An older role-playing game, recently discontinued by FASA in favour of newer games such as Shadowrun and Battletech. Also known informally as ID+D or Improved Dungeons and Dragons (Everything does strange things with the ampersand) because it plays by similar rules but with variations better suited to roleplaying. Basic concept is that every player character is an adept in at least one discipline, set on prehistoric Earth, mostly across Asia (Barsaive) and Africa (Thera)

it is rumored that Shadowrun is the future of Earthdawn. meaning that many characters seem to be immortals that passed from Earthdawn's timeline, rewakening into Shadowrun's universe. several of Shadowrun's dragons say things in the novels that make it apear that they have knowledge of the Earthdawn universe.

the latest clue is the grandest, apparently Earthdawn's backdrop is the planet Mars. satellite and rover surveillance of the red planet returned with pictures of a dragon skeleton.

FASA doesn't like to talk about these tie-ins. but they love planting the seeds.

Earthdawn is a fantasy RPG originally published by FASA and now by Living Room Games. A second edition will be available soon.

What made Earthdawn distinctive when it was published were in-game reasons for levels(called circles) and classes(called disciplines) for the characters as well as justification for a large number of evil wandering monsters.

Earthdawn was intended to have an epic feel. Advancement was moderately quick, and each discipline gained access to two to six new magic enhanced skills known as Talents at each level. Spell casters had powerful spells which were slow to cast and few were published. While some magic item were created by spell casters, the majority were items that hero had previously used, and the more legendary the hero the more powerful the item. In addition, these items became more powerful the more you bound the item to the current wielder, to a limit based on the item and a common Talent.

Any given action a character attempted had a step value determined by the relevant stat plus the relevant skill or Talent(or more complex formulas for spells and items). By looking up the step value on a table you were told to roll a specified number of d4, d6, d8, d10, d12 and d20. You summed the total and compared it to the difficulty value to determine success. If you are using specific Talents you may spend karma (bought using advancement points called Legend points) to add a race specific dice's result to your total.

The short background history of the official game setting is that hundreds of years ago, the kingdom of Thera discovered that things(later called Horrors which feed off of magic and pain were coming to invade when the mana levels were high enough, and discovered how to hide in underground caers until they went away again. They traded this knowledge to make a large empire and many people went and hid. The devices used to detect when it was safe to come out to the surface again acted odd, and people started emerging from their safe underground fortresses. Some Horrors are still around, and many parts of the old thera Empire are refusing to return. Not every caer was successful in defending against the Horrors, so there are many underground ruins full of treasure, traps and monsters.

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