29 May 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Horror 08 - Registeel (Legendary Steelman)

This is the eighth 4E Anatomy of a Creature, 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.

Continuing with examples of legendary opponents, here's a legendary steelman to showcase how a normally very earthbound opponent can have some additional abilities added to allow them to threaten ranged and flying opponents.


Registeel (Legendary Steelman)

Originally one of the most sophisticated steelmen, Registeel housed an experimental power source used for Theran research into mana storage and manipulation. Like other falsemen, Registeel was given rudimentary sentience. Unlike other falsemen, the power source elevated that into true intelligence and self-awareness. Registeel's last instruction from their creator was to guard and this remains a subtle, but overriding compulsion. However, the construct no longer has anything to guard and over the centuries of the Scourge essentially learned wrong from its the Horrors around them.


If the Horrors ever learned the truths of Registeel's self-awareness or power source, things could have ended very differently. They're aware of this and seek independence and a place to belong, even though they have no idea how to do this or what it means. All Registeel knows is inflicting pain and cruelty. However, deep within it wants to know more even if it doesn't know how to articulate it.

Challenge: Journeyman (Legendary Eighth Circle)
DEX: 8         Initiative:                    13       Unconsciousness:      NA
STR: 12        Physical Defense:   13       Death Rating:               560
TOU: 12        Mystic Defense:      17       Wound Threshold:     23
PER: 10        Social Defense:       17       Knockdown:                  24
WIL: 12        Physical Armor:     17       Recovery Tests:            4
CHA: 6         Mystic Armor:         13       Karma:                             4 (16)
Movement: 10
Actions: 2; Unarmed: 18 (24)
Powers:
Awareness (11): As the skill, Player's Guide, p. 129.
Flash Cannon (20): Registeel extends its arm with palm outstreched towards a target within 100 yards, then clenches their fist as though crushing the target and jerks it down rapidly. They make a Horror Power test against the target's Mystic Defense. If successful, the target suffers damage equal to the Flash Cannon test result, +2 per each Horror Power additional success spent on damage. Physical Armor protects against this damage.
Hardened Armor
Horror Power (18, Flash Cannon, Standard)
Immune to Fear
Indomitable: The absolute value of Action test and Defense penalties applied to Registeel are halved (e.g, half of -3 is -2 since the absolute value of -3 is 3 and half of 3 is 1.5, which rounds to 2). This includes penalties from Harried and explicitly does not include bonuses applied against Registeel.
Invincible (Simple): Registeel recovers from one Wound.
Resist Pain (4)

Shock Wave (22, Free): This is triggered the first time one of the following happens: Registeel has 5 Wounds or Registeel's current damage is over 280. Registeel's internal energy is exposed and spills out to the surroundings. Everything within 100 yards must make a Knockdown test against the Gravity Wave Step. If failed, tests to Jump Up suffer a -2 penalty until the end of next round. This power can only be used once per encounter.
Unconquerable (Simple): Registeel ends an ongoing effect that functionally prevents them from taking actions. These effects include grappling, spells like Crushing Hand of Earth, Spell Cage, talents like Spirit Hold, etc. This power can also be used when Registeel takes an Unrelenting action, but they must make a test as normal. Unflinching applies to this test.
Unflinching (2): Registeel gains a +10 bonus to any test to resist ongoing effects.
Unrelenting (1): After a character opposing Registeel takes their turn, Registeel may take a Standard and Movement action (at half movement rate) against that character. These cannot be continuations of actions taken on Registeel’s turn (e.g., continuing to weave threads for a spell) and must include the character as a target (though the action can affect multiple targets). If Registeel cannot reach or affect the character, it may target a different character.

Unyielding (Simple): Registeel stands up. This can be used once per round at the beginning of their turn or before they take an Unrelenting action.
Special Maneuvers:

Earth-Shattering Headache (Registeel, Unarmed): Registeel may spend two
additional successes on an Attack test to strike their target on the top of their head,
causing them to be Harried until the end of the next round.
Ethereal Attack (Registeel): Registeel can spend an additional success to cause an attack to affect Mystic Armor instead of Physical Armor.
Impact (Registeel, Horror Power): Registeel may spend an additional success on a Horror Power test to cause the target to make a Knockdown test against the damage result after it is reduced by Physical Armor. If the target is knocked down and flying, they take falling damage equal to twice the falling distance as they are violently accelerated into the ground.

28 May 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Horror 07 - The Mist (Legendary)

This is the seventh 4E Anatomy of a Horror, 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.

I'm doing a series of example legendary opponents to show how the Mask can be used. The Mist is probably the most legendary Novice-tier Horror (though the 1E version can be argued as much higher than that). Below is a 4E legendary rework of the iconic Horror from Mists of Betrayal. To be clear, this is a rough encounter for a Third Circle group (this is what I recall most groups being when I ran and played through it). However, that's fitting for the showdown with a Horror. Which is the point of the Mask in the first place, but the way Horrors are built in 4E makes this worse. Which is great! For the GM. Not the players. Though they'll feel the elation that comes with narrowly making it out of what feels like it should be an impossible scenario. If they make it out. And there's a good chance not all of them will.

Because horror and Horrors.


The Mist

This Horror most often manifests as a cloud of mist, sometimes filled with twinkling motes of light. At will, it can coalesce into a solid, human-shaped form with a ghostly skull for a face. When gravely injured, it flees into astral space to recover, leaving behind a small lump of cold, glittering crystal. A sadistic, sneaky entity, the Mist prefers playing with its captives to killing them outright.

The Mist can wander around Barsaive from sundown to sunup, during which it occasionally attacks and murders an unfortunate passerby. During one of its wanderings in search of new victims to torment, the Mist met Kalourin and made a pact with the blood elf. Discovering Kalourin's dealings with the slaver Fegis Kul by reading the elf's thoughts, the Mist offered Kalourin unique and powerful magical abilities in exchange for a steady stream of slaves sent to the captive village of Akarem for the Mist to feed on. For the present, this alliance amuses the Mist and suits its needs. However, the Horror may grow tired of it at any time.

Its malleable form allows the Mist to seep through tiny cracks. Only airtight doors and magical wards can keep the Mist at bay. The Mist speaks in a cold, whistling voice with a slight echo.


Challenge: Novice (Legendary Third Circle)
DEX: 7          Initiative:                    7        Unconsciousness:      225
STR: 8          Physical Defense:   8       Death Rating:               265
TOU: 8         Mystic Defense:      12       Wound Threshold:     17
PER: 8          Social Defense:       11       Knockdown:                  NA
WIL: 9          Physical Armor:     5        Recovery Tests:            3
CHA: 9         Mystic Armor:         5        Karma:                            4 (16)
Movement: 18 (Flying)
Actions: 2; Unarmed: 11 (13)
Powers:
Animate Dead (12, Standard)
Awareness (11): As the talent, Player's Guide, p. 129.
Corrupt Compromise (12, Standard)
Corrupt Karma (12, Standard)
Displace (Standard)

Harvest Energy (12, Free): If the harvested emotion is fear, the Mist gains an additional Karma point, and gains a point even if the test fails.
Horror Mark (11, Standard)
Horror Thread (12, Standard)

Indomitable: The absolute value of Action test and Defense penalties applied to the Mist are halved (e.g, half of -3 is -2 since the absolute value of -3 is 3 and half of 3 is 1.5, which rounds to 2). This includes penalties from Harried and explicitly does not include bonuses applied against the Mist.
Insubstantial: See Gamemaster’s Guide, p. 372.
Invincible (Simple): The Mist recovers from one Wound.
Spellcasting (11): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 168. The Mist casts spells as a Third Circle Elementalist and Nethermancer.
Spells (Player’s Guide): Icy Surface (p. 276), Ice Mace and Chain (p. 278), Chilling Circle (p. 323)
Terror (12, Standard)
Unconquerable (Simple): The Mist ends an ongoing effect that functionally prevents them from taking actions. These effects include grappling, spells like Crushing Hand of Earth, Spell Cage, talents like Spirit Hold, etc. This power can also be used when the Mist takes an Unrelenting action, but they must make a test as normal. Unflinching applies to this test.
Unflinching (1): The Mist gains a +5 bonus to any test to resist ongoing effects.
Unrelenting (1): After a character opposing the Mist takes their turn, the Mist may take a Standard and Movement action (at half movement rate) against that character. These cannot be continuations of actions taken on the Mist’s turn (e.g., continuing to weave threads for a spell) and must include the character as a target (though the action can affect multiple targets). If the Mist cannot reach or affect the character, it may target a different character.
Vulnerability to Fire: Fire-based attacks against the mist ignore Physical and Mystic Armor.
Vulnerability to Sunlight: When exposed to sunlight, all attacks against the Mist ignore Physical and Mystic Armor.

Special Maneuvers:
Fog of Fear (The Mist, Unarmed): The Mist can spend two additional successes on an Attack test to envelop them and show the victim it’s true face, using Terror as a Free action. This special maneuver can be used once per round.

27 May 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Mask 03 - Legendary

This is the third 4E Anatomy of a Mask, 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.

The Legendary Mask turns a single opponent into a "boss"-style encounter. A feature which has been difficult in Earthdawn due to exploding damage and access to bonuses and penalties, easily rendering the opposition moot in a round. 1E used massive stats as a solution, but this easily created unsurmountable opponents where you had to get an otherwise excellent result to even succeed (the Mist, I'm looking at you). 3E tried and the result was better, but it gave a false sense of confidence in that opponent's ability to create an effective challenge. I didn't try to pretend 4E opponents were suitable for groups with the "(Group)" tag. An over-Circled opponent can give that kind of challenge, it can be "swingy" and frustrating as characters may struggle to be effective against it and are more vulnerable to its attacks. This is particularly true if it's a higher tier. The creature is effectively a glass ninja - difficult to hit with high damage output, but still vulnerable to be easily taken out.

There was early talk about introducing legendary creatures, but that fell apart with the third developer's effective departure (when I - and by extension, David Marshall - inherited the rest of the Gamemaster's Guide to complete). The priority was getting the four opposition chapters redeveloped from the ground up to be appropriate for 4E, including simplified mechanics for gamemasters (no more rolling abilities to give bonuses to the creature, no active defenses, no tracking ranks, no kinda useless Durability entries, etc.), notations for animal companions and mounts, introducing special maneuvers, etc.

This is the result of something I've been putting together slowly in the background since... 2013? Assessing and trying to get the right technology to turn an opponent into a viable and dangerous, but not insurmountable threat. Legendary opponents are not easy and bring a lot to the table to make life difficult. Unlike other Masks, this Mask typically needs some work from the GM to add powers that allow it to threaten the entire group. 

Thank you to Brett Bowen for helping with design and putting together playtesting for this and Packs.

Legendary

Named creatures, spirits, and Horrors renown for the danger and potentially responsible for the deaths of countless fools. Typical creatures, spirits, Horrors, etc., are designed to be part of a larger encounter, but not an encounter unto themselves. Legendary opponents are designed to be the entire encounter, though can be supported by others as well.

Applying this Mask gets the base creature most of the way to this goal, but they should still have a little more to set them apart. This is especially true for base creatures that lack mobility or ranged options, allowing them to threaten flying, ranged, and mounted opponents. Additional and unique powers and special maneuvers, such as reflecting the location, used only once for the encounter, after a specific trigger, etc. These cannot be written into a Mask because of the Mask’s generic nature. However, this Mask is only a starting place to facilitate these encounters

Legendary creatures are not suitable as animal companions.

Note: Unlike most Masks, which are only designed for creatures, this Mask can be applied to spirits, Horrors, Horror constructs, and undead.

Legendary (Novice)
DEX: 0     Initiative:                 +0     Unconsciousness:   ×5
STR:  0     Physical Defense: +1     Death Rating:            ×5
TOU: 0     Mystic Defense:    +1      Wound Threshold: +5
PER:  0     Social Defense:     +1      Knockdown:              +5
WIL:  0     Physical Armor:   +2     Recovery Tests:          0
CHA: 0     Mystic Armor:       +2     Karma:                           4 (16)
Move: 0
Actions: 0 (Special); Attack 0 (Damage 0)
Powers:
Indomitable: The absolute value of Action test and Defense penalties applied to the legendary opponent are halved (e.g, half of -3 is -2 since the absolute value of -3 is 3 and half of 3 is 1.5, which rounds to 2). This includes penalties from Harried and explicitly does not include bonuses applied against the legendary opponent.
Invincible (Simple): The legendary opponent recovers from one Wound.
Karma: Use the Karma Step and pool listed above if the base creature does not have Karma or has a lower Karma Step than listed.
Unconquerable (Simple): The legendary opponent ends an ongoing effect that functionally prevents them from taking actions. These effects include grappling, spells like Crushing Hand of Earth, Spell Cage, talents like Spirit Hold, etc. This power can also be used when the legendary opponent takes a bonus action, but they must make a test as normal. Unflinching applies to this test.
Unflinching (1): The legendary opponent gains a +5 bonus to any test to resist ongoing effects.
Unrelenting (1): After a character opposing the legendary opponent takes their turn, the legendary opponent may take a Standard and Movement action (at half movement rate) against that character. These cannot be continuations of actions taken on the legendary opponent’s turn (e.g., continuing to weave threads for a spell) and must include the character as a target (though the action can affect multiple targets). If the legendary opponent cannot reach or affect the character, they may target a different character.
Unyielding (Simple): The legendary opponent stands up. This can be used once per round at the beginning of their turn or before they take a bonus action.
Special Maneuvers:



Legendary (Journeyman)
DEX: 0     Initiative:                 +5     Unconsciousness:   ×5
STR:  0     Physical Defense: +2     Death Rating:            ×5
TOU: 0     Mystic Defense:     +2     Wound Threshold: +5
PER:  0     Social Defense:     +2     Knockdown:               +10
WIL:  0     Physical Armor:   +3     Recovery Tests:          0
CHA: 0     Mystic Armor:       +3     Karma:                           4 (16)
Move: 0
Actions: 0 (Special); Attack 0 (Damage 0)
Powers:
Indomitable: The absolute value of Action test and Defense penalties applied to the legendary opponent are halved (e.g, half of -3 is -2 since the absolute value of -3 is 3 and half of 3 is 1.5, which rounds to 2). This includes penalties from Harried and explicitly does not include bonuses applied against the legendary opponent.
Invincible (Simple): The legendary opponent recovers from one Wound.
Karma: Use the Karma Step and pool listed above if the base creature does not have Karma or has a lower Karma Step than listed.
Unconquerable (Simple): The legendary opponent ends an ongoing effect that functionally prevents them from taking actions. These effects include grappling, spells like Crushing Hand of Earth, Spell Cage, talents like Spirit Hold, etc. This power can also be used when the legendary opponent takes a bonus action, but they must make a test as normal. Unflinching applies to this test.
Unflinching (2): The legendary opponent gains a +10 bonus to any test to resist ongoing effects.
Unrelenting (1): After a character opposing the legendary opponent takes their turn, the legendary opponent may take a Standard and Movement action (at half movement rate) against that character. These cannot be continuations of actions taken on the legendary opponent’s turn (e.g., continuing to weave threads for a spell) and must include the character as a target (though the action can affect multiple targets). If the legendary opponent cannot reach or affect the character, they may target a different character.
Unyielding (Simple): The legendary opponent stands up. This can be used once per round at the beginning of their turn or before they take a bonus action.
Special Maneuvers:


Legendary (Warden)
DEX: 0     Initiative:                 +10   Unconsciousness:    ×5
STR:  0     Physical Defense: +3     Death Rating:            ×5
TOU: 0     Mystic Defense:     +3     Wound Threshold: +5
PER:  0     Social Defense:     +3     Knockdown:               +15
WIL:  0     Physical Armor:   +5     Recovery Tests:          0
CHA: 0     Mystic Armor:       +5     Karma:                           4 (16)
Move: 0
Actions: 0 (Special); Attack 0 (Damage 0)
Powers:
Indomitable: The absolute value of Action test and Defense penalties applied to the legendary opponent are halved (e.g, half of -3 is -2 since the absolute value of -3 is 3 and half of 3 is 1.5, which rounds to 2). This includes penalties from Harried and explicitly does not include bonuses applied against the legendary opponent.
Invincible (Simple): The legendary opponent recovers from one Wound.
Karma: Use the Karma Step and pool listed above if the base creature does not have Karma or has a lower Karma Step than listed.
Unconquerable (Simple): The legendary opponent ends an ongoing effect that functionally prevents them from taking actions. These effects include grappling, spells like Crushing Hand of Earth, Spell Cage, talents like Spirit Hold, etc. This power can also be used when the legendary opponent takes a bonus action, but they must make a test as normal. Unflinching applies to this test.
Unflinching (3): The legendary opponent gains a +15 bonus to any test to resist ongoing effects.
Unrelenting (2): After a character opposing the legendary opponent takes their turn, the legendary opponent may take two Standard actions and a Movement action (at half movement rate) against that character. These cannot be continuations of actions taken on the legendary opponent’s turn (e.g., continuing to weave threads for a spell) and must include the character as a target (though the action can affect multiple targets). If the legendary opponent cannot reach or affect the character, they may target a different character.
Unyielding (Simple): The legendary opponent stands up. This can be used once per round at the beginning of their turn or before they take a bonus action.
Special Maneuvers:


Legendary (Master)
DEX: 0     Initiative:                 +15   Unconsciousness:    ×5
STR:  0     Physical Defense: +5     Death Rating:            ×5
TOU: 0     Mystic Defense:     +5     Wound Threshold: +5
PER:  0     Social Defense:     +5     Knockdown:               +20
WIL:  0     Physical Armor:   +8     Recovery Tests:          0
CHA: 0     Mystic Armor:       +8     Karma:                           4 (16)
Move: 0
Actions: 0 (Special); Attack 0 (Damage 0)
Powers:
Indomitable: The absolute value of Action test and Defense penalties applied to the legendary opponent are halved (e.g, half of -3 is -2 since the absolute value of -3 is 3 and half of 3 is 1.5, which rounds to 2). This includes penalties from Harried and explicitly does not include bonuses applied against the legendary opponent.
Invincible (Simple): The legendary opponent recovers from one Wound.
Karma: Use the Karma Step and pool listed above if the base creature does not have Karma or has a lower Karma Step than listed.
Unconquerable (Simple): The legendary opponent ends an ongoing effect that functionally prevents them from taking actions. These effects include grappling, spells like Crushing Hand of Earth, Spell Cage, talents like Spirit Hold, etc. This power can also be used when the legendary opponent takes a bonus action, but they must make a test as normal. Unflinching applies to this test.
Unflinching (4): The legendary opponent gains a +20 bonus to any test to resist ongoing effects.
Unrelenting (2): After a character opposing the legendary opponent takes their turn, the legendary opponent may take two Standard actions and a Movement action (at half movement rate) against that character. These cannot be continuations of actions taken on the legendary opponent’s turn (e.g., continuing to weave threads for a spell) and must include the character as a target (though the action can affect multiple targets). If the legendary opponent cannot reach or affect the character, they may target a different character.
Unyielding (Simple): The legendary opponent stands up. This can be used once per round at the beginning of their turn or before they take a bonus action.
Special Maneuvers:


There are a lot of new powers associated with this Mask and I’m going to attempt to address them and the purpose they serve to help use this Mask.

Indomitable addresses the easy access players have to applying penalties to opponents. This isn’t a big deal in a typical conflict because the number of opponents means concentrating them may not be most effective due to stacking, or eliminating a threat also eliminates all the penalties. With one target, it’s very easy to apply penalties until it cannot take effective actions. Penalties are still beneficial, but they cannot create a lop-sided encounter.

Invincible addresses how cumulative Wounds can similarly penalize the creature into ineffectiveness. This allows Wounds to still be meaningful, but less crippling. It also penalizes delaying tactics and puts pressure on the characters.

Unconquerable stops lockdown effects. These have limited use against multiple targets (though are useful without a doubt), but against a single target can shut down the encounter before it starts. This gives the legendary opponent one “Get Out of Jail Free” card each round, with additional attempts. Those abilities can still be useful, particularly to buy some breathing room if coordinated, but they won’t end the encounter early.

Unflinching is the other piece to Unconquerable. Ongoing effects that allow resistance tend to be significantly nastier than those without resistance and this mitigates their value against one big target.

Unrelenting is how the legendary opponent’s action economy is balanced against the players and automatically scales to the size of the group. Instead of lumping them in with its primary block of actions, this makes things tactically more interesting for everyone. Players are less likely to be dropped without recourse and everyone scrambles to deal with the same changing tactical situation.

Unyielding deals with one of the most prevalent lockdown abilities, knockdown. Allowing a free stand once per round still rewards the tactic, but prevents it from being too powerful against a single opponent. It’s more difficult to figure out how to knock it down, then coordinate attacks while it is down if it stands and acts afterwards. Not impossible, but much more difficult.

The health ratings are given assuming a five character group. If there are more or less, adjust the Unconsciousness and Death Rating multipliers to reflect the number of characters.

26 May 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 22 - Very Useful Gloves

This is the twenty-second 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.

A thread item written for an online game I offered to help with thread items. This was written with the request of gloves. That's not a lot to go on, but these are still some very useful gloves.

Very Useful Gloves

Maximum Threads: 1
Mystic Defense: 12
Legend Point Cost: Journeyman

Exceptionally comfortable, yet also sturdy gloves. They’re made from some dark exotic leather, well oiled a perfect fit. The kind of gloves that feel like a second skin and don’t reduce your dexterity, but impossibly still provide protection and are resistant to damage. These are the gloves people who work with their hands dream about, but know they don’t exist. Except they do exist and you are holding them. They show signs of wear, but aren’t in need of repair.

Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the glove’s Name.
Effect: The wearer gains the Very Useful Gloves ability. As a Simple action for 1 Strain, the wearer can find whatever mundane tool they need to perform a given non-combat task, such as a snare to catch food, rope, etc. The wearer promptly loses the tool immediately after they’re done with the task (made the test), but it’s somewhere around here and will probably show up again. Very Useful Gloves can be used Thread Rank times per day and cannot produce tools required for alchemy, enchanting, whole labs and workshops, etc.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The tool found with Very Useful Gloves is really nice, you should really put this somewhere safe but it will be fine right here for now, and it gives a +2 bonus to the Action test with the tool.


Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the type of leather the gloves are made from and where it came from.
Effect: The wearer can use Very Useful Gloves with a non-combat Action test that requires them to work with their hands, even if they don’t need a specific tool. These are really great gloves, why would you even want to take them off? You should feel them. Hey, feel with your eyes, okay? They still don’t help with alchemy, enchanting, or similar tasks.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: The wearer can use Very Useful Gloves to conveniently find a suitable melee weapon nearby. Like all tools found with Very Useful Gloves, it gets misplaced when the encounter is over. Which seems dangerous. There could be children or windlings around. Might be a good idea to figure out where that got off to...

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn who made these gloves (probably so they can get a second pair).
Deed: The owner must offer the creator appropriate thanks and appreciation for the gloves.
Effect: The wearer can use Very Useful Gloves in combat, but the wearer must be using a tool in their hands and the affected Action test can only be using a tool. Most people call it a “weapon,” but most people don’t have these gloves and you know better.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: The bonus provided by Very Useful Gloves is +3. Ever stared at your hands and started to forget what they looked like underneath your gloves? You could take them off and see, but that feels like an overrated experience. Best to keep the gloves on and never take them off. Ever.

25 May 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 21 - Mourning Star

This is the twenty-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.

A thread item written for an online game I offered to help with thread items. This was written with the request of a broadsword that enhances close combat. The last part made feel a little bad since that's ostensibly what every thread broadsword should do unless it's really unusual. So, looking more at the character, they're a Horror Stalker. Instead of just making it Horror directed, I went a little broader than that, but also the kind of awful a Horror Stalker should be totally comfortable with: unrelenting despair.

Mourning Star

Maximum Threads: 2

Mystic Defense: 12
Legend Point Cost: Journeyman

This broadsword appears simple and practical to the untrained eye. Perhaps workmanlike. However, a skilled craftsman sees the perfect balance even with its deceptively heavy blade. Dark swirl patterns are incorporated into the dull gray metal which never seems to dull.

Without a thread attached, the sword uses the statistics of a normal broadsword, except with a Strength Minimum of 15. It resizes to the wielder’s one-handed weapon size limit with a thread attached and has a typical Strength Minimum.

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

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The wielder gains +1 to Attack tests with the sword.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn about the sword’s creator (including Name and Discipline).
Effect: The wielder gains the Mourning Star special maneuver. When the sword is held, the wielder can hear whispers in different voices. They speak of personal fear, pain, and despair inflicted upon them by Horrors. As each voice speaks, a different mote of light appears on the blade, shining as though alone in the night.

Mourning Star (Wielder): The wielder can spend additional successes on an Attack test with the sword to share the fear, pain, and despair with the target, inflicting a -1 penalty to Physical, Mystic, and Social Defenses on the target per success until the end of the next round.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: The wielder gains +2 to Damage tests with the sword against targets affected by Mourning Star.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn what the metal used to craft the sword is and where it was harvested.
Effect: The wielder gains +2 to Attack tests with the sword against targets affected by Mourning Star.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: If the wielder damages a Horrorspawn with the sword while it is affected by Mourning Star (this cannot include the attack that inflicts Mourning Star), they may spend a Recovery Test to channel all the built up emotions into the attack. The adept adds their Toughness Step + Thread Rank to the Damage test.











If you have trouble with realizing to adjust the Damage Step as appropriate to reflect the weapon adjusting size and think the Damage Step is fixed regardless of the size, may whatever you believe in have mercy on your soul. Because that is the kind of interpretation that turns any and all mechanics into the driest of legalese to cover every possible angle and every possible question. It is simply, the worst. Don't do that. Don't be that.

22 May 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 20 - Little Sprout

This is the twentieth 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.

A thread item written for an online game I offered to help with thread items. This was written with the request of a small crystal sprouter to grow plants with a spell matrix. That was enough direction to build on in some obvious ways: healing and growth. It's a little cutesy by design, but also a little no-so-cutesy in some ways it can be used.


Little Sprout

Maximum Threads: 2
Mystic Defense: 12
Legend Point Cost: Journeyman

A small crystal box popular in some homes during the Scourge to grow fresh herbs for the kitchen. If the enchantment is renewed, it creates light and regulates the temperature to be suitable to one type of plant contained within. Soil still must be provided and tended to.

With a thread attached the enchantment no longer needs to be renewed.

Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the box’s Name.
Effect: The box contains a Standard Matrix with rank equal to the Thread Rank.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: If the owner consumed some of the plant inside the box during their first meal of the day, or incorporated it into their Karma Ritual, they gain a +1 bonus to their Recovery tests for the next 24 hours.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn about the kaer the box came from and who it belonged to.
Effect: If the owner consumed some of the plant inside the box during their first meal of the day, or incorporated it into their Karma Ritual, any healing they give to an ally through a spell or talent (e.g. Cold Purify, Heat Food, or Water Spear) heals +1 damage for the next 24 hours. This does not affect devotions or static healing (e.g. Grove Renewal) and does not affect the owner’s healing.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: The benefits from Rank Two and Rank Three are +2. If the owner has the Grove Renewal spell in the box’s spell matrix, for 2 Strain as a Free action, it gains the benefit of an Increase Effect thread when cast on an ally (this benefit does not apply to the owner). This thread does not need to be woven and does not count against the owner’s maximum extra threads.

Thread Rank FiveKey Knowledge: The owner must learn the box’s preferred plant to grow.
Effect: The owner gains the Little Sprout special maneuver.

Little Sprout (Owner, Spellcasting): For 1 Strain, the owner may spend two additional successes on a Spellcasting test to cause happy little plants to quickly grow around their appendages; the test must be to cast a spell, not use a knack. This inflicts Harried on the target until the end of the next round; if the spell normally inflicts Harried, the target is Overwhelmed (Player’s Guide, p. 388). This special maneuver does not stack with itself. This maneuver does not cost Strain if it is a Wood Elementalist spell and costs 2 Strain if it is not an Elementalist spell.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: When the owner uses the Little Sprout special maneuver, they can spend additional successes to increase the duration of the Harried condition by +2 rounds per additional success.

21 May 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 19 - Shield Brother

This is the ninteenth 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.

A thread item written for an online game I offered to help with thread items. This was written with the request of a crystal raider shield. I went in the direction of a shield which became legendary during Crystal Raider attacks. It offers protection (even very good protection) with a need for a particular kind of reckless abandon. By the end, it's not very reckless at all, just shock and awe as the owner and allies stomp all over.


Shield Brother

Maximum Threads: 2
Mystic Defense: 12
Legend Point Cost: Journeyman

A battered and chipped crystal raider shield still adorned with cracked and faded battle paint from years past. The crystal is milky where broken arrowheads, dagger and sword tips remain embedded deep within the crystal and it has grown over these old wounds like scar tissue. The leather straps are well oiled and much newer than the shield, but still show signs of regular wear. Each morning, the battle paint returns as it was at the beginning of the previous day, cracked and faded.

It is sized for a troll, but resizes itself to the owner. When the owner picks it up, it almost hums with excitement and the thrill of the impending battle. It is warm and aggressive; it wears its scars with pride.

Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the Name of the shield.
Effect: The shield is Mystic Defense +3.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The shield is Physical Defense +3.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn where the shield was born (where it was created and where the crystal came from).
Deed: The owner must paint the shield with their symbol. This returns each morning brilliant and new until the shield has a new owner.
Effect: The owner gains the Shield Brother ability. For 1 Strain as a Free action, the wearer’s face is painted with the symbol adorning the shield and the shield thrums with excitement. The wearer does not take Strain for the Aggressive Attack combat option and their penalties to Physical and Mystic Defense are reduced by 1 each until the end of the turn.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: When the wearer uses Shield Brother, their Mystic Defense penalty from the Aggressive Attack combat option is reduced by 2.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn about the previous owner, including their Name and Discipline.
Effect: For 1 Strain per target, the wearer can extend the Shield Brother ability to willing adjacent allies. This ability paints their faces with the shield’s symbol. The wearer must be using Shield Brother to extend it to allies.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: When the wearer uses Shield Brother, their Physical Defense penalty from the Aggressive Attack combat option is reduced by 2.

20 May 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 18 - Goldentone

This is the eighteenth 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.

A thread item written for an online game I offered to help with thread items. This was written with the request of chain mail with reduced Initiative Penalty. Which immediately sends me to the classic elven chain mail from D&D. However, that's only so interesting (and also most like faerie mail from Gamemaster's Guide), so I went with some interesting themes of affecting magic, both enhancing and detracting from it.


Goldentone

Maximum Threads: 2
Mystic Defense: 12
Legend Point Cost: Journeyman

The links of this chain mail armor are exceptionally fine, masterfully crafted, and have a warm, golden hint to them. Owners write of a warmth to the armor, how it clings to them comfortable like a second skin. This description, along with the Sperethiel inscriptions on many of the links, betray the armor’s Wyrm Wood origins. Armor like this was used by celebrated warders before the Scourge.

The armor automatically resizes to fit the owner wearing it.

Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the armor’s Name.
Effect: The armor is Initiative Penalty 2

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The armor is Mystic Armor 1.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the Name of the creator and the first owner.
Effect: The armor gains the Goldentone ability. When the wearer is affected by a spell, they may choose to enhance the spell as it is cast, causing a golden sheen to briefly ripple across the armor and some of the inscriptions to gleam with iridescent light as they emit a tone. Together, this causes a short melody to play in a reflection of the spell. Air Armor may result in an aria, while Monstrous Mantle is fierce but playful, Astral Targeting is otherworldly, and Shadow Meld is subtle and quickly fades into the background.

The wearer may increase their benefits from that spell by +1 for the duration of the spell. If more than one benefit is provided, each gains +1. This has no effect on spells without a numerical bonus (e.g., Earth Staff or Notice Not), spells that inflict penalties, and does not improve the spell on other targets. This use can affect one spell at a time.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: The armor is Initiative Penalty 1.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the significance of the armor and what the inscriptions mean (not just the translation).
Effect: The Goldentone ability now affects abilities that cause penalties to the wearer and target their Mystic or Social Defense as they are applied, though the melody played is the inversion of the power (eg., a fear-based spell sounds uplifting).

The penalty is reduced by 2. This has no effect on powers without a numerical penalty and does not reduce the power on other targets. This use can affect one ability at a time and is separate from the Rank Three effect.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: For 2 Strain as a Free action, when the wearer uses the Goldentone ability on themselves, they can now affect up to Thread Rank allies within Thread Rank ×2 yards as well. Each target affected adds depth to the melody, as though played by more instruments.

This can increase the bonus from spells cast on them, or reduce the penalties from powers that target Mystic or Social Defense. If this is used to target a spell maintained through Chain Casting, the Strain is taken as Blood Magic Damage for the duration of the spell.

19 May 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 17 - Ghostly Sentinel

This is the seventeenth 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.

A thread item written for an online game I offered to help with thread items. This was written with the request it be "medium armor." Meaning Initiative Penalty 2. Which is rather narrow in terms of what armor that includes and broad. With that broad brush, I picked ring mail and went with a legendary item, rather than a purpose build item, with the general idea of a comrade-in-arms sacrificing themselves to save their boon companion. Then continuing to do so long after their death.


Ghostly Sentinel

Maximum Threads: 2
Mystic Defense: 12
Legend Point Cost: Journeyman

A set of well-maintained ring mail that has clearly seen much use. There is evidence of skilled patchwork across the rings and leather backing, as well as emblem sewn to it. The armor is in perfect working order and anyone wearing it notes how comfortable it feels, almost like coming home from a long journey. This particular style of ring mail was once popular in the fallen kingdom of Landis.

The armor automatically resizes to fit the owner wearing it.

Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the armor’s Name.
Effect: The armor is Mystic Armor 1.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The armor is Physical Armor 7.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn about the first owner, including their Name, Discipline, and military unit.
Effect: The armor gains the Ghostly Sentinel ability. For 1 Strain as a Free action, the wearer is surrounded by a shifting, spectral mist. This does not obscure the wearer in a meaningful way, but occasionally the glimpse of a human face can be seen in the mist. This gives the wearer a +1 bonus to Physical and Mystic Armor until the end of the round. This ability can be activated after Initiative is determined and actions are declared, but must be before any character’s turn begins.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: The Ghostly Sentinel ability now gives the wearer a +2 bonus to Mystic Armor. The face becomes more distinct in the mist and a hand can occasionally be seen turning attacks away.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the Name of the spirit bound to the armor.
Effect: While Ghostly Sentinel is active, the wearer can spend 1 Strain as a Free action to alert them of unseen danger. The wearer receives a tap on their shoulder, sending chills down their spine as though it’s touching their pattern and hears incomprehensible whispering, though the warning is clear. This makes an opponent Blindsiding the wearer no longer be Blindsiding until the end of the round. This doesn’t affect being Surprised and can be used once per round.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: When the Ghostly Sentinel ability is active, the wearer receives chilling touches and unintelligible whispers with clear intent indicating the direction of attackers. The wearer requires an additional opponent to be Harried.