Author Topic: [Earthdawn 3rd Edition] Earthdawn Compatable Virtual Tabletop  (Read 1487 times)


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[Earthdawn 3rd Edition] Earthdawn Compatable Virtual Tabletop
« on: December 01, 2011, 01:21:38 pm »
Hi Everybody. I posted this over @, thought I'd mirror this here. For those D&D/Pathfinder players out there, check out Maptool, they have frameworks for your games, too!

I've been coding like mad for the last few weeks. This is the result -

First, I'd like to mention that I'm not an employee of RedBrickLLC (the publisher). 2nd, I haven't (yet ;) ) received any compensation for this.

Ok, done.

Now, I'm a long time gamer, and one of the first that hooked me while gaming with my highschool group was Earthdawn. Barsaive was beautifully presented, fresh, and did interesting things to the tropes that Gygaxian, etc D&D had taught us. I've been roaming Barsaive in my head ever since (ask me about my maps sometime).

The Earthdawn internet community was out there humming along in the 90s while I was on a rock in the Pacific, and has since experienced various fragmentations, reorganizations, permutations, internationalizations, and other -(z)ation action-words.  I've crawled through nearly all of the archived ED material on the net. From the classic Seven Sands FAQ, through Taste-Like-Pheonix Game's early mass-combat system. From the ED Publishing Trust (, to the forgotten ED2 forums. From pics of the German Comic (only 1 issue I've found, '99 print) to the strange-but beautiful re-imagining of the lizard-like T'skrang for the Japanese rulebook/teaser comic.

And through it all, one thing kept coming back to me, amid forum discussions, video reviews, everything.

"This game is GREAT.... but it might be a little too crunchy for your taste."

Oh, man. Those words have kept this game buried under systems that are, admittedly, easier to approach. Almost an 'esoteric secret' of the RP world. The gleams in the eyes of those who had found it and sunk their teeth in despite the complex system kept poping into my head. Many haven't had a chance to get into the intensely exciting Conflicts in the fiction of Barsaive, turned off by the prospect of yet-another-complex-rpg-system. And then, as a GM you have to be quick enough yourself to answer players questions without dragging the game to a halt and dis-interesting them altogether (hard enough with any rpg).

So I said to myself, "Hey, we're living in the future, it's just not evenly distributed right? Do something about it."

So I did. Choosing the excellent open-source Maptool ( as the base software, I built a Virtual Tabletop.

This 'Maptool Framework' incorporates 41 different Disciplines (that's 'Character Class' to you non ED folk), and 12 playable Races from the 'Core Earthdawn material':
ED3 Player's Guide, ED3 Player's Companion, Namegivers of Barsaive, and the new Cathay Player's Guide

It incorporates the basic statistics (Attribute used, Action cost, etc) for every Talent, Skill and Power in the following:
ED3 Player's Guide, ED3 Player's Companion,ED3 Gamemaster's Guide, ED3 Gamemaster's Companion, Namegivers of Barsaive, the new Cathay Player's Guide, and the new Cathay Gamemaster's Guide

Create Adepts in under 5 minutes. Auto-generate Sub-Characteristics! Auto-calculate Steps and Dice for EVERYTHING.

No more "Is he Knocked Down? What's the Tail Attack modifier again? What dice to I roll?" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MUCH More "Your crystal Axe severs the Horrors tentacles, spraying black, foul ichor over your Airship crew! The tentacle writhes on the ship's deck, still tryng to grasp one last victim as the crew scatters."

It has over 25 custom state images to track the "crunchy" bits of the Earthdawn combat engine, and the GM has access to all (well, most.. this is an Alpha release) of the tables, Discipline info, Talent/Skill/Power stats, Step Table / Results Table at a flick of the mouse. Take advantage of Maptool's existing Vision and Fog-of-War setup. Dungeoncrawl in style, as a Thief Adept. Laugh at 'spells-per-day' and sling as many Earthdarts as the combat requires of your Elementalist. Handle battles with dozens of tokens without GOING AS MAD AS VESTRIAL THE MAD PASSION trying to track stats, states, damage, and Wounds.

Now that you're drooling, here's a Screenshot:

I designed this to assist with face-to-face games, but chose Maptool because of the networking capabilities. So you can use this as a GM "character library" (previously, I've been using 3x5 notecards.. HA!). Or you can go all the way with a 2 computer (or dual monitor) setup and run a server-client to take advantage of all the Vision and Fog-of-War features. Or pretty much anything in-between. I can see tracking a play-by-post game with this tool with much less headaches than usual (and you could post sreenshots of the combat positions!).

One of the early users has a pretty steady Earthdawn game running online (he was using my, admittedly broken, 1.0 version of this to some success with a large group of players), and he tends to screencast his recent games. I'll throw a link up later in the week, and maybe we can all see this thing "in use"!

Ok, enough rambling from the author. I hope you like it. Please bring any bugs to my attention on the RedbrickLLC or Maptool forums.

Download link:
Telarus, KSC,
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