Hello Earthdawn fans! Michael back again with another developer blog. Usually I have a specific thought or idea of what I want to write about for these, but this time I’ve drawn a bit of a blank. I’ve been focusing most of my creative efforts on my next big project and I guess I’m having trouble thinking about anything other than that. That’s probably just as interesting as anything else I can come up with, so why don’t I just give an early peak at what I’m working on? I am partway through writing a sourcebook which started mostly from a simple title: The Grand Bazaar.
The market just inside the Gates of Throal is one of those areas that almost everyone has heard of, but not much is really known about its origin nor have certain aspects of it been described in detail. It’s a place where the city’s citizens can get everything they need to live their lives and adventures can uncover the treasures found across Barsaive. After taking on the project, I dove into existing content discussing the area and found a fairly blank canvas. Who lives there? How is the market laid out? Why did this become such a vast and diverse market? What types of merchant traditions are practiced there? While broad answers to these questions have been presented previously, I thought it’d be interesting to explore these details in a dedicated sourcebook.
One of the major components planned for the product will be description of major NPCs that have made a name for themselves as successful or distinctive merchants. While working on Elven Nations, I really enjoyed creating characters players may encounter within the game world. Fleshing out who a character is, why they are where they are, and what motivates them makes a semi-permanent yet fluid impact on the world. That character exists, but could leave an area at any point in the future and make an appearance or impact elsewhere. NPCs are a crucial element in any RPG, so having the opportunity to add more into the world of Earthdawn is something I’m excited to do.
A preexisting component I want to update for fourth edition is the layout of the Grand Bazaar itself. First edition gave an open interpretation of how the market would be organized, which I think will benefit from an overhauled design. This created an opportunity to describe the buildings and roadways that can be found throughout the marketplace. Inside the game world, these changes may reflect the state Throal finds itself in during the years that followed the second Theran War. An interesting thought for sure, but that’s a topic for another time.
The last bit of inspiration I had when outlining this sourcebook was thinking of new ways for characters to interact with the economy. Even though the silver system has become a widely accepted currency, the land of Barsaive is a diverse and expansive place that encompasses many unique cultures. The currencies and negotiation methods that merchants from outside of Throal use may not be as wide spread, but I think they would still be practiced by those that made their fortunes by such means. From this idea, the book will expand upon the usage of certain talents and give players different means to interact with the marketplace.
With the Bazaar being a market, there will of course be things for characters to spend their hard-earned silver on. New blood charms, thread items, and other oddities will round out the book and give players new customization options. While this is hopefully an exciting overview, I want to mention that this project is still a work in progress. What I’ve shown here is the jumping off point I’m using to focus the direction the book will take. I’m excited to have the opportunity to further define this area of Throal and may reveal a few more things about this project as it continues to take shape. Until next time, thanks for reading.