Pattern Items and True Patterns?

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Mataxes
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Re: Pattern Items and True Patterns?

Post by Mataxes » Sun Oct 08, 2017 2:51 pm

The Undying wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 12:24 pm
By the way, I'm crossing my fingers here and hoping I'm not wrong.
Not really.

There are, in my opinion, basically two main times to be interested in thread magic (outside of traditional thread items).

(1) You're looking for a focused boost of power against a particular target, usually to give yourself a better chance of defeating them. For example, you're looking to kill the high-Circle leader of a dark cult, and you aren't nearly as high a Circle. If you manage to obtain one of his pattern items and learn its associated Key Knowledge, you can give yourself increased offense (by boosting your talent steps when interacting with him -- Spellcasting, Melee Weapons, etc), or improved defense (Defense Ratings, Durability, etc) to give yourself a better chance of success.

(2) To enhance your "lair" in some way. Our aforementioned cult leader have a Named temple he's using as a base of operations, and has obtained one of its pattern items. When in that Named space, he can make himself tougher or more powerful (the same way you might against an individual person using one of their pattern items), but this benefit applies to anything he is doing within that space. (Any dragon worth its scales will likely have a pattern item or two for its lair, making them even more formidable while in there -- this would be on top of their already impressive magical abilities.)

Two things to remember. (a) A True Pattern is not required to have any pattern items at all. (b) The only "benefit" from having your own pattern item is knowing somebody else doesn't have it to use against you.
(although you could probably make a Major one for this purpose, if you haven't made one before)
Third thing to remember: Outside of very specific circumstances, it is difficult to force a pattern item to be made. (The big one is basically Group True Patterns, which are their own special thing.) The example of a magician's grimoire becoming one of their pattern items is something a lot of people take as a given, when that's not really the case. It might, certainly, but it isn't guaranteed.

The thing is, pattern items and thread magic (outside of traditional thread items, and maybe group patterns -- which, again, their own thing) are something that more-or-less must exist based on the way magic works in Earthdawn, but you don't have to deal with them at all if you don't want to. They work best as a story hook, maguffin, or objective in a greater story. Powerful people likely have them, want to control them (for good or ill), and if one associated with a notable True Pattern turns up, many powerful people are likely to be very interested in them.

(There are extreme workings of magic that use pattern items -- Varulus III's assassination was the enabled because the Denairastas had one of his pattern items, for example. And -- as alluded earlier -- if somebody had one or more of Barsaive's pattern items, that might given them some significant degree of power or control over the province.)
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The Undying
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Re: Pattern Items and True Patterns?

Post by The Undying » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:38 pm

Glad I mostly made sense.

The comment about the major item can be thrown away for the purpose of this thread. It just goes to the book comment about how "major items are almost always made." Teasing that topic further here would detract from the actual content - which would be a shame now if we finally pulled it off. :D

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Re: Pattern Items and True Patterns?

Post by Purplefixer » Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:47 am

Mataxes wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 2:51 pm

There are, in my opinion, basically two main times to be interested in thread magic (outside of traditional thread items).

So is this opinion, or a clarification on how the game is meant to be run? A section like this would have cleared up a great many questions while reading the Workings of Magic chapter of the book! The Fourth Edition would have been the perfect place to make changes like this.

This seems to contradict the section on weaving threads into someone else's true pattern with their pattern items on hand, and the section on 'intentionally creating major pattern items'. It's also still not super clear how a pattern item can be a tree, and be in someone's possession.

Are we going to see a FAQ with this, or an Errata, or maybe even a revised edition?

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Re: Pattern Items and True Patterns?

Post by Mataxes » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:20 pm

Purplefixer wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:47 am
Mataxes wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 2:51 pm

There are, in my opinion, basically two main times to be interested in thread magic (outside of traditional thread items).

So is this opinion, or a clarification on how the game is meant to be run? A section like this would have cleared up a great many questions while reading the Workings of Magic chapter of the book! The Fourth Edition would have been the perfect place to make changes like this.
Mostly opinion (though I'm not sure what purpose it would serve otherwise)? I think people get a bit too hung up on pattern items. They're cool and all, but given what I've always seen as their narrative purpose within the context of the game (that is, filling the role of mystic links and sympathetic magic)... */shrug*

I can't really recall ever conceptually struggling with pattern items, or having a problem understanding them.
This seems to contradict the section on weaving threads into someone else's true pattern with their pattern items on hand,
How so? If you have a pattern item, there are two things you can do with it. (a) Boost your own abilities, or (b) boost theirs. If it's an enemy, I don't see the point in doing the latter, but it might be useful with an ally. That aspect might not serve as much of a narrative hook, and personally strikes me as a bit hollow, but whatever. (I see that kind of thing better filled, narratively, with group patterns.)
and the section on 'intentionally creating major pattern items'.
Here's the thing about "creating" major (or core) pattern items. I don't think the intentional objective is to create the pattern item (though I can see how it might be taken that way). I think, rather, the pattern item results from a deliberate act with (usually mystical) significance. The soldier swears an oath on his blade to hold the line. The craftsman stays up late for several nights in a row to finish making the birthday gift for his love. The crown jewels are deliberately made for a purpose. (The item might not become a pattern item for the maker, but rather the recipient.)

This is why a magician's grimoire is likely to become a pattern item -- it is deliberately created by the magician, and that creation is significant.
It's also still not super clear how a pattern item can be a tree, and be in someone's possession.
Because magic is weird?

Is there a strong symbolic representation of 'possession' that could apply? Perhaps the person looking to take advantage of the tree as a pattern item might construct a home nearby and incorporate the tree into a tended grove or garden that is part of that defined space?

Another possibility is that a pattern item that is a tree (or a similar, large, not easily moved object) can only provide its benefit when you are touching it. This might make them less useful when it comes to the kinds of bonuses your typical adventurer is interested in... but that doesn't mean the more esoteric (and not really covered by the game rules) ritual uses of pattern magic can't be applied.
Are we going to see a FAQ with this, or an Errata, or maybe even a revised edition?
I can put it on the list, I guess? Maybe something in the planned "Magical Emporium" book that should follow Questors (if there's room).

I'm happy to talk about it and do what I can to answer questions, but I think people get a little too hung up on it, and maybe miss the forest for the trees.
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Re: Pattern Items and True Patterns?

Post by Purplefixer » Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:04 am

My immediate reading was that Pattern Items offered a quick and deep boost of power by expanding on the trust between adepts in a tightly knit group of mid-circle adepts. A group pattern can only increase one trait at a time for a fair expense, up to five. An ally could expand many more traits much higher by using pattern magic to boost the defensive powers of their party's warrior, for instance. I've yet to play enough 4e to see if the creatures you tangle with beyond 3rd Circle require that kind of boost in power, or if its completely unbalancing. It comes down to the question of whether the game is balanced around the idea of pattern magic being used in every group for every character, or if it's only meant for narrative purposes, which wasn't the impression I got!

Defining the use as narrative and purpose based ("The companions poured their magic into Gorn as he stood in the narrow gap before the tide of ghouls, and it was as if each one stood beside him in battle...") as opposed to general use means it's off the table for every-day play and the game system isn't balanced around those boosts and bonuses.

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Re: Pattern Items and True Patterns?

Post by The Undying » Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:10 am

Group Pattern use Pattern Items, but that doesn't mean all Pattern Items are used for Group Patterns. The book doesn't make that limitation, there's just more specific and actionable content on Group Pattern stuff (as it's likely to be more front-and-center for play groups).

Group Patterns aren't used to enhance another's powers, they're used to enhance one's own "when working for the group". I suppose they COULD be used enhance another group member's, but it's isn't the most logic use given that that other group member can do their own improvement (with the same restriction of only active "when working for the group"). Regular Pattern items allow one to enhance another's powers, regardless of whether that other's actions are related to the group or not.

Group Patterns for NPCs do come into play in some games, but they must be used with care by the GM because of the amount of power they bestow (especially from a Defensive perspective). I don't want to get into more on how they could/should impact play from an NPC angle because of the forum we are in (Player, not GM).

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Re: Pattern Items and True Patterns?

Post by Mataxes » Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:25 am

Purplefixer wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:04 am
A group pattern can only increase one trait at a time for a fair expense, up to five.
It can provide bonuses up to five different traits (not just one), each up to Rank 5.
An ally could expand many more traits much higher by using pattern magic to boost the defensive powers of their party's warrior, for instance.
Assuming you have one of the Warrior's Major or Core pattern items. (Major can raise 3 traits up to Rank 9, Core can raise 5 traits up to Rank 15.)
I've yet to play enough 4e to see if the creatures you tangle with beyond 3rd Circle require that kind of boost in power, or if its completely unbalancing. It comes down to the question of whether the game is balanced around the idea of pattern magic being used in every group for every character, or if it's only meant for narrative purposes, which wasn't the impression I got!
In addition to thread items, balance is generally assumed that characters will have access to (and use) group pattern threads, and those aren't likely to show up until Journeyman tier because of the Legend cost. Using thread magic on people and places (outside of a group pattern situation) is not assumed to be common.
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Re: Pattern Items and True Patterns?

Post by Purplefixer » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:51 am

This was SUPER helpful, Josh, thanks again.

It's a chunk of context that changes the way I see the whole section!
(And kills a lot of worries I had about upper level play.)

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Re: Pattern Items and True Patterns?

Post by Bonhumm » Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:18 pm

Sorry to reactivate this old thread but there is a few details I could use clarification with concerning Pattern Items and I thought it would be best if all Pattern Item questions were found in the same thread.

Questions:

1- Although the minor(s) pattern items are described as being created 'spontaneously (i.e. by accident), the major(s) and core item are stated to be almost always 'deliberately created'.

So, I'm wondering what this means exactly. My 2 theories are:

a: Although the item itself (say a spell book) was 'deliberately created' AND that the creator would be right into believing that it would almost certainly become a pattern item, he cannot be sure of it (i.e. you cannot be 100% sure of what you are creating WILL be a pattern item). The adept can find out AFTER the creation whether said item turned out to be a pattern item or not but cannot 'with certainty' create one.

b: There is an way to purposely create a major/core pattern item (is there a mechanic somewhere that describes how to do this?) This would imply that I can choose what my core pattern item is to 'pre-empt' the creation of a core pattern item later on.


2- Without actually checking for it (astral sight etc), would an Adept know for sure if an item is one of his pattern item (whether minor, major or core). I don't mean 'knowing due to a guess, no matter how likely it is' but I mean knowing for sure (i.e. some kind of 'spidersense').

3- Finally, would an Adept 'know' that he is missing a pattern item? For example, if one's core pattern item is a ring and I replace it by another one looking exactly like it, would the Adept 'instinctively' know that its not the same ring (i.e. without astral-sighting it or the like)?

Thank you.

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Re: Pattern Items and True Patterns?

Post by Tattered Rags » Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:34 pm

On that last one, I'd suspect that the Adept would likely have a sense that something was off. Not because it isn't magical, but because if it was something so personal and had been with him or her for so long that it became a pattern item, then they likely are intimately familiar with it. A tiny scratch on the inside, the way it slides over the knuckle only if you twist it just so, the weird refraction of light when the sun is at a specific angle. They may not even know what is different, but even perfect replicas have something wrong. If they know it's a pattern item, they's probably check to make sure.

And if you make a replica that IS perfect, magic was probably involved and might fool astral sight anyway.
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