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Old 01-31-2023, 01:44 PM   #1
Shostak
 
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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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Old 01-31-2023, 02:05 PM   #2
JimmyPlenty
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Area Knowledge

Do you require IQ rolls to use Area Knowledge?

Always a conundrum with talents. You spend the points to get it, only to have it not work if you aren't smart enough, leading to only the highest IQs to even bother.

On the other hand, automatic success just don't "feel" right. Everything automatic might be fine in a cinematic game, like FATE, but for TFT or OSR in general, it feels off.

The less a GM uses it, the less they should require an IQ roll, just let it happen.

If they can use it often, then maybe an IQ roll is a good idea, adding dice to more detailed information.

If it covers a broad area, the difficulty will certainly increase. The narrower, I would allow 2d6 in many situations expect for the most esoteric.

When you play a character, do you feel that Area Knowledge is worth the price?

It really comes down to your creativity and the GM on this one.

When you GM, do you encourage players to choose Area Knowledge or give for free or discount?

I've been GM'ing a lot of programmed adventures, usually not worth it in those circumstances.

Hard to discount a talent that only costs 1.
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Old 01-31-2023, 03:02 PM   #3
Shostak
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Area Knowledge

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Originally Posted by JimmyPlenty View Post
Hard to discount a talent that only costs 1.
Half-cost or free at character generation, and for fewer than 500XP later works.
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Old 02-01-2023, 05:59 PM   #4
Bill_in_IN
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Area Knowledge

To me, Area Knowledge cones with the amount of time a PC is played in a certain area. They can even gain that knowledge without the talent. At least, that's how we dealt with it in our Classic TFT days.

Now, if a PC has this talent, I would definitely give them some advantages for having it. If they are in a new area, an IQ roll for becoming familiar with specific things quickly would apply. I would give them a better sense of direction if the party is in an unfamiliar area. Some of this could be done with percentage or IQ rolls.

As GM, I could come up with a percentage or likelihood of the PC figuring something out with respect to the area and then make a dice roll. For percentage rolls, I keep 2 D10's of two different colors. I assign one as the 1's digit and the other as the 10's digit.
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Old 02-01-2023, 06:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Area Knowledge

He who knows is known. Does Area Knowledge include contacts and if so will these in turn attempt to contact the character?

How does this compare to just having a talent like Streetwise or being a paid up guild member?
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Old 02-01-2023, 07:30 PM   #6
Shostak
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Area Knowledge

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
He who knows is known. Does Area Knowledge include contacts and if so will these in turn attempt to contact the character?

How does this compare to just having a talent like Streetwise or being a paid up guild member?
Being a member-in-good-standing in guild or having Streetwise won’t give you knowledge of which haberdashery or armorer in a city offers the best quality for the price, the area’s best restaurants at which to treat clients to dinner, or which gates are busiest at sundown.
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Old 02-02-2023, 07:44 AM   #7
Bill_in_IN
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Area Knowledge

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
He who knows is known. Does Area Knowledge include contacts and if so will these in turn attempt to contact the character?
The answer to that is YES. If a character has been operating in a certain area for sometime, they know people and have contacts. If they actually have the Area Knowledge talent, this would compel the GM to provide even more info about the area. As a GM, you may have to provide some of that for a new PC as they start. When a certain NPC comes into play, the GM can state that their PC knows him and then provide a little background info about their level of acquaintance. The same thing would apply to people, places, and things. The PC can take it from there. A PC that has the Area Knowledge talent should allow more info with respect to people, places, and things to be available to them.

Last edited by Bill_in_IN; 02-02-2023 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 02-02-2023, 09:06 AM   #8
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Area Knowledge

Whataboutism Area Knowledge with:
  1. Alertness? (The orcs always set an ambush around here)
  2. Naturalist? (The Wigglewaggles emerge from the purple sand over there)
  3. Calling spell? (Should be a dragon just over those hills)
  4. Woodsman? (Don't eat those plants)
  5. Carousing? (Terrible food, but all the wrong people go there)
  6. Literacy (or Scholar)? (That's the local dialect, they're hinting that you should NOT go left here)
  7. Seamanship? (I've heard there's a path through these shoals)
  8. Bard? (That isn't a song from around here)
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Old 02-02-2023, 11:31 AM   #9
Shostak
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Area Knowledge

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
Whataboutism Area Knowledge with:
  1. Alertness? (The orcs always set an ambush around here)
  2. Naturalist? (The Wigglewaggles emerge from the purple sand over there)
  3. Calling spell? (Should be a dragon just over those hills)
  4. Woodsman? (Don't eat those plants)
  5. Carousing? (Terrible food, but all the wrong people go there)
  6. Literacy (or Scholar)? (That's the local dialect, they're hinting that you should NOT go left here)
  7. Seamanship? (I've heard there's a path through these shoals)
  8. Bard? (That isn't a song from around here)
Woodsmen should not need Area Knowledge in order to identify plants that are normally toxic, though it might let them know that one should stay away from normally edible plants in the area in question that have taken on toxicity due to environmental factors.

A Naturalist might with Area Knowledge might know that the local legend of dancing worms actually refers to the dreaded Wigglewaggles, but if emerging from the purple sand is normal for the critters, Naturalist alone should be sufficient to know that if they notice the sand.
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Old 02-06-2023, 08:25 AM   #10
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Area Knowledge

I riff a little bit about Area Knowledge in an article I just submitted for Hexagram. I won't go into the specifics, but I'd like to suggest that a character might take Area Knowledge about an organization. Such as, the Catholic Church, or the Enok faith.



It gives the character comprehensive knowledge of the hierarchy, notables, which churches / temples can provide hospitality.


I also really like the idea above of givign a character a free Area Knowledge for the town / rural county they grew up in.


Nomads might get area knowledge of the migration route they traveled!
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