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What's the thing with ED. I know it's an accronym for Earthdawn (or think I know), but what has this got to do with SR.
I've seen ED mentioned many times in discussion about SR-timeline related matters.
I understand that this question might seem silly to many who post here, but pleas indulge me, and remember to be nice with the n00b.
Herald of Verjigorm
Shadowrun is the beginning of the 6th age, Earthdawn is the end of the 4th.
Earthdawn is "unnoficially" the 4th Age, i.e. the world Shadowrun's past. Many magical things, like Immortal Elves, Dragons and the Ennemy tie in directly to ED material.

See Ancient History's website for details.
Shadowrun was orginally published by FASA. FASA also published a game called Earthdawn. It was techologically primitive, had lots of cool magic, dragons, funky races, etc. and these big scary monsters called horrors.
You know how the return of magic in SR is called the 6th world, right? Well, it's been made pretty clear that ED is the 4th world, and that both games take place in the same game universe. Lots of cool connections can be found. Visit Ancient History's site for all your one-stop ED-SR connection needs.
Okay, so
Earthdawn=4th age/world
Contemporary, as well as modern history=5th age/world ( I presume)
Shadowrun post awakening= 6th age/world

What about 1 through 3? Awakened Dinosaurs and parafossils?

Anyways, thanks for the quick response, and clearing up my confusion.
QUOTE (psykotisk_overlegen)
Awakened Dinosaurs and parafossils?

Why does the thought of getting astrally assaulted by picking up a trilobyte fossil sound so intriguing now? Maybe a run into the Museum of Natural History could be more dangerous than the party planned for... devil.gif
Ancient History
The Worlds timeline is a /little/ funky. We've played it backwards and forwards a few times, and what it usually boils down to (although there are many disagreements) is:

*)* Age of Night
(** First World -- Downcycle?
*)* Second World -- Upcycle -- Age of Dragons
(** Third World -- Downcycle
*)* Fourth World -- Upcycle -- Earthdawn
(** Fifth World -- Downcycle -- History
*)* Sixth World -- Upcycle -- Shadowrun

See? The difficulty is that if the Sixth World is an upcycle, then the "1st World" would probably be a downcycle...which is weird but not impossible.
Herald of Verjigorm
Two alternate options:
1) since only dragons recorded the first few ages, they didn't bother counting the downcycles where human tribes threw rocks at each other
2) the mana cycle did not actually exist until the age of dragons
I like that first suggestion. The dragons weren't around for the Great Rock Wars of the first and a half age (as they were asleep), so there's no reason to bother mentioning it. It's like 1961, neither part of the 60's or of the 50's, it was simply the worthless bit in the middle.
Crimson Jack
What cycle does the black monolith draw out the apemen to worship it?
I like the idea that the First Age is a downcycle because before that the Horrors were too busy eating everything for it to count.

I think the really scary thing about ED is when you start considering how powerful the adepts (ie. all player characters) actually are compared to mundanes and even most characters in the 6th world.
However, the game world accounts for the power levels of the PC's making for a nicely balanced game system.

Earthdawn itself is a fantasy RPG with an orientation towards higher magic levels than say D&D. Its geared towards a heroic adventurer style of campaign too - great deeds, legendary feats, etc. I also find it more philosophical and roleplayable in its mechanics and atmosphere - IE: Your character's beliefs and outlook upon the world dictates your "Discipline" (adept path) and you have to attune magical items by learning their secrets before you can weave threads to them and ustalise their powers (bonding foci). Oh yeah, and Names are VERY important.

Downside is that the mix of rules, talents, skills, spells and the way that the disciplines dictate which ones you learn makes it pretty clunky to learn. Once done though, it can flow pretty well - but not a system I'd recommend for the first time GM.
Just Jonny
The main reason Earthdawn characters were so powerful was the huge mana level. That's also why pretty much anybody with the training uses some kind of magic, even for ordinary everyday tasks. It has rules for up to Circle 15, and I'm pretty sure Circle rating was analagous to Initiate Grade. Seeing as most Shadowrun magicians are insanely badass around Grade 6 or so, you can imagine how big it gets.

On an only somewhat related note, did Attunement really remind anybody else of Earthdawn? Especially animal attunement?
Foci are alot more like blood charms, actual thread and magical items have patterns of a similar nature to a magician's pattern and at higher levels are incredible.

I dont believe circle advancement is as straight forwards as initiation. The "experience points" needed to advance are exponential. That said looking at some of the 10th circle+ talents and spells are truly scary, that and with as many ranks as possible in durability. An example is a circle 15 Elementalist spell called 'Call Forth the Maelstrom" which creates a natural disaster with a range of 101 miles.

That said there are things in the game which are a challenge to characters of all levels.

Verigorn anyone?
Earthdawn was actually the first game my group played. We ran about 3 or 4 campaigns over about 6 years. Great fantasy world. Awesome characters, NPC and PC alike. Blood Elves! Best "evil elves" ever! The most powerful adept in the province is an ork thief! "Evil" empire has magic powerful enough to pause magic cycle where it suits them!

Downside: Combat takes about 3 hours. Seeriously, more often than not, we would have a 4-6 hour session, and there would be about 1/2 hour of roleplay, then they would get into a fight, and it would take 3 hours for a simple fight that everyone knows they are going to win. I just think that combat abilities were broken down into too many different abilites. The average middle powered warrior (say, 5th or 6th circle) uses about six talents a round, and then uses them again for his extra Air Dance attack. Plus only heavy combat oriented Disciplines got a decent way to improve there damage (excepting ultra-rare one-of-a-kind legendary weapons), and even combat Disciplines usually don't get them until higher circles. So there's a lot of "I hit them!" and a lot of "Armor absorbed all the damage." Even a little, unimportant combat would automatically become the center of the session, just by virtue of it taking 3/4 of the time.

But the setting was awesome.
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