One of my first reviews for TTRPG Factory was the second edition of 7th Sea. This game is one that I keep thinking about from time to time, and to my surprise, there was a promising new supplement released in 2020! So without further ado, let’s dive back into the land of Thea in order to explore the many secret societies therein.
Published by Chaosium back in 2020, Secret Societies is a 208 page supplement expanding on the structure of all of the clandestine organizations mentioned in the core book. Secret Societies dives into great detail in order to build upon what you already know about each secret society, and leaves you with a wealth of inspiration to work from. No matter which society you choose, certain questions will be answered:
- What does the organization/society do?
- How do they recruit new members?
- What is the hierarchy?
- How do they operate?
- What is the greater goal?
- How do members secretly communicate?
- What are the perks to joining?
- Who are their enemies?
- What are the major threats?
- Who are their allies, and how do they interact?
- What secrets do they possess?
- Who are the notable members?
The rest of the book contains a two part work of fiction as well as suggestions by the author about how to tackle clandestine organizations in the game. For instance, there are suggestions on how to use Hero Points in order to interact with certain unknown entities, etc. A great deal of the advice is a little subjective, but again, so much of 7th Sea is fluid that it makes sense to run a game this way.
There are a total of nine fully realized secret societies in this book, with a sprinkling of ideas for other organizations. It should also be noted that of the nine listed, only eight are meant for the players, as the Novus Ordo Mundi (Or NOM) is a secret society for Villains. For those of you interested in wondering which societies are highlighted, they are:
- The Brotherhood of the Coast – Pirates with a literal Queen and Code of Conduct that all must follow
- Die Kreuzritter – Monster Hunters who are always on the front lines of danger in order to defend humanity
- The Explorer’s Society – A group of renegade archaeologist who seek to preserve lost knowledge of an ancient society. They are less Tomb Raider and more Tomb Preserver.
- The Invisible College – Secret academics working to preserve scientific knowledge, and trying to stay one step ahead of The Inquisition.
- The Rose and the Cross – Noble men and women who fight injustice, and protect all. They are one of the few societies that operate out in the open and even have wealthy benefactors.
- Los Vagabundos – A small group of vigilantes who weed out corruption within the church and aristocracy. They wear masks and have a network of informants.
- Močiutės Skara – This wide reaching group seeks to end suffering. They are trained in medicine and provide aid to anyone who may need it. Think of this organization like the action focused Red Cross.
- The Rilasciare – This organization is broken into thousands of small groups of five members each (called Hands) who operate everywhere in Thea. They seek to end Tyranny within the nobility and church alike by utilizing the common folk. What they lack in structure they make up in their ability to use codes and the written word to aid their goals.
- Novo Ordo Mundi – A secret society that manipulates all the nations of Thea. They will go to any length, no matter how vile, in order to succeed. As noted, this is not a society for heroes.
7th Sea: Secret Societies is a wealth of inspiration for an already vibrant setting. Any GM who reads this over will walk away with many new ideas and a great understanding of these interesting organizations. The artwork is stellar, as in the core book… although it should be noted that the sketches for the “Notable Members” does deviate from the established style of the rest of the book.
Where was this three years ago? 7th Sea deserves more praise!
This is an absolute must buy for any fan of 7th Sea!