Monday, February 7, 2011

The Trollish Taproom - You Might Have Skill, But I Got Talent

Tunnels & Trolls 5.5e introduces skills as an optional system.  It's originally from a Sorcerer's Apprentice Issue #15 (which included the mention a yet to be published sci-fi rpg called WEB, but I digress).  In turn, the skill system itself has it's roots in Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes and apparently Monsters! Monsters!)

The list in 5.5e is fairly small, as it was initially meant to show what one could do with skill in T&T, and the GM and players were to flesh it out.  Skill level is added to the appropriate stat for saving rolls that relate to his / her skill.

Skills earn expo and increase by level independent of the character's level.  So you need to track a skill's expo and level.  Successful level with the same chart as the character's level, so it requires 20 uses of a skill to level it up.  I don't think PCs will be leveling many skills during most gameplay.  As most skills will remain at Level 1, they will be giving a boost to relevant SRs of 1... not worth the bookkeeping involved if you ask me.

Talent is found Tunnels & Trolls 7.xe, and is what skills morphed into.  Players start with one talent at 1st level, and gain one with each additional level.  Basically, the player defines the talent, and the talent adds 1d6 to the relevant stats SRs when the talent is called into play.

Personally, I don't like the randomness of the talent bonus.  I would probably set it at a set bonus of 4.  Additional levels in the same talent could be chosen, with diminishing returns (3 additional pts for the 2nd level chose, 2 pts for the 3rd level and 1 pt for the 4th and later levels).  New talents always start with a bonus of 4 pts.

The skills in 5.5e still make a good source for ideas for talents in 7xe.


  1. Thanks for the mention of the skills system. I don't have the 5.5 edition book or SA15 so this was new information for me.

    I do want to make one clarification on the talent system though. The talent bonus is set at whatever you roll on 1d6 when you choose the talent, not every time that you use it. So if you decide to take a Thievery talent based on Dexterity and your DEX is 15, you roll 1d6. If you roll a 2 that is your talent bonus now and forever. However, your talent score improves as your DEX increases. Note that this is the 7.5 ed. rule, it is a little different in 7.0 (there are actually two different rules for improving talents in 7.0).

  2. My house rule for Talents is this: When making a SR in which your Talent is relevant, you can roll three dice instead of two. After you roll, you can pick any two of the three dice-- usually the two highest, but you might pick the two lowest in the case of doubles.

    This gives the Talented a clear advantage without any extra numbers to juggle in bookkeeping. All you have to track is your list of Talents.

  3. @Dan - yeah, i forgot to specify that its a onetime roll for talents. Which is why I like the idea of a set number instead of a variable.

    @troth - i like your house rule better then mine i think ;)

  4. The world is not fair. The world is not uniform. Neither is Trollworld. Some people run faster and jump higher. Some people can talk you into bed or out of your socks. You gentlemen can, of course, use whatever house rules you like for Talents, but I wrote it with the d6 random roll because that matches reality the way I see it. Randomness is everywhere.


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