Sunday, October 14, 2018

I buried the lead in a tangent.

Earlier today, I wrote a lengthy rant about 7th Sea and why I chose to reduce the damage of duelists instead of increasing the damage of non-duelists. In a rambling tangent buried deep in that post, I said this:
Options that look strong or weak during character creation should not turn out to have radically different power-levels in play. You would not expect "Duelist" to be significantly stronger than Army Officer, Mercenary, Cavalry, Hunter, or any of the other martial-themed Background options, but it really is.

Thinking back on that, I realized this point was actually far more important than I presented it as, and I probably should have led with that statement.

The internet is full of two years of 7th Sea posts about why Duelists are unbalanced vs non-combatant NPCs, to which the most common rebuttal is "Duelists should be vastly stronger than non-combatants".

Those rebuttals are absolutely right, but they are also entirely missing the point.

Duelists have dedicated at least one of their two Background choices to being a bad-ass in combat. I entirely agree that compared to another character that hasn't chosen any significant combat options, the Duelist should be very potent.

The problem is there are several other character creation options that cost the exact same as being a Duelist (by which I mean it takes one of your 2 Background choices), and every single one of them is significantly under-powered in comparison to the Duelist.

If someone chose Cavalry and Mercenary as their two Backgrounds, they've doubled-down on combat-capable character concepts, but those two Backgrounds combined together contribute far less to their damage output or chances of emerging victorious from a battle than the single choice of Duelist that another player took.

A character who took Duelist and Courtier would do at least double the damage of a character who took Soldier and Assassin. That's what really bothers me about it.

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