29 December 2021

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Discipline 41 — Venturer (Air Sailor Variant)

This is the fourty-first 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.

Discipline variants. These aren't specialist Disciplines, though the distinction may seem superficial. The difference is one of adaptation, rather than intention. These are Disciplines which naturally fit into other areas, but still require some level of specialization to fulfill their role. Whereas specialist Disciplines do something different because practitioners moved it deliberately in that direction.


This isn't an area that's going to see significant exploration because Disciplines are designed to not need this. They represent flexible archetypes. This is also why there aren't currently plans to bring back specialist Disciplines — with modifications to Discipline design, Karma rules, Using All Talents to Advance optional rule, and talent knacks, there isn't the same place for them. They may see a return in a modified form, however it's unlikely to be as in previous editions.

Air Sailor already has two Discipline variants found in Mystic Paths: Boatmen and Sailors. These are both clear adaptations to a different medium: water. The different elemental affinity of the variants shaped what talents they gain access to — Air Dance isn't appropriate for Boatmen with no connection to the air, relying on fire engines and the river currents instead of wind — in addition to potentially different outlooks based on the cultures the variants arise from.

This is a useful core for a crew-based Discipline, but more complicated when adapting to land. Sky Raider received a land-based variant in Vasgothia, Marauder, in addition to the previous variant I presented, Raider. The obvious answer is a caravan, but wow is that unsatisfying. Hard pass. For anyone who wants Merchant from Cathay to return, I'm here to disappoint you. It will never happen.

While the idea of a "vessel," no matter how abstract, doesn't work well with this general idea, if the concept is shifted to the importance of the "crew" instead, things start to take shape. It can be argued Air Sailor's focus is always about the crew and the ship is simply a medium to convey that. Take away their ship and they aren't that much less, but take away their crew and suddenly there's a lot of capabilities they lose.

The Venturer is born from that idea. Their talents were changed to reflect how they're typically the leader of their group from the beginning, rather than a follower who builds into a leadership role. This means a greater emphasis on social abilities early on. Venturers also don't have the same air elemental theme, so talents directly related to that or operating a vessel were switched or replaced with talents more appropriate for traversing the land. In all, they are well-suited for a key support and leadership role in a group, being able to fill a variety of different areas as needed, though not a master of any compared to more specialized Disciplines.


Venturer

Any group set to travel off the beaten path should jump at the chance to include a Venturer in their number. These adepts don't have a particular specialty as most understand it, but can fill in and develop their role to best suit their group and make everyone more effective. They're masters at planning the journey ahead, keeping focused on the goal, and supporting their allies when in need.

Venturers live to explore. While they have no qualms returning to a base of operations — something they even prefer since it's easier to plan, and gather and store supplies from such a location — they are happiest when facing the challenges of the world and bringing their allies through successfully. In a very real way, it's less about the destination than the journey for them.

Karma Ritual: The Venturer sits with their companions and tells a story of their shared history, makes plans for the day, or lays out the grand scheme before them. This includes each person's role and how they work together to achieve something greater than they would as individuals. The affair takes 30 minutes and instills a greater sense of companionship, purpose, or vision on those taking part depending on how the adept goes about this, though the other participants may not realize what happened. This activity has no additional mechanical benefits, but easily becomes a rhythem of travel with the Venturer.

Artisan Skills: Embroidery, Wood Carving

Half-Magic: Venturers use half-magic for tasks related to the upkeep of survival gear, knowledge of  of common overland trading routes, areas typically threatened by bandits, scorchers, aggressive creatures, etc. They also use half-magic for recognizing travel hazards, knowing what hazards are likely to show up in various areas, and knowing what equipment is appropriate to help surmount those challenges.

Typically there's just a list of changes, but since there's only one entry and there are enough alterations, I'm going to list the Venturer talent options and progression, and any changes to their abilities.

Novice

Novice Talent Options: Acrobatic Defense, Climbing, Distract, Etiquette, Great Leap, Haggle, Maneuver, Speak Language, Air Sailing, Throwing Weapons

First Circle
  • Free Talent: Navigation
  • Karma: The adept may spend Karma on actions taken to directly support or lead the group. This cannot be used in combat and must be for the direct benefit of the group, not indirect in the sense what helps the adept or any single member helps the group.
  • Discipline Talents: Avoid Blow, First Impression, Melee Weapons, Venture Weaving, Wilderness Survival
Second Circle
  • Discipline Talent: Awareness
Third Circle
  • Discipline Talent: Empathic Sense
Fourth Circle
  • Discipline Talent: Wound Balance

Journeyman

Journeyman Talent Options: Air Speaking, Battle Bellow, Conceal Object, Engaging Banter, Graceful Exit, Leadership, Resist Taunt, Second Weapon, Surprise Strike, Taunt

Fifth Circle
  • Discipline Talent: Heartening Laugh
Sixth Circle
  • Discipline Talent: Cobra Strike
Seventh Circle
  • Discipline Talent: Inspire Others
Eighth Circle
  • Discipline Talent: Lion Heart

Warden

Warden Talent Options: Astral Sight, Blood Share, Cold Purify, Critical Hit, Defensive Posture, Eagle Eye, Gliding Stride, Impressive Display, Relentless Recovery, Spot Armor Flaw

Ninth Circle
  • Discipline Talent: Lasting Impression
Tenth Circle
  • Discipline Talent: Thought Link
Eleventh Circle
  • Discipline Talent: Lion Spirit
Twelfth Circle
  • Discipline Talent: Rally

Master

Master Talent Options: Beguiling Blade, Champion Challenge, Disarming Smile, Fluid Movement, Life Check, Second Chance, Soul Aegis, Undermine

Thirteenth Circle
  • Discipline Talent: Second Attack
Fourteenth Circle
  • Discipline Talent: Song of Battle
Fifteenth Circle
  • Discipline Talent: Concentrated Assault

27 December 2021

Earthdawn 4E: Rules Variant 08 - Alternate Advancement [Lancer]

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 Lancer.


Lancer

Novice General Talents
  • Anticipate Blow
  • Avoid Blow
  • Awareness
  • Etiquette
  • First Impression
  • Impressive Display
  • Maneuver
  • Navigation
  • Sprint
  • Stealthy Stride
  • Tiger Spring
  • Tracking
  • Wilderness Survival
  • Wound Balance
First Circle
Discipline Talents
  • Cavalry Charge
  • Lance Weaving
  • Melee Weapons
  • Riding
  • Open Talent
Second Circle
Discipline Talent: Open talent

Third Circle
Discipline Talent: Open talent

Fourth Circle
Discipline Talent: Open talent


Journeyman General Talents
  • Battle Cry
  • Cobra Strike
  • Danger Sense
  • Distract
  • Evidence Analysis
  • Graceful Exit
  • Lasting Impression
  • Lion Heart
  • Mystic Pursuit
  • Spirit Mount
  • Spot Armor Flaw
  • 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: Second Attack or open talent


Warden General Talents
  • Astral Sight
  • Chameleon
  • Critical Hit
  • Defensive Posture
  • Eagle Eye
  • Empathic Sense
  • Fearsome Assault
  • Lion Spirit
  • Momentum Attack
  • Orbiting Spy
  • Resist Taunt
  • Tempest Shield
  • True Sight
Ninth Circle
Discipline Talent: Open talent

Tenth Circle
Discipline Talent: Open talent

Eleventh Circle
Discipline Talent: Open talent

Twelfth Circle
Discipline Talent: Rolling Thunder or open talent


Master General Talents
  • Aura Armor
  • Chilling Strike
  • Rally
  • Relentless Recovery
  • Resist Pain
  • Second Chance
  • Unflinching Fortitude
  • Vicious Wound
  • Vital Strike
  • Vital Ward
Thirteenth Circle
Discipline Talent: Open talent

Fourteenth Circle
Discipline Talent: Open talent

Fifteenth Circle
Discipline Talent: Thunderstruck or Open talent

25 December 2021

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Discipline 40 — Lancer

This is the fourtieth 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.

Clearly what Earthdawn needs is another mounted Discipline. While the statement is in jest, the answer is maybe. This is the fourth Discipline with access to Riding (one is a Sky Raider variant, but still) and part of my continuing efforts to examine mounted Disciplines and how to best address them and fit them into the mechanics, each with a different take on the subject.

Lancers present an explicit lightly-armored adept who is well-suited for a few different roles due to their speed. They're excellent skirmishers, possibly the best out there, with good offensive capabilities and outstanding Initiative. However, they can't take a hit. Between their low Durability and armor restrictions, they need to be careful how they engage. Getting bogged down ends poorly.

While they won't necessarily replace a dedicated Scout, they can certainly supplement them or fill in for a group who otherwise lacks those capabilities. Their speed means they can get out of trouble or lure opponents into an ambush without as much fear of getting caught up by an unexpectedly quick foe.

Lancers are definitely mounted characters, but they retain quite a bit of their effectiveness when dismounted. This is true to a lesser extent for Cavaliers as well, though giving the latter too much effectiveness away from their mount starts to dilute the importance of that bond and turn it all into mechanical convenience, which doesn't sit right. Even though Lancers don't have access to the talents, it's likely common for them to learn Animal Bond and Animal Training as skills. These talents aren't core to what the Discipline is about, in part for flavor but also to make them feel distinctly different from Cavaliers. Not just Cavaliers but fast, rather their own thing.

This Discipline requires using the changes to mounted combat with Cavalier talents and the associated combat options.


Lancer

Battlefield scouts, lighting-fast raiders, skirmishers second to none. These are Lancers. They pride themselves on being the tip of the spear in any conflict and available to strike whenever and wherever necessary. Lancers can strike and evade, harassing their opponents before they have a chance to react, forcing tactical mistakes and allowing less mobile elements to capitalize on the openings they create. Conversely, their speed means they can take advantage of a small opening elsewhere, preventing their opponents from bolstering it effectively. Talented Lancers appear to be everywhere on the battlefield at once, yet never there when the enemy is ready to counterattack.

This level of precision requires a high degree of battlefield awareness from these adepts. Combined with their speed, this makes them ideal at performing reconnaissance. Often ranging far afield and apart from their command for long periods. While there certainly are orderly Lancer units, most of these adepts have a strong independent streak which serves them well in the field, coupled with their innate communication. They see more than most and think so quickly, it's easy for them to believe only they understand a given situation and have difficulty following orders from non-Lancers. And often from other Lancers.

These adepts are driven to movement and get easily restless. They don't like to be in one place for too long, preferring to travel and see new sights. Their versatility in operating mounted or on foot (though they prefer the former) means they don't long for vast plains like other cavalry. Lancers are capable in forests, kaers, on mountains, etc., but they do need some space and claustrophobia is fairly common among these adepts. Many develop it after initiating, while others are drawn to the Discipline because of it in the first place.

Lancers seem superficially similar to Cavaliers — they're both mounted combatants afterall — but adepts of each Discipline are unlikely to view such comparisons charitably. Cavaliers are defined by their connection to their mount, who isn't a simple animal, but a treasured companion, the other half of the adept's soul. In contrast, they're just a mount to a Lancer. They look favorably on their mounts and treat them as loved pets and companions, but nothing more. Sometimes it's best to leave their mount behind for the mission at hand. For this reason, it's rare to unheard of for an adept to follow both Disciplines. While there's no animosity between them, the other would never initiate an established adept of the other Discipline into their Discipline. There's too much of a gulf between their perspectives

Important Attributes: Dexterity, Perception, Charisma

Karma Ritual: The Lancer identifies something interesting in the distance and slowly approaches it, observing from multiple angles if possible to understand it as best they can. Once they ascertain what they’re seeing, they either charge the target, wheeling off after the strike or escape from the situation as if in pursuit. Once the adept returns to their original position 30 minutes later, the ritual is complete.

Artisan Skills: Body Painting, Dancing

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

Mount: Lancers being the game with a combat-trained riding horse or similar (Movement Rate no less than 18).

Novice

Novice Talent Options: Anticipate Blow, Etiqutte, First Impression, Impressive Display, Maneuver, Navigation, Stealthy Stride, Tracking, Wilderness Survival, Wound Balance

First Circle
  • Free Talent: Air Speaking
  • Durability 5
  • Karma: The adept may spend a Karma Point on a test to perform reconnaissance. This doesn't include any form of combat.
  • Discipline Talents: Awareness, Cavalry Charge, Lance Weaving, Melee Weapons, Riding
Second Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +1 to their Physical Defense.
  • Discipline Talent: Avoid Blow
Third Circle
  • Karma: The adept may spend a Karma Point on Initiative.
  • Discipline Talent: Tiger Spring
Fourth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +1 to their Social Defense.
  • Discipline Talent: Sprint

Journeyman

Journeyman Talent Options: Battle Cry, Danger Sense, Distract, Evidence Analysis, Graceful Exit, Lasting Impression, Lion Heart, Mystic Pursuit, Spot Armor Flaw, Tactics

Fifth Circle
  • Courser: The adept’s mount may use the adept's Initiative after all modifiers. They must be mounted, have no more than -1 Initiative Penalty, wielding a lance-like weapon (e.g., lance, appropriate polearm, spear, etc.), and their mount has a natural Movement Rate of at least 18.
  • Karma: The adept may spend a Karma Point on a Damage test. They must have no more than -1 Initiative Penalty and be wielding a lance-like weapon.
  • Discipline Talent: Spirit Mount
Sixth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +2 to their Physical Defense.
  • Discipline Talent: Cobra Strike
Seventh Circle
  • Bonus: The adept adds +1 to their Initiative Step.
  • Discipline Talent: Wheeling Attack
Eighth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +3 to their Physical Defense.
  • Discipline Talent: Second Attack

Warden
  • Warden Talent Options: Astral Sight, Chameleon, Critical Hit, Defensive Posture, Empathic Sense, Fearsome Assault, Lion Spirit, Orbiting Spy, Resist Taunt, True Sight

Ninth Circle
  • Tip of the Spear: The adept creates a unique aura around or in front of them, channeling their magic and speed into it. The adept spends 1 Strain and makes a Lance Weaving (5) test as a Simple Action. Each success may be spent to gain one of the following: +2 Movement Rate, +1 to their next close combat Attack test against an opponent with lower Initiative, or +1 to their Physical Defense. The bonus to Attack and Physical Defense individually cannot exceed the distance the adept moves beyond 10 yards. For example, if the adept moves 12 yards, they cannot get more than +2 to their Attack test and Physical Defense each. The adept must be wielding a lance-like weapon and cannot have more than -1 Initiative Penalty.
  • Karma: The adept may spend a Karma Point on Recovery tests.
  • Discipline Talent: Tempest Shield
Tenth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +2 to their Social Defense.
  • Bonus: The adept gains +1 Recovery Test per day.
  • Discipline Talent: Eagle Eye
Eleventh Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +1 to their Mystic Defense.
  • Karma: The adept may spend a Karma Point on Attack tests against targets with lower Initiative.
  • Discipline Talent: Momentum Attack
Twelfth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +4 to their Physical Defense.
  • Bonus: The adept adds +2 to their Initiative Step.
  • Discipline Talent: Rolling Thunder

Master

Master Talent Options: Aura Armor, Rally, Resist Pain, Second Chance, Unflinching Fortitude, Vicious Wound, Vital Strike, Vital Ward

Thirteenth Circle
  • Lance Through the Battle: The adept’s aura from Tip of the Spear becomes more impressive. When used, may instead choose two of the following for each success: +2 Movement Rate, +1 to their next close combat Attack test against an opponent with lower Initiative, +1 to their next Damage test against an opponent with lower Initiative, or +1 to their Physical Defense. The same bonus cannot be selected twice with one success. The bonus to Attack and Physical Defense individually cannot exceed the distance the adept moves beyond 10 yards. For example, if the adept gets two successes, they cannot gain +3 to Attack, Damage, or Physical Defense.The adept must be wielding a lance-like weapon and cannot have more than -1 Initiative Penalty.
  • 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 Step to their Mystic Armor.
  • Discipline Talent: Chilling Strike
Fourteenth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +5 to their Physical Defense.
  • Bonus: The adept gains +2 Recovery Tests per day.
  • Discipline Talent: Relentless Recovery
Fifteenth Circle
  • Defense: The adept adds +2 to their Mystic Defense.
  • Bonus: The adept adds +3 to their Initiative Step.
  • Discipline Talent: Thunderstruck

Knacks

Cavalry Charge

Lancer Charge
Talent: Cavalry Charge
Requirements: Rank 7
Restrictions: Lancer Circle 7
Step: Rank+STR
Action: Free
Strain: 1
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Standard Effects.
The adept charges at an opponent and focuses magic around the tip of their weapon. They make a Lancer Charge (10) test. Each success gives the adept +2 to the associated damage test. The adept must have no more than -1 Initiative Penalty and be wielding a lance-like weapon. This knack is incompatible with any damage-replacement abilities (e.g. Crushing Blow).

Momentum Attack

Ride-By Momentum
This knack has Lancer Circle 9 as an additional restriction.

Second Attack

Ride-By Skirmish
Talent: Second Attack
Requirements: Rank 8
Restrictions: Lancer Circle 8
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 Cavalry Charge talent. They must have no more than -1 Initiative Penalty and be wielding a lance-like weapon.

Sprint

Mounted Sprint
Talent: Sprint
Requirements: Rank 4
Restrictions: Lancer Circle 4
Step: Rank
Action: Simple
Strain: 1
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Standard Effects.
The adept grants their mount the increased Movement Rate from Sprint. They must have no more than -1 Initiative Penalty.

Stealthy Stride

Mounted Stealth
Talent: Stealthy Stride
Requirements: Rank 4
Restrictions: Lancer Circle 4
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Simple
Strain: 1
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Standard Effects.
The adept gains the benefits of Stealthy Stride while mounted. This is compatible with other Stealthy Strike knacks.

Wheeling Attack

Lancer Skirmish
Talent: Wheeling Attack
Requirements: Rank 8
Restrictions: Lancer Circle 8
Step: Rank+CHA
Action: Simple
Strain: 1
Skill Use: No
Keywords: Standard Effects.
The adept may perform a Wheeling Attack while on foot. They aren’t required to move twice their Movement Rate, but must move at least 8 yards more than their base Movement Rate in the round. This likely requires the use of Sprint or some other means of increasing Movement Rate.

New Weapon

Winged Lance

A practical weapon, typically six to eight-feet long (some are up to ten), with a long steel blade and a horizontal bar (or wings) and a spike at the end. The wings prevent the lance from burying itself too deeply in an opponent, or from a particularly spicy foe from riding up the lance to the wielder; a design also found in boar spears. Counter-weight is provided by the spike, making it more versatile on foot and offering improved balance. However, this also means while it’s well suited for use for cavalry charges and mounted combat in general, it requires two hands and cannot be used with a shield.


Lances of the same basic design are seen throughout various cultures in the history of Barsaive, long before the region was known as such. Among the lancers of Wyrmwood, the have delicate-appearing leaf-shaped blades with ornate wings and called semeraerth, in Cara Fahd they’re simply charge spears and of simple, but efficient and practical construction, while those who reside in what was once Landis refer to them as winged lances. Dwarfs don’t have a specific term for them and questions like that may lead to rude gestures.

Weapon

Damage Step

STR Min

Size

Cost

Weight

Availability

Winged Lance

8

14

6

140

8

Unusual

22 December 2021

Earthdawn 4E: Rogues' Gallery 58 — Insect Thrall (Wasp)

 

This is the fifty-eighth 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. The exception here is this isn't technically an alternative presentation as this NPC doesn't exist as a player option. Nor will it ever. Including being presented in that fashion just to build NPCs.


This particular entry presents a Warden (Twelfth Circle) insect thrall. This is a spellcaster who summoned and bargained with an invae and it went entirely predictably as they're now under the sway of it, and they get what they deserve because it was a wasp spirit. They're now infected hate, loathing, and malice — even more than previously because why else would you traffic with wasp spirits you monster? Their contact with the invae hasn't just affected their mind, but also their body. Chitin is forming under their skin, along with their eyes splitting up to replicate compound eyes, and wings. These features can be concealed, but they're decidedly on the unsettling side of potential features.

They have a few attack options, a bite, broadsword, and their tail for up close and a short range spell which is decidedly unpleasant. There's also single use spell can also be potentially aggressive in terms of controlling a small area and inflicting some Wounds. Which is really what they're about, making their opponents suffer. Just resentment and fury.

This opponent makes a splash and if it can be locked down after that, it shouldn't be too bad. But if it's allowed to dictate terms and control the battlefield, things are going to become grim.


Insect Thrall (Wasp)


Challenge: Warden (Twelfth Circle)

DEX: 12 Initiative: 16 Unconsciousness: 87

STR: 9 Physical Defense: 25 Death Rating: 96

TOU: 9 Mystic Defense: 22 Wound Threshold: 13

PER: 8 Social Defense: 16 Knockdown: 15

WIL: 8 Physical Armor: 16 Recovery Tests: 3

CHA: 5 Mystic Armor: 12 Karma: 4 (8)

Movement: 12 (18 Flying, 12 Swimming)
Actions:
3; Bite: 28 (36), Broadsword: 32 (32), Invoke Murder Hornet (10 yards): 34 (25), Tail: 30 (30, Poison)
Powers:
Astral Sight (20): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 129.
Awareness (20): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 129.
Feast of Suffering: The insect thrall gains +1 to Attack and Damage tests for each Wound the target has.
Fury (4)
Invoke Fury off the Swarm (8, Standard): Spell. The insect thrall summons a horde of wasp spirits which swarm a 4-yard radius area within 10 yards. Every opponent in the area is Harried and their Movement Rate is halved. They suffer Step 8 damage each round they are in the area; armor doesn’t reduce this damage. If the damage inflicts a Wound, the target is affected by Poison. The insect thrall can use this power once per encounter and it lasts until the end of the encounter.
Invoke Murder Hornet: Spell. The insect thrall summons a wasp spirit filled with bitterness and rage to skewer the target with its barbed stinger. This attack is made against Mystic Defense. The target automatically suffers a Wound and may suffer a Wound from damage as usual.
Lifesight (20): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 156.
Poison (16): If the insect thrall causes damage with its tail, the victim must resist deadly paralytic poison (Gamemaster’s Guide, p. 171). The poison is Step 16 [Onset: Immediate, Interval: 10/1 round, Duration: 1 hour].
Omnivision: The insect thrall can effectively see in all directions and cannot be Blindsided due to positioning.
Stealthy Stride (24): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 170.
Surprise Strike (15)
Swooping Attack: The insect thrall may split its movement (Player’s Guide, p. 386) and not suffer any penalty, and it doesn’t spend Strain.
Special Maneuvers:
Clip the Wing (Opponent)
Defang (Opponent)
Enrage (Opponent)
Provoke (Opponent, Close Combat)
Tail Attack (Insect Thrall, Close Combat): The insect thrall may spend on additional success on an Attack test to make an additional attack against their opponent with their tail. This special maneuver may be used once per round.
Tail Sweep (Insect Thrall, Tail): The insect thrall may spend additional successes to throw its opponent. Each success spent in this way throws the opponent 2 yards and the opponent treats this distance as falling (Gamemaster’s Guide, p. 167). This special maneuver may be used once per round.

Equipment: Broadsword

15 December 2021

Earthdawn 4E: Rogues' Gallery 57 — Insect Thrall (Mantis)

 

This is the fifty-seventh 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. The exception here is this isn't technically an alternative presentation as this NPC doesn't exist as a player option. Nor will it ever. Including being presented in that fashion just to build NPCs.


This particular entry presents a Warden (Tenth Circle) insect thrall. This is a spellcaster who summoned and bargained with an invae and it went entirely predictably as they're now under the sway of it, but they probably think it's totally fine because it likes to hunt other invae and that means we're totally on the same side. While they may fully believe they're acting freely, they aren't. Their contact with the invae hasn't just affected their mind, but also their body. Chitin is forming under their skin, along with their eyes splitting up to replicate compound eyes, and a couple new arms folded up. These features can be concealed, but they're decidedly on the unsettling side of potential features.

They have a few attack options, a broadsword and claws at close and Invoke Grasping Claws to reach out and touch someone. Their claws also have some reach, but their bite is comparatively ineffectual and used only for gnawing on prey already in their grasp. In all, they don't have a lot of tricks, but the riders for Invoke Grasping Claws and Gain Surprise are pretty good tricks. They also give the insect thrall some evasion to escape and maybe earn a name, becoming a recurring villain.

This opponent makes a splash and if it can be locked down after that, it shouldn't be too bad. But if it's allowed to dictate terms and control the battlefield, things are going to become grim.


Insect Thrall (Mantis)


Challenge: Warden (Tenth Circle)

DEX: 10 Initiative: 14 Unconsciousness: 80

STR: 9 Physical Defense: 22 Death Rating: 90

TOU: 10 Mystic Defense: 19 Wound Threshold: 15

PER: 9 Social Defense: 14 Knockdown: 15

WIL: 8 Physical Armor: 13 Recovery Tests: 3

CHA: 5 Mystic Armor: 10 Karma: 4 (8)

Movement: 16 (12 Flying)

Actions: 3; Bite: 20 (28), Broadsword: 26 (26), Claws ×2: 30 (22), Invoke Grasping Claws (10 yards): 27 (20)
Powers:
Ambush (15)
Astral Sight (20): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 129.
Awareness (20): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 129.
Enhanced Sense [Sight] (4)
Fearless (5): The insect thrall has +5 to Defenses against fear-based effects.
Gain Surprise (20, Standard): Illusion. The insect thrall makes a Gain Surprise test and compares the result against the Mystic Defense of each opponent who can detect it. Any targets the test is successful against cannot detect the insect thrall and are surprised if they’re attacked. Once an attack is made, this effect ends. The Sensing Difficulty is the result. This power cannot be used in the following round.
Great Leap (12)
Invoke Grasping Claws: Spell. The insect thrall summons a mantis spirit, which grabs the target. This attack is made against Mystic Defense. The target is Harried until the end of the next round. This attack can be used once per round.
Lifesight (20): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 156.

Long Arm of the Claw: The insect thrall can reach up to 4 yards with their claws.
Omnivision: The insect thrall can effectively see in all directions and cannot be Blindsided due to positioning.
Resist Pain (2)
Stealthy Stride (22, Simple): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 170.
Special Maneuvers:
Armor Cutter (Insect Thrall): The insect thrall may spend additional successes to give the target -1 Physical Armor per success. This may not destroy thread armor.
Clip the Wing (Opponent)

Grab and Bite (Insect Thrall, Claws)

Personal Space Invader (Insect Thrall, Invoke Grasping Claws): The insect thrall may spend additional successes to give the target -4 Movement Rate per success until the end of the next round.
Pounce (Insect Thrall)
Pry Loose (Opponent, Close Combat)

Equipment: Broadsword