History of Earthdawn
I’ve been a huge fan of the Earthdawn RPG since the three part introduction pamphlets showed up in my local hobby shop in 1993.
For a number of years I purchased all the things Earthdawn that I could find and ran an ongoing campaign that was loved by all.
Then in January of 1999 FASA shut down Earthdawn and a number of their other games. It was a sad day and made especially worse in that the book on dragons had been completed by FASA, but would not be published.
In 2001 Living Room Games picked up a license to publish some books and released the second edition along with some new source material. In 2005 their license ended and RedBrick LLC started releasing the Classic edition and moved to a third edition in 2009.
In 2012 the third edition came to an end and Earthdawn now has three versions being released by FASA: A revised 3rd edition in a smaller paperback format which limited changed from third edition, one using the Savage Worlds (SW) rules and a final version utilizing the Pathfinder rules.
My initial thoughts on the Savage Worlds edition
At GenCon 2012 I picked up the Earthdawn Savage Worlds (EDSW) books. I’ve had the opportunity to read through the sections that cover making characters, casting spells and some other stuff needed to run the game. It was several hours of reading, stopping to find the referenced rule system in Savage Worlds and then combining it all. This would be a lot easier had I ever used the Powers system in SW, but I’ve never run a game of SW and only played a modern day (first half of the 1900’s) investigator in a Realms of Cthulhu game. Once I wrapped my head around the rules it seems pretty simple. Makes me wonder how it’ll feel compared to playing ED with its own system that has a lot more depth with Magic, Adepts and Discipline Talents.
I find some irony in the fact that they’ve released a version for Savage Worlds when Savage Worlds came from the opposite move of stopping the use of other game systems and just releasing their own simple system. So I cringe a little bit that it won’t be long before an edition or two gets the axe. I’m betting the Pathfinder edition gets the boot first and fear for the Savage Worlds books a little. There is a chance I’m just jaded since it feels too often stuff I like (TV Shows, Comics and drinks and breakfast sandwichs at a certain coffee shop) keep getting cancelled. But, in this world of “Must make tons of money right away or we try something else” seems to get the under appreciated titles too often.
The production value (of the Savage Worlds edition) and layout are good, but not really the full color pages of SW or the great layout that the RedBrick 3rd edition had. Almost feels a half step backwards. I’m guessing it’s from a short timeline to get it out ASAP and from changing hands back to FASA.
The equipment tables have categories that are just italicized text which make it very difficult to locate categories quickly. You can see an example where Vehicles below is a category. (I have since taken a green colored pencil to these categories.)
Moving Earthdawn to other editions in an attempt to gather a larger following by grabbing SW and Pathfinder gamers is a good idea and I hope it adds some fans.
then I hope they have a newer printing that improves the layout and general sexiness of the books. Give this amazing campaign setting and world the great books they deserve and stop the re-versioning and company hopping that has been part of keeping Earthdawn alive. Loyal fans are most likely tired of buying the same books again and again while waiting for the reprints to catch up and new material to start being released again.
I’ve been interested in running a SW game for a while and having the EDSW books have given me the motivation to re-read the SW rules and run some adventures in Barsaive once again. I’ve missed you and look forward to sharing Earthdawn with my group.
Earthdawn Forever Baby!!!