EDC vs ED4

Discussion on the Earthdawn game line, errata, and feedback not related to playing or GMing.
Cosmic55
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EDC vs ED4

Post by Cosmic55 » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:05 am

It's fun to be part of a living breathing game community. It's great to support game companies doing good work. That being said - core book alone - I still have my book on bought when the game first came out. I bought one of the newer editions - Livingroom Games? - and ended up selling it. Didn't see the point.

So what does ED4 offer to entice me, compared to EDC?

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Mataxes
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Re: EDC vs ED4

Post by Mataxes » Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:03 am

So... I'm not quite clear on what you have. You mention "when it first came out" -- does that mean the original (1993) edition put out by FASA? Because you also mention EDC, which is... a compilation of first edition material with some tweaks.

Living Room Games did the Second Edition which is mostly similar to first but... has some issues, IMO.

Getting a better sense of that will help other people answer the question for you.
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Slimcreeper
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Re: EDC vs ED4

Post by Slimcreeper » Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:16 am

Ed4 is modernized and streamlined. 2nd edition was … not great. 3rd and the compendiums are certainly playable. They are very similar to 1st ed ED, which was a great game, one that has engendered multi-decade loyalty. But 4th has been thoughtfully redesigned to be more fun to play without losing the narrative potential or cohesiveness that made the game so compelling in the first place.

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The Undying
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Re: EDC vs ED4

Post by The Undying » Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:19 am

Honestly, without even getting into anything about edition differences, I think you answered your own question. You like being a part of a living, breathing community? Well, the community has [mostly] moved on to ED4 and that's where all the really discussion, theory-crafting, and such build on. That doesn't mean that much of the forum posts can't apply to older editions, that doesn't mean you won't see occasional discussions about pre-ED4 specific material, and that doesn't mean that staying pre-ED4 will prevent you from playing the game. But, if you want to be part of the living, breathing community, best to be part of the living, breathing product. :D

Cosmic55
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Re: EDC vs ED4

Post by Cosmic55 » Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:28 am

Mataxes wrote:
Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:03 am
So... I'm not quite clear on what you have. You mention "when it first came out" -- does that mean the original (1993) edition put out by FASA? Because you also mention EDC, which is... a compilation of first edition material with some tweaks
Oops. Sorry. Being new I thought the C stood for Classsic. :oops:

Cosmic55
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Re: EDC vs ED4

Post by Cosmic55 » Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:29 am

Thank you for the replies! :)

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etherial
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Re: EDC vs ED4

Post by etherial » Sun Feb 19, 2017 4:19 pm

Cosmic55 wrote:
Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:28 am
Mataxes wrote:
Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:03 am
So... I'm not quite clear on what you have. You mention "when it first came out" -- does that mean the original (1993) edition put out by FASA? Because you also mention EDC, which is... a compilation of first edition material with some tweaks
Oops. Sorry. Being new I thought the C stood for Classsic. :oops:
The C does stand for Classic. ED1 was published by FASA Corporation from 1993 to 1999. ED2 was published by Living Room Games (under license from FASA) from 2001 to 2006. EDC was published by Redbrick, Ltd. (under a different license from FASA) from 2005 to 2008. ED3 was published by Redbrick, Ltd. from 2009 to 2012. And ED4 is published by FASA Games (a wholly owned subsidiary of FASA) from 2015 to the present. There have also been a handful of ports of the setting to other systems over the years.

Cosmic55
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Re: EDC vs ED4

Post by Cosmic55 » Sun Feb 19, 2017 4:30 pm

etherial wrote:
Sun Feb 19, 2017 4:19 pm
The C does stand for Classic. ED1 was published by FASA Corporation from 1993 to 1999. ED2 was published by Living Room Games (under license from FASA) from 2001 to 2006. EDC was published by Redbrick, Ltd. (under a different license from FASA) from 2005 to 2008. ED3 was published by Redbrick, Ltd. from 2009 to 2012. And ED4 is published by FASA Games (a wholly owned subsidiary of FASA) from 2015 to the present. There have also been a handful of ports of the setting to other systems over the years.
:shock:

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Mataxes
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Re: EDC vs ED4

Post by Mataxes » Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:03 pm

Yeah. A bit of history from one who was there...

Ethereial gave the timeline. I was a fan from the first days, and pretty heavily involved in online fandom for ED1 in the late 90s. I was a playtester/consultant for ED2. I wasn't happy with some of the decisions that came out of Living Room Games (LRG) -- and I wasn't the only one. This became especially troublesome as the later books came out; there were setting decisions made that just... didn't work. Ideas that, if you think them through, require radical changes to the underlying assumptions of the setting.

RedBrick came along in that latter period with the idea of getting back to the original roots. The print editions of ED1 were becoming hard to come by, and print-on-demand tech was just starting to blossom. So, take the material from the original edition, compile it for ease of reference, and release as POD. All player material in one (massive) book. All GM material in another (massive) book. All the core talents. Spells. Knacks. Gear. Creatures. This was dubbed "Earthdawn Classic" as it wasn't (intended to be) a new edition, but was going back to the 'classic' game under FASA.

I came on board as a contributing editor, mainly because I wanted to tackle a re-organization (rewrite) of the magic chapters, especially pattern theory to try and make it clearer (as I found it was a common stumbling block for new players, and I felt that misunderstanding lay beneath some of the issues with ED2). In the course of that we looked at incorporating some fixes and tweaks to rules known to have issues in ED1 (Taunt, for example).

It ended up being more of a new edition than I think was originally intended, but a separate 'branch' from ED2. After LRG shuttered, and the problems with the print-on-demand started to make themselves known (especially shipping costs), RedBrick struck a deal with Mongoose to actually have print books in stock and have them in the distribution network (this was under Mongoose's "Flaming Cobra" imprint). That led to ED3, which broke the two compendia into four books; two player and two GM. It also first incorporated the more relaxed version of Discipline progression (tested out as an optional rule in EDC) with optional talent selection at each Circle.

ED3 was... troubled. The books put out were gorgeous, but there was (once again) a lot of reprinted material, which started upsetting some long-term hardcore fans. RedBrick grabbed some other licenses (Fading Suns, Blue Planet), which didn't end up seeing much of anything new come out for them. There was a devastating personal event for James, the guy at the helm (the murder-suicide of his wife and young son). The others involved (especially Carsten Damm) did the best they could to hold things together and keep the ship moving forward. But a lot of bad blood came out of the whole affair, both within RedBrick and with RB's relationship with certain segments of the fan community.

I had largely stepped away in the early days of ED3, since at that point I had a young family and little time to contribute. (I consulted on Kratas, but that was about it.) About the time that everything was falling apart, I was starting to get back into things. James was still around, but it was clear his heart wasn't in it. While hanging out before GenCon in 2013 he basically said he was only looking to make sure Earthdawn ended up in the right hands (hinting very strongly that he would really like me to do it). Over the course of the convention, I made the decision to give it a go.

And here we are.
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The Undying
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Re: EDC vs ED4

Post by The Undying » Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:14 pm

It's interesting that you note your involvement in the earlier editions being focused on magics. Honestly, I'd say the core magician Disciplines are actually one of the least healthy parts of ED4.
  1. the extra Thread mechanic managed to create something neat and fun (spell customization) while compounding the least fun part of being a magician (Threadweaving)
  2. the loss of spell head count and the over focus on combat spells make the Disciplines feel weaker (to me) out of combat, where they supposed to have good and interesting impact (Illusionist are in the best shape here)
  3. the latter point about magicians currently feeling less impactful out of combat in ED4 is compounded by the 'rebalance' of combat damage really being the place of close combatants first, range combatants second, and magicians third. Most of the magician spells are combat SHAPING now, which is nice, but they're no longer designed to often shine in combat, so loss of solid ability to shine outside of combat via spells is disappointing
  4. Hold Thread. Seems like the forum community cannot figure out how this is any good, let alone good enough to saddle everyone with it
  5. the changes to summoning feel way overly punitive. It feels like, while trying to cull back an overly hot fire (summoning was whackadoo before ED4), they instead extinguished the fire, leaving us with the mostly dead embers.
    1. 30 minute ritual makes it Difficult to do when you need it and burdensome on your companions regardless of when it's done (heaven forbid you want to do it multiple times in a day)
    2. many/most activities will complete in far under an hour, let alone multiple hours
    3. summoner mystic defense matches or outpaces spirit ability Step for aid/enhance (especially Elementalists), making these risky for even the minimal benefits they provide.
    4. Half an hour ritual for the chance at a single use of Enhance is just painful; half an hour ritual for the chance at a +1 for 1 Strain ... the versatility is powerful, but I'd rather see a halfway point between Enhance and Aid (like, a third ability where the Adept picks ONE talent, that's the only one empowered, it's +2/success instead of +1 ... after all, they'll be lucky to get the single success, let alone multiple).
None of these aren't FIXABLE, of course. The spell selection will work itself out in the future when the relevant source book comes out. Knacks could be made to fix summoning (throws more LP on the bonfire, but at least it resolves it). But there are those who treat published material (Rules as Written) with more reverence than others, so having chaffing elements in there can be problematic.
Last edited by The Undying on Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:10 am, edited 4 times in total.

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