First, I did set a goal to not delve too deep into rule making for RMU or RM in the coming year. However, I do read the RM Forums and there is a ongoing discussion about additional Talents (and Flaws, though “surprisingly” those are obviously less discussed). And yes, for the purpose of this post “background options” are an interchangeable term with “talents/flaws”–to be referred as “T/F”.
There is something very proprietary about T/F–it’s a cumbersome bolt on to what I consider a pre-companion streamlined rule set. Many are one-off rules that reek of AD&D Class Abilities while others are just bonuses to reinforce a VERY specific idea of a profession/class. So what is the point of T/F’s? A few ideas:
- T/F’s add unique abilities to characters without the GM having to muster up the energy to do it themselves.
- T/F’s are meant to reinforce Professional Tropes.
- T/F’s are meant to power up Level 1 characters a bit.
- T/F’s are a bypass to increase ability outside of the normal skill acquisition/skill bonus/stat bonus/profession bonus system already established.
- T/F’s are used to bypass skill cost restrictions to give players abilities they could not otherwise afford in skill buy.
- T/F’s are used to min/max characters by bypassing Professional skill cost and balance issues.
Happy for anyone to add to that list, but as it stands it’s not pretty. Basically Talents are “cheat codes” pretending to be balanced with Flaws to give everyone the illusion of proper game design.
Am I too old school? Perhaps my origins in the original RM has biased me, but I’m reading forum posts and it sounds like many suggestions for Talents are just special Profession abilities similar to AD&D. Can someone adequately explain the need or justification for Talents using the same validations you use for other rule arguments?
*For purposes of disclosure, this blog is a side affect of Weller Special Reserve Bourbon.