: While the people of Persis always wanted independence from the Crescent Empire, Shah Jalil's persecution of Sorcerers and religious minorities in his nation has sparked outright revolts throughout the nation. There are 4 major revolutionary armies in the country. Only one group could be described as "moderate." All the others are beginning to take Rape, Pillage, and Burn to a whole new level.
The Rahuri (Carib Peoples; Second Edition)
- Cool Old Person: Rahuri Caciques (kah-seeks), the heads of the island villages. Adventurers in the Atabean will inevitably need to seek the help of the Rahuri in order to get around the numerous sea monsters. The abuses of the ATC have made the Caciques much more skeptical of Theans and their intentions.
- Here There Be Dragons: The Rahuri have learned to hunt and manage the enormous sea monsters in their waters. The only reason Theans "discovered" the "new world"? The Rahuri decided to save the Theans from being eaten.
- Nature Hero: The Rahuri believe that as long as they continue to keep the sea's monsters in check for the spirit Mama Yaya, the world will naturally provide for them and they will want for nothing. The ATC slave raids and genocidal attacks have put this to the test, and many more sea monsters are beginning to appear while the Rahuri abandon their mandate and mobilize against the Company.
- Spirit Advisor: Rahuri magic involves making a journey to the metaphysical Island of the Dead. From there, they can call upon an ancestor to assist with their journey.
The Sarmatian Commonwealth (Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth; Second Edition)
- Deal with the Devil: Sarmatian magic entails making pacts with otherworldly creatures called dievai. Each pact comes with a request from the Dievai- anything from "Buy that homeless man a hot meal" up to "Kill that priest and frame the poor widow down the road for his murder." Another contract cannot be made with the dievai until the request is fulfilled. Loophole Abuse ("The Old Man died before I could get there.") usually sees the dievai demand an even more harsh favor be fulfilled before it will make another contract. Those who make these pacts view themselves as jailers to the creatures and do their utmost not to make the seventh and final pact - the one that will let the creature free to roam the world.
- There is one way to banish a dievai for good. Each task the dievai gives the Hero is actually a clue to its real name. Speaking the name will destroy the creature.
- If the Hero cannot guess the creature's name, the pacts will become more and more wicked in nature, racking up corruption points until the Hero becomes a Villain.
- Disaster Democracy: The actual Sejm was so deadlocked by infighting that it was feared the Crescent Empire or Ussura would invade and conquer Sarmatia after the monarch's death. In desperation to avert the coming conquest, the dying King has made all people in the country the equivalent rank of a Knight in an act called The Golden Liberty. Now, literally anyone can walk into the court off the street and propose a vote on something, and their vote counts equally against the votes of the old blood nobles.
- Elective Monarchy: How the Commonwealth establishes its next King or Queen. The current King's son, Stanislaw II, is trying to secure enough votes among the people to make himself the next King. Stanislaw is competing with his extremely capable, endearing, and loving mother for the crown.
- Good Is Old-Fashioned: The current cultural trend of Sarmatism. Old Nobility have begun dressing like peasants rather than like Montaigne courtiers in an attempt to become more ingratiated to the newly empowered peasants. Meanwhile the common folk now proudly carry out chivalrous acts of Sarmatism not because they must, but because they believe they should.
- The Paladin: The Sarmatian Winged Hussars. Heavy cavalry decked out in Bling of War while enforcing the ideals of Sarmatism on and off the battlefield.
Sarmion (Israel; Second Edition)
- Anachronism Stew: Possibly more so than any other nation in the setting, due to being a deliberate combination of ancient Judea/Canaan (with 12 tribes, a priestly caste, and the aesthetic trappings of the bronze age Near East) and modern day Israel (by being an independent, advanced nation with its own equivalent political issues), neither of which have much business existing in a 17th century setting besides it being awesome.
- And The Fanbase Rejoiced: People have been loudly complaining about there not existing an equivalent of the Jewish people in the 7th Sea setting since the earliest days of the 1st edition. Imagine the look on their faces when it turned out that the 2nd would include not just that, but an equivalent of Israel.
- All Jews Are Ashkenazi: Almost completely averted. Just about the only modern Ashkenazi stereotype that manages to weasel into Sarmion is the famous skill of Yachidi doctors. Historically, however, Jews in the medieval Middle East and North Africa were highly regarded in the medical field. One of the greatest Jewish religious scholars of the first half of the second millennium, Maimonides, was also the personal physician to Suleiman the Magnificent.
- Israelis with Infrared Missiles: The Chayalim, Sarmion's elite soldiers, are considered among the best fighters in the world, combining the badass reputation of both Israeli special forces and the ancient Judeans.
- Kabbalah: The highest levels of Chozeh, Sarmion's native magic, are inspired by Kabbalistic sorcery. These powers - the ability to see the future, the ability to bind spirits, and the ability to grant life to golems - have been sealed away by King Solomon in ancient times to prevent them being used for evil. A sufficiently determined Hero might still be able to uncover them, though.
- Magically Binding Contract: Chozeh uses talismans and inscriptions to invoke an ancient covenant between Eloha and His Chosen People. It should be noted that both equivalents of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples receive access to it - Chozeh was given to the people of Sarmion, not any single religious group.
- Politically Correct History: Probably for the best, and let's leave it at that.
- Proud Scholar Race: Sarmion's medicine is perhaps the most advanced in the world, and its doctors are respected far and wide.
- Empathic Environment: The Ussurans claim "Mother Winter" protects them. It certainly seems like Ussura is on the side of its people...
- Fisher King: The Ussuran Gaius doesn't have a great deal of actual political power - but when he tells you to do something, you either do it, or Ussura itself ensures you regret not doing so.
- Guardian Entity: Matyushka, through and through, along with many other major and minor Leshiye. Foreign invaders will find themselves cold, starving, and unable to find any sufficient shelter- largely thanks to these entities.
- Second Edition introduces the deity Tura, an alternate Leshiye with domain over the skies, wind, and birds that Ussurans can follow. Both are protective deities, but their attitudes are wildly different. Matyushka, who watches over the earth and beasts, will command you to bake a cake, give you all the ingredients you want, then beat you with a spoon and lecture you when you make one wrong step. Tura will ask for a cake, give you a fully stocked kitchen with everything you need and don't need, give you no advice over how to do what he asks, then loudly grumble if you don't finish the job quick enough.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Pyeryem sorcery, the Ussuran sorcerous lineage, allows a character to talk to animals. This then allows them to bargain with the animal for its shape. If the animal agrees to give up its form, the sorcerer adds that shape to their library of forms, and may take that shape at will. More dangerous animals are harder to change into, obviously.
- Succession Crisis: Politics in Ussura is a bit of a mess as of Second Edition. The prior Czar has recently died under mysterious circumstances and the country is virtually paralyzed until the crisis is resolved and a new Czar or Czarina is crowned. The leading contenders for the throne are:
- Ilya Sladivgorod Nikolovich, the disowned son of the Czar Gaius Iriney and his now dead husband Nikolai via a surrogate. Ilya spent his exile in the far east of Ussura earning a reputation as a true hero. He has returned to claim the crown with the support of the peasants he spent so much of his life helping. The Bogatyr nobles view Ilya as a hothead unwilling to see that Ussura is falling further behind the rest of Theah by sticking to the traditions of the peasants.
- Ketheryna Fischler Dimitritova, the bride Czar Gaius married on the night of his death. Ketheryna's vision of a modernized Ussura has brought her the support of the nobility in the country. A genius inventor and an Eisen by birth, the peasants view her as a dangerous outsider who doesn't respect the rustic Ussuran way of life.
- General Winter (birth name Akim Maksimovich Lagunov) was saved from a doomed attack on Vesten raiders by a mysterious Leshiye. General Winter was given supernatural powers by the entity and now heads a small but growing army of "Snowmen". These soldiers surrendered to Akim after he blanketed their settlements in blizzards the likes of which the Ussurans have never seen. They are magically enchanted to run across water, withstand any cold, and can leave no tracks in the snow. His goal is nothing short of conquering all of Theah. In a nation with no standing army, he is rapidly becoming a threat to all of Ussura.
Vendel/Vestenmannavnjar (Denmark/Norse Viking Scandinavia/Holland mix)
- Band of Brothels: Arguably the most powerful of the Vendel guilds, the Jenny's Guild doesn't just trade in flesh. They also deal in information. Heroes who want to get the drop on a rival can easily get ahead by making their way to the local brothel and paying for post-coitus gossip from their underlings.
- Bilingual Bonus: The Vestenmannavnjar's name is taken from Vestmannaeyjar, a small island off the coast of Iceland. Amusingly enough, its name comes from what the Norse called captured Irish slaves, making this a bit of a "Blind Idiot" Translation.
- Cast from Lifespan: Vesten warriors may take the Bearsark Advantage, which whips them into a superhuman fury at the expense of aging 1 week for each round it's active.
- The new Bearsark Quirk in Second Edition grants the player a hero point if they allow the GM to decide their next action. As in all things, be careful when invoking this Quirk.
- Culture Clash: Vesten finds itself in a textbook culture war between the families of traditional warriors and the newly empowered merchants of the Vendel League.
- Geometric Magic:
- Laerdom, the Vesten sorcery, has sorcerers learn up to 24 runes which are thought to be the fundamental words of creation. Each rune has a different effect when it's inscribed. More powerful sorcerers can make magic items inscribed with runes, and masters can gain permanent powers by branding themselves with a rune in a specific ritual.
- Also Named Weapons, as weapons imbued with Laerdom must be named.
- Global Currency:
- The Vendel have created the Guilder, accepted everywhere but Vodacce.
- Notably subverted and played straight at the same time, as the player's guide also contains a list of currencies native to each country as well as exchange rates based on the nations relative economic strength.
- Proud Merchant Race: The Vendel, after splitting up with the Vesten. Most of the population seems to be made of craftsmen, businessmen or Intrepid Merchants.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Vesten tend to take this role, seeing as the middle class merchants broke off to create the Vendel League.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: After several books setting him up as the ultimate Corrupt Corporate Executive, Val Mokk, leader of the Vendel League, turns out to be one of Théah's nicest Heroes.
- As of Second Edition, the Vesten rely on traditional authorities to settle all internal disputes. By and large the people are very satisfied with these authorities as they have been empowered by the League to levy fines in the name of justice- the more powerful Jarls must pay for any transgressions or risk losing their standing within the League.
- Arranged Marriage: Basically required between the nobles, though the nation book points out that they're rarely as unfair to the women as one might think. A little judicious use of Sorte and...
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Princes of Vodacce are all cousins of some kind, which probably explains why they rarely ever come to an agreement.
- Gender-Restricted Ability:
- Sorte, the Vodacce sorcery, is only possessed by women. Girls who show the ability are kept illiterate, and are kept locked away from the public much of the time. It allows a sorceress, called a strega, to see the various social connections between people, seen as physical threads connecting them. The strega can then attempt to alter these threads, strengthening or loosening them. Fate makes sure what the strega wants to happen, happens. At their most powerful, they can literally strangle with the red string, though the thread meaning romance is blue to them.
- Vodacce men have their own (rare) permutation of Sorte, although it's easily overlooked because it's mentioned in only a few places in the nation book. It's called being "unbound" and essentially makes the guy impervious to the manipulations of the Fate Witches: His strands can't be seen, and a strega attempting to attach a thread to him will always fail and suffer a backlash. Needless to say, Fate Witches are terrified of these guys, because their one defense against the often-brutal Vodacce men is the threat of sorcery.
- Greed: The prevailing Virtue in Vodacce society, even among its Heroes. Selfishness is very much looked down upon, but money is power in Vodacce, and power can change the world.
- High-Class Call Girl: The courtesans. They are widely considered to be the most powerful women in Vodacce simply because they can read.
- Loophole Abuse: How the Vodacce manage to square being such violent libertines and pious individuals. For example, according to their interpretations of religious texts it's only adultery if either partner is married!
- Pride: Yessiree, and one of the leading causes of brawls, duels, and blood-feuds in Vodacce.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: But not in the way you'd think— Playing dirty is expected in Vodacce, but they have an honor-code which no noble (particularly gentlemen and -women) will lightly disregard. Of course, Vodacce being Vodacce, adherence to the Code varies.
- School of Seduction: Vodacce women can train to be courtesans; essentially they're very expensive prostitutes who hope to find a rich noble to leech off of. However, Vodacce courtesans are also given the chance to be educated (unlike noblewoman, who are kept illiterate), and many are appreciated for their intelligence and wit as well as their beauty.
- One of the most well known schools in Second Edition is La Passione, a former church that is not owned by any of the Merchant families, but is instead owned by the Courtesan Desiderata. Here, potential courtesans are taught to fight elegantly with multiple weapons, make love with impeccable skill, and learn how to read.
- A Sinister Clue: In the First Edition, being left-handed is an advantage with a tangible combat benefit, with the conceit that everyone is used to fighting right handed opponents more. Vodacce characters can buy this advantage at a discount, and everyone who learns the Ambrogia Swordsman School, the main school of Vodacce swashbucklers, gets this advantage for free when using the style.
Tribes of the 8th Sea (Arab Tribes; Second Edition)
- Climate Change: The 8th Sea was, historically, a much wetter place. Mostly marshes and savannas that the nobles of Persis would vacation to on hunts. Something caused the land to dry and heat up. The tribes adapted to the new climate, but the land has only become harsher.
- Exotic Extended Marriage: By law and custom, adults among the tribes may enter marriages with up to three other consenting adults.
- Hired Guns: The Tribes are explorers and warriors, and more than one Crescent ruler has risen to power by paying for the tribes to go to war for them. The tribes do not demand any payment to fight if the Empire is being attacked by an outside power like Vodacce or Numa.
- Nature Spirit: Not quite the perfect description, but as al-Din has become the dominant faith of the Crescent Empire, the djinn have fled into the 8th Sea where the Tribes still venerate and fear them.
- We Help the Helpless: There is an old custom mentioned, where one who pitches a tent within a certain distance of another's tent, is now honor-bound to be protected by the one whose tent was raised first. This custom (and others) among the tribes has seen them accepting and caring for more and more refugees from the civil war in Persis. They do so without complaint, but Sarmion's help in caring for these people has been noted by the tribal leaders.
Note: Since the secret societies of 7th Sea are secret a great many of these examples are hidden with spoiler text. Those that aren't are generally common knowledge.
The secret societies of 7th Sea provide examples of:
Alnniqabat Lilnnusr (The Guild of the Eagle)
- Heroic Sacrifice: A player can immediately gain 8 Favor with the Guild by taking the place of a rogue assassin's victim. Those who take this action are viewed as having a death wish.
- I Want Them Alive: Capturing rogue assassins is one of the only other way to earn favor with the Guild. A dead man is worth nothing to the order.
- Who Watches the Watchmen?: The Guild's mission is to monitor the missions of the Assassin's to ensure they- and the Guardian of the First Garden- do not stray from the path of righteousness by killing the undeserving or the innocent.
- Another Dimension: Die Kreuzritter have an artifact ring which gives agents the permanent ability to step into another dimension through shadows. This allows for a sort of short teleportation.
- Death Faked for You: The public believes Die Kreuzritter's full membership was killed to a man. Actually the hierophant cut a deal with the lesser known members to allow the group to live on. Most of the group, including all the best known members, sacrificed themselves to give the illusion of complete destruction. New members tend to have their deaths faked in similar manners
- He Who Fights Monsters: Die Kreuzritter is well aware of this trope and members try to shy away from it. It doesn't always work.
- These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Well, they found out sorcery is likely going to unleash eldritch abominations upon the Earth. So they're going to do something about it.
- Walking Spoiler: There's a reason this section is almost completely whited out.
- Who You Gonna Call?: Expect them to be any place there's something really bad happening.
The Explorer Society
- Adventurer Archaeologist: The whole point of the Explorers.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Lots of Syrneth sites are like this, as one might expect for a setting like 7th Sea. Just as problematic, though, is that most of the other Secret Societies think the Explorers are meddling in Things Man Was Not Meant to Know and must be "dealt with." Later in the timeline, the Explorers get understandably touchy about this as they learn just how thoroughly this trope applies to them.
- Precursors: Called the Syrneth, finding artifacts they left behind is The Explorer's Society's bread and butter. The Syrneth are actually about a half dozen different sets of precursors, each with their own style and theme.
Inquisitio Aquila, AKA The Dark Inquisition (Second Edition)
- Deceptive Legacy: Members of this society know the truth of the Inquisition. It was not founded by the Third Prophet, but existed long before he came. They hunted Horrors and protected the people of Theah from wicked sorcerers. The Prophet merely added all sorcerers to the organization's purview.
- Double Agent: Members of this society gain Favor by working to destroy the false Inquisitors from within- gathering information on upcoming Inquisitiorial raids and plots, or by deposing members of the false Inquisition (via their abdication, dismissal, or other means) and replacing these agents with members of the Dark Inquisition.
- Released to Elsewhere: Invoked literally. One of the ways to spend favor with the Dark Inquisition? Create a safe house which the regular Inquisition cannot find. The Heroes can hold people, objects, and themselves safely in this space without fear of being found. However, the Dark Inquisition may ask for a minor favor in return for this service if they overstay their welcome.
The Invisible College
- Gadgeteer Genius: A number of Invisible College members are this.
- Persecuted Intellectuals: The College has become a haven for those on the run from the Inquisition. Players who take the Doctor, Engineer, Alchemist, or Professor Backgrounds will likely look to this Society for help.
- Psycho Serum: Invisible College Alchemists can produce serums made from sorcerous blood, some of the possible side effects are...unpleasant.
The Knights of the Rose and Cross
- Blue Blood: New recruits are encouraged to find and recruit "Benefactors" (Rich Nobles) into the organization. Benefactors are given deference throughout Theah for their charitable giving to the Knights, but they hold no rank within the Order and commands from them are usually ignored by the actual Knights.
- Heroism Incentive: The only reward that can be purchased in exchange for Favor in Second Edition: Money. Considering what Wealth can be used for in this edition, it's not that bad of a reward.
- The Promise: Knights can take an advantage called The Vow which allows them to use 20 saved experience points to make an in-character vow, the GM MUST allow the vow to come to pass as worded, though there are certain restrictions.
- Right Makes Might: Why the knights do what they do.
La Cosca (Second Edition)
- Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: A Mafia for Heroes in 7th Sea. Break legs, establish rackets, and collect on loans- all to overthrow the Princes of Vodacce.
- Friendly Neighborhood Gangster: What happens when you get a collection of nobles, clergymen, bankers, and do-gooder types the Merchant Princes of Vodacce couldn't kill, but could imprison, and put them all on the same tiny island of La Bucca? A Secret Society built on every Mafia trope merged with the morals of Robin Hood.
- Persona Non Grata: The exiles of La Cosca attempted to clean up religion, politics, and financing in Vodacce. Now they are exiled to La Bucca, never to return on pain of death.
- Rightful Aunts & Uncles Return: The ultimate goal of La Cosca's Aunts and Uncles- return to Vodacce and reap vengeance on the Princes that exiled them in the first place, reducing their wealth, influence, and followers all to nothing.
- Captain Ersatz:
- Collective Identity: More than one person has worn the white mask of El Vago.
- Crossover: With La Bravoure de l’Épervier in Montaigne in Second Edition. The Splat rules state that the members of La Bravoure receive Favor for all of the same actions, an have access to all of Los Vagabundos' Rewards at the same cost.
- La Résistance: Against the Inquisition and the Montaignes invading Castille.
- Shrouded in Myth: The mysterious El Vago himself.
Močiutės Skara AKA Grandmother's Shawl (Second Edition)
- Honorary True Companion: The Shawl does not have any rewards it can give, as it devotes itself entirely to charity. However, because of their selflessness, every other secret society counts them as a friend. Members can trade Favor for any reward from any other Secret Society at a 1:1 cost. The GM does have final say over whether any such request will be granted.
- Technical Pacifist: The Shawl does recognize violence may be inevitable, but they prefer things like sabotaging the rations of an entire army, blackmailing warmonger nobles, and kidnapping generals over outright murder when it comes to stopping a war from breaking out.
- We Help the Helpless: As noble as some of the goals of the other Secret Societies may be, Grandmother's Shawl has the most basic mission in Theah: Provide for those who are hungry, hurt, or homeless, and prevent any war from breaking out.
The Most Noble And Ancient Order Of The Post (Second Edition)
- Blackmail: Members may trade Favor to open letters from particular individuals and obtain compromising information.
- Pony Express Rider: Riders are expected to uphold chivalrous ideals and deliver their messages discretely.
- Treasure Map: The real reason this Society has any power, though in this case the treasure IS the map- they have the most accurate maps of secret routes through marshes, mountains and forests in the Commonwealth. Bandits, armies, and smugglers consider these charts to be invaluable.
- Bomb Throwing Anarchist: A great deal of effort is taken to show the reasons why the Free Thinkers are anti-authoritarian. That said, their lack of cohesiveness and tendency to be generically anti-authority is also recounted in great detail. And all the explosives skills are in their splat book (two of three new skills listed are "Arson" and "Bomb-Making.").
- La Résistance: Against any form of authority, primarily the Montaigne.
- Torches and Pitchforks: Agents of Rilasciare can spend Influence to summon mobs of angry peasants. The peasants will follow one command given to them ("Torch the church" or "Attack the garrison") but once the order is followed, the mob will go about its own business.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Rilasciare barely has any connection between the different groups, so organizing anything becomes difficult.
The Riroco (Second Edition)
- Badass Princess: The Rahuri Princess Tanama leads this Secret Society in direct contrast to the Rahuri Caciques who negotiate in good faith with the ATC.
- Berserk Button: The surefire way to piss off the Riroco: own a slave. Any slaver fortunate to be taken alive is branded with an X across their cheek.
- Ghost Crew: The Riroco's numbers are too few to wage an open war against the ATC. They've summoned the ghosts of their ancestors en masse to help crew their ships and take the fight to the company.
- Hunter of Monsters: The Rahuri award Heroes with favor for killing large sea creatures that threaten their villages. Then there's the influence they award for attacking theAtabean Trading Company.
- La Résistance: Heroes can gain favor by attacking any ATC operations they find, disrupting ATC trade, or bringing proof of the company's atrocities back to Theah. In exchange, the heroes may be given an audience with a Rahuri cacique or even journey to the Isle of the Dead to enlist the aid of an ancestor.
- Gut Feeling: Scrying sorcerers can tell if a person is a hero or villain automatically; it's a pretty bad Game-Breaker.
- Magic Mirror: Female scrying sorcerers can look into any reflective pool of fresh water and see other places, more powerful ones can see into the past and future as well.
- With Friends Like These...: As of Second Edition, Sophia's Daughters has developed an ideological divide. The two sides still work together, but they are moving toward a splitting up of the Daughters...
- Desideratta of La Passione believes that Vodacce's women must be prepared to take their rights by force. Those aligned with her can spend Favor to summon a squad of masked courtesans, much like Rilasciare's mobs. Unlike Rilasciare's mobs, these courtesans will follow multiple commands and have special abilities.
- Teofila di Tamamello of the Vaticine Church believes in reforming Vodacce from within by educating any woman they can and teaching the next generation of Vodacce noblemen to respect the nation's women more. Members can trade Favor to summon a single, powerful Agent with specializations in any sort of combat you need. The more Favor you spend, the more powerful this Agent will be.
Novus Ordum Mundi There's nothing here to see, just move along...
- The Illuminati.
- NOM is the product of an ancient conspiracy concocted by the servants of some Senators who thought it'd be a cool idea to make a pact with some demons in exchange for horrible magic powers. The servants were understandably annoyed by this, and so they made a deal with each other (after killing their errant masters) that they would do everything they could to keep Théah on a tight leash and make sure the world leaders don't screw it up, and that's why the setting doesn't have fuel-efficient vehicles. NOM, combined with the fact that Théah used to be overrun by insectoid/lizardlike people, adds a strange tinfoil hat flavor to this swashbuckling RPG.
- Of course, ruling all of the nations in secret is not enough for these people. They have their fingers in several other pies, such as Sophia's Daughters and The Invisible College.
- As a matter of fact, they just pretty much ate the whole pie as far as The Invisible College is concerned. Alvara is their de facto leader, and everyone looks up to him and just eats out of the palm of his hand, but little do they know that he's using their well-meaning organization to further his own goals.
- Oh, and it gets better! He is not only bending The Invisible College to his will, but he has made himself the leader, more or less, of NOM, which is supposed to be leaderless. Not bad for a scholarly old Castillan gentleman (who once roasted an inquisitor alive in its own armor).
- Walking Spoiler: At least the other Walking Spoiler factions are known to exist. The above organization is supposed to be secret to the players.
The rest of the game world of 7th Sea provides examples of:
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Captain Reis' unmistakable crescent shaped scythe. It cuts through Dracheneisen, along with every other material. There's exactly one magical weapon in the entire setting that can parry it.
- Action Girl: Plenty, though the Sea Dogs' first mate "Bloody" Bonnie McGee is one of the most prominent.
- Anachronism Stew: A heavy dose to go with No Celebrities Were Harmed - the "French" Revolution is brewing under "Louis XIV" while "Napoleon" is bogged in the Retreat from "Russia". "Vikings" raid the "East India Company".
- Ancestral Weapon: Most Dracheneisen weapons are inherited.
- Armor Is Useless: Justified, as bullets and rapiers have brought an end to the era of the armored knight. Unless it's made of dracheneisen, armor does nothing. (And in a society based heavily on seafaring, it'd be literal deadweight much of the time...) Quoting the book itself (which doesn't give armor stats), "If you want armor, play an Eisen noble. Everyone else simply goes without."
- Back-to-Back Badasses: An encouraged fighting tactic, the Eisen have the word rucken to describe a pair who do this all the time.
- BFS: Zweihanders, Eisen swords as tall as the wielder. Also Highland claymores.
- Black Box: The game prefers any syrneth artifact introduced by the GM to behave like this, fully taking advantage of Clarke's Third Law.
- Black and White Morality: The 2nd Edition Sourcebook continually reminds G Ms and players that the story is about HEROES. There is even a mechanical penalty for not adhering to some basic tenets of goodness.
- Blade Brake: The 'Ride the Sail' trick from the Rogers swordsman school.
- Blade on a Stick: The boar spear is a popular Eisen weapon, and even has its own swordsman school.
- Born Lucky:
- Jeremiah Berek, his luck is so legendary in Avalon that Glamour mages can choose to call upon his luck directly.
- Subverted with his nemesis, the General. A brilliant tactical mind — so much so that he's successfully adapted land strategy to naval battles — he's nonetheless a German surrounded by Frenchmen, fighting an Englishman.
- City of Adventure: Many in 2e: Frieburg, Vaticine City, Boisal, Quamontaine, Iskandar and Djen.
- Combat by Champion: The swordsman's guild allows this sort of combat to be done by just paying your champion.
- Continuity Reboot: Second edition. Most notable are the changes in geography (in addition to the new continents, first and second edition maps of Théah look very different), and the removal of aliens from the setting (the Syrneth are still part of Terra's history, but no aliens).
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: The major faiths of Theah are the Yacchidi, the Orthodox, the al-Din, the Vaticine, and the Objectionists.
- The Yachidi are a Jewish analogue introduced in Second Edition's Crescent Empire book. Their people were enslaved by the old Numanari Empire and were freed in a revolt led by Moesh ben Amram. Most can be found in Sarmion, with a small but growing community being set up in eastern Eisen.
- The Orthodox are the followers of the First Prophet, Yesu. Born a Yachidi hermaphrodite, Yesu's mother registered him as male to the Numanari rulers so he would not be forced to bear children. The Orthodox are vegetarian pacifists who follow Yesu's creed of "to understand the Creator, seek to understand His Creation." Almost all of the Orthodox are in Ashur, with an offshoot being the dominant faith of Ussura.
- The religion of al-Din follows the Second Prophet and is an Islamic analogue. If Vaticines identify as scientists, the al-Din identify as artists. They seek to help the Creator perfect His Creation. Since art is by definition imperfect, they know this is an impossible task that will never be completed- but they do it anyway. The primary tenets of the faith are kindness to others, remembrance, and perseverance through adversity. They discourage (but do not ban) revealing one's face in public, substance addiction, and practicing sorcery.
- The Vaticine church follows the Third Prophet's teachings favoring science over sorcery. Vaticines reckon themselves scientists, trying to understand the will of Theus by understanding his creation. The church is based in Vaticine City off the coast of Castille, and is usually led by a Hierophant. Men and women may act as priests. The Yachidi, al-Din, and Orthodox peoples do not believe the Third Prophet was a legitimate Prophet due to his violent conquests of Theah and persecution of sorcerers.
- Objectionists are an expy of the Protestant Reformation in the setting. They viewed the Vaticine as growing too corrupt, worldly, and power hungry. With the Inquisition's rise, they might not have been too wrong...
- Dark Chick: Dalia after turning undead and joining the Black Freighter. (Granted she was already pretty villainous as a Corsair.)
- Death Seeker: Joern Keitelson, first mate of the Crimson Rogers. He set out to kill the Vendel after his village was raided by them. He ran into the Rogers and killed so many of Reis' crew, Reis was impressed and gave him the position. Joern doesn't care about anything but fighting until he dies.
- Discredited Meme: Mentioned in the rulebook. The rules explicitly allow the GM to punish anyone who makes Monty Python references.
- Drunken Master:
- The Finnegan school of pugilism teaches a form of boxing that's rather unique. A master will get better at fighting while they get more and more inebriated. Unsurprisingly, it was invented in Inismore.
- It also presents about the most hilarious Game-Breaker ever in a printed RPG, all but guaranteed to give a good laugh (and possibly a Drama Die to whoever brings this up in smart fashion): One wording of Finnegan's ability was "reverse inebration penalties". Inebration penalties are, like, -2, -4, incapacitated. So a dead drunk Finnegan is literally omnipotent!
- Duel to the Death: Very possible if the offense is grave enough.
- Dummied Out: One of the Destiny Spreads in First Edition grants the character a 1 Point Druidic Secrets Advantage...but no such Advantage made it to the printed book.
- Expy: Many, but it's notable that Captain Hook's is played straight and is probably the single most powerful character in the game.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: All of the nations, and some minor cultures. Think of it as a slightly more advanced 17th Century Europe mixed with One Piece.
- Fatal Flaw: Characters may take a special disadvantage called a hubris which the GM can exploit specifically so they can make the wrong decision. In addition, each swordsman school has a weakness that is explained in its description can be exploited via the school's aptly named "Exploit Weakness" knack.
- One Eisen Swordsman school is dedicated to fighting monsters. It contains only Exploit Weakness knacks, each devoted to exploiting a different monster's Fatal Flaw.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Several NPCs have encountered Syrneth artifacts or had other supernatural encounters that left them... changed. Gerald Hohne of the Crimson Rogers and Hamish of the Corsairs are good examples.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: In first edition, out of a pool of 100 points, buying a swordsman school from a character's native country costs 25. Buying a foreign school costs 35. There is no functional difference between using a domestic or foreign school, aside from the point difference. As a result, most PCs and NPCs use swordsman schools from their home countries, instead of munchkin-ing the most powerful schools with the nationalities that grant the best Traits and Advantage discounts.
- Ghost Pirate: The Black Freighter is a ship full of these.
- Glove Slap: Sword dueling is quite common, and is usually legal in most countries.
- The GM Is A Cheating Bastard: The GM's guide explicitly gives two rules. Rule #1: There are no rules. Rule #2 Cheat anyway.
- Grappling-Hook Pistol: A very common item of equipment for any adventurer.
- Heroic Sacrifice: All of Philip Gosse's crew.
- Hook Hand: There's an artifact called the Scarlet Hook of Madness.
- Implacable Man: PCs may choose the "Man of Will" advantage, which makes them immune to fear, mind altering effects of any sort, and they can't be socially bullied in any way. Needless to say, it's a VERY expensive advantage to buy at character creation.
- Implausible Fencing Powers:
- For example, making a broadsword hit someone like a gunshot wound.
- Istanbul Not Constantinople: It's really pretty blatant about this.
- Lady of War: Fauner Posen of Eisen. Do NOT mess with her.
- Legacy Character:
- El Vago is only the most obvious one, but the captain of the Black Freighter is invariably some madman who sold his soul to Legion to captain the ship.
- Captain Reis is a subversion and aversion at the same time. A character picks up his clothes and weapon, and becomes a Fake Shemp to Reis' crew, only to suffer blackouts after extended impersonations, with strong implications that Reis is pulling a Grand Theft Me.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: The CCG can be blamed for this.
- Second edition does nothing to help, with one sourcebook dedicated to almost a hundred characters, heroes and villains alike.
- Lord British Postulate:
- Captain Reis, the pirate depicted in red on the page image above, is intended for use as a plot device by the DM to either make the PCs run away, or die. In melee, he is essentially unstoppable, since his weapon ignores any kind of armor and slices through even Dracheneisen with trivial ease (meaning you can't parry either). However, if you manage to shoot him in the head and burn all your drama dice for extra damage, he will go down, since you can't block bullets and he doesn't wear armor.
- You can't spend Drama Dice on damage rolls, unless you have some ability that allows you to do so.
- But you can spend Drama Dice on attack rolls, where calling Raises will increase damage.
- Make Them Rot: Zerstoerung, the lost sorcery of Eisen, consisted mainly of these powers.
- Money Sink: Taking the "Married to the Sea" Advantage in Second Edition gives the players a ship and 10 Brutes they can use at will. It also eats half of the group's wealth, rounded up, every session to pay their crew. If the crew can't be paid, they will mutiny and you lose the ship. There are also no rules for generating wealth through trade or how much cargo a ship can carry, though it's mentioned throughout the main book. A Killer Game Master or a single misspent bribe can doom the whole crew.
- Mooks: Called brute squads. They come in packs of 6. A typical PC can take down a standard set in about 2 or 3 rounds. And an experienced swordsman can take out 2 or 3 brute squads in one round.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Only this time it's with historical figures.
- A good number of illustrations also resemble modern-day actors (example: The king of Castille kind of resembles a young Leonardo diCaprio).
- Pirate Girl: "Bloody" Bonnie McGee, amongst others. In fact, a growing criticism of the Second Edition is that so many iconic pirates from the setting have been recast as women (including Allende, Captain Reis and the new Queen of the Brotherhood of the Coast) that one begins to wonder whether they aren't more common on the seas of Theah than pirate men.
- The Plague: The white plague, which is analogous to the real world's black plague. It was a magical disease released by Sophia's Daughters to make sure that sorcery didn't wind up spreading too wide.
- Point Build System: A completely free-form one; players aren't told where the points need to be assigned at all.
- Redemption Quest: The Story system to allow Heroes to remove Corruption points.
- Redemption Rejection: Heroes are encouraged to look for ways to stop Villains other than imprisonment or death. However, of the sample Villains in the 2E Heroes and Villains sourcebook, some are too far gone to be redeemed.
- Retired Badass: Phillp Gosse, gentleman pirate, who claimed his own island after plundering so much treasure. He decided to have one last adventure.
- Rich Idiot with No Day Job: A common way for noble heroes to go out and do things which may lose them face at court. Phineas Flynn, the highwayman of Avalon, fits this well too.
- Slave Galley: The Corsairs love to use slave labor.
- Soul Jar: Kheired-Din of the Corsairs found a cross that acts as a soul jar. He'll always regenerate, even if his body is completely destroyed, unless the cross is destroyed first.
- In first edition, there's one for every major nation, and one for every major secret society. They're of variable quality, but still provide useful background information.
- The initial set-up for second edition is that there are two sourcebooks for the major nations of Théah, one sourcebook each for Aztlan, Wabanahkik, Ifri, the Atabean Sea, and the Crescent Empire, and one detailing all of the major secret societies.
- Spin-Off: The card game.
- Second Edition has seen the dev team launch several Kickstarters for a mobile game and a board game, to varying degrees of success.
- Swashbuckler: Too many to count, NPC and PC alike.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Tom Toblin of the Sea Dogs is really Nicole Cowbey. She signed on board to find the murderer of her father and her husband, and disguised herself so she wouldn't be recognized.
- This trope is decidedly not invoked in Second Edition now. Between dozens of major warriors, politicians, and pirates being introduced, and other legacy characters like Captain Reis and Bonaventura being re-imagined, Theah seems to have become much more gender neutral... except for Vodacce.
- Team Pet:
- Several ships have pets on board, but most notable is Captain, the mascot of the Sea Dogs of Avalon. Jeremiah Berek claims that he is the true captain of his ship and anyone surrendering to them must surrender to the dog.
- Popular Fanon had this with Senor Ladron and Allende — the monkey and captain, respectively, of the Brotherhood of the Coast. The captain's face wasn't well-known in the backstory, despite him being the exiled king of Castille, so the fans suggested the two were confused by mistake.
- The equivalent for the Black Freighter was their masthead, the mummified remains of the ship's first captain. Late in the story, he broke free and regained control of the ship.
- The Undead: The Black Freighter, a ship of the undead that sails once per generation to torment the living.
- Volleying Insults:
- Some swordsmen, especially Montaigne ones, are experts at this.
- The Vendel as well, who have a swordsman school whose Master level ability is to gain an extra action each turn—which can only be used to taunt enemies.
- Walking Wasteland: The (theoretically extinct) Zerstorung sorcery school.
- Wooden Ships and Iron Men: It describes any sea based adventure perfectly.
- Wretched Hive: The city of Freiburg in Eisen, unsurprising, as there's no real government there.
- Yandere: The ill fated courtesan turned Fate Witch, Lucrezia. Once she encountered Gioseppe, her entire world revolved around him... and once he rejected her things got really, really messy. But her story doesn't finish with merely the classical conclusion. Lucrezia wants him back alive, and it seems she's found a way to do it, even if it means violating Creation and destroying an entire world in the process.
- You Fight Like a Cow: Players can use taunts to make themselves more difficult to hit, and intimidation to make it easier to strike enemies. The players are encouraged to come up with witty banter themselves, but if they don't feel up to the task, they can roll their panache skill instead.
No Banter, No Barter, No Quarter.