11 January 2013

Earthdawn: Part 22 - Play Aids 2

This is the twenty-second part in an ongoing series about Earthdawn. Introduction and Index.

In my previous post on the topic of player aids, I compiled a number of the player aids that I had introduced in my game to help organize the information and minimize the amount of time spent looking in books for relevant text. The primary tool for that is the binder and there have been a few requests to see more of what I include in the binders that I put together for my players. That will be the topic for this post with lots of pictures to provide some inspiration and help for others. The picture on the right has all of the note cards kept in the pouch spread out and you can also see the dry and wet erase pens. If you have any questions, post them in the comments and I will be happy to try and address them.

Here is are two pictures that have more detail of the note cards. I use white cards for equipment, in no small part because it easier to put art on the backside for Thread Items; which I am lucky enough to have a player willing to help out on that. Red cards are related to blood, whether tracking Wounds (whenever a character takes a Wound, they get to record it and the scar it leaves for posterity), or Blood Charms. Consumable items are yellow (and generally healing related) because it was the color left over in the scheme. On the right you can see this character's Thread Items and an NPC (in purple) that was encountered during the previous session.

Here you can see the back of the pouch with the note cards stored and the combat cheat sheet I make for each character. It is very limited in what information it contains to mostly what is relevant during combat. The intent is to focus attention and not have information spread all over the place, making options pretty clear. It also gives spaces to track damage, Karma, and whatever notes are important. Such as what to buy with Legend Points at the end of a session.

I use the expanded character sheet with all the pages - just not everyone gets all of them. They are filled out electronically because I'm something of a penmanship snob and spend enough time reading illegible scrawl in lab notebooks at work. While not the most functional character sheets, there is a lot of information spread out, I like the look of these quite a bit.

Recent additions to the group no longer get the equipment sheet, so this is a legacy. Instead I handle all of that through note cards or actual coins. As I've mentioned, I much prefer having physical objects for these because of the additional dimension they bring to the game.

Here is an example of a new character's equipment list instead of a page. It takes longer to put together and takes up more space, but it also requires less time to get details on what is included. Adding and removing equipment in this cannot be any easier. As I have mentioned, I just like the tactile aspect that this brings to the game.

I haven't actually added the additional sections for the newest Thread Item as it was acquired in the last session. So that's going to happen in the next couple of days.

These are the sheets that have all of the ability information on them, including Half-Magic, Talents, Knacks and skills. This cuts down on a significant amount of time hunting through the books to try and track what exactly a Talent does, or the tables referenced (those are included as well, this character just doesn't have any). Since not everyone has a Player's Guide, this helps in that regard as well - you always have access to the information you need, right at your fingertips, with minimal effort. Since the threshold to read all of your abilities is functionally zero, there is a great deal more familiarity with them, whereas in other games it may be lacking simply because you have to get the book, find what you're looking for (which may be a feat if you're not familiar with the layout already), and not get distracted by the art. These also have all of the House Rules included in the text, so they are more useful in that regard.

Step Tables, Result Levels and Combat Options, oh my! I tried making my own for those and gave up because I found out official ones existed. There are a few reasons I still use the old Result Levels despite mostly updating to 3ER and this handout has more than a little to do with it. The standard deviations is the other part. I also use the 1E Step Table because I simply don't have enough d12s to go around, not since I liquidated my collection after I stopped running The Everlasting. I correctly predicted that how Increasing Your Legend worked was going to be a big source of questions, so I created a sheet to clearly explain all of the costs and how it all worked. There are still a number of questions regarding this, but I'm confident it would be a continual issue without this.

The other piece to Increasing Your Legend.

The last page is a thorough explanation of Karma and how it works. This includes all of my particular House Rules, so it prevents some confusion.


  1. Hmmm... You are including only Combat Options tables or you add descriptions like with talents, skills etc.

    And how do you handle equipment like clothes, candles, tents and other adventuring equipement that doesn't have any special rules attached to it?

    That is great and I will incorporate it in my group (with some special rules too)

    1. I'm not certain I understand the first question - there are both combat options and descriptions of Talents and skills (except for those that require no description, e.g. Throwing Weapons).

      For sundries I now have note cards as well. Once the battery on my camera recharges, I will take a picture of the stack for one of the new characters who doesn't have an equipment page and update the post with that.

    2. I meant that do you describe every combat option or you just put a table with mods in it? :)

    3. Just the modifiers. I have the former written, but it contains a lot of information that I don't think will ever be used. That is largely based on empirical evidence - if someone is interested in combat options, typically they will investigate them on their own. Also, most of the options are pretty self-explanatory and don't require any elaboration, which is helpful.

    4. If many characters have the same items are you duplicating cards for them?

    5. Yes, everyone has their own set of cards. It can definitely take a lot of time.

  2. Where did you get ed3 tables with ed1 step table?

    1. They were up on the Redbrick site a while back. I'll put them on Google Drive to share with anyone interested. Below is the link, let me know if it doesn't work for any reason.