Astral Sight: What does it see?

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Michael
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Astral Sight: What does it see?

Post by Michael » Sat Aug 31, 2019 3:01 am

So one of my players pointed this wording out in the Players guide p210
"On the other hand, the adept’s pattern might show the adept’s Discipline, threads woven to the adept’s pattern, and signs of injury or blood magic." use.

This is my question, since I have played both ED and SR, I might be mixing them up. We all know that SR is direct viewing of the astral while ED is a reflection of the astral, IE Astral Sense/ing of the astral.

What exactly can you divine of a name giver/horror/whatever with a successful astral sight roll? I would like us all to agree on something.

Example: The Illusionist rolls astral sight against a 5th circle Weaponsmith/3 circle elementalist Ork with 1 wound, 2 blood damage, 2 threads items, 1 thread to a group pattern who is upset that they are out of the famous cinnabuns at the Restless Troll in Haven.

With a successful roll against the MD, what can we assume you would know?
1: That they are an adept (Yes)
2: The primary discipline? What about any second or third ones? Would you be able to tell what circle?
3: Overall state of health? (I would think yes) like wounds or Blood magic damage?
4: Thread items would show as magical even if you don't beat their MD but would it show the adept's thread to them?
5: Threads to his pattern? Is that #4? what about a group pattern thread?
6: Emotional state and overall mental well being? (I know this one is more closer to SR astral sight but let's talk about it.)
7: Anything else I've forgotten or should be listed?

Discuss

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Mataxes
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Re: Astral Sight: What does it see?

Post by Mataxes » Sat Aug 31, 2019 4:50 am

Like any other investigation, I would base what and how much (and what details) the viewer learns to be based on the number of successes on their Astral Sight test (compared to the target's Mystic Defense, modified as per the table on page 209 in the Player's Guide. At that point, just decide how many successes are needed for relevant information.

Alternately, you could approach it kind of like Creature Analysis, where each success allows the viewer to ask a question about certain details. Though I'd be inclined to "gate" certain information behind minimum success levels -- "Are they an adept?" is pretty basic, and perhaps a general sense of health (badly injured, maybe number of Wounds). Blood magic, permanent pattern threads, and other details like that would be a bit more specific... and once again I'm inclined to fall back on asking the player why they're trying to learn that info, and decide based on successes whether they do or not.

I'm less inclined to allow emotional state to be discerned, since there's a specific spell that does that (Divine Aura), as well as another talent (Empathic Sense). One of the things we did with ED4 was reduce how much info Astral Sight could provide, in order to avoid treading on stuff other talents and spells can do (Lifesight as another example).
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ChrisDDickey
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Re: Astral Sight: What does it see?

Post by ChrisDDickey » Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:28 am

Tough questions, and there is a lot of GM interpretation to be done.

The rules are not very clear, and in some cases seem to be contradictory. For example the section you quoted says that "the talents, spells, and abilities characters use provide a limited type of astral perception called astral sensing". However there are several Talents and several spells that provide information. One of these Talents is called Astral Sight, and one of the spells is called Astral Sense. People immediately leap to the conclusion that all the information discussed in that section is available through Astral Sight Talent alone, since that seems to be the Astral Sense Talent. However it might be that only some of information discussed in that section is available through Astral Sight alone, and some information requires other Astral Sensing Talents, such as Lifesight or the Divine Aura spell. At first glance it seems clear, but upon study I suspect that the first assumption people leap to might be wrong.

So a GM needs to interpret the rules heavily, and I am going to give my interpretation, which is not official and might not be correct.

My interpretation is that where it says "Astral Sensing" it is referring to: Thread Sight, Astral Sight, Astral Sense, Divine Aura, Lifesight, Matrix Sight, etc. Each providing different access to information in different ways and amounts.


The short answer is that much of what you ask about is available, but almost none of it is available at a glance, each one requires it's own separate observation (or worse yet, period of extended study). Much of it also requires a roll to understand (or assense) the information. Worse, you ought to look at the lifesight talents, matrix sight talents, and Divine Aura spells and realize that what they give you access to is ether not available from plane vanilla Astral Sight, or is at least not as readily available.

Another problem is that there are two aspects of it, seeing information and understanding information. Astral Sight and Life Sight allow you to see stuff, but Astral Sight provides no help in understanding what you are seeing. Life Sight and Divine Aura are more like the Assensing that allows you to actually interpret what you see and turn it into useful information. This is kind of horrible for the GM, as the information is there to be seen with Astral Sight. But telling a player that he can't interpret his targets aura is always a tough sell.

The Divine Aura spell and the Lifesight talent both allows you a roll to assense the health and some other information about a target. I personally also allow a skill called Assensing (which is PER based and defaultable) that can be used instead of the roll allowed by Divine Aura. The Divine Aura spell basically just raises your assensing skill to equal your spellcasting skill (and allows karma).


At first glance with Astral Sight you only get an overview: "You see the bushes, you see the trees, you see 3 name-givers standing in front of you. The sword and armor of the first person and the weapon of the third person does not appear mundane." Then you need to focus in on specific details and start playing 20 questions. Each question requires you to see and study their pattern and takes at least one round of observation So you are not going to get all of this information at a glance, you get it doled out one round long observe action at a time. If there are three guys in front of you, you would need to go through each question 3 times to get the information on all of them.
  1. Are they an Adept? I would say you need just a single success on an Astral Sight test against the targets MD (modified for astral corruption).
  2. Disciplines? I would not say a GM was wrong to require actual long term study of their pattern for that information. If the GM wants to make it take a single round observation, then I would give one piece of information per success: He has two Disciplines, the first is Weaponsmith, the 2nd is Elementalist, He is a 5th circle Weaponsmith, he is a 3rd circle Elementalist. One can spend additional rounds studying their pattern until they get it all.
  3. Health? Life Sight, Divine Aura or Astral Sight plus assensing test (again, I let Astral Sight plus assensing substitute for Divine Aura, and make assensing defaultable to PER. So the information is there if they roll lucky enough.
  4. Thread Items would show as magical, but threads would only show if you specifically looked for them. Could use Astral Sight or thread sight (long term sustained action) and beat the MD of the item. Note that unless the person is touching the item, you can't trace the thread back to the person it is tied to.
  5. You could probably see threads tied to a group pattern via thread sight, maybe not astral sight.
  6. Emotional Health and Wellbeing? Divine Aura or Astral Sight plus Assensing test. P.S. You would only get that they were upset. You would get nothing about cinnamon buns, it's not mind reading.
  7. You don't see the Elemental Matraxes with Astral Sight, you need Matrix Sight. If he had an object matrix, you would see that he had another magic item, but you would have no idea it was a matrix object until using Matrix Sight or after one week of Item History.
For further reading you might look at...
Divine Aura http://www.fasagames.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1239
and the very long thread on Astral Sense: http://fasagames.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1032
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

Telarus
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Re: Astral Sight: What does it see?

Post by Telarus » Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:20 pm

Agreed. Each "detail" requires a successful check over multiple rounds, and some information in-detail is gated behind certain powers. Which means setting up a target for extended surveillance is a thing.

utsukushi
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Re: Astral Sight: What does it see?

Post by utsukushi » Sun Oct 06, 2019 7:38 pm

I have kind of a related question.

So, you invoke Astral Sight, and you can see the astral imprints of anything/anyone whose Mystic Defense you beat for a number of Rounds equal to your rank. And I agree completely with the idea here, that you first just see like, basic forms, and can then try to look more intently.

But this bit,
Each use of the talent lasts for a number of rounds equal to the Astral Sight rank,
and the adept can only see astral impressions that are within his Astral Sight rank x10
yards.
...How do those two pieces interact? So you see everything within range when you invoke the Talent, and then have your rank number of Rounds to study them if you want. But, say you have Rank 4 Astral Sight - so you invoke it, detect things within 40 yards, and then move up 30 yards over the next couple rounds. Do you automatically see everything in your new 40 yard radius? Or if you use your Astral Sight, and then something that was 45 yards away comes closer - do you sense that?

Bonhumm
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Re: Astral Sight: What does it see?

Post by Bonhumm » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:21 pm

Just clarifying a few things here:

Astral Sight itself only has to beat the difficulty of the local Astral Space to see 'everything' (i.e. 6+whatever level of corruption). You do NOT need to beat the Mystic Defense of the things/person around you to see their Imprints.

You only need to beat their Mystic Defense if you want to study their Pattern.

So, in your example of moving while 'Astral Sighting' your range is still 40 yards, so no matter where you move, you see the imprints of everything that is 40 yards around your CURRENT location, NOT the location you where when you started using Astral Sight (i.e: just like normal sight).

This is, of course, unless your movement would suddenly bring you into a zone with an higher Astral Pollution level, in which case you might lose sight if your original roll was not high enough to beat the new difficulty. I find it unlikely that such difference could happens within 'walking range'.

utsukushi
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Re: Astral Sight: What does it see?

Post by utsukushi » Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:43 am

Astral Sight itself only has to beat the difficulty of the local Astral Space to see 'everything' (i.e. 6+whatever level of corruption). You do NOT need to beat the Mystic Defense of the things/person around you to see their Imprints.
Huh... I can see that. I read that sentence as much more general - beating a 6 lets you see into Astral Space, opening up the potential to see astral imprints like, broadly speaking. But specific imprints still require your roll to be higher than their Mystic Defense. But really looking at it, I can't deny that that interpretation goes all the way back to First Edition, where it was spelled out that way very specifically. Hm. I don't know. I really like the question, for example, of whether an item isn't particularly visible because it's not magical, or because it's too magical. And at least having the potential of not finding every possible enemy every single time. Taking away those uncertainties completely all with a DN of 6 feels... awfully strong.

I think the basis of my question is really this: I have the strong feeling that Astral Sight is meant to be used for studying specific things -- trying to learn the basics about a Thread Item, or to divine information about a particular NPC, that sort of thing. What I see it actually used for is almost exclusively Heat Sight But Better, and your basic D&D Detect Magic. I don't really like that, but... I guess it is how it's written. Thanks!


*--Albeit, costing Strain, but once you have a couple Ranks in it the duration makes that mostly irrelevant.

ChrisDDickey
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Re: Astral Sight: What does it see?

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:39 am

utsukushi wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:43 am
I think the basis of my question is really this: I have the strong feeling that Astral Sight is meant to be used for studying specific things -- trying to learn the basics about a Thread Item, or to divine information about a particular NPC, that sort of thing. What I see it actually used for is almost exclusively Heat Sight But Better, and your basic D&D Detect Magic. I don't really like that, but... I guess it is how it's written. Thanks!
I agree, I think you have put your finger directly upon the difference between what the designers say that they intended, and how most players really, really, want to use it.

I think that one solution that a GM can use, is to try to make it clear that Astral Sight is not "heat sight, but better", but actually, "heat sight, but worse". I always try to describe things as if seen through a heavy fog, shapes with most of the detail washed out. They see "several shapes in the form of bushes and trees, and a humanoid shape standing in the open, holding a long object", but at first glance, it could be ether a human with a sword, or an orc with a some firewood, or really anybody. A not particularly good roll might not at first notice the guy standing next to the bushes or the guy leaning against the tree. Yes, you have the ability to see things, but the interpretation of the shapes you see come only with attention and observation. Describing things like this is perfectly within the RaW, but very annoying to the guys who feel that it ought to be crisp and clear "Heat Sight, but better".
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

utsukushi
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Re: Astral Sight: What does it see?

Post by utsukushi » Mon Oct 07, 2019 5:21 pm

That does help me! I was working my way there, but not fast enough. Thanks!

Slimcreeper
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Re: Astral Sight: What does it see?

Post by Slimcreeper » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:39 pm

A+ discussion.

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