Arref offers the latest IMC:
In your campaigns, does walking the Pattern get easier? Do the Endurance mavens have an easy time of it? Or the Advanced Pattern types?”
In my campaign, the difficulty level is not a smooth curve.
The first walk is usually harder than several of (if any) subsequent walks.
Why? Two factors are at work.
First, there is the matter of learning what to expect. Even if there is extensive preparation, nothing really makes you ready for the various dangers and peculiarities of the Pattern. The veils, the Grand Curve…the final steps of agony. Someone walking the Pattern for the first time is experiencing this first hand for the first time…and that’s a challenge. A second or third walk allows the Amberite the wisdom of their previous experiences as a guide.
The second factor is a matter of power attunement. I do, in many of my games, take much of Merlin’s series as canonical. Thus, there is a sentience to the Pattern in SB (although other games I have done I’ve eschewed the idea). The Pattern, itself, is meeting the Amberite for the first time and thus makes the first walk a more comprehensive and harder experience than many of the subsequent ones, since it’s taking the measure of the scion of Amber.
This is why many Pattern Ghosts date from the first walk of the Pattern, rather than subsequent ones. It is because the first walk usually produces a richer or deeper copy of the person to make a Pattern Ghost.
As far as what helps to survive the Pattern Walk? Advanced Pattern doesn’t usually give too much of an advantage–Endurance is the main discriminant. But a Pattern Walk is not to be done lightly, doing a Pattern Walk for the sake of a teleport to a nearby place is, well, reckless, to many of my characters and NPCs. And there is a bit of an “patternstatic” charge built up after multiple walks…so the difficulty does increase after multiple walks–especially when those walks are close together in time. (weeks or months, rather than years)