Earthdawn Epic

Welcome to Epic! This is a bare-bones system for converting the Earthdawn game from FASA to the SAGA rules system produced by TSR, used for their Dragonlance and Marvel Super Heroes games. It focuses on maintaining the flavor of Earthdawn while taking advantage of the quick and simple mechanics of the SAGA rules.

Earthdawn is the property of FASA Corporation and the SAGA System is the property of TSR, Inc./Wizards of the Coast. This article is not intended as an infringement on either property.

Name-Giver Races

Eight different races inhabit the land of Barsaive. They are collectively known as “Name-givers,” since they share the ability to name things. A ninth Name-giver race, the dragons, also lives in Barsaive, but there are no dragon heroes.

Dwarves

The majority race of Barsaive is the dwarves, particularly those of the Kingdom of Throal. They are craftsman, merchants, politicians, scholars and warriors found throughout the land. Strong and stout, a hero must have Strength and Endurance of at least 6 to be a dwarf. Conversely, a dwarf’s stout limbs and body make them less limber than other races, limiting their Agility and Dexterity to no more than 8. Dwarves have the ability to see heat sources, allowing them to see in the dark, provided there is a source of heat available. Although they are friendly and helpful, dwarves often have difficulty relating other Name-giver races. No card played by a dwarf on a Presence action counts as trump, except when dealing with fellow dwarves or as a defensive action.

Elves

The race most changed by the Scourge, the elves are divided between the blood elves of the Elven Court, loyal to Queen Alachia, and the unchanged elves elsewhere in Barsaive. An elf hero must have scores of at least 6 in Dexterity, Agility, Spirit and Presence. Elves are limited to scores of 8 in Strength and Endurance. Elves have starlight sight, allowing them to see as clearly on a starlit night as a human would during the day.

Humans

Humans in Barsaive are adaptable and found nearly everywhere. Humans have no ability requirements, but may shift one point from a physical attribute to a mental attribute, or vice versa, during hero creation.

Obsidimen

Obsidimen are beings of flesh and elemental earth, large and bulky. They have a strong connection to the earth and all living things. An obsidiman hero must have at least a score of 8 in Strength and Endurance. An obsidiman hero cannot have a Dexterity or Agility higher than 6. They are limited to no higher than a code of B in Presence. Creatures of living stone, obsidimen are incredibly tough. All cards they spend on resisting damage are considered trump, regardless of their actual suit. In addition, obsidimen have natural armor, providing them with a Defense of -2, in addition to any worn armor. Obsidimen have a fundamental respect for living things. They refuse to wear non-living armor of leather or metal. Obsidimen may only wear living armor, including fernweave and living crystal.

Orks

Orks are well known in Barsaive as short-lived warriors who live hard and play hard. They are strongly in the grip of their passions, particularly their own gahad. A character must have a Strength and Endurance of at least 6 to be an ork. Ork heroes cannot have a Spirit or Presence higher than 8. Orks have the ability to see in very low-light, as well as humans see during the day. Each ork has a personal gahad, something that triggers an irrational rage. An ork can ignore his gahad with an average Spirit action, but suffers a -1 penalty to all actions for the remainder of that scene.

Trolls

Trolls are large, honorable mountain-dwellers, well-known as raiders and warriors in Barsaive. A hero must have a score of at least 7 in Strength and Endurance and a 5 in Spirit to be a troll. Trolls are limited to a maximum of 8 in Reason and Perception. Trolls have the ability to see heat sources, like dwarves do.

T’Skrang

The t’skrang are a race of river-dwelling humanoid reptiles with a swashbuckling attitude. A t’skrang hero must have a minimum score of 6 in Agility, Endurance and Presence. T’skrang can hold their breath for up to 30 minutes at a time, making them excellent swimmers. Their tail is dexterous and strong enough to deliver a stinging attack. A t’skrang makes a tail attack as an easy Strength (Endurance) action. A t’skrang hero can split his Strength score between a normal melee attack and a tail attack, as desired.

Windlings

Windlings are small humanoids, about a foot tall, with gossamer wings. They live in tree-villages, as well as with other Name-givers. A hero must have a minimum score of 6 in Dexterity, Agility, Perception, Spirit and Presence to be a windling. Windlings are limited to a maximum Strength and Endurance of 4 because of their small size. They automatically have a Dexterity and Strength code of X. Windlings have the ability to fly using their wings. They also have natural astral sight, allowing them to see auras and astral patterns with an easy Perception action. Because of their small size, windlings are harder to hit in combat. The difficulty of all physical attacks against them is increased by one level. However, windlings are not nearly as tough as other Name-givers; cards played by a winding hero on damage never count as trump.

Magic

Magic in Earthdawn is based on the magic system from Dragonlance: Fifth Age, with a few minor differences.

Spell Points

Earthdawn heroes have spell points like other SAGA heroes. Adept magic is based on Spirit, while spell magic is based on Reason. So a beastmaster with Spirit 7 has (7 x 7) or 49 spell points. A magician with Reason 8 has 64 spell points. Add a hero’s number of Quests to his or her spell point total. So a Champion (7 Quests) with Spirit 7 has (49 + 7) or 56 spell points. Heroes use and regain spell points normally, except as described below.

Spell Matricies

A spell matrix is an astral construct posessed by a magician. A magician has one spell matrix for each level of Reputation, from one at Novice to eight at Archetype. Magicians can prepare spells in advance by placing the spell’s pattern within a spell matrix. These spells do not cost spell points, but have their normal difficulty. Spells cast without the use of a spell matrix are “raw magic” and cause damage equal to the spell’s difficulty. A magician hero can change the spell in a spell matrix with a Reason action with a difficulty equal to half the difficulty of the new spell.

Using Magic

Using magic requires an action with the appropriate ability, usually Spirit for adept magic and Reason for spell magic. The Narrator may call for a different ability in certain circumstances. The base difficulty of the action is average, plus any resistance (if the magic targets someone other than the user). Successful or not, spell points are still spent. Note that, unlike Dragonlance, heroes are not required to spend spell points to overcome a target’s resistance, nor is the difficulty of the spell equal to its cost.

Example: Aklear wishes to cast a flame bolt at an oncoming ghoul. The cost of the spell is 12 points. Aklear makes an average Reason action, opposed by the ghoul’s Coordination, which is 5, making the final difficulty 13. He succeeds, and the ghoul takes 9 points of damage from the spell, minus its Defense of 2, which does enough damage to slay it. Aklear had better ready another spell, because where there is one ghoul, there is likely more…

Adept Magic

Each discipline grants a particular type of magic to those who follow it: beastmasters can use magic to influence animals and take on their qualities, warriors use magic to enhance their battle prowess, and so forth. Each discipline describes the type of magic it can perform. Players create the effects they wish to perform using the normal SAGA spellcasting rules, limited by their capacity, as described above. Some examples of adept magic include:

  • Dominate Beast (Beastmaster, 15 points): Allows the adept to completely control the actions of an animal within near missile range for 15 minutes with an average Presence (Essence) action.
  • Flame Arrow (Archer, 10 points): Ignites the head of an ordinary arrow, causing it to inflict +5 damage.
  • Rapier Wit (Swordmaster, 13 points): Demoralizes an enemy within melee range with clever jibes and taunts, requiring an average Presence (Essence) action. If successful the target suffers a -2 on all actions for the next 15 minutes.
  • Shadow-Cloak (Thief, 13 points): Shrouds the adept in shadows for 15 minutes, adding +4 to the adept’s attempt to sneak or remain hidden, requires 1 minute to activate.
  • Wind-Catcher (Sky Raider, 12 points): Weaves the wind to allow the adept to fall any distance without harm.
  • Woodskin (Warrior, 11 points): Turns the adept’s skin to tough wood, providing +5 defense for 15 minutes. Requires 1 minute to activate.

Spell Magic

Magicians in Earthdawn weave the energies of astral space to cast spells. They have a wider range of potential effects to choose from, based on the spheres of magic known. A hero must have an A code in Reason to be a magician. Magicians start out with knowledge of one sphere of magic and may learn one additional sphere for each gain in Reputation above Novice. So an adventurer may know two spheres, up to an archetype, who knows all eight spheres. Other adepts can also learn spellcasting spheres, by expending a skill in order to do so.

Threadweaving

A component of spells in Earthdawn is weaving “threads” of magical energy to power the spell. Weaving threads is part of the spell’s invocation time. Spells with an invocation time of Instant require no threads.

Spheres of Magic

Spell magic is divided into eight different spheres of influence. Magician heroes may choose a single sphere to specialize in, gaining a trump bonus with all spells from that sphere.

  • Divination: Divination is used to reveal information. Divination spells allow a magician to detect different things, view distant places, enhance the senses and sense things beyond the normal five senses.
  • Elementalism: This sphere allows a magician to command the five elements of earth, air, fire, water, and wood. The magician can create and shape the elements at will, and can summon elemental spirits from them.
  • Enchantment: This is the sphere of the mind, able to reshape emotions, read thoughts, alter memories and control the wills of others. Some beings are immune to the effects of enchantment (like many undead and horrors).
  • Healing: This sphere uses magic to heal injuries, cure disease and poisons, and ensure general health and well-being.
  • Illusion: The illusion sphere deceives the senses, creating images of things that are not real. Even thought illusions may be detected and overcome by disbelief, they can be quite powerful against those they fool.
  • Nethermancy: Nethermancy deals with pure life-force: spirits and the stuff of the astral plane. It can summon and control spirits, shape astral energy, summon pure light or darkness, animate the dead or even return them to life.
  • Transformation: This sphere deals with transforming objects or beings into something else. Spells of transmutation, shapeshifting, petrifaction and similar effects are transformations, as are spells which temporarily imbue magic into objects or beings to enhance their abilities or grant them various powers.
  • Wizardry: The sphere of wizardry is concerned with shaping pure magical energy to create different effects. Spells that dispel or block magic, as well as constructs of magical force, fall under the category of wizardry.

Spells

  • Ethereal Darkness (Nethermancy, 16 points): Blankets the area of a large room in darkness for 15 minutes, imposing a -4 penalty on all actions requiring sight. Requires 1 minute to cast. Does not affect nethermancers.
  • Fireball (Elementalism, 14 points): An explosive ball of fire that shoots out to near missile range and does 9 damage points to a small group of targets. Resisted by Agility. Requires 1 minute to cast.
  • Mind Dagger (Wizardry, 12 points): A shard of magical force hurled at a target within near missile range, doing 5 damage points and ignoring physical Defense. Resisted by Perception.

Roles (Disciplines)

Heroes in Earthdawn follow disciplines, ways of thinking and acting that channel the hero’s natural magical abilities. Disciplines are similar to Roles in Dragonlance: Fifth Age. Each discipline has its own particular requirements, advantages and disadvantages. Each discipline also has its own form of magic, allowing adepts of that discipline to cast spells. Heroes normally follow only one discipline. However it is possible for a hero to choose a second discipline. In this case, the hero gains access to that discipline’s magic, and is subject to its requirements, but does not gain its trump bonus.

Air Sailor

Air sailors pilot and crew airships that cross the skies of Barsaive. They are skilled sailors and skilled fighters to deal with the dangers that threaten their ships. Air sailors love the freedom of the open sky.

  • Requirements: A hero must have the following minimum abilities to be an air sailor: Strength 5, Dexterity and Agility 7. The hero must have a minimum code of B in Strength and Dexterity. Air sailors can belong to any race except obsidimen (who prefer to remain on the ground). Air sailors do not wear heavy armor, limiting their maximum Endurance code to C.
  • Trump Bonus: Air sailors have a trump bonus for any action performed while on an airship.
  • Adept Magic: Air sailor magic is related to airships and aerial things like the wind.

Archer

Archers specialize in missile weapons, particularly the bow and crossbow. They have unerring aim and walk through a world of targets.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum Dexterity and Perception of 6 and a Dexterity code of A to be an archer.
  • Trump Bonus: Archers have a trump bonus for any action using a bow.
  • Adept Magic: Archer magic is related to their chosen weapon, the bow.

Beastmaster

Beastmasters seek to emulate the animal kingdom and understand its denizens. Some beastmasters a true friends of all animals, while others are their cruel masters.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum Endurance and Presence of 6 to be a beastmaster. Beastmasters have limited weapon-skills, limiting their Strength and Dexterity codes to a maximum of C.
  • Trump Bonus: Beastmasters have a trump bonus for any non-attack action related to animals
  • Adept Magic: Beastmaster magic is related to animals and their abilities. It has no affect on intelligent life, nor on non-living things like undead, spirits or horrors.

Cavalryman

Cavalrymen are fierce, mounted warriors. They train with their mounts to develop an empathic bond with them.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum Strength, Endurance and Presence of 6 to be a cavalryman. The hero must also have a minimum Strength code of B. Obsidimen cannot be cavalrymen, since no mount can carry them.
  • Trump Bonus: Cavalrymen have a trump bonus for all actions while mounted.
  • Adept Magic: Cavalryman magic relates to the bond between the cavalryman and his mount and fighting while mounted.

Magician

Magicians study the art of spellcasting and the spheres of spell magic. They are scholarly individuals who study the mysteries of the universe.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum Reason and Spirit of 6 to be a magician. Additionally, the hero must have a minimum Reason code of A, Perception of C and Spirit of C. Magicians spend most of their training on intellectual pursuits, so magician heroes cannot have Strength, Dexterity or Endurance codes of greater than C.
  • Trump Bonus: Magicians may choose one sphere of magic in which to specialize (usually their first). The magician gains a trump bonus in all actions involving that sphere. Magicians are generally named after their specialty sphere: Elementalists master elementalism, Healers master healing, Nethermancers master nethermancy, and so forth.
  • Adept Magic: Magicians start out knowing one sphere of magic and may learn another at each increase in reputation.

Scout

Scouts are explorers and trail-blazers who seek out new places, people and adventures. They are renowned for their sharp senses and wits.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum Endurance and Perception of 6 to be a scout. Additionally, the hero must have a minimum Perception code of B. Scouts prefer to travel light, they have a maximum Endurance code of C.
  • Trump Bonus: Scouts gain a trump bonus on all actions involving the use of their senses.
  • Adept Magic: Scout magic involves the use of the senses and survival in the wilderness.

Sky Raider

Sky raiders are fierce fighters who fly aboard airships to raid targets all over Barsaive.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum Agility, Strength and Endurance of 6 to be a sky raider. Sky raiders require a minimum code of B in all three abilities. Elves, obsidimen and windlings cannot be sky raiders.
  • Trump Bonus: Sky raiders gain a trump bonus for all actions on an airship.
  • Adept Magic: Sky raider magic involves airships and using the power of their fierce reputation.

Swordmaster

Swordmasters are elegant fighters who seek to master the art of the blade. They tend to be swashbucklers, with little regard for personal danger.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum of 6 in Strength, Agility and Presence to be a swordmaster. The hero must also have a Strength code of at least B.
  • Trump Bonus: Swordmasters gain a trump bonus for any action using a sword.
  • Adept Magic: Swordmaster magic is entirely based around sword-fighting, overcoming and intimidating their opponents.

Thief

Thieves are silent and stealthy, self-reliant and skilled in the art of stealing.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum Agility, Dexterity and Perception of 6 to be a thief. The hero must also have a minimum code of B in Perception. Thieves prefer to avoid armor that limits their movements, giving them a maximum Endurance and Agility code of D. They also tend to be anti-social, limiting their Presence code to C.
  • Trump Bonus: Thieves gain a trump bonus for any action intended to be sneaky, including surprise attacks.
  • Thief Magic: Thief magic is based around deception, stealth, and avoiding danger.

Troubadour

Troubadours are storytellers, loremasters and entertainers.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum Dexterity, Perception and Presence of 6 to be a troubadour. Additionally, the hero must have a Dexterity and Perception code of at least C, and a Presence code of at least B.
  • Trump Bonus: Troubadours gain a trump bonus with all social actions.
  • Troubadour Magic: Troubadour magic is intended to enlighten, entertain and affect the mind and emotions.

Warrior

Warriors are masters of all forms of combat, using magic to enhance their prowess.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum of 6 in Strength, Endurance and Spirit to be a warrior. Warriors are highly trained in the use of weapons and armor, having a minimum code of C in Dexterity and Agility, and B in Strength and Endurance.
  • Trump Bonus: Warriors gain a trump bonus for surprise and unarmed combat actions, as well as any action related to tactical knowledge.
  • Warrior Magic: Warrior magic is the magic of battle, increasing their ability to fight and remain alive.

Weaponsmith

Weaponsmiths craft and study weapons and armor. They know how to use them, as well.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum of 6 in Strength, Endurance and Perception to be a weaponsmith. The hero must also have a minimum Perception code of B.
  • Trump Bonus: Weaponsmiths gain a trump bonus when making or studying any type of weapon or armor.
  • Weaponsmith Magic: Weaponsmith magic relates to the making of weapons and armor, controlling and protecting against them and the elements used in the forging process.

Special Roles

These Roles are special and may be taken in combination with other Roles without affecting their abilities. These Roles have no trump bonuses.

Questor

Questors follow one of the twelve Passions of Barsaive. They seek to emulate their Passion in word and deed, if they fail to do so, they lose the special blessings their Passion brings them. Questors who continually ignore their Passion may lose this Role entirely.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum Spirit of 5 and a Spirit code of B to become a questor.
  • Questor Magic: Questor magic is based on the nature of the questor’s Passion. For example, questors of Lochost, the Passion of Freedom, have powers relating to freeing the oppressed and imprisoned. Questors of Dis, the Passion of Domination and Slavery, use magic to enslave others, and so forth.

Lightbearer

Lightbearers are members of a secret society devoted to riding the world of the Horrors and their corruption. Becoming a lightbearer requires a special ceremony and is by invitation only. A hero who takes on this Role gains special powers and responsibilities.

  • Requirements: A hero must have a minimum Spirit of 6 to be a lightbearer. In addition, the hero must have performed great feats against the Horrors and their minions to draw the attention of the Lightbearers.
  • Lightbearer Magic: Lightbearers have the power to create and project light in many forms, using it to protect, heal, illuminate and fight against the Horrors.

Kaer Daralon

According to the records of the Kaer kept in the Hall of Time, Daralon was a prosperous town nestled in a mountain valley in the Theran province of Barsaive. It subsisted mostly on farming the valley area and selling some of the famed Daralon ironwork and pottery worked from clay taken from the riverbanks. The inhabitants of the town paid their tithes to the Theran Overgovenor and their dues for the Rites of Protection and Passage that have allowed them to survive the Scourge.

Kaer Daralon was built over the course of three generations in the mountain caves above the valley. Much of the work was done by the master Elf elementalist and builder Dianuus. The natural caverns were expanded and strengthened by elemental magic, all laid out in accordance with the Theran plan. When the early signs of the Scourge came to the Daralon valley, the people entered the kaer and the wards were sealed to wait out the Long Night.

That was 498 years ago. It is now the fifteen hundred and sixth year since the founding of the Kingdom of Throal. More than fifteen generations have lived and died in the confines of the kaer, waiting and watching the elemental clock designed by Eternal Thera to tell when the time of the Scourge would be over. Fifty years ago, the sphere of True Earth stopped its descent towards the bowl of True Water.

This unexpected development has resulted in considerable debate and discussion among the leaders of the kaer, but thus far they have erred on the side of caution. The Therans predicted that the Scourge would last as long as another century, but there is a growing belief in the kaer that something terrible has happened and that the Scourge will never end. Some of the people have begun to despair that the end will never come and there is an edge of madness to life in Kaer Daralon.

The people of the kaer remain hidden deep in the earth, watching, waiting and hoping for some sign that the Long Night has ended.

The History of the Kaer

Kaer Daralon was created by the people of the town of Daralon and the inhabitants of its surrounding farms and villages. The kaer was designed to hold all of the inhabitants of the mountain valley where the town stood. This included a village of T’skrang from the nearby river as well as several Troll clans from the high mountains. Members of six different races dwell in the kaer, so there was some friction at first. Minor incidents of violence and conflict arose and were harshly delt with by the kaer’s ruling council.

In the final days before the closing of the kaer, a party of adventurers arrived in Daralon. They claimed to be fleeing from horrors they had encountered in the foothills of the Caucavic Mountains. The elders of Daralon took this as a sign of the time to seal the kaer. The party of adepts took shelter there as well.

One of the adepts who settled in the kaer was the Ork swordmaster Kilas Tarn. Ill at ease with a life of confinement, Tarn began a school to pass on his discipline to others. He married a woman of Daralon and his line carried on the tradition for generations.

Some two hundred years ago, there was an outbreak of plague in the kaer that nearly doomed all of the inhabitants. Dianuus the Master-Builder, himself stricken with the plague, use his magic to cause a rockslide that buried the access tunnel to the most plague-ridden portion of the kaer. This halted spread of the plague and saved the rest of the kaer.

Dianuus and some of the other adepts of the kaer were lost in the tragedy, along with their accumulated wisdom. Some people claim-though not too loudly-that faint noises can sometimes be heard from behind the rockfall that closed off the plague tunnels and that there are ghosts or worse that still haunt those halls.

The ravages of the plague and the pressures of life within the kaer began to diminish the population of the community. So the loss of a section of the kaer did not prove overly taxing.

About fifty years ago the Council of Tweleve appointed a small group of adepts to exit the kaer and explore outside. Among them was Grella Tarn, swordswoman and descendant of Kilas Tarn, wielder of his legendary sword Truefang. The party departed throught the Guardian Gate and it was sealed behind them. They never returned. Since then, the Council and their successors has been reluctant to allow any more such expeditions.

Life in the Kaer

Life in Kaer Daralon is very routine and has been for as long as any can recall. Food is carefully rationed out morning, noon and night, usually meals of magically grown vegetables and similar staples with the occasional special celebration calling for meat or baked goods made from the kaer’s carefully protects supply of animals and grains. During the day the kaer’s adults work the lattice farms that provide food, tend to the small herds of sheep or cave lizards in their pens or provide repairs or craft work for the kaer. In the evening troubadours and storytellers read from the Book of Tomorrow and tell tales of the outside world while illusionists entertain and enlighten with their images of the world of the ancestors before the Scourge.

Kaer Daralon is ruled by the Council of Twelve, the wisest and most capable chosen from among the people. The Council represents the Twelve Passions that are venerated in the kaer. Although the Council members are not always Questors, many of them are, and they are chosen to represent their Passion’s purview on the Council. The Council makes laws, metes out justice and administers the kaer. Slavery is the typical punishment for any crime that does not merit death. Death sentences have become increasingly rare.

The other major factions of the kaer include the Swords of Daralon (usually simply known as the Swords) and the Adept’s Lodge. The Swords are a warrior sect that serves as the guardians, police and military. They generally keep the peace in the kaer and are the only people allowed to carry weapons with them routinely.

The Adept’s Lodge is made up of the kaer’s surviving adept traditions, who pass on their teachings to suitable students in anticipations of the end of the Long Night. Some Disciplines have died out or were never really represented among those in the kaer. Other disciplines, like the Scout and Beastmaster, have survived in little more than a ceremonial role, since the environments intended for them are limited in the kaer. There is some resentment by kaer residents against practioners of disciplines that are looked upon as “useless” since they don’t contribute to the survival of the community.

The Structure of the Kaer

Kaer Daralon is laid out like most kaers built under the Theran plan. There is a large central cavern, lit by a massive light quartz embedded in the roof. This cavern contains the central buildings of the kaer: the Hall of Time, the Adept’s Lodge, Council Chambers, the Temple of the Passions and the Garrison of the Swords as well as other administrative buildings. The central chambers also houses Crafter’s Row, a long row of tents and open kiosks were the people trade their humble arts and crafts. (As much to prove they are free of taint as for any love of art.)

The outer edges of the great cavern and several other caves are taken up by the lattice farms, high frameworks where the produce that feeds the kaer is grown, aided by elemental magic and the blessings of the Passions.

In the center of the cavern is a fantastic statue of the passion Garlen, sculpted from rosy living crystal by Dianuus the Builder. Radiating out from the central plaza are six narrow roads. Five are named for the True Elements and lead to the living quarters for the people. Each road leaves the plaza under a sculpted arch made from the appropriate true element and the “central square” of each living space holds a fantastic sculpture of that element made by the master-builder himself. The Fire Caves were sealed during the plague by Dianuus are have been lost for some two hundred years, but the other areas have been more than enough for the kaer’s population. The Fire Arch went out the same day is now little more than a monument of blackened coal.

The sixth road leads to a pair of orichalcum gates between two statues of fierce warriors known as the Guardian Gate. This gate leads into a maze of traps and deadfalls to the surface and the sealed entrance of the kaer.

Beneath the central cavern are deeper tunnels and caves. These were intended for population growth in the kaer, but the population has been shrinking so these areas are abandoned and left alone. Few go there save for members of the Swords or the Adept’s Lodge on some strange errand or another. Kaer-lore has it that these dark tunnels sometimes serve as meeting places for strange gatherings or other doings best hidden from the rest of the people.

The People of Daralon

Most of the population of kaer Daralon is Dwarf and Human. There are some Elves and Orks as well. Trolls and T’Skrang are the most rare and have been the worst hit by the kaer’s declining population, the T’Skrang especially so. There are only thirty-six T’Skrang remaining in the kaer-all that is left of an extended clan-and they fear that they may well die out in another few generations.

There were some Windlings in Kaer Daralon, but they died two centuries ago during the plague, only the oldest Elves still remember them.

Obsidimen are nothing more than a legend to the inhabitants of the kaer. They are mentioned in the Book of Tomorrow, but none have dwelled in Daralon, so no one in the kaer has ever seen one.

Current population of Kaer Daralon is about 3,000 Name-givers. The kaer was constructed for nearly twice that number, but the population has slowly declined over the centuries and some of the lower caverns and tunnels of the kaer have been abandoned, along with the loss of the Fire Caves. Strange subterranian creatures have sometimes been spotted in the lower tunnels and they are normally considered off-limits to the kaer’s inhabitants. There is some concern over the declining population, and some doomsayers claim that the kaer will die out before the Scourge is over.

Individuals of Note

Doria kel’Ar, human female, Questor of Garlen, Counciler and former High Sword of Daralon. Counciler Doria was once acknowledged as the most skilled warrior in Daralon with the office of High Sword, leader of the Swords of Daralon. That was many years ago and she has since retired from the ways of combat: at least with a blade. She has taken up the ways of Garlen and is still known as a tenacious “she-bear” by her opponents on the Council of Twelve. She is wise, comforting , strong-willed and well loved by the people of the kaer.

Pelgar, dwarf male, Archmage and Counciler. The archmage Pelgar is an elderly dwarf who came to his office nearly twenty years ago. He is a wizard of no small skill and oversees the activities of Daralon’s magicians, mostly to the maintenance of the kaer and the investigation of the conditions outside though so far with little success. A crotchety curmudgeon of a dwarf, he is the terror of magical apprentices-and no few adults-in the kaer.

Mabon Rus, human male, Questor of Erendis, Counciler. Counciler Mabon is a follower of Erendis, the Passion of Order and Governance, which makes him well suited for his duties on the council of Twelve. His wisdom in matters of administration is heeded by his peers and he is well known for keeping live in the kaer running smoothly. Mabon is fair but firm, with a strong reputation as a disciplinarian among the children of the kaer.

Meer’resh t’Lassor, female t’skrang, Counciler. Counciler Meer’resh is the female head of the surviving T’skrang clan in Kaer Daralon. She is fairly young for her role, the old matriarch of the clan having passed only two years ago. She is considered level-headed compared to some of her bretheren, who clammor increasingly for action from the Council. Her brother, Sethek, has also done little to aid her cause.

Netzach Kol, ork male, Master of Memory, Keeper of the Book of Tomorrow and Scholar. Netzach is nearing the age of fifty, ancient for an Ork. He credits his long life to this love of knowledge and claims that he won’t die until he knows all there is to know. He lovingly tends to the kaer’s precious stores of books, scrolls and other heirlooms in the Hall of Time. He knows all of the lore and history of Daralon and can often be found telling stories to children in the Plaza in the evenings.

Onara Stonebones, troll female, Warrior, High Sword. Captain Stonebones is the High Sword, commander of the Swords of Daralon warrior order and at skilled fighter herself. The troll warrior stands a head-and-a-helf taller than even the tallest human males of the kaer and wields her massive stone broadsword like it was a toy. Her booming laugh and good cheer make her a welcome companion and a popular leader. Onara claims that she does not involve herself in politics, concerning herself only with keeping the peace.

Sethek t’Lassor, male t’skrang, Nethermancer. The mysterious Sethek is an albino T’skrang with white scaly skin and reddish eyes. Considered an omen by his clan mother at his birth of the dying of the T’skrang within the kaer, Sethek has always had a morbid fascination with death. This, naturally, led him to become a nethermancer, which has caused the people to shun him all the more. This seems to be to the t’skrang’s liking and he contents himself with his solitary magical research, working with the kaer’s other magicians when needed but keeping mostly to himself.

Vonna Firehair, female elf, Questor of Astendar, Counciler. Counciler Vonna is in many ways the soul of social life in Kaer Daralon. As the most devoted follower of Astendar in the kaer, she is involved in all matters of art and beauty in an effort to bring cheer into the lives of the people. Some say that she is something of a busybody but most are enchanted by her wit and charm. Firehair is well known for the namesake hair of reddish-gold locks. She has been pursued by many suitors in the kaer and has taken many lovers, but has not chosen a mate. She claims to not want to be tied down at this early stage in her life, since she is not yet a century old, making her fairly young for an elf.

The Bone Bell of Kaer Talloria

Aye, of course I’ve a tale for you, traveler, that is what we troubadours do, is it not? And since you are so interested in my music, I will tell you a story about a most strange musical instrument indeed.

Near the beginning of the Scourge, many name-givers throughout the land of Barsaive were retreating into their kaers and sealing them behind them to wait out the long centuries of the Scourge. Save for some of the Elves and the long-lived Obsidimen, those who entered the kaers knew that they would never see the outside world again. They could only hope that their great-grandchildren would be able to emerge safely from shelter into a world free of the horrors. This brought many people to despair and the sealing of the kaers was a time of great loss for all of the name-givers.

One such kaer was Named Kaer Talloria, after the magician who helped to build it. Talloria worked unceasingly to excavate the shelter for her people and create the orichalcum runes and wards that would hold the horrors at bay for the centuries of the Scourge. She was tireless in her efforts, working long into the night only to be up the next morning before anyone else to begin work again. She was driven to protect her people.

As the first horrors infested the land, Talloria studied them carefully, gathering all of the information that she could about these creatures. She began to grow increasingly concerned as all of the reports of the horrors indicated that they were terrible in strength and power and that the worst was yet to come, for the first horrors to appear were weak for their kind according to the Therans. Talloria began to fear that the defenses provided by the Therans would not be enough to protect the people.

She began researching the horrors, and carefully examining the remains of the horrors that could be recovered, to formulate another means of defense against them. She also delved deeply into the arts of nethermancy, studying the ways of the netherworlds in hopes of learning more about the nature of the horrors and how they could be defeated and kept at bay from the feast of name-giver flesh and souls they desired. Talloria worked even harder than ever, locked away in her laboratory, consumed with a fierce passion to discover a way. Many people of the village grew concerned for her welfare but they respected their magician and feared the horrors, so they said nothing and waited.

In time, Talloria began work on something in the central meeting area of the newly constructed kaer. Her work was concealed behind a misty curtain of elemental air, so none of the people knew what it was that she was building. But they all trusted Talloria and so they waited and watched until the time came for them to seal the kaer.

The horrors had grown too numerous on the surface for the people to remain there any longer. Word had come that even mighty Thera had sealed themselves behind their dome of True Air and Fire to wait out the long night of the Scourge. Attacks from ravening horrors were coming almost daily and the people of the village retreated into their kaer and Talloria enacted the rituals to seal the portals of the shelter and activate the magical wards given to them by the Therans to keep out the horrors.

Not long after Kaer Talloria was sealed, the sorceress revealed to the people the artifact that she had so carefully constructed to keep the forces of the horrors at bay, should the protections of the kaer fail them. It was a great bell of bronze woven with True Earth and Air. The frame, structure and clapper of the great bell were carved from bone – the bones of the victims of the first horrors, bones that still resonated with the terror of the coming Scourge. At first the people of the kaer were wary of such a gift, touched as it was with the power of blood magic. Some feared that the bell might be tainted with the power of the horrors, but Talloria was steadfast in her insistence that the bell’s enchantments would help to keep the horrors away.

It was only a short time after the sealing of the kaer that the bell was first used. Some kind of powerful horror attacked that kaer, so mighty that it shook the whole of the mountain where Kaer Talloria was dug. It was as if the horror intended to uproot the entire kaer. While the people huddled in fear of what might be outside their shelter, Talloria rang the great bell she had created and it sent forth a peal that was like the crying of tortured souls, the screams of those victims of the horrors. The peal of the bell echoed all throughout the kaer. In a matter of moments, the terrible sounds of the creature outside stopped and all was still once again. The people hailed Talloria as a hero and gave many thanks to her for saving them with her creation.

Many years passed, and Talloria passed the guardianship of the Bone Bell down to her successors. The magics of the bell were carefully maintained, for the people considered it their last line of defense against the horrors. The bones of many of their kaer’s dead went into repairing, maintaining and strengthening the bell’s enchantments to make it a lasting weapon against the horrors. The magicians who maintained the bell became an Order whom the people of the kaer knew and respected for their great power, but also feared for their dabblings in nethermancy and blood magic needed to maintain the artifact. The bell was used several times over the centuries to drive off horrors that threatened to breach the kaer and threaten its inhabitants.

After generations had passed, the end of the Scourge predicted by the scholars of Thera failed to come about. The sphere of true earth had stopped its descent towards the bowl of true water and had held steady there for years. The people of the kaer were greatly concerned. Was the Scourge over? Was it safe for them to emerge into the sunlight once again?

The magicians of the Order of the Bone Bell thought not. It was a trick, they said, a foul deception of the horrors intended to make the people believe that they were safe while, in fact, the horrors lay in wait for them outside of the safety of their sheltering kaer. The magicians declared that the people would have to wait and be patient while they ferreted out the meaning of this omen.

More time passed and with each passing day, the people grew more and more restless. Dark rumors circulated and resentment against the magician-priests grew. Many said that the magicians sought only to maintain their power over the people, that they knew that the Scourge was over and they had stopped the progress of the sphere of true earth themselves so that they could rule over the closed kaer forever. The time had come and surely the horrors were long since gone. Open talk of rebellion began and the ruling magicians were forced to take harsh measures with those who spoke treason against them, but this only stoked the fires of rebellion higher.

Eventually, the people of Kaer Talloria rose up against the Order of the Bone Bell and killed them all in the center courtyard of the kaer where the bell stood. They then threw open the gates of the kaer to emerge into the outside world. It was only then that they discovered that Talloria’s artifact did not work quite as she had planned. The horrors that were supposed to have been driven away by the bell over the years were in fact a single horror trapped in astral space near the kaer by the power of the bell. With the doors of the kaer open and the magicians slain, the horror took its vengeance on the people of Talloria and left the kaer a haunted monument to their folly.

I heard the tale from one of the few survivors of the kaer and she told me that the Bone Bell of Talloria still remains in the ruins of their kaer. I’m sure the horrors would not want such an item to fall into the hands of other Name-Givers, but who knows if they were able to destroy it?

That is the tale, for such is the truth.

Adventure Ideas

The gamemaster can decide if the Bone Bell of Kaer Talloria still exists and, if so, whether or not it can still be found in the ruins of the ancient kaer. Perhaps the bell was removed from the kaer by horrors (or their agents), robbers, or explorers such as the player characters. If so, it might have traveled the length and breadth of Barsaive to come to rest in some hidden lair or some scholar’s collection of artifacts. If the bell has remained hidden in the ruins of the kaer, it will no doubt be guarded, perhaps by traps laid by various horrors to keep name-givers away from the power of the bell or by a horror-cult devoted to protecting it from outsiders.

If the characters do discover the bone bell, they will need to decide what to do with the artifact and if its power is worth the high price that it carries with it. The Bone Bell is an item that would be of great interest to those involved in studying or hunting the horrors (such as followers of the Horror Stalker discipline and the Lightbearers).

The Bone Bell

Maximum Threads: 2 • Spell Defense: 18

The Bone Bell of Talloria is a large bronze bell of about half a human’s height, growing greenish with age. The outside of the bell is decorated with a complex web of delicately carved bones and the clapper on the inside is made up of many bones strung on a fine copper chain. A heavy metal ring is attached to the top of the bell, allowing it to be hung from a support frame or the like. When sounded, the bell gives off a deep shrieking and moaning sound that echoes for a great distance.

Thread Ranks

Rank 1 (Cost: 300)

Key Knowledge: The character must know that this the Bone Bell of Kaer Talloria.

Effect: The ringing of the bone bell provides +1 Spell Defense for all Name-Givers within hearing range against the powers of Horrors and Horror constructs.

Rank 2 (Cost: 500)

Key Knowledge: The character must learn who created the bell and what discipline she followed. Talloria was a human elementalist who also practiced the arts of nethermancy.

Effect: The sound of the bell provides +2 Spell Defense against Horrors and Horror constructs.

Rank 3 (Cost: 800)

Key Knowledge: The character must learn the location of Kaer Talloria and the fate of its people.

Deed: The character must travel to the location of Kaer Talloria and ensure that all of its people are given a proper burial, after which the kaer must be sealed and the true fate of its people carved upon its entryway. If accomplished, this deed is worth 1,200 Legend Points.

Effect: All horrors and horror constructs within earshot of the bell are considered Harried for as long as it is rung. All name-givers within earshot gain +1 to their Social Defense against the attacks of Horrors and Horror constructs.

Rank 4 (Cost: 1,300)

Key Knowledge: The character must learn the names of those Name-Givers whose bones cover the bell.

Effect: The ringing of the bell can ward off horrors. The ringer can make a Willpower or Willforce test while ringing the bell. This becomes the difficulty for a Willpower test required by the horror to come within sound of the bell. This effect lasts for as long as the bell is rung.

At this rank and higher. the sound of the bell also affects name-givers who hear it like the Arcane Mutterings talent (Earthdawn, p.97) at Step 15. This effect occurs automatically when any of the bell’s powers above Rank 3 are used, despite the wishes of the bell ringer. All characters within hearing range are affected.

Rank 5 (Cost: 2,100)

Key Knowledge: The character must learn the Name of the Horror that destroyed Kaer Talloria.

Effect: At the cost of 3 points of Strain, the character sounding the bell can force any horror that can hear the ringing of the bell into astral space by making a successful opposed Willforce test against the Horror’s Willpower or Willforce. If the character is successful, the horror is forced back into astral space for a number of days equal to the level of success.

Rank 6 (Cost: 3,200)

Deed: The character must learn the fate and whereabouts of the horror that slew Kaer Talloria. This deed is worth 4,000 Legend Points.

Effect: At the cost of 6 points of permanent damage and a successful Willforce test against the horror’s Spell Defense, the bell-ringer can trap a horror in the vicinity of the bell. The horror is trapped in its present form (physical or astral) and cannot leave earshot of the bell for a year and a day. The character who sacrificed the blood magic may then renew it at then end of that time to continue the effect. The horror can escape only by the death of the sustaining character or the destruction of the bell. The horror’s powers are not reduced or limited in any way.