11 August 2021

Earthdawn 4E: Rogues' Gallery 39 - Illusionist, Dwarf [Alt]

This is the thirty-ninth 4E Rogues' Gallery, 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.

Like other entries in the Rogues' Gallery [Alt] series, this presents NPCs in a different fashion easier to use in combat. Essentially, these are disposable opponents who don't need to have skills referenced. They are also written to be more appropriate as combat challenges for the given Circle.

This particular entry presents a Third Circle dwarf Illusionist. Their access to combat spells is less than other Disciplines, but they can still contribute and offer some support in the form of Taunt. This Illusionist is also masquerading as a Shaman, which expands their options a little.

I thought briefly about doing a character write-up for this adept, but realized that premise runs counter to the point of these alt entries. These are more disposable NPCs who should graduate to a full character if they end up with that kind of staying power and growth. This gives a basis for that development, but should more reflect the needs of the campaign.

Illusionist, Dwarf

Challenge: Novice (Third Circle)

DEX: 5 Initiative: 4 Unconsciousness: 36

STR: 5 Physical Defense: 9 Death Rating: 43

TOU: 7 Mystic Defense: 11 Wound Threshold: 10

PER: 8 Social Defense: 9 Knockdown: 7

WIL: 7 Physical Armor: 5 Recovery Tests: 2

CHA: 5 Mystic Armor: 4 Karma: 4 (8)

Movement: 10

Actions: 1; Ephemeral Bolt (20 yards): 12 (11), Phantom Crow Tear (10 yards): 12 (12), True Ephemeral Bolt (20 yards): 12 (8)


Astral Sight (11): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 129.

Awareness (11): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 129.

Ephemeral Bolt: Illusion. This attack is made against Mystic Defense and affects Mystic Armor. The target suffers -2 to Willpower tests until the end of the next round.

Phantom Crow Tear: Illusion. This attack is made against Mystic Defense. The target suffers partial blindness until the end of the next round.

Taunt (8): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 173.

True Ephemeral Bolt: This attack is made against Mystic Defense and affects Mystic Armor. The target suffers -2 to their next Sensing test.

Equipment: Hide armor


  1. These are great.

    How would you portray a swindler (con artist) using Thief as the root template?

    1. I wouldn't use this exact format unless they're intended to meet a violent end and put up a fight. Which is what this is designed for. However, you can still abbreviate their abilities to what's necessary rather than a full-blown character.

      Pick their Circle and assign attribute Steps. Then pick their appropriate talents and add their Circle to the Attribute Step to get the talent Step. Adjust them up if core to the character – this can be from additional investment and/or other magic (e.g. blood magic, thread item, etc.). Assign Defenses. Since they're a swindler, Social Defense will be the highest, likely followed by Physical Defense (Thief), and Mystic Defense last. Looking at creatures of a similar Circle and your players (particularly their abilities) gives you a gauge of what is appropriate for your NPC. Essentially: how difficult should it be for the players to affect the NPC with a given ability? Outside of their attributes and Discipline increases, these are also affected by the same magic bonuses as their talents.

      Hopefully this is useful as an abbreviated way to put together a non-combatant NPC. If they're intended for a fight and as a swindler, you may want to adapt something already out there and attach the swindler aspects separate, or build the character from the ground up. The latter just takes a lot of work to simply be left bleeding out at the end of the session.

  2. OK. Thank you for taking the time to reply and sharing your thoughts, it's much appreciated :)