Backgrounds Defined and Clarified

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Backgrounds Defined and Clarified

Postby Black Jack Rackham » Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:23 pm

Backgrounds in 7th Sea are designed to personalize the story, essentially allowing players to help GMs add more flavor to the story and make it personally relevant to the player's Hero. The problem (at least as far as the Heroes of Altamira Campaign goes) is that every adventure has to apply equally to every Hero. Unfortunately there is simply not enough time to put every Hero's sub-plot in every adventure. In addition, making it personally relevant to one Hero means other heroes might not wish to get involved.

But fortunately for you, there's a solution. Instead of putting sub-plots into the main adventure, a re-occurring adventure called "Personal Agendas" has been developed to deal with backgrounds. Among the activities Heroes can participate in will be fighting duels, buying new clothes, working on Sonnets, etc. They can also delve into adventures involving their Background. Unlike other adventures (which can only be played through once) Players can sign up for this adventure as many times as they like.

Since Backgrounds allow players to have input on the story, that's what they need to supply. Once a player has taken a background they must write a short description (say a paragraph, certainly no more than a page) explaining what they believe their background is about. It would also help to have names of the relevant NPCs involved with the story. That way, GMs who run Heroes of Altamira can supply a series of short adventures, based on the description, for the Hero to play through during Personal Agendas.

If you have any other questions or wish to post your background description, this is the forum for that.

Mark
Last edited by Black Jack Rackham on Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:31 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Reason: sticky'ing it, adding emphasis to make sure I'm not reading small novels
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Re: Backgrounds Defined

Postby Black Jack Rackham » Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:20 pm

A discussion below prompted me to add some more explanation of backgrounds.

When you take a background you may take it for 1-3 Hero Points or 3-9 xp. The plan for backgrounds is to make them worth your while, so for every 1HP (or 3xp) you put in you will get 6xp out. That is essentially a "double your money (or in this case xp) back" plan.

Each time you play Personal Agendas and get involved with your background, you will gain an additional 1xp per session. The amount of adventures involved with resolving your background will be directly related to the xp you should get back. So, a Background 1 (which will give 6xp) will have 6 adventures written to resolve it. A Background 2 will have 12 adventures; 3, 18.

EDIT: After some review (which mostly involved a desire to see Players who put effort into backgrounds getting to see them all the way through), I've decided to change the "double your xp back" plan. Instead you will get all your invested xp back plus 1xp for each level of background. So, Background 1 will now give out the 3xp it cost, plus 1xp (because its 'level 1"). That means 4 adventures to resolve it, 8 for Background 2, 12 for 3.

Hope that makes it clearer.

Mark
smafdi wrote:STOP BEING SO DARN POPULAR GUYZ SRSLY I NEEDZ MEH GAMEZ TIHS YAER!!!

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Re: Backgrounds Defined

Postby Black Jack Rackham » Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:25 am

I should also have said,

There are also backgrounds which may be gained through gameplay. You will not, however, get twice the xp 'cost' back for playing through them. Instead, they have a set number of adventures which will resolve the story and you will be told when that happens.
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Re: Backgrounds Defined

Postby godmoney » Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:34 pm

so someone would have to play a "personal agenda" module multiple times to get resolve it?
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Re: Backgrounds Defined

Postby Black Jack Rackham » Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:13 am

godmoney wrote:so someone would have to play a "personal agenda" module multiple times to get resolve it?


Yup, that's how I lure you into having to come back and play all my adventures 8-)
Mark
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Mechanics for working on backgrounds

Postby Sister Sonya » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:47 pm

Mark: You seem to be a bottom line GM as opposed to one who goes by the book.

Do I need to weasel little things to enhance the progression on the Invention track in the Invisible College sourcebook? I.e pay 1 HP for the Imperfect Library to get +5 to my roll 80% of the time? Take 3 pips in the Drafting knack to give me an extra 3 unkept dice for my plans prior to the invention roll? Etc.

Thanks.
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Re: Mechanics for working on backgrounds

Postby Black Jack Rackham » Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:29 am

If you want the bonuses, then yes, you have to pay the points for them. Or you can just take your chances :twisted:

Mark
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Re: Mechanics for working on backgrounds

Postby salamanca » Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:20 pm

Or you can do the dramatic thing, roleplay it really hard and take your chances on an unskilled roll and hope for some free raises from a GM that appreciated your efforts to describe and immerse in the character's activity.

Yeah, it's easier to just pay the points.
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Re: Backgrounds Defined

Postby Harliquinn » Sat May 07, 2011 8:02 pm

How do you handle Backgrounds that don't really 'have an end'? There is "Code of Honor" in the Vodacce book, and some of those are more like "Never do this." One in particular is well suited for my character "never refuse a challenge." I'm only taking it at 1 and I don't really expect to be drowning in XP over it, but I was just curious. My other one is going to be Hunted and I'm considering 2 points into it.
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Re: Backgrounds Defined

Postby salamanca » Sat May 07, 2011 11:11 pm

Knowing Mark, I would guess the hunted would come into play during the agenda session quite easily. It would be during that time you would face your problem and gain from it. During any other adventure the hunting organization would not have you in their sights should they show up in the adventure plot. As for the code, I would suspect you will see lots of moral dilemnas between accepting the challenge or suceeding in your other goals. (i am seeing many no win situations in your future). So that sounds fun.
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Re: Backgrounds Defined

Postby Harliquinn » Sat May 07, 2011 11:23 pm

Yeah, the Challenges one is mostly there for RP but figured I'd add some mechanics to it as well. Looking forward to playing the character, since I spent so many hours on him and never got to play him.
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Re: Backgrounds Defined

Postby Sister Sonya » Sun May 08, 2011 4:09 am

Mark just has defined the Backgrounds to run for a definite number of adventures. Then you have to buy another (or the same one all over again).

Sister Sonya's is Invention-3 (or more likely an Invention-1 and an Invention-2). When that plays out, she'll almost certainly buy another Invention Background.
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Re: Backgrounds Defined

Postby Black Jack Rackham » Sun May 08, 2011 7:56 am

Both Sonya and Sal are right. You could take Code of Conduct over and over till the end of the campaign. But in my mind, if I ran it the way you've described, you'd get awfully bored with that. So, while you could have a code of conduct, having a background Code of Conduct means something acute happens to bring your morality to the fore.

Now I will still need you to write me a minimum 1 paragraph for each of the backgrounds explaining what YOU think the background means. I reserve the right to go totally hog wild with it, but it will give me a starting point. (and for the record, I already came up with the basics of a good CoC background. Now I just have to see if it meshes with your ideas).
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Re: Backgrounds Defined

Postby Harliquinn » Sun May 08, 2011 9:50 am

I can write up something for it. They are both generally covered in my *ahem* character history, but I'll extract the relevant parts. The way I see it (and this won't substitute for the paragaph, just a teaser) is that with code of conduct, I would be able to turn down what I would consider 'off hand challenges' made in conversation, like "I'm sure you couldn't balance on that flag pole." Also, I would need to consider the source, for accepting challenges from those not worthy to make the challenge proves nothing. However, if after laughing about it, someone turned that off-hand comment into a slight to my prowess, an insult that needed addressing, or a contest with someone else, I wouldn't be able to pass up the chance, even if my skills for the task were not good or even existent. I see it also tying in with the "Showmanship" advantage of the fhideli.
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Re: Backgrounds Defined

Postby Misroi » Sun May 15, 2011 7:39 pm

Hello there - I've been toying at joining the campaign, and finally took the plunge and bought a ticket for GenCon. I've built a character, and have a quick question about a particular Background: Dracheneisen Heir. Unlike other backgrounds, DH tracks the XP you earn from the Background, and once the XP gained is equal to three times the point cost of the dracheneisen item, you earn the item. I'm also playing a bit fast and loose with what the Background really is all about - rather than currying favor with the person that owns the heirloom, the dracheneisen item was stolen, and the Background is about my character tracking down where the item went and who stole it.

I suppose my questions are twofold: first, is Dracheneisen Heir allowed unmodified in the campaign? And, if the answer to that is yes, then second, is my approach to how the Background works allowable by the admin?
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Re: Backgrounds Defined

Postby salamanca » Sun May 15, 2011 8:57 pm

I'm sure Mark will go over specifics here or in person with you, but I think that variation on the Drach Heir background is totally workable and should not be a problem. In fact it makes a ton of sense as cause for an Eisen to travel across the river to find that item. Just start your character a background thread with the backstory particulars and be sure to include what the item is. We will then find some way to make you twist in the wind to get it.
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Re: Backgrounds Defined

Postby Black Jack Rackham » Sun May 15, 2011 9:12 pm

Wow, good question Misroi. I don't think this particular background has ever come up in any of my games so I had to read all about it before commenting. It's not a problem to have this background, but I'll have to make some changes to how it works out. Let us hash this out and, like Sal said, we'll make sure you get this.

Mark
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Re: Backgrounds Defined

Postby Black Jack Rackham » Mon May 16, 2011 2:35 pm

Ok here's my thinking about Dracheneisen Heir.

During character creation you buy your dracheneisen (10, 20, or 40 HP). For every level of Dracheneisen Heir you take, you subtract 2 HP off the cost. Then you play the Personal Agendas like normal. BUT you won't receive the XP bonus (since you already received it at Character Creation). When you are finished with the adventures (4 adventures/HP invested) you get your item.

Here's how I came up with this, Normally, we'd simply count up earned XP until you earned 3x the cost then get it for free. Since this is a con campaign, that means a LOT of time before you get the item (approximately one Personal Agenda adventure per year means 1XP per year, for a total of 10, 20 or 40 years real life time, sheesh). I want you to have it quicker, so I figured I'll give you a shorter path to the dracheneisen, you pay the difference.

Normally, you'd get 4xp for each 1HP invested (or 1.333HP). Now I could be a stickler and say you have to pay the difference in XP, but that'd be silly, AND you do have to wait (possibly) years to get the gizmo, so I rounded up to 2HP.

Make sense?
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Re: Backgrounds Defined and Clarified

Postby Sister Sonya » Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:41 am

Ok Mark,

The Backgrounds will come into play in an Event called Personal Initiatives (the equivalent of the CV Dry Dock) and will begin on or about 2012, one PI event per Con. So will they run at all four of your venues?

They will be two 2-hour events: Will they be structured more like CV where the PI's are informal, or more like the Star Wars d6 campaign, where there is an online sign-up beforehand for individual 10 minute slots (or so) for individuals, or if four people get together for a joint PI, it could last 40 minutes, etc.

A level-1 Background would run for four PIs, for four 10-minute slots, that need not be consecutive, and the character would get 1XP after each of these four events.

Are you going to be needing extra PI GMs to assist you in 2013, so that you can oversee the whole event?
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Re: Backgrounds Defined and Clarified

Postby Black Jack Rackham » Mon Jun 13, 2011 12:40 pm

"Personal Agendas," say it with me Mike:

P-E-R-S-O-N-A-L

A-G-E-N-D-A-S

But yes, the hope is to start them next year. As for how many con's they'll run at, it really depends. First I have to see that there is enough interest. Second I have to see if I will have the necessary bodies to run what I envision.

All the rest, I haven't even considered. And really that's next year. I just want to see how it all goes this year before I start planning that.

And I will (almost) never turn down having more GMs
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Re: Backgrounds Defined and Clarified

Postby Sister Sonya » Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:54 pm

Personal Agendas, Personal Agendas, Personal Agendas..... 497 more times.

PA's. Got it.
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Re: Backgrounds Defined and Clarified

Postby salamanca » Mon Jun 13, 2011 4:21 pm

He's got me for origins. Between the two of us we should be able to handle 12- 16 players for the event. If you prefer Mike, you could start calling these "player advancements", "private adventures", "probable actions", "private attachments", personal advantage", "petty agrandizements", or "peachy additions".... I'm not helping am I?
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Re: Backgrounds Defined and Clarified

Postby Sister Sonya » Mon Jun 13, 2011 5:02 pm

... "pushy a**hole" ...
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Re: Backgrounds Defined and Clarified

Postby Klcp » Wed Jul 06, 2011 5:12 pm

Okay, so all these backgrounds are going to be carried out during the Personal Agendas modules...here's the thing: 4 hours with 6-8 people at the table...is a half hour of time per person going to be enough for anyone to get anything done? And my other question would be: what do the other players at the table do while they're waiting for the other players to do their thing?
Maybe I'm not understanding the concept right but I can't see people paying for a ticket for a game that they're spending almost 80% of the time waiting their turn...
Don't get me wrong, I'm as excited as the next guy about these, I just don't know if they're going to be worth all the work you're putting into them, Mark.
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Re: Backgrounds Defined and Clarified

Postby Sister Sonya » Wed Jul 06, 2011 5:24 pm

I think the d6 Star Wars campaign gives 5-10 minutes for Personal Initiatives.
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