30 December 2016

Earthdawn 4E: Companion Discipline Preview 05 - Wizard

This is the fifth 4E Companion Discipline Preview, 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.

Since we've established a pattern (which can only end in disaster, since Disciplines are not perfectly divided), this means a spellcaster is next. The spellcaster in question is Wizard and this is intended to offer some insights into the Discipline design. Obviously the actual progression is missing, which is found at FASA Games.

Something particularly notable about the Wizard progression is how little the Discipline abilities have changed. Just a little tuning, that's it. Both are now Blood Magic Damage, rather than Strain, due to the potentially lengthy duration and associated power. The Casting Triangle is now a little more versatile, affecting talents like Concise Casting. Wizard abilities were top notch and didn't need any help.

Their talents are a completely different story. All the Discipline talents are different and the talent option list is different as well. The following talents have been removed: Astral Web, Detect Falsehood, Detect Influence, Multi-Tongue, Spirit Strike, and Wound Transfer. Some aren't around as talents anymore and the others simply aren't a good fit. Other talents are available at a lower tier (Power Mask and True Sight), while First Ring of Perfection is now Perfect Focus, which is mostly the same.

The three Pattern talents are now talent options rather than Discipline talents to give Wizards more flavor and distinction at higher Circles. It's entirely plausible an adept may not want all of them and while they're good, they're not terribly interesting. Also, having that many Discipline talents the other spellcasters get as talent options hardly feels special.

While "masters of magic" is clearly their primary theme (and how!), it's not their only theme. Wizards also have sub-themes around knowledge and social interaction. The latter is frequently tied to the former, these adepts being somewhat like professors in academia. Which is to say they can be nosy and surprisingly petty. For these two, they have Eidetic Memory as a Discipline talent, and Empathic Sense, First Impression, Memory Probe, Safe Thought, Thought Link, and Undermine as talent options. Graceful Exit and Soul Aegis make appearances to help them either get out of trouble, or survive if the former isn't an option.

Which brings us to their four(!) new and unique talents: Glyphs. All spellcasting Disciplines get access to glyphs for enchanting, though only Wizards currently have a personal glyph. The short story on a glyph is it is the physical shorthand for a pattern, most commonly used in enchanting to include a spell in the process. Laypeople may mistake them for runes and refer to them as such, but anyone with Patterncraft knows better. Wizards can take their personal glyph (which is a shorthand for their pattern) and perform some interesting manipulations of magic.

Ultimately, Wizards are at their finest when they have time to gather information, plan, and prepare, but they manage to bend the rules (never break them, that is for those Illusionists) and have tools to adapt, whether splitting their spell matrices, or swapping out spells as a Simple action with Glyph of Attunement. Truly, no other Discipline has quite the same command of magic as a Wizard. And they are likely to let you know precisely that.