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Old 11-23-2016, 08:00 AM   #1
The Colonel
 
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Default Earthdawn?

Just picked up an ancient looking fRPG hardback from the second had bin at a convention ... something called "Earthdawn".

Looks like a bit like a fantasy version of Fallout to me, what with the shtick about everyone hiding in underground vaults for a while - and chimes nicely with some ideas I had in the past about the dungeon as civil defence shelter.

Did anyone ever play this, and how was it?
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Old 11-23-2016, 08:11 AM   #2
mehrkat
 
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Default Re: Earthdawn?

I like Earthdawn. I've mined it for ideas for locations and such for a while.

I think I remember it being canonically the early world that became Shadowrun. Magic went away, became our Earth. Magic came back became Shadowrun.
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Old 11-23-2016, 08:26 AM   #3
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Earthdawn?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mehrkat View Post
I think I remember it being canonically the early world that became Shadowrun. Magic went away, became our Earth. Magic came back became Shadowrun.
Earthdawn came out after Shadowrun and the fact that Earthdawn was utterly, utterly incompatible with Shadowrun (mechanically and even to a certain degree conceptually) made those statements a lot more popular with Earthdawn fans than SR fans.

I made a character for Earthdawn once but the GM never delivered on the game. My guy was an Obsidiman of maximum strength and toughness made with the point buy option and I was happy with him as far as things ever went.

However, even for someone who had made his peace with SR's game system and its' dice pools Earthdawn was pointlessly and hopelessly baroque. Someone will pipe up and tell you they played it but I would not be surprised if someone else found it virtually unplayable.
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Old 11-23-2016, 08:30 AM   #4
RogerBW
 
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Default Re: Earthdawn?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Colonel View Post
Just picked up an ancient looking fRPG hardback from the second had bin at a convention ... something called "Earthdawn".

Looks like a bit like a fantasy version of Fallout to me, what with the shtick about everyone hiding in underground vaults for a while - and chimes nicely with some ideas I had in the past about the dungeon as civil defence shelter.

Did anyone ever play this, and how was it?
Distinctive features that I remember:

Magic goes in cycles, and when there was Too Much magic humanity (and the other races) hid away in the shelters from the ravening whatsits. Now magic has dropped enough that they can come out.

There are still occasional ravening whatsits about, some of which can look like humans (etc.); but they cannot create, so everyone is trained in some sort of artistic skill that they can use on the fly, to prove "I am not a ravening whatsit".

Nice ideas, but the adventures IME tended to be awfully "go down a hole in the ground, kill what's there and bring back the treasure".
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Old 11-23-2016, 10:50 AM   #5
Kalzazz
 
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Default Re: Earthdawn?

The setting is hit or miss, but it is absolutely my favorite published rules system

I have run it both straight by the book and also well house ruled
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Old 11-23-2016, 10:56 AM   #6
tshiggins
 
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Default Re: Earthdawn?

I thumbed through the books when they initially came out, and I remember some discussions that indicated the Earthdawn setting was the future of Shadowrun (even though the mechanics differed). IIRC, the default setting started in a vault that somebody with too much time on their hands identified (based on topography and ruins) as a location in the Balkans, somewhere.

It was one of the earliest settings in a magical post-apocalypse, and that got it a fair amount of attention. In fact, Mark Skarr used it as the basis for a GURPS campaign G&AInc and I played in, for awhile:

http://www.denvergurps.com/forum/index.php?topic=350.0

If you wanted to convert it to GURPS, I'd highly recommend that approach, especially since the AtE stuff makes that even easier, these days:

http://www.warehouse23.com/products/...1-wastelanders
http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread...hlight=farming
http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread...hlight=farming
http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread...hlight=farming
http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread...hlight=farming
http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread...hlight=farming
http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread...hlight=farming
http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread...hlight=farming
http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread...hlight=farming
http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread...hlight=farming
http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread...hlight=farming
http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread...hlight=farming

Hrm. That's a lot of links.

Anyway, it demonstrates how strongly supported post-apocalyptic settings are, by the company and the GURPS community, here. So, if you wanted to try to run an Earthdawn game with better mechanics, I think you could do it really easily.

However, if you do that, please make sure to post your conversion notes, and if you don't provide session logs, we'll be sorely disappointed. :)
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Last edited by tshiggins; 11-23-2016 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 11-23-2016, 11:22 AM   #7
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Earthdawn?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerBW View Post
Nice ideas, but the adventures IME tended to be awfully "go down a hole in the ground, kill what's there and bring back the treasure".
It didn't even have a lot of good treasures that I remember.

There was a "magic items don't work for you until you _Attune_ yourself to them" thing that someone probably thought added fantastic amounts of color to the setting. They registered negative numbers on my munchkin senses as they were competing for XP with Skill and Ability (and Magic) advancement.
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Old 11-23-2016, 03:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: Earthdawn?

There's a licensed adaptation of the setting for Savage Worlds now. It managed to please neither Earthdawn nor Savage Worlds fans. Thumbed through it but never willing to use the original mechanics. It is a setting I like, and one I've drawn ideas from many times.
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Old 11-23-2016, 08:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: Earthdawn?

There is a 2nd Edition, not sure how much support it has gotten or how recently it was released.

I played in a campaign many years ago, I was playing a Windling (basically a sprite) Elementalist (type of mage) with a "fetish" for using I think they were called blood charms (a "minor" magic item that you sacrificed some of your health to empower, your health was reduced until you used the charm to boost spells), I had an obnoxious dodge so they GM pretty much could never hit me, so I had basically linked up enough charms to bring my health down to if I got tapped I was dying. GM never realized how many I had acquired and attached until I one-shot the BBEG at the end of the campaign.
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Old 11-23-2016, 10:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: Earthdawn?

Earthdawn was actually the first tabletop RPG that my wife ever played. She was lucky enough to have a couple of excellent GMs for the system, so it's one of the few systems that she knows and likes well enough to have run herself.

The system has never been a contender for most popular RPG, but it has enough fans that recently (a year or so ago?) there was a successful Kickstarter for a Fourth Edition. We backed that, and when we're able to fit my wife's campaign back into our group's rotation, we'll be converting it from Third to Fourth.

Earthdawn's core conceit is that each PC is an Adept, someone who can wield magic. Only a few Disciplines are actually magicians (spellcasters); other Adepts manifest their magic by being uncannily good at fighting, or thieving, or performing, or some other calling. Experience is tracked in Legend Points (LPs), which are spent to improve Discipline Talents, mundane skills, and attributes, as well as attuning oneself to magical items to unlock their abilities. (In direct contrast to D&D, you have to raise talents before you qualify for a higher circle [level], which then gives you access to new talents, rather than getting a slew of improvements only when you level up.)

Earthdawn has a number of other rules that take some getting used to, such as the progression of dice as your ability or effect increases (using a progressively larger die up to d12, then using multiple dice), and "exploding" dice (if a die roll its maximum, roll it again and add the results). But after the initial learning curve, quirks like these become almost intuitive.

A few of the other things that make Earthdawn distinct from other games and settings are:
  • Healing magic is rare, and precious. A badly wounded character can take quite some time to heal fully, even with help.
  • Adepts have a resource called Karma, that can be spent to improve the use of talents by adding an extra die to the roll.
  • Blood magic can be used by any Adept, for a variety of purposes, but usually to enforce an oath, to implant certain types of magic items that are powered by life force, or in desperation to fuel more potent magic (at great risk, of course).
  • The worst threats are those posed by the Horrors, which are attracted to magic and seek to corrupt those they come in contact with. (As an earlier poster mentioned, all characters have artistic skills that are used to prove to strangers that you are free of the Horrors' taint.)
  • Instead of conventional gods, Earthdawn has the Passions, who serve much the same purpose but lack the sort of widely organized religions that most settings have. There are no clerics or priests, per se, though some special devotees become Questors--champions who are imbued with some of their Passion's power.
  • Many of the "standard" fantasy races can be found here (humans, elves, dwarves, orks), but there are also a few unique to Earthdawn (trolls, the fairy-like winged windlings, and the hulking rock-like obsidimen). There are no half-races of any kind, and no inherently evil races other than the otherworldly Horrors.
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