Seven Nations - Alpha
Finally decided to make a post about Seven Nations. I’m hoping this will drum up some interest, or at the very least, people can give me thoughts on it. It’s been moving along at it’s own pace, admittedly slow, but that seems to be okay with everyone who’s already there. I understand that kind of pace isn’t for everyone, and that too is okay, but I do have a small feeling that this might be good for it.
To say that the game has been casual is an understatement. The game normally sits empty unless there’s an event going on. And by this, I really mean that the game itself tends to be ran like an expanded tabletop group. By and large, this has done the game pretty good. The few staffers on game will run something either once a week or every other week and folks will play in between if that’s something they feel like doing.
I never had much desire to have this massive game with dozens of peeps, but what I did want was at least some kind of dedicated group that wanted to play in the world that I, and with the help of others, had written. I had inherently kept the place closed off as for the longest time I wanted to create a safe haven for people to go, and I think I have, for the most part, done that. Eventually, I’d like to move away from the Discord that operates as basically the channels for the game, and game itself only being used when something is going on. That’s a longer term goal.
Realistically, I’d love to one day be able to sort out combat system to work better than just straight rolls. Yes, that works, but I feel like I’m leaving stuff on the table by not utilizing FS3 as much as I’d like. Problem is, there’s just issues of equipment/weapon/armor stats that have just been a pain to find a balance for. Sadly, I’m not an FS3 expert, so that aspect of the game has sat by the wayside.
Theme is about 80 to 85% written. The factions, or rather, the PC factions, are more or less fleshed out. Mostly it’s a task of writing out the the last theme points that mostly deal with me having to sit and think up names, which always feels like the hardest part.
So some things one should know if they’re interested in 7N:
- Small population
- Runs like a tabletop with events either every or every other week
As for the rest, I’ll leave a rather large and heavily worded blurb on theme for anyone wants to get the jist of what the game is about. If anyone would seem interested in this game, let me know. The wiki can be found here: https://sevennations.aresmush.com/
Themes of Seven Nations
Seven Nations is game that takes stories from the themes of high fantasy, high adventure, with a heavy emphasis on dark fantasy and post-apocalyptic supernatural horror. Much of our personal approach also tends to be rather synonymous with tabletop role-playing. A great deal of influences on Seven Nations will likely be apparent, taking influences and inspiration from Dungeons and Dragons, Elder Scrolls, Babylon 5, The Witcher, Fallout, Dragon Age, X-Files, Ravenloft, Castlevania, Conan the Barbarian, Chrono Cross, and others.
Taking place fifty years after the even known as the Cataclysm and the extreme weakening of the Coalition of Nations, a collection of different countries are set upon what is known as the Continent(it’s official name is Ternia), the major land mass that the game takes place in. The focus is currently based in the independent city-state of Karwald, the de facto capital of the Coalition after the Republic of Tagoth Fens was destroyed during the Cataclysm.
However, the continued independence of Karwald is not guaranteed, as it sits nestled between two nations locked in a cold war - the rising Empire of Varnell, built on the ashes of a coup, and the Kingdom of Maxon, a nation plagued by civil war in the decades following the death of their last King. With the other nations having retreated to their own worries or even been wiped out entirely, it is up to Karwald to navigate the tenuous peace between two nations while trying to survive in this new Age of Ruin. There were always dangers in world, but result of magic going awry introduced new horrors that have emerged from the wasteland, creatures of the dark come to prey on remnants of a what was once a mighty continent.
The Coalition and The Cataclysm
Fifty years ago, the Coalition of Nations lived in what most scholars say was a prosperous, golden age. It was the Age of the Arcane, a time during which there was rapid and incredible advancements in magical theory, technology, and ease of life. Limits to what humans could accomplished appeared unshackled. Some survivors of that day remember what that life used to be like, what the sun felt like on their skin. In the years that followed, nations have fallen, others have risen, and the Coalition is a remnant of what it once once, replaced instead by closed off and fearful countries trying to eek out what they can for their people. Hope is fragile in the Age of Ruin and countless questions remain. Few have stood up to try and lead the Coalition, few have tried to unite the nations.
The event that sundered the Continent, went by a few names. Known as the Cataclysm, the Fall, or the Unraveling, this is the day that’s generally seen as the end of the Age of Arcane and the beginning of the Age of Ruin. Details of the day itself are few and far between as anyone living in Tagoth Prime who could’ve gleamed any kind of insight into what caused the Cataclysm died in the initial explosion of wild and chaotic magic. Whatever ritual was being conducted by the Council of Owls, supposedly a grand experiment meant to propel humanity further into an even brighter future, something went terribly, terribly awry. Regardless of the cause, the entire Continent paid the price of the ritual’s failure.
I’ve been meaning to get this down as this is a pretty important part of the Maxon theme, and currently isn’t listed anywhere on the wiki. Partially due to the fact that most players right now are playing either Karwardians or folks from the Empire, but I wanted to give some insight as to why the Maxon clans haven’t been able to decide on a King. And mostly due in part, for the benefit and detriment, that they follow something that’s akin to tanistry. So I’m going to try and break down here(really, this is mostly a rough draft before I put it on the wiki and I want feedback from those who don’t play the game).
So, let’s say your grand-dad was King High Shit of the Maxons, right? Sits his butt on the Glacial Throne. And then he passes, probably to old age or in battle or ate one too many burritos one night. Who is eligible to his heir from among his descendants?
Let’s say that he had five kids. In order of Eldest to youngest: Daughter, Daughter, Son, Son, Son. In a lot of games that play to nobility, this would likely go to either the third child, being the eldest son, or the eldest son of the eldest daughter. But with tanistry, it’s not automatic. People have to essentially qualify to be the next head of clan or King, and they’re essentially elected by the other people who qualify. To note, where the Empire differs here is essentially the Empire functions on a scale from ‘Meritocracy to Nepotism’ depending on which Province you’re coming from. “Loyalty to the Emperor, prove you worth, etc etc. Very militaristic.” Maxons don’t really function like that.
So the thing is, does the rest of the family agree? This is where I think I a lot of RP could be interesting or fun. And then, once that title passes, the question of who the next tanist is becomes based on the current King High Shit of the Maxons. Once it’s passed on, relationto your grandpa now becomes a bit dodgier. Which brings in…adoption. Adoption is a big freaking deal in Maxon. You’re not just raising a kid and incorporating them into the Clan, which is no bid deal. Incorporating them into the BLOODLINE now makes things complicated.
If it helps makes it more understandable, because in tanistry, your bloodline definitely matters. But’s not the straight primogeniture that a lot of us are used to. And eligibility may not be just like “Ohh, it’s all his sons.” or “Ohh, it’s all his children.”. It might include grandchildren, too, if they’re still A, bearing the family name and B, born to a daughter. It also alleviates the problem of same-sex marriage = not okay because no heir(not to say that’s a problem or anything, there’s just an awareness that it’s trickier in fantasy themes). And not just because they can adopt. Again, adoption is a big deal.
For the sake of argument, let’s say the the third son in this hypothetical situation became High King Shit of Maxon.(because everyone agreed on it that it’d be a good idea). And let’s say that he had only one daughter, who also only had one daughter. The eligible heirs would his daughter, his grand-daughter, his two sisters, his brothers, and the two sister’s children. Why? Because those are the family members that the clan can claim via paternity, as his. His brother’s children? Not eligible. Bloodline is not considered a bit dodgy there unless one of them inherits and as High King Shit, affirms those schmucks are definitely his.
So it comes down to whoever is selected from whoever is related to the current ruler. And whoever is related to the current ruler comes down to “Who has the same mom?” and "Your sister’s kids are considered closer relatives than your brother’s kids because they’re definitely your mom’s but they might not be their dad’s. See the rub there? And I mean, yeah, that’s not exactly how tanistry worked historically, but I think we can all agree that being super-serious hundred percent accurate is a bad. I mean, for fuck’s sake, there’s basically the equivalent of Witchers running around in this theme, I don’t think everything needs to be historically accurate.
In Maxon theme, the last actual King died fifty years ago and couldn’t be replaced to problematic for the Kingdom, since he didn’t leave any clear heirs and every Maxon Clan can claim some relation, it’s just all dubious and muddled by marriages and name changes and great-nephews via male lines only. And at that point, who knows who great-Aunt Mary was banging, bu are you gonna say that to an armed dude’s face about his mama? Especially when this is a people who are notoriously warlike and really, really like to fight? So yeah, he’s probably looking for an excuse, so maybe, I dunno, don’t say that about his mama. Keep in mind, however, the implied insult isn’t “YO MOMMA A BIG OL HO.” The actual insult is “Haha, your ancestry is BULLSHIT.” Insulting someone’s bloodline pretty much is asking to get an axe put in your face when it comes to Maxons.
I would also notate that insulting someone’s bloodline isn’t an insult because of sex. It’s an insult to the honor and to the honesty of your ancestry, because no gives a shit if you can crank out babies before you get married. Nobody cares about that. It’s a scandal to have an illegitimate children after you get married because you’re basically telling your spouse’s family that their bloodline isn’t worth mixing with yours and now there’s gonna be a fight about it. Or that somewhere in your bloodline, a man knowingly lied about being a child’s father, which is bad because A, he’s a liar, and B, willing to put a family bloodline at risk without regard for the consequences. That is a HUGE insult. Because normally when some dude is like, “Yep, that’s my kid and I’m claiming them as mine”, nobody is supposed to question that. Trying to have a fucking society here and openly questioning a man’s claim to paternity mucks that all up, so you just don’t unless you’re gonna back that up with at least a fight and maybe a war.
Of course, this also means that for plural marriages(three is a big theme in the game, you don’t have to marry two people, but nobody blinks an eye about it if you and two other people shack up). The answer to “Who are the biological parents?” is not a relevant question. The answer is “all three of them”.
“But there’s two women or two men! Obviously it’s only one of them played a part in-” “Nope, Both of them are the kid’s parents.” ‘Biological parents’ is not a concept in Maxon. Bloodline is, and those are not the same. That also means that if two women are married and one of them is pregnant? If her wife says “That is my child.” then the kid has two moms. Done. Whoever knocked up the pregnant woman? Absolutely doesn’t matter, unless her wife is like “This is not my child.” Then it becomes a larger issue.
The goal of all of this is provide a lot of flexibility to players that would simultaneously simplify and complicate, which…probably sounds counterintuitive. But the intention was pretty much for what matters to be “What People Publicly Agree On”, regardless of whatever is actually happening in private.
So I hope to write this down in more theme-ese language to put into the wiki, but I am definitely looking for feedback on what people think of this. We’ve tried to think of ways for this to be all inclusive for all players, and I think to think there’s been a decent attempt made at this. To note, I didn’t create the majority of this, another staffer wrote the lion’s share, but I really really like it.
Random update, because the first two metaplots ended. Now that the first two plots are done, there’s going to be a little lull before the next ones start. There will be smaller, more down-to-earth related things to give folks times to play out all these recent changes before the next gauntlet of emotional and mental trauma is inflicted on these characters. It’s a good time to take a peek at the game if you’re looking for a smaller place that isn’t ‘go go go’ all the time.
When plots are running, I try to run a scene every other week and all are invited to take part if they feel like it. And there’s occasionally random other plots run by other staff and players when people have the energy/time to do so.
Some highlights from the last couple of months:
What are the Hungry Dark beyond strange smoke creatures.
Why did a massive partially sunken castle vanish into thin air.
What was the ‘Grey Place’ that a group of characters found themselves in.
Is the Empire’s push into the wastelands little more than a political flex or are they going to back up their claim.
Why does Ronit want to lick the fucking skull(Please don’t lick skulls).
Haven’t posted here in a hot minute, though about nothing all that important, really. Recently one of the players decided to make headshot stickers for characters in Discord, and I thought they were the cutest shit. This person knows who they are and I did get their permission to post these before doing so. Partially because I think they look great, and also partially because I think their skills need to be lauded for others. They’ve only made five(four PCs and one NPC), but I love them all for different reasons.
The artist who made them, you’re damn good and you should give yourself more credit.
tsar last edited by
These are very cute!
Wanted to give an update on how things are going as when I hit a particular milestone it always makes me want to write some reflection on that. As I realize this is becoming more of a evolving development log than it is an advertisement
Generally, I’m rather pleased with this past weekend, where the game felt really alive for the first time. It had always been a goal of mine to make the game self-sustaining, even if I still planned to have a hand involved in most things that happen on it. But I will say something felt different about how the scenes this past weekend. I hadn’t run two large-scale combat scenes back to back in, well a long time. I think the first was more planned out on my end; the idea of have two teams; one group of players approaching a city that’s under siege while another group tries to keep the way open to allow the first to get to safety within the city’s walls. Beyond my memory being absolute shit and forgetting how FS3 commands work to set up combat because it had been a hot minute since we had done actual combat, it went really well.
The second combat event I feel I hadn’t planned out as well, but I think it was unique. I’ve always enjoyed the idea of creating these, expansive and massive ‘boss fights’ like you’d encounter in a PS2 era God of War game. In this case it was a massive walls of tentacles and flesh straight out of a Cronenberg film. And to me, I want to make sure that I reward the players while at the same time making that challenge or boss fight rewarding in some capacity. I think I was able to do that.
So as I try to digest where I started two years ago now from when I had this inane idea that “Hey, I should run my own thing.” to now, I take stock of the small victories I’ve managed to create for myself. I don’t have many complaints(beyond my constant struggle with balancing the combat system and trying to find new things for players to spend XP on). And sure, to some people, maybe 19 people being online isn’t really a lot, but I view it as an accomplishement.
But as the game moves into the next series of plots, I realize that I should note that. The Siege of Archgate is, for the moment, over as I had no desire to keep the players locked into a single place for longer than was absolutely needed. I also thought it would be a better idea to break it up into smaller, more easily digestable chunks of plot rather than something far more grand. If there is one thing I’m still learning that doesn’t transition as well from tabletop to mush setting is pacing. But for the moment, I think taking a larger plot and turning into different facets that will eventually lead to a resolution(of some kind)is for the best.
So some points that new players may want to look into now that the siege is over to allow them to jump right into the thick of stuff.
The Leshen is not dead, and could always raise a new Horde one it creates a new body for itself after the last two were destroyed. The Leshen’s Heart still needs to be found and destroyed if the threat is to be put down.
Who tried to assassinate Archmage General Demitri Varnell and for what purpose? Someone under the orders of his older brother. Or someone else for reasons unknown.
What happened to Governor Veronica Pryde’s reinforcements and why they never appeared in Archgate. Her Relic weapon was recovered, and signs of a large scale combat between Azurus and Archgate, but no sign of her soldiers or the General.
Is the nation of Lain really involved somehow, or is that just rumormongering.
Will the assassination attempt sow more discontent within the Empire, pushing it even closer to a civil war.
Who are the cultists that were displayed in the memory shard presented by Brahms at the Conclave?
So this has been becoming something of a habit for me, and I think it’s become a useful tool in taking a gauge from players because it doesn’t track names or who even wrote the response. I created a Google Poll some months back looking for responses on how events have been run. I’ve since expanded that to include more questions revolving around the game itself. I’ve noticed a number of people prefer anonymity when wishing to give feedback.
And because I know that not all of 7N’s players use the Discord(for which I completely understand why), I’m also putting it on the game and also here since a number of players that play also read this forum. So I’m putting it here as well.
Also, there are a number of questions that can also apply to folks who haven’t played but have eyeballed the wiki. So if you’re willing to give feedback, I’m certainly not opposed and would be welcome to it.
Anyhow, I appreciate anyone who has a couple minutes to spare, be you a player or not. In the end, I think this is a good way to not only make the game better, but myself better as a game runner.