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Earthdawn is a fantasy role-playing game, originally produced by FASA in 1993.[1] In 1999 it was licensed to Living Room Games, which produced the Second Edition. It is currently licensed to RedBrick LLC, who released the game's third edition in 2009 through Mongoose Publishing's Flaming Cobra imprint.

The game is similar to fantasy games like Dungeons & Dragons, but draws more inspiration from games like RuneQuest. The rules of the game are tightly bound to the underlying magical metaphysics, with the goal of creating a richer, more logical[citation needed] fantasy world. Like many role-playing games from the nineties, Earthdawn focuses much of its detail on its setting, a province called Barsaive.



Starting in 1993, FASA released over 20 gaming supplements describing this universe; however, it closed down production of Earthdawn in January 1999. During that time several novels and short-story anthologies set in the Earthdawn universe were also released. In late 1999, FASA granted Living Room Games a licensing agreement to produce new material for the game.

The 2nd Edition did not alter the setting, though it did update the timeline to include events that took place in Barsaive. There were a few changes to the rules in the 2nd Edition; some classes were slightly different or altered abilities from the original. The changes were meant to allow for more rounded-out characters and better balance of play. Living Room Games last published in 2005, and they no longer have a license with FASA to publish Earthdawn material.[2]

In 2003, a second license was granted to RedBrick LLC, who developed their own edition based on the FASA products, while releasing the original FASA books in PDF form. The Earthdawn Player's Compendium and Earthdawn Gamemaster's Compendium are essentially an alternative second edition, but without a version designation (since the material is compatible anyway). Each book has over 500 pages, and summarizes much of what FASA published—not only the game mechanics, but also the setting, narrations, and stories. For example, each Discipline has its own chapter, describing it from the point of view of different adepts. Likewise, Barsaive gets a complete treatment, and the chapters contain a lot of log entries and stories in addition to the setting descriptions; the same applies also to Horrors and Dragons.

While RedBrick tried to remain faithful to FASA's vision and also tried to keep the visual style, they revised almost everything, and introduced some new material to fill the gaps. RedBrick also began publishing Earthdawn novels in 2007. On July 8, 2008, RedBrick announced a new line called Age of Legend 4e, a port of the Earthdawn setting for use with the Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition rules.

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