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Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies

Publisher Description

Skyships ply the 7 Skies, soaring from Cloud-Island to Cloud-Island for conquest, espionage, trade, and piracy. Kingdoms clash, cultures collide, and secrets abound. Heroes and villains roam Above the Blue, seeking action, intrigue, adventure, and style. Will you be one of them?

Enter the world of Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies (S7S), the latest game from Chad Underkoffler featuring the PDQ system! In S7S you'll find a richly detailed setting of sky-ships, piracy, intrigue, mysticism, musketeers, and more, whether you're sailing through the haunted Ghost Sky, battling pirates from the inconstant isle of Ilwuz, intriguing in the Spider Empress' court of Barathi, or chasing thieves across the rooftops of Agua Azul.


Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies, First Edition - Rules SummaryCollapse

Character Creation [ edit ]

Characters in Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies don't have attributes or skills, as in many RPG systems.  Instead the game uses a lighter-weight concept of "fortes" and "foibles".


A forte is a word or phrase that describe's one of a character's strong points.  It might be a skill they have (eg. Fencing or Skysailor), their background (eg. Aristocrat or Priest), or a resource (eg. Sidekick or Vehicle).

Each character gets seven fortes, some tied to their background and some that they can choose freely.  The game provides 36 defined fortes, but players and GMs can easily add others.  Each forte has a rank, with new characters getting their fortes at rank Good (+2).

Swashbuckling Forte

One of the character's fortes is the special "Swashbuckling Forte", ie. the thing they're really good at.  Players can buy techniques for their swashbuckling forte more cheaply.


Techniques are a special training, background, etc. that provides a benefit in a relevant situation.  For instance, a character might be good at fighting while drunk, while in the dark, using a certain weapon, or against a certain group of foes.

Each character gets five technique points.  A technique for any forte costs 3 points, while one tied to a specific forte cots 2, and one tied to the swashbuckling forte costs just 1.  When used techniques give bonuses or bonus dice.


Foibles are a character's failings, and each character has one.  Unlike fortes they are not ranked.

Example foibles include being loyal to a certain group, being in love, or seeking revenge.  When a foil impacts the character during play, they get rewarded with a "style die".

Core Mechanics [ edit ]

Tasks in S7S cab either be "challenges", for more basic, single die roll events, or "duels", for a more extended sequence, such as a major combat.


In a challenge the GM first sets the target number, from Poor (5) to Inconceivable! (21+).  The player then rolls two dice, plus any extras they may get from relevant Techniques, keeping the two best.  They add any applicable bonuses from Fortes, and if the result equals or beats the target number they succeed.  If they fail, they (not the GM) narrates how they failed.


Duels cover events like combat, chaces, witty repartee or high stakes gambling.  Duels use multiple rolls instead of just one, and those rolls use 3d6 instead of 2d6.  If there are four or more characters in a duel, they must split up into duos or trios ("that is the swashbuckling way").

Duels begin with whichever character has the most Style points, and then alternates back and forth between attacker and defender.  Each round the character divides their three dice between Attack and Defense, and then they roll off against their opponent.

If the attacker beats the defender they inflict damage.

Forte Damage

In S7S damage is taken to a characters Fortes, making them also serve as hit points in other systems.  If a character is reduced to Poor (-2) in all of their Fortes, they are "zeroed out", and on death's doorstep.

Style Dice

When a character acts stylishly, role-plays well, is affected by a foible, gets the short end of the stick from the GM, feeds the plot, or brings snacks for the group, they earn a Style Die.  They also get one just for showing up.

Style dice can be spent to either add extra rolled (but not kept) dice to a roll, or to add a simple +1 to a roll.

Combat [ edit ]

As mentioned combats are handled as duels in Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies.  There are however a couple of pages of rules for combat-specific duels, covering dirty tricks, feints, impasses (conversation breaks in the fight), etc., all with a strong swashbuckling feel.

Ship Combat

Ship-to-ship combat is handled as a special form of vehicular duel.   In a combat the captain of the ship can give a number of orders equal to his bonus from his Skyship Captain forte.  Vehicle dice are then distributed between the acting participants, and used to accomplish various actions (eg. making attacks).

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