Dec 10

2018

Author Interview: Danielle Lauzon, “7th Sea: A Pirate’s Pact”

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Fight for what’s right—as an up and coming pirate! Battle slavers, sea monsters, and your own corrupt government to become a hero of the high seas. But will you betray your own crew for wealth and power? 7th Sea: A Pirate’s Pact is a 200,000-word interactive adventure novel by Danielle Lauzon, set in the world of the table-top role playing game 7th Sea. I sat down with Danielle to talk about the unique challenges of adapting material for Choice of Games. 7th Sea: A Pirate’s Pact releases this Thursday, December 13th. 

I usually begin author interviews by asking something like “how did you develop this world” but in this instance, 7th Sea: A Pirate’s Pact, is sprung from a table-top rpg. Tell me a little about that and your background writing for 7th Sea.

7th Sea was originally published in 1999 by AEG. The game was designed by John Wick while he worked there. At that time, the game was innovative as a game that showed diversity in its writing, such as women doing swashbuckling and adventuring, despite its roots in 17th century Europe. In 2016, John released a 2nd Edition after regaining the rights from AEG. I joined the team shortly after its release to help develop the many supplements unlocked during the Kickstarter campaign.

Moving forward in the 2nd edition, we wanted to take those 16 year old innovations and push them forward even further. We endeavored to hire subject matter experts, and people with close ties to the real world locations we were bringing into the game world. And while Theah isn’t actually 17th century Europe, etc., there’s enough real world nods for our history buffs. Writing for 7th Sea as a property has made me dig into historical minutia I’ve never encountered before, and writing this novel was no different. I’ve learned so much, which is pretty amazing.

This is actually the second table-top game that’s been adapted for us, Choice of the Petal Throne being a Tekumel game. What is it like working within an established world? Did you feel many constraints?

Honestly, I have been so immersed in creating the setting for 7th Sea, that writing this game felt like second nature. The biggest constraints I felt were that we wanted to have a non-magical story for our first Choice of Games game, and ignoring the magical parts of the world was very difficult. Otherwise, the parallels built into 7th Sea with our own world made it very easy to write as I was able to pull a lot of information and inspiration from real world locations and events.

This is your first time writing interactive fiction but not your first time writing an RPG. What did you feel were the differences in concretizing a set of options for a player as opposed to writing like a more open-ended campaign?

Running a game of 7th Sea is pretty free form. I spent a lot of time considering options in 7th Sea: A Pirate’s Pact as challenges I’d throw at the players, then knowing my players, thinking of what they would want to do in those situations. It was interesting to consider multiple options for the same action or consider various ways to approach a situation. I never do that in RPG campaign planning, but now I want to incorporate that kind of logic when designing a campaign for play at home.

One thing that I got stuck on a bit was translating the 7th Sea game stats to Choice of Games. In the table-top RPG, those stats are open to interpretation and as long as the story makes sense you could really roll anything to accomplish a goal. Making those more static so that players could reasonably predict which stat would be used for each choice made me really think about what goes into those stats and what they really mean when describing your Hero.

What’s more fun than piracy? How much did you enjoy writing these swashbuckling scenes?

I can’t think of much I’d consider more fun that piracy, except maybe space piracy. Writing adventure scenes is a bit out of my wheelhouse when it comes to writing, so stretching my creativity into these scenes was fun if sometimes nerve wracking. But I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

And what are you working on next?

Well, I’m still making table-top RPGs over on the other side of the fence. I have been considering writing another Choice of Games novel that is in it’s own unique universe (maybe space pirates). And maybe if the IP licensing stars align properly, a sequel to A Pirate’s Pact.

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