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Old 04-05-2021, 10:30 AM   #1
Kieddicus
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Default Feats!

I am looking at starting up an in-person game here in a month or two and wanted your guys take on an idea I had to make sure it isn't too unbalanced before I start.

I'm planning on having D&D like feats in my game, with each player getting one feat when they create their character. (Some heroic NPCs will also have a feat.)
I have two reasons for doing this; a) it makes the PCs feel a little more heroic without making them to godly, b) I'll have 'wizard' be one of the feats allowing wizards the ability to learn talents at normal IQ/XP cost while still keeping them balanced since you'll have to use your feat to be a wizard.

A couple of feats I have come up with so far.

* Wizard: You can learn spells at the cost of 1 IQ point or 750 XP, you can also learn the staff spell.
* Adept: You learn two free spells of any IQ level (you can still only use them if you have the IQ for them).
* Kiter: You can move up to 3 hexes and still make a ranged attack. (this feels a little weak)
* Tank: Armour can't reduce your MA below 8, additionally armour reduces your DX by 1 less.
* Brutality: If you deal 12 damage before any reductions you knock your target down. (might reduce to 10 dmg)
* Recovery: You heal 1 hit every two days without a physicker, and 2 hits a day with a physicker. You also recover 1 fatigue every 10 min of rest.
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Old 04-05-2021, 11:29 AM   #2
RobW
 
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Default Re: Feats!

Cool

When SJ first announced years ago that there would be extended fighter talents in the new TFT (eventually revealed as weapon expertise/mastery), I was hoping it might be along the line of your "feats". An extended list of combat talents or perhaps a set of guidelines allowing fighters to create their own "special moves". Fighters could then have a wide range of high-level combat talents that better match them with the capabilities and cool-factor that wizards get through their large spell list. Almost like fighter "spells".

For example, what if there were combat talents that allowed special and distinctive moves on an infrequent basis, eg once per day or at a cost of X fatigue:
  • slippery -- move past a front hex of an opponent (ie ignore one engagement during movement)
  • spin attack -- attack two opponents even if one is in the rear
  • reversal -- as an action, disengage through an opponent and end up behind them
  • steadfast -- ignore forced retreat
These are all extremely powerful special moves. But that is the point :)

To maintain balance, there would be (a) a talent cost to pay, and (b) a way to limit their frequency, eg by simple fiat (once per session/day) and/or with the guidance from a better mind, an appropriate fatigue cost (eg loss of 3 ST as fatigue to do a reversal?)

It would be nice to balance things so that the motivation for a player to choose a special talent for their character would be, as you say, they make the character more compelling, unique, and fun for the player: Fafner can hold a bridge to the death, Mouser can never be cornered (at least until the fatigue kicks in). But the cost would be high enough not to pay off for the min-maxing approach (as now where basically all good fighter builds take running, for example; or dare I say all wizards take silver dagger wands).
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Old 04-05-2021, 12:07 PM   #3
tomc
 
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Location: Carrboro, NC
Default Re: Feats!

To me, something is "unbalanced" if it's so powerful that something else in the game won't be used anymore.

A regular ST 12 sword that did 3d damage would mean no one would ever use a regular 2d broadsword again. It would take the broadsword out of the game, as well as the ST 12 hammer. In fact, nobody would take the Ax/Mace talent, because if you take the Sword talent you get to use the spiffy 3d sword and do 3d damage with a ST of only 12. It would have the net effect of taking something away from the existing game.

However, if you restrict feats to player characters then I think it's fine. It may be "unbalanced" by giving the players an edge over NPCs with the same basic stats, but they're "special" anyway, and that's part of why they're interesting and heroic and why the players want to be them. If it's too powerful, just make the monsters a little tougher and treasure a little harder to come by.

My best advice would be: If you're having fun, you're doing it right.
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Last edited by tomc; 04-05-2021 at 12:58 PM. Reason: clarity (I hope)
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Old 04-05-2021, 12:19 PM   #4
Terquem
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default Re: Feats!

It seems inevitable that the introduction of specific rules to allow unique abilities will lead to a condition where it is never practical to not take those specific rule related unique talents. Or, in other words, Feats generally lead to a condition known as a "Feat Tax"
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Old 04-05-2021, 12:20 PM   #5
Shostak
 
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Default Re: Feats!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobW View Post
To maintain balance, there would be (a) a talent cost to pay, and (b) a way to limit their frequency, eg by simple fiat (once per session/day) and/or with the guidance from a better mind, an appropriate fatigue cost (eg loss of 3 ST as fatigue to do a reversal?)
^^^^^
This!

Also, it pays to bear in mind that little things can have significant effects in TFT. For instance, not suffering -2DX until taking at least 6 points of damage in one turn, getting a 3/DX saving roll instead of automatically falling on 8 damage, or getting a single hex more range for Creation spells can easily turn the tide of a battle.
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Old 04-05-2021, 12:21 PM   #6
Terquem
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default Re: Feats!

Also, as soon as a game introduces the rule of "this can only be used once per day," the adventuring day is forever changed to be 20 minutes long.
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Old 04-05-2021, 12:28 PM   #7
Kieddicus
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Default Re: Feats!

I'd never add a "per day use" as it is one of the things I dislike most about D&D. Also could you explain "Feat Tax" I am not quite sure what you are getting at.

My idea is that every player starts with one feat and can never gain more. So it isn't like a player is opting for a feat instead of something else, it is just a matter of with feat you take.
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Old 04-05-2021, 02:52 PM   #8
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
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Default Re: Feats!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terquem View Post
Also, as soon as a game introduces the rule of "this can only be used once per day," the adventuring day is forever changed to be 20 minutes long.
It’s not for the characters to decide the length of the adventuring day: that’s down to the GM.
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Old 04-05-2021, 07:34 PM   #9
TippetsTX
 
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Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: North Texas
Default Re: Feats!

I wanted to add a similar element to the game, but I approached it differently. Instead of feats, my version of TFT has Powers.

Beyond Spells and Talents lie the realm of Powers; special abilities and feats that a character may unlock during their adventuring career by spending XP. They represent innate potential or untapped supernatural capacities that will enhance and expand the character's prowess. Unlike talents or spells, Powers do not typically require formal training or study although they will often have prerequisites or other qualifications that must be met before the chosen ability can be acquired (including story-driven criteria to be defined by the GM).

All Powers are grouped into distinct portfolios of five related and escalating abilities divided into three tiers. If used in conjunction with the new Legacy rules, the XP cost will escalate starting at 750 XP for 1st tier Powers, 1500 XP for 2nd tier, and 3000 XP for the final 3rd tier (in my own game, XP costs follow a different schedule). GMs may also choose to implement an alternative acquisition model for Powers that does not rely on the direct expenditure of XP. For example, a hero who quests to find a hidden monastery and then spends a year training under a Master may be granted one of the initial powers from the ‘Path of the Five Elements’ (from the Mystic Monk portfolio).

A character may purchase Powers from multiple portfolios, but in order to select a higher tier ability, they must have at least one of the lower tier powers in the same portfolio first. The ‘Rule of Five’ also applies which means that no character may acquire more than five total Powers regardless of tier or portfolio. Additionally, individual Powers generally do not have a per use ST cost like spells, but instead may be limited in other ways.

Powers are literally game-changers and as such, GMs should carefully consider their impact on the game before adding them as a character option.

Example Portfolios
Arcane Foci (Magister)
Divine Foci
Familiar Foci
Channeler (Positive Energy)
Necromancer (Negative Energy)
Mystic Monk (Path of the Five Elements)
Shadowborn
Skinwalker
Psionicist
Mage Hunter
Viridian Lord*
Fate Weaver*
Song Mage*
Master Thief
Geomancer

*These portfolios are specific to my Ptolus campaign for TFT (and several are still in development or playtesting).
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Old 04-05-2021, 09:08 PM   #10
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: Feats!

This reminds me of a set of unarmed combat skills I made a few years ago for Blades & Black Magic. Here's a quick conversion from that to TFT:

Standing Grapple:
You can attempt a pin roll to "control" your opponent instead of pinning them. This leaves your opponent standing and gives you more options (like Human Shield, below). A controlled opponent can not take any actions except attempting to break control or perform a reversal. Breaking control is one die easier than escaping a pin. A reversal requires the same dice as to escape a pin, but gains control upon success.

Modification to Pinning:
A pin can be converted to "control" at any time, allowing the controller to roll the victim over to function as a human shield, perform a lock, etc.

Special Actions When You Have Control:
Strike: you can attempt to strike your opponent but this gives your opponent +2 DX for reversals or to break control.
Take down: If you are in a standing grapple, you can use a pin roll to attempt to take your opponent down while you remain standing and in control. Success provides you +2 DX.
Stand: If you are both on the ground and you are in control, you can use a pin roll to attempt to stand and remain in control, providing +2 DX.
Disarm: If you are in control, you can use a pin roll to attempt to disarm your opponent.

Talent: Advanced Grappling (requires UC II): +1 DX to grapple and you can use these additional special actions:
Human Shield: if you are in control of your opponent you can attempt to use your opponent to block external strikes, causing them to take damage instead of you.
Lock: if you are in control, you can use a grapple roll to attempt a lock. A locked opponent can break a lock with a 3/ST roll. If your opponent escapes the lock, you are still in control of the grapple.
Break: if you have already locked your opponent, you can use a grapple roll to attempt a break / dislocation which does damage as a punch but ignores armor.
Knockout: if you have locked your opponent, you can use a grapple roll to attempt to knockout (or choke out) your opponent. If you succeed in two consecutive knockout attempts, your opponent loses consciousness, as with the Sleep spell, awakening when shaken or attacked. If you do not use the next action to complete the knockout, the cycle is broken.
Knockout from behind: if you succeed with a grapple from behind, you lock your opponent and also gain one successful knockout attempt.
Sudden knockout: if you succeed with a Shrewd Blow while in control of a grapple, instead of doing a strike, you can decide to lock your opponent and also gain one successful knockout attempt
Advanced Grappling with UC IV: If you are in control, your strikes ignore armor (but not built-in protection like Gargoyle skin or Iron Flesh).

Last edited by zot; 04-05-2021 at 09:13 PM.
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