1. Skills – Characters have the knowledge of the world that we don’t have, hence knowledge skills. But a character didn’t begin life as an adept. Characters all possess other skills that they learned before their life as an adventurer and adept. All skills are subject to GM approval when creating a new character, and should be related to their discipline. A young wizard would likely have spent their youth in study, a troubadour may be a good actor, and a warrior may be skilled in tactics. Characters begin the game with skill points equal to their Charisma step. However, these skill points must first be allocated per standard ED rules: 2 ranks of knowledge skills, 1 rank of artisan skill. The speak language and read/write dwarven skills do not count towards this total, although extra ranks may be given (again per standard rules). And regardless of the character’s Charisma, they always get those initial 3 skill points.
2. Bad stuff – Some ED rules say something ‘bad’ happens when a character fails a test roll, seemingly forgetting that they came up with the success level table for most any situation. They made plenty of rules for good, excellent, and extraordinary successes, but did nothing with the lower end of the scale. Most tests that would have something ‘bad’ happen on a failed roll now only happen if the roll was equal to or below the ‘poor’ success level. Additionally, GMs are encouraged to come up with other bad stuff when this occurs. A warrior’s weapon or shield is knocked from his hand on a ‘poor’ roll for a melee attack test. The rule of one is still in effect, as well, and GMs should come up with something extra nasty when that happens.
This rule stems from the Avoid Blow talent, mostly. Under this rule, characters are NOT automatically knocked down on a failed roll. A missed roll causes the character to get hit still, obviously, but a character is only knocked down when the success level is at the ‘poor’ threshold or lower. (EX: Fred is attacked. The attackers roll is 13, which hits his physical defense of 9. Fred tries to dodge with the Avoid Blow talent. He fails his roll, getting an 11. However, the ‘poor’ threshold for a difficulty number of 13 is 6. So, while Fred still gets punched in the face, he at least takes it on his feet.)
3. Forge Blade / Improve Blade – Forge Blade and Improve Blade an only be used to improve a weapon’s damage step by 100%. (EX: A broadsword has a damage step of 5 steps. By using Forge Blade or Improve Blade, a Weaponsmith with a rank of 6 in the talent may still only improve the weapon by 5 steps.) He may make more than 5 tests on the broadsword, if he fails one of his attempts, but the final result can be no more than a +5 to the damage steps of the weapon. This limit applies to using BOTH talents on the same weapon. (EX: A character is using a broadsword +3. His group’s Weaponsmith also has the Improve Blade talent at rank 3, and wishes to use it on the sword. As the broadsword’s initial damage step was 5, he may only use Improve Blade on the sword twice before the 100% threshold for improving the weapon has been reached.) Thread Weapon, which tend to have increased damage capabilities, may be improved up to 50% of the weapon’s damage step.
Also, Forge Blade and Improve Blade may be used on weapons with Threads attached to them. However, any failed result using Forge Blade that is at the ‘poor’ success level or below disrupts the threads on the weapon, and shatters them. No more threads. Wah. Using Improve Blade has the same effect, as well as the effect listed in the ED manual. As per the ‘Bad Stuff’ house rule (#2 above), a use of Improve Blade only shatters a weapon when a poor success is rolled. A thread attached to a weapon makes it immune to the shattering bad stuff, although it does still lose any attached threads.
The above rules apply to the higher circle Forge Armor and Improve Armor Talents as well, using the specified Armor Rating in place of a damage step.
4. Maximum Damage – Unfortunately for you Windling lovers, this rule affects them the most. I personally don’t believe there is any way that a Windling could POSSIBLY do anywhere near as much damage with a dagger as a Troll could, but standard ED rules do not address that possibility. Granted, it’s not going to be a common occurrence, but I simply don’t believe it should even be possible.
All Melee and Throwing weapon damage tests now suffer from a maximum damage limit, based on both the attacking character’s strength attribute and the weapon itself. Use the following formula:
((Strength attribute value) + (weapon base damage step)) x (Weapon size) = maximum damage
Under this rule, for example, a troll with a strength attribute of 19, wielding a troll sword (base damage step 6, weapon size 4), would be able to inflict a maximum damage of 100 with the sword (19 + 6=25, 25×4=100). A Windling with a strength attribute of 7, using a Windling broadsword (dagger) (damage step 2, size 1) would be able to inflict no more than 9 points of damage at a time (7 + 2=9, 9×1=9). That same troll wielding that same dagger could inflict far more damage with his higher strength attribute, allowing him to hit for 21 points of damage at a time (19 + 2=21, 21×1=21).
Missile weapons use a similar formula to determine their maximum damage, the only difference being they do not use the character’s strength attribute for determining damage. A bow doesn’t do more damage if you can pull on its string twice as hard. As long as you can pull the weapon’s string back to its full, then the bow will do its maximum damage. For Missile weapons, use the weapon’s ‘Strength Minimum’ requirement to determine the weapon’s maximum damage value.
Thread weapons, given their inherently magical nature, can give characters a greater possibility of inflicting higher damage. Use the above formula, but multiply the maximum damage limit of the weapon by the rank of the thread attached to the weapon. If the dagger in the above example had a rank 3 thread attached to it, (with unchanged damage values – I assume it would offer some other benefits), the Windling could now hit for a maximum of 27 (9×3=27) points at a time, whereas the troll could punish creatures for a whopping 63 (21×3=63) damage with each hit. Granted, these numbers may not be reached using a dagger, but that is still the weapon’s maximum damage capability.
You should find that this rule will not really normally affect a standard sized character. A troll will not commonly DO 63 damage with a dagger, enchanted or not, but he would at least have the strength to hit that hard. I just don’t like the idea of a butterfly with thumbs slaying a dragon in a single blow.
5. Leveling Attributes – Per ED standard rules, with one exception. An attribute increase does not need to be made when a character IS a certain circle, rather it can be made ONCE a character reaches that circle. Under current rules, if a character does not make an attribute increase for his circle 2 character, and increases his talents to the point where he reaches the third circle, that attribute improvement opportunity is lost. Now, characters can make that 2nd circle attribute improvement at any point after they reach 2nd circle in their discipline, whether they are circle 2 or 12.
6. Advancing Circles – Characters no longer need to pay to pay a trainer to advance to a new circle. Once they have the required number of talents at the required level, they automatically gain access to new talents and abilities. HOWEVER, to learn these new talents, a character must still find a trainer to instruct them in the basics. Any character with the talent with a rank of at least 2 may teach another character the talent. They are welcome to charge. Mages (as they are the only disciplines I know of with repeated talents) do NOT need to relearn the Spell Matrix talent every time they gain a new one. They must simply purchase a new rank 1 talent. Learning a NEW time of Matrix (Enhanced Matrix talent, for example) does require training the first time the new Talent is learned.
I made this change for 2 reasons: Firstly, I don’t believe most disciplines are structured to the point of actually having such a rank structure of power amongst its members. Some may, but most wouldn’t. It adds more realism to the game world this way, IMO. Secondly, and on a similar note, once a character reaches the power level required to attain the new Circle, he would break through to an understanding, thus allowing an increase in his abilities and available talents. Again, I don’t believe a character would have to go through a formal ceremony just to realize he has advanced in his knowledge. By using his talents and living his discipline, a character is constantly learning and growing.
7. Windling Attacks – This is different than House Rule #4 (Maximum Damage) seen above. No, this does not change that one at all. Windlings are still inherently weak little bugs as far as I’m concerned, with barely enough strength to squash an ant. Still, their small size DOES give them an advantage in combat, aside from the racial bonus due to their being really small and hard to hit.
That same size allows a Windling greater precision when making attacks, allowing them to more easily find the chinks in an opponent’s armor. A Windling character gains an additional Racial Ability, which I refer to as ‘Increased Criticals’. To use this ability, the Windling must spend a Karma Point to activate it. THIS KARMA POINT IS FOR ACTIVATION OF THE POWER ONLY, meaning the Windling does NOT get to roll its ridiculously overpowered Karma die on the test. They may spend another Karma point on the test if they have a different ability that allows it. The Windling then makes a called shot, stating only that he is attempting an Armor Defeating Hit. This attack suffers the standard penalties of called shots (see the Combat section of the ED Manual, p.200). Use of this ability may only be used to make a PHYSICAL MELEE attack. No spells. No missile weapons. Needles (see: Windling Sword) only. This attack lowers the success level needed to make an Armor defeating hit by one: a normal character now has their Armor defeated on a Good success, instead of an Excellent result. If an enemy’s armor normally does not permit an Armor Defeating Hit, an Extraordinary result will defeat the armor. See? Now those 2 damage points a Windling can do may actually go through. Happy?
8. There are 2 Disciplines (Air Sailor and Scout) that do not have any listed Discipline Talents. Also, the Journeyman (Human Specific Discipline) does not have any listed Circle bonuses. If any of us create one of these Disciplines, the first time we do, we may select (For the Air Sailor & Scout) 15 Discipline Talents. These must be related to the Discipline, not just ones we want. Be smart. Because they all have to be approved by everyone else, and we want a fair game. The Journeyman gets the same treatment. The first person to create one may flesh out the discipline, giving it the discipline bonuses as outlined in Adventuring in Earthdawn (pp. 137-147).