Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Earthdawn Campaign: Daybreak at Kaer Jerall

The campaign start is daybreak, 01 Strassa, 1436 as the Dwarf Traders of Throal reckon it, and 993 years since Thom Edro proclaimed Theran Imperium over Barsaive.You, and those who inhabited Kaer Jerall before you, endured the long night for 427 years, the scourge is still meant to be raging, but the clock of elemental earth has halted in its descent....

The magic level has not dropped for twenty years, and a new generation has been born and grown to adulthood since then, your generation. Over a year ago, the outer door of the Caisson let a small group of adepts venture forth. They reported back that Barsaive was green and the Scourge appeared to be over. However, the neighboring village of Hellas looked swallowed by a Jungle that had not existed pre-Scourge; the village of Rashamon was an empty ruin, its Kaer open (they dared not venture inside); and Dheras to the south was likewise ruined and gone, though they could find no sign of their Kaer.

So the Kaer Elders resolved that two more expeditions be sent forth. From amongst your number, they selected ten Journeyman Adepts:Troll Warrior Regalorn, Elf Archer Ter, Ork Scout Yrun, Ork Wizard Barahir and Dwarf Troubadour Taran went east through the Jungle toward Hellas and thence to the city of Jerris, gateway to the Theran colonies of the North. South, then West went Human Swordmistress Nyssa, Human Scout Jhakor, Dwarf Elementalist Thom, Ork Illusionist Kryssis and Troll Skyraider Dagda. They bypassed the ruins of Dherras and made there way around the Tylon Mountains toward the famed trading hub of Kratas to the West.
That was a year and a day ago. There has been no sign nor word of them since, though their ultimate destinations were less than a month away. Before they left, the Kaer Elders gave them all blood charms so that they might know if they explorers still lived. Of the group that set forth for Jerris, only Regalorn lives for sure, though Ter is not certain to be dead. Of the group that made their way toward Kratas, Dagda's state is unknown but according to the charms the rest live still. So, of the Kaer's dwindling cadre of Adepts, two more parties are to be sent - though Apprentices like yourselves are all that the Elders will risk. Your guide won the toss of the Air-Piece so you may choose your own direction...

So what's it going to be? You have your gear, along with a week's rations and two more of some unappetizing stuff, made according to some old Dwarven recipe. The Kaer Elders have even thrown in a couple of healing potions, a couple or two more booster potions, and a few poison antidotes, even a precious 'Last Chance Salve'. No one has traveled beyond that horizon and returned. For an entire year, the only ones to go even a day away from the Kaer's entrance are the Elders and their guards to the Shrine of Erendis. You all saw many score campfires to the Northeast a couple of months ago, a lookout claims to have seen a ship sailing across the sky to the east, another claims to have seen a dragon overflying the jungle out that way, apart from that... nothing but you, some animals and empty ruins where everyone else used to be....

Friday, June 24, 2011

More Earthdawn Previews

One area where 2nd Ed Earthdawn seriously dropped the ball was in putting in a new taster story. The original story from 1st Ed, 'Inheritance', tells players new to the game pretty much everything they should know about playing Earthdawn - Including that it rains a lot in Barsaive! 

You should be able to read that short story in this book preview. Things like this aren't works of literary genius but, done properly, accurately convey a sense of the roles characters play in the world. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Looks like a good game...

Looks like a good game - I can't believe I forgot about this. I used to run it all the time. It was THE game for us pre-D&D 3E. That reviewer finds it too 'crunchy'. He is over-emphasising the complexity of the resolution system, I think.  The game overall is far, far simpler than say D&D3E but you do need a table on-hand when you start out, so that you know the correct dice to roll for different levels of ability. 

This did sometimes have my players hankering for the simplicity of D20 + modifiers but I always appreciated that everything expressed in 'steps' (essentially the average outcome of different dice combinations) so it was always very easy for me to assign target numbers. Having the single D20 in there always made D&D too much of a 'crapshoot; for my tastes. 

Whereas I don't like the idea of D&D 4E because it does not seem like 'D&D' to me, Earthdawn is designed from the ground up around the premise that 1. The world is incredible hostile, about one step shot of Cthulluesque, and 2. No worries though, your characters start out able to do things like levitate for more combat speed, cast spells, fly airships, boil your blood during battle to heal, form a magical claw for more damage, then you really build up from there. 

I wonder if players could be persuaded to play this again...