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Old 05-04-2018, 05:44 AM   #41
Rick_Smith
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Coquitlam B.C.
Default Re: Talent System - Don't add more talents?

Hi Everyone,
It sounds like Steve has come to a decision, so this is moot. But I disagree.

How do great swordsman distinguish themselves from fair ones? How do you represent Inigo Montoya, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, or al'Lan Mandragoran, in TFT?

You give them Sword, Fencing, (maybe Two Weapons) and...?

And nothing. You just have to give them a honking high DX and ST because there is nothing else.

Also, an IQ 12 wizard can get maybe 14 spells (with prerequisites), where as an IQ 12 hero might well get 5 to 7 talents. And the high level spells are FAR more fun and interesting than the high level talents.

Ah well.

Warm regards, Rick.
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Old 05-04-2018, 06:00 AM   #42
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Re: Talent System

A more subtle treatment of talents would draw a distinction between acquiring a talent and maintaining it. The first would be a function of IQ and age. The second would be based on the ~4000 waking hours per year we have on average, and IQ (presumably, a higher IQ will modestly reduce the number of hours required to maintain a talent).

For young characters - say through age 29 - there's no difference between the two.

But older characters might have (say) up to twice his IQ in talent points, but can only use 1 times his IQ competently. So in my case, I probably had UC III when I was 20 years old. 30 years later, at best, I have UC I. I could presumably get back to UC III and do so faster than a newbie. But that would take a lot of time. I'd guess at least 500 hours of dedicated practice over a year, plus a rigorous fitness regime that would consume another 500 hours over a year.

My friend who was a doctor but is now a lawyer still knows a LOT more about medicine and first aid than a layman, but he is NOT qualified to practice medicine anymore. He could get back up to speed, but I bet it would take a year or more to do so. Today, he's a lawyer, not a doctor.

My friend the ex-Marine sniper is still a very good shot - a showoff really. But he isn't as good as he was when he spent 20+ hours a week practicing. Today, he's a master plumber.
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Old 05-04-2018, 06:06 AM   #43
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Re: Talent System - Don't add more talents?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick_Smith View Post
Hi Everyone,
It sounds like Steve has come to a decision, so this is moot. But I disagree.

How do great swordsman distinguish themselves from fair ones? How do you represent Inigo Montoya, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, or al'Lan Mandragoran, in TFT?

You give them Sword, Fencing, (maybe Two Weapons) and...?

And nothing. You just have to give them a honking high DX and ST because there is nothing else.
Well, what else did Inigo or Fahfrd do that would merit additional talents?

Acrobatics perhaps? If you have the IQ/DX to get Sword, Fencing and Two Weapons, you can get Acrobatics I think.

The Mouser is a problem because of the way TFT's magic system works and the 3 point cost for heroes to learn spells. But since TFT doesn't set out to simulate that particular milieu, I don't think it can fairly be blamed for that. Also see my proposal for dilettante/rogues using magic.
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Old 05-04-2018, 06:21 AM   #44
Rick_Smith
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Coquitlam B.C.
Default Re: Talent System - Don't add more talents?

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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
Well, what else did Inigo or Fahfrd do that would merit additional talents? ...
Fahfrd and the other characters I quoted spent their whole careers studying the sword. Is this covered by Sword and Fencing? A beginning character could EASILY take both. A 32 attribute figure knows as much as al'Lan Mandragoran in sword fighting?

Now you might argue, "but Sword covers EVERYTHING there is to know about the sword. That is what it MEANS". Fair enough. But in that case, should it be an IQ 7, 2 mIQ cost talent? (1 mIQ cost if you have knife.)

Or look at Gregor "the Mountain" Clegane fighting Oberyn Martell. The Viper Martell (in the TV show), seemed way better than someone with IQ 7 Pole Weapon. I think that my Dance of Death talent (which allows all weapons to do extra damage, increases the chance of criticals and makes bleeding criticals more common), represents that fight far better than "Pole Weapon" talent.

EDIT: You mention that swordsmen could become better Swordsmen by taking Acrobatics. I looked up Acrobatics in ITL on page 13, and it helps you a) avoid falls, and b) climb ropes faster. I think you were meaning the talent "Combat Acrobatics", which I agree should be added to the game. Some more wicked cool talents are one of the things which I think TFT most needs.

Warm regards, Rick

Last edited by Rick_Smith; 05-04-2018 at 06:41 AM. Reason: Added paragraph on Acrobatics.
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Old 05-04-2018, 06:59 AM   #45
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: Talent System - Don't add more talents?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick_Smith View Post
Fahfrd and the other characters I quoted spent their whole careers studying the sword. Is this covered by Sword and Fencing? A beginning character could EASILY take both. A 32 attribute figure knows as much as al'Lan Mandragoran in sword fighting?

Now you might argue, "but Sword covers EVERYTHING there is to know about the sword. That is what it MEANS". Fair enough. But in that case, should it be an IQ 7, 2 mIQ cost talent? (1 mIQ cost if you have knife.)

Or look at Gregor "the Mountain" Clegane fighting Oberyn Martell. The Viper Martell (in the TV show), seemed way better than someone with IQ 7 Pole Weapon. I think that my Dance of Death talent (which allows all weapons to do extra damage, increases the chance of criticals and makes bleeding criticals more common), represents that fight far better than "Pole Weapon" talent.

EDIT: You mention that swordsmen could become better Swordsmen by taking Acrobatics. I looked up Acrobatics in ITL on page 13, and it helps you a) avoid falls, and b) climb ropes faster. I think you were meaning the talent "Combat Acrobatics", which I agree should be added to the game. Some more wicked cool talents are one of the things which I think TFT most needs.

Warm regards, Rick
I've always seen Fencing as the "Advanced Sword" talent. And at a certain point, all athletic competencies taper off, usually depending on the natural talent of the athlete. In my own case, I'm certain that I learned more in the first year of Tae Kwon Do than I did in my 8th year. In fact, it was boredom with this plateau that's largely responsible for me moving on. I didn't feel like I was getting materially better, despite all the training. And the status of being the assistant instructor (i.e., the highest ranked student) wasn't enough to keep me engaged. Nor was I inclined to become a professional kickboxer (the only professional option at the time), because frankly, I wasn't *quite* good enough with my hands, not *quite* fast enough, and my reach wasn't *quite* long enough. I simply lacked the native talent to win as a professional. <shrug>

So I don't have a problem with there being "nothing better" than Fencing except attribute improvement. It sorta matches my personal experience.

However, TFT, like most RPGs, doesn't necessarily simulate reality. Rather, it usually simulates fiction. And fiction is filled with martial artists (armed and unarmed) who carry out ridiculous feats that are as plausible as a typical comic book hero's powers. See Inigo's effortless dispatching of 4 guards in less than 2 seconds in The Princess Bride film for example.

So I also have no problem with a set of "Epic level" talents, though I'd make them optional.

Last edited by tbeard1999; 05-04-2018 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 05-04-2018, 07:13 AM   #46
Steve Jackson
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Default Re: Talent System

Just remember, if we start pushing up individual talents to individual levels, we're in GURPS.
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Old 05-04-2018, 11:13 AM   #47
Jim Kane
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Default Re: Talent System - Don't add more talents?

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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
... at a certain point, all athletic competencies taper off, usually depending on the natural talent of the athlete. In my own case, I'm certain that I learned more in the first year of Tae Kwon Do than I did in my 8th year. In fact, it was boredom with this plateau that's largely responsible for me moving on....
This is exactly correct; whether one is talking Martial Arts, Music Performance , or any other Knowledge + Dexterity based expression. The same thing holds true for Body-Building; the most measurable gains are in the beginning, then the fight to break through the plateau to each subsequent higher-level begins - with new plateaus between each.

The only real difference at the higher-levels of a thing versus a highly-competent level of a thing is in terms of exactness, finesse, precision, definition, and most importantly reduction of possibility of error in execution.

So, if one subscribes to that understanding, the question becomes: For Gaming Purposes, how high a level of specificity to replicating upper-end detail is needed to enjoy the game - or is a reasonable level of general simulation enough to keep the game and your character fascinating and fun?

Thoughts?

JK
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Old 05-04-2018, 12:32 PM   #48
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Talent System

I think talent levels that just jack up your quantitative chances at doing something are not very interesting, and they cruft up the game system (because everyone needs to keep track of levels of everything). That steers you off to GURPS, Runequest, etc.

But talents that 'unlock' some sort of capability are a great way to differentiate two characters from one another. The talent is basically an 'on/off' switch for some functional ability. If there are a couple dozen such abilities, and each character has a half dozen, that is plenty of variation among characters.

This is how the talent system works, generally. For that matter, it is also how the magic system works (i.e., magicians have some list of spells that represent the unique effects they can achieve; there are only a few dozen in total, and each character has a dozen or so).

If you want to apply this concept to fighting ability, you just to come up with a balanced, interesting (hopefully fun!) list of a dozen or so special capabilities characters might be able to buy as talents. There are already a couple things like this (e.g., Two Weapons)
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Old 05-04-2018, 12:45 PM   #49
JLV
 
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Location: Far northern California
Default Re: Talent System

Well, I hate to bring this up, but didn't En Garde have some kind of requirement for you to practice during your "downtime?" Seems like that might be a useful concept here -- in order to maintain proficiency in a Talent, you need to practice it periodically. Just spit-balling here, but maybe you need to spend one day a month practicing each of your Talents and/or Spells in order to maintain proficiency...

My skills in Ta'i Chi and Wing Tsun are probably barely at the beginner level now, 35 years after the fact and with little opportunity to practice, but I'm still one of the top 10 experts in the entire world for Targeting Intelligence, and especially weaponeering, because I still do that work periodically, even though I officially "retired" 14 years ago...
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Old 05-04-2018, 01:21 PM   #50
Rick_Smith
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Coquitlam B.C.
Default Re: Talent System - more talents welcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson View Post
Just remember, if we start pushing up individual talents to individual levels, we're in GURPS.
Hi everyone, Steve.
True, but I would argue that TFT still has too few levels of talents.

-- For pole weapons, and a few specialized skills (e.g. Climbing, Riding, Detection of Lies, Spying, etc.)... 1 level.

-- For most other character types (woodsman / rangers, swords, clerics, thieves, armorers, mechanicians, bowmen, combat leaders, swimming, builder / engineers, etc.), there are two levels of talents.

-- For Unarmed Combat talents there are 5 levels of talents.


It feels like there is less growth potential for heroes than for wizards. It does not take long before I have 'maxed out' things for heroes to take. My character won't grow or change, except just adding more attributes. With wizards, that is not the case, there are lots of really cool spells ahead of me.

(Well, not quite true. If I want to play a really good sword fighter I take Sword, Shield and Fencing. Then I can take.. Swimming? And then I can take.. Climbing? And then I take.. I don't know.. Mechanicer? But I've maxed out, really early, the sword stuff.)


It would be nice if there were a dozen more powerful talents, especially for the more poorly represented character types. These talents would ideally be: hard to get, really cool, and something beginning characters would love to grow into.


Some examples:
-- A higher level of camouflage / stealth / hiding than just Silent MA. More rules to support stealth would be welcome. Many character types (Rangers, Ninjas, Thieves, Commandos, Spies, Hard Boiled Detectives) would be helped by better stealth talents.

-- Can Unarmed Combat Five (UC v), give its defensive bonuses if you are not unarmed? As written, it does not specifically prevent a guy with a mace from gaining those cool defensive bonuses. (If it is not allowed, it should say so explicitly.) If UC v does NOT help armed figures, a hard to get talent which makes you harder to hit, like UC v, would be a boon to melee fighters.

-- Another level of talent for pole weapon users.

-- A talent that gives a bonus for fighting in formations? (Formations of pole weapons? Shield walls?). Training to fight in coordination with others is a real skill that requires practice. Rules for this would add to the variety of combats in TFT, and allow the spear carrier mooks to be a bit more intimidating to high level adventurers.

-- I feel Charisma is too powerful and too easy to get. (Especially if reaction rolls are on 1d6. I recommended elsewhere we go to a 3d6 system like GURPS.) Charisma could be split into two, each half giving a +1 bonus. Make the second bonus harder to get.

-- A couple cinematic style combat talents.

-- Another talent for runners. This likely shouldn't just bump up MA, but give better endurance for long runs, or perhaps it helps you in short sprints.

-- The best, most awesome thief is stopped by the IQ 10, Lock / Knock spell. A high IQ, magical talent that allows thieves to get thru a Lock spell would be awesome. (Perhaps the thief has to have the ability to warp mana before they can take this talent.)

-- Some talents to help HTH combat! Talents that make it harder to be jumped. Talents that allow you to escape HTH easier. These could be a Judo type talent, or the lower level UC talents could be buffed.

-- Exotic tactics could be supported. A talent that make shield rushes better? Sweeping blows are too powerful.. perhaps they could be made weaker, but a talent makes them full powered?

-- Detective and policing talents are missing. Something to help you find and understand evidence. A talent that helps you capture someone without hurting them.

Warm regards, Rick.
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