Before we get into this week’s preview, an announcement for early readers. Tonight at 11pm Eastern Standard Time (as of this posting on June 9, 2017), I will be a guest on Twitch Talks Tonight, a live-streaming talk show. The host, jacklifear, did a streaming Earthdawn campaign a while back, and is gearing up for a new one using Fourth Edition. We’ll talk some Earthdawn (among other things) over the course of the show. Feel free to stop by!
It’s also that start of convention season, and for me that means GenCon. As I have the last couple of years, I’m going to be there with the rest of the FASA folks. Running games, selling books, and generally soaking in the experience that is “the greatest four days in gaming.” If you’re going to be there, make sure to say hi! Most of our tabletop games are sold out, but there might be one or two slots still available.
I’ve been talking about Travar: The Merchant City the last couple of weeks. The book has been a long time coming, but it is done, and will be available in PDF on June 15, 2017. The proofs have come back from the printer and they look good, so the print copies will be shortly going into production, and should be available in early July. This time around, I’m featuring the Founding Tournament.
Travar is led by a triumvirate of magistrates. Each serves a three-year term, and each year one seat opens up. Competition for the seat is fierce. A merchant who becomes a Magistrate, even for a single term, can use that position and the power that comes with it, to great advantage and personal profit.
The position is not an elected one, however. The city holds an elaborate tournament called the Founding. The candidates sponsor one or more champions, and the sponsor of the winning champion becomes magistrate.
The book devotes an entire chapter to this event, describing its importance to Travar’s culture and the elaborate traditions that have grown up around it. But beyond that, it presents a framework and guidelines for creating tournament events for your own game, along with five sample events that are ready to go, or can serve as inspiration for your own creations. Here’s one example.
Storm Over Thunder Ridge
The storms over Thunder Ridge are legendary for their ferocity and rich deposits of True Air. The huge gusts of wind can take even the most experienced airman unaware, sending them plummeting to their death. In this event, champions must move from ship to ship, collecting tokens while avoiding storm force blasts of wind.
The decks of six mock airships float above the floor of the Arena, surrounded by colored crystal tokens representing kernels of True Air. Each champion has a designated color and each airship has nets used to gather the tokens. Floating among the tokens are items called storm spheres, floating orbs about the size of a person’s head, filled with a charge of elemental air.
As the champions move around the ships collecting tokens with the nets, they are attacked by the storm spheres. On a successful attack, the sphere sticks to the target, and a few moments later expels a powerful blast of wind, forcing the character to make a test. If they fail, they are knocked overboard and eliminated from the round.
Complicating matters, each token gathered causes the character to become lighter, making it harder for them to resist being knocked overboard. To avoid this, the character needs to ‘bank’ their tokens by depositing them in designated locations. Each banked token earns the champion a point, and the highest accumulated scores over multiple rounds advance in the tournament.
Of course, with multiple champions running around, there is bound to be some conflict. The storm spheres can be captured in a net and used as throwing weapons to intentionally knock other champions overboard, or otherwise interfere with their efforts. Each round is also timed, making it a fast-paced sprint to gather tokens and avoid falling, while doing what you can to cause problems for other champions.
More details for this event, along with four others, can be found in Travar: The Merchant City, available in PDF on June 15, 2017!