Earthdawn Survival Guide
An Earthdawn Sourcebook

  • Writers: Stephen Kenson (with additional material by Diane Piron-Gelman and Louis J. Prosperi)
  • Number of Pages: 118
  • Year of Publication: 1996

Rating: ****

This sourcebook is long overdue, but the strange thing is that you don't realise you needed it unless you read it. The Earthdawn Survival Guide details some of the hazards of exploration and provides Games Masters and players with details about travelling, a lot of it general but a lot of it specific to Earthdawn as well.

The book is divided into six sections. It starts with The Dangers and Delights of Travels, an account of an adept's first experience at adventuring, and some of the problems he encountered and lessons learned. This was the highlight of the book, an igneous idea of showing players what they might have missed when they were roughing it in the open. The tale is often whimsical, but the lessons it provides makes it a must read for all players (and Games Masters for that matter).

The next two sections On Exploring the Wilds and Underground Travel look at some of the more general problems with travelling, one dealing with travelling in the wilderness and the other about underground travel. Both are excellent, the first being useful for any roleplaying campaign and the second with a lot of material about kaers. Both provide Earthdawn specific material but contain much 'common sense' wisdom (lacking in most characters).

Places of Legend and Peril. contains the most Earthdawn specific material, looking at four key 'danger' areas: The Badlands, Death's Sea, The Mist Swamps and The Wastes. All have been covered before, but the guide does add some detail to them.

The next section On The Healing Arts provides essential information about healing, including the obligatory herbs. The books ends with the normal Game Information section which provides Games Masters with all important rules and guidelines.

As always presentation is perfect, with a far amount of original artwork (its all original, but I always feel that FASA could put more in . . . it wouldn't be missed). I do miss the colour plates however, this is one of the first sourcebooks not to have any in.

Summary: My only complaint is that this book should have been part of the Barsaive box set. It provides essential detail that characters and Games Masters need for setting the correct tone for Barsaive. Once again I feel a revision for the system in general is needed.

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