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.


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 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 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 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 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

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