NEW – Special Talents for Character Types

Rogues, Wizards and Warriors have special talents in the new dT&T rules.

Rogues, Wizards and Warriors have special talents in the new dT&T rules.

This month, we are going to delve into some of the changes and adjustments that have been made to dT&T in regards to talents and character classes. This is new information that is not in the Beta test edition and was based on feedback and suggestions by playtesters and the Fellowship.

TO OUR PLAYTESTERS: A tweak is being made to how character types start, and by extension, to certain talents. These talents are in addition to all the talents and talent-based rules already established. These special qualities are for the benefit of their particular character classes, and the roles the character types fulfill in the world at large.

The biggest change is that warriors no longer get the weapon and armor bonuses as part of their type-template, but will still be able to take one or the other benefit automatically. Because all characters also get one “normal” talent at level one, a warrior may choose to take the other benefit as his or her L1 talent — and therefore, warriors CAN begin exactly where they started before this rule change. They just won’t get a “colorful” personality talent from the main list if they do…. they’ll have to get those later, paid for with APs or advancements in level.

Rogues, who had no special qualities in the Origins beta, now have an extensive selection of free-if-you-don’t-fumble qualities, and can select abilities that mirror warrior and wizard qualities (with limitations). Their unique options are particularly suited to the underlying concepts of being a rogue in T&T.

Professional Abilities

Every character type receives ONE special talent or ability at the time they are rolled up, available only to members of that type of character — a “Special Studies” ability, which could also be called “Professional Secrets.” This initial “professional talent” costs nothing in AP and is in addition to other talents a player selects. It requires no saving rolls, is always successful, and can be invoked at any time, up to once per combat round.

Thereafter, as the character progresses, they may choose to take another course in “special studies” instead of a talent from the regular talent lists, at the same AP cost as any other talent. However, the professional talents will never require a saving roll, will always be successful, and can be invoked at any time, up to once per combat round. A character’s free first-level “normal” talent can come from this list of professional talents (with the benefit of being a special talent) or from the general talent list (which must be handled with saving rolls and all the other mechanics of talents).

If some of this is confusing, remember that newly-created first-level characters get talents this way:

ONE “normal talent” automatically for being first level.
and now, ONE professional “special studies” talent, limited by their character type.
They can select a SECOND professional “special studies” talent instead of their “normal talent”.

Thereafter, as characters level up, they can acquire up to two talents per level —
ONE “normal talent” for going up a level
The option of ONE additional “normal talent” which has to be purchased with AP (using the basic talent rules).
At any time, they can select another professional “special studies” talent instead of taking a “normal talent.”

A warrior’s “Special Studies” options:
Weapon Proficiency: This is the same as the Weapon Bonus a warrior got previously.
Armor Skill: This is the same as the Armor Bonus a warrior got previously.

A wizard’s “Special Studies” options:
Adept: Wizards can choose one school of magic (any one of the ten schools of magic), and thereafter any spell from that school of magic costs -3 WIZ points to cast. Magicians can take studies in the SAME school of magic up to three times (paid for as a talent), allowing them an additional reduction of casting cost thus: -3 the first time a given school is taken, -5 the second time that same school is taken, and -10 the third time that school is taken. As always, no spell can be cast for less than 1 WIZ.

A rogue’s “Special Studies” options:
Magical Studies: Like a wizard’s Adept ability, the rogue can choose one school of magic, and thereafter spells from that school cost -3 WIZ points to cast. However, rogues can only take a maximum of TWO schools of magic (total, including another taken later, after gaining “life experience” in the form of level increases, or spending AP), and may NOT take the same school of magic more than once. (If they were more studious, they would have been mages to begin with.)

Deadliness: a rogue is able to take a warrior’s Weapon Proficiency in one of these categories of weapon, and all weapons in the chosen category can get the Weapon Proficiency bonus. No proficiency bonus is available for a weapon over 4d6.
bows (up to 4d6)
unclassified hand-to-hand weapons
unusual projectile and thrown weapons (up to 4d6)
Stealth and Subterfuge: a rogue can take any one of these talents as a professional secret, with the added advantages of no saving rolls, always successful, and can be invoked at any time, up to once per combat round.
Physically agile:
Manually dexterous:
sleight of hand
lock picking
Potion mastery:
Cleverness (IQ skill checks succeed automatically except for fumble roll, up to 3 levels above the character’s level)
Charming (CHR skill checks succeed automatically except for fumble roll, up to 3 levels above the character’s level)

Sample Spells

In other news: Sometime in the next 30 days (probably less) we will be releasing the magic system and spellbook for dT&T as a PDF to those of you who have pledged on the dT&T Kickstarter or are on our playtester list. We are pulling all the stops to get the rules finished up and are in the last laps of the editing process. We are very sorry it has taken so long, but hang on just a bit longer – dT&T is coming!

Meanwhile take a look at this new rules info and let us know what you think.

Categories: Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls, Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls News, fantasy role-playing games, game design | 26 Comments

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26 thoughts on “NEW – Special Talents for Character Types

  1. The rogue section could be a little more precise. Does a rogue choose “Physically agile,” (a talent) and is able to do the three activities underneath, or is “Physically agile” a category and the three things underneath are examples?

    Do rogues still get a starting spell?

  2. There were some formatting hiccups on the page, Stefan, that might have made this make a little more sense. A number of things were meant to be indented but didn’t show up that way here.

    The “Physically agile” designation is, like “Adept” for wizards or “Weapon Proficiency” for a warrior, intended to be a descriptive phrase for the general idea being presented. A rogue would take Acrobat, Dodge, or Evasion from that section if he or she desired.

    Yes, rogues still get one spell of their choice. We have not changed that. (And I refuse to add “YET” to that sentence!)

    Seriously, we’re trying not to make major changes like this so late in the game’s development, but this solution addressed about three different things that were not settling in neatly. I hope people enjoy the possibilities this opens up.

  3. naharaht

    Can wizards choose more than one school of magic as they rise in levels and eventually choose all ten schools three times each (assuming that they live that long)?

    • That is 30 skill-ups, Naharaht. If you took NO other talents from the regular assortment, your wizard would have to be 15th level. Don’t you think your character should be exceptionally competent by the time they get to be that level? By way of comparison, the Spell Book itself only runs to 18th level.

    • SSCrompton

      Yes they sure can. Wizards are not limited to one school.

  4. stefanorenco

    OK . . .

    I actually got out of bed and turned my computer back on to comment on this.

    I like the flexibility in character creation that these changes allow, and rogues certainly needed some kind of boost after coming across as kind of “blah” in the Beta rules.

    But the rogue special studies (automatically succeeds, or automatically succeeds except on a fumble) is kind of a blunt instrument . . . these now make them terrifyingly competent! They would shred their way through most solitaire adventures, and GMs would have to amp up saving rolls for all sorts of challenges to insane levels to provide any sort of chance or challenge. These aren’t talents, they’re super powers! I would seriously consider dialing back the applicable saving rolls to “of the character’s level or less.” This seems plenty powerful to me!

    In addition: Warriors are the losers here. Their previous adventages are now talents, one of which they’d have to give up to get another starting talent. The wizards’ special studies make a category of spellcasting cheaper . . . they don’t give up anything they already have to get that advantage.

    What really gets me is I wrote a whole solitaire adventure for beginning rogues with all sorts of challenges based on carefullly chosen saving rolls. I’d literally have to rewrite it from beginning to end; the character would pretty much automatically pass every challenge and test.

  5. What level is your solitaire written for, Stefan? You said “beginning rogue.” A beginning rogue doesn’t have all these abilities, and won’t for a long while, just as I noted to Naharaht. Might we pull back the “professional secrets” to only once per level? Might be a reasonable tweak but it increases the “crunchiness” a bit, which I’m reluctant to do more than this already does.

    One reason we’re releasing this particular update is to enlist comments and feedback, because it is so different from what’s gone before. But the bottom line is that we needed to solve a variety of related problems … and the Fellowship flailed around awhile before this was worked out.

    For warriors: I agree. It’s something that bothers me about this scheme, but those two qualities are what make warriors “warriors.” Also, remember how powerfully they scale up as a warrior character advances in levels… and you should realize they too become incredibly competent at higher levels. One of the problems this solution is intended to address is making high-level wizards and rogues as competent as high-level warriors, which wasn’t happening before.

    • stefanorenco

      A starting rogue COULD get Charming and Cleverness, which covers a lot of ground!

      This solo actually gives starting rogues an extra talent of choice . . . but no starting spell. The point of the adventure is to go to the big city and track down a great-aunt wizard who will teach that spell. There are lots of SRs involved in getting jobs and dealing with street encounters.

  6. Another question: Do Clever and Charming have a usage limit? Once a combat turn, once an hour, etcetera?

    And how does that combine with the human roll-twice advantage?

    To broaden the discussion — and I think there needs to be one — whoever makes DT&T twitter announcements might want to light up the bat signal.

    * * *
    I just got my new scanner and the first thing I’m going to scan is my 1975 Tunnels & Trolls Supplement. There’s a lot of itneresting stuff in there and I’m going to talk to Rick & Ken about how it might be made available.

  7. It has been planned from the start that some version this update will go out with the magic section when Steve finishes laying it out. (He has it all in hand and has started working on it.) That’s part of why it starts out “TO OUR PLAYTESTERS.”

    I’ve been giving considerable thought to your concerns, Stefan, and will certainly make some changes before it goes out the door to the larger world. I may have to spend time laying out the problems we were trying to address with this solution and an exhaustive if-then series of what the possible alternatives are or could be.

    The Twitter account is dark, at present, for lack of time to tend it. Our efforts at regular contact are on this blog, on the Kickstarter account, and Ken keeps the home fires burning on Trollhalla.

  8. Will the beta be updated with this and the magic section, or will the next update just have the magic? All I could really test out so far have been warriors, without magic.

    Keep it up. We wait for each word of news.

    • Jeff, the expectation right now is that what you’ll see very soon is what I’ve been calling “the Magic beta” as opposed to “the Origins beta.” You’ll need to put the parts together.

      The original plan was (and may yet be) to put this scheme out for playtesting *along with the Magic beta* — with the tweaks from the feedback-to-date. There are a slew of alternative options, with their pros and cons, that could be picked apart … but getting all that down will slow down the Magic beta. I’m disinclined to do that because I heard just an hour or so ago that Steve has finished his first pass on laying out Magic … the text, the spells, the appendices. If that’s all ready to go and the revised “professional skills” document is not, then we will do that a little later. I am eager to see what people think of magic!

  9. David Crowell

    So, if I have this right as a Rogue I can take “Stealth and Subterfuge” as my professional secret and gain automatic success once per combat round in any ONE of the talents listed below Physically Agile. Manually Dexterous, or potion mastery, OR I could select either Cleverness to succeed at all IQ skill checks up to 3x my level unless I fumble, or Charming for similar benefits on all CHA based skill checks. These latter two seem vastly more useful than any of the other Rogue abilities, and I would even consider trading them for the Type professional secrets of Warriors or Wizards, at least at First Level. Maybe it is just that I have a lot of IQ and CHA (especially IQ) based skills checks. I think awarding Rogues an auto-success on DEX checks is not the way to go, but perhaps Charming and Clever could be tuned down a bit? How many times is a first level character faced with making a Level Four skill check? That is the first level at which Clever and Charming do not provide an automatic unless you fumble success.

    As for Warriors doubling Armour protection and adding level to personal Adds in combat has always seemed of less import as the character gets higher in level. Especially compared to what high level Wizards can crank out with spell casting cost reductions.

    Or am I, as is entirely possible, misreading or misplacing something?


  10. If it were up to me . . . I’d just give Rogues more talents. One extra to start with, one extra when they level up, one extra optional to buy with each level.

  11. Steve did some fixes but the WordPress formatting that he couldn’t fix is still confusing the issue. The intent was for a heading like “Physically agile” to be simply a category, from which you could take one of the talents listed below.

    It is inevitable that some qualities will be far more useful than others. I expect wizards will probably take the Combat school long before they take the Construction school, or frankly any of the other nine schools.

    Warriors are rolling extra dice, last I checked, not just a plus to combat adds… that 15th level wizard I mentioned above could have a warrior-companion double-wielding with another 30 dice. (Actually, I don’t think we clarified that anywhere; we’ll have to think about that!) Even if it’s only another 15 dice, that makes a warrior’s smallest weapon more potent than the biggest troll-sized thing you can buy off the rack except for some of the troll-sized field pieces in the gun section.

    We wanted rogues to become desirable characters again, because the feedback we were getting was they were too blah. One extra talent (per 7e rules) wasn’t enough, really, particularly when not everyone was certain to be using talents. One purpose to the scheme above was to make rogues more desirable; another was to make *talents* more desirable.

    But I’ll reiterate what I said before — there will be further tweaks before we go ahead with this (hopefully with the Magic beta.)

  12. Mike Jarvis

    Is the warrior’s Weapon Proficiency the +1 adds/level or the +1 die/per level discussed in the Beta. Personally, I found the latter terrifying! It can already be hard to run adventures that offer a challenge to a warrior without creaming the rest of the party, the extra die per weapon just increased that imbalance. I do like the increased options for rogues though. What’s the difference between ‘dodge’ and ‘evasion’? Is one a melee ability and the other one version missile weapons?

    • The beta release does have what was written in the original draft for Deluxe. There was some feedback that the warriors’ +1 die/level did, in fact, make them OP (overpowered), on top of their armor bonus. This is one of the reasons I gave that bonus the gimlet eye when figuring out how to balance rogues back into the picture — something for a warrior to buy back into their bag of tricks rather than give as an automatic part of the template. It’s still hellaciously powerful, yes, and — as you say — every other party member is at considerable risk if the warrior is challenged. Perhaps that is where mages’ defensive spells and rogues’ dodging might become more of an everyday necessity.

      As with all the talents listed in the beta, we are resisting explicitly defining them in the interest of keeping T&T’s open style — letting the connotations of the words imply the intent and having the players settle in where it is conceptually comfortable for them to use. To me personally, dodge could be used during melee or if the rogue was aware/alert to a missile coming at them. Evasion is, to me, usually about avoiding combat… hiding in the shadows to eavesdrop, slipping away from someone tailing you, or not getting caught while sneaking through the palace. Its combat use might be getting yourself free from being locked in combat enough for that OP warrior to pick up your opponent and get it focused on attacking her instead. Make sense to you?

    • As far as I have found, it doesn’t throw things far off. Using solos, I have run a character up to 4th level. 15 dice of damage, only 4 from level. The rest from a sword picked up in a solo, and a spiked shield. Overall, the character does far more damage from adds, than from dice.

      Also, if you are playing with a party, and using straight combat rules from the book, all attacks for each side get added together. And the loosing side gets to assign damage as they see fit. So, if the party falls short, the warriors can absorb the bulk (if not all) of the damage on their armor (with the double effect). If they aren’t doing so, they aren’t doing their job.

  13. Mike Jarvis

    Cheers Liz, yes that does make sense. On first thoughts, I’m not certain I’d want an automatic “not getting caught while sneaking into the palace ability” though. Purely because the automatic success bypasses the drama, and therefore the fun/excitement. That said, the freewheeling nature of T&T allows us to adjust the concepts to suit all our play styles and that is (of course) A Good Thing and one of the reasons I still run the game after decades of playing. More important really is the addition of colour and style for rogues which is welcomed with open arms by me (and by a certain one of my players too, I’d guess).

    I’m also loving what I’m hearing about mages and the magical schools. You know that I’m a mage fan and I’ll look forward to gleefully going through the new spellbooks (I have a regular NPC who’ll have fun too, no doubt). In fact the only thing I’ve heard about dT&T that I’m not 100% sold on is that warriors weapon bonus! I suspect that we might end up house-ruling that one, I’m afraid.

  14. Don Clarke

    Overall, sounds like great fun! However, I have to say I’m with Mike about automatic success. Automatic barring fumble is fine, but there should always be the possibility of a fumble when performing a skill or using a talent regardless of how competent you are. The example that comes to mind is taking a penalty kick in soccer. The best players in the world sometimes, in fact more often than you might imagine, completely miss a target 24 feet wide by 8 feet high from 12 yards away. Why? Because they are trying to perform an otherwise reliable skill under pressure. Every saving roll implies pressure of some kind, surely, hence my view.

    • I agree about the fumble check. Also, rolling SRs is one of the main sources of AP. Automatic success means no SR roll, and that means no AP. Just a consideration.

    • Don, Mike, and Jeff — I don’t philosophically disagree with you about SRs being a reflection of effort-under-pressure, nor am I ignoring the SR-as-AP consideration. But as RA Lafferty said in Nine Hundred Grandmothers… that way lies rump of skunk and madness.

      Look at the other character type’s effects. Do you want warriors doing SR checks every combat round they amp up their attacks for those extra dice? Another SR every time they pull out all the stops to take the spillover damage on armor?

      In the draft for Deluxe, Ken removed the “wizards have to cast a SR with every spell because, you know, pressure” from the previous edition — something I heartily approved of. He kept it as an optional rule but I didn’t even include it in the Elaborations, only a passing mention in a sidebar. You want that back too?

      Good for the goose is good for the gander. Quite aside from the molasses-like pace of combat with so many SRs, now AP would skyrocket beyond all reason.

      A toddler drops food on their bib because the skill to use a spoon and navigate it to one’s mouth takes a little learning of brain and muscle. Adults occasionally drop food down their front, fumbling, but not as a matter of course. A young acrobat takes many falls but a professional in Cirque de Soleil makes headlines if they take a tumble. Therein lies my analogy behind the principles of being able to make those efforts without anything more than a fumble fail. If it’s something you do all the time, something deeply practiced or even casually done for years, then performance under pressure becomes grace under pressure.

      THAT SAID: I do intend to reduce the options and breadth of what the rogues can take, a bit. Perhaps up to 1 level over their own (instead of 3); and perhaps only a total of three talents from each of the Stealth and Subterfuge sets instead of eventually getting all seven. I’m still thinking about this, and planning to discuss other possibilities with others in the Fellowship.

  15. SSCrompton

    MAGIC SECTION UPDATE: I have just finished all the layout for the Magic section! A PDf has been sent to the rest of the Fellowship for final review. When Rick gets back from Essan, we will be making this available to all of you who were pledgers on the Kickstarter! Like we did with the Beta, we’ll be looking for comments, proofing errors and corrections to be sent in by all of you.

    Also I wanted to correct some information that was in the last T&T Newsletter. The Spell book is 32 pages long (not 52) the entire magic section (including the spellbook is 72 pages long) A lot of that is examples of how various spells and other related magic things work, so there is less confusion in how to use magic.

    Hope that helps and we look forward to letting you see the new magic sections. You’re also going to see that some changes have been made to the books graphics and layout. Some of this was also based on your comments in regards to the Beta…

    Magic for you… very soon… stay tuned…

  16. David Crowell

    Ah, giving Warriors 1 die per level is a lot more bonus. dT&T seems to be ramping up the power levels! It’s across the boards though so I don’t see it as a problem. I want to play HEROES anyway!

    Allowing Rogues automatic success for SRs up to their level is not nearly as over powering as 3x level. If you want to keep the 3x level I would make that fail only on a fumble.

    An alternative way to make Rogues better might be to allow them to roll extra dice for SRs and choose the best two. With DARO I might choose to keep the pair of 2s rather than the 5 and 6 out of a roll of “2,2,5,6”. Although this does make Rogues nearly fumble proof without a special rule, and DARO becomes very likely for higher level Rogues.

    I like the overall direction things are going and it is good to see thought being put into actual play, and play style, not just the dry statistics.


  17. Don Clarke

    Ok, I’m convinced some talents should be ‘always-on’, e.g. Warrior’s armour bonus. But if we’re calling those ‘talents’ then they’re at odds with the already stated principle (in the Beta) that talents aren’t always on. I think what you are calling Professional talents/secrets/special studies should not be available to study beyond character creation. I think they should be ‘natural born aptitudes’, and limited to a choice of two in addition to one ‘normal’ talent on creation for all types. Then the talent rules don’t get muddied. Then the Rogue can choose 2 NBAs from as long a list as you like, but when later acquiring others she must do so as normal talents.

    I’m not suggesting characters are literally born with NBAs, rather that they have studied/practised them from a very early age, hence they come far more naturally than a normal talent ever could.

  18. OFF TOPIC: There’s a new Post by Liz Danforth about HOW she created the Magic the Gathering cards she did back in the 1990′s She is also selling one of the most iconic Magic cards from the early decks. Visit her blog to see which one and how she created it Maybe you’ll even what to bid on it…

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