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(TFT) Attributes: 4 viewpoints

The group has had some great suggestions on talents and attributes. By the way, this discussion also occurred Oct/Nov '98. (Joe, your search engine is terrific.)

There seems to be about four viewpoints on creating TFT characters:

a)  3 attributes are fine the way they are.
b)  3 attributes are fine, but IQ/Talents are lacking.
c)  3 attributes are good, but I want to adjust them.
d)  4 or more attributes are needed.

Why Change?  Here are a few suggestions for why rework the system:

Michael 31 Oct 98 says:
I can only see two situations where TFT's three attributes break

A) The first is the number of Talents. While this simple mechanic is very nice and well done, it's odd that experienced fighters are also effectively genius. The Knoweldge Points rule (for the EP of one attribute you get 1 IQ or 2 KN points) solves that.

B) The other is fatigue. It doesn't seem that powerful wizards should also be super-strong. A very nice article (Thought-Powered Spells by Howard Trump in an issue of the Fantasy Forum) solves that problem rather neatly. To summarize (badly), for every 1 IQ point not allocated to Talents, you have an additional 12 Fatigue for spells.

Rick 3 Nov 98 says:
I've found that all the TFT GM's who have had long running
campaigns have fiddled with the rules some how, to allow people
to take more talents and or given wizards extra fST.

Rick again on 1 Nov 98:
One of the strengths and weakness of the TFT system is the compactness of the attributes. The number of attributes is kept to a minimum by using the attributes often and this works well enough except in two situations.

First, the talents / IQ requirements ratio is such that
multi-class characters are impossible unless the character is given genius level intelligence. ( Note, I also feel that several TFT talents cost too many memory points for what they provide the character and I have lowered the cost of these talents, but that is another issue.)

Second, at very high levels characters always have high values in all three attributes. This makes capable people tend to feel alike. Wizards need high ST to power their spells, while fighters need high IQ to be able to learn enough talents (even if the talents are all low IQ skills).

Some might say "don't mess with it.  It isn't broken."

Andrew Morris in his link:
  "Optional Rules:
	a. Character Creation Points:
       Instead of allocating points among the three attributes,
		and then using the totals to determine Skill Points, this
		method uses a common pool (called Character Points - CP)
		from which the player may buy attributes, skills, and
		spells as desired.  This system allows for more realistic
		and rounded characters who may be highly skilled without
		having high ratings in their physical attributes.

       In this system, spells still cost one (character) point,
		skills cost their listed value, and attributes have a
		character point cost based on the total attribute points
		possessed by the character.

       Attribute Total     Character Point Cost Per Attribute Point
        0 - 36                        1
       37 - 40                        2
       41 - 44                        4
       45 - 48                        8
       49 - 52                        16
       For every four attribute points thereafter, double the
		previous character points required.

       For example, John wants a ST of 14, a DX of 16, and an
		IQ of 9 (for a total of 39).  This costs at total of 42
		character points (CP) -- one each for the first 36 attribute
		points, and two each for the next three attribute points.
		Any remaining CPs John's character has can now be spent on
		skills and spells.

       Experience works in a similar manner.  Every 125 experience
		points may be traded in for one CP, which may be used to
		buy new skills, spells, or attributes .  Note that an
		additional luck point still costs only 100 exp., not 125 exp.

       The following chart provides some comparison CP totals to
		use when deciding how powerful beginning characters should be.

       Previous System                Character Point System
       32 points                        54 CP
       34 points                        57 CP
       36 points                        60 CP
       38 points                        66 CP
       40 points                        70 CP
       42 points                        80 CP
       44 points                        90 CP

       Note that IQ still determines what level of skills and
		spells may be learned.  In addition, intelligence-based
		skills that previously did not require a roll vs. IQ
		(e.g., diplomacy, charisma, naturalist, etc.) now do."


	"Determining Your Attributes

	You start with a ST, DX, and IQ of 8. You get 12 points to
	distribute between them, for a total of 36 points. But don?t
	use all of your points on attributes. You?ll need some of them to
	buy talents, spells and/or languages. It?s usually a good idea to
	spend at least 4 points on talents. I require starting characters
	in my games to spend at least that much on their characters.

   Talents and Spells

	After you?ve allocated points to your attributes, choose talents
	from the Talents list, spells from the Spells chart and Languages.
	Languages are talents that cost 1/2 point each. The term
	"talents" includes languages."

	Getting New Talents

	At any given time, your character may be "studying" 3 talents.
	When you spend points to add a talent, that talent must come from
	your list of talents studied. If you drop a talent from your
	"talents studied" list (or if you add the talent to your
	character), you may replace it with another talent, after two
	months of game time has passed.

Dan 2 Nov 98 suggests a variation on GURPS:

Subject: RE: (TFT) Superscripts in TFT (fwd)
 I've been experimenting with a similiar idea, but from another
direction. Basically, you can use experience points to enhance your talents.

The idea is this: Lets say you buy "Horsemanship". This might give you an additional modifier of +0 on all rolls requiring you to use that talent. If you bought it again, you'd have a +1 to your die roll, buying it again would give you a +2, again would give a +4 and so on.

  Your IQ stat would represent your basic ability to know different
  things, so you couldn't ever have more talents than you have IQ.
  (Talents which cost 2 or even 4 points are then very costly 	indeed.)

 You could work something similiar for basic ST and DX - but I'd
make it difficult to increase these scores. Not everyone has the build required to be Arnold Schwarzenegger - and those who do have to work at it.

I would argue against DX being a measure of accuracy though - I think it is more a measure of coordination. Accuracy and speed don't have much to do with being able to avoid tripping over your feet. Accuracy is more of a learned ability - thus the modifier on a skill.

 Thus - someone might have an ST 11, DX 12 and have Longbow+4,
 meaning this person is highly accurate with a longbow, reflecting
their long hours of practice with it - but would be only average at using a Crossbow or some other missile weapon.

Dave 3 Nov 98 seems toback this up
Why not just adapt the GURPS character creation system to TFT?

It seems to me that instead of adding "superscripts" to attributes,
it would be easier to define talents that modify attributes when
using those attributes for certain purposes (such as using ST to
power spells, or DX to hit with a weapon, or IQ to notice something)--just like GURPS does. If you can put experience points into improving talents as well as attributes, you can design and develop highly differentiated characters.

Maybe this is the same basic idea as "superscripts"?

Rick on 1 Nov 98 creates SUPERSCRIPTS
More Uses for Experience in TFT

The way TFT gets so much distance from its three attributes is that each attribute represents several separate but related aspects of the character. For example: ST has two primary uses in TFT, the character's endurance and their general vitality. It is easy to argue that these aspects of a person are related, but are they absolutely connected?
DX's sub categories are accuracy and speed.
IQ is divided into memory and general intelligence.

With these optional rules it is possible to spend experience in order to improve these sub-categories of your attributes, while still retaining the basic relationships in a simple manner. The most difficult to improve aspect of each attribute is retained as the attribute, while the other aspect of the attribute can be cheaply improved, turning the character into something of a specialist.

These improved sub-attributes will be shown by adding superscripts beside the attribute itself on the character sheet. Here after these sub-attributes will be called superscripts. A superscript is a MODIFIER to the basic attribute which is added to it in special circumstances.

A superscript costs one third of an attribute ( round up ). When totaling up attributes to see how much EP is needed to gain the next attribute each point of superscripts the character possesses also counts as one third of an attribute.

The superscripts of the three attributes will now be defined.

ST: The most difficult aspect of strength to improve is your basic power which determines how much you can lift, the largest weapons you can comfortably use and your hit points so this will be the basic attribute.

If you wish to improve your endurance add a superscript above and to the right of the where your ST is on your character
sheet. This superscript is not used when making saving throws
vs ST, it is only used when powering spells, or using fatigue ST
to power magic items. (If you have been exhausted by a long run this also uses fatigue.) Normally this fatigue ST (here after abbreviated fST) is gained by wizards to help power their spells.

The base aspect of DX is accuracy so your general accuracy represents the true meaning of DX and costs the full amount. DX is used to hit or cast spells and all feats were finesse in required. Most saving throws are based against DX, but see below.

The second part of DX is the speed of the character. This represents the quick twitch that allows you to go first in combat. Any ability that allows you to do more things in one turn are concerned with Speed. To show that you have added to a character's Speed, place a super script above and to the right of your DX. The Speed super script is added to your DX when determining the DX order of attacks each turn. (In fact your basic speed is equal to your adjDX not counting range modifiers.) It is also used to determine if you can fire a bow twice per turn. Note that several of my new talents that allow you to do additional actions during a turn have a prerequisite of a certain level of Speed. I allow Speed to be used in a small class of DX rolls: if you need to react quickly to a trap or some sudden event, but you don't need to react accurately Speed may to be added to the character's DX. (For example, when you need to throw your self out from under a falling block you could hardly MISS the ground, you just need to move quickly.)

Memory is far easier to improve than innate intelligence so general IQ remains the basic attribute. General IQ is used to decide how complicated spells and talents the character is able to understand. It is also used for IQ saving throws and for battle of wills.

Memory (shown by a super script above and to the right of
the IQ attribute on the character sheet) is used to learn additional
spells or talents. For example, if you had a 10 IQ with +5 memory,
you could learn 15 spells of IQ 10 or less.

Dave 13 July and 15 July:
Speaking of IQ, here is an excerpt from my own campaign's ground
rules. I've found that this one rule change does more to increase the enjoyment of the game than anything else . . .

Adjusted IQ
Attribute points can now be spent to increase the IQ points a character can spend to learn talents and spells. It costs one attribute point (which isn?t otherwise spent on ST, DX, or IQ) to increase a character?s ?adjIQ? by two. (Normally a character can learn no more than his IQ in IQ point?s worth of talents and
spells.)  So a character with an IQ of 10 who spends one attribute
point for a +2 adjIQ will then have an adjIQ of 12, giving him
12 IQ points to spend on talents and spells (but his base IQ remains 10).
Attribute points spent on increasing adjIQ do count towards a character?s attribute point total. So Humar the Human Archer (ST 11, DX 16, IQ 10 (16)) is a 40-point character (11+16+10+3), not 37.
When increasing IQ through experience, you can either increase your
normal IQ by one point (which increases adjIQ by 1 as well) or (if your adjIQ is higher than your IQ) you can increase normal IQ by two if adjIQ remains the same. The same character above, with an IQ of 10/12 and a new attribute point to spend, could either increase his IQ by 1 (making him IQ 11/13), increase his IQ by 2 (making his IQ 12/12), or increase his adjIQ by 2 (making his IQ 10/14). But in any case a character?s normal IQ can never exceed his adjIQ. This rule change gives characters a way to become cinematic highly-skilled heroes and wizards (just like many characters of fantasy fiction) without forcing them to buy unrealistically high
IQ?s, while still requiring them to pay for it in some way.

Adjusted Strength
Like Adjusted IQ, a character's Adjusted Strength ("adjST") can be
increased, at a cost of 2 extra hits/fatigue for every attribute point spent. So a figure with ST 10 (12) can weild a weapon with a ST minimum up to 10, he can take 12 points of combined hits and fatigue before dying, and those 2 extra ST points cost him 1 attribute point.

Stan 14 July and again 19 July
I think this sort of thing is a very good idea; basically a wider
knowledge rather than a deeper one.  We use something similar, but
not so elegant - allowing characters to buy extra talent "slots" for XP.

Have you considered extending this concept to ST? You could allow people to buy "adjST" at a similar rate, with the adjST being used as hit points/fatigue. It's nice to be able to have
a powerful mage who isn't a hulking tower of ST.

Yes, we allow characters to purchase skill "slots". One slot allows an extra IQ's-worth of talent or skill to be learned. The XP cost of the slots is independent of the character's attribute total; instead the cost of each successive slot increases based on the number already purchased.

Michael 15 July mentioned this concept from the Fantasy Forum:
I thought the most ingenious solution to this problem was in Fantasy Forum,Thought-Powered Spells by Howard Trump, #8, pg 16-18.

The simplest way to paraphrase his fix is:
Any IQ point not used for Talents can be traded as 1 fST. Any IQ points higher than the highest spell or talent you know
can be traded for 12 fST.

Now, because this gives you lots of extra points there are
restrictions on what they can be spent on, the most obvious one being - these points cannot be used for Missile Spells!

A nice simple fix that requries no TFT rule changes...

That said, I also allow ST and DX to be 'split' in the same manner
as IQ. When you buy an ST point, you can either have 1 ST point or 2 Hits Points or 2 ST (not used with Hit Points). For DX its the same thing - either 1 DX point or 2 SC (to-hit roll) points. For IQ its 1 IQ point or 2 KN (knowledge/talents points).

Yendorian 31 Oct 98 suggests:
<< A very nice article (Thought-Powered Spells by Howard Trump in an issue of the Fantasy Forum) solves that problem rather neatly= =2E
To summarize (badly), for every 1 IQ point not allocated to Talents,
you have an additional 12 Fatigue for spells. >>

That article sounds kind of like what I'm looking for. I was
designing a system for TFT myself where there was 2 kinds of fatigue.
Physical & Mental. Physical works like it always did on anything except spells. I figured on Mental fatigue being based on IQ, and it is used to power spells. All I was looking for was an alternitive
to wizards looking like Conan.

To which Michael 1 Nov 98 adds:
The basics of Thought-Powerd Spells is that for every IQ point not
allocated to any talents or spells is worth 1 fST (fatigue ST) point. >Any IQ point over the highest IQ point of any Talents or Spells is considered to be 12 fST each (if you have 14 IQ points and the highest Talent/Spells you have is IQ 12 then you have an extra 24 fST to spend on spells. There were some other restrictions on what type of fST could be used for what type of spells - mostly restricting IQ-based fST to use on everything except Missles/Thrown
spells (for game balance reasons).

I've always liked this method as being the simplest 'fix', but I
don't see any particlar game balance problems with the way your splitting them up.

Gadda on 15 July:
I'd go into detail on my house rules, but since I use a 4th stat, Health, they don't translate directly to TFT. Also, I handle attribute advancement differently, doing something akin to the adjusted IQ rules posted earlier in the thread, and toning down actual attribute increases (I find characters with ST 25, DX 18, IQ 19 to be inherently unbelievable - really, any stat over 14 is extraordinary, and anything above 16 is rare indeed.
I prefer a greater emphasis on talents rather than brute force
attributes - though I do want more advancement than GURPS would
allow). This tends to make for a somewhat different system
(though its less GURPS like then one might think - for example, the HT stat I mentioned does not equate with "hit points" - I still
use ST for that, reasoning that ST is a measure of the amount of
"meat" one has which is a good approximation of how much punishment
one can absorb. HT, on the other hand, simply measures how resistent
you are to disease and how quickly you recover from injuries. I was
hesitant to even add HT, since the basic TFT idea was surprisingly good, but then I realised that being strong does not mean you are always healthy. An elephant is immensely powerful, but is hardly immune to disease...).

Perry 29 Oct 98 points out:
This reminds me of something that I've been meaning to bring up to the list... way back in Different Worlds #15, there was an article that suggested splitting the three TFT attributes into no
less than six stats. Without re-posting the entire article, it broke
down roughly as follows:

Strength (ST) gets split into

       Strength (ST) - ability to use weapon, do damage, carry
                       encumberence, etc.

       Hit Points (HP) - all damage taken, whether from weapon
                       damage or fatigue

Intelligence (IQ) gets split into

       Intelligence (IQ) - Ability to learn spells and talents

       Knowledge (KN) - # of spells and talents that can be learned

Dexterity (DX) gets split into

       Dexterity (DX) - saving rolls, initiative

Success Chance (SC) - determines whether a spell or attack is successful

I can't see the need (except for symmetry, perhaps) for seperating DX into two different stats, but the other suggestions look playable.

Which Michael adds:
Loosly based on the "Modest Proposal" article from Different Worlds #15 (october 1981), I've always allowed players to 'split' attributes. For example for each 1 IQ point you earned you could get either 1 IQ point or 2 points to IQ or KN (Knowledge - meaning the number of points allocated to Talents). ST splits into ST and HP (Hit Points), DX splits into DX (Saving Rolls and Initiative) and SC (Success Chance - to hit for combat and spellcasting).

The nice thing about this is that it's optional. If it's important to you, you can do it, but you don't *have* to (thereby making your
game incompatible/unbalanced with anything else).

FUZION's got a similar idea, make all Stats equal and allow additional stats without adding a lot to the system.

Ty Beard 29 Oct 98 would add the attribute Perception
Many TFT players feel that TFT lacks an attribute. I'd like to
know what attributes you have added to the game, if any.

I haven't added any attributes myself (other than Combat Reflex Point, but they're not really attributes). But if I did want to add
one, it would be Perception. This attribute would replace IQ rolls
for noticing things, surprises, and even to figure out when someone
is lying.

and Andrew Morris would add Luck attribute.

Rick 29 Oct 98 suggests Bravery attribute:
I tried to run a horror campaign in TFT once and I found that making horror rolls vs. IQ did not feel right so a Bravery attribute (a personality attribute) is useful.

If you wanted to run a campaign like Chaosium's Stormbringer, some way to measure Sanity would be good.

Here are most of what's been proposed so far. I'm sure there are many others. Those represented here may wish to clarify their systems or perhaps alter them in liu of what's been presented here.

John Paul

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