January 13, 2009

Real Deprotagonization: The 7th Sea Metaplot

I've been accused and lost players over the issue of deprotagonization**. However, a real example of this is in the metaplot in the books of the AEG game 7th Sea

7th Sea for the uninitated is a RPG of swashbuckling in an alternate Europe and Asia with the serial numbers filed off. Lots of 17th century action, with some themes of exploration, and sorcery thrown in too. Yes, there is magic in the setting.

Oh, and an Elder Race. The Syrneth can be thought of Atlanteans, with ruins and stuff all over the place. And there are Fae, too.

And secret societies up the yinyang, many of them female empowered to give female PCs a way to be workable in an otherwise male-dominated world and milieu.

So far so good?

The Syrneth are Chtuhluoid entities trying break back in our reality to this day. Some of the secret societies are devoted to stopping this.

Not so bad, right? A little COC added into the diverse setting isn't a terrible thing.

Here's where you get the deprotagonization:

Remember I said there was sorcery in the setting? (Of course, I like sorcerers. This should surprise no reader of this.)

Sorcery costs a lot at chargen. Think of it as buying Pattern in a 100 point build Amber game. Its by necessity a central component of your PC if you decide to be one. If you are a sorcerer, you are a sorcerer. Its integral to a character concept.

It turns out, deep within the metaplot of the secret society supplements (not the main corebook! Not the player's guide) that sorcery is irredeemably evil. It helps bring the day of the Syrneth closer. Almost all sorcery cast weakens the barriers between our world and the Far Realm.

What's more, even if you wanted to "renounce" sorcery and not use it anymore (basically shanking your character's viability in the process), most of these secret societies will not only not accept you, but probably try to kill you for Knowing Too Much.

So, if a GM takes the setting and metaplot as written (and we have to assume the game designers want them to), then, sorcery-driven characters in the game are deprotagonized.

**Yes, I still grouse over that. I obsess over my failures and shortcomings. I lost friends over my shortcoming. I lost friendships over this. Heck, every time I think I am a good GM, I can just whisper the names of those players and former friends, or their characters, and I realize that really, I'm not.

Posted by Jvstin at January 13, 2009 9:56 AM

Recognizing that is part of the recovery process. I think the "irredeemably" portion is what needs to be turned around. "Sorcery is the only answer," would be my take.

Of course, "the burned-out mage" archetype was always mine.

Posted by: the.fierce at January 25, 2009 10:34 PM
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