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[Earthdawn #06] – Earthdawn Disciplines & Adepts: Warrior

Hello Legionnaires, this is MaxLiao from Legion
of Myth and today I am going to talk to you about the Warrior Discipline in the Earthdawn
role-playing Game. I originally scripted and recorded this video
back in December 2018, but… I didn’t like it. Life being what life is, I wasn’t able to
get back to it until now. The good news is that real life has let up
a little bit, so I hope to be much more consistent with these Discipline videos. If you enjoy these Earthdawn Discipline videos,
please be sure to click that LIKE button and subscribe to this Legion of Myth channel. Likes, subscriptions, and comments all encourage
me to make more of these videos about a game I dearly love. If you have not watched my earlier videos
in this series, I encourage you to at least take a look at the inaugural episode titled,
Earthdawn Disciplines & Adepts an Overview, as it explains the nuances of what it means
to be an Adept who follows a Discipline in the Earthdawn role-playing game. I’ll post a link to that video in the description
below. In regard to this particular episode on the
Warrior, as well as all of the Discipline-specific episodes, I will be discussing the Warrior
Discipline primarily in terms of 4th Edition Earthdawn. 4th edition is the most recent version of
the game, and thus the most appropriate version to discuss. Where 4th Edition information is lacking,
or where I feel comparisons need to be made, I’ll revert to previous editions as necessary
— (usually 1st edition as it is what I know best). So, with that out of the way, let us raise
our shields in honor of the Warrior! As we like to do here, let’s start with
the background and world view of the Warrior. So, what makes the Warrior Adept a Warrior
Adept? What separates the Adepts of the Warrior Discipline
from the grizzled sergeant who has spent life-long years honing his craft, or the highly skilled
mercenary commander with unparalleled success? As with every Discipline, Warriors Adepts
come in all shapes and sizes — woe to anyone who underestimates the Windling Warrior. Whether the Namegiver is a soldier, a mercenary,
an adventurer, or thrillseeker there are two precepts all Disciplined Warriors share: LOYALTY
and HONOR; two ideas that cannot be separated. A Warrior’s loyalty to her cause and comrades
is unquestioned. The Warrior Adept’s honor enforces an obligation
to them that supersedes any other duty. The Warrior’s cause may be for a kingdom,
a Passion, her travelling companions, a contract, or anything else in which she truly believes. This cause is unwavering, until such a time
as victory is achieved, circumstances indicate the goal or cause isn’t what was advertised,
or the goal is literally impossible to attain. A Warrior Adept seeks victory, as such, a
Warrior despises inaction and disunity — two concepts that are the antithesis of victory. She will destroy the cancers of treachery
and traitors. Though an expert in the art of war, the average
Warrior does not love combat; instead she sees fighting as a nasty necessity — while
taking pride in doing it well. A Warrior Adept views her enemy as dispassionately
as possible, unclouded by rage or bloodlust — it’s all about the mission; the objective. The Warrior Adept considers herself to be
the true weapon of war. Her talents, prowess and weapons are merely
tools that hone her sharp edge and act as a shield in defense of her cause. Ultimately, a typical Warrior desires nothing
more than the cessation of war, for Warrior Adepts know they are at the front lines of
battle. They are the ones who sacrifice the most. A Warrior’s duty is to complete the mission…
to get the job done. The Warrior Adept does not fight for pride
or glory, a Warrior Adept fights to win. A fighter comes to win a fight, a Warrior
arrives to win a war. With that in mind, a Warrior Adept knows that
some battles cannot be fought, some battles must be fought, and some battles require sacrifice
in order to win the war. The Warrior Adept is a Namegiver of action,
but not a bloodthirsty brute or plunderer. She is a honed and disciplined weapon in control
of her actions. Warriors only kill when necessary to win the
war, and seek the death of another only when no other option exists to end the threat. The only thing worse than death is failure. A Warrior only surrenders when that action
better serves the cause than fighting. In this case, the Warrior is still the weapon,
it’s just that surrender has replaced the spear as the weapon of choice. Lastly, unlike some other Disciplines whose
Adepts seek to make their mark as individuals or in the company of Adepts of other Disciplines,
Warrior Adepts often band together in groups called ‘orders’ — bound by loyalty and
honor to a unified cause. So, what does it mean to be the Warrior Adept’s
player? What should you expect if you choose Warrior
as your character’s Discipline? While I am not a meta-gamer, I will state
that the Warrior Discipline will be exactly as good as you make it. Unsurprisingly, the Warrior Discipline is
a pure combat Discipline. Unlike the Swordmaster who is part social
and part combat or the Sky Raider who is pure offensive firepower, the Warrior is the master
of combat in all of its forms. On the surface, the Warrior Discipline is
a working balance between initiative — (with Talents such as Tiger Spring and Air Dance);
offensive capability through Waterfall Slam and Crushing Blow; and defensive capability
via Avoid Blow, Earth Skin, and Wound Balance. By selecting particular Talent Options you
can choose to retain this balance or focus on the style of play that suits your purpose. In Earthdawn, you can make your Warrior a
defensive tank, an offensive juggernaut, or even the strategic officer-and-gentleman of
your particular campaign. Remembering what was stated previously regarding
the Warrior’s loyalty to her companions, I personally love the idea of making the Warrior
a more group-oriented character with Talent Options such as Distract, Tactics and Rally
— especially if there is already a Swordmaster or Sky Raider in the group. At 5th Circle, the Warrior gets Battle Rites
which helps reduce the Strain cost of one Talent. Considering how much Strain a Warrior can
potentially cause herself, this is an excellent ability indeed. At 9th Circle, the Warrior expands this Battle
Rites ability to include Battlefield Awareness, which prevents the Warrior from being Blindsided,
Harried or Surprised! As a personal opinion… I read somewhere that Unarmed Combat wasn’t
used in many the Earthdawn games of previous editions. I find that idea to be quite… silly. Part of the Warrior’s success is that the
individual Warrior is able to fight in all environments with anything as a weapon; the
Warrior is the weapon. What better way to express that than with
Unarmed Combat. I have had Warriors in all of my campaigns
throughout the world, and never once did the player not use Unarmed Combat, or feel it
was a waste of points. To be fair, in 1st Edition I never understood
why the Warrior had to wait until 6th Circle for the Missile Weapon talent. I’m sure it had something to do with not
infringing on the Archer Discipline; however, in my mind the Warrior Discipline should have
access to all combat forms as quickly as possible. With that said, in 4th Edition Unarmed Combat
does remain a Talent Option, so the Warrior Adept character does retain the ability to
learn this Talent at the player’s discretion. There is also this strange elemental theme
with the 4th Edition Warrior to which I cannot place an origin. Someone cited the Karma Ritual of earth defense,
water defense, air attack, and fire attack, but those are generic combat themes simply
rephrased as ancient elements. For example, earth defense is the steadfast
shield; able to take and resit blows. In martial arts you practice taking hits,
blocking, and not being knocked down through stances and balance techniques. Water defense is the art of fluidly moving
to avoid or lighten an incoming attack. As my sifu used to say, ‘if he comes at
you in a line, you move as a circle. If he comes at you as a circle you move in
a line.’ Air attacks are jabs and feints, dagger thrusts
that are quick and unavoidable. In this, the quickness of air attack is countered
by earth defense. In the case of an Earthdawn Warrior — who
is in control of her emotions — fire attack is the explosive, full court press combat
form. The all out assault of axe and limb in order
to take your opponent out in one fell swoop. Since fire attack is designed to break any
shield or stance, it is traditionally countered by water defense — don’t be there to take
the hit. You learn all of these techniques in boxing,
as well as eastern martial arts, (if under different names), so I fail to see how the
Karma Ritual gives the Warrior an elemental theme. I mean none of the Warrior writeups in 1st
Edition’s “The Adept’s Way” or 2nd Edition’s “The Way of War” indicate
an elemental theme — and those articles actually get into the head of the Warrior and philosophy
of the Warrior Discipline. As far as Talents go, Air Dance is akin to
ice skating, and the various ‘skins’ are a fantasy trope going way back and belong
to various games. This isn’t me complaining, but it is a head
scratcher. The only way I ever envisioned an Earthdawn
Warrior connected to the elements was in the concept of the Battletech Elemental: Able
to fight in any environment — the all around fighter. But, hey! Maybe I’m the weird one here. So, why did I mention any of that, especially
in the block about what to expect as a player? Because, in addition to the creation of a
Talent called Waterfall Slam, which reads as using the elemental power of water, and
the inclusion of Fireblood to the Warrior Discipline — (which was one of the main reasons
to play the Sky Raider Discipline in previous editions) — the 4th Edition Earthdawn Warrior
gets an incredible ability upon reaching 13th Circle called Elemental Warrior. This ability allows the Warrior to use the
very elements of nature to harry opponents and keep them off balance. To me, this just feels… weird. The one Discipline that should be the most
recognizable, and easiest to understand and jump into — (for new players and grognards
alike) — in any game system has been, in my opinion, overly mystified. I don’t find it bad, I just find it… odd. With that said, and to bring this back on
track, we’ll move on to Half-Magic. The Warrior can use Half-Magic to care for
and repair her weapons and armor. Half-Magic may also be used for knowledge
of military tactics and strategy — (which can be a great way to ensure you’re not
heading into a potential ambush or about to be trapped between landmasses and slaughtered)
— as well as Half-Magic for military history. Lastly, your Warrior may use Half-Magic to
recognize warrior orders, famous ancient Warriors, and ancient arms and armor. As I say in every episode: with great power
comes… well, comes some rules. Remember from my overview video that Disciplines
are not mere character classes, professions or archetypes, they are lifestyles. And while the personal vision of each Adept
may differ, there are some foundations that must remain. To violate the Warrior Discipline is to violate
the values of honor and loyalty. Betrayal, treachery or creating disunity will
cause a crisis. As will the failure to eliminate a traitor. A crisis is also triggered if the Warrior
breaks an oath, promise or contract without cause. Finally, a Warrior who is paralyzed with indecision,
or who murders a defenseless person — (or generally in cold-blood) — will suffer a
Talent crisis as well. Remember, the Warrior is a professional soldier
— most likely even an officer (if not in rank, at least in presentation) — not a bloodthirsty
killer. As usual, I’m not going to talk about multi-Discipline
combinations, their advantages and their effects. But I will mention that when taking on a second
Discipline the Warrior leans towards the Weaponsmith, Archer and Cavalryman; while staying away
from Illusionist, Thief Sky Raider, Swordmaster and Troubadour. In my games I’ve had Warrior characters
venerate Thystonius, the obvious choice, as well as Floranuus, Lochost and even Mynbruje. Ultimately, a Warrior’s personal vision
will better determine which Passion, if any, the character venerates. So what are my final thoughts regarding the
4th Edition Warrior? From the perspective of someone who played
and GM’d the previous editions of Earthdawn, some of the nuanced or thematic changes puzzle
me. I find them to be completely unnecessary at
best, and even a bit hamfisted into the Discipline. I don’t think there was anything wrong with
the concept or theme of the 1st Edition Warrior and it certainly did not need a philosophical
theme or trope beyond honor and loyalty; professionalism. Now, speaking strictly in terms of 4th Edition
— (without comparisons to previous iterations of the game) — the Warrior is a fantastic
Discipline. The combat versatility you will have when
creating and circling up your Warrior is second to none, and the elemental flavor does give
the Discipline a feel that may ingratiate itself to a player who would otherwise look
more toward the flashy Swordmaster or fiery Sky Raider. This is honestly a Discipline that is all
about how you want to participate in the combat sessions of your Earthdawn game. All right, I know didn’t go into my ‘variation
on a theme’ segment in this episode, but there is a lot of flexibility with the Warrior. Simply stating that you can create a balanced
Warrior, a defensive tank, an offensive powerhouse, or even a group-oriented support character
— (who still excels in combat!) — should be enough to get the brain juices flowing
and allow you to start dreaming up the type of Warrior Adept you want your character to
be. So, with that, I hope you enjoyed this fifth
video in my series that will (eventually) cover all of the primary Disciplines in the
Earthdawn setting. Please let me know what you think of this
episode, the Warrior Discipline, and the Earthdawn setting as a whole. If you have a Discipline you really want me
to cover sooner rather than later, please let me know so I can move it to the top of
my list. Unless comments, tweets or Discord discussions
change my mind, you can count on the Nethermancer — (my favorite Discipline!) — to be next. Please subscribe to the Legion of Myth channel,
it helps us out more than you can know. Also mash that bell icon so you can be notified
when new videos are uploaded. Finally, I want to let you know about the
Legion of Myth Weekly Livestream every Saturday at 8:00pm Central Standard Time on
— (see the description below for the link). Our hosts Garthon and Heathendog provide anime
reviews, tabletop gaming fundamentals, comic book reviews, and other nerd topics that should
interest you. If you can’t catch them live, you can always
watch past episodes on this Legion of Myth YouTube channel. And with that, I will see you next time and
I hope you have a WONDERFUL day.

Reynold King

One Reply to “[Earthdawn #06] – Earthdawn Disciplines & Adepts: Warrior”

  1. Hurrah! Welcome back Max. You've made me want to play a warrior, something I always considered a bit 1 dimensional before. Thief next?

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