In case you missed the announcement on our social media feeds this week (and why aren’t you following us on social media?), we announced the next book for Earthdawn Fourth Edition.

The Adept’s Journey: Mystic Paths

The writing is done. Editing is done. Preliminary layout is very close to done (at least, as of this writing). Cover art has been commissioned, as has some interior art.

In order to get this book out the door, we are running a Kickstarter starting Monday, June 10. It’s a great chance to get in and get the new book — and if you’ve missed out on other books we’ve released, we’ll have tiers that offer bundles of other fourth edition books at a discounted rate compared to what you’ll find elsewhere.

All that is great, I hear you asking… but what’s in the book? That’s a great question.

This book brings many (but not all) of the secondary and racial Disciplines from earlier editions into fourth edition… but not necessarily in a form you will recognize.

When we were developing the rules for questor characters (introduced in the Questors sourcbook), we realized that framework could potentially work for other types of characters as well. That is, a series of ranks that give access to special powers. In early development we called them “mystery cults”, but eventually settled on calling them “Paths”.

Basically, a Path adds on to an existing Discipline. The adept learns a knack, which gives them rank 1 in the Path, and gives them the choice of several talents available to followers of that Path. The adept can increase their Path Rank, opening up slots to learn more powers (and possibly gain other bonuses as well). Following a Path also grants the adept access to Path-specific knacks, secret knowledge only granted to those on the Path.

One of the defining features of a Path is they are built around a particular goal or outlook, and have a hierarchy or other structure in place to screen candidates and set requirements for membership*. In that sense, they operate a little bit like secret societies or living legend cults. And it’s possible for organizations with access to secret knowledge or mystic techniques to be developed as Paths of their own.

(*Usually. As with everything, there are exceptions, and how formal the hierarchy is can vary among Paths.)

The Adept’s Journey: Mystic Paths includes twelve of these Paths, along with three fully developed Disciplines. Some are new, others are updates from previous editions. We’ll hold off on the full list for now, but we’ll reveal it on Monday when the Kickstarter goes live. We will, however, tease of one of the Paths in this book.

One of the things we wanted to do was develop racially-focused Paths. Membership to these is limited to members of a particular race, and builds on or enhances their natural abilities (like, say, a windling’s flight or a t’skrang’s tail). One of these (and one of my favorites) belongs to the orks: the Fire Eater.

This Path is focused on harnessing the fire and passion of an ork’s gahad. It grants them greater control over this trait, but also allows them to draw on its power to enhance their other abilities.

All Fire Eaters get access to the Fires of Gahad talent. This Willpower-based talent grants its rank as a bonus to tests made to resist gahad triggers, but also provides an additional ability: if their gahad is triggered, the adept can make a Rank+WIL test against a DN 10, and each success grants an additional +1 bonus to tests made to deal with what triggered their gahad.

But where the Path really starts to shine is in the Fires of Gahad knacks they can learn. At Rank 3 Towering Inferno allows the adept to use the Aggressive Attack stance with no Strain cost. Intimidating Fire at Rank 5 allows them to apply their gahad bonus to fear-based or Intimidation tests. At Rank 8, the Fire Eater’s control of gahad is so strong they can learn the Share Gahad knack, which grants the target the gahad racial ability — even if they aren’t an ork.

In addition, there are knacks available to Fire Eaters that allow the adept to spend karma on certain kinds of tests, knacks that allow them to use their bonus from Fires of Gahad on other talents (for instance, Battle Shout, Heartening Laugh, Fireblood, and more), along with other abilities that harness and expand their racial trait.

One of the goals with Paths was to try and make them useful to a variety of Disciplines. For several of the Paths that were once full Disciplines, they’ve been boiled down to their core concept, and had the tricks and powers they had access to revised or expanded for broader utility.

Of course, in addition to the new rules, we continue the tradition of in-character essays for each of the Paths and Disciplines the book includes. Like The Adept’s Way and Questors, the essays provide insight into these magical practitioners, and can serve as inspiration for your own characters.

We’re really excited about this book, and can’t wait to reveal more. Check out the Kickstarter when it launches June 10 for a list of the Paths and Disciplines included. Then stay tuned as the campaign progresses for more behind-the-scenes discussion and developer secrets!