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Re: (TFT) Attributes: 4 viewpoints

-----Original Message-----
From: John Paul Bakshoian <shadowhex@hotmail.com>
To: tft@brainiac.com <tft@brainiac.com>
Date: Thursday, July 29, 1999 10:26 PM
Subject: (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
>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
>>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
>>   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,
>>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
>>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
>>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
>>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
>>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
>>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
>>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
>>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
>>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.
>>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
>>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
>>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 -
>>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
>>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
>>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
>>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
>>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
>alter them in liu of what's been presented here.
>John Paul
Which combination do you prefer? I still like Andrew's system which allows
for more starting talents and along with it to create a more  realistic
wizard with Michael's solution from Howard Trump's article in the Fantasy

I agree with you about the search engine "TFT Codex II"
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