Thread Magic
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Weaving Threads of Magic in Earthdawn

Basics of True Patterns

Every object in the physical world has a pattern of magical energy associated with it in Astral Space. Most things have very simple and vauge patterns, but unique things (characters, places, and objects) have Names and unique True Patterns. It is the ability of the nine Name-giver races (dragons, dwarfs, elves, humans, obsidimen, orks, trolls, t'skrang, and windlings) to give Names to things that makes them so powerful. All people and all powerful magical items have Names and True Patterns. If you weave a magical thread from your True Pattern to another True Pattern, you can change the way you interact with the thing associated with that pattern in a significant and permanent way.

Weaving the Thread

Thread weaving consists of three basic steps: Obtain Pattern Knowledge of the True Pattern to which you weave the thread, create the thread, and weave the thread from your True Pattern to the other True Pattern.

Pattern Knowledge

Obtaining the Pattern Knowledge is usually the hardest part, and takes the longest. Pattern knowledge is divided into Key Facts. The more Key Facts you know about a True Pattern, the higher rank of thread you can weave to it. You can learn the general nature of the Key Facts of a True Pattern by using the Research skill, or by studying its Pattern Items with the Item History or Weapon History talent. The Pattern Item for magical treasure is the thing itself. For characters, they are usually things that are kept by the character for a long time, used a great deal by the character, or very significant to the character in some way. For places, Pattern Items are things that are significant to the history of that place.

Pattern Items are usually deliberately created, though long association will sometimes create one. The more powerful a True Pattern is, the more Pattern Items it tends to have, and their connection to it tends to be more powerful. A True Pattern can have up to five Pattern Items. Minor Pattern Items must be associated with the True Pattern for at least 3 months. They are usually deliberately created. Aside from their association with a True Pattern, they are no different from what they were before they became Pattern Items.

Major Pattern Items cannot be created until there is a Minor Pattern Item, and must be associated with the True Pattern for at least six months. They are almost always deliberately created. They can begin as Minor Pattern Items, but they do not have to. Major Pattern Items are tough and resistant to damage. A sword may bend when it should break; a book may singe but not burn; a vial may crack but not shatter. However, they are not indestructible, and can be destroyed.

Core Pattern Items cannot exist until there is a Major Pattern Item, and must be associated with the True Pattern for at least a year and a day. Only a very few will not be deliberately created. They may or may not be upgraded from minor or major Pattern Items. Core Pattern items are extremely tough, and lucky besides. If there is any way for events to conspire to prevent their destruction, no matter how improbable, they almost certainly will. Furthermore, if a Core Pattern Item is somehow destroyed, the magic of its True Pattern will re-form it, though this will sometimes take as long as a year and a day.

Item History and Weapon History do not reveal the Key Facts themselves, but rather their general nature. For example, you may learn you need to know who made an item, who fought at a place, or where someone acquired a favorite thing. Then you must do research to learn the specifics, such as the crossbow Boltblaster was made by Izmir Iron-Skin, or that Ligar battled Argula at Ligar's Demise, or that Arkanabar found his favorite blued steel schiavona in the kaer T'slan. Often, you will be able to acquire such facts through adventuring.

Key Facts are always associated with Pattern Items. In order to weave a thread to another True Pattern, you must have both the Key Facts and the relevant Pattern Item.

Creating the Thread

You create a thread by paying its Legend Point cost. However, it is of no use to you until you can attach it. Each rank of a thread woven to a person or place costs the same as for a first circle Talent. Those woven to Group True Patterns cost the same as a ninth circle Talent, and those woven to magical treasure will vary in cost, depending on the power of the item.

What a thread does depends on what you weave it to. Every thread you weave will connect your True Pattern to one other true pattern. If you weave a thread to a magical treasure, it allows you, and only you, to use the powers of that treasure. Each rank will make the item more powerful, and may unlock more powers. This will vary with each treasure.

If you weave the thread to another character, you can use it in one of two ways. If the character is a friend, you can boost some of their stats. Otherwise, you can boost some of your stats when interacting with that character. (I use the word "character" because you can use a thread this way even with Named Spirits, Named Horrors, and dragons, which might hardly be called "people.")

If you weave a thread to a place, you have two choices. Either you can boost some of your stats while you are in that place, or you can boost some of the game-mechanic stats of the place.

Each thread you weave to your own Group True Pattern will boost one of your stats while you are acting to further the goals of the group, or working with other members of the group. They will not boost your stats when you are working alone, on things that are only important to you. Each thread you weave to another Group True Pattern will boost your stats when dealing with any member of that group.

Threads woven through Minor Pattern Items can affect one characteristic, and are limited to rank 5. Those woven through Major Pattern Items can affect three characteristics, and are limited to rank 10. Those woven through Core Pattern Items can affect five characteristics, and are limited to rank 15. The characteristics you can enhance when weaving a thread to a character, either yourself or somebody else, are always the same. They are Talents (a thread can only affect one Talent, regardless of how many characteristics it can affect), Physical Defense, Spell Defense, Social Defense, Wound Threshold, and Mystic Armor. Those woven to enhance the characteristics of a place can affect nearly any applicable game characteristic of that place you can imagine. Examples include its Spell Defense, its Barrier Rating, or difficulty numbers to pick its locks or spot its traps.

Attaching the Thread

Attaching a thread of any given rank to a True Pattern requires a Thread Weaving test with a difficulty number of the current thread rank plus eight. If the test fails, you must gain another rank in Thread Weaving before you can attempt it again. However, you will not have to pay the legend point cost for creating the thread again.

Vorheit has acquired a lightning flail, and learned that its Name is Flying Spark Fist. Even though its spell defense is 14, the difficulty number to weave a rank 1 thread to it is only 8. When Vorheit wishes to increase the rank of his thread to Flying Spark Fist to 2, the difficulty will be 9.

Limits on Thread Magic

A character can only weave as many threads as he has ranks in Thread Weaving, and their rank is limited to his Thread Weaving rank. If a thread is unwoven or broken, the Legend Points used to pay for it are lost.

Group True Patterns

Sometimes a group of fourth Circle or higher adepts will form a Group True Pattern to make themselves and each other more powerful. This is only done by groups of friends who trust each other, for reasons that will become clear.

In order to create a Group True Pattern, the group must first all agree upon a Name for the group. It should reflect on the group's past, present, and/or future.

For example, Larithel and his friends all met in Haven, where Larithel organized them into an expedition to recover a part of Cenrath's Legacy, the brooch Truthseeker's Eye. They worked together so well that they agreed to form a permanent group, which they will Name Larithel's Seekers.

Second, they must choose a Symbol for the group, which can be anything that represents the group and its history.

Larithel's Seekers decide that their symbol will be an eye, with an open scroll in the circle of the iris, and an open book depicted on the scroll.

Third, each member must create a Minor Pattern Item. This will be a pattern item for both the member and the group as a whole. It must represent the member, the group, and the member's role in the group. Creating the Minor Pattern Item is one of the risks associated with forming a Group True Pattern. Others who acquire them can use them to weave a thread either to the member who created it, or to the group as a whole.

Vorhiet the warrior decides that he will use the large shield he carried in his first adventure with Larithel as his Group Pattern Item. He used the shield to help protect the group, and he believes that the group will help protect Barsaive from the Horrors that still infest it. He carves the group symbol into the shield.

Fourth, the group must be Named in a naming ritual, and all members must participate. Though the ritual can vary a lot, it always includes the leader Naming the group and stating that the symbol is the group's symbol. Then each member identifies himself and states that his Pattern Item represents himself in the group, and then makes some sort of declaration of loyalty to the group.

Larithel starts by declaring, "We are here today to be Named Larithel's Seekers. This symbol shall be known everywhere to represent the past, present, and future of Larithel's Seekers."

He continues, "I am Named Larithel. This light crystal represents my place in Larithel's Seekers, and I shall be forever loyal to all of Larithel's Seekers."

Vorhiet says, "I am Named Vorhiet. This shield represents my place in Larithel's Seekers, and I shall be forever loyal to all of Larithel's Seekers."

After everyone has contributed to the Naming ritual, the group leader invites them all to swear an oath of Blood Peace to the group. (See Blood Magic for an explanation; this is the other risk associated with forming a Group True Pattern, and the main reason they are only formed by groups of friends.) Once all have sworn the oath, the Group True Pattern forms, and its members can use their Group Pattern Items to weave threads to it that will enhance their abilities when acting on behalf of the group.

Though the Blood Peace Oath that the group members swear only causes 2 points of Permanent Damage, rather than 2 per member, each member must still maintain Blood Peace with all the other members of the group, or he suffers as any other Blood Peace oathbreaker. The members must renew the oath (and the damage) every year and a day, or the group true pattern falls apart. However, renewing Blood Peace oaths grants the characters a Legend Point award. The group can add or remove members by performing the Naming Ritual over, and re-swearing the Group Blood Peace. If a member dies, the group has 24 hours to either ressurrect him or re-form the group without him, or else the Group True Pattern falls apart.

It is easier to weave threads to your Group True Pattern than most other patterns because all members already know all the Pattern Knowledge of the pattern, and so only have to make and weave the thread. Each character can weave up to five threads to the Group True Pattern. Any thread woven to a Group True Pattern can only enhance one characteristic, is limited to rank 5, and costs as much as a 9th Circle Talent. If a member loses his Pattern Item for his Group True Pattern, he cannot weave any new threads to the Group True Pattern, and all the threads he has woven to the Group True Pattern become dormant until he recovers it.

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