Is Multi-Disciplining Worth It?

Discussion on playing Earthdawn. Experiences, stories, and questions related to being a player.
PiXeL01
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Is Multi-Disciplining Worth It?

Post by PiXeL01 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:45 am

I am not sure whether this is a dumb question or not, but is multi-disciplining worth in, especially in a large group of players?

My players seem to think it is not, so I was wondering about the opinion of this community.

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Flowswithdrek
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Re: Is Multi-Disciplining Worth It?

Post by Flowswithdrek » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:27 am

Ive been playing Earthdawn since it first came out. None of my groups have had a multi disciplined characters. Ive only had one guy interested and I told him if he was happy to learn the rules i was happy with a multi discipline chatacter in the game. He decided it wasnt worth it. It Always seemed to me it was the one part of the D&D legacy the game should have dumped. But others will disagree.

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etherial
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Re: Is Multi-Disciplining Worth It?

Post by etherial » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:14 am

Around Circle 8, but sometimes even before then, players often start to look at the Talents their Discipline provides and go "meh", and then notice that one can get a large bucket of Talents from another Discipline for way less Legend, and go "yay". Not every player does this, and not every character does, either, but, IME, many do. What's interesting, is in how they do it. My experience for 20 years was that people picked up a Second Discipline whose look and feel (and powers) nicely zippered with the one they already had: Scout/Archer/Thief, Heavy/Weaponsmith, Spellcaster/Spellcaster, Swordmaster/Troubadour. In my current campaign (which ends tomorrow), most of the players went in the opposite direction and picked up an unrelated Discipline that still fit their character's worldview but shored them up in a completely different capacity: Illusionist/Thief (the least surprising), Wizard/Troubadour, Swordmaster/Wizard/Air Sailor, Warrior/Nethermancer, Scout/Wizard. Perhaps because the group is so large, they found it more useful when splitting the party/down players for each character to be able to pull double duty.

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Tanthalas
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Re: Is Multi-Disciplining Worth It?

Post by Tanthalas » Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:46 pm

I'm mostly going to echo what etherial said. Picking up a second Discipline isn't worth it until you are getting close to the Warden tier in your first Discipline. When you are at that point, picking up new novice talents (even at the LP penalty) is much cheaper than continuing to level up high ranked talents and it suddenly gives an Adept a handful of new tricks instead of one powerful trick.

I have had one player do Warrior/Elementalist and Another who went truly crazy with Troubadour/Weaponsmith/Wizard. What we discovered in 3rd edition was that it was very powerful to pick up a spellcaster Discipline as a second Discipline because it would be relatively cheap to rush your way to 3rd Circle spells, which could take people out of entire combats. The spell system has obviously been completely redone for 4th edition, so I'm not sure how the spells scale at those levels.

Long story short: getting a second Discipline is probably only worthwhile at high circles, so it probably was information that could have been left to the Earthdawn Companion, but you are allowed to do it earlier, so I can see why it was included. You should probably tell your players to ignore the thought of multi-Disciplining until they are deep into their Journeymen Circles and have a new appreciation for the costs of advancement.
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The Undying
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Re: Is Multi-Disciplining Worth It?

Post by The Undying » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:16 pm

"Is it worth it" is a weird perspective, I think. I think it's hard to arguable that it is NOT worth it. There are a variety of reasons someone could not want to do it - additional bookkeeping, extra weird LP math, watering down a characters focus, etc. However, that aside, it's hard to say it isn't "worth it" to get access to Talents that you otherwise wouldn't get access to.

All that said, I think there are two areas a GM needs to pay attention to. First, Circle-based difficulty rankings can become far less meaningful. A "Circle 7" challenge enemy against a solo Circle 7 player character may be a good fit, not so much against a 7/5 player character. This can make balancing encounters a bit more difficult.

Second, a GM really needs to decide if they WANT this in a game. Earthdawn "classes" are about how one sees the world. They aren't professions like D&D where one can easily take night school at the local Mage Hall or read Pickpocket for Dummies. A character Discipline frames their fundamental being, how they approach problems, and how they believe everything just works. Picking up a second Discipline not only requires the character to learn how that Discipline sees the world, it also requires the character to find a way to bridge those two beliefs. IMHO, any more than two should be right out. For me, a player should have an incredible reason for a second Discipline, it should not be a simple task to find a Master that would accept that for a second Discipline instruction, advancement training would be harder to come by (often requiring a favor for the master), and I'd say there are some Disciplines that just cannot be combined into a single character.

PiXeL01
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Re: Is Multi-Disciplining Worth It?

Post by PiXeL01 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:31 pm

Thank you all for your insights. They are truly appreciated.

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Kasbak
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Re: Is Multi-Disciplining Worth It?

Post by Kasbak » Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:19 am

For me, it's all about how the character develops. One of the best things I feel that separate Earthdawn from most other RPGs is that your Discipline isn't just a job, it's your entire worldview. It's all well and good to see a pool of Talents that might be useful for you to have, but if your character just doesn't have the frame of mind to play out the Discipline that goes along with it, then it's just going to create a Discipline crisis, either with the new Discipline or with their old one. If, however, your character doesn't fit the standard mold for their current Discipline, and has room in their worldview to grow and expand into other areas that overlap, then yes, another Discipline will add another dimension to the character, and some useful abilities to go with it. All the Disciplines are well balanced and have their own methods of being useful, so looking at the mechanics is less important than looking at the role play possibilities.

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Re: Is Multi-Disciplining Worth It?

Post by MetalBoar » Tue Dec 13, 2016 1:32 am

I haven't played 4th edition yet (I've played a lot of 3rd edition) but from reading over the changes made to the talents available to each discipline and the fact that karma can now be used for optional talents as well as the core discipline talents, it seems like there is a lot less reason to multi-discipline than there used to be. In the 3rd edition games I've been involved with it seemed like almost everyone wanted to add a second discipline sometime shortly after reaching journeyman status to flesh out whatever they thought was missing, to be able to spend karma on attack rolls and have access to initiative boosting talents or gain an active defense talent, maybe a ranged or close combat attack if they didn't have one. Maybe be able to do a bit more than just bash things if they started as a warrior. As etherial stated, players usually chose complementary combinations like scout/archer or weaponsmith/warrior, but not always. If 4th edition does in practice actually lesson this desire to multi-discipline I'd call that a win.

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The Undying
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Re: Is Multi-Disciplining Worth It?

Post by The Undying » Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:24 am

@MetalBoar

i think you pretty much completed your thought and just didn't close the loop. You listed maybe seven reasons that players often want to pick up an additional Discipline. As you also mentioned, ED4 eliminates one of those: Adepts can now spend karma on option Talents, so no need to pick up an extra Discipline just to bump them to Discipline Talent for that purpose. All the other reasons remain unchanged.

I agree, this was a great change: just because a Discipline like Scout doesn't have a combat Talent as a Discipline Talent, they shouldn't be punished for it. I think that decision was made so that a scout could pick 1-2 ways to fight (Melee scout or Ranged scout or Hybrid), fairly likely not ZERO. But that's just me.

Jharp01
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Re: Is Multi-Disciplining Worth It?

Post by Jharp01 » Thu Dec 29, 2016 3:31 am

So trying to clarify for a character. If a member is multi-Discipline i am assuming that they still increase their max Karma for the Character correct.

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