Saturday, July 18, 2015

Chicago Gameday 41: Earthdawn

Despite playing numerous fantasy settings and rule systems, Earthdawn is one that I never got into. I never read the fiction or owned any of the various supplements. There might have been some reading many years ago based on friends recommendations, but actual play?

That changed a few weeks ago during Chicago Gameday 41. Gameday is an opportunity to play with new people and try new systems. Depending on what's being run, you can even find games you're already familiar with and want to dip a toe in. I generally use it as a testing ground for games I haven't played before.

Earthdawn scenario is described as the following: Your caravan returns to Bartertown to find that your patron has gone missing. Meanwhile, a sinister organization plots the downfall of a kingdom. Do you have what it takes to rescue your boss as well as your paycheck? (Characters provided, rules will be taught).

The pregenerated characters were cleanly written and easy to understand. The GM did a solid job on the sheets. The book itself? Not a fan of the format. It's one of those off sized shapes and in softcover. It's so thick that I can't imagine that it'll hold up long under constant use. It's a book that looks like it could easily have been broken into two or three separate books if they were going for that size. 

Our first combat was an introduction scene against some peasants stealing from us as we made our way to Bartertown and then the actual adventure itself started. It was a good method to use in order for us to get the basics of combat down without a huge fear of poor tactics ending us.

The adventure was fun. I wound up playing a female smith, the 'serious' merchant lord. The GM wrote out numerous bits on how my character felt about the various other characters including her brother who she tended to look down on. I used that to ham it up a bit with my bard brother whose player did an excellent job of making him a whiskey drinking, bar hopping womanizer. 

The system itself is a little swingy. Dice explode. On some actions, you can be roling a lot of dice. The more dice you roll, the more opportunities for an explosion. It's great when it works for you, which it did for the group a surprising number of times.

Not so great when it works against you. Which as my problem with criticals, is that the Game Master is ALWAYS going to be rolling more dice then you. 

Earthdawn was enjoyable and I'd play it again. My friend, +erik labelle has run it for my fellow gamers in the past and if it comes up again, I'll have to take a swing at it. Apparently 4th edition 'fixed' some of the problems like bypassing armor. I've heard that this was a huge problem as you already get penalties for wearing armor in the first place so if someone can bypass it... Not familiar enough personally to say how that works in the long run.

Afterwards, I wandered through Games Plus and picked up a few nick nacks like some Games Workshop Trees, the three 'new' Games Workshop paints and some other bits. I wanted to see what the main difference was between the old and new paints. Haven't delved into that much yet as I haven't used a lot of gold since I bought them. 

Anyone else check out conventions for the opportunity to see how games play? Any great stories come out of that? Any horror stories? I have to say, in terms of horror stories, I've been lucky. Very rarely have I had any issue, either when playing, or running. It's like the people I'm playing with game there to enjoy the game and play it as opposed to being terrible people.

Anyway, thanks to Games Plus for hosting and I'm looking forward to hopefully going in the future.