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I had a brand-new copy of the Earthdawn rules, received thanks to my subscription to Shadis magazine. I also had a copy of Mists of Betrayal, a low-level adventure for the game. The players had created characters: my brother, Daniel, had a dwarven beastmaster, and my friend Brandon had an elven sky raider. (I didn't see any reason why an elf couldn't be a sky raider, so I let him have it.)
The heroes walk into the small village of Tureem on their way to Parlainth and are rather shocked to discover that they are welcomed with open arms - a rare occurrence in Barsaive. The situation is soon resolved: it is a case of mistaken identity. The villagers of Tureem had called for some adventurers to deal with a pair of Jehuthra (arachnoid Horror constructs) that had been assaulting the village outskirts, but the real adventurers were long overdue. Perhaps these two young heroes would be willing to undertake the task instead?
Of course they would.
And so, our heroes boldly strode out into the forests surrounding Tureem. The dwarf had the Tracking Talent, thanks to his Beastmaster Discipline, so he immediately set about attempting to locate the fiendish beasts. He took a deep breath, concentrated upon his ability, and...
Occasionally even the best fail at the simplest of tasks - and, as a novice, he can be expected to fail more often than not. Perhaps a second effort would be more successful? He mustered his abilities again, and...
Those Jehuthra have a pretty high spell defense, don't they?
The beastmaster kept trying, and kept...
After wandering aimlessly through the woods for a few hours, the Passions took pity upon the poor Adepts and allowed them to stumble across the Jehuthras' lair. The Jehuthra charged forward, and our heroes drew their weapons and leapt into the fray.
The sky raider snarls and attacks the first Jehuthra - a good attempt, but the blow fails to connect. The Jehuthra responds in kind - and the strike kills the elf instantly.
The Passions decided to give the poor Name-giver another chance; time is reversed and the wound made somewhat less deadly. She wisely elects to flee; the Jehuthra outruns her, attacks, hits successfully, and this time kills her well and truly.
The same fata befalls the other Adept.
Barsaive is supposed to be a dangerous place, but this was ridiculous!
Discouraged, the play group decided to adjourn until we figured out what was going on. I examined the rules and ran a few practice battles before finally deciding that it was just too hard with the step numbers we had to do anything in this first level adventure; it was nearly impossible to roll high enough numbers.
This is one of the major reasons why we don't play using FASA's ruleset - it consistently killed us in the first round of combat. (There are other reasons, but first impressions count for a lot.) This was a major disappointment to us - we loved the background, and really wanted to get a campaign going. This is not to impugn the integrity of the game system - obviously, it works just fine for some people! It just didn't appeal to us...
Fortunately for our fledgling gaming group, I've never been one to consider the rules of a game to be set in stone...so when I later discovered Fuzion, I began to consider its possibilities.
Why Fuzion? I had come into it through Mekton Zeta's Interlock and Brandon's copy of the Bubblegum Crisis RPG. It appealed to me primarily because it was nearly identical to the homebrew system I had been developing for the past several years, albeit more fully developed and better written. Within a few weeks, I had made the first loose conversion of Earthdawn statistics into Fuzion terms. We ran one adventure to test out the hacked ruleset...and then ran another...and then a few more...
We've never looked back.