Your Questions, Our Answers!

Published on 21.12.2015 | Updated on 12.04.2016

You probably have a lot of questions regarding our upcoming release, Earthdawn: The Age of Legend. Here are a few answers! Feel free to ask us any questions by contacting us!


What is "Earthdawn: The Age of Legend"?

Date: 21.12.2015

Earthdawn: The Age of Legend is a rules-light, story-focused roleplaying game rulebook. It contains a primer to the Earthdawn setting to get you started, but builds on the rich source material that has previously been published. So you can use it with your existing collection of Earthdawn books (no matter which edition), or use it as a starting point to dive into the Earthdawn universe. Earthdawn: The Age of Legend features its own set of rules, not directly compatible with the traditional Step System (also see Can I convert my character from the Step System?). Given that Earthdawn’s setting and mechanics were always closely intertwined, you will find that the new rules were designed to provide a similar experience. There is a certain feel we wanted to keep alive, despite using a much lighter game engine.

What can I play with "Earthdawn: The Age of Legend"?

Date: 21.12.2015 | Updated: 22.12.2015

We designed the rules for roleplaying games set in the world of Earthdawn; one-shots, convention games, and introductory games—even for kids! Earthdawn: The Age of Legend features a Discipline Advancement system, allowing you to play campaigns at different power levels. 

Who is the target audience?

Date: 21.12.2015

You may consider picking up and playing Earthdawn: The Age of Legend

… if you already own an existing edition of Earthdawn, but don't play because the rules are very intricate and setting up a game requires too much effort for your taste.
… if you want to be able to play Earthdawn on a casual basis with little or no preparation. 
… if you want to introduce people to the setting and run a few games without spending too much time on explaining the rules.
… if you have kids wanting to play and seek an easy system to teach them.

The rules of Earthdawn: The Age of Legend are story-based, and propagate a widely different style of play than the Step System. They were not designed as a challenge or as a replacement to the Step System; they just serve a different audience.

Why is "Earthdawn: The Age of Legend"
published by a different company?

Date: 21.12.2015

A few of the writers and game developers at Vagrant Workshop have worked on Earthdawn Classic and Earthdawn Third Edition a few years back. Since then, we moved on to design a variety of small and independent game systems. However, we still get asked about Earthdawn a lot, and realized we don’t want to lose our heritage with the game world. So we requested a separate license to be able to share our ideas and concepts independently, while FASA Games continues working on the traditional version of the game.

What does this mean for "Earthdawn Fourth Edition"?

Date: 21.12.2015

Well, nothing. Earthdawn: The Age of Legend only provides an alternate set of rules to make the game world accessible to new styles of play. The book is not needed to play Earthdawn Fourth Edition, nor is Earthdawn Fourth Edition required to play Earthdawn: The Age of Legend. You can own both, play both, and draw your ideas from both games—and any previous edition as well.

Are any other books planned, with new background material?

Date: 21.12.2015

Not at the moment. The rulebook is intended as an alternative ruleset for the existing setting, all of which is available thanks to digital technology and print-on-demand. FASA Games is bound to publish new background material, which you can use as well.
If there is demand, we may create additional material—likely come in the form of adventures, which can easily be used with any other edition of Earthdawn.

When will "Earthdawn: The Age of Legend" be published?

Date: 21.12.2015

If everything works out, in early 2016. We will be utilizing DriveThroughRPG, offering the game in PDF format and in several print-on-demand-options.

I know the original FU ruleset and
wonder about the page count?

Date: 21.12.2015 | Updated: 22.12.2015

Earthdawn: The Age of Legend is based on the FU rules, which are fairly generic. The original FU rules contain a number of ideas of what can be done with them and how they can expanded. There is no real depth to the ruleset, it doesn't feature campaign play, has no artwork, no sample creatures, no world description, etc. The basic FU rules leave that to you. We adapted these ideas (and included a few new ones) to meet the specific requirements of the Earthdawn setting. There was a lot to consider and play with, to say the least.

Here's one example: in the generic FU, you can spend FU Points to "use stunts and powers," along with a suggestion of what these could be in the same sentence. That's it—there are no practical examples, or even lists to choose from. In Earthdawn: The Age of Legend, we actually developed what these are and how you can learn them—these are your talents and spells connected to a variety of Disciplines and so on.

The main addition to the ruleset is the advancement system, enabling you to play a campaign and allowing your characters to grow. There are a couple of other additions and changes as well, but the point that drove us here is that Earthdawn is a game of options. There are countless choices to build and advance your character with—Disciplines, Talents, Spells, Legendary Items forming the core of the Earthdawn game experience. While Earthdawn: The Age of Legend features fewer of these than the Step System, they still add up to fill a lot of pages.

Last but not least, Earthdawn: The Age of Legend features a chapter on setting creation, guiding you and your group to create the underlying groundwork for your adventures—locations, threats, important personalities, and much more—which gives you and your group a heap of story- and adventure hooks to play with. 

Is "Earthdawn: The Age of Legend" set
before or after Barsaive at War?

Date: 21.12.2015

Neither, your game can be set at any time in the Earthdawn Timeline (even before the Scourge). The included Primer doesn't go deep into the setting's history for that reason.

Can I convert my character from the Step System?

Date: 21.12.2015

Not directly, but rebuilding is possible and (if you can accept a more coarse-grained version of your legend) rather easy. We had a lot of fun recreating our old adepts at Master level for one of the playtests!

What is FU?

Date: 21.12.2015

The Freeform/Universal RPG is a generic set of roleplaying game rules created by Nathan Russel at Peril Planet. It allows you to create interesting characters very quickly. Its resolution mechanic is story-oriented, pushing towards interesting narrative with Yes and / Yes but / No but / No and results. In FU, only players roll the dice, leaving the gamemaster free to plot their doom!
The FU rules are easily modified and hacked, which we did to capture the Earthdawn experience. We also expanded the ruleset to allow for setting creation, character advancement, and campaign play, and changed some of the terminology to fit!

Why do the dice mechanics differ?

Date: 12.04.2016

The dice mechanics in Earthdawn: The Age of Legend deviate from the original FU core mechanics. That's because the original rules feature a more extreme alteration of the success chance. Rolling only the main die gives you a 50% chance of success. The first bonus die has a lot more weight there, increasing the chance of success by 25%; the first penalty die lowers it by 25%, and so on. Additional bonus or penalty dice have less extreme effects.

In Earthdawn: The Age of Legend, the first beneficial bonus die increases this chance by roughly 15%, the second roughly by another 10%, and so on. Penalty dice decrease the chance of success by similar amounts. The chance to score matching bonus or penalty dice is also about 10%. It pays having the right tags ready, doesn’t it?