Today I’m taking a look at FASA’s Earthdawn Companion. Earlier in the summer I showed some of the art of the Earthdawn core book, and this 162 page supplement, produced in 1994, is just one of a dozen truly inspired books for this game.
I remember I used it extensively when I ran a campaign I called ‘Mother’ during the last stages of my college career. The campaign took place during weekend visits with my friends from high school, and in fact the first ever ‘The Week’ of gaming was run almost exclusively with Earthdawn during my last spring break.
My girlfriend [who would later be my wife] left our apartment for Maryland with his younger sister as they were visiting her recently relocated family. This left me alone, so I arranged from my DM Mark, and my good friends Murph and Brent to come down and game the entire week in a boys paradise. Little did I realize that we would continue to make this a tradition for the next nineteen years!
Anyway, the book is an excellent resource for further definitions of Disciplines, Talents, Thread Magic, Magic Items, Spells, Questors and finally Lightbearers. You also get a nice section on optional rules and ship combat.
Lightbearers were something that I really enjoyed using in my campaign and I had one that used the new Discipline of Scout who I still hold dear to this day.
As for my artwork review, the book is reflective of Earthdawn core in that it has a varied mix of artists doing a great deal of interior black and white illustration as well as some stunning color plates. It was also art directed by Jeff Laubenstein who was still in the position he’d be grooming Jim Nelson to take over when he stepped down in 1995.
The cover was done by artist Tony Szczudlo and I have to say it is one of my least favorite images from Earthdawn. That isn’t to say that it’s bad, it just doesn’t have anything unique about it, just kind of a standard fantasy art piece that doesn’t drip with a style I can get attached to. I guess I’m a fan of an artist standing out in some way, even if that way is odd. Tony’s work doesn’t have that in my opinion.
Inside, Laubenstein fills the pages with some incredible talent including Joel Biske, Steve Bryant, Earl Geier, Larry MacDougall, Darrel Midgetter, Robert Nelson, Mike Nielson and Karl Waller. Each image within has some special flair, although Geier’s work just never moved me in any of the FASA supplements.
There are also almost a dozen color plates by artist Janet Aulisio who brings her detailed approach to some truly inspired scenes within the setting.
In all, this is a fantastic supplement, and if you are looking for a heavily illustration text to add to your RPGs, look no further.
Artistic Rating: 3.5 [out of 5]