Saturday, October 30, 2021

(Earthdawn 1e)Gamemaster's Pack

 I'm trying to figure out a way to make this post less obligatory and absolutely nothing is coming to me. This is a core overflow book that has a few new rules, a few new magic items, and a bit of gamemaster advice and I guess there was a reason the core couldn't be 50 pages longer, but I'm not sure what it is. Presumably, it was down to the realities of the early 90s publishing industry. These days it would be a kickstarter stretch goal.

It came with a GM's screen, which is kind of nice. The art on it depicts a stepped pyramid that, to my untutored eye, looks vaguely Mesoamerican, but that's not something that really made it into the line later on. 

My notes for this are pretty short, only two pages. I guess I found it . . . interesting to see bits of the game's intended design philosophy - this book talks a big game about FASA's upcoming metaplot. It's also a strong supporter of GM authority. At one point they are supposed to offer the PCs in-game rewards like money and xp in exchange for the players keeping a real-life journal of their adventures. It's not a terrible idea or anything, but I've never met a player that was that invested in their character's advancement.

I really wish there were some nice, juicy lore bits for me to sink my teeth into, but the closest is the Blood Magic stuff, which I've largely seen before. It draws a distinction between self-sacrificing your hit points to swear an oath and full-on human sacrifice and categorically forbids the latter to PCs. And that's an interesting choice. Earthdawn doesn't have an alignment system, but it does directly address the player and say it expects them to be heroes (and thus to have lines that they absolutely will not cross), which is somehow both stronger and weaker than the way D&D usually does it. I think I like it.

And I guess that's it. They can't all be digital doorstops. Overall, I'd say I enjoyed this book. Certainly, it did not outstay its welcome, and that's refreshing.

Ukss Contribution: Almost all of the setting info comes from the magic item section, but it's fantastically lucky for me that one of those items just happens to be exactly the sort of magic that I unabashedly love - the Puppet Familiar. It's a wooden animal puppet that can store extra spells for you. But after you get it up to rank 4, it comes alive and acts as your familiar. It's the perfect balance of charming and creepy.

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