|| Asymmetry | Role-Playing | Earthdawn-ish | Adepts, Karma and Talents ||
Adepts, Karma and Talents
All of the Player Characters are Adepts, people who were either born with or who have mastered a greater degree of Karma than normal people. While all humans can use Karma to some extent, non-adepts of other races lack the ability to tap into this magical flow of the universe. (This helps to explain humanity's primacy among the world's races.) There are non-adepts who live dangerous lives and are equally potent threats as other Adepts, but they needed to take longer and use more effort to get there. Being an adept means that you have two Talents, or skills that tap into the universe's flow of Karma. You can divert Karma into your talents, making them more powerful and easier to learn.
In a practical sense, there is no difference between a Skill and a Talent; both have the same abilities, both use the same mechanic. The differences comes from the Adepts advantages with the talent. First, the talent will be easier to learn, costing significantly less Glory to improve upon.
Second, it is likely to be more versatile; when purchasing Sub-skills for Skills, the character can't have more ranks in sub-skills then they have total ranks in the skill; Adepts can't have any more points in any one sub-talent of their Talent then they have in the talent itself. Thus, an adventurer with a Battle Training Skill at rank 4 can have 4 ranks total of sub-skills (say, one at rank 3 and one at rank 1). An Adept with the Battle Training Talent at rank 4 can know any number of sub-talents, but none of them can be higher than rank 4.
Third, when an Adept really needs to succeed with a Talent, they can channel karma through it to improve their chance of success. Adepts begin play with a number of Karma points equal to their Spirit Step, and their 'Karma Die' is the die associated with their Spirit Step.
All adepts designate two skills as being Talents. The Talent advantages listed above apply to that skill and all sub-skills of it. Thus, a Warrior with his Battle Training as a Talent can channel Karma into using Battle Training and any of its sub-skill he may know. If he learns more sub-skills, he can channel Karma into those as well.
Humans have a racial advantage that makes them more able to handle Karma flows. All humans can pick one sub-skill to designate as a Natural Gift. This Gift is treated as a Talent in every way save one its rank can be up to twice the rank of the base Skill (thus a human weaver with a Craft skill of 4 and a Gift in Weaving could have a Weaving rank of 8). This ability to rapidly excel in their natural talent, and to channel Karma to produce prodigious successes make humans the most skilled and versatile of the races.
It's generally assumed that Human adepts have a natural gift outside their talents as an adept, rather than layering their gift on top of their adept hood. It's so assumed that I'm making it mandatory, rather than making a special category for even more hyped talents.
Example:Thag is squaring off against his three Orcish opponents, and doesn't care much for a three on one against opponents of unknown ability. Fortunately for Thag, his Melee Weapons skill is also one of his Talents. Since Thag's Spirit score is a 6, he has 6 Karma Points to spend. He opts to spend one on his first attack, hoping to drop one opponent quickly to demoralize the others. In addition to Thag's already impressive 2d10 roll, he gets to roll another 1d8 to add to the attack total (the die associated with his Step 5 Spirit). He rolls a 4 on the first die, a 7 on the second, and a 8 with his Karma die. The Karma die is treated like any other die roll, so Thag gets to roll a bonus 1d8, scoring another 6. His total attack roll is 25.
Once you've spent a point of Karma it's gone, but you can get more for doing heroic things. You gain more Karma as you accumulate Glory.
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Copyright © 2000 Brian Rogers