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.

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