Alternate Discipline Talents

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
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TitledEel
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Alternate Discipline Talents

Post by TitledEel » Mon Jan 20, 2020 5:24 am

So, as a preface, I've never GMed Earthdawn, and I only started playing it last year, but I have GMed a variety of campaigns and systems, and I have an idea that I think could work really well to help Talent training feel a little more flexible. This is somewhat inspired by the Talents of the D20 Star Wars SAGA edition game by WOTC, which I feel is a nice blending of class-based and class-less character advancement.

One issue I've had building characters in ED 4e is that the Discipline Talents for each Circle are not always great. I understand that the Discipline Talents are supposed to be central to each Discipline, but I don't think that's a good enough reason on it's own to so tightly restrict the player to that particular Talent at that particular Circle. I know that previous editions had optional alternatives for the Discipline Talents, swapping some with ones on the Talent Option list for that Discipline, and others for entirely new Talents, but that doesn't totally solve the issue I have.

My proposition, then, is an alternate system where the Discipline Talents for each Rank (Novice, Journeyman, etc) are put into that Rank's Talent Option pool along with the normal Talent Options. Then, a character can take up to two of those Talents in the expanded Talent Option pool at each Circle. If it matters which one is a Discipline Talent and which is just a Talent Option, the player could designate one or the other as such, but I don't think that matters much except for qualifying for next Circle.

This allows for more freedom in building a character without making things much more confusing than the normal system. I suppose that a GM could also allow for the Starting Talents to be customized as well, but I recognize that would increase both complexity and the capacity for OP builds.

Lursi
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Re: Alternate Discipline Talents

Post by Lursi » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:38 am

We do it like this with one little extra rule:

A talent that is available by original rules from a certain circle onwards, can only be taken once this circle in this discipline is reached.

The circle 8 discipline talent can hence not be taken upon circle 5.
Of all things I lost, sanity I held dearest.

Moonwolf
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Re: Alternate Discipline Talents

Post by Moonwolf » Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:19 am

I just went with the alternate advancement rules where you don't need to take the discipline talent and can advance on options instead.

Belenus
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Re: Alternate Discipline Talents

Post by Belenus » Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:11 am

Moonwolf wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:19 am
I just went with the alternate advancement rules where you don't need to take the discipline talent and can advance on options instead.
We did the same thing.

TitledEel
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Re: Alternate Discipline Talents

Post by TitledEel » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:35 pm

Moonwolf wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:19 am
I just went with the alternate advancement rules where you don't need to take the discipline talent and can advance on options instead.
My issue with that, though, is that you end up with less talent variety than other characters who didn't mind advancing both. I figure that, if the game lets you choose one of your Talents per circle already, why not both?

TitledEel
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Re: Alternate Discipline Talents

Post by TitledEel » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:40 pm

Lursi wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:38 am
We do it like this with one little extra rule:

A talent that is available by original rules from a certain circle onwards, can only be taken once this circle in this discipline is reached.

The circle 8 discipline talent can hence not be taken upon circle 5.
That's a good idea, but I don't think that any of the Novice rank Talents for each Disciplines are much more powerful than the other options available to those Disciplines at Novice Rank. I could see putting that limitation in from 5th circle on, though.

Aegharan
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Re: Alternate Discipline Talents

Post by Aegharan » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:47 pm

The optional rule "all talents to advance" doesn't mean that you don't learn the discipline talent, just that you're not bound to increase all to (new circle) when advancing.
If you want to advance to 4th circle, you then need 7 Talents at rank 4, of which 1 has to be learned in circle 3, either as 3rd circle's discipline talent or talent option.
So you gain flexibility, as you don't have to increase a discipline talent that you don't want or need for that character.

The "restriction" of some discipline talents to a certain circle (flame arrow, willforce, crushing blow, etc. come to mind) makes a lot of sense and should probably be kept.
Other than that, you should talk to your players and do what fits your table best. If you want the increased flexibility, that sound like a good solution.

Lursi
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Re: Alternate Discipline Talents

Post by Lursi » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:50 pm

TitledEel wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:40 pm
Lursi wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:38 am
We do it like this with one little extra rule:

A talent that is available by original rules from a certain circle onwards, can only be taken once this circle in this discipline is reached.

The circle 8 discipline talent can hence not be taken upon circle 5.
That's a good idea, but I don't think that any of the Novice rank Talents for each Disciplines are much more powerful than the other options available to those Disciplines at Novice Rank. I could see putting that limitation in from 5th circle on, though.
Fair point. I just set the rule to have a simple ruleset with less exception. I have to say, the optional advancement as written is also a very good option. A bit less powerful that giving two arbitrary slots per circle but still circumventing the spent of LP on talents one does not like.
Of all things I lost, sanity I held dearest.

Telarus
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Re: Alternate Discipline Talents

Post by Telarus » Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:04 pm

This will also reduce your player's desire to acquire those additional Talents through the alternate means the game provides.

Mainly these are: Human Versitility, a Second Discipline, the new Paths/Questors structure, and Thread Items.

And might also reduce the variety of skills the PC have or the importance of skills in the campaign.

TitledEel
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Re: Alternate Discipline Talents

Post by TitledEel » Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:25 am

Telarus wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:04 pm
This will also reduce your player's desire to acquire those additional Talents through the alternate means the game provides.

Mainly these are: Human Versitility, a Second Discipline, the new Paths/Questors structure, and Thread Items.

And might also reduce the variety of skills the PC have or the importance of skills in the campaign.
I don't think so, Skills still provide a wider (if weaker) variety of options than Talents ever will, especially considering that many Talents can be learned as Skills without having any restrictions on what can be learned. And since I'm not proposing an expansion in the available Talents (Just more freedom in taking them), Versatility, Paths, Questors, Thread items, and Multi-Disciplining all still provide access to Talents that wouldn't normally be available.

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