31 July 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 51 - Beryl Scale

This is the fifty-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 wyvern skin armor with reduced Initiative Penalty. It has that, though it gets a little weird as it goes on. If it gets more thread ranks, it will probably get weirder. Which should be obvious.


Beryl Scale

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

This armor is made from brilliant emerald wyvern skin with a blue sheen without a thread attached. However, once a thread is attached the True water moves throughout the scales and undulates like a current. Iridescent runes become visible under the blue sheen as it moves across the armor.

The armor resizes to the wearer when a thread is attached.

Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the armor’s Name.
Effect: The armor is now Mystic Armor 2.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The armor is now Mystic Armor 3.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn where the wyvern and True water used in the armor’s construction came from.
Effect: The armor forms more tightly to the wearer and gains increased flexibility. It has Initiative Penalty 2.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: The armor continues to further conform to the wearer and once the wearer dons it, the armor extends up their neck, and down to their wrists and ankles. The wearer gains +2 to their Movement Rate.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the meaning behind the runes.
Effect: The armor now extends around their wearer’s hands and feet, and around their face when worn. It looks like the wearer is scaled, rather than wearing armor with how it breathes and moves with the wearer. It has Initiative Penalty 1.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: The owner develops a handful of small green and blue scales across their body and may feel a sense of comfort and safety when wearing their armor rather than being outside of it. The wearer gains +1 to Recovery tests.

30 July 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 50 - Stand-In, The

This is the fiftieth 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 toe ring that helps with Jump Up tests. Well... I have some ideas. The mechanics are almost ancillary here. The certainly take up the least words. If anyone ever thought it would be awesome to play in one of my games, just be aware - these things are inflicted on my players.


The Stand-In

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

While ostensibly nondescript, anyone who sees this ring can’t help but think there’s something familiar about it. For some reason, they need to have it. The ring looks like it is a bronze cast with runes carved on the interior and exterior of the band. While it never appears to change size, it’s always too small to be worn on a finger, but just the right size to fit on a toe. Not the big toe, the little toe. The piggy that cried “wee wee wee” all the way home.



Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the ring’s Name.
Effect: After waking the first morning once the thread is woven, the wearer almost instinctively knows their toe with the ring was replaced. It’s no longer their toe. However, it looks exactly the same and any inspection shows it is the wearer’s toe by any measure. The wearer gains a +1 bonus to Jump Up tests.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: After waking the first morning once the thread rank is increased, the wearer almost instinctively knows the next toe was replaced. It’s also not their toe anymore. It also looks exactly the same and there’s nothing to show it’s different. But they know. Sometimes those toes twitch involuntarily. Not a normal twitch. Like someone else’s toes are twitching, but they’re your toes now. The wearer gains a +1 bonus to Initiative tests.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn what the runes on the exterior of the ring mean.
Effect: It’s the same deal as the first two—the next toe was replaced. Taking off the ring doesn’t change anything, other than no more bonuses, and the wearer knows severing the thread won’t bring their toes back. They’re gone. However, these new toes are better. But it’s a little weird when just the three stretch of their own volition. The wearer gains a +2 bonus to Jump-Up tests.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: Now the wearer’s big toe—the one that went to market—is feeling outnumbered and pretty much facing the inevitable. Like the wearer has it in for them. But the wearer isn’t crazy, this is definitely happening. See, they just wiggled on their own! This isn’t some funny game! Who is laughing?! The wearer gains +2 to their Movement Rate.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn what the runes on the interior of the ring mean.
Effect: The wearer knows with absolute certainty their toes on that foot were replaced by exquisite replicas of their toes. They still move and do everything they’re supposed to, but still… sometimes they do things without being asked. Maybe the wearer finds themselves thinking about picking things up with their toes more often than they normally would. It’s just right down there, and so are their toes. Which are basically fingers. The wearer did put a ring on them. The wearer gains a +2 bonus to Initiative tests.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: It’s the whole foot. The wearer isn’t crazy. Everyone else is crazy. See if your foot does this? Well, yes, everyone’s foot does that. But only when you want it to. This foot does it whenever it wants! See! See! The wearer can use the Jump Up combat option for 1 Strain.

29 July 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 49 - Wyvern Oil

This is the forty-ninth 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 wyvern skin armor with resistance to grappling. There's a few different ways to interpret that and strategies to aid against it. The most obvious is increasing Physical Defense against grappling attacks. So that went in there. However, most creatures initiate grappling through special maneuvers rather than a specific grappling attack - this makes the gamemaster's life easier since they don't have to frontload attacks with those details and can just add from a menu of options afterward. Making those special manevuers more difficult to pull off greatly reduces their frequency. So that went in there too. There's also improving the ability to escape, which went in as well. If you grew up in the country, the odds of you watching adolescent and older boys attempt to wrestle a greased pig increases significantly. Which became the guiding imagery here.


Wyvern Oil

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

Iridescent blue and green scales cover this wyvern skin armor and have a glistening sheen to them. Unlike the typical texture of wyvern scales, these are slick to the touch and have beautiful runes infused with True water carved into them. When light hits the scales just right, the sheen on the surface reveals patterns forming glyphs across the surface.

Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the armor’s Name.
Effect: The armor is Mystic Armor 2.
Thread Rank Two
Effect: The armor is Mystic Armor 3.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn about the runes and glyphs of the armor.
Effect: The wearer gains the Wyvern Oil ability. As a Simple action for 1 Strain, the armor begins secreting a prodigious amount of oil until the end of the next round, quickly coating the armor and everything nearby, making the wearer quite a slippery little devil. The wearer gains +3 to their Physical Defense against Attack tests to grapple them and +3 to tests to escape from a grapple.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: When the wearer uses Wyvern Oil, they experience the joys of nearly zero friction and the armor is Initiative Penalty 2.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn where the wyvern used to create the armor lived.
Effect: The benefits from Wyvern Oil increase to +3 to Physical Defense against Attack tests to grapple them and +4 to tests to escape from a grapple.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: When the wearer uses Wyvern Oil, the oil is slightly noxious. If a special maneuver allows an opponent to initiate a grapple against the wearer, it requires an additional success to use.

28 July 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 48 - Quicksilver

This is the forty-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.

A thread item written for an online game I offered to help with thread items. This was written with in collaboration with a player who wanted a spell matrix, a bonus to Physical Defense, and a boost to Initiative. All of which can be seen on the even rank abilities. The rest I used to fill in the blanks between these themes and work with their Name.


Quicksilver

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

These soft leather boots are comfortable and largely non-descript outside of the glyph imprinted into the leather on each boot. Once donned, they give any wearer a slight spring in their step.

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

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The wearer gains the Quicksilver ability. As a Free action for 1 Strain, the boots shine like liquid metal and the wearer moves fluidly across the battlefield. The wearer gains +2 ranks to Avoid Blow until the end of the next round.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The wearer must learn who created the boots.
Effect: The wearer gains +1 to Physical Defense.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: The bonus from Quicksilver is now +3 ranks to Avoid Blow.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The wearer must learn about the glyph on the boots.
Effect: As a Free action for 1 Strain, the wearer gains +3 to their next Initiative test.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: If the wearer has Quicksilver active, they can use the following special maneuver:
Quicksilver (Wearer, Avoid Blow): Energy from movement is conserved and transferred by the boots. The wearer can spend additional successes on Avoid Blow tests to gain +1 to their next Initiative test. These bonuses are cumulative; e.g., two additional successes from one Avoid Blow test and one additional success from a second gives a total of +3 to the wearer’s next Initiative test.

27 July 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 47 - Coldest Care, The

This is the forty-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.

A thread item written for an online game I offered to help with thread items. This was written with the requests of an item that provided a bonus to a Purifier healing talent. Cold Purify is a great candidate. New ways and/or interesting ways to use Cold Purify isn't easy since I spent last year writing a bunch of new knacks. I don't like giving access to a knack through a thread item, since it dilutes both. However, I think this offers a nice compromise. The theming here was based around the talent and tailored to the character. It's always nice when I can do that, but it's hardly necessary. I also sometimes like to go contrary because I need to be amused too.


The Coldest Care

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

Without a thread attached this silver armlet set with blue precious stones and neatly inscribed in gently curving runes is a piece of fine jewelry, once associated with high status among Landan nobles long ago. Once a thread is attached, the blue stones turn brilliant blue and cold to the touch. The metal shines as though wet and the enamel in the runes glows blue very faintly. When the wearer uses Cold Purify, the armlet absorbs into their skin, leaving the glowing blue runes as tattoos on the surface. The True water turns their blood vessels, lips, and eyes blue, and their skin cold. They exhale gentle frost for the duration.

Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the armlet’s Name.
Effect: The wearer gains +1 rank to Cold Purify.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The wearer gains +1 to Mystic Defense.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn where the silver used for this armlet was mined.
Effect: The wearer gains +2 ranks to Cold Purify.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: The wearer can spend a Karma Point on an Action test to heal or treat a target’s injuries (this includes disease and poison). This is in addition to any other abilities that allow the owner to spend Karma on an associated test.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn who crafted the armlet
Effect: As a Free action when the wearer successfully heals a target’s damage with Cold Purify, they can spend a Recovery Test to heal additional damage using their Recovery Step for the test.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: The wearer gains an additional Recovery Test per day. This can only be used with the Rank Five effect.

24 July 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 46 - Paradox of Water, The

This is the forty-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.

A thread item written for an online game I offered to help with thread items. This was written with the requests of an item that reduces penalties from Defensive Stance. Part of the request was also related to incorporating water, so I went with that. If you uderstand the reference, everything should make sense.


The Paradox of Water

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

A bracelet that seems to be cut from gleaming blue crystal. The facets sparkle too much and in ways they shouldn’t when light shines on it, which belies its true nature. Once a thread is attached, the bracelet slowly flows and shifts around the wearer’s wrist. The True water can move with almost imperceptible slowness, or become a torrent raging around the wearer’s arm. As the owner’s understanding of the bracelet increases, and their control over themselves improves, so does their control of the bracelet’s flow.

Strange runes reveal themselves to the owner within the bracelet as the thread rank increases. These runes shift and change; they seem to tell a story that reveals itself as the thread rank increases, but it is incomplete.

Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the bracelet’s Name.
Effect: The water’s flow reflects in the wearer, their movements are fluid and soft, yielding and moving around attacks. The wearer gains +1 to Physical Defense.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The water’s flow wraps around their limbs, becoming hard and powerful. The wearer gains +1 to close combat Damage tests.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the locations of where the True water was harvested.
Effect: The water flows to the path of least resistance, never wasting its potential. For 1 Strain, the wearer reduces the penalties from Defensive Stance by 1 (typically to -2) until the end of the round.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: The water flows around the wearer, flowing around obstacles. The wearer gains +1 to close combat Attack tests.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must begin to unravel the mysteries of the runes in the bracelet.
Deed: The owner must travel to the locations where the True water was harvested and entreat with a water spirit dwelling there.
Effect: Whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding overcomes whatever is rigid and hard. For 1 Strain, the wearer now reduces the penalties from Defensive Stance by 2 (typically to -1).

Thread Rank Six
Effect: Turbulent water obscures the truth beneath. Patience and stillness allow clarity of water and mind. The wearer can spend a minute in calming themselves, feeling the bracelet flowing against their skin and spend an additional Karma Point on a test that benefits from such clarity of thought—e.g., Knowledge and Research tests—at the gamemaster’s discretion.

23 July 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 45 - Dwoemerswift

This is the forty-fifth 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 requests of initiative reduction seeming time-related effects from casting spells. This was a special request because the character was actually creating it, so I worked directly with the player.

Time-related magic is a fuzzy thing in Earthdawn, so I went with abilities that can be interpreted in a few ways, but no direct explanation for how they function. The player was happy with the result, whcih is what really counts in the end.


Dwoemerswift

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

The russet scales of this wyvern skin armor have highlights of burnished gold and the edges of each scale are trimmed with orichalcum. Exceptional craftsmanship can be seen throughout, though it is undecorated and a functional design. When a thread is attached, the True air woven into the armor interacts with True water, causing the wearer’s form to occasionally shimmer, as though disconnected from time for a brief instant.

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

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The wearer gains the Dwoemerswift ability. As a Simple action for 1 Strain, the orichalcum glows a coppery red, revealing the patterns it forms throughout the armor. The wearer’s next successful Spellcasting test gains the benefit of an additional success. If the additional success increases duration, it is two additional successes.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn where the True elements used in the armor's creation were harvested.
Effect: The armor is now Initiative Penalty 1.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: As a Simple action for 1 Strain after Dwoemerswift affects a spell, the air surrounding the wearer grows thick as everything immediately around them slows, giving the wearer more time to respond to attacks. The wearer gains +2 to Avoid Blow tests until the end of the next round.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn where the wyvern was killed.
Effect: The wearer gains +1 Recovery Test per day.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: As a Simple action for 1 Strain after Dwoemerswift ability affects a spell, the wearer gains a preternatural awareness of attacks around them. The wearer can use Avoid Blow against Blindsided and Surprise attacks until the end of the next round.

22 July 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 44 - Slim Dusty

This is the forty-fourth 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 belt with an enhanced matrix. I'm mostly going to let where that went speak for itself. Which is mostly indefensible, but I would do it again every time.


Lucent Roots

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

A sheepskin belt that looks like it was cut and fashioned from a bag, with crude holes punched and a rudimentary buckle added. It is worn and a little water damaged. When a thread is attached, it resizes to fit the wearer and thrums almost happily whenever music is played.

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

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The wearer gains +1 to their Social Defense.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the swagman’s Name who first owned the tucker bag the belt was fashioned from and where the jumbuck used to make the bag came from. [Banjo Paterson and the jumbuck was stolen]
Effect: The wearer gains +1 to Elemental Tongues and Summon (Elemental) tests against water elementals.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: The wearer gains +2 to Elemental Tongues and Summon (Elemental) tests against water elementals.
Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the fate of the first owner. [Drowned in a billabong escaping from mounted authorities.]
Effect: The wearer can specify one power a summoned water elemental has without increasing the Difficulty Number.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: The bonus provided to the wearer from Aid Summoner and Enhance Summoner powers gain +1 if the spirit is a water elemental. For example, the bonus from a Strength Rating 4 water elemental using Enhance Summoner is +5 instead of +4.

Thread Rank Seven
Deed: The owner must travel the path of the swagman and bargain with the spirits who live there. [Travel to the billabong, haunted by the first owner’s spirit and home to a water elemental, Waltzing Matilda.]
Effect: The Standard Matrix is now an Enhanced Matrix.

Thread Rank Eight
Effect: When the wearer successfully summons a water elemental, they can ask for an additional service. The wearer must still negotiate for this service as usual. However, neither service can be a significant threat to the water elemental if this effect is used, nor can they be forced or coerced.

21 July 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 43 - Lucent Roots

This is the forty-third 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 crystal ringlet armor with +2 to Toughness Value. That gives some direction for being "tough" in concept. While earth may be a more obvious elemental theme, I went with wood for a few reasons: earth is more obvious and also associated with magical protection, wood is associated with vitality, the character is an elf Wizard.

With that in mind, I kept it mostly being defensive and armor, but built on that vitality with a weird kind of growth and some unusual effects. It's worth noting my goal with a lot of these designs is to see where I can push things and what breaks. There's a lot more freedom here and built-in testing to evaluate them.


Lucent Roots

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

Green and clear crystals were used in this ringlet armor. Together they give the impression of a sun-dappled forest. Closer inspection reveals the orichalcum connecting the rings and the True wood lends it a certain vibrancy and luster. Wearers feel more alive and refreshed with it on.

The armor resizes to fit the wearer with a thread attached. Wearers typically feel better if the armor is exposed to sunlight regularly and soaks in water as part of a regular cleaning routine.

Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the armor’s Name.
Effect: The armor is Physical Armor 5.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The armor is Mystic Armor 5.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn who created the armor.
Effect: The wearer gains the Lucent Roots ability. As a Simple action for 1 Strain, the crystal grows like vines down their legs to the ground, securing them. The wearer gains a +2 bonus to Knockdown tests. This ability lasts as long as they don’t move from their location (dodging, standing, etc., are acceptable).

Thread Rank Four
Effect: When the wearer uses Lucent Roots, they now extend up their arms and grow more thickly around their body. While it is active, the wearer gains +1 to their Physical and Mystic Defense.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn where the living crystal and True wood were harvested.
Effect: When the wearer is using Lucent Roots, as a Free action they can spend 1 Strain to cause the armor to glow bright green and mystic leaves swirl around their arms. The wearer gains an additional Step 3/D4 wood die with their next Damage test (or Effect test that causes damage). If the attack has more than one target, the wearer must pay 1 Strain per target and must affect all targets. The armor must have been in sunlight within the past day to use this effect.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: The wearer gains +2 to their Toughness Value.

20 July 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 42 - Haddy's Hard Bargain

This is the forty-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 an amulet with a standard matrix. That's pretty straight forward. For whatever reason, I decided not to be straight forward and recalled a previous thread item for this character. Haddy's Hard Bargain isn't the first time she's made an appearance here. And I do hope this won't be her last.


Haddy's Hard Bargain

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

“A little too large and a lot too ostentatious” is how this amulet would be described by most. The gold amulet is held by a thick golden chain, while the amulet itself is studded with rubies and emeralds framing chocolate diamonds forming a rampant bear. The gold and gems never lose their high polish and always manage to catch the light. On the reverse of the amulet are the stylized initials “HH.”

The amulet automatically resizes to the wearer when a thread is attached, but is always a little larger than feels appropriate. If the wearer attempts to conceal the amulet, such as wearing it under a shirt, they cannot use its effects.

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


Thread Rank Two
Effect: The wearer gains +1 rank to Haggle or a +1 bonus to Haggle tests.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn who crafted the amulet and where the gems were mined.
Effect: The wearer gains +1 to their Social Defense.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: The wearer gains +1 rank to Book Memory.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the first owner’s Name and the significance of the colors, imagery, and initials on the amulet.
Deed: The owner must fashion and wear a symbol of the first owner’s family.
Effect: The wearer gains a +2 bonus to Interaction tests if they offer an appropriate financial upside to the other party. This doesn’t have to be directly offering money, but must be sincere and useful to the other party.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: The wearer gains a +2 ranks to Haggle or a +2 bonus to Haggle tests.




























































If you have to ask, “Can this be combined with the Rank Two effect so I can get 1 rank and +2 to it?” Go sit in the corner and know you are either deliberately obtuse only for the sake of getting bonuses.

17 July 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 41 - Stranger Boots

This is the forty-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 huntsman's boots. Using an existing magic item as a base for a thread item means there's going to be an effect dedicated to what that magic item does. In this case, allow you to travel further each day and keep your feet dry.

Since this is Scout related from top to bottom, I kept the effects in that lane. Though they may have gotten a little strange in application. For example, Safe Path is a useful talent. However, is a very boring talent. It explicitly keeps interesting things from happening. So I went askew and it keeps you safe, but makes your life a little more surreal. Give it some nice teeth. Which are how most of the effects pan out: useful effects in isolation, but might be a bit off.


Stranger Boots

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

Finely crafted boots from some unknown leather. They were woven with True air and water, replicating the effects of huntsman’s boots (and by extension dry boots). However, the leather is really weird. It’s clearly leather, with a smooth texture in one direction and a slight bite as though scaled in the other. But it looks indistinguishable and someone touching it might swear the “directionality” was different moments ago. Nonetheless, the circular brass buckles are worn, well polished, and keep the knee-high—what color even are these? Is that brown, black, grey?—boots cinched to the wearer. The small teeth protruding from the soles give the wearer excellent traction.

Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the boots’ Name.
Effect: The wearer travels overland as though they were mounted (45 miles a day instead of 25 miles a day). While the boots can leave tracks, they never make sense to a tracker and the Difficulty Number to track them is increased by +5.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The wearer gains +1 rank to Safe Path. While the path is no more or less “dangerous” than the talent otherwise indicates, the elementals summoned tend to be much stranger and the paths offered can be significantly weirder. Traveling with the wearer can show the more surreal side of the world others may never see.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn what the leather and teeth to make the boots came from.
Effect: The wearer can use the Stranger Boots power. As a Simple action for 1 Strain, the teeth from the boots extend slightly and bite into the ground, giving the wearer a little more traction and allow them to feel the ground through the boots for thread rank minutes. The wearer’s Movement Rate increases by +4.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: When the wearer uses the Stranger Boots power, they can use the following special maneuver:

Stranger Boots (Wearer, Tracking): By walking in the tracks the wearer is following, they can spend additional successes to ask one “what” or “how” about their quarry for each additional success. The tracks are gone and replaced only by the wearer’s tracks once walked in them in this fashion.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn who made the boots.
Effect: When the wearer uses the Stranger Boots power, they can see as though there are eyes in the boots’ buckles. This gives them +1 to Perception-based tests that rely on sight, +2 if it involves magical phenomena. Anyone looking closely at the boots swears there are eyes where the buckles are, but the wearer just doesn’t see it.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: When the wearer uses the Stranger Boots power, their Movement Rate while using Stealthy Stride is not reduced and they can include Great Leap as part of their movement.

16 July 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 40 - Laughter in the Face of Danger

This is the fortieth 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 cutlass that laughs when swung. This is one of those requests that made me raise my eyebrow - it is both oddly specific and vague at the same time. I later found out the request was intended to have something to do with Taunt. Naturally, this came too later in the process and while it didn't get exactly there, it was close enough to work for me after the fact.

Since I'm a bad person, the first thing I thought of was a talking sword. Talking swords are generally speaking a little obnoxious, so I leaned into that. Heartening Laugh was also the ability that came to mind, which works well since the character is an Air Sailor. The focus became around some group benefits and control to go with that.


Laughter in the Face of Danger

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

A single-edged sword with a slightly curved, wide, heavy blade. The blade is etched with stylized gusts of wind emanating from the latten bell hilt. Whenever struck, the bell gives a clear, crisp ring. Also loud, it’s a very loud ring.

The phrase “laughs in the face of danger” is etched inside the bell in Throalic script. Though close inspection reveals it was carved by three different hands, and what the original phrase was meant to be is unclear.

When a thread is attached, True air woven into it makes the sword perfectly balanced at any location for the wielder.

Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the sword’s Name.
Effect: The wielder gains +1 to Attack tests with the sword.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The wielder gains +1 rank to Heartening Laugh.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the bound spirit’s Name.
Effect: The wielder gains the Laughter in the Face of Danger ability. As a Simple action for 2 Strain, the sword begins laughing when it is swung, sometimes adding sound effects to attacks and blocks for emphasis until the end of the next round. The next time the wielder uses Heartening Laugh, everyone benefiting from it also gains a +1 bonus to Attack and Spellcasting tests for the duration of Heartening Laugh.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: The wielder gains +1 rank to Avoid Blow.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn where the True air used to create the sword was harvested.
Effect: When the wielder uses Laughter in the Face of Danger, the ringing from their bell hilt becomes increasingly jarring to attackers. The owner can use the following special maneuver while Laughter in the Face of Danger is active:

Laughs in the Face of Danger (Wielder, Avoid Blow): The wielder can spend an additional success on an Avoid Blow test where the attack was blocked with the sword’s bell hilt to give the attacker a -2 penalty to Attack tests until the end of the next round.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: When the wielder uses Laughter in the Face of Danger, the sword doesn’t just laugh and make noises, but will goad and taunt opponents. The taunts are very lame. Which only makes them worse. Even opponents who don’t understand know how awful they were. While Laughter in the Face of Danger is active, the owner gains a free additional success to use on the Enrage and Provoke special maneuvers (and automatically knows if they can be used on their opponent). If their opponent has neither, they can use Provoke on their opponent, but it requires four additional successes from their Attack test (this does not include their free additional success).

15 July 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 39 - Twilight Embrace

This is the thirty-ninth 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 heavy armor; heavy armor is defined as Initiative Penalty 2 or higher for this purpose.

Looking at the character, they use a body shield (Initiative Penalty 2) and have Dexterity Step 5. This points solidly at crystal ringlet and ring mail as the best options for them. The only options really. Since they're an obsidiman and Nethermancer, crystal ringlet gives the most interesting places to explore, it's also living armor.

For this item, I wanted something on the dark end of the spectrum, but not so creepy. It didn't end up where I started with this, which was at giving bonuses when in darkness. I moved away from that because it can be a difficult condition to ensure without putting an ability that causes it. With a Nethermancer, this is tricky since they have that spell. Meaning it could be seen as somewhat useless because they already have that ability, or start requiring them to assign the spell into a matrix. Engulfing yourself in darkness may benefit you, but your allies may have a different opinion about that decision at times. There's almost certainly good solutions, but instead of spending more time trying to resolve it, I changed tacks and charted a new course.

The end result benefits a spellcaster more than a non-spellcaster on the whole, but a non-spellcaster can still effectively use every effect. That's crucial unless the thread item contains a spell matrix, which sends a pretty clear message about who the thread item is indended for.


Twilight Embrace

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

This crystal ringlet armor is made of very small rings of dark-colored crystal, blues, purples, and black. When light shines on it, the small silver runes carved in crystal sparkle like stars.

The armor automatically resizes to the owner when a thread is attached.



Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the armor’s Name.
Effect: The armor is Mystic Armor 5.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The armor is Physical Armor 5.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn where the crystal used to create the armor was mined.
Effect: The wearer gains the Twilight Embrace ability. For 1 Strain as a Simple action, dark, gentle energy pours from the runes and enters into the wearer, turning their sclera black and irises silver. The wearer can see in darkness. This appears as an inversion of light and dark, where colors are inverted and darkness appears well lit and well lit areas appear dark. The wearer also gains a +2 bonus to Awareness tests in areas with no more than dim light. This lasts for thread rank minutes.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: While Twilight Embrace is active, the wearer gains +1 rank to Astral Sight and can use Astral Sight once per round without spending Strain.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the Name of the spirit bound to the armor.
Effect: When the wearer uses Twilight Embrace, the energy wraps around their limbs, holding and guiding them. While it is active, the wearer gains +2 to Attack or Spellcasting tests against targets they astrally sensed. If it affects multiple targets, all targets must be astrally sensed to gain the bonus.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: While Twilight Embrace is active, the wearer may spend 1 Strain as a Free action to cause the dark energy to surround an attack and infect the target. A successful Attack or Spellcasting test inflicts a -2 penalty to the target’s Mystic Defense until the end of the next round. If this attack affects more than one target, the wearer must pay 1 Strain for each affected target.

Thread Rank Seven
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn about the bound spirit.
Deed: The owner must communicate with the spirit and perform one task for it.
Effect: While Twilight Embrace is active, the wearer can increase the magnitude of a penalty they cause by 2 once per round. For example, the penalty inflicted by the Rank Six effect becomes -4. If an effect has more than one penalty (e.g., Spirit Grip), all are increased by 2.

Thread Rank Eight
Effect: While Twilight Embrace is active, the wearer gains +2 to one Action test each round.

14 July 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 38 - Good Boy

This is the thirty-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.

A thread item written for an online game I offered to help with thread items. This was written with the request of a treat bag with +2 to Charisma Value. This one is a little whimsical.


Good Boy

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

A medium-sized leather pouch dyed blue and designed to hand from a belt. The top cinches tightly, though the clever design makes it easy to access with one hand. It is embroidered and decorated with glass beads, featuring the faces of happy animals.

Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the bag’s Name.
Effect: The wearer gains +1 rank to Animal Bond.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The wearer gains +2 ranks to Animal Bond.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn who created the bag.
Effect: Creatures with a Friendly Attitude and fed with a treat from the bag have a -1 penalty to their Social Defense against the wearer’s Action tests for the day. The creature must be suitable as an animal companion.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: The wearer gains +1 rank to Animal Training.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn who is a good boy.
Effect: The penalty is now -2 to Social Defense.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: The wearer gains +2 to their Charisma Value.

13 July 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 37 - Ophidian Mantle

This is the thirty-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.

A thread item written for an online game I offered to help with thread items. This was written with the request of a cloak with a special ability similar to Mark of the Snake. Wow. That's a big ask because Mark of the Snake does a lot of different things, and has some notable downsides. Not all spells are appropriate to be stuck directly into an item (the really important word in the guidelines is "similar," which is distinctly different from "the same as" for a good reason) due to the differences in balancing a spell versus a thread item effect. This is even more true for binding spells, which have major effects, but also serious limitations. With this in mind, the spell does break down nicely into a bunch of different effects over the course of the entire thread item.


Ophidian Mantle

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

This sleek cloak hugs tightly to the wearer and never hinders their movement. It’s made of single yellow snakeskin with a dark, undulating dorsal stripe and dark skin between the scales. The hood has several dark plates and causes the wearer’s head to resemble a snake when worn. Once a thread is attached, the wearer’s movements take on a sinuous quality, with an almost unnerving grace.

Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the cloak’s Name.
Effect: The wearer gains +1 to Initiative tests.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The wearer gains +1 to Physical Defense.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the bound spirit’s Name.
Effect: The wearer gains +2 to Initiative tests.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: The wearer gains +2 to Physical Defense.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn who created the cloak.
Effect: The wearer gains the Ophidian Mantle ability. As a Free action for 1 Strain, the cloak forms to the wearer as a second skin. The wearer can gain a bonus to their Initiative up to their Thread Rank. They suffer penalties to their Physical and Mystic Defense equal to this bonus. This ability must be used before their Initiative test and they cannot use Aggressive Attack or Defensive Stance combat options.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: The wearer gains +2 to tests to escape from a grappling or entangling effect.

Thread Rank Seven
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the Name of the snake the skin came from.
Effect: While Ophidian Mantle is active, the wearer gains +4 to close combat Attack tests against opponents with lower Initiative.

Thread Rank Eight
Effect: While Ophidian Mantle is active, the wearer gains +4 to close combat Damage tests against opponents with lower Initiative.

10 July 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 36 - Valorbane

This is the thirty-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.

A thread item written for an online game I offered to help with thread items. This was written with the request of a troll sword. That's an open canvas. This character also received Dreadcry, so I decided to make something to work with that. Since they specifically wanted a wyvern skull helmet, I figured this style would work well.


Valorbane

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

This troll sword is formed from night dark crystal and bone. The crystal blade is intricately carved with silvery runes that are always cool to the touch, gleaming under moonlight. Magic is the only thing that can shape the bone used for the guard and hilt, as it clearly wasn’t carved and nothing naturally looks so elegant and disturbing. The hilt is wrapped with cold wire that bites into the skin, preventing the wielder’s hands from ever getting sweaty and maintaining a solid grip. A large tooth etched with similar runes to the blade makes up the pommel.

While the natural size is a troll sword, it automatically resizes to be an appropriate one-handed sword for the wielder when a thread is attached.

Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the sword’s Name.
Effect: The sword is Damage Step 7.

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

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the Name of who crafted and first wielded the sword.
Effect: The wielder gains the Valorbane ability. For 1 Strain as a Simple action, the runes emit an eerie light and silvery mist seeps out of them, tendrils reach out for the wielder’s opponent until the end of the next round. The successful Attack tests with the sword cause the target to suffer a -1 penalty to Defenses against fear-causing effects and any tests to resist or avoid fear effects until the end of the next round. These penalties are not cumulative with successive attacks.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: While Valorbane is active, the wielder gains +2 to Attack tests with the sword against opponents affected by a fear effect.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn where the crystal and bones came from.
Effect: The Valorbane ability now causes the target to suffer a -2 penalty.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: While Valorbane is active, the wielder can spend 1 Strain cause the silvery mist to coat the blade in razor-like ice. The wielder gains a separate Step 4/D6 die of cold damage with their next Damage test against an opponent affected by a fear effect.

09 July 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 35 - Loroweliaramehoyakurin

This is the thirty-fifth 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 bracers that empower unarmed attacks with destructive power. The specific examples given were punching through wooden walls. This is straight foward enough and should be able to reduce any object to flinders with a little time. In the case of a wooden door or wall, very little time.


Loroweliaramehoyakurin

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

While the underlying craftsmanship of these stone bracers is excellent, they possess an undeniable workman-like quality. A simple glyph is carved into the back of each, almost unobtrusively and without flourish, and simple leather straps hold them in place.

Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the bracers’ Name.
Effect: The wearer gains +3 to Damage tests against barriers.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: For 1 Strain, the wearer gains a +3 bonus to their next test to escape from an entangling or grappling effect.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn who created the bracers.
Effect: The wearer gains +6 to Damage tests against barriers.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: The wearer can spend an additional 
1 Strain to gain an additional +3 bonus to their next test to escape from an entangling or grappling effect.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn where the stone came from.
Effect: For 2 Strain, barriers do not reduce the wearer’s close combat damage.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: The wearer can spend 1 Stain to gain a +2 bonus to a Strength-based test. This can be used once per round.

08 July 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Musings 01 - Custom Enchanting

This is the first part of Musings 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 is the first entry in I suppose a new category where I share thoughts on various topics. Be aware, there will be rambling, asides, digressions, rabbit holes will be chased (as with waterfalls, but I'm not cool enough to actually know what that means), etc. Prepare for things to wander.

That being said, the first topic is relatively tight. Though it was verbose enough it was cut from the Companion because space is always a premium. However, between myself and Google, I can hoard everything. I have over a gigabyte of documents, designs, thoughts, variants, examples, etc. on Earthdawn. This particular cut was on custom enchanting and I hauled it out of the vault because it was relevant to a discussion taking place on the FASA Games Discord. But here it is saved and available for everyone.

Blood Charms

Blood charms have two additional factors beyond the effects: Blood Magic Damage and reusability. Generally disposable blood charms get a little more effect for the cost compared to reusable blood charms, while charms like desperate blow straddle between the two, but are treated mostly like disposable charms as they cannot be used from round to round. At least they aren't designed or intended that way.

If the proposed blood charm is proportionally better or worse than an existing blood charm, adjust the rank and associated Blood Magic Damage proportionally as well.

A custom pattern for a discount absorb blow charm that can take 6 Damage Points should be Rank 1 and cost 1 Blood Magic Damage, while a more powerful version that can take 24 Damage Points should be Rank 4 and cost 4 Blood Magic Damage. Since the base item is consumed when used, so is this. Evaluating this for impact, it should be low and there many very well be custom absorb blow charms for sale.

Not everything is this straightforward. A slightly more complicated example:

Elmod wants to create a custom enchanting pattern for a human friend that is an eye with heat sight, low-light vision, and a targeting eye. Heat sight is already a new effect, but it’s similar enough to low-light vision we will treat it as the same. Which gives two darksight eyes and a targeting eye. There’s nothing here with any synergy despite having three different effects. The limiting factor is how many eyes the character has. This means the easiest way to deal with it is by adding them together, giving Rank 9 and 6 Blood Magic Damage.

It isn’t entirely unreasonable to look at the rank requirement and wonder if it’s appropriate - the resulting blood charm is useful, but is it that powerful? There isn’t a good answer here, but an alternative approach is to take the rank of the highest base item (Rank 5, targeting eye) and halve the rank (rounding up) of each additional effect being added. The end result here is Rank 7 instead of Rank 9. This gives a reduction based on lumping a number of effects together. Alternatively, the perspective may be putting so much into one eye and bypassing the limitation on how many eyes a character has deserves an increase in rank, resulting in a Rank 10 requirement, putting this at the very edge of what can be accomplished with the Alchemy skill. Regardless of which approach is preferred, be wary of altering the Blood Magic Damage as it is the major balancing factor present for the effects. Since these charms are all reusable, so is the custom charm.

Both examples use existing and mostly unaltered blood charms as their base. For the final example, we’ll look at something more exotic.

Now Elmod wants to create a custom blood charm that reduces the Initiative Penalty of armor by 1 as a constant effect for his windling friend who loves her crystal plate, but also loves speed. The closest analog for this effect is an initiative booster charm, so we will start with that: it’s a Rank 8 pattern with 4 Blood Magic Damage. This charm’s impact on the game is significant, though the impact on the setting is minimal - it is unlikely to introduce any changes in warfare doctrine due to cost and availability. The reason for the game impact being high is Initiative Penalty is the primary balancing factor for heavy armor, and this provides an easy bypass for it. Which means Blood Magic Damage.

To start assessing how much Blood Magic Damage, there are two examples: blood pebble and living crystal armor. Blood pebble offers 5/3/-1 for 4 Blood Magic Damage, while living crystal offers 6/3/-2 for 5 Blood Magic Damage. Comparing these to other armor shows reducing an Initiative Penalty costs 4-5 Blood Magic Damage per point. However, there are two limitations inherent to this benefit: it cannot be transferred to different armor and it is obvious. This means the minimum cost for the proposed blood charm should be at least 6 Blood Magic Damage.

Going back the the initiative booster, it offers +1 initiative for 1 Strain, with no upper limit. This means you can get an analogous effect by paying 1 Strain every round in combat. Since this is a fixed value, rather than being open ended, this is a limitation imposed on the final blood charm. There is an additional potential benefit as it allows characters with an insufficient Initiative to wear more armor than would normally be allowed since you cannot voluntarily reduce your Initiative below Step 1, allowing that obsidiman with Initiative Step 6 to wear crystal plate and have a footman’s shield. Weighing these factors together, it’s worth guessing this total benefit is worth about 2 more Blood Magic Damage, on top of the initially ventured 6 Blood Magic Damage, giving a total of 8 Blood Magic Damage, this can be varied depending on the perceived impact to the game.


Common Magic Items

Providing good guidelines for common magic items is more difficult than the other categories due to the breadth of effects they offer. This makes evaluating the impact to the game and setting even more important. There are still some general guidelines regarding the function of common magic items and the roles they fill.

These are the most accessible form of magic to the typical inhabitant of the setting because they have no requirements for use and aren’t necessarily prohibitively expensive like an adept guzzling down healing potions. The effects provided by common magic items should not have a significant mechanical impact on the game, particularly since there are no costs associated with them and are only rarely consumable. Such effects are best saved for blood charms where the impact can have an appropriate associated cost.

Instead, these items are best used to add depth to the setting and display differences in affluence and general access to such small wonders. This means their greatest impact should be to the setting, which may need to be carefully managed. For the most part, these items represent conveniences or interesting effects, rather than significant mechanical benefits.

When designing common magic items, it’s encouraged to select the design aspects like a thread item: using the various traits to create the final effect. Since this is magic treated like a science, basic logic is good, but it just needs to sound plausible. In some ways, this may be the most interesting part of the process.

Long, long ago, Aren was an Elementalist tired of leading expeditions to find True air lodes. She had made countless divining rods when she was a Novice and considered if the design could be improved to detect True element lodes. The effect she wanted doesn’t quite fit into any category and there’s nothing precisely comparable. Looking at other common magic items for their effects and impact, it’s probably around the order of huntsman boots. They combine two effects, dry boots and additional travel, which overcomes the limitation of only having one set of feet. The impact on a typical game is likely low, since they are adepts and don’t need such things, but the final item would be invaluable to True element miners without access to such adepts. This could give anywhere from Rank 6 to 10, depending on the perceived impact. The lower end assesses it less because it replicates what adepts can do, without actually expanding anything. While the upper end assesses it higher because it opens up something once exclusive to a very small group to anyone with the drive to learn. Taking the balance, Rank 8, makes these items very rare, but by no means unheard of - they are an important part of the economy and treasured, but not something vanishingly rare that only the very best alchemists can produce, which is about where to strike it.

To improve the original design, she creates a long, hollow rod with the element in question at one end, True air in this case, and the element in opposition at the other end - True water. They are separated by a film of orichalcum, but connected by a thread of orichalcum passing through the diaphragm, forming a perfect seal. The rod can be twisted slightly at either end, tuning the kernels within, adjusting their relative distance, and the tension on the thread. The relative pressure on the diaphragm slowly adjusts an inset dial. The True element kernels are attracted to or repelled by the lode, as appropriate, allowing a skilled user to determine a rough direction and intensity of the lode.


Healing Aids, Potions, and Other Consumables

All items in this category are consumed after use, which tends to give them more potency than reusable items, but they may also have a duration to factor into their evaluation. When compared to blood charms, they do not have Blood Magic Damage as a balancing factor, which means the improved version of an existing item will have diminished increases for a higher enchanting pattern rank, compared to the proportional increase of blood charms.

Grammercy wants to make a better booster potion, which is a Rank 1 pattern. Her desired custom enchanting pattern gives a +12 bonus to Recovery tests, instead of the usual +8. To evaluate at the impact to the game, looking at what other healing aids provide at other ranks, salve of closure is Rank 4, and a healing potion is Rank 6, it seems like giving a +2 bonus for each increase in rank is appropriate. The impact here is how much a single Recovery test can be improved, as booster potions don’t stack. With an escalating cost (a Rank 3 booster potion costs 75 sp to make), it means these are only going to be popular with those who need to squeeze all the healing they can get from every Recovery test. Which is to say, the impact to the setting is low.

A more complicated example:

Grammercy needs to provide boosted healing in those awkward moments, like when someone is trying to kill you. Towards this end, she’s looking to improve on a healing potion. There’s two things she wants to do: one is have a healing potion that heals two Wounds, rather than one, and have a different healing potion that offers a better bonus/Recovery test (Step 10). For the former, the impact on the setting is nil, but it can have an impact on the economy of the game, by allowing an additional Wound to be healed in the span normally limited to one and without spending a Recovery test. A skeptical gamemaster may simply respond, “no”, due to this impact, while a more generous gamemaster may allow it. If allowed, it is certainly a Rank 10 custom pattern, combining a healing potion (Rank 6) and a salve of closure (Rank 4). Even then, it may be a bargain.

The second custom healing potion has less impact on the action economy, but a healing potion is still much more potent than a booster potion by offering the potential for an immediate, bonus Recovery test. This versatility comes with a surcharge. Each +1 to the bonus/Recovery test should be an additional Rank, rather than the more efficient increase to the custom booster potion above. This gives a Rank 8 custom pattern for a custom healing potion with a +10 bonus/Step 10 Recovery test. The impact to the setting from either of these is minimal as the number of alchemists who can make them is quite small and the market is pretty niche.


Both the above example are clearly based on existing items.

Next, Grammercy wants to make something entirely new - a potion that grants +3 to Initiative. Finding an analog isn’t simple, but some exist. The wound balance blood charm is a decent place to start - it provides a bonus to some specific tests, though is reusable and has a Blood Magic Damage cost. Initiative has more impact on the game than Wound Balance due to prevalence - you are always making Initiative tests, even when Wound Balance tests may be individually more important. This gives a rough place to start of Rank 4. Taking this and comparing it to the impact of other consumables, it has less impact than a healing potion and is probably roughly on par with a salve of closure. With this, Rank 4 seems reasonable, though it still needs a duration. Giving it a long duration feels wrong, while too short and it’s not worth having. Five rounds is likely appropriate - it should last the duration of most combats, but wearing off during something lengthy only adds to the sense of desperation. The gamemaster wants to keep this rare, rather than something that shows up constantly, so they indicate the custom pattern requires a rare ingredient, increasing the price to create it, but also reducing the difficulty.