[Suggestion]Modifications to Talent System
issueid=1222 08-30-2012 09:12 AM
Ancient Member
Number of reported issues by JellySlayer: 114
[Suggestion]Modifications to Talent System

I thought I'd suggest a couple of modifications to the talent system that might be worth looking at. The main problem, as I see it, is that for a lot of talents, their effects are simply so minor that there's really no point in ever taking them. Moreover, most of the main benefits for talents are only really noticed in the early game. By the time you get to level 20 or level 30, new talents aren't really an important consideration. Here are a couple of proposals that I'd like to suggest:

1) Increase the potency of the weakest talents.

Of these, I think the ones in most desperate need of a boost are:
-All +Stat talents (charming, alert, tough, etc.): +1 Stat is a very minor effect, well within random variations for any character. I think if these were say, +3, they'd be pretty decent.
-Skilled lines: Very weak effect. Even taking all three of these is not really that valuable. I'd suggest the following: Change it so that taking skilled/very skilled/extremely skilled each add one dice to all skills. So a 1d3 goes to a 1d5 with skilled; a 1d5 to a 2d4, etc. This might be a pretty strong effect though. Maybe have only very/extremely give this effect might be a nice balance?
-All weapon affinities + brawler + ambidextrous: The problem is that many players change weapons frequently, and committing to any one style isn't always desirable. Also, +2 to-hit is still a pretty minor effect. I'd suggest either making the bonus bigger, or adding a damage bonus. Or both.
-Hardy line: Problem is that the characters who might want these talents (PCs with low To) can't take them. Maybe reduce To requirements slightly or increase HP gains.
-Silver Tongue line: Bigger effect would be nice here. Would also be nice if it affected items sold as well as items purchased.
-Pious line: 5% cheaper prayers is a very weak effect considering the quadratic growth rate of prayer costs. 10% each might be more reasonable. I don't know if this includes (pre)crowns or not, but if it doesn't, it definitely should.
-Mechanically inclined: This skill is rarely used anyway, so very few PCs would ever take this talent as it is. Not sure what to do with this one. Either scrap it or major overhaul.
-Scout/Stealthy: Increase the effect. There are skills that pretty easily cover these effects quite well as it is.
-Strong legs: Kicking is rarely used in combat anyway, even by monks, and this effect is not that strong.
-Healthy/charged: Both of these talents have very weak effects. The effect of charged is almost unmeasurably tiny for characters with max concentration, in fact.
-Good/great learner: After the bugfix on these talents, the effect is very weak. I'd suggest maybe 10% for good learner and 10% for great learner is not unreasonable.

2) Frontload talent choices toward the early game

At present, characters get talents every third level all the way up to 48, 16 in total, plus 1-7 starting talents. Since talents mostly are only effective in the early game, I might suggest the following: Have characters get a talent every other level between the levels 2 and 24, plus 1-7 starting talents. Characters would end up with only 12 talents from leveling, but they'd get them more at the point in the game where talents will have a significant effect, rather than having half of the game's talents being acquired so late in the game that their effects are no longer meaningful.

3) Create a small set of elite talents for higher level characters

An alternative to the above solution is to have a set of talents with a level requirement on them, but that are significantly more powerful than the regular ones. These talents could also have pre-reqs from the various talent trees, or high skill/stat values, encouraging players to choose talent lines from broader talent trees in order to get better elite talents. Or even combine this option with the one above: Characters levels 2-24 get regular talents every other level; characters 25-50 get one elite talent every 5 levels.
Issue Details
Issue Number 1222
Issue Type Feature
Project ADOM (Ancient Domains Of Mystery)
Category Windows 7
Status Suggested
Priority 10 - Lowest
Suggested Version ADOM 1.2.0 pre 2
Implemented Version (none)
Milestone (none)
Votes for this feature 28
Votes against this feature 0
Assigned Users (none)
Tags (none)

08-30-2012 10:29 AM
Ancient Member
I prefer alternative 3 to 2. Choosing a large number of talents at the beginning would make character creation more cumbersome, and it would require too many decisions (for example, for weapon talents it is more useful to choose them later in the game when you know which weapon you're going to use).

The idea of elite talents sounds good though, as well as the buffings suggested in point 1.

08-30-2012 02:56 PM
Senior Member
Regarding suggestion 1, I think a few of them could be improved in different ways. Before I address specific lines, I'll address one of the problematic situation - talents that would be most useful for characters that don't satisfy the conditions for them, like Skilled or Hardy.

How do I address this issue? How about making it so that getting the stat-boost talent allows the player to activate any talent that has a condition based on that stat? So, for instance, if you get the Learned talent, then you can activate all of the Skilled line, even if your after-Learned Learning stat is less than 9 (meaning, definitely less than 15). Similarly, if you get the Tough talent, then you can activate all of the Hardy line even with a tiny Toughness stat.

I also want to note that Silver Tongue should become more valuable once the Casino exploit is closed - that is, once gold becomes less trivial to obtain. I don't think it really needs any improvement.

- Skilled line: I can see three other options except the "boosted dice" option. First, there's the option of extra skill increases - perhaps it could be one extra skill increase every third level for Skilled, every second level for Very Skilled, and then either two in every three levels or every level for Extremely Skilled (depending on which works better for balance, etc). Second, there's the option of randomised boosts - they can be very small, if necessary, but the obvious option would be, say, 1d2-1 free increase to skill points for every skill on each level up (meaning, about half of all skills will get 1 free skill point on a level up) for Very Skilled, as an example. Third is the option of modifying when the skill dice values are changed.

- Weapon Affinities/etc: Perhaps they could increase with weapon skill points? They would each need to be tweaked right, but for instance, perhaps for swords, you get a +1 to-hit and +1 damage for a completely untrained skill, increasing to, say, +4 to-hit, +4 damage and +2 DV for Grand Mastery. It would add more value to the idea of training up your affinity. Ambidextrous could perhaps, rather than simply boosting to-hit a little bit, also negate the left-hand penalty for anything where it cares (notably rings). Perhaps it could also grant an extra +2 damage for two-handed weapons (increased strength in your weaker hand = more total ability to control the hit for greater damage).

- Hardy line: First, see note about alternate method of accessing it early if you have a low initial Toughness. With that made possible, this doesn't look so bad... I'd just slightly balance the numbers of HP you get for each talent - +4 for Hardy, +6 for Very Hardy, and +8 for Extremely Hardy. I'd like to actually choose a value for this that goes well with the effect of Tough - that is, how many HP you typically get for the toughness increase that Tough gives (at least early in the game) - but I don't know where to find an estimate of that amount.

- Aura line: Same as Hardy line - tweak it slightly to make it give +4 for potent aura, +6 for strong aura, and +8 for mighty aura. Same net result, slightly more value to the lower ones.

- Pious line: What if it also reduced the rate of increase in cost? Currently, the cost is a quadratic function given by the triangular numbers, which I assume is implemented by adding the number of prayers of that type so far to the previous multiplier (so the multiplier starts at 1 on first prayer, then adds 2 on second prayer to make 3, then adds 3 on third prayer to make 6, and so on). What if, on getting the Pious talent, it only adds n*4/5, rounded to nearest number? So on second prayer it adds 2*4/5 = 8/5 = 2 (rounding). On third prayer, though, it adds 3*4/5 = 12/5 = 2 (rounding down, now), which means the multiplier after three prayers is now only 5, rather than 6. Added to the 5% decrease in total price, it's not too bad. For Very Pious, it might only add n*3/5, so the second prayer would add 2*3/5 = 6/5 = 1, and the third prayer would add 3*3/5 = 2, so after three prayers it's now only 4. For Saint, it might reduce it to n*2/5, giving an increase of 2*2/5 = 4/5 = 1 on second prayer and 3*2/5 = 6/5 = 1 on third prayer, so it's now only 3. In fact, I'd assert that, even with the 5% decrease removed, this would be a more beneficial talent.

- Mechanically Inclined: Two ideas, here - either make it also do something similar to Sixth Sense (but not as much), or have it also benefit other skills, etc (I'm thinking Bridge Building, Pick Locks, and Detect Traps, and also boosting crossbow loading speed?).

- Strong Legs: In addition to its affect on kicking, it should have a small impact on movement cost... say, reducing it by 10 (so, from 1000 to 990 for regular situations)? After all, strong legs should make you a faster walker.

- Healthy/Charged: Perhaps also increase by one "stage" the skill increase dice for the Healing and Concentration skills?

- Learner line: +10% for each is way too much, in my opinion. +5% for each should maintain a reasonable balance. This gives a 10.25% increase with both, which is reasonable in my opinion. If the stat-boost talents get improved to +3, then each of the two could grant a +1 to Learning, as well - this would help to solidify it as a learning-oriented talent line, and give it a little more value without excessively altering the experience rate.

- Book Learner line: Perhaps also reduce time required to learn from a book? +10% to spell knowledge learned and -20% time required to learn it for each talent would work well, I think - useful for when you need to learn a spell fairly quickly.

- Durable Magic: Also reduce the chance of a bolt spell being shrugged by, say, 20%, and this should become a valuable talent (durable can also mean more "solid", making it harder to shrug off).

- Extended Magic: Add one to ball spell range, and this should be more valuable.

- Immune to Pain: Reduce negative effects of sickness as well.

- Wealthy line and Boon to the family: Assuming that stat-boost talents get boosted to +3, these could each give a +1 to a stat. I'm thinking Wealthy gives +1 Appearance, Very Wealthy gives +1 Charisma, Filthy Rich gives +1 Learning (best teachers that money could buy), and Boon to the Family gives +1 Mana.

Can I also suggest a few class-specific talents, to go with the "elite" category? They could include talent pairs where you get one at Level 1 (with a class requirement), and then, if you have that one, you can get another one from the "elite" category later on... or get access to an "elite" talent earlier... perhaps with a few other talents required along the way.

For example, I could see a set of Wizard talents, something like this:

- Focused: Requires Level 1 and Wizard, adds 20+5d4 skill points to Concentration skill (grants it with 20+5d4 points if not given it already).
- Booklover: Requires Level 1 and Wizard, starts with extra spellbook, spellbooks have 20% lower chance of being destroyed due to destruction effects (fire, shock, ice, acid, runes, etc). Literacy also guaranteed to be at 100 (assuming it isn't already).

- Tactical Caster: Requires Wizard and Careful, aggressive tactics increases power of offensive spells (by appropriate amount), DV boosts of defensive tactics increased by +2 when casting spells (meaning, on the turn that the spell is cast).
- Fast Reader: Requires Booklover and Good Learner, reduces time required to either cast from book or learn from book by a third (bringing bookcasting time down from 3x to 2x).

- Solid Aura: Requires Focused, Mighty Aura, and Level 42+, absorb 50% of damage from any attack (rounded down) using PP rather than HP when in defensive tactics (when PP at zero, normal damage to HP, of course).
- Warrior Mage: Requires Focused, Tactical Caster, Grand Mastery of at least one weapon, and level 48+, grants the ability to simultaneously cast a spell and attack in melee (only with weapons you have Grand Mastery in, though). Used on casting, asks you to choose direction to attack - choose yourself ('5') to not attack.
- Staff Magic: Requires Focused, Affinity with Staves, Grand Mastery of Staves, and level 36+, combines effects of Durable Magic, Strong Magic, Extended Magic, and Strong Healer (doubles up on each if you already have them), but only if wielding a staff.
- Wizened: Requires Wizard, Long-Lived, aged to Old, and Level 39+... OK, I'm not sure what to do with this, I'll admit. But the idea of an "elite" talent based on age (thereby giving a new value to unnatural aging, and potentially giving "younger" races and longevity more value) is just too interesting for me to ignore.

Those are just ideas, of course, and I'm sure there's a balance issue somewhere. Keep in mind that Elite talents with a lot of requirements should really be relatively overpowered compared with others - the requirements should help to prevent it from becoming overly unbalanced. Note that I came up with Warrior Mage as an idea for an "award" for playing a wizard with more focus on melee rather than heavy dependency on casting.

08-30-2012 09:16 PM
Ancient Member
Immune to pain is already pretty good, IMHO. I don't think it needs much of a buff.

I personally don't love the idea of class-based talent selections, but that's just me. There are already class powers. If anything, I might be tempted to lean more toward racial talents like Mithril Skin. Maybe an acid spit talent line for drakelings or a boringness talent line for humans sort of thing.

08-30-2012 11:47 PM
Ancient Member
Quote Originally Posted by JellySlayer
boringness talent line for humans
Boring, very boring and extremely boring? :D

Immune to pain and pv talents are fine the way they are. I personally think the hardy line is underrated, too. In my opinion, 18 HP is no small gain even in the midgame (ie tower).

For good learner and great learner, 10% each is really the minimum to make it useful imo. Considering the xp tables, that will result in 1 extra level at most (often even none), until the endgame.

08-31-2012 02:06 AM
Ancient Member
I like this idea. Sometimes when I'm playing I think my talent choice doesn't matter, usually around level 20 and later. And sometimes even early on I don't think the talents help much.

As for the human thing, maybe something to help them be better than Drakelings some how? Tailoring, since Drakelings like to go naked? But that wouldn't help much I think. Or some kind of "building" talent, since I think humans are the only ones to make cities. Not have cities, but MAKE them. Dwarves mine them, elves live in trees, Trolls just live in caves, and orcs too I think. I assume Drakelings live just in the wild somewhere. But that probably wouldn't help much either. :/ Oh well!

12-09-2012 02:28 AM
Any chance this could be given a second look now that a lot of balancing work is currently being done? There's a pretty big disparity in the usefulness of various talents.

12-09-2012 03:18 PM
Ancient Member
-All +Stat talents (charming, alert, tough, etc.): +1 Stat is a very minor effect, well within random variations for any character. I think if these were say, +3, they'd be pretty decent.
+1 (or should I say +3?). The only useful stat-boosting talents, if you can even call an extra point "boosting", are Alert and Charming - and that's only because they open the door to much better things. If this change were applied, I can see myself picking Learned more often, since I like having high Le for my wizards.

12-09-2012 03:35 PM
Pim Pim is offline
-All weapon affinities + brawler + ambidextrous: The problem is that many players change weapons frequently, and committing to any one style isn't always desirable. Also, +2 to-hit is still a pretty minor effect. I'd suggest either making the bonus bigger, or adding a damage bonus. Or both.
While it's true that plenty of folk change weapons, and don't commit to one style, it's also true that specialization is the keystone of evolution. +2 bonus seems small but only in comparison to the Tactics settings. +2 is equivalent to going up 2 or 3 weapon skill levels in the early tiers, or later, the equivalent of thousands of skill marks.

Nevertheless I would suggest to add a little flavor to an otherwise boring series of talents, maybe Affinities could also reduce the number of marks required for that weapon group by 5 or 10 percent.

12-09-2012 05:04 PM
Ancient Member
Because of the Wieghted Monster Generation Enhancement: http://www.adom.de/forums/project.php?issueid=1116

Maybe 10% can be made a little lower for the Learner line, 5 and 8%?

12-10-2012 09:45 AM
rho rho is offline
One way to keep talents relevant into the late game would be to change them from absolute values (eg, +1DV) to percentage values (eg, +10% DV). In the early game, you'd still probably only get +1DV, so it wouldn't be over-powered, but in the late game, when your DV is up over 60, you might end up with +6DV. Not exactly an earth-shattering increase, but enough that it would still actually feel relevant.

(Porter and its line are like this already, which allows them to be useful but not overpowered for anything from a St:2 level 1 hurthling to a St:50 level 50 troll.)

12-10-2012 10:11 AM
The Creator
I also prefer option 3) (high power talents harder to gain) as a great solution. It's the only one I currently can imagine to implement. Please post suggestions regarding such talents and I'll come back to this issue later on.

12-10-2012 02:58 PM
Some elite talent ideas (no idea about prerequisites at this point):

Eidetic memory: significantly slower depletion of spell charges, immunity to scrolls of amnesia, Learning bonus
Iron fists: improves weapon skill bonuses for Unarmed fighting
Cowardly lion: boosts defensive tactics modes
Dragonslayer: increased critical hits to dragons. There could be more talents like this -- criticals wouldn't be automatic, but frequent, and each character could only choose ONE X-slayer talent.
Eye for loot: improves QUALITY of drops (not quantity). Also, grants Appraising skill when taken, or Detect Item Status, if the character already has Appraising.

Finally: it would be fun if a random elite talent could be granted when getting crowned.

12-10-2012 03:25 PM
Ancient Member
The first thing I'd think of is making a few existing talents elite.

Melee weapon master: few people ever choose this, as it stands. It already has prerequisites that are fitting for an elite talent. If a level requirement is added and the talent is improved (say, +6 to-hit and damage and melee attacks also take 5% less energy), it would make a great elite talent.

Missile weapon master: ditto. There are already 2 energy reducing talents for missiles, plus the prerequisites are less demanding, so here a simple +6 to-hit and damage with missiles would be good enough.

Charged: this is a very underpowered talent because its effect is dwarfed by concentration. It could make a nice elite talent. Add a level requirement and let it increase mana regeneration by, say, half of what the concentration skill does. Then add some prerequisites like mighty aura, fey-blooded and mana 30+.

This would make 3 elite talents, one magical, one missile and one melee. So each character would have at least one elite talent to consider. Each of them would require a non-trivial choice (do you really want to take feyblooded at level 1? etc)

12-10-2012 04:59 PM
Extension: increases the range of bolt spells
Great reader: 10% chance of a scroll to persist after reading
Barman: requires Alchemy at 100%, grants knowledge of 2-3 additional recipes
Acid glob: Drakelings only, makes your acid projectile explode into an acid ball upon hitting something
Great balls of fire: increases diameter of ball spells (as if you got extra Wi)
Blessing of the ancestors: reduces chance of cursed items being generated, increases chance of blessed items
Kickback: kicking a monster will add a knockback effect, pushing it one square away if possible (doesn't work on big things)
No sense of taste: all food you eat satiates as if it was uncursed (helps with poison hands corruption).
Kobold cuisine: cooked corpses won't cause some bad effects like poison or sickness. Positive effects are preserved.
Noble thief: Pickpocketing has no longer any effect on your alignment.
Father to his men: allows you to tame humanoids by chatting with them. High chance for things like generic dwarves in Drawftown or farmers, things like goblins are harder, and giants very hard, but still possible.
Great spender: Prerequisite is having a certain high amount of gold in inventory when taking the talent. Gives you a discount in shops based on how much you buy.

12-10-2012 05:40 PM
Ancient Member
Lucky: +3 Luck
Very Lucky: +5 Luck (requires Lucky)
Natural d20: +8 Luck (requires Very Lucky, only available to Bards)

12-10-2012 06:50 PM
Addict -- increases training limits of herbs
Gourmet -- more satiation from cooked corpses
Pristine soul -- reduces corruption, but you have to take this talent at a moment when you have no corruptions
Graphoman -- makes writing scrolls easier
Lord of the Rings -- increases the chance for rings to drop (this could be once again for several item types, but a character could only pick one)
Darksight -- character sees 1 square around himself in darkness

12-10-2012 07:02 PM
Ancient Member
Okay, here's some from me. I assume all elite talents require level 25 unless otherwise noted.

Requirements: Strong of Will, Pious, Very Pious, Saint, Hardy, Tough Skin, Iron Skin, Immune to Pain. PC must be crowned and have very good piety with their god. Priests may acquire at level 20.
Effect: If the PC is killed, there is a chance (based on luck and piety) that your god may raise you from the dead. Resurrection costs a huge amount of piety, comparable to a crowning.

Lightning Reflexes
Requirements: Quick, Very Quick, Greased Lightning, Sixth Sense, Careful, Very Careful, Alertness at 100, Pe >20. Thieves may acquire at level 20.
Effect: PC avoids all traps.

Requirements: Any three of Alert, Charming, Dextrous, Fey-blooded, Learned, Strong, Strong of Will, Tough. Bards may acquire at level 20.
Effect: PC receives +1d5 to all stats.

Extremely talented:
Requirements: Gifted, Boon to Family, Heir.
Effect: PC receives +1d10 to all stats.

Boomerang Master:
Requirements: Affinity with Boomerangs and Scurgari, Good Shot, Eagle-eyed, Dx 18+, Archery 100, Strong Thrower
Effect: Missiles with "returning" effects always return and are always caught.

Requirements: Long lived, Tough, Hardy, Very Hardy, Extremely Hardy, Healthy, Tough Skin, Iron Skin, Immune to Pain, Steel Skin, 30+ Toughness
Effect: PC takes 25% less damage (all forms). Dwarves with mithril skin get 30% less damage.

I agree that Melee Weapon Master and Missile Weapon Master should be upgraded to elite.

12-10-2012 07:16 PM
Senior Member
> Kickback: kicking a monster will add a knockback effect, pushing it one square away if possible (doesn't work on big things)

This is a great idea, I'd love to see a reason in the game to kick from time to time.

12-10-2012 07:40 PM
Quote Originally Posted by BenMathiesen
> Kickback: kicking a monster will add a knockback effect, pushing it one square away if possible (doesn't work on big things)

This is a great idea, I'd love to see a reason in the game to kick from time to time.
Of course, it needs to have some precautions so you couldn't simply kick monster away, have it come to you without attacking, kick it again, etc. That's why "no big things" rule. But since most of small things are no danger to elite PC anyway except in a swarm (where this strategy wouldn't work)...

12-10-2012 07:53 PM
Explorer:increases chance of special dungeon features,would stack with long lost brother.Prerequisite would be treasure hunter.
Affinity with wands: tends to find more wands, better chance to get one last charge from a wand.
Potion Tosser: +2 to range with thrown potions. prerequisite might be strong thrower.
Book keeper: tends to find more spell books. less chance of book and scroll destruction.
Dragon tamer: music can now tame dragons.
Eternal youth: effects of aging attacks reduced by 50%, you no longer age with time. Prerequisite would be long lived.
Quick eater: time required to eat reduced by 50%.
Solid beliefs: harder to change alignment.
Wand master: +1 range with wands. 100% chance to get one last charge from wand. Prerequisite would be Affinity with wands.
Key master: keys no longer break. Prerequisite might be mechanically inclined.

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