Question: Thread Weaving and Spellcasting

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
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Question: Thread Weaving and Spellcasting

Post by Bonhumm » Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:06 pm

I was wondering if people 'could tell' whenever someone is Thread Weaving or Spellcasting.

I know that someone observing the caster in Astral Space can figure out which spell is being cast and that many spells have a 'somatic' aspect to it but what about thread weaving?

I ask because I notice that several 'social' spells (like 'Trust' and 'Innocent Activity') have threads and I would personally feel suspicious seeing someone weaving his hands around for 6-12 seconds just before talking to me.

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Re: Question: Thread Weaving and Spellcasting

Post by Altanius » Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:44 pm

Given that there's a talent Knack to conceal spellcasting (Subtle Casting, under Stealthy Stride, ED Companion Pg. 110) I'd say it's fairly obvious you're doing something.

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Re: Question: Thread Weaving and Spellcasting

Post by Telarus » Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:50 pm

Generally, the threadweaving portion is pretty subtle already, with the big crazy gestures being part of the Spellcasting test (there's not huge amount in the rpg books to back this up, but there are some good scenes in the novels).

The knack allows you to set on average you DEX+6 (min rank 6) as a difficulty number to notice threadweaving or spellcasting.

I generally have people who would have reason to be looking make a Per or Patterncraft test VS the casting character's base Dex step.

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Re: Question: Thread Weaving and Spellcasting

Post by ChrisDDickey » Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:31 am

players pg 255 wrote:an observer in the material world simply sees the magician concentrate, speak a few words and make some gestures to cast a spell.
I personally consider that the spellcasting "process" starts with the thread weaving, and that while weaving the thread the spell is already starting to gather it's power. Thus I would say that weaving the threads to "Innocent Activity" would look like a totally innocent activity. And I would trust that weaving the threads to a "Trust" spell would not look unfriendly.

So my interpretation is that illusions in general are not very conspicuous, unless they have conspicuous results. Same with "social" spells in general, the act of weaving/casting should not obliterate the effect of the casting.

On the other hand, if you are weaving a "fireball" (or a "phantom fireball") I usually narrate that the caster has summoned the small ball of flame in his had when he completes his threadweaving. The spellcasting test is when he throws it.

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Re: Question: Thread Weaving and Spellcasting

Post by Slimcreeper » Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:32 am

RAW, most spells don’t have many big obvious tells, but to me it’s got to be at least as difficult as doing long division or reciting tongue twisters. It’s obvious at least that the caster is concentrating on something. And it’s more fun if there is a physical component.

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Re: Question: Thread Weaving and Spellcasting

Post by Avanti » Wed Aug 28, 2019 3:01 pm

I tend to narrate that threadweaving IS visible to an extent justified by the spell. Combat spells tend to be more "flashy". Illusions can be hard to spot or discern from a regular motion. Social talents can be like Obi-Wan and his "these are not the droids you are looking for" hand wave, subtle and "unseen" be the target of the spell.

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