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SavageBob

New Spec—Colonist: Aristocrat

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Hey, everyone. I was hoping for some feedback on a specialization I've been working on: The Aristocrat! The idea is to represent someone who comes from an old-money, high-class background, a person who can hobnob with nobles and kings, and who uses those connections to get ahead. The idea is NOT to say that a character can't come from an aristocratic background unless they take this spec; that's clearly a big part of the intent behind the Colonist career in general. Rather, this spec models someone who gets by almost entirely due to family connections and daddy's money.

 

Mechanically, I've borrowed the Entrepreneur's ability to throw money around, but I've tried to make this have more social (rather than financial) benefits for the Aristocrat. A few more specific points:

 

Bonus Career Skills: My thinking is that these are essential to anyone who wants to get by in high society. Several of these gets buffs from talents in the tree or are needed to activate certain talents.

 

Sound Investments: I toyed with renaming this Inheritance or Allowance for color, leaving it mechanically the same. But if something comes down the line later that requires X levels of Sound Investments, I'd want the Aristocrat to benefit.

 

Blue Blooded: This is a reskin of the Respected Scholar talent that gives bonuses to interactions with high-status people. Blue Blooded could represent the acquisition of new titles, honors, and other prestige that progressively make the character more accepted as a member of the upper crust, or the PC might narrate it as the character growing more confident when around other members of the upper crust.

 

Noblesse Oblige: This talent models the idea that with high status comes great responsibility. Narratively, this could represent spreading the wealth among allies, donating money to charity, or paying off the bad guys to help the PC's cause. Mechanically, the talent is a combination of Scathing Tirade and Inspiring Rhetoric, but it's directly tied to the PC's level of status (ranks in Blue Blooded), and it costs money to use. Hopefully this is enough to keep it from being overpowered.

 

I've also toyed with a variant of this that works more like Intense Presence. "Take a Noblesse Oblige action; for every 50 credits spent, recover strain equal to ranks in Blue Blooded." I'm interested to hear which version people think is better (for whatever reasons).

 

Old Boy Network: This talent is inspired by several bottom-row talents that grant a powerful narrative effect, such as the Archaeologist's Museum Worthy. Old Boy Network represents the connections aristocratic families tend to have with one another, so it allows the PC to say, "Ah! I just remembered that my grandfather used to go on safari with Baron Tagge every year on Toola!" The PCs can then spin that connection into some sort of advantage for themselves.

 

Path: Initially, the PC gets the choice of a level of Blue Blooded or Sound Investments, both of which fuel other talents in the tree. Greased Palms seems like a good first-row talent for someone whose money acts as a social lubricant. Then there's your standard Grit, with a connected Rapid Recovery; among other interpretations, Rapid Recover might represent someone who does a lot of partying in expensive clubs.

 

To get deeper into the tree, the PC has to take Well Rounded. This talent represents something like boarding school, finishing school, a country club membership, a stint at the Imperial Academy, a degree from the University of Coruscant, etc. The character can gain access to Athletics, Ranged (Heavy), or pretty much anything while (narratively) making connections that further drive the character toward a more comfortable position among the galactic one percent.

 

The path to the left is the social aristocrat, someone who learns to navigate the political intrigues that go along with noble title. Going down, we have Toughened, to represent someone who perhaps served in the military or practices a sport or combat-related hobby. Then, going right, you have a path for someone who wants to masterfully use their family's money to advance.

 

TL;DR: This is my attempt to represent an upper-class, old-money aristocrat by using the mechanic of money-powered and status-powered talents. Any comments?

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I would be cautious about Talents that are just re-worded versions of another talent unless you don't want them to stack with other ranked talents.  Since there is only this one specialization that has it, it can't accumulate ranks with other specializations.

 

Aside from that, it looks like fun at first glance.

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Interesting build, I like it in general.

 

Some specific thoughts.

 

* Bonus Skills look good.

 

* Blue Blooded is a neat talent - I think its pretty powerful to have 3 ranks of it in the tree.  Reducing the difficulty by three is pretty powerful, I'd want some careful clarification on what "high status" means.

-- Alternatively you could have it be Blue Blooded, Improved Blue Blooded, and Master Blue Blooded, toss a strain cost on there and I'd be more OK with it.

 

Talents like Greased Palms and Bought info highlight throwing money around.  To me old money aristocrats don't throw money around, their status simply opens doors.  Similar with sound investments...  I think a focus on making credits is out of place for the feel you have targeted.  That said I don't think there is a problem mechanically with the talents.

 

"Throwing Credits" pay 100 credits to ignore strain penalty from obligation, no way. Obligation triggers are fun and the strain ups the tension.  I don't like throwing a nominal fee (which you are almost certainly getting from sound investments) and ignoring it.

 

Noblesse Oblige should be a once per session spend a destiny point.  Dropping 300 credits to provide 3 boosts to all your allies is too goo to be infinite.

 

Old Boy Network again needs some clarification in the "long form" of the talent to spell out what an "important connection" and what benefits you can get from it.  I assume its pretty similar to the "Biggest Fan" talent from Entertainer.

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I have to agree with Warren - particularly as (at least for me) the kind of Aristocrat your going to find on the Edge of the Empire is one who has their title, but doesn't have money.  (This happened to a lot of the aristocracy in Europe, particularly England/Scotland.)  Thus sound investments feels a little odd to me.  I'd actually considering using a talent that's almost the opposite of Throwing Money:

 

"Maintaining Appearances"

An ancient lineage means there is always someone willing give gifts or loans in exchange for perceived favors. When the obligation roll occurs, the aristocrat may suffer 1 strain just as though their obligation had been triggered, and gain 200 credits.  They may do this once per rank of Maintaining Appearances.

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Frankly I think most of what an 'old money aristocrat' would be is already covered under the Politico spec as is.

 

This just frankly feels like the OP is trying to shoehorn in "cool talents" from multiple sources into a one-stop shopping spec.

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Thanks for the feedback, folks! To comment on some specific comments:

 

I would be cautious about Talents that are just re-worded versions of another talent unless you don't want them to stack with other ranked talents.  Since there is only this one specialization that has it, it can't accumulate ranks with other specializations.

 

Aside from that, it looks like fun at first glance.

 

Well, Blue Blooded isn't just a renamed talent; if affects "high-status individuals" rather than scholars and institutes of higher learning. I may need to clarify what "high-status individuals" means, but it's modeled after Respected Scholar rather than just being a rename.

 

* Blue Blooded is a neat talent - I think its pretty powerful to have 3 ranks of it in the tree.  Reducing the difficulty by three is pretty powerful, I'd want some careful clarification on what "high status" means.

-- Alternatively you could have it be Blue Blooded, Improved Blue Blooded, and Master Blue Blooded, toss a strain cost on there and I'd be more OK with it.

 

Talents like Greased Palms and Bought info highlight throwing money around.  To me old money aristocrats don't throw money around, their status simply opens doors.  Similar with sound investments...  I think a focus on making credits is out of place for the feel you have targeted.  That said I don't think there is a problem mechanically with the talents.

 

"Throwing Credits" pay 100 credits to ignore strain penalty from obligation, no way. Obligation triggers are fun and the strain ups the tension.  I don't like throwing a nominal fee (which you are almost certainly getting from sound investments) and ignoring it.

 

Noblesse Oblige should be a once per session spend a destiny point.  Dropping 300 credits to provide 3 boosts to all your allies is too goo to be infinite.

 

Old Boy Network again needs some clarification in the "long form" of the talent to spell out what an "important connection" and what benefits you can get from it.  I assume its pretty similar to the "Biggest Fan" talent from Entertainer.

 

I like the idea of splitting Blue Blooded into three talents. I need to play with that idea. As for Sound Investments, I'd interpret it here as being an allowance or a trust fund. Part of my goal with this tree was to represent someone who gets money simply from who they are rather from what they've done. I agree with Donovan that the Politico already covers an old-money aristocrat who doesn't get this free money. As for Throwing Credits, that's ported in directly from the Entrepreneur tree. Good points on Noblesse Oblige and Old Boy Network. I'll see what I can do.

 

I have to agree with Warren - particularly as (at least for me) the kind of Aristocrat your going to find on the Edge of the Empire is one who has their title, but doesn't have money.  (This happened to a lot of the aristocracy in Europe, particularly England/Scotland.)  Thus sound investments feels a little odd to me.  I'd actually considering using a talent that's almost the opposite of Throwing Money:

 

"Maintaining Appearances"

An ancient lineage means there is always someone willing give gifts or loans in exchange for perceived favors. When the obligation roll occurs, the aristocrat may suffer 1 strain just as though their obligation had been triggered, and gain 200 credits.  They may do this once per rank of Maintaining Appearances.

 

I think the Politico already does a good job of an aristocrat without money; the idea here is to represent someone who does have money but is still on the fringe. There aren't likely many of these kinds of folks running around, granted. I like Maintaining Appearances, though. My primary goal, though is to think of another way to do a money-throwing spec that's not an Entrepreneur.

 

Frankly I think most of what an 'old money aristocrat' would be is already covered under the Politico spec as is.

 

This just frankly feels like the OP is trying to shoehorn in "cool talents" from multiple sources into a one-stop shopping spec.

 

Can you clarify, Donovan? I can assure you I didn't aim to grab a bunch of "cool talents' and shoehorn them; I thought very carefully about what I included and went through several drafts before posting this up. What "cool talents" do you feel don't belong here? How do you see this as attempting to make a "one-stop shopping" spec? I tried to avoid that, but I'm sure I can improve things.

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You may not have 'aimed' to simply grab various "cool talents" but that's ultimately what you ended up doing.

 

As others have posted, what you've put together is more of a "noveau rich" that is reliant upon their money to open doors, where the "old guard" noble relies more upon family name and respect due their position.

 

Again, I think the core problem is that you're trying to re-invent the wheel when the Politico already covers most of what an "old world aristocrat" would do in the first place.

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You may not have 'aimed' to simply grab various "cool talents" but that's ultimately what you ended up doing.

 

As others have posted, what you've put together is more of a "noveau rich" that is reliant upon their money to open doors, where the "old guard" noble relies more upon family name and respect due their position.

 

Again, I think the core problem is that you're trying to re-invent the wheel when the Politico already covers most of what an "old world aristocrat" would do in the first place.

 

I appreciate the feedback, but I don't know how to revise the tree based on what you've said. As I explained in the OP, the aim was to offer an alternative to the Entrepreneur that would represent someone who has the ability to throw credits around due to his family's money rather than his own capitalistic verve and instinct. The Politico doesn't offer that sort of mechanic, so I tried to make a new spec for it. It's possible "aristocrat" is not the right name for this kind of character, but old money certainly exists in the real world, and there are people who are able to get by on their daddy's dime. Maybe I should rename this the "Brat" :) At any rate, I generally find your comments really insightful, so I'd be happy to hear any more specific criticisms you might have other than the fact that you like Politico better.

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I apologize if I've come off as dismissing criticism of the spec based on the concept itself. I may very well be trying to shoehorn two very different things together: the spoiled noble with money, and the old-guard aristocratic blue blood. I'll do some more research on various classes of old money in the real world before doing a revision of the spec based on what folks have said here.

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I was actually just about to say something like that, oddly enough.  I don't agree with Don that Politico represents Aristocrats well - Politico is about being a leader/rabble rouser.  There is nothing in politico that represents/requires having money or having family connections.  Because Star Wars is fantasy based, many nobles are also great leaders, but that is by no means a defiend connection.

 

I think there is definitely room / precedent for a specialization that has the "spend money" talents of Entrepreneur, but replaces the "make money" with "be social (but not leaders)".  Something to represent plantation owners, crime bosses, trust-fund children and others with a remote source of income and the ability to leverage their money for results.  Maybe call it "Plutocrat"

 

As I noted above, I think Aristocrat could be its own specialization as well, but I see it as one who leverages their name and title for economic/social benefit.  

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Interesting idea to split into a money talks spec and a trades on the family connections spec.

I don't love the name Plutocrat what about socialite? Someone who spends very visibly and is a face type character. At their best they'd be motivational leaders using their wealth for good. At their worst charismatic partyboys(girls)

Aristocrats would be focused on family ties and the spending of favor to gain access to all sorts of things.

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