Thursday, November 11, 2010


Earthdawn is an interesting idea for a roleplaying game - it's like someone asked, what happens if we take a post-apocalyptic RPG and a fantasy RPG and ram them together? Earthdawn is the result. In the past of Earthdawn's world, magic was a growing force, and civilizations flourished under it - but some magicians realized that the magic growing slowly opened holes in reality, holes that would eventually let terrible, Cthonic entities called Horrors into the world. Eventually magic reached a point where, even if magic use ceased, there was enough to let the Horrors in, so people began to prepare for the inevitable, and created sanctuaries called kaers. They filled with the various peoples quickly, and then they were sealed away as the Horrors began to enter the world - and they remained that way for generations. Some kaers were destroyed due to weak protections, some due to accidentally allowing a Horror in with them, and at least one due to hubris, but for the most part, they survived - and now that the Horrors have mostly gone, and people are emerging, the rebuilding begins. It is your task, as one of the newly released, to explore what remains of the world, facing what the Horrors left behind, finding what has been lost, and helping to forge Barsaive's future.

So, to create a character in Earthdawn, first I choose a Discipline, like a class, and a race. I'll go with the Warrior Discipline, because I like to hit things, and the Obsidiman race; they're a 7-foot-tall, 800-pound race of beings seemingly born out of living rock, who are very strong and tough to hurt. My starting attributes as an Obsidiman are Dexterity 8, Strength 18, Toughness 13, Perception 9, Will 10, and Charisma 9. My movement speed is 5, and my karma modifier is 3. I have two abilities: an Increased Wound Threshold of +3, and Natural Armor which gives me a Physical Armor Rating of 3 and means I can't wear standard armor.

After that, I have 25 points to assign to attributes. My key attributes as a Warrior are Dexterity and Strength, so I'll put some points in them. Attributes cost 1 point each up to 3 points, then 2 points after that. I want to get my Dexterity to 14, which costs me 9 points, and then my Strength to 20, for 2 more points. I'll then add 5 points each to both Toughness and Will, which uses up the last of my attribute points. I then record these, and then have a number of characteristics to determine. First, I check for Armor; as an Obsidiman, I have Physical Armor 3, and can't wear other armor, so that's easy. My Mystic Armor Rating, based on my Will score, is 2. I then check my Physical Defense Rating, which is based on my Dexterity, and find the rating is 8. My Spell Defense is based on Perception, which in why case isn't great, so I have a 6. My Social Defense is based on Charisma, also not very high, and is also a 6. My Death Rating, the number of points of damage required to kill my character, is 42, and my Unconscious Rating, the number of points of damage it take to knock me out, is 34. My Wound Threshold, the number of points of damage an attack has to inflict in order to inflict a serious Wound, is 12, 15 because I'm an Obsidiman.

After that, I determine Initiative, which for me is 6, and then Karma, which as an Obsidiman is 3. My Carrying Capacity, due to my prodigious Strength, is 260 pounds. Then, I assign Talent Ranks for my Discipline. I start with eight points, and my options are Avoid Blow, Karma Ritual, Melee Weapons, Unarmed Combat, and Wood Skin. Since I'm an Obsidiman, I think I'll pass on the last one for now and assign two points to each of the first 4. Then I get to skills, which are divided into 4 categories: Knowledge, Artisan, Language, and General. I automatically have 2 points in Knowledge Skills; I'll put a point each in Ancient Weapons and in Horror Lore. Then I have one free Artisan rank; I'll put it in Rune Carving. Then I get two points in Speak Language, and one in Read/Write Language; I'll take the most common language, Dwarf, and Obsidiman for speaking, and go with Dwarven for Read/Write. Finally, I get to General Skills, and I have 8 points to use here. I'll put two points in the Battle Bellow skill, 2 in Craft Weapon, 2 points in Shield Charge and 2 points in Sprint.

Finally, I equip my character; I start with an Adventurer's Kit, Rune-Carving Artisan Tools, a dagger, traveler's garb, 1 week of trail rations, and 100 silver pieces; I'll spend 25 to buy a broadsword and then 50 more for a Crystal Buckler. I'm now ready to start adventuring. So, my final character looks like:

Obsidiman Warrior
DEX 14 STR 20 TOU 18
Physical Armor: 4 Mystic Armor: 3
Physical Defense: 8 Spell Defense: 6 Social Defense: 6
Death Rating: 42 Unconscious Rating: 34 Wound Threshold: 15
Initiative: 6 Karma: 3 Movement: 5 Carrying Capacity 260

Avoid Blow 2, Karma Ritual 2, Melee Weapons 2, Unarmed Combat 2

Ancient Weapons Knowledge 1, Horror Lore Knowledge 1, Artisan Rune-Carving 1, Speak Dwarven, Speak Obsidiman, Read/Write Dwarven, Battle Bellow 2, Craft Weapon 2, Shield Charge 2, Sprint 2

Adventurer's Kit, Rune-Carving Artisan Tools, Dagger, Traveler's Garb, 1 week trail rations, 25 silver pieces, Broadsword, Crystal Buckler

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