Stacking Karma Dice

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
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Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:43 am

Stacking Karma Dice

Post by Mcgarnagle » Sun May 05, 2019 1:49 pm

The disciplines allow for special karma uses at certain circles and it occurred to me that some of these karma bonuses aren't as useful as the initially seem.

For example, The Weaponsmith gains Craftsman as a free talent at Circle One. They also get a karma bonus at first circle that allows them to spend karma on any test to craft or repair an item. This sounds pretty good, but because they have Craftsman as a talent, they already have the ability to add a karma die to these rolls. Unless they are using a skill to craft or repair, when would they ever get to utilize this karma bonus?

Does it mean that a Weaponsmith can add 2 karma dice to his Craftsman roll if he wants? I couldn't find any specific rule to this in the Players Guide.

Another example is the Beastmaster gains a karma bonus at 5th circle that allows them to spend a karma on any unarmed damage test. Claw Shape uses the Unarmed Combat talent to hit and allows the adept to add a karma to the damage already due to the Claw Shape talent; can they add a 2nd karma point to damage tests on Claw Shape when they reach 5th circle?

When I started reading the discipline section in the Companion, the karma bonus conflict was even more prevalent. Some disciplines have bonuses at higher circles that allow them to spend a karma point on an action test when adjacent to an ally. I know that an action test does not necessarily mean that a talent is being used, but if it was, do they again have the option to use 2 karma points on the roll?

Something that is in the Companion that appears to be missing from the Players Guide is a small paragraph that reads:
Karma Bonuses
Karma bonuses allow the adept to spend a Karma Point on different types
of actions. Unless specifically indicated, each type ability may only contribute
one point of Karma, though if multiple ability types apply, each may contribute,
allowing multiple Karma to be spent on a given test.
It's odd that the Players Guide doesn't have the same note on karma bonuses that the Companion does (or maybe it does and I'm just missing it). Based on the wording in the Companion and using the examples I outlined above, was this the intention of how karma can be used or is this a skewed interpretation of the rules?

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Re: Stacking Karma Dice

Post by ChrisDDickey » Sun May 05, 2019 2:37 pm

Yes, sometimes you can spend more than one karma on one test.
Weaponsmiths can spend 2 karma on most crafting tests. This is very handy when trying to do highly difficult enchanting (craft true pattern seems to fall within their bonus karma ability).
Beastmasters are allowed to burn through their karma at a ridiculous rate. A beastmaster with 8 ranks in Claw Frenzy can burn through over 24 karma in one round assuming he makes 8 unarmed attacks with karma and hits them all, and adds 2 karma to each damage test.

A lot of things that probably ought to have been explained more clearly in the players guide were not. They looked at what things got asked about a lot and wedged a lot of these clarifications into the Companion.

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