Jump to content



Photo

Proposal - overhauling talent trees


  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 dougnugget

dougnugget

    Member

  • Members
  • 22 posts

Posted 26 September 2012 - 04:12 AM

I'm writing this after reading the Week 4 changes, which make some substantial edits to the specialization rules and some talents.

I'm still less than impressed with the talent system - I like the idea behind it but there are still a lot of talents that are marginal, or don't add a lot to the game and could easily be dropped or dealt with in some other way.

Also, now that all talents taken are effectively Permanent, there's some overlap between different talent trees that could do with removing, especially those that stack. This is without the prospect of new careers/specialisations later on which might want to reuse some of the existing talents.

Here are some suggestions for overhauling the current system with the aim of:

* Simplifying the system

* making it easier to design new specialisations later on while making it harder to "munchkin" hyperspecialised builds that stack similar abilities from different specialisations.

The main plan is to replace the current grid of talents with a number of straight-line, non-overlapping talents. For example, a talent line based on navigational ability might look like this:

5 Points - Galaxy Mapper

10 Points - Familiar Suns

15 points - Galaxy Mapper

20 Points - Master Starhopper

25 Points - Kessel Run (New ability - spend a destiny to dramatically reduce the travel time for a starship voyage)

Whereas a line based on increased lethality might look like this:

5 Points - Lethal Blows

10 Points - Targeted Blow (spend a Destiny Point to get +2 damage on a ranged or melee attack that hits)*

15 points - Lethal Blows

20 Points - Improved Targeted Blow (spend a Destiny Point to get +5 damage on a a ranged or melee attack that hits)*

25 Points - Lethal Blows

(* This is to consolidate the multiple talents available that give you + attribute to damage.)

I'd take Toughened and Grit and make them each a line that's available to everyone. So your first point of Grit costs 5 points, the next costs 10 etc, up to 25 points for the 5th point (and the same for toughened.)

Each specialisation would then have access to 3 of the specific talent lines (as well as Toughness and Grit), and these lines might be shared with other specialisations. For example, Politicos and Traders could both use a line directly related to negotiation.

I'm still considering what to do about buying extra characteristics - I think they would need to cost 25 points and require one or more talent lines to be completed first.

Still a lot of work to do, and I know this is radically different from the approach in the beta. however, I thought I would throw it out there to see whether there was any appetite for it.



#2 lupex

lupex

    Member

  • Members
  • 335 posts

Posted 27 September 2012 - 01:14 AM

I think that there are a couple of issues with the system, and these are all based from memory as someone has my book .

1) The talent trees are uneven and don't seem to fit a logical design pattern.

2) Talents cost different amounts on different trees but we don't know why

3) Talents effects are not balanced (not that they have to be but we need to know how much each talent is worth on its own, see above)

4) Force powers have trees that work like talent trees but are not talent trees (thus adding a separate thing to record?)

I like some of your ideas about re-organising the talents into list but I also like the current way that the trees lead the character through a character concept, so the question is how do we get these two ideas to meet up?

It would be great if some of the deigners were able to give us some design notes on how the trees were put together.


"Given a choice between calling upon a bounty hunter or a Jedi, folks turned
to the Jedi because we worked for free and are concerned about collateral
damage." - Jedi Master Luke Skywalker

#3 dougnugget

dougnugget

    Member

  • Members
  • 22 posts

Posted 27 September 2012 - 10:08 PM

lupex said:

I think that there are a couple of issues with the system, and these are all based from memory as someone has my book .

I wonder who that is, eh?

To answer your points, since we seem to be on our own in here:

1) I think there's a logic behind it but not a strict "X ability must cost X points" thing. I think it's more of a "here's lots of cool stuff we designed for your specialisation, now how much should we charge you for it?"

2 & 3) I think looking at the lowest cost you can get a talent for is a useful guide. For example, Quick Draw can be purchased for 5 points if you take the right spec. Whereas I don't think there are any talents that allow you to reroll a skill check for less than 15 points. Gaining a characteristic point is always a 25 point cost.

Where a talent costs more than the basic cost, thisis likely to be down to one of:

* Wanting to make the trees a bit different from each other,
* Maybe there are too many other talents competing for that cost, so something has to move sown the tree,
* It's a stackable talent and this means that later ranks need to be harder to get.

4) I think the Force trees also need a lot of tidying up, no argument there.

Re: character concepts. I think it's helpful to analyse the talents and extrapolate from that what each speciality is meant to be good at. For example, the Assassin tree is mainly about:

* Marksmanship, with a focus on taking foes down at a distance (Precise Aim, Sniper Shot)
* Making any hit count, whether ranged or melee (Lethal Blows, Anatomy Lesson/Targeted Blow, Deadly Accuracy)
* Being sneaky (Stalker, Master of Shadows)
* Reflexes (Jump Up, Quick Strike, Quick Draw, Dodge)

However, not all the trees are this fully featured. Take Politico, for example, which breaks down as:

* Being a nice leader (Kill With Kindness, Inspiring Rhetoric)
* Being a not-so-nice leader (Plausible Deniability, Scathing Tirade)
* a grab-bag of more general talents to cover force of personality (Steely Nerves, Intense Presence, Nobody's fool, Natural Charmer)
* The Well Rounded Talent

IMHO, Politico is a weak concept as is, with too much focus on friendly vs shouty and no ability to negotiate or "wheel and deal".

The Doctor tree is particularly weak, being mainly about fixing people up, stuffing them full of stims (really? I know this is a more "gritty" SW setting than most, but do we really need 3 talents dedicated to getting people all hopped up on meds?) a nice talent (Resolve) and a few combat talents deep in the tree.

What doctor particularly lacks on the "healer" side is any ability to help other people recover strain (heard of counselling?) which I would have expected to see instead of Stim Application. Also nothing to represent that people tend to trust doctors and tell them what's on their mind.

My view is that each specialisation should 3 or 4 "lines" to reflect their specialist training (so they all get 3, or they all got 4). There should be some overlap between the specialisations but each one gets something that none of the others can get.



#4 Illya Mar

Illya Mar

    Member

  • Members
  • 11 posts

Posted 29 September 2012 - 03:30 PM

 I have to agree that it seems like specific paths within talent trees should be more focused on areas of expertise or talent rather than a disparate collection of talents taken at different levels.

For instance, there are some common threads in terms of the abilities of a Force Exile:

1) Characters who have an uncanny awareness of the world around them, due to their connection to the Force.
2) Characters who seem preternaturally fortunate or lucky, because the Force is subtly guiding their actions.
3) Characters who have a sixth sense for danger and dangerous situations.
4) Characters who subtly influence or read other sentient beings without really even realizing it.

When you describe Force-Sensitive Exiles as such, one expects that you could go into the talent tree and select those abilities that relate to sensing danger. Say you've got a character who is always saying, “I've got a bad feeling about this…” and is unaware that they're Force Sensitive but it confers certain benefits.

But by the book, to focus on those areas and take things like Sense Danger and Sixth Sense, you've also got to take things like Convincing Demeanor and Street Smarts.  You've got a lot less flexibility there.  You've got to add some Force manipulation of others into your concept.   And in some cases, there are some concepts you just can't make with the current rule set.

By contrast, a talent tree like Trader is a lot more focused than some other trees. I can go straight down the line and just take Know Somebody and Wheel and Deal, regarding my ability to buy and sell stuff for myself and my crew.  I've got side branches that pertain to physical toughness and preparedness (Grit and Spare Clip); interaction with NPCs (Nobody's Fool, Smooth Talker); and then admittedly things get a bit more muddled after that.

But I feel like every path on every talent tree should go like the first column of trader: I can focus in one area by going down that one left column path and say “My character is good at buying and selling things.”

Right on the other side of the page, for Scout, if you go down the equivalent path that makes up that tree's left column, you're saying “My character recovers quickly, finds stuff in the wilderness, and has the right tool for every job on his utility belt.” Those are all different things. They may all be true for a great many scout characters, but not for all of them. Many Wookiees are stereotypically scouts, and while one famously wore a bandolier, they aren't very notorious for pulling things out of their belts. Tons of wookiees recover quickly and find stuff really well, but alas, they wear no pants and from all the Star Wars stuff I've read they don't typically pull tons of things out of their fur or anything equivalent to a belt. That's at the bottom, but if I want to complete that column and then veer right to claim my bonus to one characteristic, it's assumed I've got a utility belt or something like one.

Now for a Fringer, it's assumed that if I want that Master Starhopper talent to show how good I am at astrogation in a pinch, I also know how to jump on and off of banthas really well (Let's Ride.) I'll admit to not having read all of the X-Wing novels, but I'm having trouble picturing some of the pilots from the fringe in those novels being at home on a riding beast.

I can go down one path in Trader and still be completely in my own personal Lando concept, I'm very good at getting what I want or need cheaply or getting someone else what they need at a profit. But I can't go down one path in Scout and still fit my Chewbacca concept, or go down a path of Fringer and be true to a Biggs Darklighter sort of concept of someone from the backwater who's pretty good at piloting from place to place, for some reason I also mount and dismount animals very well. Yes, there's the cockpit aspect of it, so I can TJ Hooker the front of a ship and slide into the cockpit, but I can still mount and dismount animals that seems unnatural for a fringe spacer. I could ignore it, but if the situation comes up to use it, is the average player really not going to take advantage of it?

Mark me down as one more person who thinks talent trees should be more focused on one particular type of trait for each path.



#5 lupex

lupex

    Member

  • Members
  • 335 posts

Posted 30 September 2012 - 01:34 AM

I agree to everything you guys have said, I don't mind that talent trees allow you to develop your character in different ways, shouty or talky, close up combat or ranged, but each talent needs to lead to a logical progression so that they build on a concept but as has been demonstrated some talent trees allow you to do lots of cool things but these things do not have a logical progression.

I also find it strange that how long it takes to get the dedication talent depends which specialization you are in, sometimes you only need to take 4 talents to get to dedication and sometimes you need to take 6 or more?

Thematic talent columns would work a lot better, with at least one column getting you to dedication after taking 4 previous talents, that's if we really need a dedication talent?  I think that it would work well with just allowing a characteristic to be increased by spending a shed load of xp?


"Given a choice between calling upon a bounty hunter or a Jedi, folks turned
to the Jedi because we worked for free and are concerned about collateral
damage." - Jedi Master Luke Skywalker

#6 lupex

lupex

    Member

  • Members
  • 335 posts

Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:28 AM

Question, do talent tree progressions link to specific skills? 

Would this be a better way of tying them to character concepts?


"Given a choice between calling upon a bounty hunter or a Jedi, folks turned
to the Jedi because we worked for free and are concerned about collateral
damage." - Jedi Master Luke Skywalker

#7 dougnugget

dougnugget

    Member

  • Members
  • 22 posts

Posted 30 September 2012 - 10:43 AM

Illya Mar said:

I can go down one path in Trader and still be completely in my own personal Lando concept, I'm very good at getting what I want or need cheaply or getting someone else what they need at a profit. But I can't go down one path in Scout and still fit my Chewbacca concept, or go down a path of Fringer and be true to a Biggs Darklighter sort of concept of someone from the backwater who's pretty good at piloting from place to place, for some reason I also mount and dismount animals very well. Yes, there's the cockpit aspect of it, so I can TJ Hooker the front of a ship and slide into the cockpit, but I can still mount and dismount animals that seems unnatural for a fringe spacer. I could ignore it, but if the situation comes up to use it, is the average player really not going to take advantage of it?

Mark me down as one more person who thinks talent trees should be more focused on one particular type of trait for each path.

Exactly! The trees tend to force you to take certain things that might not be part of your character concept, before you can take the things which are part of it.

I can sort of see why they did this - it helps to make sure that people don't hyperspecialise in a particular skillset - but I think this is already balanced by the progressively harder costs of moving down to higher-costed talents.

Lupex: most talents link to skills, but not in a 1:1 way. For example, some talents affect 2 skills (for example, Plausible Deniability works on Coerce and Deceit) and most combat talents overlap multiple combat skills, but sometimes with other restrictions (such as only working at a particular range).

Also, I can see that there is some very interesting discussion going on here about having a "classless" system which I think is also relevant to this thread: http://www.fantasyfl...=724997&efpag=1

If you combine some of that with what's going on here, you don't really need specialisations either - just take some starting skills, and pick 3-4 thematic "lines" that your character is good at. If you want more "lines" after that, you pay progressively higher XP for each new one you take on.

So, for example, my starting character has:

6 free skills
3 thematic lines, each with 5 talents costing 5,10,15,20,25 XP
A "grit" line with which allows me to buy +1 strain 5 times for 5,10,15,20,25 XP
A "toughness" line with which allows me to buy +1 wound 5 times for 5,10,15,20,25 XP

I can then spend my starting XP on more stats, more skills, or buying talents.

If I want access to additional thematic lines, it costs me (say) 10Xp for the 1st extra line, 20Xp for the 2nd, and so on.

There's lots of fun you can have with this. For example, there's nothing IMHO stopping someone from having 1 or more of their starting thematic lines being Force-related. I'd be tempted to cut up the current Force Sensitive Exile talent tree and the Move/Sense/Influence trees, and turn it into the following talent lines

Sense Basics ---> Sense
Alter Basics ---> Alter
Control Basics ---> Control

(sorry, couldn't resist renaming these!)

So, some of the better stuff is now on an advanced talent line that requires you to complete the basic line first.

What about Dedication? I would probably allow a player to buy +1 to a characteristic for 25Xp each time they complete a talent line (which means it costs 100XP to max out a line and buy a characteristic.) However, I would also set a hard cap of no more than 2 advances to the same stat. So if you started with an Agility of 2, no buying it past 4. I might make an exception for droids, as I think they would get hit harder by this.

I would still have some pre-generated archetypes to illustrate how this works.



#8 lupex

lupex

    Member

  • Members
  • 335 posts

Posted 01 October 2012 - 03:48 AM

I wish there was a like button.    As I think we have it.

But i think Force should be;

Sense, Influence and Manipulate as Control and Alter cover a much broader spectrum of effects?


"Given a choice between calling upon a bounty hunter or a Jedi, folks turned
to the Jedi because we worked for free and are concerned about collateral
damage." - Jedi Master Luke Skywalker

#9 wraith428

wraith428

    Member

  • Members
  • 167 posts

Posted 03 October 2012 - 11:06 AM

I agree with liking this.

 

One thing I don't like about the talent trees is that they aren't intuative.  A line would be. 

 

I'd even accept them keeping the careers and assigning them line access for balance purposes.

 

Anyways think you have something here.

 

Wraith428






© 2013 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. Fantasy Flight Games and the FFG logo are ® of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact | User Support | Rules Questions | Help | RSS