03 March 2015

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Discipline 23 - Master of the Hunt

This is the twenty-third 4E Anatomy of a Discipline, 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.

This is the first wholly new discipline for Earthdawn Fourth Edition (ED4). It started its life as an alternate version of the Beastmaster, which actually focused on animal companions instead of doing two things poorly. To be clear, the version of the Beastmaster which is in the Player's Guide is the better of the two directions. It is going to have significantly more appeal and brings a number of things to the game which no other discipline does.


However, there is still room for this kind of discipline since there isn't one which is dedicated to animal companions and some work was put into making them more relevant in ED4. No longer tethered to the Beastmaster's legacy, it went back for additional development. The focus was making it a discipline centered around having animal companions above all else. 

Unarmed Combat was one of the first changes. It didn't fit with the theme anymore and required too much infrastructure to be useful. Since melee weapons and ranged are both thematic and useful, it became a choice for the character. This structure also supports adept animal trainers who don't use weapons, disciplines which already have a fighting style predetermined, and spellcasters who would find a combat talent superfluous.

Discipline talents were simple, they are all around improving and handling animals. Inspire Others to give a buff to them and Blood Share to improve their healing. Normally the discipline shapes the Journeyman ability, but in this case the Journeyman ability shaped much of the talent option development. It emphasizes the theme of working with their animal companions and having them be the primary actors in combat.

I don't particularly expect it to be popular, but it works as a second discipline for Beastmasters who want the full savage warrior and want pets. In which case, they get to have it all. 

Artisan Skills: Body Painting, Braiding

Half-Magic: Masters of the Hunt may use half-magic when dealing with or caring for animals in ways beyond those described in their talents, including animal husbandry and first aid. Masters of the Hunt may use half-magic when recognizing different animals, animal tracks, and abnormal behavior among animals and creatures.

Novice

First Circle
  • Animal Bond
  • Animal Training
  • Enhance Animal Companion
  • Hunt Weaving
  • Wilderness Survival
Abilities
  • Creature Analysis
  • Karma: The adept may spend a karma point on any test which involves non-violent interaction with an animal.
  • Durability 5
Second Circle
  • Animal Companion Durability
Abilities
  • Defense: +1 Social Defense
Third Circle
  • Dominate Beast
Abilities
  • Karma: The adept may spend a karma point once per turn on an Action test one of her animal companion is making.
Fourth Circle
  • Call Animal Companion
Abilities
  • Defense: +1 Physical Defense
Talent Options
  1. Anticipate Blow
  2. Avoid Blow
  3. Awareness
  4. Battle Shout
  5. Climbing
  6. Melee Weapons
  7. Missile Weapons
  8. Navigation
  9. Stealthy Stride
  10. Tracking
Journeyman

Fifth Circle
  • Animal Talk
Abilities
  • Animal Leader: When a talent provides the adept a bonus (such as a bonus to Physical Defense and their next Attack test from Anticipate Blow), the adept may forgo this bonus to instead provide it to one of their animal companions. The animal companion is not required to meet the original criteria; they may still gain the benefits from Anticipate Blow if they are going after the target and may receive the benefits from Mystic Aim if they are in close combat. The adept must still meet all of the requirements.
  • Karma: The adept may spend a karma point on the Damage tests of her animal companions.
Sixth Circle
  • Blood Share
Abilities
  • Defense: +2 Social Defense
Seventh Circle
  • Inspire Others
Abilities
  • Bonus: +1 Recovery Test
Eighth Circle
  • Armor Mount
Abilities
  • Defense: +3 Social Defense
Talent Options
  1. Animal Possession
  2. Battle Bellow
  3. Borrow Sense
  4. Distract
  5. Lion Heart
  6. Maneuver
  7. Mystic Aim
  8. Spot Armor Flaw
  9. Surprise Strike
  10. Tiger Spring
This is a first draft with some external review and playtesting. There is almost certainly still some tinkering required, based on additional playtesting of the Journeyman ability. All of karma abilities are good, but I'm always on the lookout for something better. Which can include a new name for the discipline.