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Old 12-21-2021, 12:00 PM   #31
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Mundane Talents and Backgrounds

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Then all Mundane Talents should be one point for the basic level, two for better, and three for master level, to allow for mediocre Calligraphers and Master Farmers.
Where "should be" means you can add more mundane talents if you want more variety and detail, as ITL already says... and if "mediocre" means novice levels of the more complex Mundane talents, then yes.


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But again, the question is why bother if there isn't some kind of real payoff for the investment? You can put three points into Master Guitarist, but it doesn't actually give you anything nearly as useful as two points in Bard (which, admittedly, requires a modestly higher IQ).
Because no universe provides balanced "real payoff" to adventurers no matter what they choose to do with themselves! "I became a master cheesemaker instead of learning Fireball - why isn't the GM giving me cheese-based adventures?" "Yeah, the GM should look up that issue of Roleplayer that has the entire College of Cheese Magic developed, with Cheese Missile designed to be competitive with Fireball!" (No, really it does, but no, I don't want the GM to do that - would you?)

Three points in Master Guitarist does give you three points of value - in Guitar talent! You will out-guitar people with only one or two points in Guitar talent! If you're roleplaying someone who chose to develop their guitar skill to a masterful level, then that character presumably felt it was worthwhile, for that character's own reasons. If you're also a clever roleplayer who wants some other adventure-related opportunities to get out of that talent, that's up to your creativity as a player, just as it is to find someplace to use your weapon talents to advantage. Maybe that's why there are more adventurers with weapon talents than there are master guitarists. On the other hand, there are also some clever players, who may figure out that they might be able to do things like create a compelling distraction with a masterful guitar performance, and/or impress various NPCs, and/or get into close range of important people by being entertainment fit for a king, etc.


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I wouldn't want the GM to go so far out of the way as to suspend the logic of the game, either. But, if I spent three precious points on Artist, I'd be more than a little disappointed if the GM made minimal attempt to have it be relevant in the adventures, just as I would if I spent points on Remove Traps and never found opportunity to utilize the talent.
Yes, a clever GM will also think of such possibilities, though I personally would hope the GM would stick to logical ways and amounts of that. Although, if you're really a master guitarist, you may be able to develop a reputation as such by performing in appropriate places, and that would naturally tend to lead to more opportunities. And Master Guitarist may also include some amount of knowledge of how to look for guitar opportunities. Although, not all those opportunities might be adventure related, or desired.
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Old 12-21-2021, 05:59 PM   #32
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Default Re: Mundane Talents and Backgrounds

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Because no universe provides balanced "real payoff" to adventurers no matter what they choose to do with themselves!
The point cost is for game balance, at least one would think so; you pay X in order to do Y instead of paying N to do Z, and X=N-1 and the comparable utility of Y and Z are such that Z is a little more valuable (which justifies its cost of N). One should not have to pay X or N to do what amounts to Zero in-game. Anything that is essentially filling out a characterís background or personality and that has no mechanical effect on the game should cost nothing; otherwise you are just penalizing players who want a more fleshed-out character.

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Three points in Master Guitarist does give you three points of value - in Guitar talent! You will out-guitar people with only one or two points in Guitar talent!
And yet the Master Guitarist will likely wind up having the judges declare the Bard (who paid a mere two points) the winner in the guitar duel they engaged in.
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Old 12-21-2021, 11:24 PM   #33
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Default Re: Mundane Talents and Backgrounds

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Because no universe provides balanced "real payoff" to adventurers no matter what they choose to do with themselves! "I became a master cheesemaker instead of learning Fireball - why isn't the GM giving me cheese-based adventures?" "Yeah, the GM should look up that issue of Roleplayer that has the entire College of Cheese Magic developed, with Cheese Missile designed to be competitive with Fireball!"
I could kill right now for some saganaki!

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Maybe that's why there are more adventurers with weapon talents than there are master guitarists. On the other hand, there are also some clever players, who may figure out that they might be able to do things like create a compelling distraction with a masterful guitar performance, and/or impress various NPCs, and/or get into close range of important people by being entertainment fit for a king, etc.
This puts me in mind of Robert Culp's character in the sixties TV series "I Spy". Us boomers will recall he was a touring master tennis player who was secretly a CIA agent, on tennis tours in foreign countries that otherwise would be highly suspicious of any American visitor. He completed covert operations under this cover, because he was a creditably good tennis player.

Perhaps the GM would allow a goblin with Master Guitarist to be admitted to the Elf Queen's ball, when other goblins wouldn't get past the guards. But this one does because he's a reputable master at a form of something the typical bards can't provide. Or the Goblin King allows a dwarf to work at his palace because he's a master brewer and the court loves his beer.

Granted though these would be mostly special case scenarios. But it's hardly unheard of for players to build a new character specifically designed for an upcoming adventure, if the GM has telegraphed what or where that adventure may be.

Masters of mundane talents are probably more likely to be NPCs the GM drops into a story as a plot device. We used to occasionally give an NPC to a player to keep for their own when they needed a replacement character in the middle of an adventure. It might be amusing to saddle a player with such a character, just to see if they could create a use for a mundane talent they never would have chosen on their own.
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Old 12-22-2021, 09:32 AM   #34
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Default Re: Mundane Talents and Backgrounds

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Masters of mundane talents are probably more likely to be NPCs the GM drops into a story as a plot device.
Absolutely. The same applies to many Master (non-mundane) skills. A Master Armourer is useful as an NPC, less so as a character. It takes rather a lot of time, money and XP to perform that job.

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We used to occasionally give an NPC to a player to keep for their own when they needed a replacement character in the middle of an adventure. It might be amusing to saddle a player with such a character, just to see if they could create a use for a mundane talent they never would have chosen on their own.
Clever.
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Old 12-23-2021, 11:52 PM   #35
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Default Re: Mundane Talents and Backgrounds

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The point cost is for game balance, at least one would think so; you pay X in order to do Y instead of paying N to do Z, and X=N-1 and the comparable utility of Y and Z are such that Z is a little more valuable (which justifies its cost of N). One should not have to pay X or N to do what amounts to Zero in-game. Anything that is essentially filling out a characterís background or personality and that has no mechanical effect on the game should cost nothing; otherwise you are just penalizing players who want a more fleshed-out character.
I don't agree. The costs of the mundane talents are about how hard the thing is to learn.

The point is that it's a role-playing game about self-consistent imaginary game worlds that operate as one might expect NOT from min-max game theory, but as makes logical sense.

As for penalizing for "no mechanical effect", 1) ITL suggests letting PCs take a point of mundane background talent for no charge, and 2) there ARE mechanical effects of knowing a mundane talent - the GM should acknowledge the knowledge and ability of a PC with such a talent and let them use it as makes sense.


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And yet the Master Guitarist will likely wind up having the judges declare the Bard (who paid a mere two points) the winner in the guitar duel they engaged in.
Why would that be likely? Seems to me that would only happen if the judges are incompetent to judge a guitar talent contest, or are easily swayed, no?
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Old 12-24-2021, 03:44 AM   #36
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Default Re: Mundane Talents and Backgrounds

Whataboutism a mater luter who does excellent technical note playing to back up your Bard singer composer?
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Old 12-24-2021, 07:19 AM   #37
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Default Re: Mundane Talents and Backgrounds

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I don't agree. The costs of the mundane talents are about how hard the thing is to learn.
If that were true, then the point costs listed are inaccurate. The idea that learning to be an artist is somehow much harder than learning to farm is not supported by my experience.

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The point is that it's a role-playing game about self-consistent imaginary game worlds that operate as one might expect NOT from min-max game theory, but as makes logical sense.
If that were true, it would diminish the significance of points at all. But it isnít about min/maxing at all, but about some sense of rough equivalency.

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As for penalizing for "no mechanical effect", 1) ITL suggests letting PCs take a point of mundane background talent for no charge
If all Mundane Talents cost one point, I would not have an issue, since anyone could get the talent of choice at no cost at character generation. That isnít what RAW gives, even as the suggested option you mention. Another option that would be consistent would be for Mundane Talents to be required at character generation at a cost of one. And a third options would be for Mundane Talents to have tiered costs, but to be fleshed out with guidance on what you actually get for the points, e.g. a social bonus for those with higher cost, which for all practical purposes would make them standard talents.

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and 2) there ARE mechanical effects of knowing a mundane talent - the GM should acknowledge the knowledge and ability of a PC with such a talent and let them use it as makes sense.
Does Fishing confer ability to feed a party adventuring along the coast or any familiarity with boats? Does Artist give any limited form of Recognize Value or Scholar? Or, does Master Guitarist confer any of the benefits of Bard?

Who knows? The only guidance is ďItís up to the GM.Ē

And why are they all Mundane Talents IQ 8? Why not 7 or 9?

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Why would that be likely? Seems to me that would only happen if the judges are incompetent to judge a guitar talent contest, or are easily swayed, no?
Because the Bard gets a social reaction bonus (a mechanical effect) while the Master Guitarist does not.
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Old 12-24-2021, 12:10 PM   #38
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Mundane Talents and Backgrounds

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Whataboutism a mater luter who does excellent technical note playing to back up your Bard singer composer?
As long as the Bard prevents anyone saying "whataboutism", that sounds like a good idea for a great performance.


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If that were true, then the point costs listed are inaccurate. The idea that learning to be an artist is somehow much harder than learning to farm is not supported by my experience.
They're not inaccurate if you include Master Farmer for 3 points, and add Drawing for 1 point.

As I offered a while ago:
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[...] it seems natural to me that the higher costs are for talents that take more to get a useful level of skill. As ITL says, Mundane talents are also available at Master level for 3 points. So yes, there can be a lot to Farming, but 1 point in Farming is also very useful - for doing much of the basic work of farming, and knowing things about it.

Artist/Calligrapher costs 3 points because it represents a high degree of ability. It lets you do something along the lines of this: https://pro-cdn.pixelmator.com/pro/s...anuscripts.jpg If you just want to be able to make reasonably good drawings, you could take "Drawing" for 1 point. (Drawing isn't listed, but as ITL says, not everything is.)

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If that were true, it would diminish the significance of points at all. But it isnít about min/maxing at all, but about some sense of rough equivalency.
I would say the opposite, that it is true (that the talent points are mainly about a notion of how hard it feels like things would be to learn), and that it doesn't diminish the "significance" of points. It is its own level of significance apart from the significance of their utility. And if/when it makes sense, I would much rather use a value that makes sense and feels like it correctly represents effort, than choose values in a vain attempt to balance talent choices.

In fact, I would despise an RPG that achieved point-buy value-equivalence. If 1 point in Baker were as useful for an adventurer as 1 point in Crossbow, I do not want to know much about that silly universe (unless maybe it's a good joke about how silly it is).

For people concerned with balance, there is a natural balance effect when you provide many choices with values that reflect how useful and hard to learn talents would actually be. People choose to learn things that make sense for them to learn. And it leads to a world that feels real, and like you can actually experience making choices in that situation, because the values represent how they'd be.


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If all Mundane Talents cost one point, I would not have an issue, since anyone could get the talent of choice at no cost at character generation. That isnít what RAW gives, even as the suggested option you mention. Another option that would be consistent would be for Mundane Talents to be required at character generation at a cost of one. And a third options would be for Mundane Talents to have tiered costs, but to be fleshed out with guidance on what you actually get for the points, e.g. a social bonus for those with higher cost, which for all practical purposes would make them standard talents.
If they were all one point, then you could use that free point of learning to either choose to be a Draper, or a Lawyer. Any you could learn either for the same effort during play, too. You'd also have an over-abundance of PCs claiming more impressive or useful talents for free, or suddenly becoming Lawyers or Astrologers during play for the same cost as learning Knife or Swimming.

And perhaps more important, having advanced and rare knowledge is something that many players can figure out uses for in a roleplaying campaign.

Of course, if the GM doesn't care and sees no value in Lawyer and/or no need/desire to have them cost more, they can let players start with whatever, as they can anyway. But offering that some talents require more serious effort to learn seems to me like useful data that would be lost (and made more gamey) if simplified to 1 point for everything.


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Does Fishing confer ability to feed a party adventuring along the coast or any familiarity with boats? Does Artist give any limited form of Recognize Value or Scholar? Or, does Master Guitarist confer any of the benefits of Bard?

Who knows? The only guidance is ďItís up to the GM.Ē
So, the GM gets to answer those questions. As they should. Unless you want Fishing rules. I mean, I do want fishing rules, and I have come up with rulings for them them as GM several times. Yep, you can try to fish. Depends of course on your gear, where you are trying to fish, what fish are there, whether they're biting which is about various conditions, and in any case usually takes an investment of time, and is variable, etc. I usually try to apply as much or as little detail to that as the players are interested in (which can vary a lot by player). Should ITL have included a section on detailed fishing rules? Probably not. It's only one of the Mundane or other talents that could be developed into mini-games. But if/when players are into trying to fish (or use any talent beyond what has detailed rules in ITL), hopefully the GM can come up with something.

Even better if there are house rules or Hexagram articles to choose between, but again it's appropriate for the GM to be choosing which such rules to use (or tweak) or not.

Perhaps a valuable starting point would be just a more developed list of mundane talents with more levels and a little description of what each entails. Probably there ARE 1-point version of Lawyer and Astrologer but they are limited compared to the 3-point versions (just representing SOME knowledge of those fields, but not very complete knowledge).


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And why are they all Mundane Talents IQ 8? Why not 7 or 9?
Again, because it's a peripheral subject, and this lets them all be listed in one concise section. If a GM prefers to be more detailed and consistent, they probably aren't all IQ 8. One GM added a bunch of sub-human talents including Counting I, Counting II, Counting III...


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Because the Bard gets a social reaction bonus (a mechanical effect) while the Master Guitarist does not.
The GM isn't limited to determining what happens only based on what mechanics are listed in ITL.
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Old 12-24-2021, 02:53 PM   #39
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Default Re: Mundane Talents and Backgrounds

Is astrology at ITL 43 or instead Astrologer at ITL 36?
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Old 12-24-2021, 04:58 PM   #40
Steve Plambeck
 
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Default Re: Mundane Talents and Backgrounds

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If all Mundane Talents cost one point, I would not have an issue, since anyone could get the talent of choice at no cost at character generation. That isn’t what RAW gives, even as the suggested option you mention. Another option that would be consistent would be for Mundane Talents to be required at character generation at a cost of one. And a third options would be for Mundane Talents to have tiered costs, but to be fleshed out with guidance on what you actually get for the points, e.g. a social bonus for those with higher cost, which for all practical purposes would make them standard talents.

And why are they all Mundane Talents IQ 8? Why not 7 or 9?

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Perhaps a valuable starting point would be just a more developed list of mundane talents with more levels and a little description of what each entails. Probably there ARE 1-point version of Lawyer and Astrologer but they are limited compared to the 3-point versions (just representing SOME knowledge of those fields, but not very complete knowledge).
You've both anticipated my next suggested solution. I envision:

  1. A longish one or two page table of mundane talents to take the place of the paragraph about them on ITL 36. Any small, practical bonuses that might apply to certain combat or adventuring situations would be noted next to each entry in the table.
  2. Each entry has both an IQ level, probably just varied from IQ 7 to IQ 9 or 10.
  3. Each entry has a point cost of 1, 2, or 3.
  4. Some entries would be prerequisites to others.
  5. Optionally, and similar to the Jobs Table, each entry could have a weekly net income. Higher incomes belonging to the higher IQ and/or more expensive ones. This income would only apply however when the PC was taking an extended break, and was staying where such talents would be useful. You couldn't earn anything fishing during a stay with desert nomads. But unlike the Jobs Table, we wouldn't bother with assigning risk and risk rolls.
  6. Every PC would get 6 points to spend on mundane talents at character creation. If that sounds like a lot, recall I'm proposing point cost of 1, 2 and 3, and prerequisite costs in some case. All this is completely separate from the regular talent rules. Unused mundane talent points could not be used ever to add regular talents. Optionally though I see no reason not to let a PC learn a mundane talent in like, but then it would be treated the same as learning any regular talent -- unused mundane talent points would be lost forever after character generation.
Here's a sample

IQ 7 Farmhand - cost 1 - income 0
IQ 8 Farmer - cost 2 - Prerequisite: Farmhand - income 15
.........(must own a small farm to earn the income,
..........and be there full time)
IQ 9 Master Farmer - cost 3 - Prerequisite: Farmer - income 50
.........(must own a large farm or manage an estate full time)

So a new character that wishes to start as a Master Farmer has to spend all 6 of their mundane talent points on that (because of the prerequisites) and can take nothing else.

Starting as a Farmer instead only costs 3, leaving 3 points for another mundane talent or 2 at lower levels

Starting at Farmhand costs 1, guarantees you subsistence income on breaks from adventures, and leaves 5 points to take some combination of other mundane talents,

And this would become the template for any multi-level mundane skills. Of course most or many would only have one or two levels.

Keep in mind a PC starting with Master Farmer merely has that as background -- they don't own anything more than any other starting character. In fact, earning the income to buy their own farmland might well be the reason and motive to on risky adventures in the first place. Of course once they get addicted to the income, they might decide to save farming for their old age (if they survive that is).
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Last edited by Steve Plambeck; 12-24-2021 at 05:07 PM.
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