I am going into more detail on this so you can be planning for it. ED is also a major reason I did a massive hack-job on D&D leveling system! Note first of all when you start the RP with me, assuming you know nothing about the setting, you will be coming out of a kaer without being ‘Level 1’, or First Circle. I can give you a sample character sheet with some options left to be decided on. As I reveal the world, you will eventually find another of your Discipline, be trained (for free), and then be a real starting character.
The experience points in ED is called Legend Points. In addition to keeping a running total, LP is spent to improve talents, which in turn increase one’s Circle. Its a level-based system in reverse. Instead of leveling up and then getting improvements across the board, you improve your talents, and after certain requirements are meet, ‘level up’ and new talents and abilities are unlocked... but not given. I will go into detail what your character can spend their LP on as we go along.
A Legend Award is earned for the following:
1) Completing a session goal during an ongoing adventure (i.e. the end of an act)
2) Two Legend Awards for completing an adventure goal (i.e. after completing a major feat)
3) Defeating creatures or opponents (in or out of combat)
4) Acquiring treasure (not general loot, but specific ones... many creatures have body parts that can be included in this)
5) Creative roleplaying and/or heroics (a full Legend Award for sticking to your character/race/discipline, a half of an Award for heroics)
How much each Legend Award is and how much one earns per session depends on your Circle and the GM. For First Circle characters, 50-75 per Award and 100-450 total is suggested.Note you won’t earn any LP till your training is done, but that training is free. Basically, I am more focused on getting you use to the setting and how Adepts in Barsaive view and interact with magic. Once you are done with training, I’ll start adding LP and after a certain event I have planed after it, and can give you a link to a free (but ugly) PDF FASA gave out of the 1st edition rules.
(Note, since this site don't like certain links to certain sites, it will have to be done via e-mail) This was when the Earthdawn line was not very profitable and an effort to build interest for it. Due to its awful formatting and being out of date – again, it was free, so what do you expect? - it won't be pleasant reading, but it should help as a quick reference manual.
The conditions for advancement into the next Circle is to have (Next Circle + 3) talents at (Next Circle) in rank, one of which have to be a talent you unlocked from your current Circle. So to be of Second Circle, you must have 5 talents at rank 2, one of which have to be a 1st Circle talent. For Third Circle, 6 talents at rank 3, one of which have to be a 2nd Circle talent... and so forth.Note Versatility, which is a human racial trait, and any talents learned from it will not count! Nor can you use Versatility to learn a talent you will learn at a later Circle!
Many GMs have house rules on this talent. Use it to give yourself that little edge, but don't abuse it. Not to mention such talents cost extra due to having to develop Versatility first.
I am going to make training to 1st Circle free, making the excuse Adepts view that as a duty and not something to earn profit from. After that, it will cost you money. However, I plan on executing a ‘house rule’ to keep the story moving. Normally you have to train 40 hours under one of a higher Circle over 3 weeks, but I am going to make that as if you had no trainer. If you do have one, I will lower it to 15 hours over one week. Those of higher circles have an additional option I won’t mention here.
You can also learn additional Disciplines, but they are freaking expensive early on. Also they demand a larger roleplaying challenge as each Discipline require a certain view and mindset of the world.
LP can be spent on the following:
- One Attribute per Circle (value, not step), with each +1 per Attribute costing more. It cannot be saved for a later Circle.
- Increasing Talent Ranks, with later Circles costing more, up to rank 15. The bulk of your points will be spent here. Note this generally don't require time to train.
- Increasing Skill Ranks. Note skills are not talents! They will cost more, require time to actually train it, and limited to rank 10. Consider using Versatility instead.
- Buying Karma Points via the Karma Ritual, which I will describe in the RP. This is cheap and should be routine.
- Weaving Threads, a form of magic everyone can use. Not going to explain here as it is actually more story than rules, and non-spellcasters don’t unlock this talent till Fourth Circle.