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Shadekeep 05-10-2021 08:00 AM

Escapology Talent
I mooted this for Hexagram, but Steve was unsure whether he wanted to go there or not, so I'm sharing this through House Rules instead. I've got a decent collection of House Rules going and will probably share a collated version on Shadekeep if anyone is interested. It'll have stuff like my Demihuman guidelines as well. (Radiation rules are already available as a download.) Anyway, hope you enjoy this!


The Escape Artist: Adding Escapology to TFT

Dragor looked at the bound human. The human smiled back. Dragor didn’t like that smile. There was mischief in it. Maybe later he’d prod the human in the guts with his mace. The human wouldn’t smile then. Dragor himself smiled as he turned his back on the human for a moment. He hardly had time to react to the clink of falling manacles before something struck him unconscious. He awoke to his captain bellowing at him for letting the human escape.

Escapology is the set of skills that allows one to extricate themself from bonds, cages, traps, and prisons. This is especially useful for adventurers who find themselves in trouble, held captive by mercenaries or slavers or evil wizards. With the Escapology talent one has an improved chance of gaining their freedom, and thence to fight or flee.

Escapology is a complex mundane talent, in essence a professional skill like astrology, masonry, or calligraphy. Like all mundane talents it is available at IQ 8. It cost 3 IQ points to purchase, and one must learn it from a seasoned escapist. These are often found in the Thieves Guild, otherwise one will need to seek such a master out. Escapology also has a minimum DX requirement of 12. It takes a year of training to obtain all the skills needed to be an escapist, though at the GM’s discretion a player starting with this skill can be presumed to have undergone the necessary training.

There are some tangible benefits to the escapology talent, all of which are related to escaping from bonds and breaking out of captivity.

When an escapist is manacled, bound, or otherwise constrained, they get a roll to escape these bonds. The difficulty of the bonds are determined by the GM, and the roll is against the escapist’s DX. Simple manacles might be 3/DX, whereas more involved constraints have a higher difficulty. An escapist whole fails a roll can try again on another turn, but critical failure means they cannot escape their current bonds. Characters without the escapology talent do not get these rolls.

Escapology also provides a benefit against magical bonds. An escapist rolls one less die when trying to escape from a Rope or Giant Rope spell.

Finally, if the escapist also has the Locksmith talent, they roll one fewer die when picking locks.

It can be useful to have an escapist in the party when everyone is taken captive or if boisterous party members tend to frequently end up in jail. Just be sure you can trust the escapist, as they are slippery characters.

hcobb 05-10-2021 08:27 AM

Re: Escapology Talent
I'd just lump this in with acrobatics.

Kieddicus 05-10-2021 09:35 AM

Re: Escapology Talent
I like the idea but I don't see why it should be a mundane talent as it has a description and a specified advantage to having. I also wouldn't have it help with lock picking, but rather let you pick a lock binding you.

Shadekeep 05-10-2021 09:56 AM

Re: Escapology Talent

Originally Posted by Kieddicus (Post 2379148)
I like the idea but I don't see why it should be a mundane talent as it has a description and a specified advantage to having. I also wouldn't have it help with lock picking, but rather let you pick a lock binding you.

It was written up as a mundane talent to get around the general resistance of adding new full-blown talents to TFT (they really don't want new talents in Hexagram). If I were adding it as a talent proper, I'd probably up the IQ level as well. Since I'm house ruling it I likely will make it a stand-alone talent with slightly different requirements. Same as I did for the Mediumship talent.

I can see the argument re: lockpicking. Might make sense to restrict the bonus to just locks on manacles and such. I was thinking that it could convey a general extra bonus simply because it's a pretty costly talent and only applicable in very specific circumstances otherwise. So giving it a concomitant bonus with another skill makes it a bit more attractive. Maybe it simply allows one to use Locksmith while bound, which otherwise someone with Locksmith couldn't do in this situation.

larsdangly 05-15-2021 05:46 PM

Re: Escapology Talent
Interesting and fun. My instinct would have been to call it an un-skilled DX roll or, as suggested above, Acrobatics and/or Lock Picking. But it is a harmless additional house rule, so why not.

Shadekeep 05-17-2021 07:33 AM

Re: Escapology Talent
Thanks, and yes, there are a number of ways to tackle the same mechanic. And since this skill isn't likely to come up too often in play, it also acts as "character detail" in the same way that other mundane talents do.

larsdangly 05-17-2021 10:48 AM

Re: Escapology Talent
Exactly; if a character can be a bee keeper then I don't see why they couldn't be a stage magician, or whatever, who knows how to undo a straight jacket.

hcobb 05-20-2021 11:10 AM

Re: Escapology Talent
Yes, TFT should have the Strait-Jackets of 1772 to go along with the Brown Bess muskets of 1722.

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