16 December 2016

Earthdawn 4E: Companion Discipline Preview 03 - Troubadour

This is the third 4E Companion Discipline Preview, 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.

Troubadour is the next Companion preview, and this is intended to offer some insights into the discipline design. Obviously the actual progression is missing, which is found at FASA Games.

The changes to Troubadour are probably the most significant of the three Disciplines previewed thus far. In the seven Discipline talents, only two are shared (Bardic Voice and Song of Deflection), while four are entirely new. The reason is to continue to push the social mastery of the Discipline. Along with this comes their support role, which gets expanded as well. Expanded may be a little weak. Troubadours gain some incredibly powerful new abilities for that role.

Their talent options have a variety of different directions. Significantly more direct combat talents can be found at these higher Circles, such as Acrobatic Defense, Anticipate Blow, Critical Hit, Second Weapon, and Soul Aegis. A couple of these are rather late (Acrobatic Defense and Anticipate Blow), but this may be a case of better late than never and there are knacks that may make them attractive even this late in the game.

Knowledge driven Troubadours also have directly and tangentially applicable talent options in the form of Book Memory, Eidetic Memory, Memory Probe, and True Sight. As well, their social and support themes get options in the form of Cold Purify, Disarming Smile, Perfect Focus, Safe Thought, and Thought Link.

A new direction also starts to form at these tiers. This is true of a few other Disciplines as well. It typically begins as just an inkling initially, but begins to blossom at Warden. Here it is the Troubadour turning into the the heart, soul, and inspiration of their group. Not only do they support their allies, but the adept can face down any challenge with their allies at their side. This can be developed through Confront Horror, Lion Spirit, Soul Aegis (mentioned previously), and Steel Thought.

Moving to their abilities, Unnatural Charm is a natural fit and they get a lot of mileage from it. Encore isn't new, but it used to be the Warden tier ability. There's a couple good reasons it got pushed back. First, to make room for Unnatural Charm. Second, it was far too powerful as a Warden ability with many of the Charisma-based abilities at their disposal.

Which brings us to their new Discipline talents: Cutting Words, Song of Battle, Undermine, and Witty Repartee. Of these, Cutting Words is probably the most fun, as the adept now knows killing words. However, Undermine has the most subtle power. It's effect to reduce a target's Social Defense reinforces both the social dominance of the Troubadour, while also supporting the rest of their group. Any arena where Social Defense is relevant, from negotiations, court audiences, to combat.

In all, the Troubadour continues to build on what makes them great (social and support), while expanding their options into potentially some other areas as well. Their biggest weakness is still direct conflict, despite having some new talents, but that is why you always bring your friends. You're stronger with them, and they're a lot stronger with you.

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