Adjusting Earthdawn’s Strain Mechanic

RedBrick Limited‘s third edition of Earthdawn has been a big hit so far with my Saturday gaming group. The system is providing us with a solid internal consistency through which we can interact with the rich setting.

But like most groups, we’ve come up with a few tweaks to the system to make it better fit with what we want out of our game. ย The biggest is that we’ve decided to try a slight re-working to how strain is handled.

The concept of strain is that it is a key balancing feature to the game – there are a vast number of talents, skills, and maneuvers which include a strain cost to use them. ย The disconnect for many members of my group is that this is basically taking hit point damage any time they want to do something.

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Earthdawn: OneStep System

My current group has decided to set aside Star Wars for now while one of our players settles in to his newfound role of fatherhood. Instead of waiting for him to be able to play again, we’ve decided to run another semi-short term game to give the rest of us something to play while he gets used to his new schedule. Since I’ve had some ideas for a short term kaer-emergence Earthdawn game called First Dawn floating around my head (I almost decided to run it as a play-by-post), I volunteered to be the interim GM.

The group as a whole has had very little experience with the Earthdawn system, and given the intent to have a short term game to begin with, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on system explanation. In addition after talking to one of the players I learned that while he didn’t have a problem with the system, looking up what dice to roll for a given test was a little annoying.

Personally Earthdawn is probably my favorite RPG to run and play and I enjoy the varied dice of the Step System. That said I want to be sympathetic to my players’ complaints and I want to make the game run as fast as possible for this mini-campaign. In addition I love tinkering with rule systems; making little tweaks to the mechanics to make certain aspects of a game run more like my preferences. As a result I’ve decided to make a few slight modifications to the Earthdawn ruleset for this campaign.

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Star Wars: Now with Pulp!

In order to help facilitate more descriptive and “cool” role-playing in our current Star Wars campaign we decided to institute an in-game reward system to encourage this style. The philosophy behind the system is pretty straight forward – to encourage active participation in the game as well as dramatic contribution to the story. Since the d20 Star Wars game already had Force Points we had to fit in a system that wouldn’t overshadow or conflict with the existing system. In the end we decided to implement a version of the Conviction system from Green Ronin’s True 20 system.

The original T20 version of the Conviction rules allowed Conviction to be accumulated and built up from day to day. In our game in an effort to encourage players to do things to earn Conviction instead of hording it each character’s Conviction pool resets to 1 at the beginning of each Standard day. In addition, Conviction are awarded for the following:

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