Earthdawn (Classical Era)

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Please be aware that all this is subject to change.

The Player Characters

The PCs are the key members of a Blood Bowl team being reconstituted by a newly crowned/appointed/elected leader of a city-state. This leader is looking to make a splash in continental politics and having an impressive team will be a boon. The PCs will be expected to not only perform on the field, but to also contribute off it, whether to gain an edge in an upcoming match or to further some larger agenda of the leader’s or their own.

RPG Mechanics

For roleplaying outside the Blood Bowl matches we’ll be using a stripped-down version of the Strike non-combat mechanics. We’ll focus primarily on the freeform skills with less use of highly specific equipment, spells, and abilities than in the main Shadowrun campaign.


A player wishing for their character to perform an action specifies the action, gives some indication of the desired outcome, and indicates what elements of their character they believe contribute to their ability to successfully perform the action. Based on these factors, the GM assigns a difficulty from 2+ to 6+, setting the required threshold for passing a 1d6 check to determine if the action succeeds.

A check which meets the threshold succeeds. One that does not, fails. Rolling a 6 on a check that had a difficulty less than 6 receives a bonus of the player's design, with GM approval.

Most checks that fail produce a twist: the action proceeds but in a different direction than intended. However, some particularly impactful checks may, on failure, produce a turnover: initiative moves to the opposition and the player characters are forced to react until they regain initiative. Checks that might produce a turnover are specified in advance.

Checks that fail may induce a cost. See below.


Any player character's check to perform an action may be rerolled once using a team reroll if available, with the exception of opposing rolls between player characters, for which no team rerolls may be used. Any player may declare the use of a team reroll without the permission of their fellow players. The players collectively share, per session, a number of team rerolls equal to the number of rostered rerolls available to the Mercato blood bowl team for their next match.

Where players use non-player characters as proxies, rolling dice for their actions, team rerolls may be used for those NPCs that are members of the Mercato blood bowl team.


Failing a check may inflict a cost. By default, that cost is one point of stress. Prior to a blood bowl match, the group stress is tallied and a corresponding number of cheerleaders must be rostered for that match to replace the leadership and guidance the star players normally bring to the team. Player stress is then cleared following the match.

Some particularly casual checks might not inflict any cost. This will generally be specified before the roll if true.

Some particularly strenuous or dangerous checks might risk a physical cost, which may inflict more serious penalties than stress. On failure, checks with a potential physical cost go through a version of the blood bowl damage system as described below.

Physical Costs

On physical costs, roll 1d6. On a 4+, there is no effect. On a 1 through 3, your character suffers an injury.

Roll 1d6 for injury:
5‑6 Stunned Take 1 stress. You need a moment to collect yourself.
2‑4 KO’d Take 2 stress. You are unconscious, restrained, or otherwise temporarily incapacitated. You can be woken, freed, or otherwise resuscitated with a 4+ check (3+ with an appropriate character trait).
1 Casualty Take 3 stress. You are physically incapacitated until you receive medical attention. You suffer from a niggling injury in your next blood bowl match.

Blood Bowl Mechanics

The characters will also be built according to the Blood Bowl rules for use in matches played in the BB2 client. For this we will be using custom teams, so that we’re not dependent on the default BB piece building system, and we’ll be using mixed races. While I can’t introduce major new situations the way the built-in campaign does (e.g., a helicopter crashing onto the field and taking up squares), I’ll be trying to introduce some color into the matches with things like side goals (e.g., get more casualties than your opponent), unusual builds, varied stadiums, one-game-only bonus players and skills, and anything else I can think of.

Please note that this is my best attempt to give people interesting options. Once an actual match starts the expectations is that both coaches will be free to play to the best of their ability, but prior to that, please bring up anything you think is overly restrictive, and please talk things out if a rule has a way that it can be abused that I didn't foresee. The rules below are a suggestion of what I think would be a fun way to structure things.

Actual Matches

These matches will be scheduled outside the normal session, with one player controlling the PC team. Others will be welcome to join to offer advice or just cheer their side on, but it’ll be understood if people don’t have the time. The roleplaying sessions will feed into the setup of the matches and the results of the matches will feed into the roleplaying sessions, but that can be summarized for people who don’t watch them. We will be using two-minute turns to keep the games snappy.

Team Selection

The first choice to make will be which mixed race team to use. As I will be balancing the matches manually, I wouldn’t focus too much on what the best team is mechanically, but rather what provides the most interesting character choices. The options available, which excludes those teams that can roster undead or elves, are:

Type Race Human League Anti-Fur Society Violence Together Union of Small People Far East Association
Human Human X
Bretonnian X
Amazon X X
Kislev Circus X X
Norse X X
Metahuman Lizardmen X X
Orc X X
Goblin X X X
Ogre X X X
Halfling X
Chaos Dwarf X
Skaven X

Piece Selection

Each PC should be from a different race to the extent the mixed-race teams allow. PCs will start out at level 4 in the first session or two, quickly become level 5, become level 6 partway through the campaign, and level 7 for the final match. The first four levels (the starting three and the one to be quickly received) can be selected as follows:

  • For a positional you may either select one of your four skills to be a stat-up or select up to three of them to be doubles.
  • For a lineman or big guy you may either select one of your four skills to be a stat-up and another as a double or select up to all four as doubles.
  • For a goblin, halfling, snotling, or secret weapon piece you may select whatever four levels you like.
  • Some stat-ups may be taken using a spot allowing for a double:
    • +AG on AG 2 or lower
    • +MA on MA 7 or lower
    • +AV on any piece

Team Composition

The rest of the team will mostly be linemen from the various available races, with perhaps a couple positionals or leveled linemen.


We won’t be using the normal progression rules for Blood Bowl. Instead, the PCs will level up at appropriate story points and there will be opportunities to improve the support pieces and recruit new ones.

The team will start with two rerolls and no apothecary. Extra rerolls, the apothecary, cheerleaders, and assistant coaches may be recruited through the campaign. The home stadium will initially lack an enhancement, though most matches will be away.

Piece Damage

In-match MNGs, permanent injuries, and deaths applied to NPC pieces will carry forward as normal.

The PCs, being heroes, are more resistant to damage. Persistent damage is handled as follows:

  • Niggle or Stat Bust: PC may be rostered in the next match, but must suffer from the rolled injury. It is removed following the match unless the piece ends the match with an active casualty.
  • MNG: Treat as a Niggle.
  • Death: The piece may not be rostered in the following match.