22 August 2014

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 01 - Es'caliban

This is the first 4E Anatomy of a Thread Item, an ongoing series about Earthdawn Fourth Edition. Introduction and Index.

Everything contained here is the work of a fan and not associated with FASA Games.

Part One and Part Two (3E) of this series.

The numbering for the series has restarted as this is the first entry in the series for the new edition, Earthdawn Fourth Edition. The design parameters have changed and this item will be updated to go along with them. This also represents a good opportunity to bring development of the item to a close.

Maximum Threads: 3
Mystic Defense: 16
Legend Point Cost: Warden

Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The wielder must learn the sword’s Name.
Effect: The sword is now Damage Step 6.


There is no longer a standard effect of applying the maximum Forge Weapon bonus to thread items. This is being changed to a simple damage bonus.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The wielder gains +1 rank in Inspire Others. This talent may be used simply by brandishing the weapon.

This is getting moved up a Rank to go with the trend in 4E which encourages weapons to have more than just damage bonuses.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The wielder must learn the Name of who created the sword.
Effect: The sword is now Damage Step 7.


I was going between a damage bonus and a rank to Tactics for this rank. Ultimately the damage bonus won out because I didn't want to stack too many different effects on the same item. There is a place for items with a number of different bonuses to talents, but the place is when this is the theme for the item in question.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: The wielder now gains +2 ranks in Inspire Others.

Increasing the bonus to make it more usable and builds on the theme for future use.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The wielder must learn the Name of whom commissioned the sword.
Deed: The wielder must earn the approval of a member of the Landis royal family in good standing.
Effect: The sword is now Damage Step 8.


It is still a weapon and should be good at the whole being a weapon thing. The previous version had an additional bonus here, but this has been cut to be in line with the current thread item standards.


Thread Rank Six
Effect: Brilliant Edge: For 2 Strain, Inspire Others may be used as a Simple Action instead of a Standard Action.

An interesting ability which I like to play with uses this general template. It takes a talent, then improves it with an additional cost. The warning to go along with this is it can unintentionally break the game. Talents which encourage teamwork are more likely to get the pass from me if they may be too powerful since I am all for anything which encourages a player to take actions which benefit their group more than them. The other bonuses here were cut to keep this in line with the current guidelines. Also, Lion Heart is no longer just a fun talent - it is a very good talent.


Thread Rank Seven
Key Knowledge: The wielder must learn Name of the last keeper of the sword.
Deed: The wielder must perform a significant service for the Kingdom of Landis.
Effect: The sword is now Damage Step 9 and the wielder now gains +3 ranks in Inspire Others.


A little more of everything. Bonuses and abilities are getting switched around to create a capstone ability, rather than just ending with bonuses. 


Thread Rank Eight
Effect: Brilliant Edge may also cause fear in the wielder's enemies. This is resolved using the same Inspire Others test result and functions as the Battle Bellow talent (causing only penalties). The wielder may spend an additional Karma point on Inspire Others tests.

This is a very nice capstone ability. It improves a previous ability, which I like to do for Warden and higher thread items. The ability is good, since all of the costs are already being paid, but isn't terribly powerful since the wielder is only gaining half of the benefits from the talent. Allowing another Karma point on the test is a nice boost and something a bit different than just a rank bonus. For a talent like Inspire Others, it probably comes in just below an additional rank, even though it is +4 when used, since most players will save Karma for other tests and it is a finite resource.