OSH Improved Talents

I’m already working towards “Fictive’s Talents and Templates 1.2” over here. As I get a few more things hashed out for the DM book (like riding creatures, swimming and climbing, etc.) and think more about other game elements, I’ll gradually accumulate more to put into the revision. There will be more talents that are not connected to templates. Also, here is a way to use a talent slot to improve an existing talent!

Some people may want to keep playing a fun character, but not look down at their sheet and see a long list of talents to remember. Instead, for those who want a short list of hard-core talents, players can now upgrade their characters’ existing talents. This upgrading does not need to wait until another tier of play–it can start at level 2.

The next version will offer more specific credit to the Old School Hack forum, because I’m using some ideas from there, adapted, to do this.

Improved Talents

 Instead of taking a new talent upon gaining a level, a player character can improve a talent the character already has. Here are the available improvements.

  • Upgrade one time frame—rested to arena, arena to constant.
  • Add +1 wound (damage) for an attack talent.
  • Add +2 to hit for an attack talent.
  • Add +2 to an attribute roll talent.
  • Reduce Awesome Point cost by 1.
  • Speed—change a focus action to a move action.

Here are some specific guidelines for upgrading talents.

  • A talent may be upgraded more than once, but only one of each upgrade type may be applied to a talent.
  • Players must get DM approval before “improving” a talent, to make sure the interpretation works for the DM’s game.
  • Spell talents may be improved.
  • Every talent may not be subject to improvement, and that’s fine.
  • Improving a base template talent counts as taking a base template talent, when counting talents towards the cross-template requirement that half a character’s talents must be from the base template.

Improving talents generally cannot allow these possibilities.

  • Adding a penalty to an opponent’s Attribute or combat test.
  • Reduce incoming damage.
  • Grant Awesome Points to the character through its use automatically (without player or DM involvement.)
  • Increase a player character’s wounds, or improve healing.

If you see this makes a talent more powerful and cooler, and worry about balance, remember that the player character gave up a whole other talent to improve this one. And there are some really neat talents out there.

Example: Improving the "Backstab" Talent

First Level. “Backstab.”

  • Arena. Attack an opponent who is attacking somebody else this round. Get +2 to hit them and do an extra +2 wounds.

Second level, “Improved Backstab.”

  • Constant. Attack an opponent who is attacking somebody else this round. Get +2 to hit them and do an extra +2 wounds. (Upgrade 1 time frame.)

Third level, “Improved Backstab.”

  • Constant. Attack an opponent who is attacking somebody else this round. Get +4 to hit them and do an extra +2 wounds. (Upgrade 1 time frame. +2 to hit.)

Fourth level, “Improved Backstab.”

  • Constant. Attack an opponent who is attacking somebody else this round. Get +4 to hit them and do an extra +3 wounds. (Upgrade 1 time frame. +2 to hit. +1 wound.)

Example: the "Blather" Talent

First Level. “Blather.”

  • Rested. As a focus action, immobilize a single foe with a stream of half-sensible commentary, questions, and demands. The foe must test Commitment against your Cunning to be free of the effect—until free, the target can do nothing but stand there.

Second Level. “Improved Blather.”

  • Rested. As a focus action, immobilize a single foe with a stream of half-sensible commentary, questions, and demands. The foe must test Commitment against your Cunning (+2) to be free of the effect—until free, the target can do nothing but stand there. (+2 Attribute roll.)

Third Level. “Improved Blather.”

  • Arena. As a focus action, immobilize a single foe with a stream of half-sensible commentary, questions, and demands. The foe must test Commitment against your Cunning (+2) to be free of the effect—until free, the target can do nothing but stand there. (+2 Attribute roll. Upgrade 1 time frame.)

Fourth Level. “Improved Blather.”

  • Arena. As a move action, immobilize a single foe with a stream of half-sensible commentary, questions, and demands. The foe must test Commitment against your Cunning (+2) to be free of the effect—until free, the target can do nothing but stand there. (+2 Attribute roll. Upgrade 1 time frame. Speed–focus action to a move action.)

If the character has the right talents to start with, the character could stick to only a few talents and get to a high level as a specialist. Considering these two examples, a character could get to 8th level and only have 2 improved talents.

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