New Rules Variant: Cavalier

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
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Panda
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New Rules Variant: Cavalier

Post by Panda » Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:53 pm

Greetings,

My Earthdawn blog post for this week is the Cavalier Discipline. I'm categorizing this as a rules variant rather than a new Discipline or even a Discipline variant because it's intended to replace Cavalryman entirely, not exist alongside them.

https://pandagaminggrove.blogspot.com/2 ... alier.html

Belenus
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Re: New Rules Variant: Cavalier

Post by Belenus » Wed Apr 07, 2021 2:18 pm

Greetings,

just curious about something: Why are you creating so much variants and optional rules?
Aren't you satisfied with how those discplines, talents, spells, etc. are working or do you just like variation?
As part of the Fasa team and with a lot of work coming from you, you have a lot of influence (over the community) and therefore your "fan made" stuff weighs a lot more than of anybody else.

But please don't get me wrong! I really appreciate your work and except for variations of official rules, I use a lot of it myself. Big thanks for that!

quillius
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Re: New Rules Variant: Cavalier

Post by quillius » Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:25 pm

Hey Panda,

Your introduction to this variant does a good job of describing what it is not intended to do: not trying to be a generically useful path, not trying to make it a melee fighter with an incidental mount (i.e. solving the "problem" of having a cavalryman in the group when kaer delving). What is it trying to do? Is it fair to say that you are leaning into the themes of charge attacks and social/leadership roles? Since I haven't had a chance yet to play with some of the other variants this leans on, it's a bit hard for me to synthesize it all in my mind and say what distinguishes the Cavalier from the Cavalryman.

Belenus
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Re: New Rules Variant: Cavalier

Post by Belenus » Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:36 pm

Yes, the cavalryman has its moments, where it's not really the best discipline to be.
For example your kaer delving. But this is true for so much more disciplines: Air Sailor, Sky Raider, probably the Troubadour, Blacksmith and Beastmaster (depending on the adventure).
But with circle 5 and the Spirit Mount, a Cavalryman can fix this problem easily.
Also it is far more powerful on a mount than even a warrior or any other discipline for the first few circles. So being in situations where you can't utilize all your power should be normal.
I actually never saw a reason to overwork this discpline and that's exactly why I'm asking ;)

Panda
Posts: 158
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Re: New Rules Variant: Cavalier

Post by Panda » Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:10 pm

Belenus wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 2:18 pm
Greetings,

just curious about something: Why are you creating so much variants and optional rules?
Aren't you satisfied with how those discplines, talents, spells, etc. are working or do you just like variation?
As part of the Fasa team and with a lot of work coming from you, you have a lot of influence (over the community) and therefore your "fan made" stuff weighs a lot more than of anybody else.

But please don't get me wrong! I really appreciate your work and except for variations of official rules, I use a lot of it myself. Big thanks for that!
Part of thinking about Earthdawn's design constantly is seeing different ways to approach it and how things could potentially be improved. Design on 4E had limitations in terms of time (a big one) and how far to stray from Earthdawn's roots. None of this is inherently bad and some of the problems I established very early on took quite a while to work out a good solution. Often those solutions require design technology that didn't exist and/or wasn't introduced in the Player's Guide. Others approaching it from a different perspective or with experience and time. Some the amount of time likely required could be better spent elsewhere. Most notably on spell design, which took up the bulk of my and David's development time once Discipline and talent design were complete.

In a larger sense, I'm never satisfied. I want to explore new ways of doing things because that interests me. Continual improvement. Which means I have to consider and explore new things. If I'm creating this new Earthdawn technology, I may as well share it with the community to see what works and what doesn't, and why something doesn't work. An empirical example of this was my first released draft of Shaman which was around for a couple years before the print version. There was an entire unarmed combat and more robust animal companion support angle cut because it wasn't working out. However, I also learned why it didn't work from that feedback. Meaning if I want to revisit the underlying mechanics behind it, I know how to better approach the premise.

Given how all the pieces of the system fit together, there are limits how much a given variant can change. Some require mucking around with too many moving parts all at once. The social mechanics and Initiative variants show about how far I can go before too much is involved. My planned part 2 for Initiative doesn't feel like it cuts much deeper, but even the small change it adds on top is very difficult to resolve in the allowed design space while still maintaining the broad functionality of the system.
quillius wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:25 pm
Hey Panda,

Your introduction to this variant does a good job of describing what it is not intended to do: not trying to be a generically useful path, not trying to make it a melee fighter with an incidental mount (i.e. solving the "problem" of having a cavalryman in the group when kaer delving). What is it trying to do? Is it fair to say that you are leaning into the themes of charge attacks and social/leadership roles? Since I haven't had a chance yet to play with some of the other variants this leans on, it's a bit hard for me to synthesize it all in my mind and say what distinguishes the Cavalier from the Cavalryman.
What it isn't is more addressing two different approaches to "fixing" the issue which I strongly disagree with. They're well-intentioned, but ill-considered. Cavalier is a more focused Cavalryman. It has stronger themes and builds more bespoke infrastructure around the Discipline, rather than mostly cobbling it together from other Disciplines. Cavalryman didn't get a lot of attention during 4E design because the amount of work required to fix the underlying issues exceeded the value of the fix at the time. In particular, how to fix them and what they were exactly were unknowns, which doesn't help at all when evaluating the time required. So much of the old Discipline infrastructure was left in place with clunky talent interactions and requirements.

This is an attempt at rebuilding that from the ground up within the existing frameworks. Making it more clear what they do, what they're about, how they do it, and why they're awesome at the things they do. What distinguishes it is that clarity of purpose and a better support network of mechanics surrounding it. Lots of the mounted combat mechanics were unchanged through editions, I assume for the reason listed above. It was always a low priority because of how rarely they were used. There isn't an intent to distinguish Cavalier from Cavalryman in the same way Gauntlet and Warrior are distinguished because they're still the same Discipline. I want to make the rebuild clear with a different name and I think Cavalryman isn't a very descriptive name. The clarified purpose and rework deserved a new name more appropriate.

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