This is the last post in our series looking at the Warden and Master tiers for the core Disciplines from the upcoming Earthdawn Companion. For our final entry, we present the Cavalryman. As has been the case with the other entries, you can find Morgan’s take over on his blog.
I’ve always felt the Cavalryman occupies an interesting space in Earthdawn, and one that presents certain challenges. It makes a lot of sense the Discipline exists from a setting standpoint, but the reliance on, and relationship with, a mount can throw up obstacles when it comes to the traditional fantasy RPG trope of “exploring ruins to kill monsters and take their stuff.”
Fact is mounts (outside of windling mounts) take up a lot of space, and Cavalryman adepts need more space to be effective. Even though kaers were designed as large-scale shelters with room for hundreds (or thousands) of people to live for generations, along with space to grow food and raise animals… for a combat-focused Discipline, they don’t bring as much to the table when space is limited.
I’ve never had a Cavalryman in any of my games. Anecdotally, I think it may be the least played Discipline of the core fifteen (with the role almost always filled by a windling when it does pop up). In my bucket list of “campaign ideas I’d love to run if I had time,” I have vague thoughts of a Cavalryman game, perhaps the PCs are troubleshooters for Krathis Gron, or perhaps a detachment of Throalic cavalry. They wouldn’t necessarily have to all be Cavalryman adepts, but that would be the unifying conceit.
There isn’t much in the talent progression that hasn’t been discussed or featured in an earlier entry. Goring Attack is available as an option to the Beastmaster. Thunderstruck appears in the Sky Raider list. The only unique talent they get is Multi-Charge, which is the Cavalryman version of the multiple-attack talents available to other Disciplines (like Multi-Shot for the Archer, or Multi-Strike for the Swordmaster and Warrior).
Looking back, however, I realize I didn’t highlight a change made in all of these talents. Instead of being used as the attack test for the multiple attacks, the talent is used to determine how many additional attacks may be made, making a test against the highest Physical Defense among desired targets. Each success allows an additional attack using an appropriate talent (Second Shot for the Archer, for example).
This means the additional attacks are as effective as the adept’s normal extra attacks; you won’t have a situation where these legendary adepts are suddenly unable to hit an enemy because their new talent rank is so much lower than their other attack talents.
Looking back, I wish we had come up with this before the Player’s Guide went to press, because it should probably apply to a Beastmaster’s Claw Frenzy talent as well.
With this series wrapped up… any thoughts on what you’d like to see in future blog posts? Head on over to our forums and make some suggestions!
Warden Talent Options: Battle Bellow, Defensive Posture, Down Strike, Fireblood, Impressive Display, Iron Constitution, Lasting Impression, Life Check, Resist Taunt, Steel Thought
- Shared Strength: The adept performs an eight-hour ritual to improve their bond with a specific mount. Each adept’s ritual is unique, usually based on their training and personal philosophy. It is commonly done as the final step of becoming a Warden, but may be done at any time. After the ritual, the adept takes 1 Blood Magic Damage and the mount gains +3 to its Strength Step. Only one mount may be bound at a time. The effect may be ended at any time, at which time the adept may heal the damage and use the ability on a new mount.
- Karma: The adept may spend a Karma Point on a Recovery test.
- Discipline Talent: Goring Attack
- Defense: The adept adds +2 to their Social Defense.
- Initiative: The adept adds +1 to their base Initiative Step.
- Discipline Talent: Relentless Recovery
- Defense: The adept adds +1 to their Mystic Defense.
- Karma: The adept may spend a Karma Point on Damage tests made by their mount.
- Discipline Talent: Momentum Attack
- Defense: The adept adds +4 to their Physical Defense.
- Recovery: The adept gains 2 additional Recovery tests per day.
- Discipline Talent: Animal Talk
Master Talent Options: Champion Challenge, Lion Spirit, Rally, Resist Pain, Second Chance, Thought Link, Unflinching Fortitude, Vicious Wound
- Shared Spirit: The adept knows the truth about their spirit and their mount’s; they are one and the same. With this knowledge, they can trick reality and bring their mount to them at any time. The adept takes 4 Strain and makes a Mount Weaving test against their mount’s Mystic Defense. If successful, the mount appears under the adept as if it had always been there and the adept is mounted properly. This ability will not work if there is not enough room for the mounted character.
- Defense: The adept adds +3 to their Social Defense.
- Karma: The adept increases their Karma +1 Step to a d8.
- Mystic Armor: The adept gains +1 Mystic Armor.
- Discipline Talent: Critical Hit
- Defense: The adept adds +5 to their Physical Defense.
- Initiative: The adept adds +2 to their base Initiative Step,
- Discipline Talent: Thunderstruck
- Defense: The adept adds +2 to their Mystic Defense.
- Recovery: The adept gains 3 additional Recovery tests per day.
- Discipline Talent: Multi-Charge