Talislanta for 5E D&D

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AsenRG

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When it comes to Talislanta, I prefer the more old-school, D&D-derived structure found in 1e-3e. Key elements are escalating hit points and skills by level (with the option to concentrate on a skill), and spells that are described concretely. In 4e, the system became more skill based, combat introduced defense rolls (IIRC), and spells became effects-based.

Somehow I think 5th edition (the Morrigan one) is supposed to have walked some of that back but I never looked at it closely.

I wonder which branch this will follow. I’m guessing it will continue from 5th.
...first time I hear anyone calling concrete spells an improvement, but I guess I haven't been in that many discussions:shade:!

I completely disagree, I felt it was a leap forward from the generic fixed spells of many of the previous editions that almost always felt bland (Oh look they get a magic attack that does X, and this one has one that also does X differently but really mechanically the same.) Though admittedly I've not used anything but 4E in ages upon ages.
Why they have to sully good games with the D&D system is beyond me.
Yeah, I'm with you two on that matter:thumbsup:!
 

Dropbear

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...first time I hear anyone calling concrete spells an improvement, but I guess I haven't been in that many discussions:shade:!



Yeah, I'm with you two on that matter:thumbsup:!
I would say that I enjoy 1E/2E’s ideological approach to spells the best, personally. It A.) provides a basic list of spells to get a magician character started up, B.) allows for magicians to color their spells as they wish for their particular approach to magic, and C.) advises that there’s much more out there to be discovered through adventure and experimentation.

I do enjoy 3E’s approach as well, in breaking down the fields of study further and providing even more example spells for each field, while maintaining that:magic is a fallen art and there is much more out there to find than merely the spells in the book that are widely known by modern Talislantan magicians.

Where I feel all three editions fell a little short was providing a system for guidance in the creation of new spells, but I always found it fairly easy with the first three editions to do so.

I feel that 4E/5E’s approaches to spell design widely diverged from Steve’s original vision and design goals for Talislantan magic by providing starting magicians with a much larger array of spells to start with, with 4E providing for on the fly creation of spells during play. Which is fine if you enjoy that approach, but a problem I felt through gameplay under that approach was players feeling a little overwhelmed by all the variables they had to take into account for spellcasting. Not to mention naming the dozens or so spells that they came up with on the fly during 4E games. But I did find myself having fun creating new spells with the system. And I enjoyed the spell penalty mode of play both editions put forth a little more than the previous (and future with D&D Tal) approach of a set number of fire and forget spells per day.

While I certainly would like to see a brief list of starting spells for the newer edition of Talislanta, I’m personally loathe to see the game take D&D‘s approach to spells and spell-casting.

Edit: No matter the edition I used, I always enjoyed Talislanta’s unique aspects of being able to modify a spell’s effect somewhat through the Action Table roll more than the rote spells of D&D.
 
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Savage Schemer

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Discreet spells for Talislanta isn't really a controversial topic. The pushback I've seen here is honestly the first I've seen of the sort. Even in 4e it was widely held that the open-ended effects-based system wasn't quite right for the setting, even by its authors. Which is why the magic supplement Codex Magicus contained this passage:
The new magic rules presented here should be considered to supplant those in 4th edition Talislanta. While you are free to ignore them and continue using the magic system
as presented there, this book and future supplements will be using these rules.

Why the change? The magic system presented in 4th edition Talislanta was wonderful, and added a great deal of free-wheeling versatility and creativity to the role of a magician in any Talislanta game. However, it didn’t mesh with the original concept of magic in modern Talislanta. Magicians do not start off their career knowing hundreds of spells, charms, and cantrips. One of the driving goals of the modern magician is to uncover spells from the Phaedran Empire and the Archaen Age. Allowing the player to, in effect, make up new spells on the fly took away a great deal of the impetus for that.
 

Dropbear

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As a note to some of the statements I’ve seen made, but missed responding to:

I don’t think Tweet or Harper so much designed the respective editions of Talislanta that they worked on, but more that they developed them. My distinction being that the underlying skills-based Action Table system that forms all of the editions’ basis never really changed, it was just that sub-systems were added, or changed, under their pens.

So I still consider Steve Sechi to be the designer of all of them, much more so than Tweet or Harper ;) mind you, I’m not putting down their work on Talislanta at all. But I still consider 1E/2E to be the most evocative of the setting. Even though I like Ron Spencer and Adam Black’s additions to the art the best of all the current editions. But some of that new art for the upcoming Epic edition is pretty kick-ass.
 
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Dropbear

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Discreet spells for Talislanta isn't really a controversial topic. The pushback I've seen here is honestly the first I've seen of the sort. Even in 4e it was widely held that the open-ended effects-based system wasn't quite right for the setting, even by its authors. Which is why the magic supplement Codex Magicus contained this passage:
The passage you quote was what I used when I ran my games, but I rarely played in any games that used them instead of the core 4th edition rules! I believe that Codex Magicus was, and still is, one of the more difficult Talislanta books to find in print and I never ran across a group that had it, until the advent of Talislanta.com hosting the pdf.
 

AsenRG

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I would say that I enjoy 1E/2E’s ideological approach to spells the best, personally. It A.) provides a basic list of spells to get a magician character started up, B.) allows for magicians to color their spells as they wish for their particular approach to magic, and C.) advises that there’s much more out there to be discovered through adventure and experimentation.
And is there's a reason not to provide "widely known example spells" on top of the magic system? It can even be in the setting chapter. The benefits of both with no drawbacks. You can even start with magicians that need to learn each discreet spell, while say some gifted individuals can learn by principles...now which book had I read that in:devil:?
Far Away Kingdom

I do enjoy 3E’s approach as well, in breaking down the fields of study further and providing even more example spells for each field, while maintaining that:magic is a fallen art and there is much more out there to find than merely the spells in the book that are widely known by modern Talislantan magicians.

Where I feel all three editions fell a little short was providing a system for guidance in the creation of new spells, but I always found it fairly easy with the first three editions to do so.
Sure, but I simply see no reason to bother reverse-engineering spells when I can start with the spell creation system.


I feel that 4E/5E’s approaches to spell design widely diverged from Steve’s original vision and design goals for Talislantan magic by providing starting magicians with a much larger array of spells to start with, with 4E providing for on the fly creation of spells during play. Which is fine if you enjoy that approach, but a problem I felt through gameplay under that approach was players feeling a little overwhelmed by all the variables they had to take into account for spellcasting. Not to mention naming the dozens or so spells that they came up with on the fly during 4E games.
Never had a problem with that.
If anything, I'd like to apply the same system to martial techniques as well...now that's an idea for a wuxia game! Maybe one set in the West...:gunslinger:
Does anyone know whether the OMNI system is open-license:skeleton:?

But I did find myself having fun creating new spells with the system. And I enjoyed the spell penalty mode of play both editions put forth a little more than the previous (and future with D&D Tal) approach of a set number of fire and forget spells per day.
Yup, me too.
In fact, I never play a wizard in "fire-and-forget" systems if I can avoid it. (I'd rather play a Warrior with a Strength penalty...which is exactly what I did in my first DCC game, though she had the Personality for a spellcaster:thumbsup:).

While I certainly would like to see a brief list of starting spells for the newer edition of Talislanta, I’m personally loathe to see the game take D&D‘s approach to spells and spell-casting.
Is it, really:shock:?
Edit: No matter the edition I used, I always enjoyed Talislanta’s unique aspects of being able to modify a spell’s effect somewhat through the Action Table roll more than the rote spells of D&D.
+10 000 to that:heart:!

Discreet spells for Talislanta isn't really a controversial topic. The pushback I've seen here is honestly the first I've seen of the sort. Even in 4e it was widely held that the open-ended effects-based system wasn't quite right for the setting, even by its authors. Which is why the magic supplement Codex Magicus contained this passage:
Too bad, because the open-ended effects-based system is exactly how My Talislanta always was, is, and is going to be - both because of the system, and the setting implications:tongue:.
Actually, it's one of the two reasons that sold me on the system, the other being the Action Table itself...so that ain't going to change in my games. And I know of nobody else in my area who plans on running Talistlanta, so I'm likely to be the local trend-setter:grin:!
Codex Magicus seemed like a book that's only useful for the fluff, at least in My Talislanta.
Then of course, I'm most likely to run TSL-powered Talislanta. So the magic system might not be that relevant.
The passage you quote was what I used when I ran my games, but I rarely played in any games that used them instead of the core 4th edition rules! I believe that Codex Magicus was, and still is, one of the more difficult Talislanta books to find in print and I never ran across a group that had it, until the advent of Talislanta.com hosting the pdf.
Which obviously proves that Talislanta fans have exquisite taste in systems and don't like having the system downgraded under them:dice:!
 
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Arminius

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I’m puzzled; really. I respect the preference for a build-it-on-the-fly system, but I don’t see discrete spells as a problem with D&D any more than with with most BRP-derived games from RQ to Stormbringer, to more distant cousins like Harnmaster. Or The Fantasy Trip, or GURPS…or most fantasy RPGs.* The creakiness of D&D spellcasting, historically, has been more the so-called “Vancian” magic, which almost nobody copies.

* Excepting Ars Magica, Fantasy Hero (depending on implementation—I believe it’s possible to emulate freeform on-the-fly; otherwise it’s still freeform spell creation unless the GM imposes certain limitations) and—I’m guessing Mage. And I’m sure there are others, maybe as specific schools of magic in this or that game.
 
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AsenRG

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I’m puzzled; really. I respect the preference for a build-it-on-the-fly system, but I don’t see discrete spells as a problem with D&D any more than with with most BRP-derived games from RQ to Stormbringer, to more distant cousins like Harnmaster. Or The Fantasy Trip, or GURPS…or most fantasy RPGs.* The creakiness of D&D spellcasting, historically, has been more the so-called “Vancian” magic, which almost nobody copies.

* Excepting Ars Magica, Fantasy Hero (depending on implementation—I believe it’s possible to emulate freeform on-the-fly; otherwise it’s still freeform spell creation unless the GM imposes certain limitations) and—I’m guessing Mage. And I’m sure there are others, maybe as specific schools of magic in this or that game.
I agree the Vancian part is a far bigger problem with D&D's magic system. Without that detail, I find systems with spell lists bearable, as the list of games I like shows.
I still prefer build-on-the-fly systems, though. As an example, I also find the magic system in Maelstrom to be an improvement over standard BRP magic...and that one is exactly a "build on the fly" system.
Similarly, Mythras Sorcery usually has you defining details like magnitude of the spell on the fly.
So you can't say my preferences aren't consistent, there...:grin:

And keep in mind, I started with 4e (because it was the one that had a quickstart, if anyone's wondering). So going from there to an edition with lists of defined spells would make no sense for me. Why would you downgrade a system that you like:shade:?
 

Silverlion

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I think for me its one of perceptions. In D&D (pre-5E) it was kind of assumed your character just finished "school" (or whatever training they got) and are new to adventer. 5E D&D gave you backgrounds which assumes you've had some more life than that (though there are odd hiccups with some like Hermit compared to soldier.)

In Talislanta 4E it feels as if your character /has/ some notable past, and though the system is free form, the spells aren't supposed to be 'new' just the first time you've used them in the adventure/campaign. Sure your Cymrillian went to school for magic, and then he spent three years after reading Elirn's Paradoxes of Vivamancy searching for Toradin's Tome of Floral & Fauna Mysteries which references Gharadh's Natural Mastery of Magics--which has the spell you just used to grow a tree to climb up that cliff (a book you had to pry from dead bones in a crypt from a lost library of Early Cymrillia) and probably IT references Archaen origin's to the spell, but at least it told you HOW to cast it. So here you are looking for ruins that may have another work, that has MORE magic.

Just as your Thrall is an experienced warrior covered in tattoos. The idea is that the character has lived a life already and isn't a "zero" to "hero" character, but someone who learned things of value you're taking forward. Spell lists (even in 5e) makes a character feel, 'new' and not actually having lived until the start of the game.

Ars Magica made up for this by having PC's have a potentially huge list, plus free form which fits it's magic focus.
 
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