27 October 2012

Earthdawn: Part 16 - Comparison of 3E and Revised

This is the fifteenth part in an ongoing series about Earthdawn. Introduction and Index.

This is a list of all the changes I could find while reviewing the Earthdawn Revised Edition Player's Guide (often referred to as EDR, ED3R, or Revised). As advertised the changes were fairly minor over all, but there were hints that the overall release plans for the line are going to be different. For example, there were references to Adept's Way and Magic: A Manual of Mystic Secrets for material that was included in the Player's Compendium during the 3E publication run. As well, the spell and equipment lists reflect the 1E core book; I will cover what was specifically removed. Here is the list:

Chapter 1 - Introduction
  • Result Level Table: Now follows the following formulas: Poor = Average/2; Good = Average x 1.5; Excellent = Average x 2; Extraordinary = Average x 2.5
  • Minimum Difficulty: 3.
  • Default Measurements: Now in yards, not hexes. This may have caused some issues with unintentionally altered distances, or they may have been changed intentionally.
Chapter 2 - Characters
  • Humans: Karma Step 5.
  • Orks: Karma Step 5.
  • Windlings: Karma Step 5.
  • Carrying Capacity: Reduced (starting at Strength 7).
  • Death Rating: Figured by the following formula: 10 + Toughness x 2
  • Unconsciousness Ratings: Increased.
  • Wound Threshold: Reduced slightly for some very high ratings (starting at 25).
  • Recovery Tests: Slightly altered, 1 is the minimum and an additional per day is gained at one less Toughness (7, 13, 19, etc, instead of 8, 14, 20, etc).
  • Encumbrance: Moved to Chapter 2. [Organization]
  • Building Your Legend: Moved to Chapter 2. [Organization]
  • Training Pledges: Included in the Player's Guide. [Organization] 
Chapter 3 - Disciplines
  • Example Adepts: Included in Chapter 3. [Organization]
  • Durability: Now a Discipline Talent. This explicitly means there are two Discipline Talents at 2nd Circle and both are required for advancement.
  • Beastmaster: Primal Urges now has a duration, 10 minutes.
  • Spell Matrices: Numbered for convenience. [Organization]
  • Troubadour: One Last Word no longer costs Karma.
Chapter 4 - Talents
  • Battle Bellow: Range has been halved. (This may be an editing error.)
  • Battle Shout: Range has increased by 50% (Rank x 3 yards).
  • Call Missile: Range has been halved. (This may be an editing error.)
  • Familiar Durability: Removed.
  • Gliding Stride: Distance has been halved, with the exception of reducing distance fallen. (The former may be an editing error.)
  • Great Leap: Distance has been halved, movement leaped counts for overall movement that turn. (The former may be an editing error.)
  • Quick Shot: Has been included despite being a Warden tier Talent.
  • Sprint: Distance has been halved. (This may be an editing error.)
Chapter 5 - Skills
  • Default Skill Use: No longer requires a Good Result, but imposes a -2 penalty on the roll.
  • Alchemy: Refers to Magic: A Manual of Mystic Secrets and all of the Enchanting Difficulty Numbers (EDN) are missing from the equipment.
Chapter 6 - Magic
  • Astral Sensing: Difficulties in Open and Tainted areas has increased.
  • Thread Weaving: Difficulties have slightly increased.
  • Spell Learning: Difficulties have slightly increased (uses same table as Thread Weaving).
  • Dispel: Difficulties have slightly increased (uses same table as Thread Weaving).
  • Pushing Talents: The bonuses have increased.
  • Familiars: Removed.
  • Named Spells: Referenced in Magic: A Manual of Mystic Secrets.
  • Concentration: There is now casual and active concentration for spells.
  • Lowering Spell Defense: Cannot take Spell Defense below a 3. When a spellcasting lowers their own Spell Defense, they take a -3 penalty for the turn.
  • Raw Magic Casting: Horror Mark Steps have increased.
  • Raw Magic Casting: Penalties for every two Circles the spell is above the caster's highest magician Circle.
  • Grimoire Casting: Costs 1 Strain and has the same penalties as Raw Magic casting (above), with a minimum penalty of -2. It affects the Thread Weaving, Spellcasting and Effect Tests now.
  • Illusion Sensing: Difficulty is now 10 + 2 x Spell's Circle.
  • Multiple Spells: There is an expanded clarification for casting a spell on a target that is already affected by that spell.
  • Summoning: Chapter has been removed.
Chapter 7 - Spells

  • Typos:
    • Dispel Elementalism: Listed in both 2nd and 3rd Circle.
    • Detect Nethermancy: Listed in both 2nd and 3rd Circle.
    • Grave Message: There is no Spell Distance Difficulty table.
  • Removed Spells
    • Elementalist
      • First Circle
        • Air Armor
        • Moonglow
        • Purify Earth
      • Second Circle
        • Air Mattress
        • Billowing Cloak
        • Flame Strike
        • Hunter's Sense
        • Shield Willow
        • Small Slayer
      • Third Circle
        • Fingers of Wind
        • Fuel Flame
        • Grounding
        • Lightning Bolt
        • Rust
        • Smoke Cloud
        • Snuff
        • Sunlight
        • Thrive
        • Winds of Deflection
      • Fourth Circle
        • [Element] Spear
        • Falcon's Cloak
        • Fire Whip
        • Great Sticky Vines
        • Lightning Step
        • Liquid Arrow
        • Loadstone's Touch
        • Root Trap
        • Shield of Warping
        • Spirits of Death's Sea
      • Fifth Circle
        • Balloons of Mist
        • Inflame Self
        • Ironwood
        • Nutritious Earth
        • Resist Poison
        • Shattering Stone
      • Sixth Circle
        • Fireweave
        • Living Wall
        • Stone Rain
        • Tree Merge
      • Seventh Circle
        • Beast Form
        • Earth Q'wril
        • Earth Surfing
        • Engulf [Element]
        • Fire Houds
        • Flame Darts
        • Grasping Hand of Earth
        • Thunderclap
      • Eighth Circle
        • Crushing Hand of Earth
        • Waterspout
    • Illusionist
      • First Circle
        • Bellow of the Thundras
        • Blazing Fists of Rage
        • Catseyes
        • Fun with Doors
        • True Blazing Fists of Rage
      • Second Circle
        • Blindness
        • Disaster
        • Encrypt
        • Impossible Knot
        • Remove Shadow
        • You Got Me
      • Third Circle
        • And Then I Woke Up
        • Blinding Glare
        • Phantom Warrior
        • See the Unseen
        • Soothe the Savage Beast
      • Fourth Circle
        • Aura
        • Bleeding Edge
        • Conceal Tracks
        • Great Weapon
        • Hunger
        • Memory Blank
        • Nightmare of Foreboding
        • Unmask
      • Fifth Circle
        • Awaken
        • Bond of Silence
        • Clothing Gone
        • Enter and Exit
        • Flesh Eater
        • Illusion Switch
      • Sixth Circle
        • Astral Shadow
        • Foreseeing
        • Memory Scribe
        • Stench
      • Seventh Circle
        • Dream Sight
        • Drunken Stagger
        • Reversal of Passion
        • Silent Stampede
        • Stampede
        • Time Flies
      • Eighth Circle
        • Dreamsend
        • Shadow Spell
    • Nethermancer
      • First Circle
        • Astral Spear
        • Mount Scare
        • Spirit Dart
      • Second Circle
        • Gadfly
        • Shadow's Whisper
      • Third Circle
        • Arrow of Night
        • Dark Messenger
        • Death Trance
        • Preserve
        • Shadow Meld
        • Summon Bone Ghost
      • Fourth Circle
        • Blood Servitor
        • Dark Spy
        • Friend or Foe
        • Last Chance
        • Night Flyer's Cloak
      • Fifth Circle
        • Astral Mount
        • Astral Whisper
        • Blind
        • Incessant Talking
        • Sculpt Darkness
        • Sense Horror
        • Shadow Hunter
        • Spiritual Guidance
        • Star Shower
        • Tears of the Scourge
        • Whisper Through the Night
      • Sixth Circle
        • Bone Puppet
        • Bone Walker
        • Dust to Dust
        • Wall of Darkness
      • Seventh Circle
        • Astral Beacon
        • Astral Maw
        • Banquet of Dis
        • Bone Pudding
        • Cold Storage
        • Damage Shift
        • Marathon Run
        • Spirit Bolt
        • Steal Strength
        • Step Through Shadow
      • Eighth Circle
        • Globe of Silence
        • Netherblade
        • Visit Death
        • Wall of Bones
        • Wither Away
    • Wizard
      • First Circle
        • Bedazzling Display of Logical Analysis
        • Silent Converse
        • Triangulate
      • Second Circle
        • Seal
      • Third Circle
        • Aura Strike
        • Catwalk
        • False Aura
        • Healing Sleep
        • Identify Spell
        • Ork Stoke
        • Water Wings
        • Wizard Mark
      • Fourth Circle
        • Binding Threads
        • Buoyancy
        • Hair Frenzy
        • Icy Protection
        • Identify Magic
        • Juggler's touch
        • Karmic Connection
        • Wizard's Cloak
      • Fifth Circle
        • Giant Size
        • Heat Metal Armor
        • Mystic Shock
        • Sanctuary
        • Study Thread
      • Sixth Circle
        • Blood Lost
        • Loan Spell
        • Mental Library
        • Multi-Mind Dagger
        • Rampage
        • Spellstore
      • Seventh Circle
        • Astral Gift
        • Call
        • Dislodge Spell
        • Liquid Eyes
        • Mystic Net
      • Eighth Circle
        • Catch Spell
        • Peacebond
        • Spell Snatcher
Chapter 9 - Goods
  • The following items have been removed:
    • Weapons
      • Scythan Axe
    • Armor
      • Bark
      • Living Hair Barding
    • Shields
      • Bark
    • Blood Charms
      • Blood Karma
      • Blood Weapon
      • Bone Charm
      • Crystal Arm
      • Disturbing Appearance
      • Karma Absorber
      • Poison Sac
      • Spore Glands
      • Winds of Fire
    • Common Magic Items
      • Boots, Huntsman's
      • Cloak, Oakleaf
    • Healing Aids
      • Anti-Sporific Potion
      • Cure Disease Potion
    • Mounts
      • Dyre
      • Stajian
    • Thread Items
      • Section removed
Chapter 10 - Passions
  • Passions: Now included in the Player's Guide; though mechanics for Questors are not included. [Organization]
Overall the changes are very minor. Most of the omissions are likely to accommodate the new, smaller book format. Though they do also signal a return to including material that was in the original 1E release and not offering material from across the line. This makes me wonder if it is related to the return to FASA. Turning various table values into formulas appeals to me since it will be easier to handle those on the fly. The changes to Karma and Durability are also good, though I'm uncertain how I feel about the improved Karma Step for humans - Versatility is already an amazingly powerful Talent. Many of the halved distances may, or may not be artifacts of the measurement change. I am curious to see how the future releases are affected by the new format.

If you have any questions, or note something that I have missed, leave a comment.


  1. Thank you very much for this overview of the Earthdawn Player’s Guide for 3ed Revised. My understanding is that the Player’s Guide was to have all the content from the 3rd Edition Player’s Guide and the 3rd Edition Players Companion condensed into one book. It appears as though this is not the case.

  2. Not a problem; more than happy to provide something helpful for the community. I know I wanted to know exactly the extent of the changes. The new format seems to limit the amount of material that can be included to a greater degree than had been previously indicated, even with the new layout. The new layout is purely functional, not nearly as nice. Whenever I can get a physical copy of the GM's Guide, I plan on doing another one.

  3. Thanks! This is just what I was looking for. Personally, it drove me nuts that the Passions were not described in the Player's Handbook. Bummed about Healing Sleep go, it was actually quite a good offensive spell.

  4. I have a copy of third edition. The changes made for revised edition, detailed here, seem slight but significant. Which, do you think, make the game better? I'm most curious about the changes to hard numbers. Specifically the Result Level Table, Carrying Capacity, Death Rating, Uncon Rating, Recovery Tests, and various changes to the difficulties involved with magic and thread weaving? Did these numbers need to be changed? Or are they fine as written in third edition?

    1. I use a combination of 3E and 3ER - the Result Level table from 3E, but the Carrying Capacity, Death/Unconsciousness Ratings and Recovery Tests from 3ER. The new difficulty tables haven't actually come up yet.

      I wouldn't say that anything needed to be changed, and (now) FASA has pretty much said the same thing. The Result Levels were changed so that you could easily figure them out on the fly and the others so that the progression was more regular (I don't know the underlying reason for a lot of the irregular progressions, but there is almost certainly one - almost).

    2. Revised doesn't require a cost for Karma, I noticed. I've read your house rule on Karma but I'm curious, does removing the cost of individual karma points encourage their use more? At higher circles, my old players weren't afraid to spend karma because it was relatively cheap but early on they were worried that they would have to choose between a full karma pool and not advancing in line with their fellow party members.

    3. My previous House Rule on Karma for 3E was pretty generous (refilled when you increase your Karma Ritual Rank or Circle, or refill for 10 LP), but the players were somewhat hesitant to use them initially. I would chalk that up to the cost (albeit small), small pool, few Talents to use them on, and unfamiliarity with the system in general.

      Once they began increasing in Circle, usage became common with the windling in particular spending Karma at every chance. Some Disciplines don't have as many opportunities to spend Karma as others (the Weaponsmith often had this problem).

      I would say it is slightly more common now (except for the winding, who will pay 10 LP for the ability to unload every day). It does make the distinction between a Discipline Talent and everything else sharper.

    4. I recall a similar problem with Weaponsmith's back in the day. While the karma was useful for Forge Weapon (and a large amount of downtime was spent with him forging party weapons) it had little use beyond that. The problem solved itself when he picked up Elementalist as a second Discipline.

  5. I noticed just yesterday, that the Revised book doesn't have Boots, Travellers in the common magic items section under Gear.