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Old 01-31-2023, 12:44 PM   #1
Shostak
 
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: New England
Default Talent/Spell of the Week: Area Knowledge

For 1 point, this IQ 8 talent represents a character’s acquaintance with a particular area, with larger places being known in less detail than smaller ones. The area is up to the player and GM to define, but some possibilities are: a sprawling castle or estate; a neighborhood; a city; a forest, bay, swamp, or mountain range; and a gate network. Although somewhat similar to Streetwise, Area Knowledge is broader than just networks and commodities of the criminal underworld and it does not call for IQ rolls to know something.

Someone with Area Knowledge of a trade route might know where to find a comfy bed, fresh horses, potable water, which money changers cheat you, where to be on special alert for ambushes, and which checkpoints with more persuadable officials.

One can imagine that a Woodsman operating in a wilderness region for which he has Area Knowledge would be at a significant advantage when trying to find food, shelter, or materials with which to improvise supplies or tools. Someone with Area Knowledge of a trade route will know which stretches of trail or road tend to flood and what detours might be available, while someone who also has Woodsman will know if the amount of rain or snow will be enough to make the flood zones impassible. Similarly, one could reasonably expect someone with Streetwise and Area Knowledge of a city or town who has the town watch in hot pursuit to be able to find a shortcut to a neighborhood likely to have vendors or urchins willing to spontaneously lend a hand.

Power gamers might think this talent is a useless waste of points, but I like it for the advantages it can bring to a party of adventurers and the ease with which a GM can hook adventures on to it.

Conversation starters:
  • Do you require IQ rolls to use Area Knowledge?
  • When you play a character, do you feel that Area Knowledge is worth the price?
  • When you GM, do you encourage players to choose Area Knowledge or give for free or discount?
  • What are some of the places for which you typically take Area Knowledge?
  • Which talents, if any, do you believe provide or derive additional benefit to or from Area Knowledge?
  • Have you any memorable uses of Area Knowledge to share?
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characters, familiarity, geography, travel

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