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Old 10-20-2019, 05:40 PM   #1
David L Pulver
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Default Woodsman Problem?

I've been statting up a tribe of desert-dwelling hobgoblins.

In order for them to survive in the wilderness, they seem to need Woodsman talent - but it requires IQ 11 and Naturalist! Which seems very out of character.

I think a LOT of local IQ types, humans, orcs, gargolyes, whatever - should be able to avoid the penalties detailed in Woodsman for a 1-2 point talent available at IQ 7-8.

The more I think about this, the more it seems like Woodsman shouldn't be an IQ 11 talent that requires Naturalist - it should ideally be an IQ 7 talent!

Perhaps there should be a rule that if you have Area Knowledge for a particular area you gain the avantages of Woodsman, but only within that area?
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Old 10-20-2019, 06:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: Woodsman Problem?

Yeah, I think it makes sense to let Area Knowledge do that, if the area knowledge is about the outdoors at that location. It could also apply to at least some aspects of survival in a location that happens to be very similar, if the GM thinks so.

Hobgoblins and other races who might learn talents but average below human IQ might also have some more lower-IQ talents. I know a TFT GM who made a whole set of primitive talents just for hobgoblins.

Woodsman seems to apply to all terrain types.
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Old 10-20-2019, 07:01 PM   #3
David L Pulver
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Default Re: Woodsman Problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
Yeah, I think it makes sense to let Area Knowledge do that, if the area knowledge is about the outdoors at that location. It could also apply to at least some aspects of survival in a location that happens to be very similar, if the GM thinks so.

Hobgoblins and other races who might learn talents but average below human IQ might also have some more lower-IQ talents. I know a TFT GM who made a whole set of primitive talents just for hobgoblins.

Woodsman seems to apply to all terrain types.
Yeah, having it serve as a locational specific cheaper version seems reasonably balanced.

I know what you mean about primitive talents. Actually, while the current edition added a few useful ones, it would be nice to have a few more - sometimes it's a struggle to "fill up" the talent roster for an IQ 7 or IQ 8 character without making them know lots of languages or weapons...

(Maybe some races have the ability to buy talents that are higher IQ for humans - maybe Acute Hearing, Silent Movement, Tracking, Woodsman, etc. - as if they were IQ 7, as a sort of innate Racial Talent option. They still have to pay the full cost, but they get access to them. "Beastial nature" or something.)
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Last edited by David L Pulver; 10-20-2019 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 10-20-2019, 07:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Woodsman Problem?

A party with one Area Knowledge member shouldn't have trouble with survival in their home range.

Once you get to IQ 8 there are a few spells well worth knowing.

A lot of the hunter-gather mundane talents really ought to be IQ 7.

Or add IQ 7 primitive variants of talents such as Armourer for flint knapping and such. An IQ 7 weaver can make a hammock, but don't expect to sell it as anything other than a curiosity.
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Old 10-20-2019, 09:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: Woodsman Problem?

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Originally Posted by David L Pulver View Post
In order for them to survive in the wilderness, they seem to need Woodsman talent - but it requires IQ 11 and Naturalist! Which seems very out of character.
Why can't they just have "natural" Naturalist Talent, like Apes and Monkeys (ITL p90) ?
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Old 10-20-2019, 11:45 PM   #6
David L Pulver
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Default Re: Woodsman Problem?

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Why can't they just have "natural" Naturalist Talent, like Apes and Monkeys (ITL p90) ?
They could, but that feels more like an instinctive thing.

While hobgoblins are one example, the same argument would apply to humans, orcs, etc. -- while there is nothing wrong with an expert woodsman (as the talent says) being IQ 11, the actual game mechanics of the Woodsman talent (which contain the only TFT wilderness survival and foraging rules) don't feel to me like something that should be limited to humans, orcs, hobgoblins, etc. with above-average IQ.

I think there have been many examples in history of entire tribal or barbarian populations where half or more of the adult population had these characteristics, and it seems unlikely to me that all were IQ 11+. This is especially so as the standard TFT fighter is often of the ST 12, DX 12, IQ 8 type, and it seems wrong to me to require large fractions of a barbarian horde of desert nomads or forest orcs or something like that to instead have to be something ST 10, DX 10, IQ 11 just to survive, while their "civilized" counterparts get to be ST 12, DX 12, IQ 8 warriors.

Now, I can make up reasonable sounding justifications for this ("you're cunning in the wild"), and in some ways it produces interesting tactical effects (folk from civilized areas are better fighters but less alert/perceptive, for the same point total), but it still seems to produce a somewhat odd character dynamic
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Old 10-21-2019, 12:21 AM   #7
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Default Re: Woodsman Problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David L Pulver View Post
I know what you mean about primitive talents. Actually, while the current edition added a few useful ones, it would be nice to have a few more - sometimes it's a struggle to "fill up" the talent roster for an IQ 7 or IQ 8 character without making them know lots of languages or weapons...
This is another reason why I allow characters to learn talent points up to their IQ when they raise IQ (after appropriate study time). So a fighter character might start at IQ 8 but not necessarily take 8 points of talents, so that when they raise their IQ later, they don't have to spend 500 XP to learn a talent point because they have some unused potential as well as the new points from raising IQ with experience.
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Old 10-24-2019, 03:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: Woodsman Problem?

Here's my take on the question. First off, you're the GM; do what you want. Now that I've said that let me expand on it with some thoughtful comments. I was looking at the listing in ITL and what struck me was the phrase "living off the land" (in quotation marks in the book). I would take that phrase as suggesting that this talent would be for anybody for whom "living off the land" was not their normal environment. I see it as a parallel equivalent to a talent of "Urban Dwelling". There isn't one but If it did it would be somewhat lower than "Streetwise". Not everybody who lives in the city is streetwise, but they probably know the basics of living in that environment. It seems reasonable to me to give that talent (Woodsman) to any character naturally from that community.

Last edited by Les Haskell; 10-25-2019 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 10-24-2019, 04:06 PM   #9
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Default Re: Woodsman Problem?

Take for example a 16 year old girl who has resided within the Dranning Wizard Academy for the past decade. What would you think her chances are of finding shelter, food, water, hiding places, and named residents inside that facility?

Now teleport her one mile outside those walls into the slums surrounding Dranning. What are her chances now?

How would you indicate this on her character sheet?
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Old 10-24-2019, 04:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: Woodsman Problem?

I believe this is an issue of folks having trouble drawing a line between things characters are implicitly assumed to know how to do vs. those that are described by a talent. In this respect, it is a little like the debate OSR fans have over thief skills vs. non-thieves doing broadly similar things. In any case, my interpretation is that Woodsman talent gives you Aragorn-like skills in the wilds, and that people who lack that talent will get along fine in generally familiar and only-semi-hostile surroundings, but are in trouble if they put themselves somewhere really inhospitable.
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