Hacking AGE – Talents

elemental_wizardWith my hack of the Dragon Age RPG, most of the changes that I’m making are related to character advancement. In the AGE system a big part of how character’s advance is the talent system. In Dragon Age, talents fill the same design space as feats in d20 system games. Each talent gives characters new abilities outside of what is granted by their class. In Dragon Age, each talent is divided into three ranks: novice, journeyman, and master. When a character is granted a talent while leveling up, she can either gain a new talent at the novice rank or advance an existing talent by one rank.

The first big change to talents that I’m planning is that a character can only take a rank in a talent if she has achieved the corresponding character tier. For example, in order to take the 3rd rank in a talent (master in Dragon Age RPG terminology) a character must be at or above the champion tier. That mechanic means that I’m going to have to expand talents from 3 ranks to 5 ranks. One thing that this lets me do is use the character tiers as guidelines for the benefits granted by the different ranks of each talent. For example, I know that the 3rd rank in a talent (corresponding to champion tier) should be meaningful against groups of enemies rather than individuals, and the 5th rank in talents (myth tier) can have some very powerful effects like controlling the weather of an entire region.

Beyond needing to expand talents, I’ve found that I’m going to need to rebuild many of the existing talents to some degree because of the other changes that I’m making to the game system. A lot of Dragon Age’s talents refer to stunts by reducing the stunt point cost, so I’m going to need to rework those talents since stunts are no longer automatically known by all characters. I’ve also removed the concept of a Mage class from the game, so stunts are going to be the only way to gain access to spell-like effects. That means that I’m going to be creating a bunch of new talents that give access to sets of spells as well as incorporating bits and pieces of the Dragon Age spell school talents.

Because I’m already going to be making a lot of changes to talents, I’ve also decided to move away from generic talents in order to tie them more closely to the setting that I’m using. For example, rather than having a talent like Single Weapon Style, my hack will instead have a few different talents for characters who fight with a single weapon that might include Steel Wind Style and Striking Cobra Style. I can then both tie these more flavorful styles to the setting and incorporate more varied powers such as wuxia-style flight for the Steel Wind Style and spiritual poison for the Striking Cobra Style. I think I’ll probably end up with a few talents that are still pretty generic, but my hope is to tie most of them to the setting.

As an example of how talents are coming together, here’s a current draft of one of the new talents that I’m writing:

The Healing Light

1st Rank: You may heal another creature with your hands using the Healing Touch power.

Healing Touch

Magic School: Channel

Mana Cost: 1 MP

Casting Time: Major Action

Target Number: 10

Test: None

You heal a living target that you touch. The target regains 1d6 Health.

Stunt: You may spend any number of stunt points to add 1 Health to the amount of healing for each stunt point spent.

2nd Rank: You may increase the amount of healing provided by your Healing Touch. You may spend up to 2 additional Mana when using Healing Touch. For each additional Mana that you spend, increase the amount of Health the target regains by 1d6.

3rd Rank: You may glow with a bright light that heals several nearby living creatures by using the Rejuvenating Light power.

Rejuvenating Light

Magic School: Channel

Mana Cost: 3 MP

Casting Time: Major Action

Target Number: 12

Test: None

You heal up to 6 living targets that are within 20 ft. of you. Each target regains 1d6 Health.

Boost: You may spend up to 6 additional Mana when using this power. For every 3 additional Mana spent, increase the amount of healing by 1d6.

Stunt: You may spend any number of stunt points to add 1 Health to the amount of healing for each stunt point spent.

4th Rank: You are able to channel the pure light of the sun to heal even the most grievous wounds, cure disease, and even lift magical curses.

Purifying Light

Magic School: Channel

Mana Cost: 10 MP

Casting Time: Major Action

Target Number: 14

Test: None

You purify the body and soul of a living target that you touch. The target is restored to full Health and any diseases, curses, or poisons affecting the target are cured. In addition, any spells affecting the target immediately end.

Boost: You may spend up to 10 additional Mana when using this power. If you do, then you can target a creature that has died within the past day and return it to life.

Stunt: You may spend 5 stunt points to give the target a lingering aura of protection that lasts for one day. While the aura is in effect, the target gets a +1 bonus on any tests to resist diseases, curses, or poisons.

5th Rank: You may cast your healing light anywhere the sun shines. You may spend 1 additional Mana when using either Healing Light or Purifying Light to target any creature in daylight regardless of its distance from you. You may also spend 1 additional Mana when using Rejuvenating Light to allow it to target any 20 ft. radius area in daylight. Finally, you can use a minor action to monitor the health of any creature you’ve met. That monitoring informs you of whether they are at less than half Health, dying, dead, diseased, poisoned, or cursed.

“Elemental Wizard” © 2012 Robert Scott, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ This artwork is part of the Prismatic Art Collection.

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About Scott Boehmer

A game enthusiast and software engineer living near Seattle.

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  1. 2013 in Review | Glimm's Workshop - 3 January 2014

    […] Dragon Age (and follow-up posts: Tiers, Talents, and […]

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