Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Utilizing Aspects in Earthdawn (Countdown to Earthdawn Appreciation Day 23 Days)

As we get closer to Earthdawn Appreciation Day, I'm going to make some Earthdawn articles, some might be as simple as a monster, flora, fauna, etc. Today's article is on using FATE like aspects in Earthdawn.

Now if you're Familiar with Earthdawn, you're familiar with Karma Points. Karma points are typically bought with legend points. Legend points of course fuel advancement.

I'm also a huge fan of FATE and its aspect system.
Utilizing the two systems can create a more robust game that:
1. Doesn't detract from the advancement of the player's characters.
2. Makes the use of karma points more natural, so it doesn't feel like a tax.
3. Enhances role-playing and storytelling.
The most obvious 'Aspect' in Earthdawn is an Adept's Discipline. Of course utilizing karma points via the Discipline aspect is going to be to power Discipline talents. However the gamemaster should be able to compel you to follow the teachings of your discipline with a compel. Races are a major aspects as well. Each race having it's own outlook on life. Read that extra fluff in the various books, it will give you all the information you need to know about playing a T'skrang Swordmaster. Gamemasters utilizing this system should be intimately familiar with the fluff.

In Earthdawn you typically choose a Hidden and a Surface trait. If you make these Karmic Aspects, they begin to mean something on your character sheet. However, make them MORE robust. Instead of 'sensitive' for your hidden trait make it something like 'Sensitive to pain in animals' or 'pitifully sensitive'. Adding at least one adjective or adverb brings the trait to life. The same with surface traits, but more so. Instead of 'insensitive' try 'uncaring unfeeling bastard'. The gamemaster should easily be able to reward karma points by compelling traits. These traits will give the players an extra way to use karma, by invoking traits.

Invoking and Compels. Compels become very important in a game where the Karma points fuel your powers, because the characters will need those karma points.

The effect of karma spent will be per the normal mechanics for Earthdawn, providing the standard step 4/d6 extra die.

Here's where it gets REALLY good. Remember that horror mark the player gained...well that becomes an aspect as well. A purely negative aspect, which the gamemaster can compel. It makes painful to be marked, and gives a good reason why there are artisan tests to look for taint. Why do good people do bad things when they have been marked by a horror? Because they were compelled to do so.

Corrupted Karma may be used to further the goals of the horror as well. If can also be removed on a 1 for 1 basis by burning pure karma.

Play with it, try it out, or don't these are just the musings of mine.It needs some additonal work to be more polished, but these are just ideas for now. Enjoy.