IMC :: a walk in the dark, not a walk in the park

Diagrams are fun!
The Amber Pattern is about 150 yards long and 100 wide. Allowing for a man or horse to wander out onto the Pattern without touching the path, there ought to be about nine to ten courses around the center. If you considered a much tighter run of paths, you might get more, but let’s just say ten for ease.
Drawing this, I get about 7700 feet of path. That’s right, almost exactly a mile and a half. The most brutal mile and a half walk ever.
A normal stride is something like thirty inches, or two in five feet. It varies by height (Fiona walks a longer Pattern than Gerard does.) But you know based on description that as you get further into the ritual the steps get smaller and smaller until you are dragging your feet for inches of progress. But let’s just say the average Pattern step is half a normal stride.
And let’s see what happens if we say each step lasts a second.
7700 ft / 5 ft * 4 steps = 6150 seconds
The average scion walks the Pattern in 102 minutes. Fiona could easily take longer by Endurance and size. Corwin might take less time by Endurance and size.
Of course, in walking it you don’t know the passing of time. Someone could wait for you, or watch you and tell about how much time is passing. Or you could set an hour candle to burn in your rooms, teleport back there at walk’s end and subtract for the time spent walking to the Pattern room.
Then take a nap.
Do I have a point or is this another odd exercise?
Well, if the advanced rituals are based off the real, then Pattern Defense, Pattern Teleport, or Pattern Lens draw their truth from the mental sketch of that nearly timeless, full out, hour and two-thirds walk.
IMC narrative (prior to this diagram exercise) I’ve told PCs it takes over an hour to walk the Pattern. (Lucky guess.) I’ve been starting young Patternwalkers at ten minutes for completing the ‘sketch’ of the Pattern mentally so they can use Lens or Defense. Yes, that’s a terribly long time, but only 1/10 the real.
Very practiced users, like some of the Elders, can pull the mental ritual off in close to a minute. Some can’t do better than three minutes.
And I like that.
And just for fun, go find a poker deck. Put it in your pocket securely. Time yourself: how long to get the deck out, and pull the Queen of Spades?
Trump decks are hefty and have cards other than family in them. And a place Trump might not be where you expect it to be. Think about that the next time you tell your GM you are grabbing a place Trump when surprise attackers kick down your door.
Or better yet, realize something that keeps genre and Zelazny and makes sense within the ‘speed rules’ of ADRPG. Be very careful what actions you choose as logical defensive counters. Ask the GM to validate your PC’s experience.
Carry on.

added 1-11-2006
Pattern pdf file



  1. Other questions arise:
    Are any times for the effects mentioned altered based on proximity to the Pattern? (i.e., position in Shadow, Is closer faster, slower or neither?)
    Where does affecting probability fall in time use? In other words, could a character affect probability when pulling the trump deck out to “cut” to the desired trump?

  2. Our canon examples of probability control are these, near as I recall:
    “As I spun and glided I caught hold of the stuff of Shadow, sank into the feel of it, worked with the textures, possible to probable to actual, felt it coming with the finest twist, gave it that necessary fillip at the appropriate moment…” —Random, SotU
    “I have decided that it is improbable that she will answer the door.” —Flora, NPiA, a failed attempt (unless she was dogging it with Corwin and Random and the dogs there to deal with the intruders…and her grenades, of course)
    Not sure if that lends itself too fast for parlor tricks.

  3. Powers are very, very rarely useful at combat speeds —unless they are prepped and ready to go before combat or a cousin with a blade can run interference for you.

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