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Old 07-24-2018, 02:06 PM   #1
Chris Goodwin
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Hillsboro, Oregon, USA
Default Variant talent costs/mana

First, every talent has a "cheap cost" and an "expensive cost". Most regular talents have a cheap cost of 1 and an expensive cost of 2; most spells have a cheap cost of 1 and an expensive cost of 3.

Some talents have a cheap cost of 0 and an expensive cost of 3. These are the "base character class" type talents (fighter, wizard, thief, etc.). You can take one of these for the cheap cost, and any of the others for the expensive cost.

Fighters have a number of points to buy talents and spells with equal to their ST. Their cheap talents are the fighting ones; weapons, shields, armor, strategy, tactics.

Thieves (or, "everyone else") have a number of points to buy talents and spells with equal to their DX. Their cheap talents are the ones related to stealth and crime, and possibly those related to commerce.

Wizards have a number of points to buy talents and spells with equal to their IQ. All of the spells are cheap for wizards; nerdy talents such as literacy, sciences, and so forth, are also cheap for wizards. Wizards also have an amount of mana equal to their IQ.

Some talents might be cheap for all characters; at least one base profession, for instance.

All characters pay the expensive cost for any items not on their cheap list. All characters also have hit point values equal to their ST. "Fatigue damage" is treated as temporary hit point loss, but is otherwise taken by all characters against their ST.

This could allow for additional customization. A GM could create "spell schools", where casters have a certain list of spells for cheap and all others are expensive; this could be used to represent the split between wizard magic and clerical magic, for instance. GMs could create additional character classes; for instance, a ranger might have on their cheap list outdoors skills (climbing, stealth, survival, hunting, snares and traps, etc.) mixed with some combat and a few outdoors-related spells.
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Old 07-24-2018, 04:13 PM   #2
JLV
 
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Default Re: Variant talent costs/mana

That's a pretty clever way of approaching this, Chris. However, I've never really liked the "class" system, so I probably wouldn't use this because of that.

The varying spell cost is a brilliant idea for schools, but, again, I never really liked the "schools" concept, so again, I probably won't use this.

But regardless of my personal preferences, I can stand here and admire a very nice bit of thinking on how to do those things; and this really is very good!
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Old 07-24-2018, 09:39 PM   #3
David Bofinger
 
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Default Re: Variant talent costs/mana

I was doubtful when I started reading this but I've gradually warmed to the idea as I thought about it. But I think it's main interest to me lies in extensions you haven't made yet. I've discussed a few ideas below: I think the one I like best is to say that cheap lists should be smaller and characters should be expected to have more than one.

Thoughts on Breadth

These ideas affect the breadth of characters: can they do one thing well, or do they have a wide spread of abilities. Having schools of wizardry decreases it. Separating off e.g. scout talents from fighter talents decreases it.

If you're allowing characters to buy the right to a cheap list for just 3 then that dramatically increases potential breadth at high levels. 3 is pretty cheap, and seriously undercuts the impact of the rest of the rules. I'd look at making it more expensive, and scaling it with how many you have (cf. e.g. FFG Star Wars' handling of specialisations). So the first costs 0, the second 5, the third 10.

There's arguments both ways on breadth. If characters don't have breadth they can become boring to play, using the same hammer no matter what kind of nail they meet. On the other hand a lack of breadth within a character can create niches like being the group's thief. So adding breadth within a character can increase diversity of actions by that character, but decrease the diversity of characters within a party. To some extent it depends how large the party is: if it's small then you want lots of breadth within each character. On balance I think I'd like to see more breadth in TFT.

Miscellaneous Ideas

Replacing the "Must be taught by the Thieves' Guild," rule with a cheap list is probably a good thing: cleaner. What about Mechanician?

Thief could get Knife. Wizards could get Quarterstaff. Shield and Two-Handed Weapon could be cheap/free for fighters but cost other characters. Fighters could get First Aid.

More sophisticated (e.g. higher IQ) talents might have a large expensive to cheap ratio.

You could have a class like Druid, that gets spells and some wilderness talents cheap, but not the scholarly talents.

Different campaigns could make buying lists cheaper or more expensive. In some all lists might be free.

My Preferred Idea

You could make the lists smaller and expect characters to buy several lists. Maybe Fighter, Archer, Wilderness, Thief, Scholar, Merchant are all lists, and Wizard is several lists. So a hunter-gatherer culture character might buy Archer and Wilderness, or a druid might buy a wizard list and wilderness, or an assassin might buy Fighter and Thief, or a thief might buy Thief and Merchant. Maybe not all lists cost the same. Maybe we imagine that commoners have no lists.

Probably Dumb Ideas

You could also require characters to specify other elements of their background, e.g. country-vs-city. Country characters get Woodsman cheap, city characters have the option of e.g. Courtly Graces. Maybe this is unnecessary.

You could have more than two levels of cheapness. A wizard who specialises in certain kinds of spells might still be able to buy other spells cheaper than a fighter can. Or not.
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Old 07-25-2018, 11:18 AM   #4
Chris Goodwin
 
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Default Re: Variant talent costs/mana

Quote:
Originally Posted by JLV View Post
That's a pretty clever way of approaching this, Chris. However, I've never really liked the "class" system, so I probably wouldn't use this because of that.

The varying spell cost is a brilliant idea for schools, but, again, I never really liked the "schools" concept, so again, I probably won't use this.
Well, we effectively already have two "classes": fighter and wizard. This kind of expands them. It's more intended for designing a campaign with specific ideas and needs. Like, say I have one world where magic works this way; another one where it works that way. And so on.

Quote:
But regardless of my personal preferences, I can stand here and admire a very nice bit of thinking on how to do those things; and this really is very good!
Thanks! I posted this somewhere in one of the discussion threads; decided to make it its own thread once I saw the house rules subforum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Bofinger View Post
I was doubtful when I started reading this but I've gradually warmed to the idea as I thought about it. But I think it's main interest to me lies in extensions you haven't made yet. I've discussed a few ideas below: I think the one I like best is to say that cheap lists should be smaller and characters should be expected to have more than one.
Maybe. This whole thing is intended to be modular; it's switches and dials rather than all campaigns all the time.

Quote:
Thoughts on Breadth

These ideas affect the breadth of characters: can they do one thing well, or do they have a wide spread of abilities. Having schools of wizardry decreases it. Separating off e.g. scout talents from fighter talents decreases it.

If you're allowing characters to buy the right to a cheap list for just 3 then that dramatically increases potential breadth at high levels. 3 is pretty cheap, and seriously undercuts the impact of the rest of the rules. I'd look at making it more expensive, and scaling it with how many you have (cf. e.g. FFG Star Wars' handling of specialisations). So the first costs 0, the second 5, the third 10.

There's arguments both ways on breadth. If characters don't have breadth they can become boring to play, using the same hammer no matter what kind of nail they meet. On the other hand a lack of breadth within a character can create niches like being the group's thief. So adding breadth within a character can increase diversity of actions by that character, but decrease the diversity of characters within a party. To some extent it depends how large the party is: if it's small then you want lots of breadth within each character. On balance I think I'd like to see more breadth in TFT.
Sure. I should note I haven't playtested any of this yet, so the specifics can vary.

Quote:
Miscellaneous Ideas

Replacing the "Must be taught by the Thieves' Guild," rule with a cheap list is probably a good thing: cleaner. What about Mechanician?
Sure. The idea I was originally going for was "brawny characters, brainy characters, and everyone else." So Mechanician might spawn its own separate cheap list, or maybe as a "brainy character" you get one set of related talents, which could be mechanical and scientific stuff, instead of spells.

Quote:
Thief could get Knife. Wizards could get Quarterstaff. Shield and Two-Handed Weapon could be cheap/free for fighters but cost other characters. Fighters could get First Aid.
Absolutely! This was the idea.

Quote:
More sophisticated (e.g. higher IQ) talents might have a large expensive to cheap ratio.

You could have a class like Druid, that gets spells and some wilderness talents cheap, but not the scholarly talents.

Different campaigns could make buying lists cheaper or more expensive. In some all lists might be free.
Exactly this!

Quote:
My Preferred Idea

You could make the lists smaller and expect characters to buy several lists. Maybe Fighter, Archer, Wilderness, Thief, Scholar, Merchant are all lists, and Wizard is several lists. So a hunter-gatherer culture character might buy Archer and Wilderness, or a druid might buy a wizard list and wilderness, or an assassin might buy Fighter and Thief, or a thief might buy Thief and Merchant. Maybe not all lists cost the same. Maybe we imagine that commoners have no lists.
This was kind of what I was thinking for commoners. I don't know how many lists I personally would want to go with (this is a matter of my taste, not any failing in your suggestion) but like I said, this is supposed to be modular, so if you want to, sure!

Quote:
Probably Dumb Ideas

You could also require characters to specify other elements of their background, e.g. country-vs-city. Country characters get Woodsman cheap, city characters have the option of e.g. Courtly Graces. Maybe this is unnecessary.
Not dumb at all, but as above, maybe not to my taste.

Quote:
You could have more than two levels of cheapness. A wizard who specialises in certain kinds of spells might still be able to buy other spells cheaper than a fighter can. Or not.
That way lies a full skill point system. Not a bad thing in general, but how TFT is it? :)
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Old 07-25-2018, 12:14 PM   #5
Chris Goodwin
 
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Default Re: Variant talent costs/mana

Given today's article, the cleric would have its own cheap list. Religious knowledge, physicker, a few spells, some other bits. And then choose one set from a pair of mutually exclusive lists: physical combat or advanced clerical magic.
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Old 07-26-2018, 04:26 AM   #6
Nils_Lindeberg
 
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Default Re: Variant talent costs/mana

I am not against making certain talents cheaper if bought together. But I am absolutely set against letting fighter buy talents for ST and Rogues for DX.

It takes away the very beautiful and unique thing with TFT that no matter what you do, you always could use more of one of the other attributes. And even though ST might be more important to Fighters than to Wizards, there are still great advantages to having the secondary or third attribute high.
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Old 07-26-2018, 10:34 AM   #7
Chris Goodwin
 
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Default Re: Variant talent costs/mana

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nils_Lindeberg View Post
I am not against making certain talents cheaper if bought together. But I am absolutely set against letting fighter buy talents for ST and Rogues for DX.

It takes away the very beautiful and unique thing with TFT that no matter what you do, you always could use more of one of the other attributes. And even though ST might be more important to Fighters than to Wizards, there are still great advantages to having the secondary or third attribute high.
That's why it's a house rule. :)

The way I see it, fighter training pushes hard on physical strength and health as well as general skill training. To me, it starts to seem like Strength represents both. Any time and energy a fighter puts into non-fighting pursuits takes away from their fighter training, so those points get spent on other talents as well. The same applies to wizards and IQ, and for others and DX.

I would definitely keep IQ requirements on all talents, for sure.

(In my original post in this thread I used thieves as the example for DX, but it doesn't have to be thieves specifically; it should probably be "experts" instead. Every character chooses one of their stats to provide their skill slot pool, because that's where their focus has been, and that also determines their "cheap" and "expensive" talents.)
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Old 07-26-2018, 06:45 PM   #8
Anomylous
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Default Re: Variant talent costs/mana

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Goodwin View Post
Given today's article, the cleric would have its own cheap list. Religious knowledge, physicker, a few spells, some other bits. And then choose one set from a pair of mutually exclusive lists: physical combat or advanced clerical magic.
This whole line of thought is really starting to smack of a class system. I think that ideally, all talents *and spells* would cost the same to all characters, and specialization would be encouraged by synergy effects, either written in the rules (i.e. Vet costing less to learn if you already have Physicker, various talents needing prerequisites, potentially different "colleges" of magic) or simply by strategic considerations (try to do too many things and you just suck at all of them).

Nobody should be able to do everything, but I don't want characters hedged into specific niches by the game system itself. If I liked that kind of artificial constraint, I'd be playing D&D.

EDIT:

Quote:
My Preferred Idea

You could make the lists smaller and expect characters to buy several lists. Maybe Fighter, Archer, Wilderness, Thief, Scholar, Merchant are all lists, and Wizard is several lists. So a hunter-gatherer culture character might buy Archer and Wilderness, or a druid might buy a wizard list and wilderness, or an assassin might buy Fighter and Thief, or a thief might buy Thief and Merchant. Maybe not all lists cost the same. Maybe we imagine that commoners have no lists.
On thinking about it, I actually like this idea pretty well. It seems like it wouldn't change basic character designs that much for non-magic-using characters - they're generally built around one or two roles, anyway, if they want to be effective. The big appeal of it is that it allows character designs like the "druid" or "cleric", formerly not possible with the strict hero/wizard divide.

Last edited by Anomylous; 07-29-2018 at 10:41 PM. Reason: actually thought about what I said
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Old 07-27-2018, 04:37 AM   #9
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: Variant talent costs/mana

Since PCs will be buying many, if not most, of their talents directly with XP, using ST, DX, or IQ to buy talents should only matter during character creation and not during advancement. So, to me, using ST instead of IQ wouldn't be that big of a deal.

I'm quite in favor of having certain talents not have an IQ prerequisite at all. Warrior and Veteran (Toughness now?) should only have ST prereqs, not an IQ prereq. Fencing and Missile Weapons could be only DX. I'm also in favor of making talents like UC have 3 attribute prereqs as a way to restrict them to advanced characters without forcing one attribute to be a dump stat.

This could play along nicely with the idea of "talent packs" Chris talks about in the OP.
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Old 07-29-2018, 10:50 AM   #10
hcobb
 
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Default Re: Variant talent costs/mana

I'd like to see both talents and a skills tree, but only in the advanced game.

Each character gets a number of skills equal to their IQ (spells as skills), but most skills require one or more of other skills, talents and attributes to be taken first.

While most humans wouldn't have any talents, each heroic PC starts with a small number of points in talents (say 4) as a minimum and can allocate more as needed. This initial talent pool would then cover the average skills of a generic Melee fighter or Wizard mage. This would balance basic rules hazards against advanced rules characters.

A rogue character would then take one spell type talent (say Detection Magic), a few Melee talents (no Shield talent for you), and a few extra talents (Alertness, Stealth?) and would dip into overall attributes to pay for the extra talents.

To keep things simple just assume that any basic rules character has the talents and skills assumed in their gear and spells. Any advanced rules character or monster can be used in the basic rules by just ignoring the extra bits.

Each missing prerequisite is a flat -4 adjustment. So any man could learn the Lightning skill if he had one skill slot for it. But without the Air Spells talent, and the Rain and Light spells prerequisites he's at -12 on IQ to cast it. If he doesn't have the Ranged talent then he's at -1 per hex to hit a target, assuming he casts the spell in the first place.

Anybody can pick up a longbow and attempt to make multiple shots in a single round, but without the Quick Draw talent and the bow and multishot skills that's at -12 to DX. Also the Ranged talent would be useful to actually hit anything more than a few hexes away.

A Rogue who doesn't have the Shield talent is at -4 DX to do most anything until she takes the shield off.

Race templates would eat into the four initial talents and add racial handicaps to pay for race specific talents. If you really want your otherwise human character to have one Elvin specific talent then pay double for it and his maternal grandfather was a stranger who visited one night.
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Last edited by hcobb; 07-29-2018 at 12:31 PM. Reason: elaboration
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