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Old 03-13-2019, 03:38 PM   #1
David L Pulver
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Default Magical Creatures and Talents

If you conjure an elemental does it get a full set of talents and/or spells appropriate to its IQ or is it just a "smart animal" (or newborn)?

If zombies don't have IQ, do they suffer penalties for using weapons without talents? Do they have their master's talent? Does the latter mean a wizard who doesn't know (say) Sword and Shield but wants to arm them will have a lot of useless zombies who can't hit anything with melee weapons?

Should dragons and other intelligent nonhumanoids have talents and/or spells?
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Old 03-13-2019, 04:09 PM   #2
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Default Re: Magical Creatures and Talents

I apply C.R.U.D. to answer these sorts of questions, but YMMV

https://www.hcobb.com/tft/house_rules.html#CRUD

Note that spell casting Octopi follow exactly the same rules as any IQ 10 wizard. I would apply C.R.U.D. to any creation or controlled critter and allow natural Intelligent Monsters(page 80) to have their normal skill points, with some points pre-allocated to a natural flier talent and what not.
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Old 03-14-2019, 04:36 AM   #3
Chris Rice
 
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Default Re: Magical Creatures and Talents

Quote:
Originally Posted by David L Pulver View Post
If you conjure an elemental does it get a full set of talents and/or spells appropriate to its IQ or is it just a "smart animal" (or newborn)?

If zombies don't have IQ, do they suffer penalties for using weapons without talents? Do they have their master's talent? Does the latter mean a wizard who doesn't know (say) Sword and Shield but wants to arm them will have a lot of useless zombies who can't hit anything with melee weapons?

Should dragons and other intelligent nonhumanoids have talents and/or spells?

The way I've always played these things is that a conjured creature would have no spells or Talents but would be capable of doing what it was meant to do. So a summoned Myrmidon for example would be able to use its weapon without penalty. If it dropped its sword and had to pick up a spear I'd let the myrmidon use it without penalty also. (I'd exclude peculiar weapons from that though, although I don't recall that ever coming up). I simply wouldn't worry about Talents as far as summoned creatures are concerned. I'd take the same approach with Zombies. The can pick up whatever weapon is available and fight without penalty. So, in a way, I use these creatures as they were in Melee (where there were no Talents) even when playing Advanced/ITL.

As to Dragons and other intelligent creatures, I would certainly allow them Talents and Spells if I felt they needed them or if it made the adventure more interesting, but I wouldn't do it as a matter of course.
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Old 03-14-2019, 10:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: Magical Creatures and Talents

I'm with Chris on this one -- his answer seems entirely logical and also firmly in keeping with the KISS principle to me. (Plus, it's the way we always did it, too! ;-) )

Dragons are a slightly different story, but to my mind it depends on two things; 1) how much do you want to "characterize" a dragon, and 2) what is the intent of "dragons" in your personal campaign. If they are incredibly rare one-offs, I can see going the whole nine yards on building them as complex creatures/villains (maybe even heroes, depending again on your campaign), but if they're just another boss monster, I wouldn't personally bother with them too much since they do that without a lot of tinkering.
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Old 03-15-2019, 07:51 AM   #5
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Default Re: Magical Creatures and Talents

As written dragons are very very wimpy.

I've buffed them up quite a bit, without making them kung-fu dragons.

https://www.hcobb.com/tft/house_rules.html#dragons
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Old 03-15-2019, 11:16 AM   #6
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Default Re: Magical Creatures and Talents

I too agree with Chris, and I think some of what he wrote is actually called out in the rules here and there.

That is, summoned creatures are conjured from magical energy, and have no education. They can start with basic weapon talents but not peculiar or expert-type ones (no Thrown Weapons, Toughness, Running, Expert/Master, Unarmed Combat, Physicker, Scholar, etc).

Elementals are created by Create Elemental - it doesn't summon ones that have been around that might have learned talents, though if you find such an elemental, you can try to control it, and then it's up to the GM whether that elemental might have learned any talents or not. I tend to think elementals are pretty focused on tuning into their element and nature etc rather than learning practical ego-talents the way human adventurers do, but there might be some exceptions.

As for dragons, I have been developing them and have considered that:

* It would be a balance issue to let the dragons wizards can summon (or make illusions of) have increased abilities.

* The dragons as written are rather weak for creatures of their size, let alone description, especially 4-hex dragons.

Therefore I think the as-summoned dragons are like minimal vanilla versions with no life experience.

I think actual dragons that have experienced and survived life in the wild may tend to have talents, increased stats, and/or spells.

I ran the talents and spells idea by Steve on TFT Discord, and he said off the cuff that seemed to make sense and that he'd not consider giving some a spell or two "an awful heresy". ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by me on TFT Discord
I think dragons shouldn't be much stronger if the summon dragon spells are unchanged, but 4 hex Dragon has ST of a bear, only does 2d-2 with claws, and if it uses breath, drains it's own ST fast. I am thinking dragons from spells might be like domestic low end ones, and real experienced ones would have higher ST and talents.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve on TFT Discord
That would make sense.
Quote:
Originally Posted by me on TFT Discord
Oh, and I know it was 30 years ago, but when you wrote in ITL that dragons are never wizards, does that mean they also can't learn spells for 3 points? Or might some older ones have learned a spell or two?
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Originally Posted by Steve on TFT Discord
I would not consider that an awful heresy.
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Old 03-17-2019, 12:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: Magical Creatures and Talents

I rule that Zombies retain IQ-7 weapons talents from life mostly because the troupe of arming them with whatever they died wielding.

If you find a ghost scholar bound into his own journal does he retain all of his living skills and languages?

How about a wizard's ghost bound to her own staff? Does she remember all of her spells? What if she had a mana stat?
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:47 AM   #8
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Default Re: Magical Creatures and Talents

I'll happily give high IQ creatures talents and, if it fits their M.O., spells. I try not to be too munchkin-y about it, and instead focus on things that reenforce characteristics we associate with that creature. A dragon with Alertness and Acute Hearing and spells of mind control is cool. A dragon who summons a bunch of myrmedons because he can absorb the ST costs is not cool (in my book).
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Old 03-18-2019, 12:33 PM   #9
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Magical Creatures and Talents

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Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
I'll happily give high IQ creatures talents and, if it fits their M.O., spells. I try not to be too munchkin-y about it, and instead focus on things that reenforce characteristics we associate with that creature. A dragon with Alertness and Acute Hearing and spells of mind control is cool. A dragon who summons a bunch of myrmedons because he can absorb the ST costs is not cool (in my book).
I agree I'd want creature talents and spells to be in-character for the creature.
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