Talent Specialization

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Talent Specialization

Post  Philadelphus on Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:48 am



Hello everyone, and welcome to the thread for the Talent Specialization System, the supplement that lets you customize your utility talents.

What is this, exactly?
It's a surprisingly popular unofficial third-party supplement that I made. It's something you can use or not at your choice in your games. Since it doesn't change the base system (merely adds to it), you should theoretically even be able to retroactively apply it to a game in progress if you so desire.

Ok, that's what it is, but what does it do?
It provides an additional system of upgrades on top of the current system that allows you to become more powerful in several different way. Theoretically you should have about two additional utility talents' worth of power by level 10, but this additional power may be expressed in a number of ways: you may simply have two additional utility talents, but you may also have upgraded one/some/all of your utility talents to be more powerful, either by increasing the number of daily uses, increasing their effects, or some other way.

That sounds nice in principle, but how does it work?
Simple. This system adds one new resource to the game – Talent Points. You get 2 Talent Point each level, including at character creation. You may then either use these Talent Points to boost your own skill checks a small amount, or to buy any of the many upgrades to utility talents found in the body of the document. The only complicated part is the sheer number of options available, although most utility talents have about 2-4 options.

What if I find something in here that seems under- or over-priced?
Bring it up in the thread! I love discussing balance, and I can either fix it if it's wrong, or at least show you my reasoning behind pricing it the way I did.


Last edited by Philadelphus on Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Interesting

Post  Hayatecooper on Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:51 am

Interesting Idea.
But how well would it work in game?
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  SilentBelle on Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:14 am

This is actually very comprehensive and certainly a great addition to spice up a game if the players feel like they want a bit more growth as they level. I like it Very Happy
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  LoganAura on Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:32 pm

I really like it. You'd need to run it by the developers first, but this would be awesome to see in!

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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Philadelphus on Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:38 pm

Hayatecooper wrote:Interesting Idea.
But how well would it work in game?
Well, at the moment I honestly don't know, as it hasn't ever been play-tested. If anyone feels like giving it a shot I'd love feedback on what works and what doesn't!
As mentioned it should be possible to retroactively apply this to a game in progress, so there's no need for a new game if people want to try it out.

And thanks for the encouragement everyone. Smile
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Ramsus on Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:05 pm

It's a neat idea.

I think the cost for a second daily use of a talent on a 1/day talent should be lower than 10 as a whole new Utility talent is, in my opinion, worth more than just more of what you already have.

I think the upgrade for Derp should be way lower because a nat 3 is still typically a failed roll.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  AProcrastinatingWriter on Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:34 pm

Well.

This is an incredibly neat idea.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:02 pm

Nice concept. I've asked Chad (Nehiel) to review it.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Zarhon on Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:17 pm

Looks pretty interesting! Like the use some of these give. Two questions though:

What if you're at lvl 10 (in other words, have all your talent spec points) and end up with a single/odd point left, but no ability cheap enough to spend it on? Is it wasted?

Some of the utility talents are from the handbook, like "It's Witchcraft" or "Precise Ponykinesis", are missing. Is this intentional, or will they be added later?
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  AProcrastinatingWriter on Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:15 pm

Zarhon wrote:
Some of the utility talents are from the handbook, like "It's Witchcraft" or "Precise Ponykinesis", are missing. Is this intentional, or will they be added later?

The Google Doc wrote:
Not every talent in the source books is present in this supplement as not every talent lends itself well to the upgrade process.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Philadelphus on Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:33 pm

Zarhon wrote:Looks pretty interesting! Like the use some of these give. Two questions though:

What if you're at lvl 10 (in other words, have all your talent spec points) and end up with a single/odd point left, but no ability cheap enough to spend it on? Is it wasted?

Some of the utility talents are from the handbook, like "It's Witchcraft" or "Precise Ponykinesis", are missing. Is this intentional, or will they be added later?

1. I've thought of that as well, and unfortunately I don't have a good answer at this point. You can reallocate your points between sessions, so hopefully you can find a way to make the numbers work between all your talents, but in the case that you can't I don't have anything in mind. You can spend a single point to upgrade a skill from level 5 to level 6, but if all your skills are 6 or higher that doesn't help you much. If anyone has a good idea for a single point, please share. Smile

2. It's intentional in the sense that I couldn't think of a good way to upgrade them at the time. They may be added in later if I (or someone else) thinks of something.
Specific examples: It's Witchcraft is already At-Will, open-ended, and has no numbers attached to it. I could perhaps add a bonus to your roll, but you can already get that by simply spending points to improve your Arcana. I'm open to suggestions though. For Precise Ponykinesis I did have something in mind to increase the number of things you can carry at one time, and I think I'll add it.

Ramsus wrote:It's a neat idea.

I think the cost for a second daily use of a talent on a 1/day talent should be lower than 10 as a whole new Utility talent is, in my opinion, worth more than just more of what you already have.

I think the upgrade for Derp should be way lower because a nat 3 is still typically a failed roll.
A lot of the 1/day talents are pretty powerful. Instant Party, for instance, gives you a +1 morale bonus for the rest of the day, and the chance to gain a Magic Point. Now imagine being able to use that two or three times a day (and I decided that the bonuses would stack). Phase Step has a time limit of 5 minutes, so you have to be quick with it. But what if you could Phase Step in someplace, leisurely investigate for a few hours, then Phase Step back out? Or even bring an ally with you? Imagine someone able to cast Dazzling Wings or Light Trap two or three times a day.
Basically, if Dan thought it was powerful enough to warrant being only 1/day, then I figured it's powerful enough to warrant costing ten points – a Utility Talent's worth – to get an additional use per day from it. You're always welcome to spend those ten points on another Utility Talent as well.

I agree with you on the upgrade for Derp, and the cost has been decreased to 6. I think that's pretty fair for something that cuts your critical failure chance by 1/3 while also giving you an extra Magic Point.

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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Philadelphus on Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:54 am

Ok, so I don't like to double post, but I recently overhauled my supplement linked in the original post and thought the changes were significant enough to mention. So! in terms of what's changed:

– You can no longer use Talent Points to buy skill points. It turned out to be way too complicated a system and impossible to balance, and I only originally put it in there as a way to spend excess points that you might have left over at different levels...which didn't work, because it ended up being fairly expensive. You can still buy extra training in the form of I've Read A Lot About It using Talent Points if you want.

– Instead, Zarhon came up with a cool idea where you can use unspent Talent Points like Mini Magic Points to boost your rolls. We've all experienced rolling just a few points beneath the DC. Now, with the help of a few Talent Points that you have lying around, you can boost your rolls without requiring allies to succeed on their assist checks or pulling out a Magic Point. This gives a use for points that you're saving up to buy something, and also if you have any points leftover at level 10.

– I've gone through an rebalanced nearly all of the point costs, typically making them cheaper after thinking it over. Several utility talents also got some (in my opinion) cool new options that you can buy for them.

So what are you waiting for? Go check it out!
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Ramsus on Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:42 pm

So you can now use up a resource that was permanent as a temporary one time buff? Why would anyone ever do that?
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  sunbeam on Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:32 pm

I'd guess that they become a sort of extra magic point, a daily reservoir that gets replenished daily that can be used to upgrade you skill checks. Though with the amount of them you get, that could be ridiculous...
Also, I'd be happy to get a limited, one-time bonus to my skill check at level 10, when I can never use them for anything else.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Ramsus on Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:02 pm

Hmm, once ever is unfair. Once per day per point is insane. Aha. How about once per session and the bonus is equal to how many you have unspent?
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  sunbeam on Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:36 pm

I think the +1 per point idea was already in place, if that wasn't clear, and something like that could probably work. It would probably make it far weaker than a normal magic point, which would give people an incentive to invest them instead of saving them...
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Greywander on Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:22 pm

Hmm, I really like this as well. Question, though: the level up mechanic already awards extra utility talents, but you state that additional talents can be purchased for 10 talent points. Do you think it should stay as-is, or should the level up mechanic be changed to award 10 talent points instead of a free utility talent? Note here that this gives the potential for a player to end up with a LOT of talent points should they choose not to spend them. Being able to give yourself a +40 or +50 bonus to a roll once a day... actually, you know what? It's only once a day (or split between several rolls), and if the player has refrained from spending his talent points, that kind of bonus doesn't seem far out. Arguably, it's the most extreme form of overspecialization, but still has a certain flexibility to it.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Philadelphus on Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:26 am

@Ramsus: The idea is that 1 (unspent) Talent Point = +1 to a die roll, once per day. Granted, if you don't spend any points, at level 10 you'll have twenty points to throw around (though only up to ten at a time). Most people, I'd imagine, will spend most or all of their points on upgrades and thus have few/none available. Talent Points are still less powerful than Magic Points in that you can only use them for your own rolls (not those of allies), nor can they be used to trigger Magic utility talents, though they do have the benefit of versatility, for when you only need one or two more points to make a DC and don't want to break out a Magic Point.

Your once per session idea is definitely intriguing, though. I'll put some thought into it.

@Greywander: Interesting idea. My plan for this supplement is to have it 'sit atop' the base system, not changing anything but merely adding stuff, so I'm not advocating changing the base system at all. Feel free to run your campaign the way you like however. The thing to keep in mind is that everything is currently balanced predicated on the idea that players will have twenty points to spend by level ten. An extra thirty points, carefully applied, could make for some incredibly powerful specialized utility talents that I didn't plan for.

This may not be a bad thing and could potentially be amazingly awesome, just be prepared for some potentially hilariously unbalanced characters if you go this route. It would probably be a blast to play, not quite so much fun to GM, but if you wanna try it, go for it.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:44 pm

Might I mention that this idea is awesome, and inspired me with my own idea that is similar yet different?
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Grey Pen The Flawed on Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:47 am

Wow. Why the heck didn't I notice this sooner!? This a very interesting idea.

A little formatting tip for you (and this is just my opinion mind, lest the Doc-Nazis jump on me):

Instead of listing the default talents, and then the Talent Show stuff, go ahead and compile them under the appropriate headings; and then put a little tag that indicates the Talent Show talents. That way, all the Skullduggery stuff (for instance) is right there in the same place, but it's still easy to tell which book it comes from.

Not a big deal though.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Philadelphus on Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:42 pm

Grey Pen, thanks for the great formatting idea. I realized it's exactly what I was looking for myself without knowing it, and I finally got some free time to sit down and implement it. I then went on and did a little other formatting work so that the net result is that it should hopefully be easier to read now. I also slightly updated Pyrotechnics, Teleportation, and Telepathy while I was at it. Man, I'm gonna need to start a changelog or something. Smile

I suppose now is as good a time as any to mention that a few weeks ago I came to agree with Ramsus that once and twice daily powers should cost less than 10 points for double the number of uses, and updated accordingly. Now 1/day powers cost 7 points for an additional use, 2/day cost 8 points (4/each), 3/day cost 9 (3/each, a number that was already in place), while 5 and 10/day still cost 10 points (2/each and 1/each, respectively). You can still only buy two additional uses of a 1/day power with the default 20 points, but under the new system you'll have six extra points left over to spend as you wish, rather than zero as before.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Philadelphus on Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:45 am

Went through and made some changes today, so have changelog:

- Added a Magic option to Stealth Mode allowing you to use it on up to six additional willing creatures, with a smaller bonus to stealth.
- Changed Applejack of All Trades so that you just get Attribute points. It does basically the same thing, is hopefully clearer, and now has a higher cap on what you can get skill too. Also added a new option that lets you add a 1d4 to your rolls a limited number of times per day.
- Changed the morale bonus increase for Instant Party to be stackable, but also raised the cost slightly. Also removed its additional uses per day, as it really doesn't make sense for it.
- Create Crazy Contraption preparation time reduced to zero. Cost raised slightly.
- Call Animal cost of preparation time reduction option reduced by half.
- Added a new option for Fabricate to increase the amount of material able to be transmuted.
- Both options for Spike, Take a Letter have had their cost decreased slightly.
- Added upgrade options for all the Enchantments.

- Several talents' wording was changed from "all creatures in your party" to "up to six additional willing creatures" to be more in line with the handbooks. Only rarely, in my experience, are parties larger than seven. And if they're smaller, this wording gives the option of using it on willing NPCs as well.
- Added a new Stackable option that allows adding 1d4 to the value of a particular check to the following talents: Nimble Hooves, Leggo!, Stealth Mode, Maddening Mockery, He Did It!, Eagle Eye, You Don't Know Where It's Been, Haste, Medicinal Training, Longrunner, Yee-Haw!, Gotcha!, Pinkie's Iterrogation, The Stare, Illusionary Mask, Villainous Laughter, The Sky's The Limit, Mirage, Failsafe Spell, and Spectral Battering Ram. This way you can either buy a permanent upgrade to a talent's bonus, or a random additional bonus for a slightly cheaper cost than it would cost to buy the same permanent bonus.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:24 am

Well, that is pretty awesome. Glad to see your still working on it!

And people are testing it, unlike mine as far as I know...
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Philadelphus on Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:32 pm

Inspired by discussion in the Harmonious Elements thread, I've added an optional rule for groups who like to keep precise track of their Harmony that changes the progression so that everyone gets one Talent Point every 500 Harmony, rather than two at level-up. It's purely optional, but some groups may like it.

I also went through and changed the font throughout the entire document – hopefully it's more legible now.

Fixed I've Read A Lot About It's cost from 8 to 7, making it in line with the guidelines I decided on and giving you more points left over if you decide to take it.
Cost of Hop, Skip, and Jump's Unique decreased from 10 to 7 for similar reasons.
Raised the cost of Stealth Mode's Magic option from 4 to 6, given how powerful it could be.
Zone of Truth's Unique reduced from 10 to 8.
Teleportation's Magic option increased from 4 to 5, but also given a duration of 5 minutes rather than being a one-shot.
Dazzling Wings' Magic option for giving the whole party flight reduced from 10 to 6. Both Unique options reduced from 5 to 3 and 2, respectively.
Forcefield can now have its preparation time reduced to zero.
Metalcrafting's Magic and Unique both reduced from 6 to 4.
Minor tweaks to some of the Enchantments (though most didn't change actual cost/power ratios), and added an option to Eternal Flame to convert your eternal flame into a normal one.

Finally, a minor format change for Stackable options: to save space because of the new font, instead of saying "[X] Stackable, up to Y", it now says "[X] Stackable {Y}". I didn't change any numbers, just the format. Also some rewording regarding reducing preparation times to Instantaneous on various options.

Finally, if anyone has any ideas for new options, please feel free to share them. There are plenty of utility talents that I looked at and just couldn't think of anything besides the basic increasing bonuses or uses per day. I'd love to see more of the talents looking like Teleportation or Dazzling Wings, so if you have an idea for your favorite talent, by all means bring it up and we'll see if we can't get it into the system somehow.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:06 pm

Philadelphus wrote:Finally, if anyone has any ideas for new options, please feel free to share them. There are plenty of utility talents that I looked at and just couldn't think of anything besides the basic increasing bonuses or uses per day. I'd love to see more of the talents looking like Teleportation or Dazzling Wings, so if you have an idea for your favorite talent, by all means bring it up and we'll see if we can't get it into the system somehow.

Did you forget about the Talent Catalog?
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