17 October 2019

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 08 - Armor of Roheline

This is the eighth 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.

This is a new thread item written to build some flavor to the Roheline Forest that once was. The armor of Roheline is a fernweave that probably represents what many characters interested in the armor are looking for. Not necessarily all (obsidiman Warriors, for example), but something that enhances their speed and ability to be stealthy, in addition to some increased protection. 


Armor of Roheline

Maximum Threads: 2
Mystic Defense: 14
Legend Point Cost: Journeyman (Warden)


This fernweave armor is made from leaves, ferns, and other vegetation that once naturally occurred in the Roheline Forest before the Scourge. Similar armors were created throughout the kingdoms of the Region in styles reflecting the local flora. More powerful versions change in ways that reflect its home kingdom’s seasons. Those few that survived the Scourge now reflect locales and seasons that no longer exist, a forlorn echo of things lost.

Once a thread is attached to the armor, it draws all sustenance from the magical connection and does not require the enchantment to be renewed as normal fernweave. As the thread rank increases, the armor’s appearance becomes responsive to the owner and the surroundings. Some were more powerful than others, having eight thread ranks instead of six. These Warden tier items are particularly rare and prized.


Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the Name of the armor.
Effect:
The armor is Physical Armor 3.


Thread Rank Two
Effect: The armor is Mystic Armor 4.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn who created the armor.
Effect:
The owner gains +1 rank to Stealthy Stride.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: The armor is Physical Armor 4.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn what Roheline Forest region the foliage was intended to represent
Effect: The owner can spend an additional Karma Point on Initiative and Stealthy Stride tests if they are in a natural area.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: The owner gains +2 ranks to Stealthy Stride.

Thread Rank Seven

Deed: The owner must visit the region and commune with a wood elemental (at least Strength Rating 7), performing a significant service for the elemental in exchange for their blessings to the forest.
Effect: The armor is Physical and Mystic Armor 5.

Thread Rank Eight
Effect: The owner gains +2 to Initiative.

16 October 2019

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 07 - Wayfarer Cloak

This is the seventh 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.

This is a new thread item written to build some flavor to the Roheline Forest that once was. The wayfarer cloak isn't terribly powerful, but offers a variety of benefits to anyone exploring the wilderness. Rank 6 offers greater versatility in the benefits it provides (affecting four possible talents v. the typical one), but with an increased cost (2 Strain v. the typical 1 Strain). Given the nature of the talents, this is unlikely to negatively affect play and makes the ability more attractive, though with the added cost. This isn't something I recommend for any four abilities as it's highly dependent on the abilities that can benefit.


Wayfarer Cloak

Maximum Threads: 2
Mystic Defense: 10
Legend Point Cost: Journeyman


These green and brown cloaks look like rough spun wool and adorned with various leaves and other effects to help blend into the environment. Truthfully, all five True elements have been woven through the garment. They're warm, waterproof, and resistant to stains, in addition to deceptively soft. Still, they incur more wear and tear than expected of a thread item and most show signs of numerous repairs upon closer inspection.

These cloaks were once common throughout the Western Kingdoms and can still be found among elf communities, though those from lost kaers are most prized for the stories they tell.


Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the Name of the cloak.
Effect:
The owner gains +1 rank to Awareness.


Thread Rank Two
Effect: The owner gains +1 rank to Wilderness Survival.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn who created the cloak.
Effect:
The owner gains +1 rank to Tracking.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: The owner gains +1 Physical Defense

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn where the True elements were harvested.
Deed: The owner must repair any damage incurred from continued use and use the stitches to tell their story.
Effect: The owner gains +2 to their Movement Rate.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: The owner can spend 2 Strain to gain a +3 bonus to Awareness, Tracking, or Wilderness Survival.

15 October 2019

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 06 - Tarrack Talons

This is the sixth 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.

This is a new thread item written to build some flavor to the Roheline Forest that once was. It's very similar to feral bracers (Gamemaster's Guide, p. 214), but is different on the last two ranks that allow the items to stand together. The variety gives support to more styles of play and different group compositions. Feral bracers benefit greatly from group support—an ally with Distract is a boon—while tarrack talons below emphasize speed above all else, which is a more narrow character direction, but doesn't require group support.



Tarrack Talons

Maximum Threads: 2
Mystic Defense: 14
Legend Point Cost: Journeyman


These long fingerless gloves stretch nearly to the wearer’s elbow. They were worn by a loose affiliation of Beastmasters who once called the Roheline Forest home and kept the native creatures in check. The adepts were easily identified by their tarrack companions, which did little to quell their fierce reputation. Fashioned from tarrack leather, each pair is tooled to tell the story of their wearers.

Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the Name of the gloves.
Effect:
The owner gains +1 rank to Claw Shape.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The owner gains +1 to unarmed Attack tests.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn who created the gloves.
Effect: 
The owner gains +2 ranks to Claw Shape.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: The owner gains +2 to unarmed Attack tests.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the tarrack’s Name the leather came from.
Deed: The owner must tool the leather to add their story to the gloves.
Effect: For 1 Strain, the owner can use the Tarrack Tear ability as a Free Action. If the owner’s Initiative is greater than their target, they gain +2 to unarmed Attack and Damage tests against that target. This can only affect the first attack the owner makes in a round and they must be using Claw Shape.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: If the owner uses Tarrack Tear before Initiative is determined, they gain a +2 bonus to Initiative.

08 October 2019

Earthdawn 4E: Rules Variant 05 - Patterncraft v. Spellcasting

This is the fifth Magic Variant, part of 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 entry into the series addresses a minor change, but one that sets the stage for better talent balance across the board. Replacing Spellcasting rank with Patterncraft rank in spells.

The origins of this are with the broad applicability of some talents and how they impact the game. For example, Awareness comes up a lot. An awful lot. However, it doesn't have undue impact on the game because of the limitations on what it can do. In contrast, Astral Sight is often interpreted by hopeful players as an ability that can do anything magical and should basically replace everything. Which isn't quite the intention; more like Awareness for magical things. It has more value because it's more limited in who can learn it, has a Strain cost, and limited duration, but it doesn't replace the myraid of other effects out there. With knacks and spells, Astral Sight can do a lot more.

Back to Spellcasting and Patterncraft. In this case, Spellcasting does a lot. Between the basic function, available knacks, and the ability to further affect spells, it probably does too much. Even the basic function, you know, casting spells, offers more than nearly any other talent. It covers combat functions and non-combat functions, with an incredible impact on the game. There's little surprise given the versatility and impact most spellcasters increase their Spellcasting rank as high as possible. The fact it also improves spells is basically gravy.

Replacing Read and Write Magic with Patterncraft in 4E set the stage for significantly expanding what that talent does. Previously, Read and Write Magic wasn't so good. It was used only for learning spells and often entirely glossed over. The dynamic for increasing it seemed predicated on spending Recovery Tests to make additional tests, rather than any value it brings on its own. That ability still stands along with reading and understanding magical writing, but it also moved strongly into enchanting and Improved Spell knacks (making their debut in The Adept's Journey: Mystic Paths). The basic idea of Patterncraft is it represents the adept's understanding of magic, not how to apply it (Spellcasting), but the fundamentals that go into it. Hopefully this is shown by how it's being used in the various functions, knacks in particular, rather than telling be strictly necessary.

This is a lot of text to explain why replacing all instances of "rank" in a spell should refer to Patterncraft rather than Spellcasting for this rule variant. In short, it broadens the base of talent functions, rather than piling even more on one already very useful talent.