Sunday, November 9, 2008

Talents & the Classes

One of the things I've discovered about the Talents between the time I wrote RBH2 and now is that all Talents that are strictly combat-oriented suck. That is, if a Talent has no useful purpose in non-combat situations, I find it boring.

Honestly, that surprised me a little bit. When I was writing up those Talents I thought that a small smattering of combat only powers would be really nice. I was wrong. Which just goes to show what you can learn about yourself when your game design meets self-reflective actual play.

So, added to my list of creative constraints for creating new Talents is "Must be fun for non-combat situations. Gaining an advantage in combat situations is optional." The footnote to that constraint being "Talents that can support or create interesting non-combat situations are double-plus good. (Like Homunculus or Guild Contacts)"

I then went through all the Talents currently in the game and noted which ones I felt were already good, which ones were possibly fixable, and which ones needed to just get dropped. Chalk Door, Rock Music, and Illusions are all (for example) strong enough to stick around. On the other hand, every one of the Warrior's Talents needs to go.

Since Warrior was the only class where I suddenly had to start from scratch, it made sense to me to focus there first. I sat down with one of my trusty notebooks and scribbled "RBH3: Warrior Talents" at the top of the page and just started writing down everything that came to mind. After an afternoon & evening of working on nothing but that I had a single Talent I thought worthy of the game. Which was pretty dissapointing. I'd even tried enlisting Lisa to help again. But we just couldn't get anywhere.

Finally I decided I'd just sit down and let myself come up with any new Talent that would fit my constraints, nevermind if it fit into a particular Class or not. I poured out lots more ideas onto paper, but still only came up with one that I'm sure I'll enjoy using. But I have high hopes for that method. I have high hopes that, given a bit of time and inspiration, I can come up with 35 individual cool Talents.

But can I make them fit into the seven classes I've already come up with? Or do I need them to fit into those seven particular classes? Ah, see, that's where my brain is now. If I come up with those 35 cool Talents, and those Talents help define the world and it's situations, then shouldn't I be able to organize the 35 by theme and assign new classes to them?

Maybe. We'll see.


kelvingreen said...

I like some of the combat talents, but yes, the Warrior comes off as rather weak. I think that everyone having access to Showing Off goes some way to negating the need for combat talents.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I agree about Showing Off. I found the the non-combat talents added a greater flavour to the game - 'The Words' and '3rd Eye' gave me the idea for my 1st scenario and the non-combat Longrunner skills were much more fun and interesting than if it was just deadly ninja killing stuff. It was often about using the cool non-combat skills to gain an advantage in combat. Rather than trying to shoehorn the talents into the classes it may be more interesting to see where the grouping of talents leads you.