Thief Half Magic

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wsocrates
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Thief Half Magic

Postby wsocrates » Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:40 pm

Please forgive me. I dont have the book right in front of me and I only recently found out that 4th edition was a reality.

My question is with the Theif Half magic. I remember it saying something about half magic being able to by pass security. If that is the case what is the point of Lock Picking and disarm trap? Or am I really missing something?

Baravakar
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Re: Thief Half Magic

Postby Baravakar » Thu Aug 04, 2016 5:14 pm

    Thieves may use half-magic to build or bypass security measures intended to prevent theft, and to recognize different types of locking mechanisms.

Hmm, its a good question.
This half-magic could be used to get around some guard dogs. But it also does indicate it would work for locks and traps too, negating the need for the talents, which are required for a thief to advance.

Razan_GM
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Re: Thief Half Magic

Postby Razan_GM » Thu Aug 04, 2016 7:59 pm

Half-magic is mostly for something character could know, but not what he can do. Talents/skills show what character know how to do. Half-magic is for things like: hidden alarms, nightingale floors and so on.

Traps are for capturing/killing target. They are not mainly to prevent theft, but are used for such purpose because if thief is unable to run or dead is some theft protection. Just like dogs, guards or deep chasms not mainly to prevent theft but can do so.

The Undying
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Re: Thief Half Magic

Postby The Undying » Thu Aug 04, 2016 9:19 pm

My thoughts/recommendations:

- If a TALENT exists that overlaps with Half-Magic, then I think it's safe to assume the Half-Magic doesn't cover it. With ED4, Disciplines receive free ranks in Talents were there is clear intent that the Discipline knows something in line with the level of their Circle and that knowledge is in the realm of a Talent. So, in the specific case of Lock Picking, I'd say that isn't Half-Magic. Same with Disarm Trap. This is regardless of why the lock/trap exists (i.e., harm an individual versus prevent theft).

- I like Razan's description on the difference between theft deterrence and killing/harming to prevent or hinder access. A GM could easily say that 'theft prevention security measures' are things like alarms, complex mechanisms to prevent removal of an item, etc.

- Half-Magic is kind of intentionally broad as a way to encapsulate the general knowledge a Discipline would have. In this particular case, may be good to focus on the word: Thieves can BYPASS security measures, not UNDO them. For example, let's say a pressure plate 'trap' is placed in front of a valuable painting to sound an alarm when someone steps on. The Thief can BYPASS it by carefully distributing his weight while crossing the trap so as not to trigger it. Non-Thief adepts cannot do this, so for them to approach, the Thief needs to UNDO the trap, via Disarm Trap. If you want to make the Half-Magic more expansive or impressive, maybe allow the Thief to escort another Namegiver across for each additional success they roll on the Half-Magic test - BUT they must declare the number of people to escort beforehand, resulting in a much harder test. Or, maybe build more drama (and chance for failure) by requiring one test per person, but requiring a further additional success on subsequent tests (e.g., Thief needs 1 success, 2nd person needs 2 success, 3rd person needs 3, etc). For this example, think about it like this: the Thief has distributed his weight, stays ON the trap, and carefully guides each adept individually across the trap, redistributing the weight each time, with each redistribution increasing the odds of miscalculation or misstep. The Thief can't simply point and say "don't step there" - only a THIEF can bypass via Half-Magic, not necessarily extend this ability to non-Thief Namegivers.

The Undying
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Re: Thief Half Magic

Postby The Undying » Thu Aug 04, 2016 10:51 pm

It may be overkill, but here are my Earthdawn-universe thoughts on this general area of material. Keep in mind, this is just my interpretation of things.

Earthdawn is primarily a world of magic (e.g., Talents) that has elements of science (e.g., Skills). If a Namegiver used Skills to set up a security measure, then it likely has mechanical elements - Indian Jones / Goonies style. However, if an Adept uses Talents / Spells to set up security measure, that all goes completely out the window. The security measure could be an anchored spell, a tasked/bound spirit, a balance of elements that would be disturbed by the presence of a Namegiver resulting in adverse affect, etc. Honestly, sometimes it's better not to try to explain the how of it - it just is want it is, it's some kind of magic, and it has a certain difficulty. Explanation drives away the magic, often pulling it down into the realm of science, and opens up unintended ways to circumvent things. Example: GM - "The security measure is a tasked spirit that is watching." - Player 1 - "Oh, then I'm going to use Stealthy Stride." - GM - "The tasked spirit isn't necessarily looking for PHYSICAL things, it could be looking for changes in astral space." - Player 2 - "Oh, then I'll use Astral Interface to muck the place up!" - GM - "That's not how it works." - Player 3 - "Ok, then, I'll Banish the spirit." - GM - "Banish doesn't work in this instance, it isn't manifest." ...

Aside from that, magic is magic. For example, adepts that use the Melee Weapon TALENT pull magical energies through their pattern, shape it, and the result is that they gain instantaneous proficiency in their close combat attacks. That adept does NOT know HOW to fight - they just put a weapon in their hand and, though the shaping of magic, can use it. If you show a unique weapon (something without an obvious handle) to an adept with the TALENT and ask them how to use it, they couldn't tell you. Let them pick it up and swing it, and they can tell you how it feels that they should hold it and employ it. But they can't show someone else how to use it. Meanwhile, someone with the Melee Weapon SKILL does actually know HOW to fight. They can tell you that you should move in such a fashion, hold a certain type of weapon at a certain position to accommodate its weight distribution, etc. Granted, Melee Weapon is a bad example as it is a default Skill, but you get the idea.

This extends to the Half-Magic of a Thief and why they can bypass security measures. The Thief can examine some valuable item and know - JUST KNOW - that if they bring their arm in from this angle, and pick up the item just so, that they won't trigger some nastiness that is rigged in there somewhere. The nature of the mechanism really doesn't matter - maybe the tasked spirit has a blind spot there, maybe the elemental balance is strongest there meaning that disrupting it in that way won't trigger the alarm, whatever. The point is that the Thief can't necessarily explain it, it's just something they can do, and because they can't explain it, they can't impart the same ability to another Namegiver. The Thief also doesn't know WHAT the measure is, so while they may be able to get around it, that doesn't necessarily mean they know how to permanently disable it.

Just my thoughts on things.

wsocrates
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Re: Thief Half Magic

Postby wsocrates » Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:59 pm

There is a lot of splitting hair here. Which is not what I think Earthdawn is about. I see the build security measure is only in half magic. But by pass security is in two other talents that they get. Which I figure they wanted thieves to be able to thief. I appreciate that. Since traps and locks are hard to by pass my thought would to use halfmagic step instead of your attribute step. When it is appropriate. But that might make them to powerful.What does everyone think?

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Flowswithdrek
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Re: Thief Half Magic

Postby Flowswithdrek » Fri Aug 05, 2016 4:08 pm

I agree, a lot of splitting hair here. If you read the Thief's half magic description in conjunction with the Half Magic rules its pretty clear its not a replacement for the Discipline's Talents. Security Measures is just such a broad term that people are homing in on the obvious (which the talents already cover).

The half-magic system offers a way to determine the adept’s knowledge in subjects
related to their Discipline, but not specifically covered by the Discipline’s Talents.


As an example of Half Magic I've used in the past, the Thief used their Perception Attribute to identify which members of the City Watch might be a weak link in the chain. They might be open to bribery, have exploitable issues (gambling debts with local crime lord, extra marital affair etc.) which could be used to get around security measures.

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ArcadianRefugee
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Re: Thief Half Magic

Postby ArcadianRefugee » Fri Aug 05, 2016 6:21 pm

Not to mention "Is there a weak point when they change shifts?" "Is there a point during rounds where an entry is unguarded? (Is there a weakness in their perimeter?)" or other such things that others could notice, it's just the thief is better/faster at doing so.

Slimcreeper
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Re: Thief Half Magic

Postby Slimcreeper » Sun Aug 07, 2016 9:25 am

Well, it shouldn't cover any test covered by Bribery, Streetwise, Picking Pockets, Disarm Trap, Danger Sense, or Awareness. (did I miss any?)

I'm going to spitball some ideas, some of which are included in other's suggestions above -

Guard dogs - should a thief be expected to have Animal Handling? No, but a Thief should get a bonus to distract dogs with bloody steaks. Noticing a roof-top route to an unlocked window, realizing there must be a drainage pipe connection under the building, realizing what level and type of security is in place (traps, guards, locked doors, passcodes etc.). Panicking a herd of riding goats to provide a distraction. Knowing how to find the tower that overlooks the courtyard that probably has an archer; knowing where the vault/macguffin/target of kidnapping probably is. Noticing a pick-pocketer. Assessing the security measures in the inn you are staying at. Finding an escape route from pursuing guards.

Baravakar
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Re: Thief Half Magic

Postby Baravakar » Sun Aug 07, 2016 10:01 am

I think the key word here is bypass. Should the thief encounter a locked door, he could use lock picking to get inside or half-magic to determine another way inside the building bypassing the need to unlock the door. Maybe he with half-magic he notices an open window on the second floor.


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