Balancing Astral sight

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
JBF
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Re: Balancing Astral sight

Post by JBF » Tue Mar 03, 2020 3:00 am

Thanks a lot, that s a lot of great content.

Avanti
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Re: Balancing Astral sight

Post by Avanti » Wed Mar 04, 2020 1:58 pm

nice summary. Just to say that I think gleaming more info from patterns requires subsequent tests to "foucus" on the pattern. I don't think its meant to be possible to learn everything in one good enough roll.

Note on the side, as some people pointed out Patterncraft - this talent is not used to study any patterns in astral space but rather is specific to spell patterns & magical lore research.

Bonhumm
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Re: Balancing Astral sight

Post by Bonhumm » Wed Mar 04, 2020 3:28 pm

Avanti wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 1:58 pm
nice summary. Just to say that I think gleaming more info from patterns requires subsequent tests to "foucus" on the pattern. I don't think its meant to be possible to learn everything in one good enough roll.
Indeed, this is why I specified 'if you took time to study their pattern'. I don't think there is an actual game mechanic to study the pattern of a person but I'd default it to something like the talent Item History. It would not take as much time as when studying a Thread Item (i.e. 1 hours per day for an entire week) because just getting some basic information from a person's pattern would (I assume) be much simpler than actually finding Key Knowledges.

I thus think the 'time' it takes would depends on how specific or complicated is the information you are looking for and be ultimately up to the GM.

But again, no matter if using Astral Sight, Astral Sense or 'Item History' and using as much time as you want, it cannot be for 'empathic' purposes like Shadowrun's 'Assenssing', there is OTHER talents and spells to do that so you cannot 'cheat' by using Astral Perception to get the same result.

ChrisDDickey
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Re: Balancing Astral sight

Post by ChrisDDickey » Sat Mar 07, 2020 9:53 am

JBF wrote:
Sat Feb 29, 2020 2:42 pm
4-know if they are horror marked:
Bonhumm wrote:
Sat Feb 29, 2020 3:08 pm
4- No no no. There is pretty much NO way to know for certain whether a person is touched/marked or not. That's the main reason why everybody is so afraid of this power. The people THINK testing a person Artisan Skill can reveal whether one is touched or not but its unclear how effective it is and there is 'tricks' to bypass this.
Mataxes wrote:
Sat Feb 29, 2020 9:20 pm
4. No on most detection of Horror Marks or Horror taint. (There can be exceptions, Horrors are a varied and irksome lot.) Usually, by the time things are bad enough to be detected with Astral Sight there is other evidence as well.
I tend to agree that a quick Astral Sight is a very poor way to detect horror marks, but I was looking through the GM guide and was reminded that "Suppress Mark" is a fairly common horror power whose sole function is to temporarily make horror marks more difficult to detect. If the horrors have a power to hide horror marks, then I would assume that there must be some way to detect them.
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sharkforce
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Re: Balancing Astral sight

Post by Sharkforce » Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:06 am

well, i mean, you can examine something's pattern, and it seems probable that:

- being horror marked would alter your pattern in some way.
- that alteration would presumably be visible to at least some extent, as would any other change to your pattern.

now, given we know this isn't standard procedure to check for this sort of thing any time a stranger wants to enter a town, i'd say we could add to that:

- it must be exceptionally difficult, probably to the point where it isn't reliable to detect even relatively minor horror marks even for fairly powerful individuals.
- it may be costly in some way (for example, the nethermancer spell "Aspect of the Astral Savant" can reveal pretty much anything the GM decides it can with in-depth study, but nobody is going to be able to use it on a regular basis, even if a community actually had a sufficiently large number of nethermancers of high enough circle to try).
- it may not even be possible unless you're familiar enough with the pattern you're examining to recognize that there is a difference. or, alternately, you may need to be familiar enough with a horror's mark to know exactly what you're looking for, and each horror type (or specific Named horror) might require different specialized knowledge.
- interacting with a horror mark in this fashion could potentially have negative consequences.

just some other things to consider:

- corruption by horrors should at least be detectable; the horror stalker initiation rites includes other horror stalkers examining you and noting any instances of corruption you've suffered.
- you can become a horror stalker only under certain conditions; one of those is that you have been marked by a horror which you subsequently killed. if there is no way to tell that someone has been horror marked, that can't really be a condition that they would use, unless it's all based on blind assumptions. the horror stalkers don't seem like the sort to just initiate people based on blind assumptions to me, though.
- the fact that you can potentially know that you *do* have a horror mark on you does not change the fact that you can't ever be quite certain that you *don't* have a horror mark on you that is simply too difficult to detect.
- horror stalkers have some abilities to manipulate horror marks which they must use immediately upon being marked. this implies that they have some means of recognizing when it has happened, even if it is only in the form of recognizing when one of their talents automatically gets used.

ChrisDDickey
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Re: Balancing Astral sight

Post by ChrisDDickey » Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:49 am

Yes, Horror Stalkers have some special rules that make them non-standard test cases. Specifically the "Bear Mark" Talent that allows them make a test as soon as they are marked. They spend strain and karma on it, so they must know they are doing it. They are pretty much the only ones that instantly know every time a horror attempts to mark them, whether they successfully sequestere the mark or not.

For everybody else, I found the general rule under the Horror Mark power.
Horror Mark, pg 463 of gm guide wrote:Detecting Horror Marks
A mark does not necessarily make itself known. There is no specific physical trace unless a particular variant of mark does so, and even the astral indications of a mark are deeply buried in a victim’s pattern and difficult to detect.
To detect a Horror mark using astral sensing, the sensing character must make a test against the Mystic Defense of the Horror that left the mark, with a number additional successes equal to the level of astral corruption (safe = 1 additional success, open = 2 additional successes, etc.). If successful, the mark can be seen as a small stain on the victim’s pattern, and detailed examination might reveal clues that may point to the identity of the Horror that owns the mark. For example, the mark of the Horror Aazhvat Many-Eyes might appear as an unblinking eye.
Despite the popular belief a character under the influence of a Horror is unable to create works of art, this method of detecting Horror marks is unreliable at best. While there are Horrors whose influence can result in the corruption of artisan skills, this belief is largely the result of centuries of legend and superstition.
Rereading the Aspect of the Astral Savant spell, it's description does not seem to inspire public confidence that community safety is being upheld - Don't worry, we have a nethermancer and a madman keeping you safe from horror marks!

Sharkforce
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Re: Balancing Astral sight

Post by Sharkforce » Sat Mar 07, 2020 8:31 pm

so, considering the sorts of places where you're likely to pick up a horror mark, i think it's pretty fair to say that astral sight is probably going to give an absolutely absurd number of false negatives. i mean, yeah, it's definitely possible for even a low circle adept to beat ~30 or more, but it sure isn't probable. and even a high circle adept would have a hard time accomplishing that reliably.

Slimcreeper
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Re: Balancing Astral sight

Post by Slimcreeper » Sun Mar 08, 2020 2:13 pm

A Horror mark is like a tattoo on your kidney. Technically, you could detect it if you did enough investigation ...

Bonhumm
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Re: Balancing Astral sight

Post by Bonhumm » Mon Mar 09, 2020 6:41 pm

Aegharan wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:23 am
If the Troll is behind glass, he would be visible in Astral Sight. The glass would appear like a concrete wall in Astral Space, as a lifeless color.
Indeed, my example specifically says that IF you were looking through a window, you'd see the troll.
Aegharan wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:23 am
There is a "Astral Stealth" knack for Stealthy Stride, that also conceals you in Astral Space. I understand your view that Stealthy Stride Talent also conceals in Astral, while the Skill doesn't, but I see the talent magically dampening foot step sounds, etc. In the novels it was described as "like air pillows under my feet".
There was a discussion about that very point in the Discord FASA server today. No consensus was reached but:

1- The Stealthy Stride talent is 'flagged' as 'illusion' (i.e. True Illusion, not a figment) thus it should be working against Astral Sight unless it was specified otherwise (like in the 'Notice Not' spell).
2- The Knack specify that it helps you using Stealthy Stride 'IN Astral SPACE', not 'versus Astral SIGHT'. It was argued (and I agree with this interpretation) that it means that it would allow you to use the Stealthy Stride talent while being PHYSICALLY inside Astral Space (through the use of Astral Portal or Netherwalk) and that, therefore, it has no 'link' with whether Stealthy Stride 'works' against Astral Sight or not.
3- Other arguments were put forward, questioning why would Stealthy Stride be the only talent with a 'but in Astral Space' knack and that therefore its just poorly written and should be taken as proof as 'non-knacked' Stealthy Stride should NOT works versus Astral Sight.

Thus, there is a conflict between the Stealthy Stride being identified as True Illusion and the possible interpretation of the Knack. Without a ruling from the developers, this would be ultimately up to the GM to decide

Aegharan wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:23 am
I'm not sure if by beating an Adept's MD you would be able to learn his discipline. The fact that he is an Adept definitely. However for such details to be seen I'd require some extra successes I believe.
Indeed; this was part of a discussion in another thread on what could be 'gleamed' from Astral Sight. Earthdawn's 'sister' game (Shadowrun) version of Astral Sight (Assenssing) is a lot more powerful and thus there was some arguments on what could Astral Sight reveal or not. I'm of the opinion that Astral Sight should not reveal anything that can be found using other mechanics (Emphatic Sense, Social Interactions, etc) but basic stuff like Disciplines might make sense. Again, ultimately up to the GM.
Aegharan wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:23 am
Do you have a source for only being able to see Astral or normal?
I'm wracking my brain trying to find it. I thought it was in the old first edition Magic book but it does not seem to be the case. I'll keep looking.
Aegharan wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:23 am
I hope you don't mind me stealing your list :)
Of course not :-)

Aegharan
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Re: Balancing Astral sight

Post by Aegharan » Mon Mar 09, 2020 8:08 pm

Bonhumm wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 6:41 pm
Aegharan wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:23 am
If the Troll is behind glass, he would be visible in Astral Sight. The glass would appear like a concrete wall in Astral Space, as a lifeless color.
Indeed, my example specifically says that IF you were looking through a window, you'd see the troll.
Where you quoted me I missed to mark the quote from you. Sorry for the confusion. I disagree with you being able to see the Troll through glass. Glass as a dead substance appears the same colorless goo as concrete..

Regarding Stealthy Stride I see merit in both views. Yet the knack being the only game info for actually being in Astral Space makes me lean away from Stealthy Stride Talent hiding you in Astral view. But here again: Both can work, Consistency matters :)

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