Some Common Talents

I’ve posted some talents for specific character facets (combat and spellcasting), but there are some general improvements that can be made to any character that are probably worth presenting.

Everyone has ability scores, and it seems everyone wants to improve their saving throws.  It’s easy to write talents that give bonuses to these things, but that seems boring to me.  I’d rather see talents that let you do something, or at least give you something more interesting than a simple bonus to a saving throw.

Core talents such as Martial Training are simple ‘give a bonus’ talents because they are building blocks that other talents will later build on, often in many ways.  I’d like to see ability score talents let you do things you otherwise couldn’t, and there to be more distinction between the saving throws than “roll d20 to avoid this problem”.

Ability Score Talents

This name is kind of weak, but it is a fairly generic type of talent. There is a talent for each ability score that both improves the ability score and gives you bonuses to checks a limited number of times per day. I’ll present the Strength talent here.

These talents have a passive component (bonus of +2 per tier to the chosen ability score) and an active component (feats of Ability, where a number of times per day equal to the tier you can apply a circumstance bonus equal to +4 per tier to while performing a task using the chosen ability). If a task is a sustained effort and is resolved using multiple rolls over time (such as a long climb, performing research, or crossing a narrow bridge) the circumstance bonus may be applied a number of times equal to the adjusted ability score. If the task is interrupted by something requiring another or different check, the bonus ends.

Strength Talent

Tier Benefit
Basic You get a +2 bonus to your Strength score. You do not get the ability to perform a feat of strength.
Expert You get a +2 bonus to your Strength score. Once per day you can perform a feat of strength (get a +4 bonus to a Strength-based check).
Heroic You get a +4 bonus to your Strength score. Twice per day you can perform a feat of strength (get a +8 bonus to a Strength-based check).
Master You get a +6 bonus to your Strength score. Three times per day you can perform a feat of Strength (get a +12 bonus to a Strength-based check).
Champion You get a +8 bonus to your Strength score. Four times per day you can perform a feat of Strength (get a +16 bonus to a Strength-based check).
Legendary You get a +10 bonus to your Strength score. Five times per day you can perform a feat of Strength (get a +20 bonus to a Strength-based check).

Saving Throw Talents

There is a different talent for each saving throw, providing a bonus of +2 per tier to all saving throws rolled for that save. I expect there to also be a component specific to each save, but I don’t yet know what they are. Some possibilities are shown below.

In some cases it is easiest to describe the talent benefits in terms of D&D 3.x feats, despite feats not being present in Echelon. Expect that the benefits would be rewritten in terms of actual effect in a more formal presentation.

Great Fortitude

Tier Benefit
Basic You get a +2 bonus to all Fortitude saves.
Expert You get a +2 bonus to all Fortitude saves. You get the benefits of the Endurance and Diehard feats.
Heroic You get a +4 bonus to all Fortitude saves. You are immune to disease.
Master You get a +6 bonus to all Fortitude saves. You are immune to poisons.
Champion You get a +8 bonus to all Fortitude saves.
Legendary You get a +10 bonus to all Fortitude saves.

Iron Will

Tier Benefit
Basic You get a +2 bonus to all Will saves.
Expert You get a +2 bonus to all Will saves. You get the still mind ability (+2 to saves against spells and effects from the school of enchantment).
Heroic You get a +4 bonus to all Will saves. If you would be stunned, you are dazed instead.
Master You get a +6 bonus to all Will saves. You gain the slippery mind ability.
Champion You get a +8 bonus to all Will saves.
Legendary You get a +10 bonus to all Will saves. You are immune to compulsion effects.

Lightning Reflexes

I’m not happy with this one. Giving evasion and improved evasion was pretty obvious, but I think this may make those abilities too common and this talent a must-have.

Tier Benefit
Basic You get a +2 bonus to all Reflex saves.
Expert You get a +2 bonus to all Reflex saves. You get the evasion ability.
Heroic You get a +4 bonus to all Reflex saves. You get the defensive roll ability.
Master You get a +6 bonus to all Reflex saves. You get the improved evasion ability.
Champion You get a +8 bonus to all Reflex saves.
Legendary You get a +10 bonus to all Reflex saves.

2 Comments to "Some Common Talents"

  1. hadsil's Gravatar hadsil
    August 19, 2010 - 6:01 pm | Permalink

    I like this. I like that as a game designer you aren’t bothered by the possibility of a character having a high ability score, even at 1st level. I like that you give the option for players who really care about this and not automatically assume they’re “munchkins”.

    Extra stuff for saving throws is cool too. I agree evasion is too much. It becomes a must have. Evasion should be a separate ability for which Lightning Reflexes can be a prerequisite. It’s still a very nice thing to have, but costing two talents to get it will lower the number of people who take it because of what they’ll want to spend other talents on. Maybe join Lightning Reflexes with Improved Initiative?

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