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Old 07-29-2019, 05:58 PM   #1
Steve Plambeck
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default A Wizardry Talent (unpublished 1982 Interplay article)

This is about a house rule that very nearly became canon.

Many, many long ages ago (actually it was November 1981) I submitted what I still consider my original group's most important TFT house rule to Metagaming. To my delight at the time, William Gustafson wrote me to say he wanted to include our Wizardry Talent as an optional rule in the upcoming second edition of In The Labyrinth! He went on to ask me if I'd write it up as an article for what was to be Interplay #9.

Heck yes, I was flabbergasted! And more than happy to write the article, which I completed and mailed to Gustafson right after the holidays. It was now January, 1982. I waited with baited breath for my next issue of Interplay to arrive in the mail, and see my own name in print. Plus of course I assumed every TFT player in the world would be impressed by our house rule, adopt it, and cheer.

And as all us old timers know, there never was a Metagaming 2nd edition of ITL, nor a ninth issue of Interplay -- it all went kaput in 1982. TFT going out of print was unthinkable to me, and besides now I wouldn't become famous.

The link below will take you to my unpublished article "TFT: What Makes A Wizard A Wizard?", for Interplay #9, 1982. Of course I had no computer yet, this is a scan of the browning original typed pages I recently rediscovered. Of course my group's Wizardry Talent itself was never lost, as we continued using it, revised and expanded, for almost another 20 years. This article shows it in its original, simplest form.

https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=C21A9...%21113&o=OneUp

Aside from nostalgia, this in a good excuse to kick off a discussion of alternative rules for how learning and memory work, both under the old and newer rules. I've had quite awhile to think about it since I wrote the article.
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Old 07-29-2019, 06:16 PM   #2
Shoug
 
Join Date: May 2019
Default Re: A Wizardry Talent (unpublished 1982 Interplay article)

I have always considered the doubled cost of talents for wizards as an indication of the very wildness of magic. In my understanding, magic required a highly trained form of thinking in order to be understood at a fundamental level as wizards do, and that this form of thought is so outrageous and arcane that a person trained in it is himself
Quote:
alienated from understanding things normally ever again.
For whatever reason, when you gain a general grasp of magic, you lose your grasp of reality. It's like a form of autistic savantism which is learned rather than formed genetically.

This article is quite interesting, and I may experiment with this rule yet. It opens up the door for more diverse wizard characters. Bravo!
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Old 07-29-2019, 06:18 PM   #3
Shoug
 
Join Date: May 2019
Default Re: A Wizardry Talent (unpublished 1982 Interplay article)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoug View Post
I have always considered the doubled cost of talents for wizards as an indication of the very wildness of magic. In my understanding, magic required a highly trained form of thinking in order to be understood at a fundamental level as wizards do, and that this form of thought is so outrageous and arcane that a person trained in it is himself For whatever reason, when you gain a general grasp of magic, you lose your grasp of reality. It's like a form of autistic savantism which is learned rather than formed genetically.

This article is quite interesting, and I may experiment with this rule yet. It opens up the door for more diverse wizard characters. Bravo!
Oops, that quote formatting is a mistake. I can't, however, seem to edit it. Whatever.
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Old 07-29-2019, 09:33 PM   #4
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: A Wizardry Talent (unpublished 1982 Interplay article)

Very cool! Thanks for sharing the original Interplay submission!


It seems like it would definitely attain its goals of giving wizards a talent budget that isn't at odds with spending IQ point on spells, and simplifying the talent costs for wizards.

I quite like the idea of letting wizards get a few talents without feeling like they're sacrificing many spells to do something fairly basic.

It seems to me though that there would come a point with higher IQ levels (starting at IQ 14 and steadily rising from there) where wizards would seem to get even more talent points than non-wizards would. Especially for quite-high-IQ wizards.

I think I might then tend to prefer a house rule where wizards can increase their Wizardly IQ, or Wizardry (i.e. Magery in GURPS) independently of their IQ for other purposes. Of course, that would be more complicated rather than less complicated. (But personally I like separating them out so not all powerful wizards are super-smart at everything.)

It'd be great to see what your later versions of this are like, too!
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Old 07-30-2019, 01:31 AM   #5
Steve Plambeck
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Re: A Wizardry Talent (unpublished 1982 Interplay article)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoug View Post
"For whatever reason, when you gain a general grasp of magic, you lose your grasp of reality. It's like a form of autistic savantism which is learned rather than formed genetically."

This article is quite interesting, and I may experiment with this rule yet. It opens up the door for more diverse wizard characters. Bravo!
Thanks for the cheer Shoug!

But wow to what you're quoting. Somewhere I read the exact same thing being said about astrophysicists! And for the same reasons. Once you begin grasping the greater reality behind things, it actually rearranges your mind.

I used to work with academics, and the physicists were definitely "different" from everyone in the other disciplines.
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Old 07-30-2019, 01:58 AM   #6
Steve Plambeck
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Re: A Wizardry Talent (unpublished 1982 Interplay article)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
Very cool! Thanks for sharing the original Interplay submission!

It seems like it would definitely attain its goals of giving wizards a talent budget that isn't at odds with spending IQ point on spells, and simplifying the talent costs for wizards.

It seems to me though that there would come a point with higher IQ levels (starting at IQ 14 and steadily rising from there) where wizards would seem to get even more talent points than non-wizards would. Especially for quite-high-IQ wizards.
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Simplicity was the goal, and in that regard it worked perfectly.

The catalyst was our group trying to get through the transition from original Melee and Wizard to ITL when it finally came out. We started in 1977 (!) so by that time we each had big stables of PCs and NPC's (we had 3 GM's) and the rules in AW and ITL were invalidating all of our beloved characters. We had written our own "Skills" before "Talents" came along, and everyone was going to lose at least half of what they knew, and we weren't about to make that adjustment. An IQ 12 wizard should know 12 spells dang-nab it, and retain swimming or riding or swordsmanship after using them all in multiple adventures. And the Wizardry Talent solved the problem with one sweeping blow.

As I'll write in more detail later, we contrived multiple talents to keep our wizards occupied and the higher IQ ones from getting too deeply into the mundane talents: Wizardry, Sorcery, Advanced Wizardry, and Advanced Sorcery. Also, both Literacy and our World's own version of the Sorcerer's Tongue (Runish, the "language of creation") were prerequisites of the first Wizardry Talent, which itself was prerequisite for the Advanced versions, and all of that tied up a lot of memory. And all without losing any spells.

And now, I've been planning how to best re-work my old group's house rules on magic and memory to be ready to start a new group to play the Legacy edition. Because I'm not already busy enough! :)
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Old 07-30-2019, 07:09 AM   #7
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: London Uk, but originally from Scotland
Default Re: A Wizardry Talent (unpublished 1982 Interplay article)

I also did away with the artificial distinction between Heroes and Wizards by creating two new Talents. Apprentice was an IQ8 Talent that allowed a character to learn any spell from IQ8 up to IQ13. Wizard was an IQ14 Talent that allowed spells up to IQ20.
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Old 07-30-2019, 09:56 AM   #8
amenditman
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Florida Peninsula, Earth, Sol Sytem
Default Re: A Wizardry Talent (unpublished 1982 Interplay article)

I like this suggestion, and think that charging 6 talent points is not unreasonable. The wizard does get a full IQ # of spells in addition to a # of talents, so this does add to the wizard's pool of useful (hopefully) actions.

I need to think about the dropping of the doubling of learning spells for non-wizards and the -4 DX penalty. Not sure those will work as well as the wizardry talent sounds like it will.
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Last edited by amenditman; 07-30-2019 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 07-31-2019, 01:16 AM   #9
Steve Plambeck
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Re: A Wizardry Talent (unpublished 1982 Interplay article)

Quote:
Originally Posted by amenditman View Post
I like this suggestion, and think that charging 6 talent points is not unreasonable. The wizard does get a full IQ # of spells in addition to a # of talents, so this does add to the wizard's pool of useful (hopefully) actions.

I need to think about the dropping of the doubling of learning spells for non-wizards and the -4 DX penalty. Not sure those will work as well as the wizardry talent sounds like it will.
I may not have mentioned the costs we used above, but it actually worked out to 7:

Literacy (1)
Sorcerers Tongue (1)
Wizardry (5) - prerequisite both of the above

7 talent points is a lot to get started in any career, but being a wizard ain't just any career. It was possible to become a starting wizard in our World for only 6 talent points if your native tongue was already Runish (the Sorcerers Tongue if it were Cidri), but the only eligible race that applied to in our World were the Elves (which we thought should naturally be more inclined to magic).

We simply didn't allow figures without the Wizardry talent to know spells in our World, so that eliminated the problem of what to charge non-wizards for learning them -- it just didn't happen.

Last edited by Steve Plambeck; 08-05-2019 at 09:05 PM. Reason: fixed typos
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Old 07-31-2019, 02:09 AM   #10
Steve Plambeck
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Re: A Wizardry Talent (unpublished 1982 Interplay article)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post
I also did away with the artificial distinction between Heroes and Wizards by creating two new Talents. Apprentice was an IQ8 Talent that allowed a character to learn any spell from IQ8 up to IQ13. Wizard was an IQ14 Talent that allowed spells up to IQ20.
I knew I'd seen that somewhere in one of the other threads! I think the Apprentice talent is a brilliant idea.

Wish I'd thought of that. I'd have liked to have made my group's Wizardry talent at least IQ 11 or 12, but they wouldn't go for that big a departure from the RAW. Magic use starts at IQ 8 and why would there be lower IQ spells than the minimum IQ a wizard had to have from the start anyway? Splitting the spell tables along a natural divide based on two separate talents that way fixes things nicely! (I'm probably going to steal that idea if I may for my future house rules :)

I actively disliked the character CLASS system in D&D and felt TFT was so much stronger for avoiding that kind of thing, except it hadn't quite because Wizards and Heroes were still class distinctions. That goes away with talents for magic-users to explain why some characters are wizards and others are not. Now it's just for the same reason some people are chefs and some are not -- it's just what you chose to learn. The more self-determination we give players, the better!
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