GM backpack


Inspired by an article at Stargazer’s world I want to pick up his topic talking about GM’s carrying all the RPG stuff to the game sessions.

He points out: “When you are a player, you probably don't need much material to be able to participate in a roleplaying game. You need a pen, some paper and a couple of dice and you're pretty much set. In most cases you don't need any books, miniatures, etc. because the GM provides these things. But when you are a GM you often have whole bookshelves filled with rulebooks, campaign settings, supplement, miniatures and many more thing, you may or may not need in your game.”

In his article Stargazer offers some tips and solutions for gamemasters that don’t host the gaming session at their home.

But I want to tell and show you how I or we solved the problem of a GM to carry all the Earthdawn books to the gaming session. First there was my old backpack that I “modded” over the years.

It “absorbed” almost all the books I possess, need or could’ve needed for our game. Unfortunately it got wasted and I can’t show you how my old backpack looked like. It contained a lot, but was not that eehhhm “Earthdawnish”.


So last year my players presented me a new backpack for my birthday, which is much more “Earthdawnish”. Have a look.


SDC10039 SDC10048


I have to admit that I don’t carry all the books in it anymore. But when we bought the classic sourcebooks, a lot of the old German books became redundant anyway.

Maybe RedBrick will deliver us some similar products in their shops (1,2) to prevent back pains. Finally I hope that you are a lucky GM that is hosting the session and don’t need to carry around all the books n stuff.

Earthdawn Soundtracks

Today I want to introduce a German Earthdawn page that offers some treasures. I first thought about to simply add it to the Link Advice, but it deserves much more than a simple mentioning in the links.
Maybe some of you already know the page of Pablo Pirnay-Dummer called Schattenreigen (at least some of my German readers might). I went on to talk with Pablo about his page and his works.

So here’s the resulting interview:

Hello Pablo, would you short introduce yourself?

I’m Pablo Pirnay-Dummer, Assistant Professor at the Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg Germany. My research and teaching is about learning and cognition, instructional design and knowledge in general. I have a background in educational science, cognitive science and linguistics. I do also lead a company that I co-founded in 1997 and that is mainly involved in instructional systems, software engineering and media production and works internationally for many clients. In the little spare-time I have left, I do music projects with my wife (who is a professional classical singer) and many other musicians. I also hold a 1st Dan degree in Shotokan Karate.

So you are the author of the website The main thing that caught my attention, when I first visited your page, were the soundtracks you did for your Earthdawn campaigns. Please tell us something about it and how did the idea come up to make those soundtracks?

I produced the soundtracks some time ago. The idea came when I mastered long term ED-campaigns and we all got caught up in the story so much, that we wanted to have a soundtrack to support the story. Also, I needed more experience with audio-engineering and the everyday work in the music studio. So, I took the chance and let the ED-tracks be my exercise lessons on several different technological as well as composing skills. This also explains why some tracks aren’t what you would call “standard fantasy movie material”. However, they fit into the story quite well.
I recently decided to split the content from to solve a dilemma. I have many international friends and colleagues but I can’t do everything in two languages. So I decided to make the research and the music part bilingual while the other things stay in German for now. The new key site is There’s also more music available, and there will be more going on soon. will still stay the way it is and I will also continue my blog there. Maybe I will also find time to revive the Earthdawn content.

How long did it take you to produce those soundtracks and what (programs etc.) did you use?

That depends. Some tracks came up very fast, others took more time. Most of the time was spend composing. The actual technical production took between half a day or a day in general, sometimes longer for the longer tracks. For the first tracks (which are still on the site) I used Emagic Notator Software on the Atari System, and I had an ADAT XT to record the things beyond midi. Since the Windows became better over time I switched over to Steinberg Cubase, hard disk recording and numerous plug-ins later on. Nowadays my studio still works around Cubase, but in a fairly expanded way. I have quite a collection of outboard equipment (don’t want to bore you here unless you want to know all the details), Neumann, Schoeps and AKG Microphones, good signal processing capabilities, Genelec Monitors, and I came back to analogue summing some time ago. I also bought UAD hard- and software (amongst others), a VSL Extended Symphonic Cube and all the hardware that’s needed to run that giant smoothly. It’s now a very nice place to work at, and there are quite some projects going on. If everything goes as planned, I will publish at least two more albums this year. One with my wife (Stefanie Pirnay) and also another with a singer who I admire a lot (Joana Schick).

Could you tell us a bit more about the campaigns that the soundtracks match? What were those campaigns about and when did you play them?

With this, I could go on for pages and pages. I need to be brief, though. So I try to sum it up. Ever since “White Noise” started in 1998 we are about in the same storyline with alternating characters and players. We have all been undergrats back then (those were the days). All campaigns except for “Dunc” are mastered by me. “Dunc” was mastered by my good friend Daniel Umber, who is a very good GM. My players just don’t let go of me, although I’d like to play also. We have a very strong emphasis on storytelling and in the rare occasions rule discussions arise, we decide with the criterion best addressed by the following questions: “Which is the story that we want to tell? What is is about?”
It all started in an almost classical way in Bartertown, got caught in Barsaive politics which turned out to be mainly controlled by all the great dragons. The story always left a changing view of the world both for the players as for the characters. Some of the characters (volunteering) became Therans over time (within the “Hidden in Oblivion” campaign), and this is where we play now. Three of the players continuously played since 1998. Others have moved in and moved out. All of them contributed a tremendous part to the story. Please, never meet us as a group unless you want to listen to all the stories and anecdotes of the past and current campaigns. The stories go on for hours just reminiscing in the past or making big assumptions about what is to come and about how all the pieces are connected.

To manage all the content and all the different places on that scale of campaign I started to use system dynamics modeling of significant parts of our ED world six years ago. It fits perfectly into the ED math (which I also admire both for its power and in game simplicity). Otherwise, I would loose track of things or, alternatively, I would have to construct large parts of the story which would never be used. Thus the preparation is a combination between the SD simulation and what I call the “fleshing out” (e.g. adding the characters, individual stories and all the textures which a world needs to be plausible and challenging to the players).

We do have two Circle 14 adepts who played their characters since the first circle and since many years intime as outtime. The actual spin of is called “Dragon Wars” and is about many things but centers around the conflict of interest between the Dragons, Thera and some of the major Horrors. It took the characters to all the places between politics, netherworlds, alternating realities, battlefield and air combats both on small and large scale thus introducing also a notion of strategy gaming into ED. While playing, we were able to develop Thera further, and also places beyond with huge magic and rich with conflict. To do so, we had to change many things, e.g. from the Theran Sourcebook in order to make it more complex and more realistic to play in. One of the players also wrote a complete novel (more than 200 pages) about the last season of the “Hidden in Oblivion” Campaign (it is in German, though).

Some of the legendary characters within the campain that need to be named are “Shiann Chaja Schilfgeflüster” (Windling, Troubadour/Wizard), “Tarkon Sturmreiter” (Windling, Air Sailor/Scout), “Auris Yashiva D’ha Syrtis” (T’Skrang, Nethermancer/Illusionist), “Jago Ragabash” (Ork, Cavalryman/Wizard) “Thorin Ahira Säbelbein” (Dwarf, Warrior), “Eochaidh Coil Cuanna” (Elf, Troubadour/Illusionist), “Raodemus Fluxus”(Human, Wizard), “Torgrimm Grollbart “ (Dwarf, Weaponsmith), “Elenar” (Elf, Wizard). There are many others. There are also long standing NPCs.

Do you still play Earthdawn and are you planning to make additional Earthdawn sounds?

We still play. We make the time for a weekend about 4-5 times a year. That’s not much compared to former days but the story telling is more intense. My players keep asking for more soundtracks. Especially also because I have the resources to produce them with better sound now. This interview also encourages me to do something like this in the future again. Maybe in fall 2010 is a good time to expect something like that. But that depends on many things. I dream of doing the Hymn of Throal with a real choir (of course, we would also need the lyrics before then).

At your page you provide some neat programs, one is called Earthdawn Creature Mill [ECM]. Did you program it? Were you thinking about to make a new version of the ECM for the new Earthdawn Third Edition? Would this even be possible?

I would love to do such projects again. Unfortunately, I rarely find the time nowadays since my research, teaching, traveling, and also the music takes a lot of time. And there are times, fortunately I must say, where my wife wants to see me too. It’s probably not realistic to expect a 3rd Edition version very soon. But once I find the time, I’d definitely do such things again.

I saw that your page isn’t updated that often. I hope I was able to encourage you a bit, cause your page is worth it. Thanks for the short interview.

Indeed, I already started to give it some thought. And once the ideas start coming up… you never know where the threads of life take you and what is woven of them…

I was allowed to add two songs of his soundtrack collection.

The first one is called “Orkstomp”
Pablo Pirnay-Dummer - Dunk – Orkstomp

The second one gives us an impression how the visit of the “Great Library of Throal” could be accentuated
Pablo Pirnay-Dummer - White Noise – The Great Library

To see the rest of Pablo's compositions visit: (German) (English Google Translation)

Link Advice #6

  • Some Earthdawn wallpapers of the German publisher Games-in-vlg
  • Neat small personality creator
  • Not long ago the deviantArt Earthdawn Gallery opened up. An absolute must.
  • How D&D or RPG’s in general can influence writers
  • offers various floor plans of taverns, dungeons and whole buildings
  • The Greek mythology can serve as one of the biggest saga, heroes and creatures resource for writers and roleplayers. One of the better resources on the web is Check it out if you need inspiration or just want to inform you about the Greek mythology.
  • Although Q-workshop still didn’t release the Earthdawn Astral Dice, they released their nice-to-watch catalogue for the first quarter of 2010 (yes I am late, but have a look at it)
  • Want to have an original Earthdawn Print? At Tony Szczudlo deviantArt page you can order two (1,2) of his original Earthdawn publications.
  • This link was already mentioned in another Link Advice but I have to recommend it again. Create you own Hexagonal PDF files for your Earthdawn Third Edition battle maps with Hexagonal Graph Paper PDF Generator

RedBrick Limited Earthdawn Third Edition product line

Inspired by the latest blog entry of Carsten Damm, RedBrick’s Earthdawn Line Developer, I pick up his words and say: “Images say more than a Thousand Words”


Product Line of ED3 books:

ed3_gamemasters_guide ed3_players_guide Gmscomp Playerscomp kratas Namegivers Misguided Ambitions   fcedawnardanyans ed3_shards_volume_one_220


Preview of upcoming books:


edawnnations1cathay_cover_preview cover_serpent_river


Note that those books don’t appear in chronological order and for Cathay that this is the cover of the formerly planned Classic version of the Cathay book. I guess the new cover will be adjusted to the ED3 cover form.

When I imagine that the first books of the Third edition came out in August 2009 and when I look at what RedBrick did so far and is planning to do, I just can say AWESOME!!! But I am still looking forward to see completely new books as Kratas…… ok primary Cathay…… that weren’t already available as classic version.

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