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View Full Version : [4e] d20 meets Earthdawn



Mark Hall
2008-06-22, 05:26 PM
I went to Barnes and Noble today to look through the "4e" player's handbook. The topic of this was my impression: d20 meets Earthdawn. The rigidity of the class system reminded me of Earthdawn (with half-elves turning any At-will power into an encounter power, they're the D20dawn versions of humans), with the classes all getting specific powers that they can use, and little cross pollination between classes. The Dragonborn work well as this system's version of Trolls; the tiefling are somewhat Orkish in function, and the halflings are short, fuzzy t'skrang (with no tails, of course, because how could a mammal match the glory of a t'skrang's tail? They could not, and even tiefling tails are pale shadows of a t'skrang's appendage of astonishing agility and adroitness).

This analogy does not say I didn't like it, or that it is a bad game; far from it. I think that, for certain kinds of games, it will work very well. However, the game as written is redolent of Earthdawn essence, mixed with some tincture of D20. As I was reading, I started deciding how the other classes of D&D would be included. A druid will most likely be a divine controller, and a monk will be, I think, a martial controller. Bards are obvious as arcane leaders; barbarians are likely martial strikers. That leaves Divine Strikers and Arcane Defenders unclaimed. I might have left rangers out of this book, so as to introduce a fourth power source, nature, in the future... that would include Rangers (strikers), Barbarians (defenders... they can work as that), druids (controllers) and shamans (leaders). But that's just an idea, not a solidity. (I obviously missed the sidebar about power sources, as someone pointed out).

One thing I particularly didn't like was the Warlock. The class really has very few options at any given level, once you determine your pact... Your at-wills are decided for you, only infernals have initial choices of encounter or daily powers... and that trend continues. Star can choose 2nd level utility powers, infernals and feys cannot. Feys can choose 3rd level encounter powers, infernal and stars cannot. Compared to a wizard, who gets twice as many powers as anyone else and can choose which to use on any given day, they're straight-jacketed.

Wizards, incidentally, got a lot of love. Not only do they get to choose twice as many powers as others, and then restrict themselves down to everyone else's level on a day by day basis, they get an encounter power based on their favorite kind of implement (orb, staff, or wand), 4 useful cantrips (which are at-will powers), and free use of ritual magic.

The rituals are a good take on the old utility magics... the spells that you memorized in order to get around problems, not to mess up the enemy. They take substantial time and money, many rely on your skills to cast, and can be used as long as you have time, money, skills and knowledge; the old water breathing (now an 8th level effect) can last for hours, and you can cast it again and again (so long as you have the cash to turn into reagents).

Resource management has shifted significantly; encounter and daily powers are far more precious resources than HP, due to the variety of ways in which a character can regain HP (a wizard has 10 HP at 1st level, but, provided they don't all go in one encounter, effectively has 22, as his 6 healing surges grant him 2 HP per use. If he has a +2 Constitution modifier, he goes to 12 immediate, and 34 daily). A 1st level character is, IMO, closer to a 3rd level character in 3rd edition, and maybe a 5th level character in 1st or 2nd... it's a higher power game, set at that level by design.

It's something I'd like to play, to see how it runs, but I still agree with the people who say it feels less like the older editions of D&D. I don't play any MMOs to say it feels like one of those, but it definitely could be tweaked to be Earthdawn, especially once a few more classes come out.

Thrud
2008-06-22, 05:33 PM
I went to Barnes and Noble today to look through the "4e" player's handbook. The topic of this was my impression: d20 meets Earthdawn. The rigidity of the class system reminded me of Earthdawn

Hmm, good analogy, as it also goes to another core point. In earthdawn by definition a player character as a beginning character was stronger and better than 99.9% of the rest of the non PCs. Not the enemy critters of course. Many Horrors could kick virtually any PC's ass. But then I never really liked Earthdawn all that much. I much preferred just incorporating some of its histoy into the history of Shadowrun and let the PCs discover that eventually the Shadowrun world would start getting invaded by horrors.

:smallbiggrin:

disorder
2008-06-22, 05:47 PM
Resource management has shifted significantly; encounter and daily powers are far more precious resources than HP, due to the variety of ways in which a character can regain HP (a wizard has 10 HP at 1st level, but, provided they don't all go in one encounter, effectively has 22, as his 6 healing surges grant him 2 HP per use. If he has a +2 Constitution modifier, he goes to 12 immediate, and 34 daily).

Actually, you misread the hitpoint system...but the actual system makes your point even more strongly.

A wizard's starting hitpoints aren't (10 + Consitution Modifier); they're (10 + Constitution Score).

So a first-level wizard with 10 constitution gets 20 hitpoints, plus 6 healing surges for 5 hp each, for a daily total of 50 hp.

Mark Hall
2008-06-22, 05:53 PM
Actually, you misread the hitpoint system...but the actual system makes your point even more strongly.

A wizard's starting hitpoints aren't (10 + Consitution Modifier); they're (10 + Constitution Score).

So a first-level wizard with 10 constitution gets 20 hitpoints, plus 6 healing surges for 5 hp each, for a daily total of 50 hp.

Thanks for clearing that up; I did misread it.

Kabump
2008-06-22, 05:57 PM
Just a quick FWIW, there are as-of-yet unused power sources listed in the PHB: Primal (druid(control IMO) and barbarian(striker i think)), Ki (monk, whom i think will be a defender), Psionic, Shadow, and Elemental.

JaxGaret
2008-06-22, 07:07 PM
One thing I particularly didn't like was the Warlock. The class really has very few options at any given level, once you determine your pact... Your at-wills are decided for you, only infernals have initial choices of encounter or daily powers... and that trend continues. Star can choose 2nd level utility powers, infernals and feys cannot. Feys can choose 3rd level encounter powers, infernal and stars cannot. Compared to a wizard, who gets twice as many powers as anyone else and can choose which to use on any given day, they're straight-jacketed.

Correction: Warlocks are not limited to selecting powers that coincide with their Pact. In other words, a Starpact Warlock can select Infernalpact or Feypact powers, but they do not receive the extra benefit of having that type of Pact that many powers include.

Thus Warlocks are not nearly as straitjacketed as you make them out to be.

Mark Hall
2008-06-22, 07:24 PM
Correction: Warlocks are not limited to selecting powers that coincide with their Pact. In other words, a Starpact Warlock can select Infernalpact or Feypact powers, but they do not receive the extra benefit of having that type of Pact that many powers include.

Thus Warlocks are not nearly as straitjacketed as you make them out to be.

This is true; someone else pointed that out to me elsewhere.

However, it does raise interesting questions... how does the Feywild go about granting powers like "Avernian Eruption"?

Fhaolan
2008-06-23, 01:18 AM
I got the impression that 4e was very Earthdawn-ish from the various previews and teasers. The thing that really felt Earthdawn-ish to me was the 'everyone has magic powers' thing. They might be explained as having a 'martial power source', or a 'divine power source', or whatever, but still, it's magic.

Basically, the similarity to me is that both use the premise of a very high-magic setting, where even starting adventurers are treated as 'epic heroes of legend.'

TheOOB
2008-06-23, 01:39 AM
However, it does raise interesting questions... how does the Feywild go about granting powers like "Avernian Eruption"?

Warlocks are arcane, no one "grants" their power. Their power originates from the feywild, but it is the warlocks own. It is certainly better at doing some things, but the warlock can bend their powers to fit their desires.

I'll admit, the game is very very different from any previous version of D&D, but when you play it, it works very well. The biggest complaint most people have is either a)they don't have (insert class/race here), or b)the classes all feel too generic.

The fact is, the picked a small number of classes to work with, they picked simple easy to use classes that clearly define their role, and they did them very well. We'll see more classes in the future that are a bit more complex or who break their role a little more in the future, but frankly I applaud wizards for trying to get the basics down right before they try to get a shape shifting nature priest working. It should also be noted that while many of the powers feel simple and generic on paper, in application they have a great many uses. I could write an entire essay on how to properly use thunderwave(wizard at-will) and it's one of the more simple powers in the game.