Way, way back when, I played Earthdawn 1st Ed with some friends. We did an all-Orc campaign and it was quite a lot of fun.
Being a bit of a contrarian, I decided to play an Orc Wizard. Managed to come up with a background that made sense and ran with it. My fellow players, in character, teased my guy as an "Elf wannabe." This lasted until, in a fit of Gahad, I fried one of their brains (temporarily) with a Mind Dagger.
Years later I picked up the EDC Player's Compendium and recently (relatively) I backed the 4th Ed Kickstarter. Reading through the new Player's Guide, this is how I've decided I'd build a Wizard in the current system.
I'm hoping that other folks might chime in with their 4th Ed characters. If you're curious as to why I chose some of the things I chose, check out the sections after the char sheet.
Character Name: Dubhan Goronich
Race: Dwarf Discipline: Wizard
Height: 4'2” Weight: 115lbs Hair: Brown Eyes: Brown Age:22
Dexterity: 11 (Step 5, d8) Strength: 10 (Step 5, d8) Toughness: 15 (Step 6, d10)
Perception: 17 (Step 7, d12) Willpower: 16 (Step 7, d12) Charisma: 13 (Step 5, d8)
Physical Defense: 7 Mystic Defense: 10 Social Defense: 8
Unconscious Rating: 34 Death Rating: 40 Wound Threshold: 10
Physical Armor: 3 Mystic Armor: 3 Iniative Step: 5 (d8)
Carrying Capacity: 110lbs*
Racial Abilities: Heat Sight *Strong Back (+2 to STR for Carrying)
Dispel Magic: 1 (Step 8, 2d6) Patterncraft: 1 (Step 8, 2d6)
Research: 1 (Step 8, 2d6) Spellcasting: 2 (Step 9, d8+d6)
Wizardry: 2 (Step 9, d8+d6) Standard Spell Matrix: 1
Robe Embroidery: 1 (Step 6, d10) Speak Languages: 2 (Throal Dwarven, Elvish)
Read/Write Languages: 2 Knowledge: Legends & Heroes: 2 (Step 9, d8+d6)
Alchemy: 3 (Step 10, 2d8) Physician: 3 (Step 10, 2d8)
Knowledge: Horrors: 2 (Step 9, d8 + d6)
Gear: Weight: Cost:
Adventurer's Kit w. tent: 14 25
Embroidery Kit: 1 N/A
Dagger: 1 N/A
Traveler's Garb: 3 N/A
Trail Rations (1 week): 8 N/A
Physician's Kit: 3 50
Quarterstaff 4 5
Leather Armor: 15 10
Sorry for the messy sheet. Too tired to work out the formatting properly.
Race: I didn't go with an Orc because their 8 Willpower is a bit of a deficit. Still, were I to get into an all-Orc campaign again I would probably still go with a Wizard since one was so fun last time.
I went with a Dwarf because their 11s in Perception and Willpower works well. In addition, Dwarves have Toughness 12. Wizards naturally have a low Durability so extra Toughness is nice.
Attributes: Earthdawn is interesting in that it allows you to improve your attributes through Legend Points but you're limited to a maximum improvement of +3. It adds importance to your choices at chargen.
Given the cost table, 25 points can go pretty fast. My main focus was Perception and Willpower. Charisma I did (almost) last, largely because I tend to prefer the research-oriented Talent Options over the Charisma ones.
I went Perception 17 mainly to get Step 7, but I chose 17 over 16 for the +1 Mystic Defense. Worth 2 Attribute Points IMHO.
Willpower is all about the Step. Willpower 16 gives Step 7 as well as Mystic Armor 3. 7 more Points spent. Only 9 left.
Dexterity 9 (Dwarf base) is a little low for my tastes. It was worth 2 Points to move to 11 and get +1 Step and +1 Physical Defense. Down to 7 Points.
Strength I left alone. Not much point increasing it, not for a Wizard. Especially as a Dwarf gets +2 for carrying purposes.
Toughness. Spending 1 Point to go to 13 was a no-brainer. The primary benefits are +1 Wound Threshold and especially +1 Recovery Test.
So that left 6 Points. Now, I saw a lot of benefit to using 3 to get Charisma 13. +1 Step, +2 Social Defense. That left 3 points.
There was a lot I could do with those 3 Points. I could have invested in the future and gotten Perception 18 or Willpower 17. I could have gotten Charisma 14 or Dexterity 13.
What I went with was 2 Points to get Toughness 15. The additional Unconsciousness and Death Ratings, plus a +1 Wound Threshold works for me.
That left one Point left over. I could do one of three things: get a point of Dex, a point of Strength or a point of Karma.
The point of Dex was tempting. Physical Defense is important for everybody, even Wizards and Dex 12 gets you a little closer to PD 8. In the end though I went with Karma. Never know when an extra Karma point will save you.
Talents: Talent Ranks I went typical. Put 2 Ranks in Spellcasting & Thread Weaving and 1s in everything else, including the Standard Matrix Talent Option. (I can't imagine any Earthdawn 4th spellcaster *not* taking the Standard Matrix Talent Option immediately.)
Spells: Spells are always hard to pick. To keep it simple I went with 1st Circle ones. I like Grimoir casting but there aren't any 2nd Circle spells I liked enough to use up a slot.
Seven spells, 11 possibilities. For various reasons I dropped Bedazzling Display of Logical Analysis, Catseyes, Divine Aura & Flame Flash.
For Bedazzling Display of Logical Analysis: It's a Social spell, and Social isn't a focus.
Catseyes is an unlikely spell for Heat Sight Dwarves to take.
Divine Aura: While useful, I need to cut somewhere.
Flame Flash: This was a tough call for me. I think it boiled down to the fact that I wanted the unique effects of the other available spells. I'm also thinking it might be an easy(er) spell to find later.
Skills: I like Physician and Alchemist. They complement each other. And, oddly enough, neither one are Talents.
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