Friday, July 19, 2013

Earthdawn, session 1

Monday I ran Earthdawn! No really!

It's a big departure for our group, but I didn't realize how big until we started playing. We play WoD, sure, but NWoD has made an effort to reduce the number of rules and rolls. Earthdawn is very much the old-school style of RPG design, complete with encumbrance, death thresholds and a sesame seed bun.

But - it actually went smoother than I thought, and the system seems to work pretty well (though we are using the 3rd-ed step chart). So, here's what we've got.


  • Arden (played by Sarah), windling beastmaster.
  • Kurita (played by Michelle), t'skrang archer.
  • Cain (played by Matt K), windling thief. 
  • Oolo Ironbeard (played by Toasty), dwarf weaponsmith.
  • Rossana Silverstorm (played by Glen), elf elementalist. 
So we start our story in a little town called Grand Clay, a fief south of the Kingdom of Throal and at the north end of the Servos Jungle. The characters have all wound up here by hook and crook; Cain tried to steal from Arden and got his fingers slapped, and they've been traveling together. Kurita is here to find exotic birds in the jungle (fletching, you see). Oolo is from Throal, and is here to get some clay and ceramic for weapons and smithing purposes. And Rossana lives here, and owns a brewery on the south end of town, near the jungle. 

Most of the characters are in the town tavern (the Devil's Feather), chatting and drinking. Cain wins a sucker bet with Oolo, Kurita suns herself on the roof. Rossana is working her brewery, when she sees someone stumble out of the jungle.

The figure - a young human man - is badly injured. Someone has torn him up pretty badly, leaving multiple wounds and ripping away part of his cheek. Rossana gets him inside and tries to bandage the wounds as best she can, and sends for Arden, who knows animals. Arden doesn't recognize these wounds specifically, but notes that they were made by a creature with five fingers and nasty claws (though no venom, fortunately). She goes to get the town doctor, and the other characters go to investigate (because that's what heroes do!).

The man wakes up, and Arden asks him what happened, but he can't talk. She provides him a scrap of paper and some charcoal, and he writes "brother" and "jungle." 

"Your brother is still in the jungle?" she asks. He nods, and then passes out

Rossana goes to the jungle's edge and casts Plant Talk to speak with the grass. It tells her that, yes, the boy is in a hollow tree in the jungle, but have no way to explain how far in. They identify the creatures as "berbalangs", but none of the characters (Arden included) have heard of them. Arden uses her Tracking Talent and sees the blood trail that the first boy left, and the characters follow it. 

They find where the trail ends, and find the boy in the hollow tree, but aren't sure how he got in - the opening is too small even for the windlings. The boy is bloodied and shocked, but alive. And the berbalangs descend! They hunt in packs, as Arden had guessed, and leap at the characters. 

Arden jams herself against the opening and lashes out with her spear. Oolo attacks with his ax, and Kurita whips at one with her tail. Cain sneaks behind on to use Surprise Strike, and Rossana casts Earth Darts. The initial volley of attacks don't go well - the berbalangs are too fast and vicious. They bite and claw the characters pretty badly. 

But they don't stick around after they're hurt, and the next round goes better. Kurita shoots one with an arrow, and Cain backstabs one. Arden uses Dominate Beast and sends one to attack another, and Oolo clobbers one with his ax. The creatures flee (as I've mentioned previously, I'm not crazy about "to the death" monsters). 

Rossana uses Plant Talk on the tree, and finds that the tree-spirit is awake, aware and much more snippy than she's used to from such beings. She asks nicely for it to let the boy out, and it does - and the characters see runes carved inside the tree. These runs, Oolo notes, indicate the opening to a kaer, one of the underground cities built to hide away from the Horrors.

But that's for later. The characters return the boy to the village and go to tend their wounds.