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JonofPDX

Career-specific talent trees?

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Hey all.

 

So, I'm new to Genesys (and the Narrative Dice System generally, never played SW). But there was a lot of interest in it from me and my players as a possible replacement for the abysmal Palladium ruleset for a new Rifts campaign I'm preping to run.

 

Most of the conversion actually seems fairly simple (especially as I'm not trying to recreate the Palladium mechanics, just the feel and setting). But I'm having a little bit of a sticking point with OCC and RCC (class, basically) special abilities. Cutting them would rob a lot of the...well, Rifts-ness of the whole conversion. But adding them would give the PCs a lot more starting abilities and powers than a traditional Genesys character. And part of our problem with Rifts was always that characters were too front-loaded and never seemed to grow much.

 

My solution was to create a separate talent tree for each class (kinda like the career trees from SW) and plot (or break apart) the OCC special abilities along the trees. Maybe start each character with a free tier-one OCC talent. Then players would get to choose whether they wanted to invent their exp into the "general" talent tree or their OCC-specific talent tree.

 

This seemed like a fairly workable (if perhaps a bit cludgy) solution, but as I haven't played the game I wanted to make sure splitting the talent tree this way wouldn't potentially hurt the exp economy.

 

I could also just ditch the trees and make the OCC abilities talents that could simply be bought and stuck into the existing talent tree. It would give the players more freedom and keep them from having to track two sheets of talents. But it could also lead to characters cherry-picking only a few of their better traditional class skills. Which doesn't sit right with me but...I can't put my finger on exactly why it doesn't so it could just be my bias.

 

Anybody have any thoughts?

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I haven’t played Rifts since it first came out so I can’t speak to specific examples.

I am however a big fan of the KISS philosophy so I would try sticking as closely to the RAW as you can.  You could make certain talents require other talents to keep the cherry picking down.

Also how you rank those talents makes a big difference too.

Read the Terrinoth article about Heroic Abilities.  That may help you recreate some of those niche abilities as well.

https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2018/3/2/heroic-feats/

Hope any of that helps!

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Posted (edited)

Sometimes it can be helpful for players to be limited to a set number of choices for advancement. I like the malleability of Genesys—I think it definitely supports talent trees, if that's the feel you want for your game. 

Edited by awayputurwpn

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Posted (edited)

Rather than doing talent trees, I've simply been giving my homebrew careers lists of talents restricted to the career while leaving the core rulebook's list of talents open to anyone. Talent trees are great flavor for a setting---they tell you a lot about what sort of prominent characters exist in the setting---but they're really hard to design and balance well, not to mention more time consuming to format on a page or implement changes based on play testing to the connected-graph layout.

Looking at both SWRPG talent trees (25 talents, 5 per row) and the fact that there are universal talents available in Genesys, I've gone with careers having 15 unique talents, with 3 talents per tier.

To get the best (Tier 4 & 5) talents in a career, a character will have to purchase some talents from the core rulebook list as well. I also therefore don't include the core rulebook talents in a career's unique talent list. It looks like this when I'm planning out the talents for a career:

Tier 1 Talents

Talents in

this column

related to

Focus A

Talents in

this column

related to

Focus B

Talents in

this column

related to

Focus C

Tier 2 Talents

Tier 3 Talents

Tier 4 Talents

Tier 5 Talents

I usually have at least one focus related to the career concept. For a vampire career, the obvious focus is feeding. For a wizard, the obvious focus is spell casting. Other focuses could be offense, defense, support, healing, crafting, or really any other word or phrase that helps you 'focus' on created thematically and mechanically aligned talents.

Once I'm done designing the talents, I don't present them in the player-facing document as a grid. Instead, I simply list the talents by tier, in alphabetical order within each tier. The hope is that the mixed presentation will be subtle encouragement for players to focus on their character concept rather than on min-maxing.

Finally, I allow players to buy into another career by taking that career as a 'competence,' which functions similarly to a specialization in SWRPG. If you take a career as a competence, you may add 3 of its 8 career skills as your own career skills (three rather than SWRPG's four to compensate for occasional skill overlaps in SWRPG's specializations). In addition, you may buy talents from your competence, but they are costed as and occupy pyramid slots at 1 tier higher than normal, ruling out the tier 5 talents from a competence and leaving each career with some special things for those who chose it at character creation. Taking a career as a competence costs 10 + (10 × current competences). So, your first competence costs 10XP, the second costs 20XP, and so on.

To give you a more applied example, I've attached an early draft of talent planning for my vampire career to the post. The asterisks in the draft indicate ranked talents. The green shaded boxes are the talents that were written out at the time.

vampire-talents-draft.png

Edited by sfRattan

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