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Xcapobl

New talents and old trees.

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Hi all, a situation that is applicable to all three FFG SW lines, and any offshoots for other eras.

With almost every new book, there seem to be a few new specializations, and sometimes a whole new career or two lately. Those new specializations (let's focus on that for now) often also bring in new talents. Talents that are sometimes very specific for a certain career or even specialization. But also talents that are so generic, they could have easily fitted another specialization as well. An older talent tree for which the talent seems to have been made. That's where the questions start to arise. For example: the Clone Pilot specialization has the Barrel Roll talent. That didn't exist yet when Edge or Age were published. Otherwise I would have expected it to be part of the Smuggler/Pilot and Ace/Hotshot and Ace/Pilot specializations, and maybe even the Commander/Squadron Leader or Universal/Imperial Academy Cadet specializations as well. It fits the theme,

Madness, I tell you, to expect Talent Tree updates each and every time a new talent appears.

But how much wriggling room do we allow each other at the table? As a player, how often do you ask your GM to replace a talent from an existing Talent Tree with a new talent that is, obviously, a clear match with the character concept (like the Barrel Roll example)? Do you find yourself asking your GM to replace talents that are less obviously a part of a concept? Not stuff like adding Force Rating to Ace/Pilot, but, for example, Utility Belt, to represent all the doodads pilots have in their flight suits and on their utility belts to help them survive crash landings, survival hikes to far-away settlements, and other emergencies. And do you sometimes find yourself debating how a seemingly unrelated talent might fit into an existing specialization? Like Natural Brawler replacing a talent in the Smuggler/Scoundrel specialization, because your character background mentions she had to fight her way off the streets of Coruscant to get to where she is now?

And to Game Masters: How far are you willing to have a player exchange talents? Do you allow one, two or even more replacements? And at what tiers do you allow them? Star Wars is more fluid with Talent Tiers that Genesys, for example. For the Jedi/Padawan specialization the Force Rating talent has even been reduced to what amounts to Tier 3! Would you only allow ranked talents to replace ranked talents? Or would you allow a player to simply replace any and all Grit and Toughened talents by other talents regardless of the new talents being ranked or not? Would you allow, or even require at some point, the Dedication talent to be replaced? Or duplicated?

Though some would call out "Blasphemy!" for this...

Any body using the Genesys Talent Pyramid instead of more traditional Talent Trees from FFG SW? Just the talent aquisition rules, not a complete Genesys-to-Star Wars adaptation. So as to allow the players to customise their character's talents fully (and appropriately, especially with regards to Force Talents)? Do you look back to the original Talent Trees with regards to Talent Tiers? (So, for example, a Jedi/Padawan could buy Force Rating as a Tier 3 Talent, while a Universal/Force-Sensitive Emergent would have to spend a Tier 5 slot for the Force rating talent?) What about the Tier for talents that were not native in careers or specializations, such as Barrel Roll in Smuggler/Pilot? Tier 3, as it first appeared in Clone Soldier/Clone Pilot at the third row?

 

I think interesting to think about, and discuss.

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That is one advantage that Genesys' open talent format has over the SWRPG talent trees.  

I have considered it in the past but I don't allow swapping out talents within trees. Even with the best intentions and moderation, it leads to unbalancing.  What I do allow, and I know a few other GMs allow this, is a free character respec when a new book comes out and fits the character.  You have to be careful with this as well and I work with the player and not allow them to change the character's "core."  

 

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4 hours ago, Xcapobl said:

Any body using the Genesys Talent Pyramid instead of more traditional Talent Trees from FFG SW? Just the talent aquisition rules, not a complete Genesys-to-Star Wars adaptation.

That, and I'll be going a step further for my next campaign, as I'm getting rid of many Talents.  I'll keep the ones that show up on the character sheet as a change to a secondary stat or a dice pool or something like that.  These are easy to track.  For the rest, if they are truly interesting/useful I'll keep them, but most of them I'll be folding into the Skills as something anyone can do at a certain skill level.  To use your example, the core ability behind Talents like Barrel Roll should be available to anybody with Piloting 3+.

4 hours ago, Xcapobl said:

Madness, I tell you, to expect Talent Tree updates each and every time a new talent appears.

Completely agree, and I've started to despise the whole Talent tree system because of it.  I don't begrudge it, because it's a way to sell more books and keep the game line going, but it's to the point where each new book potentially degrades the player experience.  So I want to implement a new approach that just folds these uber-specific Talents into a pool of options that anyone with a reasonable prerequisite can use.

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Something I was considering was the Idea of turning Clone Trooper specs into a Stormtroopers spec. The part that I would want to change is the Clanker Killer stuff, any part that references droids. What would you change those to?

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With how many talents are out now I see it easily being broken to allow the Genesys rules,  but  his can all depend on your players.   If players do not like the talents on the trees I have no problems working with them to find things we can substitute with them.  There are a lot of older trees that do not stack up to the more recent trees with quality of talents. 

For Barrel Roll line, any of the pilots in my group I allow them to buy those talents even if not on their tree for 10, 15 and 20 for the 3 levels.  Or I have changed out the full throttle talent line for the Barrel Roll.  In my games the ship fights happen close and Speed hasn't been as important as damage reduction, so I felt those were good to substitute them with. 

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On 7/8/2019 at 6:01 AM, whafrog said:

That, and I'll be going a step further for my next campaign, as I'm getting rid of many Talents.  I'll keep the ones that show up on the character sheet as a change to a secondary stat or a dice pool or something like that.  These are easy to track.  For the rest, if they are truly interesting/useful I'll keep them, but most of them I'll be folding into the Skills as something anyone can do at a certain skill level.  To use your example, the core ability behind Talents like Barrel Roll should be available to anybody with Piloting 3+.

Completely agree, and I've started to despise the whole Talent tree system because of it.  I don't begrudge it, because it's a way to sell more books and keep the game line going, but it's to the point where each new book potentially degrades the player experience.  So I want to implement a new approach that just folds these uber-specific Talents into a pool of options that anyone with a reasonable prerequisite can use.

That seems like a massively huge project, I'd like to see the results. Cheers.

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Posted (edited)

 

On 7/8/2019 at 12:34 PM, Varlie said:

That is one advantage that Genesys' open talent format has over the SWRPG talent trees.  

I have considered it in the past but I don't allow swapping out talents within trees. Even with the best intentions and moderation, it leads to unbalancing.  What I do allow, and I know a few other GMs allow this, is a free character respec when a new book comes out and fits the character.  You have to be careful with this as well and I work with the player and not allow them to change the character's "core."  

 

With ever more talent trees appearing, I am beginning to think so as well. I iscussed this with a friend of mine yesterday. I play a Seeker / Ataru Striker striker characte that is a Padawan in the Old Republic era. In between last night and the previous session, Rise of the Separatists had been released, and as such a Jedi / Padawan career and spec.My frined would be open to a full redesign of the character using the new rules, but also to a talent swap left and right, to match the character concept and such. Then I sprang this discussion on him, As each and every talent tree also has a different "flowchart", sometimes forcing you to take a path as not all trees allow continuous progression in all directions.

However, the respec isn't always the solution. Sometimes this may even be thematic. Why would a natural-born Whippid Smuggler/Pilot who never had problems with a droid in the Rebellion era be respecced into a Clone Soldier / Clone Pilot with Clanker Killer? (I know, you don't have to take every talent, and I didn't see any "Clone species" as a prerequisite, but still...).

 

On 7/8/2019 at 1:08 PM, Jareth Valar said:

The only swapping I have allowed so far has been Tricky Target for Barrel Roll if desired.

May i ask what lead you to decide this? And what to do with Improved Barrel Roll and Supreme Barrel Roll? Would you allow those to be swapped into an other existing talent tree as well? If yes, at what point and what tier? if no, why not?

 

On 7/8/2019 at 3:01 PM, whafrog said:

That, and I'll be going a step further for my next campaign, as I'm getting rid of many Talents.  I'll keep the ones that show up on the character sheet as a change to a secondary stat or a dice pool or something like that.  These are easy to track.  For the rest, if they are truly interesting/useful I'll keep them, but most of them I'll be folding into the Skills as something anyone can do at a certain skill level.  To use your example, the core ability behind Talents like Barrel Roll should be available to anybody with Piloting 3+.

Completely agree, and I've started to despise the whole Talent tree system because of it.  I don't begrudge it, because it's a way to sell more books and keep the game line going, but it's to the point where each new book potentially degrades the player experience.  So I want to implement a new approach that just folds these uber-specific Talents into a pool of options that anyone with a reasonable prerequisite can use.

The first paragraph... interesting idea, which I think would require some preparation. I can see, however, why you would scour the talents and look for those, that might simply be a special maneuver available to any one with a certain skill. Especially combat maneuvers like Barrel Roll, Full Throttle, perhaps Tricky Target too. To name a few.

As for the second paragraph, I don't (yet) despise the Talent Tree system, but I am well aware of what I see as limitations. When new talents start to appear, and they are generic enough, i think I would have liked a bit more practical guidance in swapping talents, or a bit more support in... shall we call them,..."alternate talent trees. For now we have to either use the talent trees as they are, swap talents trying to adjudicate as best we can, or drop talent trees altogether.

 

On 7/8/2019 at 3:07 PM, bsmith23 said:

Something I was considering was the Idea of turning Clone Trooper specs into a Stormtroopers spec. The part that I would want to change is the Clanker Killer stuff, any part that references droids. What would you change those to?

Change "droid" into "rebel" and assume that the target's Duty (if any) defines this role?

 

On 7/8/2019 at 5:33 PM, damnkid3 said:

With how many talents are out now I see it easily being broken to allow the Genesys rules,  but  his can all depend on your players.   If players do not like the talents on the trees I have no problems working with them to find things we can substitute with them.  There are a lot of older trees that do not stack up to the more recent trees with quality of talents. 

For Barrel Roll line, any of the pilots in my group I allow them to buy those talents even if not on their tree for 10, 15 and 20 for the 3 levels.  Or I have changed out the full throttle talent line for the Barrel Roll.  In my games the ship fights happen close and Speed hasn't been as important as damage reduction, so I felt those were good to substitute them with. 

With the Barrel Roll example, do you mean you allow people to buy talents outside of the talent trees? I have heard, to name an example of my own, from a guy that allowed a few very generic talents (Toughened, Grit, two or three more like those, but definately not stuff like Force rating or Dedication) to be bought for 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 XP progressively.

 

On 7/8/2019 at 6:37 PM, HappyDaze said:

Either use the trees as is or get rid of them entirely. Half measures suck.

We don't always see eye to eye here, but I do see where you're coming from. Adding 'half measures' always involves very specific (and between groups very different, it seems) house rules, some better than others. Subjectively of course. But I also think getting rid of the talent trees (and going to a Genesys-like or Genesys-copy situation) is a subjective solution, depending on the group of players and how they want to develop their characters. Especially if characters need to buy into new specializations (and even careers) just to get to a new talent, or even an old talent which thematically fits their character, in an old talent tree.

 

14 hours ago, Eoen said:

That seems like a massively huge project, I'd like to see the results. Cheers.

I might second that, @whafrog.

Edited by Xcapobl

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18 hours ago, Eoen said:

That seems like a massively huge project, I'd like to see the results. Cheers.

I don't think it will be too bad actually in terms of total time.  I read through all the Talents in Genesys and Terrinoth, and about half seem to alter the dice pool in a permanent way (eg all those setback removal Talents), so they can be kept.  The fine folks who did the EotE -> Genesys conversion have already codified the complete list.  Most of the rest would be easy to fold into a chart for each skill, showing optional abilities at a skill level.

The challenge will be finding that total time, got too many other things on the go.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/11/2019 at 4:43 AM, Xcapobl said:

May i ask what lead you to decide this? And what to do with Improved Barrel Roll and Supreme Barrel Roll? Would you allow those to be swapped into an other existing talent tree as well? If yes, at what point and what tier? if no, why not?

First, Barrel Roll and Tricky Target are both about being maneuverable in combat, Tricky Target by avoidance and Barrel Roll my mitigation. While different they are close enough for this comparison "Don' be where he damage is"

Barrel Roll has only been introduced in a single spec Clone Pilot, Tricky Target is in only a few (Driver, Pilot, Starfighter Ace, Squadron Leader and Clone Pilot that I recall) that are rather dedicated "Pilot" specs. As in core focus is piloting, not flashy stuff like Hotshot, Racer, Operator, etc.

So, Thinking on what to  allow for a swap...Defensive Driving? Nope. Ranked and in way more specs not "dedicated" to piloting. Full Throttle? Could work, it has the same ranking structure, but it didn't feel right, also in specs that only peripherally involve piloting (Imperial Academy Cadet) so that left Tricky Target really. It's usually at least a 20 exp cost and still fits the flavor enough. It also has the lease impact on the specs in question as it still fits the "feel".

As for Improved and Supreme, I am leaving those in the Clone Pilot spec alone.  There are several specs that have the basic ability in a multi-tiered Talent leaving the final levels to a single spec, maybe two.

As for Clone Pilot itself, I have no problem anyone at my table taking is as a spec (that is not a Clone) as it can easily represent "Combat Pilot". Heck, if you go with fluff (canon or legends...*shrug*) Fen Rau supposedly taught the Clone pilots so one could argue it was a spec before the Clones.

Either way, my table thinks it's fair and are happy with it and that's really all I can ask for. YMMV

EDIT: Speaking on my first sentence "maneuverable". My only beef with Barrel Roll as is is that Handling has nothing to do with it.  I do not think it should be as beneficial/same effect to Barrel Roll an A-Wing (Handling +3) and an H-Wing (Handling -2) but c'est la vie.

Edited by Jareth Valar

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I'm not against swapping talents, as long as the new talents fill a similar role/flavor and doesn't imbalance everything. 

So your skip tracer wants to swap Good Cop for Bad Cop? Gunslinger wants Side Step instead of Dodge? That's fine with me. 

Swapping out Confidence for Deadly Accuracy? That's a no-no.

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On 7/8/2019 at 9:01 AM, whafrog said:

That, and I'll be going a step further for my next campaign, as I'm getting rid of many Talents.  I'll keep the ones that show up on the character sheet as a change to a secondary stat or a dice pool or something like that.  These are easy to track.  For the rest, if they are truly interesting/useful I'll keep them, but most of them I'll be folding into the Skills as something anyone can do at a certain skill level.  To use your example, the core ability behind Talents like Barrel Roll should be available to anybody with Piloting 3+.

I would sooo love to see the end result of this!

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