What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  Xel Unknown on Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:23 pm

Then... That also might but the GM in a corner... OR make the utility feeling useless...
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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:25 pm

How would it put the DM in a corner?

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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  Xel Unknown on Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:29 pm

If I understand your suggestion of having a Utility trigger only when one meets a new culture... Either a) The GM needs to keep making new cultures or b) the Utility starts to feel like a waste of space.
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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:33 pm

Not necessarily. You'd keep the benefits of interacting with the cultures you've already met - so it wouldn't feel like a waste if you stick with those cultures.

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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  Mind Gamer on Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:44 pm

Both are good ideas. If the backstory justified (without being contrived) a reason for you to know the culture of a society well, then you would have it automatically as one of your learned cultures. The potential problem would come in with players trying to break the system by having their backstory include something like, say, them as a traveler who routinely visited all these different cultures prior to the game, so they never have to actually spend time in-roleplay learning them. Plus, unless the cultures were provided in the setting description, once more it brings up the problem of forcing the DM to come up with a list of cultures in the world. Or at least, a list of cultures he wants the players to be allowed to pick from, as said.

So, we could just have that as a built in limitation. With the exception of cultures that you interact with along the way, the only cultures you're allowed to have learned before the campaign starts are ones that the DM considers within the limitations of the players. So, for instance, if your society was at war with another, or regularly interacted with another, that society's culture would be open to you while creating your character and using the Talent. It would need to be justified in the backstory to an extent, and how it was justified would affect the benefits, but the talent would basically allow you to intentionally learn things that others would just ignore.

However, if a culture is out of reach of the player, like say a hidden tribe or a far-away kingdom, you'd be unable to justify coming in contact with that culture, and thus be unable to learn about it in your backstory. Wouldn't stop you from learning about it in-roleplay, but still.

So, with all this in mind...

Howdy, Neighbour!
Upon taking this talent, you gain the ability to learn the cultures of others beyond the casual or professional courtesy. You are allowed to learn the cultures of other societies as if you were one of them, and are thereafter treated more favorably than other outsiders would. This also grants you knowledge of the culture's societal norms, rituals, and politics. You may learn cultures up to a limit of one-third your History score, though this limit can be increased or decreased as your History score is changed. If this talent is taken at level 1, and your character had the capacity in their history to come in contact with other cultures for an extended period of time, they can choose these as cultures they have learned for this feat. Otherwise, a player must spend at least one full day dedicated to studying the culture of a society to gain this talent's benefits. This study may be conducted from within the society itself, secretly or peacefully, or with someone who already knows the culture, including natives to the culture.

The wording at the bottom indicates that if two players have Howdy, Neighbour! then they can also learn cultures from each other. Thus, giving more ways to learn a culture before entering it.
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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  ZamuelNow on Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:43 pm

It could just be me, but this sounds more like Streetwise than History since it involves interaction.  Perhaps make it an either/or for History and Streetwise.




Two different nullification concepts:

Magical Nullifier:
Magical Nullifier - 5/Day
You may use your Arcana skill to dispel a magical effect.  You also gain a +5 bonus to the skill check to dispel the effect.

Magical Nullification Zone:
Enchanting - 3/Day
When you select this utility talent choose up to four of the following enchantments. When you activate this utility talent, you may activate one of the enchantments you chose this way. You may take this talent multiple times, choosing different enchantments each time.


  • Magical Nullification Zone - Enchantment
    Preparation Time: 10 minutes
    You create a 10 foot spherical zone of anti-magic.  Within this zone, teleportation and all Arcana checks automatically fail.  You may expend additional uses of this enchantment in order to increase the sphere's radius by 10 feet.  The zone stays active for 24 hours or until dismissed.
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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:52 am

I love these ideas Z. Need to work on the phrasing a bit (an 'as if you were using magecraft' or similar would be good here to make it clear that this falls under that system... Unles you have something else in mind). 

Howdy Neighbor is still a great idea, but I think it's getting too overcluttered and I'm still not precisely sure what benefits a player gets from it. Try cutting down the number of sentences and making it clear and to the point - stating things as explicitly as possible. Even Sweet and Elite manages to get the idea across pretty quickly by tossing it to the DM.

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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  ZamuelNow on Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:47 am

An attempt at uncluttering:

Howdy, Neighbour!:
Howdy, Neighbour! X/Campaign
Upon taking this talent, you gain the ability to learn the cultures of other societies as if you were one of them and are thereafter treated more favorably than other outsiders would. This also grants you knowledge of the culture's societal norms, rituals, and politics. You may learn X cultures up to a limit of one-third your History or Streetwise score, though this limit can be increased or decreased as your skill level is changed. Learning this culture may come from prior interaction or from a full day of studying or interacting with members of the culture including other players with this talent.
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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:58 am

Much better (few minor errors, but they're more typos). You have real skill at writing polished skills Zamuel. Your work is some of the only stuff that has ever been added to the system, certainly one of the only utility talents, from a forum member without significant revision in the phrasing. Great work.

Stripped of all the clutter - the talent works fine... But right now, it doesn't really seem to do anything. Seems just a utility talent that, right now, covers what could easily be an element of the normal gameplay. I mean, couldn't a player normally spend a day studying a culture and thus gain an understanding of them?

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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  Ramsus on Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:08 am

Not if they are a normally impossible member of the culture. Like an earth pony getting themselves in good with a swamp dwelling zebra tribe or some such. Admittedly that could still result as part of normal gameplay. Then again, so could Sweet & Elite or a few other things.
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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  Mind Gamer on Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:13 am

Most of that is still my writing, just cutting down on the word cruft... grumble grumble...

But as for what unique benefits can be gained? This is where the Flavor Man comes in! ...I apologize for that self-nickname. It will never come up again.

Ahem. Here's an idea.

Upon studying a culture, a player gains the ability to ask the DM direct questions regarding the societies learned privately. The player can then use this information as if it was known in character.

Like Twitchy Tail, but more specific, and easier to use regarding a culture. Essentially can represent knowing a culture well enough to knowing anything about it you could want, even stuff not known to outsiders, without relying on skill checks. Also gives the DM a chance to stop and think, potentially expanding the culture of a culture.

As for a more permanent, non-information based bonus;

You may choose, for each culture known, to gain status within the culture as if you had Sweet and Elite, or to gain respect with the lower-class residents.

The last bit is sort of like a "Poor Man's Sweet and Elite." In other words, gaining respect with the less respectable aspects of the culture. Whether that's simply the peasants, the lowly soldiers, the working class or the criminal underbelly is up to the DM.
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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:35 am

Indeed it is a trimming of your own words Mind Gamer, you still get full credit. But getting things polished and cut down without losing functionality is a huge chore for us devs. We love it when users do it for their own work. =)

Going for private-questions is going to require game annoyances like those being portrayed in Friendship is Dragons right now. For the quiz version of things, what about this?

Anthropology Major - 1/Day
Preparation Time: Instantaneous
Trigger - You would make a history check to learn about a culture you haven't encountered before
Effect - Treat the roll as if you had rolled a natural 20

I'm not wild about how this is clearly about die-rolls and not a more creative interpretation - but it seems to get the idea across.

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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  Mind Gamer on Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:54 am

There's a bit of a problem with that... Assume you don't come across a new culture more than twice per day. Anthropology Major means you don't need to have a History Score to be more useful than most anyone else who wants to know about a culture.

Mystic ruins? You could likely justify that perfect 20 to know everything about this lost civilization, including where all the best loot is.

Completely alien society you had no way of knowing up until now? Unless the DM is willing to completely shut down on that Nat 20, you now know everything about them without knowing they existed prior.

I get that the idea is trying to make the cultural aspect more compact and useable, but the problem is that it strips all the flavor out of the talent and makes it purely mechanical, while making a History score even less useful than before.

I might be alone on this opinion, so I'll leave it at that.
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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:57 am

Mind Gamer wrote:There's a bit of a problem with that... Assume you don't come across a new culture more than twice per day. Anthropology Major means you don't need to have a History Score to be more useful than most anyone else who wants to know about a culture.

Mystic ruins? You could likely justify that perfect 20 to know everything about this lost civilization, including where all the best loot is.

Completely alien society you had no way of knowing up until now? Unless the DM is willing to completely shut down on that Nat 20, you now know everything about them without knowing they existed prior.

I get that the idea is trying to make the cultural aspect more compact and useable, but the problem is that it strips all the flavor out of the talent and makes it purely mechanical, while making a History score even less useful than before.

I might be alone on this opinion, so I'll leave it at that.
 I'd much prefer a more flavor-focused version of the talent. However, the 'learn about the culture' mechanic works best as referring to the standard way you learn about a culture. If you can think of an equally specific and simple way, I'll be all ears.

However, your assumption of what is provided by a natural 20 is rather broad. It's more like Felix Felicis in Harry Potter. If it's possible, everything seems to go your way. But a natural 20 can't punch out the sun and a natural 20 can't learn the unlearnable.

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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  ZamuelNow on Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:54 pm

Mind Gamer wrote:Most of that is still my writing, just cutting down on the word cruft... grumble grumble...
Your words, your credit. Merely trying to help you out by trimming things for brevity. As far as benefits, think social rather than numerical. They treat you like one of their own, you can learn info about local landmarks, they may give you resources for a quest, they may hide you if being chased, etc.
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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  Mind Gamer on Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:01 pm

I know that, Zamuel. Heh, just trying to make a humorous whining statement.

At any rate, that's the style of benefit I was going for. The problem is that's all on the DM to decide what precisely is being granted. So the choice becomes "Do we find hard benefits, or leave it all to the DM?"
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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  ZamuelNow on Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:04 pm

I feel it should be left to the GM but examples should be given for ideas.
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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:35 pm

That's usually a good policy. Hard benefits are almost *always* better though, to limit arguments and keep things from being overpowered or underpowered according to how specific DMs implement them (coughs in the direction of Magecraft - which has more examples than anything else yet still causes interpretation problems). Sweet and Elite manages to get along fine though.

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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  Kindulas on Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:36 am

Okay, I got an idea from something stated on a very different way of going about this culture talent. What if the idea is that, when talking to people of a foreign culture, you automatically get to know of any cultural etiquette that's expected of you - like say, you meet a tribal leader of some kind, and there's a particular way you're supposed to greet that kind of authority figure. Normally, a party would accidentally show disrespect from ignorance, but with this power you would know what to do.
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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  ZamuelNow on Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:58 am

You mean something like, say...

Instant Etiquette:
Instant Etiquette [number of uses or At Will status]
When interacting with a member of a foreign culture or a different social group, you know how to interact in the expected norm for the social situation.  This only prevents you from accidentally insulting the individual and additional skill checks or interaction may be needed to impress them or improve their opinion if they already dislike you.
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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  Xel Unknown on Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:33 pm

ZamuelNow wrote:You mean something like, say...

Instant Etiquette:
Instant Etiquette [number of uses or At Will status]
When interacting with a member of a foreign culture or a different social group, you know how to interact in the expected norm for the social situation.  This only prevents you from accidentally insulting the individual and additional skill checks or interaction may be needed to impress them or improve their opinion if they already dislike you.
Ok... Now this one I really like and apeals to me.
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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  sunbeam on Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:18 pm

The point I personally like about it is that you can choose whether or not to grant the information to your allies, which means you gain an advantage, but there is still a possibility for those hilarious "Don't do that!" moments.
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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  Mind Gamer on Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:18 pm

I approve, and considering it kinda removes any purpose to my own Cultural utility... That's new. It makes sense, is short enough to make sense, and effective.

Now... May I suggest another kind of utility? One that uses History as a way to temporarily (and potentially badly) translate or speak in any language? I call it "My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels."
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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  Copper Rose on Sat Aug 24, 2013 4:03 am

I had a random thought

Stop~ Time Hammer! 1/Day
Preparation Time: Instantatneous
For 10 seconds any target object takes the form it had 24 hours ago.
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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

Post  Kindulas on Sat Aug 24, 2013 4:09 am

Copper Rose wrote:I had a random thought

Stop~ Time Hammer! 1/Day
Preparation Time: Instantatneous
For 10 seconds any target object takes the form it had 24 hours ago.
I have... no idea what this would typically actually do in it's current form, given the 24 hours and 10 seconds, but the idea of reverting an object to past states is really cool!
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Re: What's Missing?: Utility Talents version

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