First Draft Talents: New Talents

Some new talents, including some common structural talents (Martial Training, Great Fortitude, Lightning Reflexes, Iron Will) and a cornerstone.

This document is far from complete, and may well be split up as individual sections become better-populated… but it’s a start.

Echelon New Talents Draft
Echelon New Talents Draft, click to download PDF


  1. David Lamb

    I imagine eventually I’ll have a whole lot of comments; I expect to write them piecemeal as I have time between other activities.

    Thanks for posting Warrior Born, the first cornerstone talent. I think I understood the intent, but it certainly helped crystallize my understanding or lack thereof of what cornerstones were for. At first glance it just looks like one extra talent. Even with extra stuff at each tier, it looks “ordinary”. Is the difference that you must choose one of these on entry to a tier, and only cornerstone talents fit that slot? That *might* be enough to qualify them as a different sort of thing than regular talents. Kind of like “feat that can only be taken at first level” in some D&D splatbooks.

    I keep not remembering the default rules for how prerequisites work. Do you have to have Basic Warrior Born before you take Expert (ie is the only way to get it via upgrade)?

    • Cornerstones are there to provide foundational stuff for the character. They may be “about the same size” as a regular talent, or possibly a little more if they include some baggage. They’re allowed to be a bit funkier than common talents — ‘Dwarf’ would include the movement modifiers, the darkvision, and if I still had ability scores the +2 Con/-2 Cha would be here. Most of the rest is down to culture and might be here, or as a separate talent, I’m not sure.

      Otherwise they act much like other talents. You might want to upgrade them, or you might not. It turns out my talk of “a more dwarfy dwarf” doesn’t really mean much since there are so many directions that could go, I don’t have a strong ‘dwarf archetype’ in mind. ‘Dwarf’ is likely to remain an Expert-only talent (that includes everything that might normally also be found in Basic+Expert, so it’s a big Expert slot, as it were.

      ‘Warrior Born’, on the other hand, has room to grow at each tier. Like other talents you don’t have to upgrade it and there are no prerequisites. If you look at Character Creation you’ll see some reasons why it can make sense to take a cornerstone sometime after it becomes available.

      It occurred to me that there may be cases where a cornerstones may indeed have prerequisites. For instance, a cornerstone ‘Ogre’ might require Large size (Heroic Bigness talent). Ogres are pretty simple beasties so the benefits of Bigness could be rolled in directly, but if the Ogre cornerstone “isn’t big enough” to include everything I want to go with “Heroic Ogre” tier it might be reasonable to require “Heroic Bigness” to fill the gap.

      So, another bit of errata — both cornerstones and capstones may have prerequisites. Cornerstones to cover all the material that should be associated with the cornerstone but may not fit (which helps solve the Level Adjustment kludge; a particular character type might need the Heroic cornerstone and two Heroic talents to replace an “LA +2”), Capstones because they (sometimes/often) mark achievement of certain archetypes.

  2. David Lamb

    I seem to recall once upon a time seeing you write that races might be cornerstones. Am I misremembering? It would mean no “warrior born/dwarf” unless there were a way to take a lower-tier “cornerstone” at an upper tier. Is the general mechanism that a tier N+1 talent can be split into two Tier N talents? Does this apply to cornerstones? capstones?

    • Hmm. You and GreyKnight are both clever, and it looks like you both misunderstand how cornerstones work and what they are. I’d better go back and review (and possibly rewrite) the description.

      Cornerstones act pretty much like all other talents, except you only get one per tier and you get it at the first level in the tier. You can’t have two at the same tier — and that’s on purpose — but you can have a Warrior Born/Dwarf. If you have Dwarf at the Expert tier you can have Warrior Born at any other open tier — Basic is available at fifth level, unless you have something else there, or Heroic when you reach ninth level, Master when you reach thirteenth, and so on.

      I currently have no facility for ‘splitting’ talents. In a case like this one would just have to be better than the other, if only be one tier.

        • I’m working on it. Last night I was absolutely fried (played Wednesday night until 9pm, then ended up playing another game — “look at my project!” — with another designer and riffing on design for about four hours after that), but my goal this weekend is cornerstones and capstones.

  3. David Lamb

    Great Fortitude/ Iron Will ought to be preceded with a reminder of how the saves go. Is it basically just level/2 (kind of like “good” saves without the +2?)

    One possibility for additional Iron Will features is to think about will-related stuff that you would want to be “better” than what somebody would get just by being higher level and getting the default level-dependent increase in saves. Thus perhaps: outright immunity to specific tier-appropriate charm, mind control, domination, or psionic effects. Thus if a mind control thing appears at tier N, then a tier N or N+1 Iron Will should give immunity to it.

    • I can see having an indication of the ‘normal’ rule in these cases. The base saves are defined elsewhere (in Character Creation) though, and I don’t really like having redundant text, especially when things are in flux and there is the possibility I could introduce (more) inconsistency if I miss an update.

      In a closer-to-release version I could see mentioning the general rule, though, and I change my mind now. The next draft will have a sidenote regarding the basic formula. Sidenotes are expected to be a little dodgy in that they are deliberately ‘current thoughts’ and notes to myself.

      Specific immunities could be reasonable effects for Iron Will, much as Great Fortitude provides immunity to certain systemic attacks (disease and poison; mundane and supernatural).

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