Pate is a self-proclaimed treasure hunter who roams around Drangleic searching for valuable loot. With an unknown motive behind him, it is uncertain if he is friend or foe.
Pate’s armor, shield and spear all strongly indicate that he does not wish to stand out, but why would that be?
His purpose is essentially the same as that of Patches the Hyena from Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls 1, he seeks to trick adventurers into traps so that he can pillage the loot from their corpses. However his strategy is more cunning than Patches’. He first greets the target as a friend, then ‘warns’ them about the trap that is ahead, but will always mention treasure. This effectively goads the adventurer into risking their life for the promised treasure (which admittedly does eventuate, just in case the adventurer does manage to survive, they cannot call Pate a liar), placing themselves in perilous circumstances to which Pate can benefit from. This is far more cunning than being directly culpable for the adventurer’s plight, which we can see in the cases of Patches, as even if they do die Pate will only have been the one to warn about the dangers.
It is very likely that Pate himself organises both the traps and the treasure for the situations he warns the player about. Alternatively he utilises an already existing circumstance. His armor indicates that Pate is meticulous in nature and incredibly calculating. All his equipment is designed to look common and hum-drum, but is in actual fact very well designed, heavily customised and always well built, despite appearances. This is in essence Pate’s character, a man who comes across as mild, friendly and hum drum, but in actual fact is cunning, calculating and anything but ordinary.
Pate’s deception spreads to his prowess in battle. We read from his spear description that this spear has accumulated power as if through the course of countless battles. Creighton will exclaim in surprise “Damn, you’re tougher than you look!” when he attacks Pate, and it is interesting that though Pate only tries to trap the player through guile therefore implying he is a coward in battle, in reality he has seen countless battles. Perhaps these scenes were created by those who survived his traps and sought to confront him face to face. A fate which happened to another ‘friend’ we meet in game…
Some time before the player arrives in Drangleic, Pate teamed up with a man known as Creighton of Mirrah, or Creighton, the Wanderer. The two of them joined forces, but we are never told why. It is possible that Pate held a strange ring which we know as the Ring of Thorns that Creighton coveted. It is easy to theorise that Pate may have pillaged the ring from one of his victims, like he did his armor. This is motivated is more likely than not because of Creighton’s outright desire to get the ring off the player should they kill Pate early and take it for themselves. Though alternative, perhaps the pair simply joined forces to try and obtain treasure. They share a pied-à-terre in Brightstone Cove Tseldora, a place probably chosen for its isolation, where they have stored the Engraved Gauntlets. We know from the description that these gauntlets are very valuable and sought after. So this may indicate that Creighton and Pate had a number of successes in their adventures before things went south.
Whatever the case, Pate certainly deceived Creighton who believed him to be a weak fool. Because of this, Creighton was trapped. Creighton will tell us that Pate took the first opportunity he had to try and off him, this is exactly what Pate does to the player the first time they meet in Forest of Fallen Giants. But Creighton managed to survive the trap and set one for Pate. Pate saw through this and once again deceived Creighton leaving him in his own trap, deeply wounding the ‘knight’s’ pride and driving him over the edge in his quest for vengeance. After we free Creighton, he will warn us about Pate and then begin his mission to end him. Later on we will encounter Pate, who will tell us that a man is out for his life. At the beginning of the conversation he will give us his armor and items if we have proved our prowess in battle alongside him. We can only assume that he gave us this equipment in the hopes of getting Creighton confused with us should we wear it. Things finally come to a head in Brightstone Cove where the two are found duelling to the death. Should we choose to kill Creighton, Pate will thank us and give us the key to his treasure, which seems like a genuine and kind gesture. However, true to form we will find that the treasure chest is trapped and Pate’s voice will leave us wanting revenge like Creighton did when he says “Ooh, that'll leave a nice scar!”