Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Fighting The Power Creep: Part 1

My most recent Tunnels & Trolls post looking at different ways of handling
Personal Adds and Talents has given me food for thought. Primarily about Talents in general and, how they are handled in-game but, also how far can I "push" my new way of handling Personal Adds? How much of the game can it re-write?

Progressive Talents

In my original post, I wrote: 

My solution is to open up the option of weapon Talents, something that was also discussed in during the Talents conversation over at the Google+ group. Instead of rolling a dice for the bonus though, I would simply set the value of the bonus granted by the Talent to the number of character levels that the weapon has been continually wielded for plus one.

Example: Bobby the Barbarian takes a Weapon Talent in "Clubs" as he loves to bash things over the head and take their stuff. As Bobby is new to adventuring his bonus is +1, meaning that he'll roll an extra dice when wielding any sort of club in combat. The bonus only applies to one weapon, so even if he were wielding two clubs, he'd still only roll one extra dice.

For every level of his career that Bobby from the previous example uses a club predominantly as a weapon, he can boost his Clubs Talent by one as he increases in level (going from 2 to 3, 3 to 4 etc), in addition he still gets to pick a new Talent.

After further deliberation, I have come to think of this as an example of what I have termed a "Progressive Talent". Talents that only initially give a small bonus but, can improve with time and practice. Which made me think, isn't that EVERY talent?

People don't get better at something without practice, so why should characters? So my new take on Talents is that they should all be considered progressive, granting the delver an initial bonus of +1, which goes up as the character goes up in level, IF they effectively used the Talent at that level.

Example: Bobby the Barbarian has been adventuring for a while now, and as much as he loves his club, he has found that the two-handed sword that he recovered from the body of a fallen foe is much more effective in hacking and slashing his way to fame and glory. In fact, Bobby who is not far from advancing to level 3 has little else in combat of late.

Bobby's player realises this, and also that as he doesn't have a Talent relating to the two-handed sword. So when he advances in level shortly he will receive no bonus to his Clubs Talent and even if he took a Two-Handed Sword Talent it would only begin at +1.

As you can imagine, this massively down plays the power of Talents, which now all begin at the lowest possible result of a D6 roll (but do increase over time). I have given this thought though, and balanced it out with two other house rules.

Professionals

Calling back upon my previous idea of professionals within Tunnels & Trolls, it is my thought that they could be introduced here to help offset the power drain created by the introduction of Progressive Talents.

Instead of the +1 bonus normally granted by a Progressive Talent, Professionals begin with that same Talent at +2 but, only if it is a Talent that is within their stable. This represents foreknowledge of the skill at hand before actually bringing it into practice, so even if a Talent from that Professions stable is selected later on in the delvers career, it still begins at +2.

Knowledge

Also in my previous post looking at combat, I created a new system for handling Personal Adds.. Well, doing away with them completely, and replacing them with something that I felt better represented the effects of various attributes on combat:

Strength Adds: Each point of STR beyond 12 adds +1 to your combat total.
Dexterity Adds: Roll 1 extra dice in combat for every point of DEX you have beyond 12, and then drop that many.
Speed Adds: Each point of SPD beyond 12 grants you one hit of "natural armor".
Luck Adds: Re-roll up to 1 dice for every point of LK you have beyond 12, once per combat round. You must accept the second result.

Applying a similar logic to Intelligence, I have decided that the number of Talents a character begins with should be equal to their INT bonus (1 for every point of Intelligence beyond 12) plus their level, and that languages should be considered Talents (because being a skilled linguist certainly is a Talent). So a new 1st level character with an INT of 14 would begin with 3 Talents.

The big issue (problem) that I can see arising from the relation between Intelligence and Talents is that Kindreds with significant modifiers in that area could begin the game as walking, talking, encyclopedias. Which really isn't what I set out to achieve.. So I've had to house rule on this one too in my efforts to fight back the power curve.

More to follow...

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