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Old 07-14-2017, 11:47 AM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default List of your favourite custom talents

I've been designing a lot of NPCs recently, some of them historical people. I've found custom talents rather useful for getting them right. Here are a few:

Mental Manipulator
5 points/level
Brainwashing, Dreaming, Fast-Talk, Hypnotism, and Psychology.
Reaction Bonus: When observed by hypnotists and psychologists.
Alternative Benefit: +1/level to resist the talent's skills being used on you.
Alternative Cost: 5 points/level.
Notes: This was created for a character with a strong theoretical understanding of human minds, rather the intuitive grasp of them that comes from Empathy or the Empath talent.

Burglar
5 points/level
SK:Climbing, Search, Observation, Forced Entry, Lockpicking, and Stealth.
Reaction Bonus: When observed by other thieves.
Alternative Benefit: +1/level to Influence skills when you're trying to explain why you were there, with equipment and/or loot.
Alternative Cost: 6 points/level.

Gentleman's Gentleman
5 points/level
Cooking, Connoisseur, Diplomacy, Housekeeping, Savoir-Faire, and Sewing.
Reaction Bonus: People for whom you keep house, prospective employers and other servants.
Alternative Benefit: If you have two or more levels of this talent, and complete control of your employer's dress, you can give them +1 to reactions in social situations, as if you had Fashion Sense.
Alternative Cost: 6 points/level.
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Old 07-14-2017, 01:37 PM   #2
Phantasm
 
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Default Re: List of your favourite custom talents

A few Talents I've used.

Natural Swordsman
10 points per level
Skills: Broadsword, Force Saber, Force Sword, Knife, Main-Gauche, Rapier, Saber, Shortsword, Smallsword, Two-Handed Sword.
Reaction Bonus: Swordsmen, swashbucklers, swashbuckler wannabes, sword-fighting movie enthusiasts.
Alternative Cost: 10 points per level.

Perfect Throw
10 points per level
Skills: Bolas, Dropping, Innate Attack (Projectile), Lasso, Sling, Spear Thrower, Throwing, Throwing Art, Thrown Weapon. May also give a conditional bonus to various Sports skills that use throwing, such as Sports (Baseball) and Sports (American Football).
Reaction Bonus: Sportsmen, fans of sports involving throwing, warriors of pre-TL4 cultures.
Alternative Cost: 9 points per level

Psychotronicist
5 points per level
Skills: Electronics Operation (Psychotronics), Electronics Repair (Psychotronics), Engineer (Psychotronics), Expert Skill (Psionics).
Reaction Bonus: Other psychotronics experts.
Alternative Cost: 4 points per level.


I'll be honest, I'm not sure what kinds of alternative benefits these would give.
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Old 07-14-2017, 01:50 PM   #3
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: List of your favourite custom talents

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantasm View Post
I'll be honest, I'm not sure what kinds of alternative benefits these would give.
They don't have to give any, but the lists on p18-19 of Power-Ups 3: Talents are quite helpful.

Natural Swordsman covers all the sword-like weapons, doesn't it? So there's no point in improved defaults. It's good enough that it doesn't really need an alternative benefit.

Perfect Throw is less wonderful; it could plausibly give +1 to defences against attacks using the skills it covers, if you have 3 or more levels of the talent.

Psychotronicist could plausibly give +1/level to resistance rolls against Psychotronic attacks.

Last edited by johndallman; 07-14-2017 at 02:13 PM. Reason: Numbers!
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Old 07-14-2017, 01:56 PM   #4
mlangsdorf
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Default Re: List of your favourite custom talents

Two from my latest game:

Big Talker (Talent) [5 points/level]
You're good at convincing people by talking loud and fast. You may not have any real skills, but you're good at convincing people that you have leadership potential.
Skills: Acting, Carousing, Fast-Talk, Intimidation, Public Speaking, Savoir-Faire (High Society).
Reaction Bonus: People who value form over substance.
Alternate Benefit: +1 to resist Fast-Talk, Interrogation, or Intimidation.
I think of Big Talker as the "overhyped CEO" talent =)

Born to the Saddle (Talent) [5 points/level]
You have an instinctive ability to handle creatures that can be ridden.
Skills: Animal Handling, Lasso, Navigation, Riding, Survival.
Reaction Bonus: Ranchers, cowboys, and cavalrymen.
Alternate Benefit: +1/Level to Perception rolls to notice danger while mounted.
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Old 07-14-2017, 03:55 PM   #5
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: List of your favourite custom talents

I've been doing a lot of WWII leaders, many of who have Talents.

I gave Eisenhower and FDR Intuitive Statesman, Marshall Born War-leader 2 and Higher Purpose (Build a better Army), and Patton stacked Born Soldier 1 with Born War-leader 2.

Several of the British royal family have Capable Royal, which is about getting on with everyone.

Capable Royal
5 points/level
Carousing, Diplomacy, Politics, Propaganda, Public Speaking and Savoir-Faire.

Reaction Bonus: People you interact with personally, during the interaction.
Alternative Benefit: None.
Alternative Cost: 6 points/level.

I gave the famous British generals Born War-leader, and sometime Born Soldier as well. Churchill seemed to be best represented with Intuitive Statesman and Versatile.

de Gaulle got Intuitive Statesman, Destiny (Remake France) and Higher Purpose (France!).

Hitler was based on Michele's write-up. Speer's talents were represented with this:

National Builder
10 points/level
Accounting, Administration, Architecture, Artist (Drawing), Artist (Scene Design), Connoisseur (Visual Arts), Engineer (Civil), Group Performance (Choreography), Leadership, Mathematics (Surveying), and Savoir-Faire (High Society).

Reaction Bonus: Architects and Civil Engineers.
Alternative Benefit: +1 per level when selling your schemes to megalomaniacs.
Alternative Cost: 11 points/level.

Ribbentrop was fiddly. I got him to work with IQ 9 and two talents:

Cosmopolitan
5 points/level
Area Knowledge, Carousing, Connoisseur and Savoir-Faire.

Reaction Bonus: People who don't travel much.
Alternative Benefit: +1/level to resist being Influenced in polite ways.
Alternative Cost: 5 points/level.

Limited Salesman
5 points/level
Accounting, Acting, Carousing, Fast-Talk, Law and Merchant.

Reaction Bonus: Other salesmen.
Alternative Benefit: +1/level to search rolls for potential customers.
Alternative Cost: 6 points/level.

Goebbels also needed a custom talent to come out right:

Communication Talent
10 points/level
Fast-Talk, Interrogation, Intimidation, Leadership, Merchant, Politics, Propaganda, Psychology, Public Speaking, Sociology, Teaching and Writing.

Reaction Bonus: Politicians, propagandists and writers.
Alternative Benefit: +1/level to resist the talent's skills being used on you.
Alternative Cost: 12 points/level.

The famous German generals got combinations of Born War-leader and/or Born Soldier.

Stalin got a variation on Intuitive Statesman:

Intuitive Power-Grabber
10 points/level
Acting, Administration, Current Affairs (Politics), Detect Lies, Diplomacy, Intimidation, Leadership, Politics, Propaganda and Public Speaking.

Reaction Bonus: Everyone who wants to stay healthy, if you're in power; a reaction penalty from everyone except a small group of true believers if you lose power.
Alternative Benefit: +1/level on any Influence roll made to damage someone else's political position, or to cover up a failure with one of the talent's skills.
Alternative Cost: 10 points/level.

And Beria got this:

Spymaster
10 points/level
Administration, Criminology, Current Affairs, Diplomacy, Intelligence Analysis, Politics, Professional Skill (Agent-running), Propaganda and Strategy.

Reaction Bonus: Your spies, and the politicians you work for.
Alternative Benefit: As reaction bonus.
Alternative Cost: 9 points/level.
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Old 07-15-2017, 10:38 AM   #6
Apollonian
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Portland, OR
Default Re: List of your favourite custom talents

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Gentleman's Gentleman
5 points/level
Cooking, Connoisseur, Diplomacy, Housekeeping, Savoir-Faire, and Sewing.
Reaction Bonus: People for whom you keep house, prospective employers and other servants.
Alternative Benefit: If you have two or more levels of this talent, and complete control of your employer's dress, you can give them +1 to reactions in social situations, as if you had Fashion Sense.
Alternative Cost: 6 points/level.
I came up with this for a PC's bodyguard/maidservant, which is something of a cinematic version of the above:

Jeeves
10 points/level
Animal Handling, Body Language, Cooking, Diplomacy, Housekeeping, Savoir-Faire (High Society), Savoir-Faire (Servant), Scrounging, Stealth, Teamster
Reaction Bonus: People for whom you keep house, prospective employers and other servants.

It represents the servant who's only seen when needed and invisible otherwise, can manage the dogs and the horses, drive the cab, come up with whatever master needs (probably before master knows he needed it), can interpret master's moods at a glance, and can manage the other servants if necessary.
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Old 07-15-2017, 11:08 AM   #7
ericthered
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Default Re: List of your favourite custom talents

I have a house-ruled talent that sort of breaks the rules, but I find it works well and isn't overpowered:

Academic 10/level: Research, Writing, saviore faire (scholars), Expert Skill (any appropriately academic subject)+ any skill representing purely acedemic learning.

Yes, the last clause includes History, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology, Mathematics, Physiology, Economics, Geography, Literature, and possibly some others, but they cannot be used in non-academic ways. I don't think I've seen anyone really manage to abuse it.
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:42 AM   #8
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: List of your favourite custom talents

Gentleman
5 points/level
Carousing, Leadership and Savoir-Faire, plus one or two skills that are socially valued in-setting.

Reaction Bonus: Everyone you talk to, except those who object to politeness.
Alternative Benefit: +1/level to resist Fast-Talk and Intimidation.
Alternative Cost: 5 points/level
Notes: Socially valued skills vary widely. Bertie Wooster might have Sports and Literature, while the contemporary Crown Prince of Germany might have Tactics and History. These variations never give six skills: a gentleman is never greedy.

Scholar
5 points/level
Expert Skill, Hidden Lore, History, Philosophy and Research.

Reaction Bonus: Those who admire study as an end in itself.
Alternative Benefit: +1/level to offset penalties for unfamiliar or strangely organised libraries.
Alternative Cost: 5 points/level
Notes: Unlike Academic, this is a scholar who studies for his own purposes, and isn't necessarily any good at communicating his knowledge.

Acrobat
5 points/level
Acrobatics, Climbing, Group Performance (Acrobatics), Jumping, Performance.

Reaction Bonus: People you perform for.
Alternative Benefit: +1/level to any roll to avoid falling.
Alternative Cost: 5 points/level
Notes: Group Performance (Acrobatics) is the skill of planning and staging team acrobatic performances. Its prerequisite is Acrobatics, and it defaults to Acrobatics-2.
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Old 07-18-2017, 02:52 AM   #9
Michele
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Udine, Italy
Default Re: List of your favourite custom talents

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Hitler was based on Michele's write-up.
Thank you!

Quote:
Goebbels also needed a custom talent to come out right:

Communication Talent
10 points/level
Fast-Talk, Interrogation, Intimidation, Leadership, Merchant, Politics, Propaganda, Psychology, Public Speaking, Sociology, Teaching and Writing.

Reaction Bonus: Politicians, propagandists and writers.
Alternative Benefit: +1/level to resist the talent's skills being used on you.
Alternative Cost: 12 points/level.
If I may, I don't think Goebbels was good at Interrogation. Leadership, maybe. Merchant, I have my doubts; he didn't like working at a bank or as a caller.

I'd consider Expert Skill (Political Science), which comes in handy when he has to dabble in Law and History for propaganda purposes; and Acting.
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Old 07-18-2017, 06:30 AM   #10
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: List of your favourite custom talents

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michele View Post
Thank you!
Full character sheet added to that thread.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michele View Post
If I may, I don't think Goebbels was good at Interrogation. Leadership, maybe. Merchant, I have my doubts; he didn't like working at a bank or as a caller.
I was trying to design a talent for someone very good at mass communication and persuasion, rather than a specific Goebbels Talent.
Quote:
I'd consider Expert Skill (Political Science), which comes in handy when he has to dabble in Law and History for propaganda purposes; and Acting.
I gave him actual History skill, since that was his doctorate; did he ever appeal to the law, except when it suited his purposes?
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