RPG A Day: Day 25

Favourite revolutionary game mechanic?  Well that isn’t controversial at all is it!  What I find revolutionary probably noone else is going to…

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Day 25: Favourite Revolutionary Game Mechanic


Last year I would have likely said that the game mechanic was FATE having no statistics and using aspects for building a character.  While that is still one of my favourites, it is not the favourite.  Time changes perspectives and so this idea has shifted back into my favourite rule.  If it is revolutionary, I am not sure.  It was the first time that I had come across the rule so when I read it the revolution started for me.  That revolution was building story out of games.

The game that contained the revolutionary idea was Earthdawn.  Back in 1993 when they released it and I picked up the first edition I found that there magic items were handed in such a different way to every other game system.  Every other system, you found the item, put it on and it worked.  Not so in Earthdawn.  In Earthdawn, magic items built the richness of the setting and the story around its use.

cover of the hardback first edition earthdawn book
The game is Earthdawn and the time is the early 1990’s

Most magic items in Earthdawn are scalable.  That means they do not just give the one benefit, they give more powerful benefits with research into the item.  Your character weaves a part of their own pattern to an item to empower its magic after they have researched a key item of knowledge for it.  That means that part of your character increasing in power means they must research the history of all of their items and power them up.  For some items it may be only one or two knowledges, maybe a deed to be done.  For a massively powered item you may be looking at a couple of deeds and three to four knowledges to gain the pinnacle power out of it.

That idea was revolutionary to me and is one of the main reasons that Earthdawn remains solid in my most loved games of all time.  Hopefully you get a chance to play it one day!  Keep rolling.

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