28 April 2021

Earthdawn 4E: Rules Variant 08 - Alternate Advancement [Cavalier (Cavalryman Rebuild)]

This is the eighth Rules Variant, 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 entry continues from the alternate advancement scheme introduced here. The following presents the advancement scheme for Cavalier, based on the Cavalryman rebuild.

Cavalier

Novice General Talents
  • Animal Training
  • Avoid Blow
  • Call Animal Companion
  • Conversation
  • Creature Analysis
  • Enhance Animal Companion
  • Etiquette
  • First Impression
  • Heartening Laugh
  • Impressive Display
  • Speak Language
  • Wound Balance
First Circle
Discipline Talents
  • Animal Bond
  • Cavalry Charge
  • Melee Weapons
  • Riding
  • Thread Weaving (MountWeaving)
Second Circle
Discipline Talent: Open talent

Third Circle
Discipline Talent: Open talent

Fourth Circle
Discipline Talent: Battle Cry or open talent


Journeyman General Talents
  • Animal Companion Durability
  • Animal Talk
  • Armor Mount
  • Blood Share
  • Dominate Beast
  • Fearsome Assault
  • Fireblood
  • Leadership
  • Lion Heart
  • Mount Attack
  • Spirit Mount
  • Tactics
Fifth Circle
Discipline Talent: Open talent

Sixth Circle
Discipline Talent: Open talent

Seventh Circle
Discipline Talent: Wheeling Attack or open talent

Eighth Circle
Discipline Talent: Lightning Charge or open talent


Warden General Talents
  • Battle Bellow
  • Champion Challenge
  • Critical Hit
  • Deliberate Assault
  • Goring Attack
  • Graceful Exit
  • Life Check
  • Lion Spirit
  • Momentum Attack
  • Resist Pain
  • Resist Taunt
  • Spot Armor Flaw
Ninth Circle
Discipline Talent: Open talent

Tenth Circle
Discipline Talent: Open talent

Eleventh Circle
Discipline Talent: Tempest Shield or open talent

Twelfth Circle
Discipline Talent: Rolling Thunder or open talent


Master General Talents
  • Aura Armor
  • Rally
  • Relentless Recovery
  • Second Attack
  • Second Chance
  • Thought Link
  • Unflinching Fortitude
  • Vicious Wound
  • Vital Strike
Thirteenth Circle
Discipline Talent: Open talent

Fourteenth Circle
Discipline Talent: Thunderstruck or open talent

Fifteenth Circle
Discipline Talent: Eye of the Storm or Open talent

21 April 2021

Earthdawn 4E: Rules Variant 22 - Blade Juggle Rebuild

This is the twenty-second Rules Variant, 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.

Blade Juggle.

I almost feel like that's both the setup and punchline to a joke for those familiar with Earthdawn through the editions. This isn't a rehash of that history. You're welcome. Despite my best efforts to simplify Blade Juggle from the previous incarnations without fundamentally changing it and simplifying it into the process, it didn't work out... well. All the previous are true, but it is still the source of significant confusion about how it works and if it's even worth taking. The answer to the latter is almost always "no" often because of the former.

So, I'm burning it down and starting again.

This variant focuses on making Blade Juggle useful and relatively simple. Something you can use without the game coming to a crashing halt. The Blade Juggle variant breaks the previous functions into different pieces; basic functionality (bonuses) remain in the talent, while the other functions are in knacks. Making these discrete rather than rolled into one should make using them easier. There's also a bunch of new functionality included.

A bit of musing on constrains and complications: There are two difficulties when looking at some of these weird talents with multiple functions. The first is most of these remain mostly unchanged from their initial incarnations in 1E before knacks existed. Next, lacking knacks in the Player's Guide means some of what should be mostly core functions can't be easily cut out from the talent, because their form as a knack doesn't exist yet. Doing post-hoc design on these is comparatively easy because all the necessary pieces exist.

Special thanks to Brett Bowen for helping with this.


Blade Juggle
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Simple
Strain: 1
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Karma.
The adept begins quickly juggling small weapons, using the ring of steel to close the gaps in their defenses and launch attacks at their opponents from unexpected directions. They make a Blade Juggle (10) Action test. If successful, the adept gains +1 per success to Attack tests using the juggled weapons and their Physical Defense until the end of the round.

The adept may juggle up to the Blade Juggle rank weapons (minimum 3) and can only juggle weapons below their one-handed size limit with this talent (yes, this means windlings cannot use this talent). This knack requires at least three weapons to use. If the adept has less than three weapons being juggled, the talent and all benefits end. Juggled weapons can still be used for close combat and ranged combat; thrown weapons do not end the talent if they return to the adept’s hand.

This cannot be combined with Acrobatic Defense or Anticipate Blow.

Encore
Talent: Blade Juggle
Requirements: Rank 5
Restrictions: None
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Simple
Strain: 2
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Standard Effects. Unrestricted.
The bonuses to Physical Defense last until the end of the next round or Blade Juggle is used again, whichever comes first. This knack can be combined with other Blade Juggle Knacks.

Shadow Juggle
Talent: Blade Juggle
Requirements: Rank 6
Restrictions: None
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Simple
Strain: 2
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Standard Effects. Unrestricted.
The adept creates shadow copies of one juggled weapon, filling up their hands with weapons (total weapons is their Blade Juggle rank). These weapons can be thrown or used in the adept’s off-hand, and have the same abilities as the copied weapon, though effects (e.g. bonus to Physical Defense) do not stack with the original’s effects. The copies disappear at the end of the round. This knack can be combined with other Blade Juggle Knacks.

Split Revenge
Talent: Blade Juggle
Requirements: Rank 8
Restrictions: None
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Free (Response)
Cost: 3 Strain
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Attack. Limited. Unrestricted.
If an attack test misses the adept’s Physical Defense (this does not include using active defenses), they may make a Split Revenge Action test as an attack against the attacking opponent’s Physical Defense. The opponent must be within range of the adept’s weapon and it must be made at the same range; i.e. a close combat attack against the adept requires a close combat attack in return. The adept’s Split Revenge Step is cannot be higher than their Melee Weapons Step for close combat and Throwing Weapons Step for ranged combat (is limited by them).

This knack can be used once per round and can be combined with other Blade Juggle knacks.

14 April 2021

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Discipline 38 - Spirit Rider Part 3 (Cavalier Rebuild)

This is the thirty-eighth 4E Anatomy of a Discipline, 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 version of the Spirit Rider Discipline isn't because I was unhappy with it, but because the changes wrought to mounted combat and associated talents with Cavalier and the associated combat options. If not using those variants, this update is unnecessary. Otherwise, this brings it up to date for those changes. Treat their spirit mount as a bound animal companion for the various actions where it is relevant.


Special thanks to Ashwath Ganesan for help with this. I don't think anyone has more experience with playing this Discipline than him. Though would be delighted to be proven wrong. 

Spirit Rider

Spirit Riders share commonalities with Cavaliers, Nethermancers, and Shamans, though are much rarer than any of the three. It's common for young Namegivers with this potential to be identified as potential Nethermancers or Shamans, though those who begin their training there may not find it a good fit. Something is missing. Luckily for most, their spirit finds them, much like a Cavalier connecting with their mount. That missing piece is no longer. These adepts often feel they are living between worlds and at peace when with their bound spirit. With the nature of spirits, this is a life long connection for most Spirit Riders and an important, but transient phase for the spirit—something of an inversion to the typical relationship. Still, both are bound and dedicated to each other. Their unique abilities make them welcome in any adventuring group or military company, even if their eerie presence can leave them without much cameraderie. Still, this suits many Spirit Riders fine; they already have their companion.


Important Attributes: Dexterity, Perception, Willpower

Karma Ritual: The Spirit Rider sits in quiet meditation for a minute as their spirit mount materializes before them and bows its head in greeting. The adept returns the greeting and mounts their spirit, racing through the area. As the move ever faster, the spirit takes the lead and the Spirit Rider trusts in their companion, closing their eyes and opening their other senses, feeling their connection and the world around them. After 30 minutes, the mount returns to their original location and they bid each other farewell.

Artisan Skills: Body Painting, Rune Carving

Half-Magic: Spirit Riders use half-magic for knowledge of different kinds of mounts used by Namegiver races and knowledge of significant cavalry units in Barsaive. A Spirit Rider also uses half-magic to sense the presence of spirits within 30 yards of their location by using Perception-based half-magic against the spirit's Mystic Defense. If the test succeeds, the Spirit Rider can sense the presence of the spirit and use talents, such as Spirit Talk, to communicate and interact with the spirit. The gamemaster may choose to make this half-magic test on behalf of the Spirit Rider at any time, as this innate sense is always active.

Novice

Novice Talent Options: Anticipate Blow, Avoid Blow, Awareness, Danger Sense, Enhance Bound Spirit*, Maneuver, Spirit Development*, Sprint, Tiger Spring, Wound Balance

First Circle

  • Durability 7
  • Discipline Talents: Cavalry Charge, Melee Weapons, Riding, Spirit Mount, Spirit Weaving
Second Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +1 to their Physical Defense.
  • Discipline Talent: Steel Thought 
Third Circle
  • Karma: The adept may spend a Karma Point on Attack tests while charging.
  • Discipline Talent: Astral Sight 
Fourth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +1 to their Mystic Defense.
  • Discipline Talent: Spirit Talk 
Journeyman

Journeyman Talent Options: Armor Mount, Battle Cry, Graceful Exit, Iron Constitution, Lion Heart, Mount Attack, Spirit Durability*, Spirit Hold, Spot Armor Flaw, Steely Stare

Fifth Circle

  • Spirit Senses: When the adept's spirit mount is not manifested (typically through Spirit Mount), the spirit is still aiding the adept with their otherworldly senses. For 1 Strain the adept can enhance their connection as a Free action, gaining +2 to a test which directly involves otherworldly detection, such as Anticipate Blow, Astral Sight, Danger Sense, and half-magic tests to detect spirits.
  • Karma: The adept may spend a Karma Point on a Damage test while mounted.
  • Discipline Talent: Fearsome Assault
Sixth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +2 to their Physical Defense.
  • Discipline Talent: Temper Flesh
Seventh Circle
  • Bonus: The adept adds +1 to their Mystic Armor.
  • Discipline Talent: Wheeling Attack 
Eighth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +2 to their Mystic Defense.
  • Discipline Talent: Lightning Charge
Warden

Warden Talent Options: Banish, Critical Hit, Life Check, Lion Spirit, Matrix Sight, Orbiting Spy, Relentless Recovery, Resist Pain, Spirit Strike, Summon (Ally Spirit)

Ninth Circle

  • Guardian Spirit: When the adept's spirit mount is not manifested (typically through Spirit Mount), the spirit is still protecting the adept from threats to their pattern and soul. The adept can spend 1 Strain to enhance their connection as a Free action to gain +3 to their Mystic Defense or a Willpower test to resist effects (e.g., Steel Thought or resisting Frighting).
  • Karma: The adept may spend a Karma Point on Recovery tests.
  • Discipline Talent: Ethereal Weapon
Tenth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +3 to their Physical Defense.
  • Bonus: The adept gains +1 Recovery Test per day.
  • Discipline Talent: Tempest Shield
Eleventh Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +1 to their Social Defense.
  • Karma: Once per turn, the adept can spend a Karma Point on a test while in contact with their spirit mount (this does not include Attack or Damage tests, or Sustained actions).
  • Discipline Talent: Momentum Attack
Twelfth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +3 to their Mystic Defense.
  • Bonus: The adept adds +2 to their Mystic Armor.
  • Discipline Talent: Rolling Thunder
Master

Master Talent Options: Aura Armor, Champion Challenge, Defensive Posture, Second Attack, Second Chance, Unflinching Fortitude, Vicious Wound, Vital Strike

Thirteenth Circle

  • Twin Soul: When in contact with their spirit mount, the adept can shift any ongoing effects that originally targeted the adept's Mystic Defense to their spirit mount, and the adept can use their Mystic Defense and make Willpower-based resistance tests for their mount (e.g., Steel Thought or resisting Frighten). The adept must pay all costs. Additionally, the adept can use abilities which require their spirit mount to be dematerialized when in contact with their spirit mount.
  • Defense: The adept adds +4 to their Physical Defense.
  • Karma: The adept increases their Karma +1 Step to a d8.
  • Bonus: The adept adds +1 Step to their Initiative.
  • Discipline Talent: Soul Aegis
Fourteenth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +4 to their Mystic Defense.
  • Bonus: The adept gains +2 Recovery Tests per day.
  • Discipline Talent: Netherwalk
Fifteenth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +2 to their Social Defense.
  • Bonus: The adept adds +3 to their Mystic Armor.
  • Discipline Talent: Eye of the Storm

Talents

Enhance Bound Spirit
Step: Rank+WIL
Action: Sustained (8 hours)
Strain: 0
Skill Use: No
The adept magically enhances their bonded spirit by spending eight hours in communion with the spirit. This increases the bound spirit's effective Circle by +1—still limited by their bonding talent. The bound spirit's effective Circle (including this talent and any other modifiers, such as applied Masks) cannot exceed the adept's Enhance Bound Spirit rank. This talent can only affect bound spirits. If a Mask is later added that increases the spirit's effective Circle above the adept's Enhance Bound Spirit rank, remove the benefits from Enhance Bound Spirit until the effective Circle is equal to the adept's Enhance Bound Spirit rank.

Each effective Circle increases gives the bound spirit +1 to Physical, Mystic, and Social Defense, Physical and Mystic Armor, and Attack and Damage tests (this includes Spellcasting), and +5 to Death Rating. Note: the presentation as a Mask is for clarity, but it is not a Mask.

Note: the default spirit mount is First Circle.

Enhance Animal Companion (+1 Circle)
DEX: 0       Initiative:                    0        Unconsciousness:      NA
STR:  0       Physical Defense:   +1       Death Rating:              +5
TOU: 0       Mystic Defense:       +1       Wound Threshold:    0
PER:  0       Social Defense:        +1       Knockdown:                 0
WIL:  0       Physical Armor:      +1       Recovery Tests:           0
CHA: 0       Mystic Armor:          +1        
Movement: 0
Actions: 0; Attack +1 (Damage +1)

Spirit Development
Step: Rank+WIL
Action: Sustained (8 hours)
Strain: 0
Skill Use: No
The adept infuses the pattern of their bonded spirit with a simple command such as “scout ahead", "smell that", and “go home", as well as the more usual “stop", “heel", “fetch", and “kill”. A bonded spirit can store a maximum number of commands equal to the adept’s Spirit Development rank. The adept does not need to use Spirit Talk to issue these commands, but must speak them aloud to the spirit.

Each command requires a separate successful use of Spirit Development. The adept spends eight hours communing with their bonded spirit, focusing on the new command, and reviewing any commands already developed, then makes a Spirit Development test against the spirit’s Social Defense. If successful, the spirit understands and obeys the command. The adept can commune with a bonded spirit nearby in astral space. The spirit only responds to commands given by the bonded adept or characters they are Friendly with, including the trainer. Once learned, spirits do not forget their commands. The adept cannot develop spirits with an effective Circle higher than their Spirit Development rank.

In addition to infusing commands, the adept grants the spirit +1 to a skill, talent, or power the spirit knows (this does not include the spirit's Attack Step or Spellcasting talent). At the gamemaster’s discretion, the adept can use this ability to develop talents and skills the spirit doesn’t know, but would conceivably be able to perform. These enhancements count as commands for the talent's limits.

Spirit Durability
Step: Rank
Action: NA
Strain: 0
Skill Use: No
A bonded spirit’s ability to take damage is improved in a similar manner to the Durability ability (Player's Guide, p. 85), with each rank increasing the spirit’s Health Ratings by +5. The maximum number of bonded spirits that can benefit from this talent is equal to the adept’s Spirit Durability rank. A bonded spirit may only benefit from a single Durability-type ability at a time.


Knacks

Bind Spirit
Talent: Spirit Mount
Requirements: Rank 1
Restrictions: Spirit Rider 1
Step: NA
Action: Sustained (8 hour)
Strain: 0
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Perpetual. Spirit.
The adept performs an 8 hour ritual with their willing spirit mount, binding them to the adept, turning the spirit into a bound spirit and allowing the to benefit from more of the adept’s magic. The adept Names the spirit and takes a blood oath similar to an Oath of Blood Peace (this does not cost Blood Magic Damage) and weaves a thread to the spirit’s pattern. This oath lasts as long as both the adept and spirit are still alive. If the spirit dies without violating the adept’s blood oath, a new ritual can be performed with a different willing spirit mount, gaining the same associated benefits as the previous bound spirit. Due to the asymmetrical nature of the oath, the adept suffers a Blood Wound if their bound spirit dies, regardless of the situation.

Bound spirits are still commanded with Develop Spirit, however it only requires a Simple action instead of a Standard action and no test is required; this does not allow the talent to be used more than once per round and only one command to one animal may still be issued. No tests are required to train the bound spirits (though it still takes a day)
Special: Spirit Rider adepts receive this knack for free at First Circle.

Severed Chains
Talent: Spirit Mount
Requirements: Rank 5, Bind Spirit
Restrictions: Spirit Rider 5
Step: NA
Action: NA
Strain: 0
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Perpetual. Spirit.
The adept treats their spirit mount as an ally for all abilities, it may give consent for effects that require a willing target, and it has free will, including the ability to refuse “commands.” The spirit sees itself as the adept’s peer, not servant and expects to be treated as such. The adept’s spirit mount must be a bonded spirit.
Note: Spirits cannot be affected by binding spells.

Smarter Than the Average Bear Spirit
Talent: Develop Spirit
Requirements: Rank 3, Spirit Mount rank 3, Bind Spirit
Restrictions: Spirit Rider 3
Step: NA
Action: NA
Strain: 0
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Perpetual. Spirit.
The adept can teach their bound spirit additional commands equal to their Develop Spirit rank, but these additional commands cannot be used to teach the bound spirit skills or talents, or improve existing skills or talents.

Amplify Bound Spirit’s Form
Talent: Enhance Bound Spirit
Requirements: Rank 5, Bind Spirit
Restrictions: Spirit Rider 5
Step: NA
Action: Sustained (8 hours)
Strain: 0
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Perpetual. Spirit.
The adept permanently improves their bound spirit with an 8 hour ritual, giving them +1 to each attribute Step, their Initiative Step, Wound Threshold, and Knockdown Step, and +4 to their Death Rating. This can only be applied to bound spirits with a tier of Novice (before effective Circles are added through Enhance Spirit). If a Mask is later added that increases the bound spirit’s tier above Novice, remove these benefits and refund the Legend Points for this knack. Note: the presentation as a Mask is for clarity, but it is not a Mask.

Amplified Spirit (No change)
DEX: +1      Initiative:                   +1      Unconsciousness:      NA
STR:  +1      Physical Defense:   0       Death Rating:              +4
TOU: +1      Mystic Defense:       0       Wound Threshold:    +1
PER:  +1      Social Defense:        0       Knockdown:                 +1
WIL:  +1      Physical Armor:      0       Recovery Tests:           0
CHA: +1      Mystic Armor:          0        
Movement: 0
Actions: 0; Attack 0 (Damage 0)


Boost Bound Spirit’s Form
Talent: Enhance Bound Spirit
Requirements: Rank 9, Bind Spirit
Restrictions: Spirit Rider 9
Step: NA
Action: Sustained (8 hours)
Strain: 0
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Perpetual. Spirit.
The adept permanently improves their bound spirit with an 8 hour ritual, giving them +1 to each attribute Step, their Initiative Step, Wound Threshold, and Knockdown Step, and +4 to their Death Rating. This can only be applied to bound spirits with a tier of Novice or Journeyman (before effective Circles are added through Enhance Spirit). If a Mask is later added that increases the bound spirit’s tier above Journeyman, remove these benefits and refund the Legend Points for this knack. Note: the presentation as a Mask is for clarity, but it is not a Mask.

Boosted Spirit (No change)

DEX: +1      Initiative:                   +1      Unconsciousness:      NA
STR:  +1      Physical Defense:   0       Death Rating:              +4
TOU: +1      Mystic Defense:       0       Wound Threshold:    +1
PER:  +1      Social Defense:        0       Knockdown:                 +1
WIL:  +1      Physical Armor:      0       Recovery Tests:           0
CHA: +1      Mystic Armor:          0        
Movement: 0
Actions: 0; Attack 0 (Damage 0)


Heighten Bound Spirit’s Form
Talent: Enhance Bound Spirit
Requirements: Rank 13, Bind Spirit
Restrictions: Spirit Rider 13
Step: NA
Action: Sustained (8 hours)
Strain: 0
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Perpetual. Spirit.
The adept permanently improves their bound spirit with an 8 hour ritual, giving them +1 to each attribute Step, their Initiative Step, Wound Threshold, and Knockdown Step, and +4 to their Death Rating. If the bound spirit benefited from Amplify and Boost Spirit as well, they also gain +1 Recovery Test. This can only be applied to bound spirits with a tier of Novice, Journeyman, or Warden (before effective Circles are added through Enhance Spirit). If a Mask is later added that increases the bound spirit’s tier above Warden, remove these benefits and refund the Legend Points for this knack. Note: the presentation as a Mask is for clarity, but it is not a Mask.

Heightened Spirit (No change)

DEX: +1      Initiative:                   +1      Unconsciousness:      NA
STR:  +1      Physical Defense:   0       Death Rating:              +4
TOU: +1      Mystic Defense:       0       Wound Threshold:    +1
PER:  +1      Social Defense:        0       Knockdown:                 +1
WIL:  +1      Physical Armor:      0       Recovery Tests:           0/+1
CHA: +1      Mystic Armor:          0        
Movement: 0
Actions: 0; Attack 0 (Damage 0)

Ride-By Momentum
This knack has Spirit Rider Circle 9 as an additional Restriction.

Ride-By Attack
This knack has Spirit Rider Circle 13 as an additional Restriction.

07 April 2021

Earthdawn 4E: Rules Variant 21 - Cavalier (Cavalryman Rebuild)

This is the twenty-first Rules Variant, 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.

Cavalryman has problems. This is something of a known quantity. However, I disagree on the exact nature of those problems. Turning them into a close combat Discipline who incidentally has a mount they sometimes ride does the concept and their place in the setting a disservice. From my perspective, the problem is with how they were built from the ground up. Too many abilities with too many limitations and the mounted combat mechanics weren't robust enough. Arguments can be had whether or not that is an understatement.

A take I cannot disgree with in stronger terms is turning them into a Path. This misunderstands their place in the setting and the role Paths serve. Yes, they are a very useful framework and tool — being shiny and new, so full of promise and not yet hurt by the world. But they aren't the answer here. The number of talents required to achieve the basic premise of the Discipline means you have to get deep into the Path before it starts being realized; rank five is likely required just to accomplish the basics. From there, this also opens up animal companions to every character without the need for an additional Discipline. Which is a full on nightmare scenario. Paths represent organization or a teaching passed between the members, while Cavalryman is distinctly a calling between adept and their mount. This is not a good fit.

The solution I've been working on burns the mechanics to the ground and rebuilds on the core premise. It gives them stronger themes so they're more than just fighter-type with a horse. This makes them a less generic archetype to fill in for any mounted character, but Earthdawn Disciplines carry a distinctly strong flavor even as they represent a classic archetype, in contrast to D&D. I'm playing up that fact and bringing it along.

A new name is called for through all these changes that better fits their new role and themes: Cavalier. This isn't variant Discipline, but a full rebuild and replacement of the Discipline. It relies on a number of previous variants, including Animal Companions, Combat Options and Stances, Social Abilities, and Weapons Redesign. If any of those aren't being used, it should be clear how to reverse it into the default system.

Special thanks to Brett Bowen for helping with this.


Cavalier

Important Attributes: Dexterity, Strength, and Charisma

Karma Ritual: The Cavalier plants a target in the ground, then rides their mount several minutes distance away. Blindfolding themselves, the adept directs their mount to return to the target. Once they close to about 100 yards, the Cavalier uses the almost psychic connection with their mount, and whatever other empathic talents they possess, to urge their mount to charge the target. Still blindfolded, the Cavalier strikes the target with a weapon. They remove the blindfold to end the ritual.

Artisan Skills: Body Painting, Braiding

Half-Magic: Cavalier may use half-magic for knowledge of different types of mounts used by the Namegiver races, upkeep of riding gear, animal husbandry and first aid, and knowledge of significant cavalry units in Barsaive.

Mount: Cavalier begins the game with a mount of the gamemaster’s approval. The mount is trained for riding only; the Cavalier must combat-train it. Humans, orks, and elves prefer horses, although many tribal ork Cavaliers use thundra beasts. Trolls, windlings and dwarfs find horses awkward to ride. Some dwarf Cavaliers ride ponies due to their short size; some use troajins or huttawas. Because of their size and weight, troll Cavaliers are known to ride large war horses, but most ride an unusually strong and sturdy breed of horse called a granlain. Too small to ride normal horses, windling Cavaliers most often ride small lizard-like mounts known as kues, or large birds called zoaks.

Novice Tier

Novice Talent Options: Avoid Blow, Call Animal Companion, Conversation, Creature Analysis, Etiquette, First Impression, Heartening Laugh, 
Impressive Display, Speak Language, Wound Balance

First Circle
  • Durability 7
  • Discipline Talents: Animal Bond, Cavalry Charge, Melee Weapons, Thread Weaving (Mount Weaving), Riding

Second Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +1 to their Physical Defense
  • Discipline Talent: Animal Training

Third Circle
  • Karma: The adept may spend a Karma Point on Recovery tests.
  • Discipline Talent: Enhance Animal Companion

Fourth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +1 to their Social Defense
  • Discipline Talent: Battle Cry

Journeyman Tier

Journeyman Talent Options: 
Animal Companion Durability, Animal Talk, Blood Share, Dominate Beast, Fireblood, Leadership, Lion Heart, Mount Attack, Spirit Mount, Tactics

Fifth Circle
  • One Soul, Two Bodies: The adept gains a +2 bonus to any beast ability involving their bound mount.
  • Karma: The adept may spend a Karma Point on Damage tests made while mounted.
  • Discipline Talent: Armor Mount

Sixth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +2 to their Physical Defense
  • Discipline Talent: Fearsome Assault

Seventh Circle
  • Bonus: The adept gains +1 Recovery Test per day.
  • Discipline Talent: Wheeling Attack

Eighth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +3 to their Physical Defense
  • Discipline Talent: Lightning Charge

Warden Tier

Warden Talent Options: Battle Bellow, Champion Challenge, Critical Hit, Deliberate Assault, Graceful Exit, Life Check, Lion Spirit, Resist Pain, Resist Taunt, Spot Armor Flaw

Ninth Circle
  • Shared Strength: The adept performs an eight-hour ritual to improve their bond with a specific mount. Each adept’s ritual is unique, usually based on their training and personal philosophy. It is commonly done as the final step of becoming a Warden, but may be done at any time. After the ritual, the adept takes 1 Blood Magic Damage and the mount adds +3 to its Strength Step, Knockdown, and close combat Damage Steps. Only one mount may be bound at a time. The effect may be ended at any time, at which time the adept may heal the damage as normal and use the ability on a new mount.
  • Karma: The adept may spend a Karma Point on Attack tests made while mounted.
  • Discipline Talent: Goring Attack

Tenth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +2 to their Social Defense
  • Bonus: The adept adds +1 to their Initiative Step.
  • Discipline Talent: Momentum Attack

Eleventh Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +1 to their Mystic Defense.
  • Karma: The adept may spend a Karma Point on their mount’s Damage tests.
  • Discipline Talent: Tempest Shield

Twelfth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +4 to their Physical Defense.
  • Bonus: The adept gains +2 Recovery Tests per day.
  • Discipline Talent: Rolling Thunder

Master Tier

Master Talent Options: Aura Armor, Rally, Second Attack, Second Chance, Thought Link, Unflinching Fortitude, Vicious Wound, Vital Strike

Thirteenth Circle
  • Shared Spirit: The adept knows the truth about their spirit and their mount’s; they are one and the same. With this knowledge, they can trick reality and bring their mount to them at any time. The adept takes 4 Strain and makes a Mount Weaving test against their mount’s Mystic Defense. If successful, the mount appears under the adept as if it was always there and the adept is mounted properly. This ability doesn’t work if there isn’t enough room for the mounted character.
  • Defense: The adept adds +3 to their Social Defense
  • Karma: The adept increases their Karma +1 Step to a d8
  • Bonus: The adept adds +1 to their Mystic Armor.
  • Discipline Talent: Relentless Recovery

Fourteenth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +5 to their Physical Defense
  • Bonus: The adept adds +2 to their Initiative Step.
  • Discipline Talent: Thunderstruck

Fifteenth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +2 to their Mystic Defense.
  • Bonus: The adept gains +3 Recovery Tests per day.
  • Discipline Talent: Eye of the Storm

Talents

Battle Cry
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Simple
Strain: 1
Skill Use: Yes (Journeyman)
Keywords: Aggressive. Karma. Persistent.
The adept issues a loud, intimidating shout that gets the adept psyched up for battle when making a Mounted Charge or using the Aggressive stance. The adept makes a Battle Cry Action test against an opponent’s Social Defense. If successful, the adept adds +1 to their close combat Attack tests and the associated Damage tests per success until the end of the round against that opponent.

Cavalry Charge
Step: Rank+STR
Action: Free
Strain: 1
Skill Use: Yes (Novice)
Keywords: Exclusive. Karma. Replacement.
The adept increases the effectiveness of a Mounted Charge by using their Cavalry Charge in place of their Strength Step. The adept must be mounted, and the normal rules for Mounted Charge otherwise apply, except the adept cannot be dismounted or disarmed from a Mounted Charge when using this talent. The mount’s attacks cannot benefit from this talent.
Skill Use: After a successful mounted charge, the character may make a Cavalry Charge test in place of a Strength test to avoid losing their weapon or being dismounted by lance or mounted weapon attacks.

Eye of the Storm
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Simple
Strain: 2
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Air.
The adept leads the charge and rallies allies behind them to victory. There is a certain calmness around the adept as they join the fray. For some, this is a pillar of light following them into battle, while others cause a windstorm around them as they remain untouched within. The adept makes an Eye of the Storm (10) Action test. Each success gives +2 to their next Mounted Charge Attack test. If the attack is successful, the target is marked and all allies gain +1 to close combat Attack and Damage tests against the target until the end of the encounter. The adept can only have one target marked in this way at a time and a new mark ends the previous one.

Fearsome Assault
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Simple
Strain: 2
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Aggressive. Condition. Impairment. Karma.
The adept frightens opponents when making a Mounted Charge or using the Aggressive stance, undergoing a radical transformation unique to each adept. The eyes glow and teeth become pointed and prominent for some, while others are cloaked in shadow and the miasma of death. The adept makes a Fearsome Assault Action test against an adjacent opponent’s Social Defense. If successful, the target is frightened 2 for each success until the end of the following round. Each use against the same opponent in a given encounter increases the Difficulty Number by 5.

Impressive Display
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Standard (see text)
Strain: 0
Skill Use: Yes (Novice)
Keywords: Aggressive. Condition. Default. Impairment. Karma. Limited. Persistent.
The adept impresses a target with a display of skill. This display can be of any kind, as long as the target(s) observe it, such as archery, rhetoric, or swordsmanship. The adept makes an Impressive Display Action test against the highest Social Defense in the target group, +1 for each additional target. This test is limited by the appropriate ability (the adept’s Action Step cannot be higher than the final Action Step of the ability they are using for the display) and uses the same action type as the ability being used for the display.

If successful, the targets are impressed by the adept’s prowess and gain 1 level of an appropriate impairment condition (e.g., friendly, helpful, impressed) per success until sunrise the next day. The normal effects of the associated ability (e.g., damage from a Melee Weapons test) do not apply; the goal is only to impress. This includes any abilities normally used for Attack tests, as this is not an Attack test. Impressive Display requires a Standard action, even if the selected ability is not typically a Standard action. Not all abilities are appropriate for use with Impressive Display.

For example, Lady Haytrish plans to impress some unhelpful yokels with her bear hands, using Impressive Display with her Unarmed Combat talent. She has a base Unarmed Combat Step of 14 (Dexterity Step 6 and Unarmed Combat rank 8). She also has various thread items that give her +3 to her Unarmed Combat Step. However, her bonuses to unarmed Attack tests do not apply to this because she’s not attacking anyone. Though she wishes she was. This gives her a final Unarmed Combat Step of 17. Her Impressive Display Step is 13 (Charisma Step 7 and Impressive Display rank 6) with no additional bonuses. Since her Impressive Display Step is the lower of the two, she uses it for the test.
Skill Use: This is limited to 2 successes.

Leadership
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Sustained (5 minutes)
Strain: 0
Skill Use: Yes (Journeyman)
Keywords: Boon. Condition. Default. Karma. Persistent.
The adept leads a group of gamemaster characters no larger than their Leadership rank ×20 members by giving a short speech, then making a Leadership Action test against the highest Social Defense among the target group. If successful, the affected characters gain the follower 2 boon condition while the adept is in the Commander stance and accompanying them. The success level determines the talent’s duration. A single success causes the condition to last for one scene; two successes means it lasts until sunrise; three or more successes means the condition lasts for Leadership rank days.

While under the adept’s leadership, followers must accept the adept as their commander to receive the boon. This grants them an authority typical to being their designated commander in a military environment, but can be used in other situations, such as being a superior in an administration or a foreman in construction. This talent can be used once per day.
Skill Use: This is limited to 2 successes.

Lightning Charge
Step: Rank
Action: Free
Strain: 1
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Air-Electricity.
The adept’s weapon crackles with lightning from the point. The adept adds their Lightning Charge rank to their Cavalry Charge rank and the attack gains the air-electricity keyword. The adept gains +2 to the damage test if they are using a lance or other weapon with the mounted keyword. This talent can be used once per round and is incompatible with Dive Attack and Focused Strike.

Mount Attack
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Simple
Strain: 1
Skill Use: No
Karma: Yes
Keywords: Attack. Beast. Exclusive. Karma. Limited. Replacement.
The adept empowers their mount when striking their foes. The mount uses the adept’s Mount Attack Step (limited by Attack Step for the appropriate attack). This attack may not be used during the same round as a Mounted Charge. This does not grant an additional attack.

Riding
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Simple
Strain: 1
Skill Use: Yes (Novice)
Keywords: Beast. Default. Karma.
The mounted adept performs acrobatics while riding. They may also goad their mount into jumping fences, chasms, flames, or other obstacles by making a Riding Action test against a Difficulty Number determined by the gamemaster. Jumping a short one-yard-high fence could have a Difficulty Number of 4; jumping over a three-yard-wide chasm could have a Difficulty Number of 12.

If the adept or their mount is required to make a test for a maneuver, the adept may make a Riding Action test instead. Some maneuvers in Mounted Combat require a Riding Action test if the mount is not sufficiently combat-trained or the rider is unfamiliar with his mount.

The adept’s Riding rank must be at least equal to their mount’s effective Circle. If not, they are Harried as the mount is simply too much for them to handle.
Skill Use: Riding Action tests to take an unfamiliar mount into combat require an additional success.

Rolling Thunder
Step: Rank
Action: Simple
Strain: 2
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Air.
The adept’s charge generates thunder as they charge towards their opponent. The adept can increase their or their mount’s Movement Rate by up to twice the adept’s Rolling Thunder rank for one movement action that round. If the adept or their mount uses their Standard action to move, this additional movement does not benefit from the Movement Rate increase. The adept gains +1 to their close combat Damage test for every yard they move after the first 10 yards toward their opponent, up to the adept’s Rolling Thunder rank, and the attack gains the air keyword. If the adept moves at least 10 yards and uses a weapon with the mounted keyword while mounted, or a two-handed weapon while on foot, they gain+2 to the Attack test. This talent must be used before the adept or mount move this round.

Tempest Shield
Step: Rank
Action: Simple
Strain: 2
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Air. Defensive.
The adept finds safety in speed, summoning winds around them to deflect blows as they move faster. After they move the first 10 yards in a round, they gain +1 to their Physical Defense and Physical Armor for every yard moved after that, up to a maximum of their Tempest Shield rank. This bonus lasts until their turn in the next round.

Wheeling Attack
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Free
Strain: 0
Skill Use: Yes (Warden)
Keywords: Aggressive. Karma.
The adept makes more effective charging attacks. The adept makes a Wheeling Attack (10) Action test. If successful, their mount is not required to move more than its Movement Rate before the attack, but is required to instead move at double its Movement Rate during the round and at least 10 yards before the charging attack.

The adept must be in the Splitting Movement stance to use Wheeling Attack and is used after declaring all stances. Each additional success on Wheeling Attack may be spent to reduce the Harried penalties from Splitting Movement by 1.

Knacks

Animal Bond

Perfect Understanding
Talent: Animal Bond
Requirements: Rank 5
Restrictions: Cavalier 5
Step: NA
Action: NA
Strain: 0
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Beast. Perpetual.
The adept and their allies treat their mount as an ally for all abilities and can give consent for effects that require a willing target. The adept’s mount must be a bound animal companion and in their presence.

Battle Cry

Cry Havoc
Talent: Battle Cry
Requirements: Rank 6
Restrictions: None
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Simple
Strain: 2
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Standard Effects.
The adept gains an additional +2 to their first Attack and the associated Damage test if they are using a two-handed weapon or a mounted weapon and making a Mounted Charging attack. If the first attack triggers a Momentum Attack, the bonuses also apply to Momentum Attack.

Cavalry Charge

Beast Rider
Talent: Cavalry Charge
Requirements: Rank 5, Claw Shape rank 5
Restrictions: Beastmaster 5
Step: NA
Action: Simple
Strain: 1
Skill Use: No
Keywords: None.
The adept modifies their claws to be effective weapons while mounted. They can make unarmed attacks from their mount and use them with Mounted Charging Attacks.

Impressive Display

Inspiring Display [Special Maneuver]
Talent: Impressive Display
Requirements: Rank 5
Restrictions: None
Keywords: Boon. Condition. Persistent. Special Maneuver
Impressive Display (Adept): The adept can spend additional successes on an appropriate Action test to give allies within Impressive Display ×2 yards the inspired 1 boon condition for each success. This boon condition lasts until the end of the next round.

Intimidating Display
Talent: Impressive Display
Requirements: Rank 4
Restrictions: None
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Special
Strain: 0
Skill Use: Yes (Journeyman)
Keywords: Aggressive. Condition. Impairment. Standard Effects.
The adept applies a frightened impairment condition instead.
Skill Use: The skill rank cannot exceed the character’s Impressive Display rank.

Momentum Attack

Ride-By Momentum
Talent: Momentum Attack
Requirements: Rank 9
Restrictions: Cavalier Circle 9
Step: Rank+DEX
Action: Simple
Strain: 2
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Standard Effects.
The adept can use this talent while splitting movement on a Mounted Charge during the movement following the split. The attack does not benefit from the Cavalry Charge talent.

Mount Attack

It’s a Biter
Talent: Mount Attack
Requirements: Rank 5
Restrictions: None
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Simple
Strain: 2
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Standard Effects
The adept enables their mount to strike at their foes even as they thunder past. If the adept is making a Mounted Charge, the mount can also make an Attack test against the same target. This allows an attack when the mount wouldn't normally be allowed to make an attack.

Trampled Underfoot
Talent: Mount Attack
Requirements: Rank 6, It’s a Biter
Restrictions: None
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Simple
Strain: 2
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Standard Effects.
If the mount has a Trample attack, it can be used during the mount’s movement, not just when it is stopped. If the Trample attack uses the Overrun special maneuver and successfully causes knockdown on the target, the adept and mount can move through the space unimpeded.

Riding

Chasing the Wind
Talent: Riding
Requirements: Rank 8
Restrictions: None
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Simple
Strain: 2
Skill Use: Yes (Journeyman)
Keywords: Beast. Karma. Unrestricted.
The adept makes a Chasing the Wind (10) Action test. Each success allows them to increase their mount’s Movement Rate by +2. This knack must be used before the adept or mount make any movement this round.

This knack does not count against the number of times the talent may be used in a round.
Skill Use: This skill rank cannot exceed the character’s Riding rank.

Emergency Dismount
Talent: Riding
Requirements: Rank 6, Sure Mount
Restrictions: None
Step: Rank+DEX
Action: Free
Strain: 2
Skill Use: Yes (Novice)
Keywords: Defensive. Karma. Unrestricted.
The mounted adept reduces their falling damage after being dismounted or leaping off their mount (such as attempting to grapple an opponent). They make an Emergency Dismount (10) Action test. Each success reduces the falling damage by -2 Steps. This ability is ineffective for falls over 3 yards.

This knack may be used once per round and does not count against the number of times the talent may be used in a round.
Skill Use: This skill rank cannot exceed the character’s Riding rank.

Nimble Rider
Talent: Riding
Requirements: Rank 2
Restrictions: None
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Free
Strain: 1
Skill Use: Yes (Novice)
Keywords: Active Defense. Beast. Karma. Unrestricted.
The adept may avoid injury through acrobatics and directing their mount out of the way. When the adept or their mount are attacked in close or ranged combat, the adept may make a Nimble Rider Action test against the opponent’s Attack test result. If successful, the target of the attack avoids the blow through appropriate means. The adept can use Nimble Rider up to their rank each round, but only one active defense can be attempted per Attack test. An adept cannot use Nimble Rider if they are blindsided, surprised, or otherwise unable to use active defenses.

This knack does not count against the number of times the talent may be used in a round.
Skill Use: Nimble Rider Action tests with an unfamiliar mount require an additional success and it can only be used once per round. This skill rank cannot exceed the character’s Riding rank.

Ride the Pony
Talent: Riding
Requirements: Rank 5, Sure Mount
Restrictions: None
Step: NA
Action: Simple
Strain: 1
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Unrestricted.
The adept remounts their mount. This knack does not count against the number of times the talent may be used in a round.

Sure Mount
Talent: Riding
Requirements: Rank 3
Restrictions: None
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Free
Strain: 0
Skill Use: Yes (Novice)
Keywords: Beast. Exclusive. Karma. Replacement. Unrestricted.
The mounted adept avoids being dismounted or prevents their mount from being knocked down. The adept makes a Sure Mount Resistance test in place of any Knockdown test they and/or their mount is required to make while the adept is mounted.

This knack does not count against the number of times the talent may be used in a round.
Skill Use: This skill rank cannot exceed the character’s Riding rank.

Second Attack

Ride-By Attack
Talent: Second Attack
Requirements: Rank 10
Restrictions: Cavalier Circle 13
Step: Rank+DEX
Action: Simple
Strain: 3
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Standard Effects.
The adept can use this talent on another target while splitting movement on a Mounted Charge during the movement following the split. The attack does not benefit from the Charge talent.

Wheeling Attack

Crooked Charge [Special Maneuver]
Talent: Wheeling Attack
Requirements: Rank 6
Restrictions: None
Keywords: Special Maneuver.
Crooked Charge (Adept, Wheeling Attack): The adept can spend additional successes to make a 45° turn prior to the charge (which must otherwise be straight) for each success spent this way. Two successes may be combined to make a 90° turn prior to the charge (which must otherwise be straight).

Rushed Charge [Special Maneuver]
Talent: Wheeling Attack
Requirements: Rank 8
Restrictions: None
Keywords: Special Maneuver.
Rushed Charge (Adept, Wheeling Attack): The adept can spend additional success to reduce their mount’s Movement Rate by -2 per success to a minimum of 8. The reduction is -4 per success if the mount’s natural (unimproved by external effects, such as spells, talents, thread items, etc.) Movement Rate is at least 18. This knack must be used before the adept or mount make any movement this round.