Building Your Legend

In the world of Earthdawn, Names have power - and the more Names are reinforced by usage and recognition, the stronger their power becomes. This includes the Disciplines… as well as the adepts who follow the Disciplines.

Therefore, as an optional rule, the GM can hand out bonus character points whenever the player characters "grow or reinforce their legend", as the recognition reinforces the magical patterns connecting them to their Disciplines. Possibilities include:

When gaining social advantages

Whenever the PCs gain new "bonus" social advantages through role-playing - such as Favors, Patrons, Allies, a positive Reputation - the GM can hand out bonus character points equal to the cost of the social advantages which can be spent on Discipline abilities. Even if those social advantages are lost later on, the bonus character points remain - after all, how they gained (and then lost) these advantages is part of their Legend, and has strengthened their magical patterns.

Paying off Troubadours and the like to spread stories of one's heroic deeds in order to get these bonus points is an entirely legitimate tactic - although the GM should keep an eye on this so that the PCs don't overdo it (such as having others discovering the inconsistencies in the stories about the "great heroes").

When gaining social disadvantages

Likewise, when the player characters gain new Enemies or a negative Reputation through role-playing, the GM can hand out bonus character points for spending on Discipline abilities equal to the absolute value of the disadvantage - i.e. if the characters gain a new Reputation worth -5 character points, they get 5 bonus character points to be spent on Discipline abilities. Again, even if the disadvantages are later "lost" through role-playing, the bonus points remain - the redemption of a great Villain or the defeat of a powerful Enemy are both great stories worth adding to a character's growing Legend.

Yes, you can go out of your way and antagonize powerful people in order to get such bonus points - though that approach is usually somewhat self-limiting.

When finding treasure

The people of Barsaive expect great heroes to find great treasures, and thus this, too, will add to a character's Legend and provide bonus points. However, the GM should consider if finding the treasure is really a story worth adding to a Legend - if the PCs kill some random bandits on the road and then plunder their corpses, it's not really treasure worth mentioning. On the other hand, if they storm the heavily-fortified hideout of a vicious bandit clan with a vile reputation that has menaced many surrounding villages… now that's a story worth telling! Bonus points for treasure should range from 1 from the lair of a minor monster troubling a village to 3 for a king's ransom, major artifacts, or a dragon's hoard.

Designer's Notes: These optional rules echo how "Legend Points" - the "experience points" of Earthdawn - work in the original rules and represent genre conventions. More to the point, they reward player characters who go out and do things, and actively search for adventures and derring-do. This will frequently get them into trouble, but it makes the game exciting and the GM's job easier, since they do not have to be pushed to dangerous situations but will seek them out on their own.

Earthdawn is a registered trademark of FASA Corporation. This material is not official and is not endorsed by FASA.