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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
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
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:
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."
Ty Beard in his link REFINED CHARACTER GENERATION SYSTEM
"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
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
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
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
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
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 . . .
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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