Talent Specialization

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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:11 pm

I have a question.

Is there any reason why we can't get basically the same effects as this whole rules supplement by making some more talents with prerequisites? That way you can spend your new utility talents to improve existing ones, like the flight track, which really is the point of the expansion at its core.

If you can find a way to do this expansion by using the existing rules and system, with prerequisites or similar, then that version could get added much more easily.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:17 pm

Not really... I mean. Some chains might be possible, yes. However, giving you an extra area of freaky knowledge, or making a 3 not a crit failure for Derp aren't really worth another talent...

I mean, they might be, and I guess some utility chains could be made. But the way this works... I'm sorry. But simply making extra utility talents just, won't work. As these work WITH the talents you already got and don't requiring to use that precious utility talent slot for a upgrade which this can do for you.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:21 pm

It seems the core idea is to have the level up process offer ways to improve your skills and not just get more skills of different types.

That core concept seems to be very easy to offer via prereuisites. After all, you're trading a new talent for a better version of an older one. I'm sure it wouldn't be easy to immediately change these ideas over to that format, but that format seems very good for providing the core reason this system came up in the first place.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Paper Shadow on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:22 pm

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:I have a question.

Is there any reason why we can't get basically the same effects as this whole rules supplement by making some more talents with prerequisites? That way you can spend your new utility talents to improve existing ones, like the flight track, which really is the point of the expansion at its core.

If you can find a way to do this expansion by using the existing rules and system, with prerequisites or similar, then that version could get added much more easily.
Just at a quick glance, in some of the unique specialisation cases I believe you could, but it wouldn't be like the flight track. It'd be more like the Weather-Crafter or Ponykinesis upgrades, which I personally feel aren't all that great in the first place. The stackable upgrades aren't really worth a utility talent slot without some number boosts, and some of the unique specialisations aren't exciting enough for its own talent slot...

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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:25 pm

So the answer to that seems like to make the bonuses you get cooler... Which sounds like a good thing to me. =)
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Paper Shadow on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:28 pm

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:So the answer to that seems like to make the bonuses you get cooler... Which sounds like a good thing to me. =)
Well, if you don't mind having a wave of upgrade talents in the first place...

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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:29 pm

It'd be easy to parcel them off at the bottom of the utility talent section if we needed to - so players could go through their upgrade options after they've read all their main options. But I certainly don't mind upgradable new talents.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:30 pm

Your forgetting the main problem through.

If this is thrown away, and turned into Utility Talents. Then you lose the main draw of the Talent Specilizations. A way to improve your talents, WITHOUT using up OTHER talent slots!
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:36 pm

Well, that's not going to happen either way. I'm already worried about utility-talent-clutter as is, so giving more specializations for free isn't high on my list of priorities.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:38 pm

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:Well, that's not going to happen either way. I'm already worried about utility-talent-clutter as is, so giving more specializations for free isn't high on my list of priorities.

Read the document, its not for free. You still need to level up to upgrade your talents. Some of them take 2-3 levels to upgrade.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:40 pm

Do you or do you not get this benefit without the cost to any other out-of-combat bonuses?
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:44 pm

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:Do you or do you not get this benefit without the cost to any other out-of-combat bonuses?

... No. You simply need to level up.

Considering the bonuses and the points you get per level up through, its pretty balanced.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:46 pm

So, since you get an additional benefit at no cost - it's considered free.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:46 pm

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:So, since you get an additional benefit at no cost - it's considered free.

It does have a cost, same as getting extra utility talents. Leveling up.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:49 pm

That isn't a cost, because you don't pay anything for it. It's just handed to you when you level up. So players would get more stuff than they currently have, would would add to the utility clutter.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:51 pm

Two words that I've often repeated.

Optional. Module.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Ramsus on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:53 pm

Yeah, I think you missed the point a bit somewhere in there Dan. The amount of Utilities you get is already really limited. This was an idea to improve (specialize even) in the things you're already good at without it costing one of the few (isn't it only 3?) Utility talents you'd get as you leveled up. I actually think it's been done rather well as none of the bonuses are pushing the limits too far and the ones that push things the farthest require many levels to afford.

It would be "free" on top of Utility talents but, that's the same as saying level granted Utility talents or Combat traits or Combat Items are "free".

Edit: As far as "more clutter" goes, I think this is less egregious than Items are. This just modifies things you already have, Items actually added more things you had to remember.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:58 pm

1) Optional modules are fine. It is one right now. However, if it's to be added to the system officially, it shouldn't create additional clutter.

2) People will soon have effectively 9 utility talents at level 1 (each 2 points of racial traits is a utility talent), plus all the utility talents you get as you level up *and* the destiny features (which are worth 2 utility talents each for the 4 and 7 features and a lot more for the 10). That's a huge number of things to keep track of and we don't want to add even more over the top. The human mind is only good at actively tracking 7 variables at once anyway according to most neurological studies. Having it on paper you can reference helps a lot, but not so much we can afford to go *that* much higher above 7.

Adding new benefits always feels great as designers and looks attractive to players. But the gameplay implications of having too many variables to shuffle through makes the actual process feel worse. If there *is* any additional room, we'll want to fill it with utility items rather than specializations - as the core attraction of specialization is that you can choose to get better at your core things if you want to. Well, at least that's what the attraction is to people interested in the character development. Min/maxers will just like the idea of free extra stuff.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:15 pm

Wait. So we can't have official optional modules? Cuz if its optional, it doesn't add to the clutter unless you want it too and the DM allows it.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Ramsus on Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:18 pm

I can see the extra variables being difficult on skype and maybe tabletop games but, for play by post it's just all good since you always have time to actually check your character sheet before you do something and other people do as well.

I don't really get the point of Utility Items. If you don't set up a different economy for them separate from Combat Items you're going to smash the non-combat/combat divide apart for no understandable reason. If you do give it a separate economy... why not just increase how many Utilities people get?

Destinies are like Utilities but, they still aren't Utilities. You can't trade out your Destiny feature you don't like for Flight. So you still only get 3 Utilities for the purposes of considering things like this. If you make Talent Specializations things that take up Utilities, you're taking away from the idea of Utilities mostly being about broadening your options (this doesn't apply to Flying/Weather-Crafting though) instead of narrowing your focus which is pretty much the best thing about how Utilities function.

This is in fact a superior way to let people specialize than added specialization Utilities would be as it doesn't involve people ending up with characters who are almost literally only good at doing one thing or feeling like something they're good at doesn't matter because of the guy who is just hyper specialized in it always doing a much better job of it than they do.

You can't count anything people start with as "something they get for each level". It's what they start with. People don't think of it as you paying them in advance for levels.

Also, Dan, you don't really have to do anything here to add it into the system. I don't think anyone was saying it should become an official always used for every game mechanic. An official option like Combat Items would be fine and already fit into your "optional complications" for those who want them setup. And all that would require is putting in a link to the document that already exists. Theoretically yes you could take what's here and re-balance it and mess around with it but, you could also just be less... well grabby about it and just have the developers comment here about what they think needs to be tweaked and asked to be given editing access to the document. Unless you have a really compelling reason why parts of it would need to be fundamentally changed, I don't see the point in making the extra work for yourselves that would be involved in taking the ideas presented, taking it apart, and putting it back together with a different colored hat on so to speak.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Grey Pen The Flawed on Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:44 pm

I'd like to throw in my 2 bits and say that this supplement provides something that normal utility talents can't:

Small upgrades.

I am the sort of player who tries to remain as flexible as possible. Oh sure, I'll specialise a little bit; everyone does. But, being able to gain just one additional Enchantment (rather than taking all four in a utility talent) is nice to have, since that gives me the part I really need, without blowing a talent slot on stuff I may never use.

This applies to other talents as well, of course; Enchanting is just the obvious example. Do I really need Advanced Ponykinesis? My bag is only 30 pounds! A single talent points gets me that 30 pounds without using up Adv. PK.

</2bits>
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Paper Shadow on Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:57 pm

I kinda agree with Dan here. It's okay that it's an unofficial module, but it won't be considered for the official stuff because it adds too much; A new currency system, expansions for every single talent, and the fact that any unspent talent points you have can be used as daily roll boosters. Yeah, the item system added a currency system as well, but the thing about that system is that it is its own thing, as it didn't tie to anything you had already taken, while this ties in with your talents, and will clash with current utility talents which upgrade talents, such as the Flight, Weather Crafter, Ponyk. In addition, you don't spend money, it acts more like a limit. That relieves decision stress. If you decide you want to change your items, that's okay. But with this, if you have a change of heart, it's too late. You have to plan ahead. Finally, items are considered a norm in both role playing and video games, so the idea is easier to get behind compared to boosting your talents...

And correct me if I'm wrong, but since this system is based off My Little Pony, doesn't it make sense if characters are designed to be super good at one thing? After all, ponies in the show are good at general pony things (such as breathing and walking, flying if they are a pegasus, and telekinesis if they are a unicorn) and their talent? Twilight Sparkle is an Knowledge-built character. She does magic better than anyone else, and lives in a library, so it only makes sense for her to have high Arcane and History, but she isn't strong, so her Brawn would suffer as a result. Likewise, Rainbow Dash is Precision-built with low Knowledge, Pinkie Pie and Rarity are Horse-Sense built but has low Knowledge and Brawn respectively, Fluttershy has no specific build, but she has all the animal empathy utility talents, and despite what her name implies, Applejack is Brawn-built with low Knowledge as well. That's why there is overlap with the skills, such as Athletics and Acrobatics, Endurance and Heal, History and Streetwise; it's so you can build into one path, be the best you can be, but not be useless in other situations...

Look, Dan isn't saying "Do this or no one will take this module and I'll hate you forever ahahahaha," all while stroking his curled moustache, but what I think he is trying to say is that this thread has given him an interest in having utility talents which are upgrades of other utility talents, and wishes for you to consider investing some time to do that. Now, currently, there is a lot of examples which are pretty bad. I mean, five more uses for Found It!, which already has five uses, at the cost of a utility talent slot? Woo. But I believe there are two great examples of upgrades done right; The Flight Upgrade Path, and the Animal Empathy Upgrade Path. They are useful, they are interesting, and rewards specialisation in a way the other examples fail to do. If we can make more upgrades which fit the design of the Flight and Animal Empathy upgrade paths, but for different talents, then everyone will benefit...

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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Ramsus on Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:08 pm

Um... ok...

So let's see. One of your complaints is that it spends something you get while you level up instead of "money" which you get a fixed amount of when you level up? Do you know what the difference between those two ideas are? The words used. That's quite literally it. Yes, your GM can give you more "money" to spend on combat items if they wish. They can also give you more specialization points if they want too. Or more Utilities, combat talents, combat traits, daily uses of some thing, different mechanics for some things or really anything they wish. At default though, you are only intended to get exactly the specific amount of "money" per level the combat item document says you do.

As for not being able to re-choose how you spent your specialization points, I agree it would be nicer if you could re-choose those at level up like you can pretty much everything else.

Correct you if you're wrong? Ok, not to be rude here but.... you're wrong. The characters on the show are great at not just one thing but a lot of things. Way more things than this game system could really emulate without really throwing out most of the rules entirely and telling people they can just do whatever they think up.

I'm not entirely certain I agree with you on the Flight tree progression as it swallows up 5 utility talents worth and you have to take the whole thing if you want to be any good at weather-crafting (unless your GM is allowing you to make WC checks from the ground). You could probably chop it down to three Utilities and it wouldn't really cause any problems. The animal tree on the other hand does work but, that's because it actually allows you to do more stuff, not just have higher number bonuses for something you can already do. (I also agree about thinking the Found It upgrades are kind pointless, I feel the same way about Failsafe Spell considering it needs to be used before you know if you need to use it.)

I don't think anyone ever said Dan was attempting to be evil and ruin people's fun. I think what most of us have said is that we don't think the alternative format he has in mind is what we'd want or what we think would make the system any better (and in my opinion it would be detrimental to the system) and that we think the current format works really well for what it's intended to be doing (really, I think it's one of the best examples of mechanics work on the entire forum).
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Philadelphus on Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:24 pm

Now now, guys. Let's keep it positive. I have a game starting in 5 minutes so I can't write anything detailed at the moment, but Dan, I'm thinking about your question. In the meantime, if you guys want to discuss stuff, try focusing on the positives and what you like about either/or/both systems. The more we know what people like, the better we can make any final results.
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Re: Talent Specialization

Post  Hayatecooper on Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:29 pm

Or keep arguing/debating. It is amusing to watch, for me at least.

Also I think this system works, it's not overly broken. It's hardly complicated or difficult to learn and it does add some extra character customization which I really like. But that's just me.
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