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.

2 comments:

  1. Couple of questions on this if you don't mind:

    1. You reference the circle and tier of the spirit. Is this meant to be the same as Strength Rating? Or something unique to the spirit rider's mount?

    2.Amplify Bound Spirit and its subsidiary talents mention Masks being added to the spirit, but unless I'm missing something this wouldn't be possible. The only way to add masks to a creature is through 'Enhance Animal Companion,' which the Spirit Rider doesn't get (getting 'Enhance Bound Spirit' instead.)

    3. Boost Bound Spirit spirit mentions 'This can only be applied to bound spirits with a tier of Novice or Journeyman.' Then it adds '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.' This seems contradictory, since it can be added to something on which it would be instantly removed. Also, if Enhance Spirit isn't counted for those circle numbers, as far as I can tell it isn't possible to increase tiers via mask, since the highest ones you can get are Circle +2 (Which would make it circle 3 total, before Enhance Spirit.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1) Unique to Spirit Rider.
      2) Future proofing. There are currently no Masks.
      3) Copy/paste errors. Enhance Bound Spirit explicitly increases the effective Circle: "This increases the bound spirit's effective Circle by +1—still limited by their bonding talent."

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