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Talent Balance Concern

posted Mar 26, 2018 23:54:44 by PatricHenson
I decided to wait until I was able to see the update in case a change was in the pipeline, but since no change was made, I'd like to discuss the "Exosex" talent. It seems far too potent in comparison to other talents.

Compare it to other talents that grant bonus d20s:

Dauntless grants a bonus d20 when being intimidated. Granted, this bonus could possibly be triggered when using more than just 2 abilities, but in general, it will usually be either control or daring. Not only that, but it is in a very specific circumstance and there is no bonus Momentum.

Testing a Theory: Again, you might say that this talent doesn't limit which attributes are used, but the vast majority of the time you'll be using control or reason. And this one requires you to have succeeded at a task in the same field earlier in the same adventure in order to trigger. Not only that, but there is no bonus Momentum.

The Exosex talent basically turns the PC into a melee god. I think it should be changed to trigger with more situational circumstances just as other talents do.
"Lease and pong life. Prosp long and liver."
—Varek of Sulkin'
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11 replies
Deadmanwalking said Mar 27, 2018 00:40:55
I've got to agree. It adds +1 die and +1 Momentum to, theoretically, 1/3 of rolls in the game.

Now, in practice, it's a bit less than that since Fitness is probably the least common stat to actually roll (which is fine, since it determines Stress), but only a little less, and still much more than 1/6...and adding +1 die and +1 Momentum to 1/6 of the rolls in the game would still be vastly more powerful than just about any other Talent in the game. Heck, the Talent would still be one of the best in the game even if it effected only Fitness.

It's not even just the 'melee god' thing that's an issue. Exosex Rigellian Jelna are now officially the best characters in the game (by quite a bit) at the following things:

-First Aid
-Hand To Hand Combat (this is actually their shakiest one to be superior in, Nerve Pinch, The Ushaan, and some other Species specific stuff even this out more than most of these others)
-Recovering in combat
-Combat Piloting (Evasive Action, Attack Pattern, and Ramming Speed are all Daring)
-The Power Management Engineering Task

And frankly, of those, only the Fitness stuff and maybe hand to hand combat and combat flying even make sense with the proposed justification.

Speaking as someone playing a Daring based character, it's kinda frustrating that there is now a species choice that makes anyone who takes it and invests even close to what I did into hand to hand combat and first aid will be flatly and notably better than I am just by Virtue of this Talent.
Kyle said Mar 27, 2018 03:01:01
Yeah, that one jumped out at me, too.

Generally I'm not too put out be minor balance concerns caused by trying to accurately represent the fiction -- I'm of the opinion that GMs should be tailoring their adventures for the character they have, anyway -- but Exosex strays past being a minor boost.

For my table, if it ever comes up, I believe we'll be house ruling Exosex so the benefit only applies to Fitness based tasks.
TonyPi said Mar 27, 2018 03:10:34
Wow, yeah. Maybe once per Scene as a fix?
Contributor to Continuing Mission at F&SF author.
Shran said Mar 27, 2018 08:39:39
It is a very strong Talent. However, it is only available for Rigellian Jelna. Species-specific Talents are often very strong. Think about "Polyalloy Construction" of Soong-type Androids: 4 Resistance vs non-lethal, -2 Diff. vs. heat and cold, immune to suffocation, hunger, etc. Thats crazy strong but realistic. Since STA is more of a narrative game, I think balancing is less of a concern. From a min-max standpoint, why doesn't everyone play a long-lost sibling of Data?

Also, maybe it is worth noting that apparently you don't have the option NOT to add the additional die. For very easy Fitness and Daring Tasks, this might be disadvantageous sometimes as this increases chances to roll a Complication.

As a GM, I would limit the the Talent to actual strength- and survival-based tasks, so it wouldn't apply to combat piloting and power management.
briandavion1982 said Mar 27, 2018 08:47:41
are the rules for soong type androids in the TNG characters PDF?
Shran said Mar 27, 2018 09:39:20
are the rules for soong type androids in the TNG characters PDF?

Yes. That's a really nice bonus.
Deadmanwalking said Mar 27, 2018 10:26:18
Species specific stuff can be powerful, sure, but even Polyalloy Construction (which is very nice, I'll grant you), is only useful when those situations come up, which is notably less often than Exosex will.

Also, narratively, I'm not at all clear that Rigelian Jelna should be able to casually beat up most Vulcans and Klingons. Indeed, I'm pretty sure they shouldn't be able to. Or to be the no-holds-barred best field medics and pilots anywhere. So I'm inclined to think it's inappropriate thematically as well as mechanically.
[Last edited Mar 27, 2018 11:12:14]
PatricHenson said Mar 27, 2018 16:15:38
At least with Data his species trait can fittingly be used to complicate almost all of his social interactions to offset the strength of his talents. With the Jelna, no such obvious drawbacks are forthcoming.
"Lease and pong life. Prosp long and liver."
—Varek of Sulkin'
Shran said Mar 28, 2018 12:24:37
Fair enough. The only drawback I could find for Exosex Jelna is "aggressive tendencies" which is not really that severe.
LucasCunningham said Mar 30, 2018 21:36:57
I have a question about the Talent Quick to Action:
During the first round of combat you can keep the Initiative for free.
One time or every time you keep the Initiative in the first roud of combat?
PatricHenson said Mar 31, 2018 02:10:58
During every first round of combat. Once an engagement begins, you may use the ability. After finishing off that combat encounter, if another one begins later on, you can use it again.
"Lease and pong life. Prosp long and liver."
—Varek of Sulkin'
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