cast of characters:
Aidan - member of the Exporer's Society
Gregor - fighter and bodyguard and maybe something more
Marinus - son of a rich vendel merchant family, travelling after completing his journeyman's piece
15. Octavus 1668, on a ship to Vodacce
We found the princes. And that is where things started to go very wrong. No. In truth, it had begun much earlier than that, when we noticed that we were no longer able to find out way back although it should have been easy. We were lost, with only a day or so worth of lamp oil and food and water for only a bit longer. But soon, this did no longer concern us because we all had the feling that we simply knew the way. We followed lights and voices on the cusp of our hearing to a cave overgrown with crystals and we felt welcome there, among friends.
click for spelunking
We have been having quite a few talks about this whole adventure because a couple of unusual things happened. The mood was very dark for 7th Sea and while that was fun for one adventure, we asked that it doesn't continue that way because that's not what we play 7th Sea for. Same with the fact that we could have died easily, just by bad dice luck. If I want that, I play Cthulhu. 7th Sea, for me,is a swashbuckling game where I can do or at least attempt things that were impossible or unwise in other games and I don't have to be afraid to die immediately because of one single roll or one decision. Give me consequences, sure, but I want to be encouraged to be heroic, to attempt things no ordinary character would even dream about. What I love about 7th Sea is the freedom to say: hey, let's do this! If you have to wonder whether a single roll can kill you, that style of play is not possible.
Also, we had no way of solving the mission given to us. The princes were dead already and there was no way we could have avoided being branded as murderes. Again, this is okay for one adventure. But it takes agency away from the players and that's not a very good feeling. As a GM, you can totally do that, but it's something you have to be very careful about and don't overdo it. Having the characters betrayed by an NPC like that is a cool thing and I suspect we may get a story or two out of that later in the campaign, but it should be rare. If you let your players play stories too often that result in them coming out of at the end with nothing, no goals reached, nothing they wanted accomplished, that becomes frustrating incredibly quickly.
That being said, I did enjoy the adventure a lot. The cave was fucking creepy and the dead princes a well-placed punch to the gut. Our characters are pissed at being betrayed and we were that close to actually going back to Atemlos. For revenge, a mule and two wooden ducks! (Gregor bought those for his nephews and stored them at the castle). But we decided against it, especially after realising that Marinus had his stuff stored at the League's branch and can get it all back with a letter. But we really want to see Knef again just one more time.
The GM used Ambient Mixer for background noises and that was brilliant. It's such a simple thing, but it really helps create the right mood. Even if it's only the sound of a thunderstorm outside. Go check it out, it's a great tool for GMs.