Key knowledge for "common" thread items

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
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JBF
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Key knowledge for "common" thread items

Post by JBF » Sun Mar 22, 2020 2:40 pm

Hello GMS,

I?d like to have your hint on yo manage the key knowledges for "common" thread items. I love the system of earthdawn for magical items, but I have always this doubt/Difficulty where sometimes the difficulty levels seem "illogical", as for detection of magic (the more powerful should be the easier) or for key knowledges.

I mean if you find a broadsword in a rock, and have a minimum in legend and heroes, well it should not be too difficult to know that it is Excalibur, the sword given to Arthur by the lady of the lake, under the guidance of the great wizard merlin and so on... So if an object is Legendary, some of its key knowledges should be "common knowledge" and therefore not so difficult to find.

Then, if by the rock you find a thread shield, that was the one of Jojo the 4th squire of arthur that went to a very minor enchanter to enchant... I mean, come on, everybody has forgotten about Jojo, and the records of his existence and his very very limited legend would become very difficult to find...

So how do you GN reconcile that ? It is not interesting to make a major quest to find mundane key knowledges of minor thread items... Where do you even find its name, if it's so "common".

How do you manage this in the game ( I am really more speaking of narrative and storytelling, than purely of game system )

Sharkforce
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Re: Key knowledge for "common" thread items

Post by Sharkforce » Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:58 pm

for one thing, common is relative. only a small portion of the population can even use thread items at all. and not all of those who can use thread items will have any.

for another thing, while I would say that I'm certainly familiar with some of the basics of the stories regarding excalibur, if you shoved a pair of fancy-looking broadswords into two different rocks and one of them was excalibur, I doubt I could tell you which one it is. heck, if neither of them was excalibur, I couldn't tell you that, either. and while I personally am knowledgeable enough that I could recognize that rapiers didn't exist around the time of Arthur, I wouldn't be too surprised if there were some people who would not even know that much. if i found it lying on the ground near a skeleton wearing armour, well, good luck, I couldn't describe any specific markings or decorations on the sword, that's for sure.

additionally, it isn't just enough to know the key knowledge, you need to understand the significance of it. for a more powerful thread item, that process can be more involved.

and in any event, I don't see anything that says the research difficulty of any tests must be higher for more powerful thread items at any rate.

as to why more powerful magic is harder to detect... who says it's just blasting out magic energy all over the place? more powerful magic could be more powerful because it is more tightly woven and less of it "leaks" away uselessly. unless the magic has the specific purpose of drawing attention to its presence, I see no reason to presume that more power means that power does not require tighter controls on it.

Bonhumm
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Re: Key knowledge for "common" thread items

Post by Bonhumm » Sun Mar 22, 2020 5:21 pm

It depends, of course, what you mean by a 'common' thread item. Your example of 'Excalibur' would definitely NOT be a 'common' thread item.

'Excalibur' would be widely known and its so would be its history thus, since the first key knowledge is always to find the name, that should not be much of a problem BUT:

Lets not forget that the rules clearly states that you must KNOW the information, not make a lucky (even if correct) guest. Basically, you don't just need to know its name, you need to know where 'the name anchor' is in its pattern to weave the tread to the 'correct spot'. This is why you always need Item History done on an item even tho the first thread is always 'find its name'. As for the difficulty of finding the name; yes, 'Excalibur' is widely known and this sword seems to fit well with the legends but are you SURE its Excalibur? I'm sure there is many other swords (fake or 'real') that 'fit' the legends too. Remember; you CANNOT make a guess, you have to be sure and that means doing Research.

Also, although a legendary item like Excalibur would be widely known in legends, it does not mean its CORRECT information can easily be found. Take 'Purifier', I'm sure a Troubadour could tell you 3-4 different legends about who was the Weaponsmith that forged it; which one is correct? More Research.

As for your 'squire shield'; it would, of course, not be as widely known as the sword, but you can be sure that this squire is THE local hero in whetaver tiny hamlet where he was born. Once you did some Research to find where it is and you make a trip there, I can guarantee you that every local resident will know EVERYTHING about that guy, thus making it easier to find the more 'obscure' information.

As for the real 'common' thread item, it can get actually quite difficult to find the information. Yes, that pair of bracers are obviously 'Bracers of Aras' but is that particular pair the one Named 'Brace Yourselves' which was made from iron taken from the 'Whatever mine' or is it the one Named 'Braceface' made from the iron mined in Throal? Being common may make it harder to find the correct information.

Belenus
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Re: Key knowledge for "common" thread items

Post by Belenus » Sun Mar 22, 2020 8:01 pm

Sharkforce wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:58 pm
as to why more powerful magic is harder to detect... who says it's just blasting out magic energy all over the place? more powerful magic could be more powerful because it is more tightly woven and less of it "leaks" away uselessly. unless the magic has the specific purpose of drawing attention to its presence, I see no reason to presume that more power means that power does not require tighter controls on it.
I agree with the previous speakers on just about everything, only here I see it somewhat differently.
Item History tells you quite a lot about the thread item including the Tier, the thread ranks and somewhat the power you receive with each thread.
This should be more than enough to understand the items power.

Slimcreeper
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Re: Key knowledge for "common" thread items

Post by Slimcreeper » Sun Mar 22, 2020 9:24 pm

I wonder if the key knowledges become too obscure an item might loose potency and become mundane ...

Sharkforce
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Re: Key knowledge for "common" thread items

Post by Sharkforce » Sun Mar 22, 2020 11:13 pm

Belenus wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 8:01 pm
Sharkforce wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:58 pm
as to why more powerful magic is harder to detect... who says it's just blasting out magic energy all over the place? more powerful magic could be more powerful because it is more tightly woven and less of it "leaks" away uselessly. unless the magic has the specific purpose of drawing attention to its presence, I see no reason to presume that more power means that power does not require tighter controls on it.
I agree with the previous speakers on just about everything, only here I see it somewhat differently.
Item History tells you quite a lot about the thread item including the Tier, the thread ranks and somewhat the power you receive with each thread.
This should be more than enough to understand the items power.
did you mean to quote something different here? the part you quoted has nothing to do with item history...

Belenus
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Re: Key knowledge for "common" thread items

Post by Belenus » Mon Mar 23, 2020 5:36 pm

hmm, don't know what i was thinking this moment :oops:

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