Live from Barsaive: Episode 18

Part 3 of 3, of our Earthdawn Crash Course series

  • Tips for character creation
  • Choosing a race and discipline
  • What chapters to read before your first game session, and what to leave for later

“Legends of Earthdawn” actual play podcast

  • Samules

    Awesome! I just remembered how much I like your theme music. 😛

    • Thank you!

      When I wrote it, I was a little concerned that it didn’t sound very Earthdawn-ish, but it’s the type of music that I used to play/write when I first got into Earthdawn in the 90’s. So it is Earthdawn-ish in an autobiographical way, I guess.

  • Lou Prosperi

    Welcome Back!

    Great to hear another episode, and glad to hear you’re working things out so you can keep up a regular schedule of episodes without it dominating your lives.

    When you were offering recommendations for creating characters (making sure you allocate your attributes appropriately based on your discipline, etc.) I kept thinking to myself, “unless you want a character that goes against type” for instance a Swordmaster or Thief with an average Dexterity. I know it’s an unusual tactic for most RPGs, but characters that are less-than competent are sometimes far more fun to play.

    I liked the quick rundown of the various ED1 materials – it’s quite gratifying knowing that those books still have value to ED players after all these years.



    • Yeah, that’s true. I guess from a roleplaying perspective, it could be interesting to play a character that is balanced in kind of a non-standard way. I just wanted to avoid a situation I have seen a couple of times with new players, where they don’t understand the implications and, for example, end up with a spellcaster who is almost incapable at casting spells. But after understanding the ins and outs, it definitely could be cool to create characters that go against the norm.

      My major reservation against moving to 4th edition was a concern that my 1st edition books would somehow become obsolete. I was very happy to see the extent to which the newer material is compatible with the original books. We have been playing 4th edition rules for several months now. Sometimes there is some tweaking needed, but for the most part those older books still work as a solid foundation for Earthdawn.

      We don’t really talk about anything other than 1st and 4th though, but that’s just because those books came out during a time when I wasn’t playing Earthdawn. I’m assuming there is probably some good stuff in them also, but I’m still trying to digest my gigantic 1st edition collection, along with the 4th edition stuff as it comes out.

      • Lou Prosperi

        Hi Chad,

        I completely understand your point about making sure the players don’t get frustrated.



  • Telarus, KSC

    Welcome back!

    • Thanks! It’s good to be back.

      • Telarus, KSC

        Interested to hear more about the RPG app game. 🙂

        • So far most of our work has been on the design concept/goals. The goal is to make a game that is easier to play in small chunks, with little to no prep. In some ways it will be similar to other rules-light systems (we are considering building it on the Freeform Universal system), but we want to take it further…

          We’ve got some ideas for helping to manage the campaign, for example, a self-generating wiki, created by the app as you play. We have also discussed some ways to make it so that you can still play even if one or more members of your normal group can’t make it on a particular day. So basically making individual sessions more modular, but still having some ways to have a sense of an ongoing campaign.

          I’m also looking forward to adding elements that are difficult to do in a traditional RPG, like having secret information that even the GM doesn’t know, revealed by the app as you play.

          There’s a lot more to it, but that’s the overall idea as it stands right now (very, very early in development).

  • Eric Mansfield

    I’m a really big fan of the Sky Raider form of combat 😀 And as for races? I LOVE that human Versatility. My current Human Nethermancer character has a Sky Raider Talent, which is one of my favorite Talents in the game 😀

    • Sky Raiders are cool. I have a soft spot for them because we started the podcast with The Twilight Peaks. Then again, Sky Raiders would see a soft spot as a reason to kill me rather than making me a newot.

      Versatility is cool also, but I think it’s one of those things that new players don’t usually see the benefit in. Also, most players spend large percentage of time being a human in real life, and so a lot of them want to be something else in the game.

      Not sure if this is just my experience, or if it’s a common one, but most of the players I have talked to who like to play humans tend to be people who have played for a long time. It seems like some people have to develop a character for a while and get more into the game world to really appreciate the benefit of Versatility.

      • Eric Mansfield

        Yeah I agree, Versatility is most fun for experienced folks, once they have a feel for the game. Have you ever seen the Journeyman Discipline? I bet you have, its from Denizens Vol 1. Now there’s an advanced play concept!

        • I have glanced at it but haven’t read Denizens cover to cover yet. Journeyman does sound fun, but we’ve never had one in one of my campaigns.

  • Edward Sylvester

    Hey there, I’m an Earthdawn newbie and I’ve been listening to this podcast to prep for my first game this weekend. I have a question though because I’m creating a Nethermancer and I came across the spell Soulless Eyes which gives a +3 to Intimidation Tests. I’ve read most of the 4e Players Guide and haven’t found any other references to intimidation tests. It doesnt seem to be a skill or talent, do you know what it’s talking about? Or maybe a page reference for more details?

    • Edward, happy to hear you’re getting into Earthdawn!

      Intimidation tests are actually mentioned in the Game Master’s Guide, not the Player’s Guide. It’s on page 147.

      Intimidation tests are a specific type of “Interaction test.” Interaction tests are where you make a roll based on your Charisma step against a target’s Social Defense in an attempt to try to influence their attitude or behavior in some way. In addition to intimidating them, you can also make interaction tests to try to make a good impression, to ask for a favor, to deceive them, etc.

      The GM book has specific rules for the different types of interaction tests (how many successes you need, what happens if successful, etc.) …that’s the idea of interaction tests in general. The Soulless Eyes bonus would apply only to the intimidation part of that.

      The one thing I’m not sure about is whether the Soulless Eyes bonus would also apply to talents that are based on intimidation, for example “Frighten” and “Steely Stare.” I’ll see if I can get some clarification from FASA, but the way I read it, it sounds like they referring specifically to “intimidation tests” and not the more general sense of “tests for anything related to intimidation”.

      • Edward Sylvester

        Thanks Chad!
        I didn’t get the GM guide, thinking as a player I wouldn’t need it, oh well. I haven’t played any game sessions yet but I love all the lore and unique mechanics, due in no small part to your podcast. Keep it up!

        • Thanks! I’m glad the podcast is helpful to you.

          As a player you should mostly be ok with just the Player’s Guide, but here and there some of what’s in the GM Guide will apply to you also.

          It would definitely be recommended for your GM to have it, but if not you could probably get through the first few sessions with only the Player’s Guide if you really have to.

          • Edward Sylvester

            The GM has a copy so I’ll survive without it until payday. Thanks again.

          • I just wanted to let you know that I heard from Morgan at FASA about this. (He got back to me pretty quickly, but I have been swamped with other things, so sorry it took me so long to reply.)

            He said that my interpretation was correct…that Soulless Eyes was intended to apply only to an “interaction test” and was not specifically designed to affect other talents. But he did also say that he didn’t see any game balance issues if you decided to let it be more broad, applying to “Frighten”, “Steely Stare”, etc.

            He said that he may update the errata to clarify this further, but basically you could play it either way and it should work fine.