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Tabletop Game / 7th Sea: The East

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Do not ask "Why do we fight?" Instead ask, "What do we fight for?"

Welcome to Khitai, where the world calls, and you must answer.

In 2016, John Wick Presents launched a Kickstarter for 7th Sea: Second Edition. After that Kickstarter broke the record for most money raised on a Tabletop RPG ($1.31 Million at the time), one of the final stretch goals of the campaign was to create an entirely separate game line to focus on Asian-analogue nations, rather than a single sourcebook. And so, 7th Sea: The East was created.

While mechanically similar to 7th Sea: Second Edition (the official 7th Sea podcast states that the designers intend for the games to be cross-compatible; thus, you can make a Khitai hero using Thean rules and a Thean Hero using Khitai rules), the themes of The East are remarkably different. Thean Heroes are meant to level up by changing the world in some way — by getting revenge on a Villain or winning the heart of their one true love. Khitai Heroes level up by reacting toward a Destiny the world has in mind for them. Whether they fight to fulfill that Destiny or escape it is integral to the system.

Another major change comes in the form of the base traits of the characters. Second Edition has standard RPG stats like Brawn, Wits, or Panache. Khitai characters choose from stats like Compassion, Honesty, Joy, Loyalty, Peace, Respect, and Wisdom. These stats are associated with the hero's motivation behind their actions, rather than their physical capabilities to carry out these actions.

The Kickstarter for The East ended on November 12th, 2017. The Quickstart rules can be found here. In 2020, the dev team shared the final text with backers and predicted a 2021 release.

The countries of 7th Sea: Khitai include:

Agnivarsan Empire (Mughal India)

  • Decadent Court: The court of the Agnivarsan ruler (a No Celebrities Were Harmed of the still controversial Aurangezeb) is currently overrun with plots and counter-plots. The Emperor has a decidedly mixed reputation and a lot of people- nobles and commoners- wouldn't shed a tear were he to die.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: The Agnivarsan people rebelled against the Crescent Empire... only to form their own Empire.
  • Oh, My Gods!: Agnivarsan is listed as a "land of 10,000 gods" in the Quickstart guide.
  • Semi-Divine: Some of their Heroes have the blood of gods.

Fuso (Sengoku Japan)

  • Arms Dealer: Fuso is lacking in iron deposits that can be used to forge artillery. Thankfully, Thean traders from Odiseo (not-Portugal in this universe) keep coming back with more and more guns to sell.
  • Beneath Notice: The Mikado relies on a small cadre of six Highly-Visible Ninja to do their bidding- one from each of the great clans. They are considered "highly visible" because they each have a regular appointments at the Mikado's court, but no one knows who at court is a ninja. They do not even know who the other ninja are.
  • Civil War: The current civil war in Fuso has been ongoing for no less than six generations. The clans of Fuso are only united when an outside power tries to interfere in their conflict, banding together to cast them out. Considering that the Samurai caste have been battling and honing their skills for centuries, no one in Khitai is keen to attempt an invasion.
  • Fantastic Caste System: Fuso culture divides all people into certain castes from the time of their birth- nispa, samurai, and heimin (priest, warrior, commoner). Moving from one caste to another due to lack of natural ability is allowed (though taboo), betraying one's caste or its' values is a crime. A person who tries and fails to find a place in all three castes is essentially ostracized and becomes an untouchable.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Fuso Samurai ride BEARS into battle. Since bears are among the most powerful Kamuyru in Fuso, it would be more accurate to say Bears let the Samurai ride them.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Lampshaded. Most Fuso warriors don't use katana in battle and recognize that they are like any tool- they have a use, but are not an all-powerful weapon. Thean visitors and other Khitai peoples have still started to view the weapon as the greatest blade ever invented.
  • Martial Pacifist: After six generations of civil war, the nispa and heimin castes are banding together into Ikko-Ikki or "Single Minded Brigades." Militant religious armies that are leading Torches and Pitchforks mobs to try and stop the fighting on their own and establish an egalitarian society. The clan leaders and shogunate do not feel the mobs are a threat, which is all find and dandy until the Ikko-Ikki come banging on their castle doors...
  • Religion is Magic: One of their traditions, kamuyru, allows its practitioners to speak with the spirits (kamuynote ) and make requests (or demands) of them. The Mikado is descended from the sun kamuy, and serves as Fuso's spiritual leader.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: The current Mikado, Umakashte, who knows little of the outside world.
    • The current Shogun, Abe Yasu, is not so sheltered after all. She's taken the taboo practice of changing one's caste and used it to find and promote more skilled officers, rather than relying on birthright as one's credentials.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Fuso is the most militant nation in Khitai and could easily conquer the whole region... if its rulers ever stopped fighting over who should lead that conquest.

Han (Joseon Korea)

  • The Caligula: King Jeongdo takes Han's cultural posturing to a new level, convinced it's still a world power with the army and navy to match, rather than a client state of Shenzhou with a skeleton army and a navy run by idiots. He keeps sending his forces into battle, confident they'll win, and failure is never his fault.
  • Cultural Posturing: The Han people were once the dominant culture of Khitai's nations before they were conquered by Shenzhou. They still believe this to be true.
  • Lady of War: For all the incompetence of the Han court and army, their navy has one genius Admiral preventing a complete Fuso invasion: Admiral Ji. Ji has revived the nation's centuries old slow and invulnerable Turtle Ships to mount cannons and arquebuses. Her fantastic skill in battle is constantly hampered by her attitude when dealing with the inept, nepotist royal court. She's good, she knows it, and the courtiers and army don't like how she's revealing their ineptitude just by doing her job.

Kammera (Aboriginal Australia)

  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Aside from the Kammera people, the land is home to "gigantic monsters" and "colossal animals."
  • Boxing Battler: Kammeran warriors practice the martial art of Coreeda. Invented by the warrior Jandamarra who loved fighting, but not killing. He was visited in a dream by an Ancient that advised him to learn how to fight by watching Red Kangaroos. Coreeda fighters keep low to the ground, are constantly in motion, and attack from below rather than from an equal or high position. What other martial artists see as fighting from a foolishly weak position is actually quite powerful because no other martial art thinks it's an effective strategy.

Khazaria (Remnants of the Mongol Empire)

  • Ancient Tomb: Although it's only four-hundred years old, the Great Khan's tomb is a secret that was guarded by his bannermen even after their deaths- literally. The Khan is buried somewhere on a vast tract of undisturbed land, where no tribe is permitted to settle or graze their herds for fear of disturbing his hidden resting place- under pain of death.
  • Genius Bonus: Some Khazar communities near Ussura and the Sarmatian Commonwealth are stated to have adopted Yachidism, the setting's equivalent of Judaism. This is likely a reference to the historical Khazars, a civilization of steppe nomads noted for being the only society in history to have ever converted to Judaism en masse.
  • Happily Adopted: Khazar families are not simply blood-bound, but include vast networks of "adoption" from other tribes. The tribes use these adoptions as basis for alliances. To be invited into a family is also considered a great honor- neighboring on a deadly insult if one refuses.
  • Hordes from the East: The Khazaria once controlled almost all of Khitai, along with Persis, Ussura, and other parts of Theah. The Western game line describes them as "the Iron Horde."
  • The Shangri-La: Shamballa, Terra's equivalent of Tibet, is technically a part of Khazaria, but is implied in the previews to have its own distinct culture.
  • Thicker Than Water: Subverted in Khazaria. While blood relations are important, clans only invite individuals into their family if they display a significant skill. Blood relation bears less weight against merit.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The adoption networks are the source of the Khazar's combined strength which conquered most of Terra centuries ago, but they are also the source of their collective disunity- when one clan is wronged, the calls for vengeance/defense can escalate into a full Civil War that consumes them for years.

The Kiwa Islands (Maori and Polynesians)

  • Bold Explorer: The Kiwa Islanders sail the seas looking for new islands. Whichever Kiwa Kingdom controls the most islands controls all the Kiwa Kingdoms. Current nations include the Tengarra Empire, the Salafari, and the Morriori.
  • Cool Glider: The Salafari nation have outfitted their ships to rise about 150m into the air with a burst of mana energy, then glide on the sea breeze much like flying fish. The Invisible College in Theah has already taken note and is trying to use this power to develop the first true airship.
  • Lowered Recruiting Standards: The Tengarra Empire within Kiwa have the largest navy in Kithai and possibly Terra. They've had to turn to Aztlan, Theah and the Crescent Empire with promises of adventure and citizenship to get enough bodies to crew their ships.
  • The Navigator: Sailors from the Kiwa Islands are able to navigate the seas without instruments or charts and claim to be the greatest navigators in the world. Castillians and Rahuri resent this, but they're still using telescopes and astrolabes...

Nagaja (Dark Age Cambodia)

  • Balkanize Me: Nagaja is described as "a mandala of hidden kingdoms" that were once a great empire that has collapsed on itself in the face of a supernatural invasion. The Western Kingdoms are completely anarchic and martial, focused on defending themselves instead of politics. The eastern nations are trying to capitalize on the anarchy to enrich themselves. The central kingdoms are trying to stitch the realm back together before it's all destroyed.
  • Benevolent Boss: The culture surrounding nobility in Nagaja runs on this trope. If a peasant and a noble are both involved in an accident and suffer damages, the noble is expected to pay for the peasant's lost property so long as the peasant apologizes. Any noble who fails to live up to this obligation can find themselves locked out of high society. Nagaja Villains are well aware of this convention and quick to abuse it.
  • Invading Refugees: Nagaja opened its borders to an invasion of otherworldly creatures centuries ago- some ogre-like, some with the features of birds, and others resembling snakes. The Kingdom eventually welcomed them in and the royal line intermarried with the Queen of the Naga. The Ogres now live in the jungles while the birdfolk tend to keep to the mountainous regions.
  • Snake People: Nagaja was founded when an ancient human prince married a Naga princess, taking its name from said princess. Naga still exist in Nagaja's cities, though full blooded Naga (half snake, half human) are incredibly rare compared to those who simply have scaled skin or snake eyes.
  • The Dreaded: A resurgent god-king is trying to reunify the old empire and lead it into battle against an invasion from the west.
  • War Elephants: The preferred mounts of Nagaja's warriors. The commoners boast that the reason the Khazars never tried to invade their realm was the prowess of their war elephants in battle. They may find out if that's true very soon, when the Khans set sail.

Shenzhou (Imperial China)

  • The Emperor: Two claim dominion over Shenzhou. The Tang Emperor Tianzun was driven out of his capital by the Khazars and forced into hiding on the moon, though he still issues orders to the loyal members of the Tang Army and Bureaucracy. The Khazarian Maca, Zaozong Empress, rules the Khanate occupied lands to the north after leading their armies to victory when her father was grievously wounded in the battle for the palace. By all accounts she's doing the best a nineteen-year-old can hope to fend off the court intrigues of Shenzhou.
  • The Empire: Really a mix of Rising Empire (the Khanate) and Vestigial Empire (the Tang Empire). The Khanate rules most of northern Shenzhou after capitalizing on the rampant corruption of the Tang court and bureaucracy, while the Tang are holding their own in the southlands. A third faction, the lawless and pirates, are starting to prey on the peasants caught in the struggle between these two.
  • Immortality Inducer: There is an entire caste of immortal individuals within Shenzhou. To date, there are three ways someone can become immortal:
    • Travel to Mount Penglai and eat a mystical peach (if you can survive the dragons that roost there).
    • Become a God.
    • Master an art form after ten years of study and demonstrate your skill to a panel of other immortals; impress them enough and you'll be accepted into the club.
  • Space Base: The Moon Kingdom is a vacation home for Shenzhou on the surface of the moon. Their immortals flock to the pleasure palaces of Heng'e the Moon Goddess to relax and party it up with one another. Mortals are not allowed on the magnificent sky ships that ferry immortals to the moon. Stowaways have been known to make the trip- but not to come back.
  • Take Over the World: The Great Khan of Shenzhou plan to use their nation's resources and population to conquer all of Khitai (and potentially Theah). The people may have other plans.
  • Warrior Monk: Many of them throughout the countryside, all of the Eastern variety. Shenzhou is home to many remote warrior monasteries where Heroes may gain mystical knowledge or learn schools of martial arts.
  • Wu Xia: One of the primary sources of cultural inspiration behind Shenzhou, per the dev team.

The Secret Societies of 7th Sea: Khitai include:

The 36th Chamber

  • Crisis Crossover: One of the reasons the Devs said they made this Society: bridging Thean and Khitai content across stories. The survivors of the library attack grabbed all the tomes they could save and scattered across the world- Ifri, Theah, The New World, and the Crescent Empire to name a few places, all to hide the library's knowledge from potential Villains.
  • Keeper of Forbidden Knowledge: The Chamber possessed so many controversial and invaluable books that the original Masters refused to share it with the populace of Shenzhou for fear of what the common folk might do without the discipline to apply all of this knowledge. Now the Society works to preserve and hide these dangerous books across the world.
  • Great Big Library of Everything: Back when this society was not so secret, their headquarters was a monastery with 35 chambers, all packed to the brim with knowledge of combat, medicine, philosophy, and other subjects its monks were expected to learn. Then one little doctrinal dispute happened...

The rest of the game world of 7th Sea: Khitai provides examples of:

  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: While Theans in Second Edition focus on colorful duels with blades, the dev team has said every nation of Khitai is going to have a unique martial art.
  • Crossover: Heroes from Khitai are already being written into the Second Edition line.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Every Hero in Khitai has a Destiny they are striving toward or against. It is referred to as a "Call to Adventure" or the "Song of the World" within the universe and Quickstart guide.
  • Fan Works: Called "The Explorer's Society" by John Wick Presents, players can write, share, and even sell their own adventures and supplements set in the universe of 7th Sea. The company keeps a public list of the only topics that players cannot write about on their website.