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Steve Jackson 07-16-2018 03:05 PM

Another Approach to Spell/Talent Cost
Starting a new thread because some of the old ones have been going in different directions.

What if spells and talents did not have a flat cost, just got more and more expensive, but there was no ceiling on how many you could know? (Yes, this would make the new edition the flat reverse of the old one, where spells/talents were limited but attributes had no ceiling."

The XP cost, regardless of your IQ, is the number of spells or talents you know now, times [arbitrary WAG number] 400, times the “difficulty” of the spell or talent. All spells have a difficulty of 1; talents range from 1 (most) to 4 (Unarmed Combat V). [Difficulty equals current "momory slots" used.]

For comparison: the cost for increased attributes in the current draft:
Added attribute point - XP cost
33rd or lower – 100 XP - deliberately cheap to encourage the new character!
34th – 200
35th – 400
36th – 800
37th – 1,200
38th – 1,600
39th – 2,000
40th – 3,000
41st and later – Magic is needed.

zot 07-16-2018 03:14 PM

Re: Another Approach to Spell/Talent Cost
What about total points instead of total spells / talents?

guymc 07-16-2018 04:03 PM

Re: Another Approach to Spell/Talent Cost
Radical. But interesting. Allows for the improbably multi-talented character to exist, but makes you pay for it. If anything that base of 400 XP may be too high

zot 07-16-2018 04:10 PM

Re: Another Approach to Spell/Talent Cost
What about a flat rate of 300 XP per talent point? That's 17 talent points a year, assuming no attribute increases at all and 100 XP per weekly game session (and an optimistic 51 sessions a year). Rick counted 196 total talent points in ITL, which would take eleven years to purchase at 300 XP per talent point.

Assuming Rick Smith's Grey Mouser starts out with IQ 14 and 14 talent points and the purchases the remaining 17 points of talents at 300 XP per point, it would take someone 3 years to build him, without buying any spells (assuming the Grey Mouser is a 40-point character). One year for the talents (5100 XP), two years for the attribute points (9300 XP).


Originally Posted by Rick_Smith (Post 2192327)
Sword(2), Two Handed Weapons (3) (he wields scalpel & cats claw), Fencing (3), Thrown Weapons (2), Seamanship (1), Boating (1), Sex Appeal (1), Running (2), Horsemanship (1), Swimming (1), Charisma (2), Silent Movement (2), Recognize Value (1), Assess Value(1), Climbing (1) (He and Fafrd climbed the mountain Stardock after all), Brawling (1), Thief (2), Master Thief (2), Disguise (2) and a couple spells since he was trained as a magician and occasionally dabbled in magic.

To me, 17 talent points per year, one talent point for 3 sessions worth of XP, isn't too quick or overpowered.

guymc 07-16-2018 04:30 PM

Re: Another Approach to Spell/Talent Cost
That “times the number of talents spells you already have” does escalate the cost pretty fast. On the one hand, I like flat costs because they are easy to keep track of. On the other, being improbably multitalented should be hard to accomplish. Can we find a middle ground there? How about doubling the flat rate once you pass a fixed number of talents/spells we would consider “normal” for an adventurer (higher than an average citizen, lower than a reknowned hero).it would double again after passing a certain point where the character is hitting the level of “legendary”. I’d consider the Mouser legendary.

So, that would be:
Adventurer: 300 XP buys 1 Spell or 300 X Talent Level buys 1 Talent.
Notable: 600 XP buys 1 Spell or 600 X Talent Level buys 1 Talent.
Legend: 1200 XP buys 1 Spell or 1200 X Talent Level buys 1 Talent.

Assuming those figures just as a place to start, where would we put the cutoffs for the three categories?

RobW 07-16-2018 04:44 PM

Re: Another Approach to Spell/Talent Cost
I very much prefer the idea of increasing talent costs to a fixed number of slots.

Couldn't something similar be done with attributes as well?

JLV 07-16-2018 04:58 PM

Re: Another Approach to Spell/Talent Cost
I actually like that idea a lot -- it solves a large number of issues that are currently causing dispute on the board here.

Of course, it may introduce new reasons for dispute, but I like the idea because it actually allows for the occasional "one in a million" character to occur -- if he's incredibly lucky.

In effect, most characters will stay within the bounds that you would expect (because most of them won't have the opportunity to exceed those bounds due to either a literal lack of opportunity, or because of untimely death); but at the same time the potential to create and improve a character to the Fahfred/Grey Mouser standard is implicit in the new system...

Yep, I think you might have found the middle way that allows the best of both worlds!

guymc 07-16-2018 05:02 PM

Re: Another Approach to Spell/Talent Cost

Originally Posted by RobW (Post 2192933)
I very much prefer the idea of increasing talent costs to a fixed number of slots.

Couldn't something similar be done with attributes as well?

Hm. Probably not without seriously tossing too much else into a cocked hat, notably Melee and Wizard. Let’s see what Steve thinks.

Steve Jackson 07-16-2018 05:07 PM

Re: Another Approach to Spell/Talent Cost
Rob, anything that allows unlimited increase of attributes will, by definition, lead to attribute bloat. Since the basic 3d6 roll is wedded to the attribute scores, anything that gets attributes up above 16 leads to characters that cannot be challenged without bumping all rolls up by a die or two - and the cycle continues.

Skarg 07-16-2018 05:17 PM

Re: Another Approach to Spell/Talent Cost
Did you mean 400 or 40?

Some starting-character examples:

George is an IQ 8 warrior starts with Sword, Crossbow, Shield, Swimming, Acute Hearing.
A new talent would cost 5 (known talents) x 400 = 2000 XP x new talent value.
The next talents would cost 6 x 400 = 2400 XP.

Zap the IQ 12 wizard knows 12 spells.
A new spell would cost 12 x 400 = 4800 XP

Those numbers are more than adding a 39th or 40th attribute, respectively, so yeah, a high WAG number indeed.

If you meant 40, that'd be 240 or 480 for those examples, which is slightly more than the 34th or 35th attribute, per difficulty.

There is something of an incentive to learn your more difficult talents first, since the cost seems to based on talents not total talent points (?). It might be better to have it based on total talent points known so far (and lower the multiplier farther still to compensate), so that would remove that peculiar learning-economy tactic.

If the multiplier were 30 and we used talent points, then:

George would pay 8 x 30 = 240 XP per difficulty point for his first extra talent.

Zap would pay 12 x 30 = 360 XP for his first extra spell.

Sir Prudent the knight who already has Sword, Shield, Pole Weapons, Expert Horsemanship, Brawling, Toughness (2), Swimming, Tactics and Courtly Graces
and who wanted to add Weapon Expert (3) would need to pay 14 x 30 = 420 x 3 = 1260 XP, about the cost of someone buying their 37th attribute. (Hmm, maybe the multiplier should be a little higher then?)

Also it wants clarification of what happens when someone does raise their IQ attribute.

e.g. Tom the wizard has IQ 10 and knows 10 spells. He raises his IQ to 11 - I would assume he can now learn one more spell as in AW by time & circumstances without paying more EP?

Ok, so now what if Tom uses his next XP windfall to get a spell with EP. Now he has IQ 11 and 12 spells. Over more adventures, he raises his IQ by 2 points, but doesn't learn any new spells or talents. He's now IQ 13 with 12 spells (one of which he bought with XP). What if he now wants to learn 2 spells (or a talent costing 2 points)? One of those would be over IQ, but he already bought one point of talent with XP, so can he just learn two more points now, because we remember one of his memory points came from XP? (i.e. this is how Rick's mIQ house rules work, which I like and just needs to be explained clearly, but some people dislike the term mIQ.)

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