21 July 2017

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Namegiver 04 - Leafers

This is the fourth 4E Anatomy of a Namegiver, 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.

Leafers were introduced in The Theran Empire sourcebook as one of four new Namegiver races. These particular Namegivers are found in Vasgothia, which is most definitely not Germany. This is a draft updating them to Fourth Edition mechanics for... well, funsies. Someone may get some use from this, but they aren't really found in Barsaive. Except in your game, naturally.

They are probably the weirdest Namegivers from The Theran Empire, which might be a statement. Leafers are basically highly territorial, anthropomorphic topiaries with a strong drive to spread their seeds. You were warned about the weird. They do get a fairly lengthy write-up (The Theran Empire, p. 158, if you want to follow along), but due to how unique they are, it's still lacking enough information that you are either going to be hand waving or creating your own details.

The mechanics for leafers are strange and not the best to translate. Their ability to completely ignore Wound penalties is difficult to deal with because it effectively invalidates a notable portion of the game. It also means they suffer no penalties for the trauma Wounds represent, not just the pain. Wounds mean things aren't working so great. Instead of that, they simply ignore the first two Wounds.

There's also this part about how extreme temperatures affect them negatively, causing damage. At 40 F, the go unconscious and begin taking damage below freezing. They also take damage above 100 F. These are not notably extreme temperatures, and I'm pretty sure Vasgothia has seen temperatures outside of this range. So, I simply ignored them because they don't seem particularly interesting. If you want to implement them, by all means - leafers take Step 5 damage every ten minutes and no armor protects.


Leafers had another restriction regarding blood magic due to having sap rather than blood. To get into semantics, this doesn't sit well. It, again, sits them out from a notable part of the game - this one happens to be good, rather than bad. However, by that logic many talents are unavailable as Strain is blood magic. If their sap carries the same potency to pay for Strain, why not other blood magic? Does it require blood specifically, or simply a life sustaining fluid suffuse with magic? Obsidiman blood seems to do the trick and it is quite possibly as different from good ol' human-based blood as is sap. And yes, these are the thoughts that keep me up at night. Suffice it to say, this was left out.

All of this is to say, there may be some mechanical problems with leafers, which also side-steps the issue of the mechanical niche they fill. I'm not really certain what it is. I gave them a +1 to Willpower they didn't previously have to balance their attributes. It seemed the most appropriate, representing a certain mental fortitude from being a plant.

Game Information
Starting Attribute Values
DEX 9, STR 9, TOU 12, PER 10, WIL 11, CHA 9
Movement Rate: 10
Karma Modifier: 5

Racial Abilities:
Rudimentary Nervous System: Leafer characters ignore the effects of their first two Wounds, this includes Action test penalties and Recovery test penalties. Additionally, they are unaffected by fatigue and physical torture.
Plant Biology: Leafers characters must root in nutrient rich soil and sleep for seven hours each night.