Fourth Edition House Rules

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
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MaxLiao
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Re: Fourth Edition House Rules

Postby MaxLiao » Thu May 07, 2015 10:43 pm

I understand your concern, and It is certainly more the latter than the former. *IF* I were to do the former it would be intentional, and most likely the player wouldn't know he had a Thread item. I'm already an unforgiving GM, I don't need to make fools of the players or tease them. Then again, it would be neat to see the anticipation as the player Circled 1 through 3. :twisted:

Weaponsmiths can forge weapons and Blood Charms can empower abilities or stats. I just don't feel Thread items are needed or warranted.

In 1st Edition I made new players take all Talents up through 4th Circle, at 5th circle and above I let them follow the standard chart. Experienced players could start the game just using the chart and skipping Talents as they saw fit. I haven't decided in 4th Edition.

As for Thread Weaving, I can come up with other uses for it or I may just slide it to 4th Circle. Throughout the editions there have been a bunch of things you could do with Thread Weaving, I'm sure I can incorporate some of those uses to effective results. I'll discuss this with my potential players and get their take.
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Baravakar
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Re: Fourth Edition House Rules

Postby Baravakar » Sat May 09, 2015 8:17 am

Physician Skill
This skill does not have any rules for extra successes.

    The character’s Physician rank is added to the next Recovery or resistance test his patient makes as applicable.

We add +1 for each extra success. But the maximum bonus for a recovery test is limited to twice the character's Physician rank. (Rank 3, max +6 on next test with extra successes)

    The Physician skill can be used to treat Wounds. Wounds are treated individually, the physician has to take time to stitch or bandage each Wound.

For each extra success one additional wound is treated, The maximum number of wounds that can be treated per test is the character’s Physician rank.

Slimcreeper
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Re: Fourth Edition House Rules

Postby Slimcreeper » Mon May 18, 2015 9:12 pm

These are my language rules, which translate fairly well to 4ed as far as I can tell:

Each language is skill learned independently. As per the book, characters start with Speak Throalic 6, Read/Write Throalic 5, and Speak [Racial Language] 6.
Basically, Rank 3 is conversational, Rank 5 is fluent, and Rank 6 is as a native speaker. Most of the time, after rank 3 tests are not needed for most conversations. At Rank 5, tests are not needed for more complex communications, such as in diplomacy, debate, poetry, or literature, unless desired. You can think of the rank as equivalent to two grade levels - rank 3 is equivalent to a 6th grader; rank 5 as a 10th grader.
Dialects are not harder to learn than the 'base language'. In fact, all languages are dialects. You may understand another dialect of a language that you speak. It is significantly harder, however, if you haven't learned the language skill for the dialect. Depending on the dialect, the communication will require 2 to 4 additional successes.
The talents work a little different. The adept make a test at the beginning of the communication, whether written or spoken. If she makes the test, she is fluent for the duration of the communication - one topic, one chapter, etc. The adept doesn't simply know additional languages.


They are based on what I learned getting my ESOL certification; I think they better reflect the way language is learned. And I never liked the way talents worked. Why would anyone ever need more than a couple of ranks once you learned Throalic and Sperethiel? And why would you get better art Thoalic by learning Or'zet?

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Re: Fourth Edition House Rules

Postby Slimcreeper » Mon May 18, 2015 9:21 pm

Draconic. DN 12. Draconic is actually a gestural language, as dragons are naturally telepathic. As such, other Name-givers cannot learn to express themselves, but they can learn to read the moods of dragons. It is impossible to be considered fluent in draconic unless your character is a drake or a dragon. May be written (sort of) phonetically with Sperethiel, but each dragon's writes with a different dialect. Trying to learn this language has a higher fatality rate than with other languages.
Dwarf.
DN 5. Throalic is the most common language, both written and spoken, in Barsaive.
Throalic Dialects:
Modern Throalic comes in three flavors, all of which are the same dialect:
Kaer Throalic - One name for the variety of dialects Name-givers spoke after emerging from the kaers. It is understandable, but old fashioned, with loan words from the various racial languages. Kaer Thoalic
Trade Throalic - A fairly uniform dialect of Throalic found across Barsaive. As dwarf traders moved across the land, they picked up a lot of Or’zet words.
Kingdom Throalic - the King’s language as spoken in Throal and Bartertown.
Old Throalic. Classical language still spoken by educated Throalits.
Runic Throalic. DN 8. Classical written language with strong magical resonance. Magical writing in Runic receives +1 to any associated statistics or difficulty numbers.
Scythan. Dying language, spoken in mountains north of Throal.
Elf.
The elvish language is very stable, but not commonly written outside of the Blood wood.
Sperethiel. DN 6.
Dialect: Ancient Sperethiel - Dead language with strong magical resonance. Magical writing in Ancient Sperethiel receives +1 to any associated statistics or difficulty numbers.
Human.
DN 6. There are no separate human dialects in Barsaive (only accents!) but there are at least 3 distinct languages:
Landis. The most common human language.
Cathan. Spoken by a tribe in the Servos Jungle. No written language.
Dinganni. Spoken by a nomadic tribe native to the plains around Kratas. No written language.
Obsidiman.
DN 7. The obsidiman language is very stable, but very difficult for non-obsidimen to learn. All tests associated with the obsidiman language require one better success level than normal for non-obsidimen, and no non-obsidiman can be considered to be fluent.
Obsidiman
Pictographs. Written language that is only used for magical texts, legends and sacred documents. Each pictograph is at least 3 inches tall. Obsidimen Pictographs have a strong magical resonance. Magical writing in Pictographs receives +1 to any associated statistics or difficulty numbers.
Landscape. Symbolic language created out of the living landscape - boulders, streams, plants, etc. Requires strength of at least 15 to ‘write’ and between one and four hours per idea.
Ork.
DN 6. Many scorchers only speak Or’zet.
Or’zet. Currently written using phonetic spellings with Throalic characters. The written language is not very common.
Or’zat. Dead language, written in pictographs. The ancient language of Cara Fahd.
Troll.
DN 6. The troll language is tied tightly to the troll ideas of honor, and so is very stable. However, highland trolls speak a dialect unique to their moot, and lowland trolls speak a distinct language.
Ustrect. Language from a lowland troll kingdom near the Crystal Peaks. The most common lowland troll language.
Highland Moot Dialects. Living languages unique to each moot. They can communicate with each other, but increase all DNs by 2.
T’skrang.
DN 7. T’skrang vies with Throalic to be the language of trade along the Serpent River. T’skrang along the Serpent have a strong accent based on their aropagoi.
Serpent T’skrang. The written language, however, is so complex and nuanced that it is hardly used for anything. Even fluent readers must make a test each time they try to read it.
Pale t’skrang. A primitive subterranean tribe living on the waterways under the throalic mountains. No written language.
K’stulaa. The magical language spoken by those t’skrang born with a gliding membrane between their limbs. No written language. K’stulaa may only be learned via magical means. All DN +2.
Windling.
DN 7. Windling culture seems to have sprung up in the Glenwood, and that is the place where windling is most commonly spoken. Because spoken windling is augmented with wing sounds and movements, no non-windling can be considered fluent in Windling. Windling is written phonetically with Throalic characters.
Glenwood.
Theran.
DN 5. Quite common in southern Barsaive. In several areas not at all loyal to Thera it is the only language spoken. A human language heavily influenced by Sperethiel.

*edit* I see that there are certain inconsistencies, particularly with how I used the word 'dialect', but hey, I didn't get paid to write it! *edit*

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Mataxes
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Re: Fourth Edition House Rules

Postby Mataxes » Mon May 18, 2015 11:44 pm

I'll be honest, looking back now I think I would make the Speak and Read/Write Language talents (not skills) work a little differently.

Rather than giving you a bunch of slots, each of which gets filled with a language, it simply gives the user the ability to magically communicate in any language. The test indicates how well the user speaks/is understood, with a baseline difficulty similar to the learning difficulties. Strain still applies, with one strain lasting the duration of the talent (10 minutes maybe?). Extra successes on the test could increase the duration, or perhaps be used to give bonuses (+1 or +2 per extra success?) to Interaction tests while speaking the language.

It's all kind of half-formed, and probably not something I should be wasting brain cycles on right now. (I have so much other stuff to focus on!)

(Elemental Tongues would likely get a similar treatment, cutting the 'each slot grants a language' thing.)
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Slimcreeper
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Re: Fourth Edition House Rules

Postby Slimcreeper » Tue May 19, 2015 12:30 am

That's pretty much what I do, except the duration is one communication or conversation. Easier than trying to figure out how long you've talked in-game to an NPC.

Baravakar
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Re: Fourth Edition House Rules

Postby Baravakar » Thu May 21, 2015 6:08 pm

I wanted to implement a house rule for raising talents and skills but it never made it off the ground.

The idea was, in order to increase a talent you have to use it once successfully. No matter what the talent was, you had to use it once in order to understand it in a new way and therefore can take it further.

This became problematic for a few reasons.
In order to advance a circle the character has to raise the discipline talents. In order to raise the talents you needed to use them. This leads to using the talents solely for the purpose of raising them and not for any other reason.
For example, our Obsidiman Purifier has wound balance and a wound threshold of 14. He never got knockdown in a fight. To raise the talent, the answer is for another player to use "attack to knockdown" combat option on him and hit. This would create a knockdown test, easily passed or repeated until it was.
Another was the ED4 change to thread weaving. Everyone received thread weaving and needs to increase it to advance. In order to use it successfully (for non-casters) the party needs to create a group pattern at first circle or find a magic item and all of the information to use it. No one could advance to 2nd circle without successfully using thread weaving.
This also became a further problem with talents that can't be automatically activated without the proper catalyst. Talents like Disarm Trap (without a trap) , Danger Sense (I'm gonna hide in an alley and surprise you when you come in), Spirit Talk (without a spirit around), or Iron Constitution (without being poisoned).

I liked the concept but had to drop the idea.

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etherial
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Re: Fourth Edition House Rules

Postby etherial » Thu May 21, 2015 6:17 pm

Baravakar wrote:I wanted to implement a house rule for raising talents and skills but it never made it off the ground.

The idea was, in order to increase a talent you have to use it once successfully. No matter what the talent was, you had to use it once in order to understand it in a new way and therefore can take it further.

This became problematic for a few reasons.
In order to advance a circle the character has to raise the discipline talents. In order to raise the talents you needed to use them. This leads to using the talents solely for the purpose of raising them and not for any other reason.

I liked the concept but had to drop the idea.


It used to be a game rule and I'm glad we are rid of it for all the reasons you cite.

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Mataxes
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Re: Fourth Edition House Rules

Postby Mataxes » Thu May 21, 2015 7:19 pm

Yeah, "must use to advance" was in the first edition. I forget which edition originally cut the rule. (I want to say ED2 but don't have the heart to really go digging for something I house-ruled away pretty early in my ED lifespan.)

I remember the original debate back in the day mostly revolved around Life Check -- which would only trigger if the character died.

So the scenario was: Warrior has Life Check at Rank 1, and is never able to raise it higher until he is "killed"... making it difficult for him to avoid death because the Step isn't that high. (And, because of the way advancement worked in ED1, meant he /needed/ to take Missile Weapons -- the other C6 talent -- in order to advance to C7.)
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Telarus_KSC
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Re: Fourth Edition House Rules

Postby Telarus_KSC » Thu May 21, 2015 7:39 pm

As an alternative, I can suggest giving out a small Legend Award (or even Karma) when the player's dice explode dramatically when they do something appropriate for their character (has to improve the scene in some way). Use tokens like poker chips or glass beads and award this immediately in-play when it happens, then trade them in at the end of the session (or just let the player use them if it's Karma).


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