15 July 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Thread Item 39 - Twilight Embrace

This is the thirty-ninth 4E Anatomy of a Thread Item, an ongoing series about Earthdawn Fourth Edition. Introduction and Index.

Everything contained here is the work of a fan and not associated with FASA Games.

A thread item written for an online game I offered to help with thread items. This was written with the request of heavy armor; heavy armor is defined as Initiative Penalty 2 or higher for this purpose.

Looking at the character, they use a body shield (Initiative Penalty 2) and have Dexterity Step 5. This points solidly at crystal ringlet and ring mail as the best options for them. The only options really. Since they're an obsidiman and Nethermancer, crystal ringlet gives the most interesting places to explore, it's also living armor.

For this item, I wanted something on the dark end of the spectrum, but not so creepy. It didn't end up where I started with this, which was at giving bonuses when in darkness. I moved away from that because it can be a difficult condition to ensure without putting an ability that causes it. With a Nethermancer, this is tricky since they have that spell. Meaning it could be seen as somewhat useless because they already have that ability, or start requiring them to assign the spell into a matrix. Engulfing yourself in darkness may benefit you, but your allies may have a different opinion about that decision at times. There's almost certainly good solutions, but instead of spending more time trying to resolve it, I changed tacks and charted a new course.

The end result benefits a spellcaster more than a non-spellcaster on the whole, but a non-spellcaster can still effectively use every effect. That's crucial unless the thread item contains a spell matrix, which sends a pretty clear message about who the thread item is indended for.

Twilight Embrace

Maximum Threads: 2
Mystic Defense: 14
Legend Point Cost: Warden

This crystal ringlet armor is made of very small rings of dark-colored crystal, blues, purples, and black. When light shines on it, the small silver runes carved in crystal sparkle like stars.

The armor automatically resizes to the owner when a thread is attached.

Thread Rank One
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the armor’s Name.
Effect: The armor is Mystic Armor 5.

Thread Rank Two
Effect: The armor is Physical Armor 5.

Thread Rank Three
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn where the crystal used to create the armor was mined.
Effect: The wearer gains the Twilight Embrace ability. For 1 Strain as a Simple action, dark, gentle energy pours from the runes and enters into the wearer, turning their sclera black and irises silver. The wearer can see in darkness. This appears as an inversion of light and dark, where colors are inverted and darkness appears well lit and well lit areas appear dark. The wearer also gains a +2 bonus to Awareness tests in areas with no more than dim light. This lasts for thread rank minutes.

Thread Rank Four
Effect: While Twilight Embrace is active, the wearer gains +1 rank to Astral Sight and can use Astral Sight once per round without spending Strain.

Thread Rank Five
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the Name of the spirit bound to the armor.
Effect: When the wearer uses Twilight Embrace, the energy wraps around their limbs, holding and guiding them. While it is active, the wearer gains +2 to Attack or Spellcasting tests against targets they astrally sensed. If it affects multiple targets, all targets must be astrally sensed to gain the bonus.

Thread Rank Six
Effect: While Twilight Embrace is active, the wearer may spend 1 Strain as a Free action to cause the dark energy to surround an attack and infect the target. A successful Attack or Spellcasting test inflicts a -2 penalty to the target’s Mystic Defense until the end of the next round. If this attack affects more than one target, the wearer must pay 1 Strain for each affected target.

Thread Rank Seven
Key Knowledge: The owner must learn about the bound spirit.
Deed: The owner must communicate with the spirit and perform one task for it.
Effect: While Twilight Embrace is active, the wearer can increase the magnitude of a penalty they cause by 2 once per round. For example, the penalty inflicted by the Rank Six effect becomes -4. If an effect has more than one penalty (e.g., Spirit Grip), all are increased by 2.

Thread Rank Eight
Effect: While Twilight Embrace is active, the wearer gains +2 to one Action test each round.

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